World reaction to Snowden’s spying revelations continues

Edward SnowdenBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | |
Governments around the world continue to issue sharp official reactions to the revelations of large-scale spying by the United States, as Washington attempts to minimize the diplomatic fallout from the disclosures. The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told a session of the European Parliament on Tuesday that, if confirmed, the claims of US espionage against European Union institutions would be “very disturbing”. He was referring to allegations, aired last week by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that America spies on the communications of many of its allies, including European Union (EU) agencies, with the same intensity it spies on China and Iraq. The claims were based on documents supplied by American whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former technical expert with the Central Intelligence Agency, who is currently believed to be in Russia. Numerous EU officials have contacted the US with requests for clarification, while EU ambassadors are scheduled to hold a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, to discuss how to commonly respond to Der Spiegel’s revelations. Some of the strongest criticisms against US intelligence policies have been issued by German officials, as some business figures in the country are raising concerns about US economic espionage against German financial interests. Christian Social Union politician Hans Michelbach reminded participants in a German parliamentary session this week that the EU may be a political ally of the US, but “is indeed a strong competitor in the global economy”. He added that business circles in Berlin are concerned that US intelligence collection aimed at German businesses would give Washington “dishonest advantages”. In Italy, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, attended a special parliamentary session on Thursday, in which she assured those present that the Italian embassy in Washington was not being spied upon by US intelligence services. She noted that Italy’s “secret services have not unearthed elements of espionage in our [Washington] embassy”. The government of India, meanwhile, expressed strong concerns on Wednesday over reports that US intelligence services have especially targeted nearly 40 diplomatic missions in Washington, including that of India. Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said New Delhi would “take up the issue with US authorities”. But the strongest reactions to Snowden’s revelations have come from the government of Bolivia. On Wednesday, Bolivia’s presidential airplane was forced to land in Austria, following suspicions that it might be secretly carrying Snowden. The plane, which was taking Bolivian President Evo Morales home from a high-level conference in Moscow, was forced to land at Vienna’s Schwechat International Airport, after it was denied entry into French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese airspace. President Morales was made to wait overnight in Schwechat airport, while Austrian customs officials inspected the presidential aircraft. Speaking to journalists on Thursday, Bolivia’s Minister of Defense, Ruben Saavedra, who was escorting the President on his trip, called the forced landing “an attempt on President Evo Morales’ life” and said Bolivia “will be officially complaining about this”.

15 Responses to World reaction to Snowden’s spying revelations continues

  1. TFH says:

    Six icelandic ministers from parties in the opposition including Birgitta Jonsdottir of Wikileaks fame hafe presented a bill in the parlament seeking to grant Snowden icelandic citizenship.

  2. TFH says:

    As reported by Reuters the bill for Snowden’s citizenship was not presented to the parliament, rather the parliament decided to not put it on it’s agenda before the summer break, that means Snowden, if he decides to wait can expect an answer on his citizenship application in September or October. What I would advise Snowden is to roll the dice and take a flight to Iceland anyway. The last Minister of Interior is one of the six proposing the bill for his citizenship and I’m sure he has enough cloud to delay his (possible) extradition until then. After that though it’s all Real Politics like the German say.

  3. Pete says:

    Turns out it is Venezuela that has offered Edward somewhere temporarily safe.

    But there are no direct, regular Aeroflot fights from Moscow to Caracas-Venezuela. Moscow to Havana-Cuba is as close as Edward may get

    – whether he is sitting in an Aeroflot passenger seat or up in the cockpit with the pilots, or in the hold with the pets that get flown.

    Then again Russia’s interests in shifting Edward to Caracas might justify a Moscow or Havana flight to Caracas by:

    – an unscheduled or rescheduled Aeroflot flight .

    – a Russian flagged business jet, or

    – even by a Russian military aircraft or Russian warship.

    Unless the aircraft or Ship is protected by the Russian, or at a stretch, Chinese flag, Edward may get rerouted or landed where he doesn’t want to be.

  4. Peter Wallerberger says:

    You have accomplished your mission Mr Snowden.

    You cannot leave without travel papers or a passport neither of which you have therefore forget about rolling the dice. Far better you hand yourself in to the U.S Ambassador in Moscow – you will serve a prison term in the U.S but the rights to your story for both film and a book will see you never have to work for the rest of your life.(by far more lucrative than trying to negotiate such a deal payable in worthless Russian Rubles or even the deal in Icelandic Krona that Sarah offered you)

    I know you like music; so if youve got your ears on I would suggest right now that you relax and listen carefully to the Band called Madrugada and the song Running out of Time –

  5. Hal Hall says:

    A chartered 777-300ER (Aeroflot has some) could make the flight Petropavlovsk-Kamchatski to Managua non-stop avoiding potentially unavailable airspace all the way. Goodness knows what it would cost to charter from Moscow. I would guess perhaps 20 million Rubles.

  6. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Hal – Aeroflot would be committing commercial suicide even thinking about carrying this wanted Felon. You can be sure that whatever airline is dumb enough to carry him will suffer the ineventable consequences .By the end of the day they would start to see their international routes start to change, their landing rights to many European countries would mysteriously disappear , airport charges would soar and the likes of ground support become disrupted or non existant – that’s international business/politics whether you like it or not – who’s going to risk that ??

    I also fail to see why Edward has to travel on a chartered long range 777 when it would be cheaper to fly in a corporate jet such as the Falcon EX or a Gulfstream.

    By the end of the day Hal – Mr Snowden dosen’t have allot of options left to evaluate.

    If I “knew where he actually was located” – I would personally visit him and try and talk some sense into him with a view to his being returned to the United States (where he is still; after all, a citizen) with the minimum disruption possible and with the maximum support and safety assured.

    (I’m not so sure Snowden would be comfortable with similar approaches from the U.S Embassy in Moscow)

    That is not to say I personally agree with what he has done but rather I do have some sympathy for him insofar as the position he has got himself in at this point in time and he really needs to get out of Russia A.S.A.P.

  7. Pete says:

    Hi Hal

    Alternatively there is Russia’s long range Tu-95 “Bear” Bomber. With an un-mid-air-refuelled range of 12,500 km (7,800 mi) – give or take an inch. This behemoth could propel Edward in a seat or in a jetisonable capsule in the bomb bay – to a sunny Latin American capital of his choice.

    All expenses paid by one of the lucky media outlets that has received some of Edward’s spook clenching exclusives.

    A quiet payment into a bank account of General of the Army S. K. Shoigu, the Russian Minister of Defence, might do – at first. Image of General of the Army S. K. Shoigu the younger chap on the right.


  8. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Forget the cash bribe Hal – I figure a couple of front row tickets to an All Blacks rugby game should get me into his office !!

    It’s just that I’m not so sure I would be completely relaxed negotiating with
    such a highly decorated Russian General who has an penchant for collecting Samuri swords
    to the degree that his personal collection is now rumoured to be worth Forty million dollars !!!

    Nevertheless, coming from Siberia -the good General would a least have empathy for Edward Snowdens deprivations being endured during his lengthy incarceration at the airport Transit Lounge (?) in Moscow – intermittant heating and rationed toilet paper included.

    P.S: All jokeing aside – If Snowden wants to talk I’m ready to go – but I won’t be representing any media, law firm,bounty hunter, film maker or political entity (U.S or otherwise)nor will my visit be funded by such.

    As previously stated – Edward Snowden needs to be extracted from the untenable position he has been placed in and in doing so this ongoing international political disaster urgently needs to be contained.I’m not so sure that Edward fully trusts politicians anymore than I do therefore my intervention may well be his only truely independant option for a mediator who is relatively ‘non-aligned’. Haveing said that – my intervention would not extend to negotiating asylum with any country.

  9. Pete says:


    I hereby put down A$5 for your Where’s Eddy Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport intervention.

    Your Mission: heroically locate Eddy in the Sheremetyevo transit labyrinth, overpower his FSB minders, persuade Eddy of his gross errors, escape with Eddy to the good’ol US of A, preferably in a burrowed Firefox superfighter with the best aces of General S. K. Shoigu’s airforce in pursuit.

    May the Force be with you :)


  10. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Thanks for the support from across the ditch Pete !!

    It was to be no heroic mission, It was to be a last resort attempt to mediate in order to put a stop to this fiasco that is esculateing and damaging international relations as well as undermining the very reason that UKUSA arrangements were originally set up for. As such this distasteful affair could well spell the end of such global co- operation and that is a major threat to world security
    particulary insofar as resources are concerned in the fight against terrorisim and the like.

    Judgeing by ‘steady Eddy’s’ recent report on Australia & New Zealand – if that is his reply to a geniune offer of help then I can only conclude that he has crossed the line and is now beyond help.

    I’ve nearly run out of music for Edward to listen too – maybe he could just chill out for a second
    and listen to Kelly’s Heros theme tune – “Burning Bridges” !! – Assumeing he can detach Sarah Harrison from his ear and Anna Chapman from his neck. :(

  11. Pete says:

    No problem Peter

    Definitely a distasteful affair but I think UKUSA will keep functioning – ultimately in the public interest. Certainly renaming the programs will be necessary.



  12. darlene says:

    Good for him i can not wait for more to come out , ty edward , We the people are starting to see the goverments for what they are puppets to their global masters and you can bet they are scared , lol the people are waking up good luck putting the gennie back in the bottle . Pete do you really think after all that has come out the goverments of this world are working in the public interests ? I for one do not think so anymore , we have mass spraying of the world ( geo-engineering ) we have our courts rolling over to companies like MONASANTO , we have wars and companies making trillions off the deaths of women and children , we have companies poisoning our land while they steal and pay the goverments to look the other way , we have banks caught laundering drug money , we have the CIA importing drugs into the USA , we have terrorists trained and funded and armed by the CIA and the USA military , just who do you think is the enemy ? I think this world is screwed up and much of it falls on the heads of the corporations and their puppet goverments . Have a nice day . lol

  13. Peter Wallerberger says:

    Don’t panic Darlene, “By the light of the night, it’ll all seem alright !! ” :)

    Edward has but two options – he can ‘step to the Left as in Wikileaks ‘ & in doing so forever suffer the consequences or he can ‘step to the RIght’ where Tanya Lokshina is waiting to help
    him , he would do well to talk to Mrs Lokshina in person if he wants to find a way out
    of his predicament.

    The Third option ; staying put in Moscow is unthinkable – that really would be a permanent Time Warp.

    (Hope that’s all not to Cryptic for U – K1W1 girls to understand?)

  14. Pete says:

    Hi Darlene

    Re “Pete do you really think after all that has come out the governments of this world are working in the public interests ?”

    No, I don’t think many or any governments – which are led by officials and politicians with vested, personal and venal interests – are. Which is one reason I’m not in the government but am under “full-take” surveillance. For “full-take” see

    The longer Edward is wedged between the US and now Russia’s wants and threats – the more I feel sorry for him.

    Its very much in Putin’s nature to make a deal with Obama – which is to keep Edward quiet.

    Will the Guardian and the 1,000s of other media outlets continue to print even if this puts Edward’s status and existence in Russia at risk?

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