NSA/Snowden roundup: Spain and other European countries were told he was on Bolivian plane

The Spanish foreign minister says Spain and other European countries were told that US whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board the Bolivian president's plane earlier this week. Evo Morales' plane was grounded for 13 hours in Austria after being banned from European airspace. Who's responsible? No one's saying. Yet. [BBC News]

"Europe broke all the rules of the game," Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said shortly after arriving at the Cochabamba airport. "We're here to tell President Evo Morales that he can count on us. Whoever picks a fight with Bolivia, picks a fight with Venezuela." [Reuters]

South American leaders are furious over the plane grounding incident, which they believe was the work of US government officials. "The presidents of Argentina, Ecuador, Suriname, Venezuela and Uruguay joined Morales in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba late Thursday to address the diplomatic row. Morales used the gathering to warn that he would close the U.S. Embassy in Bolivia if necessary." [NYT]

Morales isn't messing around: "United we will defeat American imperialism. We met with the leaders of my party and they asked us for several measures and if necessary, we will close the embassy of the United States," Morales said in the city where he started his political career as a leader of coca leaf farmers. "We do not need the embassy of the United States." [AP]

The New York Times, on Snowden’s résumé: he was no common sysadmin, he was a skilled "ethical hacker." It "provides a new picture of how his skills and responsibilities expanded while he worked as an intelligence contractor. Although federal officials offered only a vague description of him as a “systems administrator,” the résumé suggests that he had transformed himself into the kind of cybersecurity expert the N.S.A. is desperate to recruit, making his decision to release the documents even more embarrassing to the agency."

"Russians are a little bemused at all that fuss over surveillance. Many believe that the authorities can read their mail at will, listen in on their calls and sprinkle bugs around as they please. 'Wiretapping is so common, so this is not news,' said Alina Gorchakova, a 48-year-old account manager who stopped to chat on a city street." [Washington Post]

Iceland is still a possible option for Snowden's escape, and one longtime Wikileaks ally is working to make that happen. [Forbes]

Notable Replies

  1. I haven't seen any mention of anybody actually apologizing for the affront to Bolivia. Did I miss something?

  2. more whistleblowers

    Agreed, it seems some of our quasi-governmental plutocrats thought measly, average citizens were just as cowardly as they were and wouldn't come forward if they turned the screws hard enough. But, to their dismay I believe some of them are slowly learning that there really are stand-up people in this world who'll put their goddam asses on the line for their country (and the world) no matter what corrupt war profiteers try to do to them.

    The more they turn the screws on whistleblowers, the more it appears to the general public they only have corruption to hide and nothing more. The GW Bush administration got away with it in spades for two terms and the Obama administration is getting away with it now, but it's withering...

    Hiding corruption and misdeeds under the guise of state secrets is slowly falling apart and I'm thankful as hell to patriotic whistleblowers and critical thinkers everywhere for that happening. They're brave heros and I'm very tired of ignorant, coward ingrates who lack the fortitude and honor to do what they did and instead nitpick and diss on patriotic whistleblowers calling them "leakers", "traitors" and worse.

  3. Yes, and it's a shocking affront to Bolivia and Latin America. Social media is currently crawling with images like the attached, claiming 'If they touch one of us, they touch all of us- Stand strong, Evo'; a sentiment that I feel deeply. How dare they punk Evo Morales?!

    It's unbelievable how poorly managed this this whole business has been from start to finish. Regardless of where all the politicians were when they put the NSA into place, once the beans were spilled it seems that anyone with a half decent PR team would be told to act 'sternly concerned' and ready to defend America's principles of liberty and yadda yadda. To be running around like Boris and Natacha trying to catch Snowden, this clumsily? Pathetic.

  4. I'm torn between that scene and the first scene of Episode IV.

    Evo Morales: [smirking] Darth Vader. Only you could be so bold. The South American nations will not sit still for this. When they hear you've attacked a diplomatic —
    Darth Vader: Don't act so surprised, Your Highness. You weren't on any mercy mission this time. Edward Snowdon was beamed to this ship by Rebel spies. I want to know what happened to him.
    Morales: I don't know what you're talking about. I am the president of Bolivia on a diplomatic mission to Russia.
    Vader: You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor! [to Stormtroopers] Take him away!
    Daine Jir: [to Vader after Stormtroopers escort him away] Holding him is dangerous. If word of this gets out, it could generate sympathy for the Rebellion in the international community.
    Vader: I have traced the Rebel spies to him. Now he is my only link to finding their secret base.
    Jir: He'll die before he'll tell you anything.
    Vader: Leave that to me. Send a distress signal, and inform the press that all on board were killed.
    Nahdonnis Praji: Lord Vader, Snowdon is not aboard this ship, and no transmissions were made.

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