From my point of view we are dealing with the air that is getting slightly thick and foggy at the moment. The Edward Snowden issues are escalating and not in a good way.
This view became apparent as a flight carrying the Bolivian president was forced to land at the Vienna airport. This situation becomes even more ridiculous as “Bolivian officials claimed France, Italy, Spain and Portugal had refused to let the plane cross their airspace over ‘unfounded suspicions’ Snowden was on the jet.” Source: http://news.sky.com/story/1110864/snowden-not-on-bolivian-presidents-plane.
These nations not only knowingly hindered a presidential flight. The fact that this was all about ‘a rumour’ seems to be a clear case that the intelligence community is BLUNDERING on several national levels (including those of the commonwealth). So, basically as we read this we can conclude that as the flight time from Moscow to Vienna is a little over two hours, that including take off and all, for 3 hours no one had a clue where Snowden was. Do they know where he currently is, or are they only suspecting it? Why is all this getting bungled to the extent it currently is?
I would also like to add that it was a presidential flight; it was carrying the Bolivian president Evo Morales. The fact that this had been done, how long until US Air Force One will, on suspicions be forced down in the same way (just to check)? This is a step that should never have been allowed, whether Snowden was or was not on board.
The simple truth is that this plane had no way to make the flight in one go, so it would need to refuel in more than one place. If those countries had an extradition treaty, he could have been detained at that point, as this was a diplomatic flight, this level of breach of protocol will have far fetching consequences.
If this was about getting Snowden and if I had the call, I would have ‘accidently’ (really accidently mind you!) soured the ‘milk’ at the refuel post and offered a replacement plane (with the most humble of apologies of course). The fact that they would have to relocate to another plane gives an option that Snowden left the plane and then he could be arrested as diplomatic immunity could not have extended to him. Was that so hard a scenario to concoct?
Personally I am all for getting Snowden to the US within the boundaries of the law. This act was not one and there is every chance that heads will roll on several airports in response. The acts transgressed are clearly against the diplomatic convention.
That danger can be found in the ‘Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961’, Article 22, s3. The premises of the mission, their furnishings and other property there on and the means of transport of the mission shall be immune from search, requisition, attachment or execution.
So in my mind I am wondering which brainless individual was responsible for that little caper. And I am actually pointing my finger at the US State Department at this point. France, Spain, Italy and Portugal made the error of barring a diplomatic flight from crossing their airspace and all at the same time? No, I do not think so. They were called, but called by whom?
In my mind, the Snowden principle is not just out of control, it is now leading us to questions we never expected to ask. The US intelligence budget has been in excess of 240 billion over the last 3 years. We have had 2 severe intrusions of data intelligence, the appearance that the NSA has a flawed HR system and now we have someone overruling diplomatic rules creating international scandals. It is likely that the last issue was driven by the US State department, yet, they should be aware of protocol, which takes us back to the intelligence community. Oh and lastly, for several hours the whereabouts of Snowden remained unknown, whilst that person was known to be in a specific building in the hours leading up to this.
Personally it seems to me that those on the hunt of the Wicked Warlock Snowden are just not thinking straight.