Edward Snowden has disappeared

Edward Snowden has disappeared. The NSA whistleblower, who was presumed to be on a flight from Hong Kong to Moscow and thence to Havana did not board the flight to Havana. Some doubt whether he actually went to Moscow and suggest that though he had left Hong Kong, his alleged flight to Russia was a feint, misinformation to throw the press and governments off his tail. Ecuador's Minister of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that Snowden has applied for asylum in Ecuador.

Wherever he is, we hope he's safe.

The Guardian's Paul Owen is doing a great job of liveblogging the twists and turns in this remarkable story.

• Edward Snowden’s whereabouts are currently unknown after he failed to get on an Aeroflot flight the Russian airline said he was booked on from Moscow to Havana. It has been assumed that he was heading via Cuba for Ecuador; Quito’s foreign minister Ricardo Patiño Aroca ‏said yesterday the country had received an asylum application from him. But amid farcical scenes the plane full of journalists – and presumably representatives of various governments – took off for Cuba without him. One reporter tweeted a plaintive picture of Snowden’s empty chair.

• Patino said Snowden – the former CIA analyst whose leaks to the Guardian about US intelligence programmes have caused controversy around the world – had arrived in Russia and said his government was currently considering his asylum request. But he said Quito did not know where Snowden was at this moment – or where he was going next. Patino hinted that if Ecuador accepted Snowden’s request it would be on the grounds of privacy, freedom of speech, and human rights. The country already shelters Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at its embassy in London. Wikileaks was today forced to defend Ecuador’s questionable record on press freedom.

One note from Owen's liveblog: the USA are fuming mad that Hong Kong authorities rejected their request to imprison Snowden on technical grounds.

Edward Snowden missing after failing to fly to Cuba - live


  1. man, this guy is good. just every time he does something i think “man he’s good”
    i hope this is a ploy and not just the government getting to him first…

  2. I can’t believe I voted for Enema of the State Dept John Kerry in ’04. Not that I had much of a choice. Kang vs. Kodos, same as it ever was.

    1. Still, I kinda wish this whole incident had happened during the previous administration, if only for the added emphasis.

          1.  Well, seeing that this is the Obama administration, I would assume the previous one would be Dubya’s administration, is my point.

          1. the popular phrase is “campaign Obama,” which is fitting because we’ll never see him again

    1. Well, if he “disappeared”, he disappeared from the middle of a soviet airport, behind multiple levels of security.  I don’t think the US has him from there, it’d be an international incident akin to going and grabbing Julian Assange from the Ecudorian embassy.  

      Or he never was in Russia and he gave us all a good slip.

      1. Unless the Russians were to participate in a lift.

        Personally I don’t think any agency should touch this guy.  He’s no dummy, which means his weapon-ups are going to be pretty explosive.  He’ll have a failsafe payload delivery mechanism in the case of misfortune.

        1. I doubt it.  I don’t think the Russians let him in with any weapons, they’re more picky about that then canadians.  His failsafe is Greenwald dumping everything.
          Wonder if Putin made a deal to keep the Super Bowl Ring.

      2. Just FYI:  The Soviet Union ceased to exist 20 years ago.

        In other news: WW2 is over too and Hitler is not Chancellor of Germany.

        1. The Soviet Union ceased to exist 20 years ago.

          Cosmetic change. The KGB is back in power, isn’t it?

  3. So Snowden was not in the seat booked for him in the cabin of the Aeroflot plane.
    Did anybody check the jump seat for airline staff which is in the cockpit?

    1. That plane has a flight crew and the rest are almost all reporters.  They’ve searched the thing from top to bottom, I promise you that.  They just got given a 14 hour shaft.   They’re probably pretty pissed by now.

      1. The way many reporters have been treating Greenwald like a criminal, I’m happy they’re pissed.

  4. So, the government is upset with Hong Kong.  Gee, Hong Kong, China, and Russia should do everything we ask, after our cyberwar against them has been exposed!  Yeah, yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket…

    I’ve rarely felt less sympathy for my own government.

    1. Careful they are listening ——————————The next logical step is the re-programming of the wrong thinkers!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. There was no morphine in the first-aid kit, no protection for Snowden against pain but the numbing shock of the gaping wound itself. The twelve syrettes of morphine had been stolen from their case and replaced by a cleanly lettered note that said: “What’s good for M & M Enterprises is good for the country. Milo Minderbinder.” Yosarian swore at Milo and held two aspirins out to ashen lips unable to receive them. But first he hastily drew a tourniquet around Snowden’s thigh because he could not think what else to do in those first tumultuous moments when his senses were in turmoil, when he knew he must act competently at once and feared he might go to pieces completely. Snowden watched him steadily, saying nothing.  No artery was spurting, but Yossarian pretended to absorb himself entirely into the fashioning of a tourniquet, because applying a tourniquet was something he did know how to do. He worked with simulated skill and composure, feeling Snowden’s lackluster gaze resting upon him. He recovered possession of himself before the tourniquet was finished and loosened it immediately to lessen the danger of gangrene. His mind was clear now, and he knew how to proceed. He rummaged through the first-aid kit for scissors.

    “I’m cold,” Snowden said softly, “I’m cold.”

    “You’re going to be all right, kid,” Yossarian
    reassured him with a grin. “You’re going to be all right.”

    “I’m cold,” Snowden said again in a frail, childlike
    voice. “I’m cold.”

    “There, there,” Yossarian said, because he did not
    know what else to say. “There, there.”

    “I’m cold,” Snowden whimpered. “I’m cold.”

    “There, there. There, there.”
    – Joseph Heller, Catch-22

  6. So Clint Eastwood disappeared him?  The empty chair would be the biggest clue.

    “USA are fuming mad that Hong Kong authorities rejected their request to imprison Snowden on technical grounds.”

    The USA seemed unable to understand that Hong Kong wanted answers about how they were being spied on and other underhanded things they had been doing there, and that the USA was in no position to ask for a “favor” after the revelations.

    1. And China did not want a conflict over this, when so many more important things are on the line.  China’s economy is flagging, and they are scrambling to do everything they can to pump it back up.  A huge fight with the USA is decidedly NOT on the agenda.  Ejecting Snowden as quietly as possible was, to Beijing, the sanest, quickest solution to that problem.

      1. But China did enjoy the US being taken down off the high horse a little bit.

          1. Just like the ‘US’ speaks and acts with one singular mind.

            I do not want my country to behave like some third-world shithole run by a bananna republic gang-leader with so much scrambled eggs on his fake uniform that you can’t see the actual anything underneath.

            This is not the country I was raised to believe we were. This is not the country my grandfathers joined the army for. This is not the country my cousin joined the Navy for.

          2. Being able to think and say what we wish without having it recorded and reported.
            Was this not Edward Snowden’s point; for which he has put his freedom and life on the line ?

  7. Let’s speculate: he may be with Russian authorities, who may blackmail him to give out more information if he doesn’t want to be handed over to the US. He has got no valid passport anymore, so alone on that ground Russia can keep him. Alternately, they simply may help him to buy time before Ecuador makes a decision. Alternately, he s on a plane to Iceland or elsewhere. But I speculate that he had got some sort of assurances by the Russians – why would he have booked a plane to Moscow otherwise?

    1. His assurance will be something that the Russians really don’t want to see the light of day, or something they really want released that he’s keeping back.

      “Assurances” from the Russian state, bless them, wouldn’t persuade me to leave my hamster for a day with them, let alone my life.

      1.  *Picturing Putin playing with hamster, placing Super Bowl ring on its head like a tiara*

        1. *In the background are ceiling-high stacks of leaked documents, Rubles, Euros, and crates of AK-47’s.  The Syrian child strums the sitar peacefully.*

      2.  Well, it all depends on what they assure you of. For example, if they assure you that you will be buried in a lead lined coffin, you can safely assume that it will happen.

  8. “USA are fuming mad that Hong Kong authorities rejected their request to imprison Snowden on technical grounds”

    This could be made into a popular meme. I won´t say which one because of certain unwritten internet laws.

    1.  Another popular meme should be  “I WANT MY $3 MILLION!”  Three million dollars to each American citizen for the violation of their constitutional rights by NSA spying not only makes sense, it’s money in the bank.

          1. No you don’t get it.

            That money doesn’t come from some random stranger.  It comes from Joe Citizen.  And if all of Joe Citizen gets to sue for $3,000,000, that means that the country basically pays every citizen three million dollars.  Where does it get that $3,000,000 each from?    

  9. From the Guardian: “Assange added:We are aware of where Edward Snowden is. He is in a safe place and his spirits are high. Due to the bellicose threats coming from the US administration we cannot go into further detail at this time. Unfortunately we cannot reveal what country he is in at this time.”

      1. Precisely.  He was with at least 1 wikileaker, Sarah Harrison, so we would know instantly if the both of them got disappeared.  He could be anywhere.

  10. Newest James Bond movie due at your local theaters soon !   ———– I just love how Bond exposes the cracks in the -evil empires- . That old ,good over evil,  theme used to be an American movie script standby

          1. Ian Fleming fan I presume……….I grew up looking at  Camp X ; however on James Bond I think I best defer to you.      Cheers

  11. Not sure it would be my first choice… but if you want to disappear from a technologically sophisticated adversary you could do a lot worse than wandering into the Taiga…

      1. I see you are unfamiliar with the insect population of the circumpolar boreal forest… Winter is the time to go outside…

        1.  My assumption is that it would expend much less energy to wear a mosquito netted suit than to try and retain body heat in subzero temperatures. Not to mention fewer animals in hibernation if hunting were required to stay alive. Assuming a nature videographer or your rural Russian/Alaskan can endure the northern wilds, why can’t Snowden?


          Well, assuming the Russians don’t make him fend for himself and leave him to build his own cabin. I’m fairly sure they’re not all heartless, at least not the ones I’ve met.

          1. a mosquito netted suit

            Black flies will just chew through that net.  Or swarm you until they drag you down and consume you at leisure.

          2. Stay indoors for a couple of weeks. Do you know how hard it is to get blood out of your ears when it’s dried into a solid plug?

  12. The is the first time in my life I ever wanted the United States to fail at something — catching Edward Snowden. America has really gotten screwed up since 9/11.

    1.  Hmm.  I sure didn’t want them to win the hockey gold in 2010.  But yes, this too.

      I’d like to think that Snowden had a solid plan from the beginning, before he outed himself.  All that we know is what we are told – I’d be surprised if he hadn’t already made contact and plans for his entire exile before giving that interview in the hotel in Hong Kong.

      Anything less would amount to suicide, and I doubt that is his plan.

    2. “America has really gotten screwed up since 9/11″ . (  Targeting its own citizens the way they would have treated foreigners in the past ! .)…..And Americans sometimes wondered why as tourists they were not allows welcome as they travelled the world. —–Unfortunately today,not welcome, is not a strong enough description in many parts of the world and many still don’t get it.

  13. One reporter tweeted a plaintive picture of Snowden’s empty chair.

    Said the reporter (pictured): “That brilliant, handsome bastard must have slipped right past us somehow!”

    1. I have a friend who looks weirdly like Edward Snowden. Suggested Halloweed costume: Show up dressed completely normally, but with a pair of Groucho glasses and a name tag that says “Hello, my name is definitely not Edward Snowden!” 

    2. You know, I think that he could pull this off.  Just doing a press junket for my new dystopian sci-fi move.  Nothing to see here.

  14. So a guy goes to Russia with a treasure trove of US intelligence disappears and disappears.  You don’t think the FSB, the successor agency to the KGB, might have wanted to have a word with him?  Maybe check his hard drives for any illegally copied Pussy Riot recordings, you know, just to be sure?    

    1. Yeah. I gotta be honest, I’m as nervous for this guy when it comes to his interactions with the Russian government as with his interactions with the US government. Moreso, actually, given that Obama’s history with whistleblowers involves a lot of prosecution and Putin’s involves a lot of dead whistleblowers. 

      1. I agree.  There are a number of comments to the effect that Snowden has thought all of this out and has a plan but it doesn’t seem to be that way to me.  If your objectives are to release a bunch of data that is embarrassing to the US and obtain political asylum from Ecuador, you would be better off to go to Ecuador before releasing your data.  Every transit exposes you to capture, not only by the US but by other intelligence agencies that are equally interested and probably even less scrupulous.  It seems to me that he is winging it and could end up in a world of hurt from many different directions.

  15.  It has been said; a truth revealed is often much simpler than it first appears.

    The simple truth behind Edward Snowdon is; there is no Edward Snowdon, there never was. There is only this somewhat dazed looking man, called Julian Assange, the sole hacker in all of this. If any information was leaked it was Assange who leaked it. (After hacking it)
    Julian Assange, the mole in the middle of London, hacking away in his embassy where he is unseen. Untouchable by law.

    From where he is he can do everything he wants online. EVERYTHING. I mean, it’s not like authorities are going to cut of the power, are they? It’s and embassy! In other words; a hackers heaven. Assange doesn’t want to to leave. He is perfectly happy where he is, hacking away, with the blessing of the Ecuadorian government. He’s the worm in Englands backyard. Or perhaps a double agent working for whoever pays him the most?

    This man knows more about hacking than God about the universe. This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    Honestly, what do we REALLY think he is doing up there in his little room in the Ecuadorian embassy? Playing cards? Reading Playboy? This man has turned himself into the Jesus Christ of hacking and enjoying every minute of his new found fame, presenting himself as the “adult who will punish the flaws of disobedient governments”. Governments that know exactly what he’s doing.

    Edward Snowdon will never leave his Moscow airport, wearing sunglasses and facing flash-photography, because he can’t. I bet he never arrived in the first place. I think he only exists in cyberspace.
    Think about it; to book a flight from Hongkong To Moscow on-line is easy enough. And he fact that Snowdon never physically boarded is irrelevant. As we witnessed, world wide media hype quickly began to lead a life of its own. “Snowdon must have boarded because an airline computer said so”. So it must be true!

    And so it goes on and on…Welcome to the word of cyberspace.

    That’s it and that’s all. The truth is out there but it’s not what we expect.Isn’t it often?

    We all love a good mystery and, no doubt, the movie with Matt Damon will be in theaters next year. Filmed in Hawaii, Hongkong, Moscow and Havanna.
    But for now, don’t believe the Assange hype. It’s all a smokescreen to hide his real ID, for he is nothing more than another genius hacker.
    Wether his actions are right or wrong, that’s what he is and that’s what he’s doing. It’s nothing more than a one man operation.

    And if that sounds to simplistic to be true, believe it because it very well might be so…

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