There was some plane drama yesterday
PARIS — Bolivia's president left Europe for home on Wednesday in a flurry of diplomatic drama after his flight was rerouted and delayed in Austria, allegedly because of suspicion he was trying to spirit NSA leaker Edward Snowden to Latin America.
Bolivia accused the United States of ordering European countries to block President Evo Morales' flight from their airspace, and accused European governments of "aggression" by thwarting the flight.
However it's still unclear whether European countries did block the plane and, if so, why. French, Spanish and Portuguese officials all said Wednesday the plane was allowed to cross their territory.
This is a pertinent part:
In Vienna, an official said that Morales' aircraft asked controllers at Vienna airport to land because there was "no clear indication" that the plane had enough fuel to continue on its journey.
appears to have a different take on the story:
"We're talking about the president on an official trip after an official summit being kidnapped," Bolivia's ambassador to the United Nations, Sacha Llorenti Soliz, told reporters in Geneva.
The Bolivian plane, which was taking Morales home from an energy conference in Moscow, was stranded at Vienna airport for several hours after Portugal and France refused to allow it to fly through their airspace.
Does this make any sense at all? Russia has said Snowden can stay if he stops his leaking. As a result, Snowden withdrew his asylum request
NSA leaker Edward Snowden has decided against seeking political asylum in Russia.
A Russian government spokesman said Tuesday that Snowden has withdrawn his request following President Vladimir Putin's statements on the matter Monday. In a statement to reporters, Putin said that he would allow Snowden to remain in Russia as long as Snowden stopped "his work aimed at harming our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my lips."
Snowden has reportedly filed for political asylum in 15 countries, but is still holed up in the transit section of Russia's Sheremetyevo airport. The U.S. is attempting to have him extradited back to the States, where he has been charged with espionage after leaking NSA information to the public. Russia, however, has no extradition treaty with the U.S., and Putin said Monday that he would not turn Snowden over to U.S. government officials.
Other sources have the number of requests at over twenty countries
, many quite reticent on the idea of accepting him.
Germany, The Netherlands and Poland rejected Mr Snowden's asylum bid; an Indian foreign ministry said there was “no reason to accede to the request”; and Brazil said it was “not going to respond”.
Austria, Finland, Iceland and Norway each said Mr Snowden's request was invalid because it was not filed from inside their respective countries. Ireland and Spain issued similar statements.
No one knows where the rumor came from that he was on the plane
After the plane touched down in Vienna the foreign minister of Bolivia, David Choquehuanca, said that “they say it was due to technical issues, but after getting explanations from some authorities we found that there appeared to be some unfounded suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on the plane.”
“We don’t know who invented this big lie,” Mr. Choquehuanca said at a news conference in La Paz, Bolivia. “We want to express our displeasure because this has put the president’s life at risk.”
From that same article:
The problems began even before Mr. Morales left Moscow, Mr. Choquehuanca said. On Monday, Portugal, without explanation, had withdrawn permission for Mr. Morales’s plane to stop in Lisbon to refuel, the foreign minister said. That required Bolivian officials to get permission from Spain to refuel in the Canary Islands.
The next day, after taking off from Moscow, Mr. Morales’s plane was just minutes from entering French airspace, according to Mr. Saavedra, when the French authorities informed the pilot that the plane could not fly over France.
There was also plenty of confusion in Moscow over how Mr. Snowden could possibly have left undetected on a government aircraft.
Confused yet? So am I. No one seems to know where this rumor got started. No one even wanted to take a chance that he was on board, based on a rumor that no one seems to know where it came from. Russia? Bolivia? The USA? Wikileaks? Maybe the answer is somewhere in between
The speculation that Mr. Snowden would hitch a ride on a government jet was discounted by the fact that the plane would have to first make a quick flight from one Moscow airport to the other.
In an interview with the television station Russia Today, Mr. Maduro said he would consider any request by Mr. Snowden. Then, ending the interview with a dash of humor, he said, “It’s time for me to go; Snowden is waiting for me.”
I've spent the last two hours trying to find the answer to how this mess unfolded. Snowden might be a hero to some, but what is happening now is hurting international security and diplomacy. He withdrew his asylum request after being told he would have limitations to what he can and cannot do. At this point, why would anyone want to take him in? If he did this to his own nation, what is to stop him from doing this to other countries?