Obama said that he was “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker”, but he didn’t say that he wouldn’t hijack the President of Bolivia’s airplane, violate his rights, and put the Bolivian President in grave danger.
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Obama’s cronies rerouted the President of Bolivia’s airplane, causing the airplane to almost run out of fuel, and forcing an emergency landing in Austria, where the President of Bolivia’s airplane was searched for NSA leaker and U.S. Hero, Edward Snowden.
Bolivia’s Ambassador to the United Nations in New York Sacha Llorenti said the South American country would file a UN complaint over the European airspace blockade, also saying that the Bolivian President was “kidnapped by imperialism”.
Bolivia’s president left Europe for home on Wednesday amid diplomatic drama after his flight was rerouted and delayed overnight in Austria, allegedly because of suspicion he was trying to spirit NSA leaker Edward Snowden to Latin America.
This makes Obama look not only weaker than he already looked, but also makes him look completely stupid and inept.
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.
And Snowden himself remains out of public view, believed to be stuck in a Moscow airport transit area, seeking asylum from one of more than a dozen countries.
Bolivia’s president sparked speculation during a visit to Russia after he said that his country would be willing to consider granting asylum to Snowden.
The plane carrying Morales home from a Moscow summit was rerouted to Vienna on Tuesday night, adding a new twist to the international uproar over Snowden’s revelations of widespread U.S. surveillance. The plane took off again shortly before noon Wednesday after sitting overnight at the airport.
Austrian officials said Morales’ plane was searched early Wednesday by Austrian border police after Morales gave permission. Bolivian and Austrian officials both say Snowden was not on board.
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The emergency stop in Austria may have been caused by a dispute over where the plane could refuel and whether European authorities could inspect it for signs of Snowden.
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, an official in Vienna said. The official demanded anonymity because he was not authorized to go public with the information.
Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations, speaking in Geneva on Wednesday, continued to insist that several European countries had refused permission for the plane to fly in their airspace.
Bolivia’s U.N. ambassador Sacha Llorenti said it was an “act of aggression” and that the four countries violated international law. Llorenti said “the orders came from the United States” but other nations violated the immunity of the president and his plane, putting his life at risk.
There was no immediate U.S. response to Llorenti’s accusation.
In Washington, the State Department would not comment directly Tuesday night. Earlier Tuesday, department spokesman Patrick Ventrell would not discuss how the Obama administration might respond if Snowden left the Moscow airport. “We’re not there yet,” he said.
Bolivian officials said that France, Portugal and Italy blocked the plane from flying over their territories based on unfounded rumors that Snowden was on board.
French government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem said “France ended up authorizing the flight over its airspace by Mr. Morales’ plane.”
She said the plane “was authorized to fly over French territory” but wouldn’t explain whether there had been an initial refusal Tuesday night amid the rumors about Snowden’s presence on the plane.
The Portuguese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Portugal had granted permission for the plane to fly through its air space but declined Bolivia’s request for a refueling stop in Lisbon due to unspecified technical reasons.
Italian officials were not available to speak on the subject.
Meanwhile a separate saga played out with Spanish authorities.
Bolivia said Spain agreed to allow the plane to refuel in the Canary Islands — but only if Bolivian authorities allowed it to be inspected. Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo denied Wednesday that his country demanded an inspection of the Bolivian plane.
Speaking in Berlin, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said authorization was given for the plane to stop and refuel in Spain’s Canary Islands but that it was important Snowden was not aboard. He said the debate was “a little artificial.”
While the Bolivian presidential plane sat in pre-dawn darkness on the tarmac in Vienna, a surreal scene played out when Spain’s ambassador to Austria visited the airport to meet with Morales, the Bolivian president told reporters Wednesday.
The ambassador, Alberto Carnero, asked Morales if they could board the Bolivian plane together.
“He asked me to go have a coffee inside the plane to see the plane,” Morales said, adding that he believed the request was made so the plane could be inspected.
Morales also said the ambassador pledged to give an answer about whether the plane could fly over Spain after 9 a.m. Wednesday, saying he had to consult “with friends.” Morales said they were “friends of Spain” but he did not know who.
Morales said he never saw Snowden and that Bolivia has not received a formal request for asylum for him. The country would consider a request if it receives one, Morales said.
Leaks by Snowden, a former NSA systems analyst, have revealed the NSA’s sweeping data collection of U.S. phone records and some Internet traffic, though U.S. intelligence officials have said the programs target foreigners and terrorist suspects mostly overseas.
Snowden has applied for asylum in Venezuela, Bolivia and 18 other countries, according to WikiLeaks, a secret spilling website that has been advising him. Many European countries on the list — including Austria, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland — said he would have to make his request on their soil.
EU Transport spokeswoman Helen Kearns said it is up to national governments to allow or refuse planes entry into their airspace. She said it’s unclear what happened with the Bolivian plane and whether or not it was refused access and why.
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- Bolivia to complain to UN after Evo Morales’ plane ‘kidnapped’ (guardian.co.uk)
- Russia criticises EU countries for delaying Bolivian plane (worldbulletin.net)
- Bolivian President Furious Over Forced Landing of Plane Rumored to be Carrying Snowden (hngn.com)
- The Tale of the Re-Routed Bolivian President’s Plane Is Falling Apart – Philip Bump – The Atlantic Wire (theatlanticwire.com)
- BREAKING NEWS: President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, Returns Safely To Bolivia After Kidnapping In Europe (latinamericanow.com)
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