Bolivian president victimized in Snowden witch hunt

This 3 July 2013 Euronews TV video says about itself:

Bolivia is in a state of outrage after the plane carrying President Evo Morales was diverted to Vienna amid suspicions that US surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board.

The presidential plane was carrying the Bolivian entourage home …

France and Portugal are reported to have refused access for the plane to cross their airspace.

The Bolivian Defence Minister Ruben Saavreda, also on board the flight, launched a scathing attack on the United States and European authorities:

“We categorically reject this story, we denounce the lies, the plot by the US government, with the aim of harming the image of the Bolivian government and harming the image and leadership of president Evo Morales.”

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro … criticised the action.

Austrian authorities say Snowden was not on the aircraft.

Thanks to whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know that United States spying organisations not only spied on millions of United States and other citizens, but on allied governments, including in Europe, as well.

These spied upon governments include France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, as far as I know.

However, it seems that people high up the bureaucratic pecking order in France, Portugal, etc. seem to think that participating in witch hunting Snowden, basing themselves on untrue rumours about Snowden‘s whereabouts instead of on facts, is more important than doing something against the massive spying on their countries.

From AFP news agency:

Bolivian leader’s plane diverted over ‘Snowden‘ suspicions

by Dmitry Zaks, Agence France-Presse

Posted on 07/03/2013 8:44 AM | Updated 07/03/2013 10:39 AM

MOSCOW, Russia (UPDATE) – US fugitive Edward Snowden’s struggle to find a safe haven sparked a diplomatic row Tuesday, July 2, after Bolivia President Evo Morales‘ plane was diverted to Austria over suspicions he might be on board.

The incident happened hours after Morales had said his country would consider a request for political asylum if Snowden submitted one.

Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca accused France, Italy and Portugal of having denied airspace to the plane, forcing it to reroute.

“The president was forced to land in Vienna,” he told reporters in La Paz. Morales’s life had been endangered by what he described as a forced emergency landing, he added.

“There were unfounded rumors that Mr Snowden may have been on board the aircraft,” Choquehuanca said.

“We have no idea who made up this huge lie.”

Austrian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Schallenberg confirmed to AFP that Morales’ plane had landed at Vienna and that Snowden was not on board.

“President Morales will leave early Wednesday morning [July 3] for La Paz,” the Bolivian capital, he added. Austria did not know why the plane had landed at Vienna, he said. …

Hope from Latin America

As Snowden’s options narrowed however, there was some comfort from Morales’ response.

And another leftist Latin American leader, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, also offered him a degree of hope.

Maduro, who like Morales was in Moscow for a two-day energy summit, praised Snowden’s actions in leaking information on US spying activities.

“What is happening now should not be — he never killed anyone or planted any bombs,” he added.

But Maduro refused to entertain Russian media speculation that he might take Snowden on a plane with him from Moscow.

From Associated Press:

In a midnight press conference, Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia said that not only France and Portugal, but also Italy and Spain were denying the plane permission to fly through their airspace.

He described Morales as being “kidnapped by imperialism” in Europe.

“The ambassador for Spain in Austria has just informed us that there is no authorization to fly over Spanish territory and that at 9 a.m. Wednesday they would be in contact with us again,” said Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra, adding that the Spanish government had put as a condition for passage the “revision of the presidential plane.” …

While Bolivia’s foreign minister had earlier said officials did not know who was behind the “lie” that Snowden was on Morales’ plane, the country’s defense minister later expressed no doubt.

“We want to declare very firmly that it was an American story that Edward Snowden was on this flight,” said Saavedra at the VIP terminal of Vienna’s airport. “This is a plot by the U.S. government to destroy president Morales’ image. We say this simply is a lie. And we will confirm this.” …

In Venezuela, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said that changing the flight’s route without checking on how much fuel it had endangered Morales’ life.

“All the countries that have denied permission for the flight of our brother president, Evo Morales, must be held responsible for his life and his dignity as president.”

Another possible landing spot for Snowden is Ecuador, where Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange has been seeking asylum.

“We are willing to analyze Mr. Snowden’s request for asylum and this position has not changed,” said Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on Tuesday. “What we have said is that we will be able to analyze the request when Mr. Snowden is in Ecuadorean territory or in an Ecuadorean mission.”

Patino added that two weeks ago a hidden microphone was found in Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange is holed up. “We want to find out with precision what the origin of the apparatus is.” …

On Monday, WikiLeaks posted a statement attributed to Snowden on its website, in which he slams Obama for “using citizenship as a weapon.”

“Although I am convicted of nothing, (the United States) has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person,” Snowden says in the statement. “Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

“Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.”

See also here.

And here.

Planet without a visa! – Putin turns his back on brave whistleblower Snowden: here. And here.

US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper apologised on Tuesday for telling Congress earlier this year that the National Security Agency did not collect data on millions of US citizens: here.

On Tuesday, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein apologizing for statements that he had made in March before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Clapper sought to justify lies he made at the time regarding National Security Agency spying programs by claiming he had made a “mistake”: here.

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