Private jet to Iceland awaits Edward Snowden

An Icelandic businessman and Wikileaks supporter named Olafur Vignir Sigurvinsson has offered to fly Edward Snowden to Iceland by private jet, pending Icelandic Interior Ministry approval of asylum-seeker status for the NSA whistleblower. Sigurvinsson is a director of DataCell, who process donations to Wikileaks.


  1. I just hope there isn’t some “accident” set up by one of our (USA’s) Three Letter Acronyms. Or anyone really.

    In fact, I’d suppose that it’s in the US government’s best interest to do a covert escort and make sure that the plane arrives safely, since nearely everyone expects the worst from us, given the treatment of Bradley Manning and Aaron Swartz

    1.  Nah.  There’s a whole lot of ‘bad’ countries between China and Iceland. 

      Probably blame Syrian Rebels.

      1. Yeah.  A Syrian rocket would be very easy to blame for the death of an inconvenient person the US government would like to have dead.

        Sorry.  I’m not normally into conspiracy theories, but this seems to be a perfect situation for our government, who’s lost nearly all credibility in my eyes, to make sure the leaks stop.

        I voted for Obama twice, but I’m starting to think it might have been a mistake.  Don’t get me wrong, McCain and Romney would have done the same, but I’m just so disappointed in Obama and his administration I really have lost all trust in the electoral system.

        We should switch over to a popular vote and publicly fund all candidates at the same exact amount.  Just like Larry Lessig says, money in politics destroys the mandate of the people.

        1. “I voted for Obama twice, but I’m starting to think it might have been a mistake.  Don’t get me wrong, McCain and Romney would have done the same.”

          I get twitchy when I see people say this. Can you imagine how many worse things would have happened if it were Romney in charge? Don’t get me wrong, Obama is a lying POS, but he’s BY FAR the best lying POS you have.

          1.  Major difference? Democrats in congress would have (potentially) tried to oppose him, liberals as a whole would be far more outspoken about how bad this is, etc. I’m still not sure that would have left us in a better position, though.

          2. I always wonder how much a top leader truly knows about what’s going on in the bureaucracy below them.  After Nixon’s interviews with David Frost, I suspect that our Presidents of both parties do a much better job of insulating themselves from knowing too many details about how the system works so that it’s much harder to really truly pin a scandal directly on them.  Gone are the days of “The Buck Stops Here”, arguably gone for some time.  Even the Cabinet Secretaries probably keep real and thorough knowledge at arms’ length.

          3. We hear you over here, but we’re stymied as to how we dislodge the current two-party duopoly without bloodshed.

          4. We have similar problems – just with 3 POSs instead of 2.

            As it happens I almost hope that my fellow plebs don’t vote for a fringe candidate – because the ones that are popular here are even worse than the clones.

            It’s no wonder voter apathy is so rife.

          5.  It’s deceptively simple, really.  Just stop voting for either party for the rest of your life or until something changes.  That is what I have done starting with the last election.  Get your friends to do the same.  Have the courage to put your vote where your ideology is.  With Obama we basically got an extended Bush presidency.  What do you have to lose?

          6. What do you have to lose?

            Abortion rights. Women’s rights. Gay rights. Any other right that’s in the crosshairs of the Republican Party.

      2.  I think the quickest route from China to Iceland is over the pole, in which case the only countries you overfly are China and Russia. Shooting down a civilian aircraft in Chinese or Russian airspace would be pretty much impossible without their cooperation (unlikely).

        Of course, it would be vulnerable over the Arctic Ocean, but it would also be fairly obvious who did it- not many Syrian rebels on the polar ice cap!

        1. If the US shot him down over the Arctic Ocean, the worst consequences it could expect is some angry words from the Icelandic ambassador (Iceland could threaten to escalate it within NATO or the UN, but would soon be voted down by countries such as the UK) and a wrongful-death lawsuit from the family of the pilot (which could be settled for less than the cost of a typical drone aircraft in compensation, and thus could be seen as a fair price for eliminating a national security problem). 

    2. There´s a German saying that goes something like: You needn’t worry if you’ve no reputation to lose.

      1. Is that supposed to be funny, or sincere.  Damn you Poe’s Law!

        I think, this time I’ll take it as sincere and just be depressed, since that’s the state I’m in already over this.

        Ever since the first leak, I haven’t been shocked, it was really expected, but having my suspicions confirmed has got me in a state of near apathy.  I don’t want to join in the conversation since I feel that the US government is willing to do anything to stop a leak these days, and I don’t want to rail against those who would claim the government has our best interests at heart.  Likewise, I don’t feel the government’s out to harm us, so much as horribly misguided by reactionary right wingers who don’t take the effort to consider the consequences of their actions.

        The best thinkers in the US seem to have either given up on doing right by the people, or are powerless to do what’s right for humanity generally, or are evil and have a foothold.

        I guess despair is what I’m feeling.  Would that be correct?  I think that might be accurate.  I’ve seen so many people doing real good for our country be relegated to the background, or killed (it doesn’t matter how, by whom, or by genuine accident), or given a symbolic place of power where their only choice is to either infringe on the people’s rights actively, or to do it in secret.

        I was never an Obama worshiper, like so many here in the Pacific North West, but I did vote for him, but he’s proven no better than the opponents he beat.  I was at least hoping he’d do slightly better than his opposition, but he’s proven to be just as cowardly as any other politician, and I’m left disgusted with the whole electoral system that only gives two parties a chance at doing anything above the township level.  It’s an awful equilibrium where both choices aren’t even slightly different where it makes much of a difference anymore, and I might as well not vote.  My voice isn’t represented by anyone who can possibly gain enough power to make any kind of difference.  I should just give up on the whole damn thing.

        1. Yep, pretty much.

          I get what you´re feeling and I feel about the same. My own country, unlike the U.S.,  is just not significant enough for its moronic politicians and crooked businessmen´s actions to have global repercussions. Still, I know many, many people are quite fed up with being lied to and sold out by their leaders on a daily basis.

          To me it feels like civil unrest is taking place at an increasing rate these days and it´s probably going to continue that way. Right now, European politicians are hypocritically condemning police violence in Turkey when there are regular instances of that happening to protesters and activists in European countries as well.  In most of these countries as well as the U.S., people are generally still fed well enough and sufficiently sedated to keep them from revolting, but since politicians will keep on fucking up, i.m.o. it is just a matter of time for that to change.

          So I guess you could say I´ve given up on politicians and I´m left hoping they get what´s coming to them at some point.

          1. Hey, at least with parliamentary governments, coalitions are possible.  I’m not sure it’s a good thing, but it looks awfully refreshing from my point of view to see more than two supposedly diametrically opposed (although just different names for the same thing) parties in government.  Hell, Even if the Pirate party comes to America, there’s no chance (even if it has the popular majority) of winning the presidency, or a position in congress.  The best we could do is possibly elect a representative to the house who doesn’t oppose them and is willing to meet with a pirate party rep once long before campaign season.

          2. The Pirate party is good fun. I´ll probably vote for them just for the hell of it (as I suspect many others will), but I´m truly incapable of expecting anything at all of any politician anymore. I´m comfortably numb to politics these days.

      1. Always.  If we didn’t care what anyone thought of us, the CIA would be called the “Foreigner Bashing American Policy Enforcers.”  And the NSA would simply be called the “Thought Police”.

    3. just hope there isn’t some “accident” set up by one of our (USA’s) Three Letter Acronyms. Or anyone really.

      Oh, I’m not sure that’d be very wise.  I imagine it’d be considered an act of war by dissenters within our government who’d perhaps feel it’s time to stop holding back on “things” that protect their masters (even if it means some destabilization for everybody).

      Do the corporatist profiteers that control the U.S. Government want angry moles grabbing them down into their tunnels right beneath their feet with thousands of claws ripping and pulling them down into a wormy cemetery grave like a horror movie?

      Doesn’t sound pleasant to me.

      If I was the corporatists, I wouldn’t authorize it.  I imagine it could have a very destabilizing effect.  On the inside.  Morale is tenuous. People are already angry.  It’s pushing luck they don’t have.

      They really shouldn’t jab a stick into an already angry killer bee hive —  Just sayin’.

          1. Please see the car recall formula scene from Fight Club.  We are still not at the threshold of bad publicity outweighing their need to silence critics.  And even that assumes that they would act rationally, which would certainly not be the historical norm for entrenched powers.

          2. We are still not at the threshold of bad publicity outweighing their need to silence critics.

            I think my last link showed otherwise. Silencing critics is a high priority. Just look at their actions.

    4. Yeah, both Snowden and Glenn Greenwald should watch out that they don’t get the Hastings treatment.

  2. Iceland awaits your arrival with anticipation! Lol. I feel the exact same way you described. People talk about how in China and Russia there’s only 1 party and how that’s evil , people don’t have a choice, etc. but it is just the same here. We only have two choices and both are evil.

    1.  This was supposd to go up with one of ldobe’s comments, but I was on my phone and it didn’t work right.

    1. I would be concerned. This is the part of the story where, instead of Iceland, the plane takes him to Assange’s secret base inside a volcano in Tuvalu.

      1. Or DisneyRand – Galt’s Gulch all-inclusive Shambhala in the Colorado Himalayas, just as long the private jet and/or pilot are not leased from Lao Che Air Freight.

  3. I trust this guy has been smart enough to keep some of the really hot, damaging stuff back, while letting the people who it would damage be aware of the content.  Then simply “if anything ever happens to me …”

    That said, this is one aircraft I wouldn’t ride in.  I suspect a better method of travel might be a bicycle.

    I do want him to gain some kind of security.

  4. So now he plans to seek sanctuary from a NATO country. I can totally see this ending well. 

  5. Hypothetically speaking: if the US were to shoot down the plane, would it be an act of war against a NATO member state, and thus against all NATO member states (including, presumably, itself)?

    1. There have been wars between NATO member states before- Greece and Turkey in 1974 is the main example.

  6. So, the US government is going to allow a private jet carrying Edward Snowden (or Julian Assange) to cross half the earth without being intercepted and forced down?  There’s a word for schemes like that, naive.

    The most likely path for either man to reach Iceland (or Ecuador) is on board a diplomatically sanctioned vehicle.  Not only would Snowden need official asylum from Iceland, the aircraft on which he traveled would need to be blessed as an official diplomatic aircraft of the Icelandic state. 

    Even that might not work.  Iceland has an economy and population smaller that most medium sized US cities.  They’d have little recourse were the US were to force down and remove a US passenger from one of their aircraft.  

    Force down does not mean “shoot down”.  Armed fighter jets flying a handful of meters off the wing of a private aircraft are usually enough to convince the pilot to land.  Given that any trip from Hong Kong to Iceland would require travel over great spans of international waters, there would be ample opportunity for fighter aircraft interception.

    1. In this case, there would be no US-controlled landing strips on a polar route from Hong Kong to Iceland:  China, Mongolia, Russia, arctic ocean, Iceland.

      1. Not US controlled, but there are definitely airfields in nations over which the US holds uncommonly strong influence.

        Were interception to take place over the Norwegian or Barents Seas, the plane could be directed to land in Sweden, Norway or Finland.  Yes, the US would have to get one of those nations on board with the plan, but they’d only need to convince one of them.

        The US seem to have convinced Sweden to hand over Julian Assange, making Sweden the most obvious choice.  Perhaps the plane would be forced down at an arctic air field curiously absent of Swedish government officials.   Snowden would be hustled onto a waiting US DOJ aircraft and on his way back home before Swedish immigration knew he was there.  There wouldn’t be a fight for extradition, his time on Swedish soil would be measured in minutes, perhaps seconds.

        It’s hard to imagine Snowden is naive enough to risk his freedom on a hair brained scheme with such a high chance of failure.   Now were the Chinese or Russians to provide an official diplomatic aircraft for Snowden’s Icelandic vacation, that would be a very different story.

        1. If your scenario happened, it would violate dozens of EU privacy and human rights laws.  Member states would be compelled by law to enact sanctions and pursue actions in the world court, and officials in whatever government we strong armed would be tried and sent to prison.  Those things say nothing of the moral outrage from people all over the EU and the civilized world.  Can you imagine Russia and China gleefully applying sanctions to the US over human rights violations?

          Snowden is no longer a threat.  He’s already turned over everything he has.  Moving on him now would do nothing but galvanize the opposition.  All they have to do is wait, and this will be over in a few months.  In 3-6 months it might work, after the furor has died down, but right now, it would be an idiotic waste of political capital.  

          1. Just like everything you describe happened in the aftermath of Extraordinary Rendition?  Oh wait, none of the responsible parties went to jail, half of Europe’s nations were complicit, and there were never any UN sanctions against the US.

            What I’ve described is far more legal than rendition.  As much as we may sympathize with Snowden’s goals, we are now talking about a US citizen who has been criminally indicted.  The only illegal portion of my scenario would be taking him from a 3rd nation without an extradition hearing.  That would not be a human rights abuse, it would be a violation of local law.  It’s even possible that the US might allow Snowden to fight extradition, knowing that his eventual fate would be sealed.  

            Were the aircraft diplomatically chartered, that would raise the stakes, but Olafur Vignir’s scheme as described does not involve diplomatically chartered aircraft.  It does not involve Chinese or Russian aircraft.  It describes a private plane, carrying a criminally indicted individual, over international waters.  

            There is absolutely no convention, UN, EU or otherwise that would prohibit the US from detaining a a criminally indicted US citizen over open seas.  Fully within US and UN, and EU conventions, the US may treat him no differently than a murderer or bank robber.  

  7. As far as I know Iceland’s only military forces in the last 60+ years were UK and US troops, the last of whom left in the 2007 or so. It’s a little hard to imagine a small U.S. ally without its own defense forces at which some big European players are still pissed from the financial meltdown deciding to offer asylum to this guy.

    Nice gesture, but Iceland is probably not in a geopolitical position to do it.

    1. Between the refusal to bow to demands for compensation from the financial crisis and the whaling thing, Iceland’s pretty thoroughly proven that they don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks.

  8. If the final destination is Caracas Venezuela via Cuba the
    plane will be forced down onto the United States Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). 

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