So who, exactly, re-routed Evo Morales's plane?
updated below, 8:28pm
Imagine if the Chinese put the screws on a couple of China-friendly African countries to refuse airspace for Obama's Air Force One because they suspected Liu Xiao Bao or some other dissident was aboard. And that the US President was forced to make an emergency landing for fuel as a result. And when he landed the local authorities forced a search of Air Force One. Major headlines, right? 24 hour carpet coverage. We'd probably have half the Pacific Fleet headed to the South China Sea.
Well, that scenario is more or less what's just happened to Bolivian president Evo Morales as he tried to fly across Europe on the way home from Moscow.
Longtime Correntians will notice that all the media coverage so far--mostly from Euro sources, as the US media has relegated it to second or third tier news-- lapses into that oh-so-convenient lack of agency passive voice. For instance, from the France 24 coverage linked above:
Bolivian President Evo Morales took off from Vienna on Tuesday after being diverted [By whom?] and held up [names, please!] for more than 14 hours amid suspicions that US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board his jet.
China Daily even comes up with an interesting new locution to describe what amounts to a diplomatic airjacking: "Deroutage"! The Guardian is a little better on the cause and effect:
France and Portugal prevented the plane's passage from Russia to Bolivia on Tuesday, suspecting that whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board. Bolivian vice-president Alvaro Garcia Linera says the plane was 'kidnapped by imperialism'
What I'd like to see (I'm not holding my breath) is a reported account, step by step, of what actually happened. Why did France, Portugal (and possibly) Spain refuse, seemingly at the last minute, to let Morales' Bolivian Air Force One enter their airspace? Who made the decisions, and under whose orders? And why did anyone think that Snowden was on a plane that left from a different Moscow airport on the opposite side of the city from the one he's marooned in?
I'm not expecting we'll get much truth out of anyone, but I'd at least like to see the French, Portuguese, Spanish, Austrian--and of course the US officials responsible for this outrageous action forced to account for it.
The question I'd really like to get the answer to is this: What's this 30 year old hacker got in his hard drives that is worth risking an international kerfluffle? Or is this simply the last nail in the coffin of our arrogance: that the USA has reached the point where we don't even think twice about doing whatever we want, wherever it suits us. Remember those long ago days of cover ups and covert actions? So much extra work and bother. Thank goodness those days are over. Send in the drones.
Happy fourth of July.
From the NYT, more fuzzy agency (in italics. With all those reporters expensively posted in all those cities, why isn't anyone addressing the question of who triggered the detention of President Morales, and for what purpose?:
Mr. Snowden has been holed up at Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow for more than a week, hoping to receive a positive response to the asylum requests he has made to several countries, and Mr. Morales’s remark may have set off suspicion [whose suspicion? The US? If not the US, why would any other nation be concerned about this?] that he was bringing the fugitive aboard.
After taking off from Moscow, Mr. Morales’s plane asked permission to land in France to refuel, according to Carlos Romero, the minister of government in La Paz. But France refused and denied the plane permission to enter French airspace, Bolivian officials said. Portugal had also previously refused to let the plane land for refueling in Lisbon.
Mr. Morales was finally given permission [again, by whom?] to land in Vienna, where he spent the night. Mr. Morales told reporters in Vienna that he had not met Mr. Snowden in Moscow and that he had previously known little about the case.