Friday, June 28, 2013

Edward Snowden might find himself stranded as Ecuador cools to the idea of allowing him into the country. Update!

Courtesy of The Guardian:  

President Rafael Correa halted an effort to help Snowden leave Russia amid concern Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence published on Friday. 

Amid signs Quito was cooling with Snowden and irritated with Assange, Correa declared invalid a temporary travel document which could have helped extract Snowden from his reported location in Moscow. 

Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador's London consul – in collaboration with Assange – was unauthorised, after other Ecuadorean diplomats privately said the WikiLeaks founder could be perceived as "running the show". 

According to the correspondence, which was obtained by the Spanish-language broadcaster Univision and shared with the Wall Street Journal, divisions over Assange have roiled Ecuador's government.

Currently it is reported that Snowden is currently stuck in the transit center in Russia, with no viable visa, and not a lot of opportunities open to him.

And while this is happening Greenwald is writing new articles based on the information provided to him by Snowden, and attacking the Obama administration for continuing the Bush era NSA program, though they may have missed a more importna point.

This from The Daily Banter:  

Greenwald’s new ‘bombshell’ article about the NSA essentially details how the NSA collected email metadata beginning shortly after 9/11. 

The screamer headline: “NSA collected US email records in bulk for more than two years under Obama.” 

We already knew about this program. Most recently, Eichenwald has been writing about it for the last week or so. 

But here’s the most revealing part of Greenwald’s article: the program was stopped by the Obama administration in 2011. As Charles Johnson tweeted yesterday, the article’s headline could actually be “Obama discontinued NSA email program started under Bush.” 

Furthermore, Greenwald wrote: “It did not include the content of emails.” The NSA only collected metadata, authorized by bulk FISA court warrants. The program, like everything else, sought overseas communications, and those communications might have inadvertently included some data from US persons connected with the overseas emails. And, again, reminder: any data from US persons that’s inadvertently collected is anonymized, encrypted and destroyed. It’s only decrypted with an individual warrant.

I have said before that I think it is good thing that we know that these programs were continued under President Obama, but it is also important to know that the President ultimately ended the program.

Even more troubling in my mind right now is that Edward Snowden is sitting in an airport with no visa, and fewer and fewer prospects, along with four laptops filled with American secrets.

One has to wonder how long it will be before he starts shopping this information around in exchange for sanctuary and protection? Or if indeed that has already happened?

Update: But then again is Edward Snowden actually even IN Russia?

This from Business Insider:

Many reporters, with purchased plane tickets that have given them access to the area, have spent sleepless nights patrolling the long halls of the transit zone, looking for witnesses among the janitors, cashiers and flight attendants. 

There have also been security personnel on patrol in plain clothes, some of them clearly monitoring the journalists... 

Journalists have spent days searching for Mr. Snowden in lounges and V.I.P. halls and behind locked doors throughout the transit zone, and at 3 a.m. one of them could be seen sitting dejectedly in a glassed-in smoking area. 

So where, exactly, is Snowden? 

I find it impossible to believe that the Russians don't know EXACTLY where Snowden is right now. Now whether of not they are willing to share that information is another thing altogether.


  1. Anonymous2:47 PM

    NO WAY OUT: Snowden's Escape Options Are Dwindling

    Assuming National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is still actually in the "transit zone" of the Moscow airport, as the Russian government says he is, his options for escaping appear to be dwindling.

    Now that his U.S. passport has been revoked, Snowden needs temporary travel papers to go anywhere, assuming he can find a place to go.

    And even if he can get temporary travel papers, Jose de Cordoba and Jack Nicas of the Wall Street Journal report, Snowden's options may be limited.

    Yesterday, there were reports that Snowden had been given a "refugee document of passage" by Ecuador. Ecuador has since denied this, however, and says that it won't consider Snowden's request for asylum unless Snowden physically applies for it on Ecuadorean soil (the country or an embassy).

    There are also no direct flights from the Moscow airport to Ecuador. That means that, to get to Ecuador, Snowden will have to fly through a country that won't seize and extradite him when he lands. There are few countries that Snowden can fly through from Moscow to Quito without getting seized and extradited, however.

    Cuba, the country that Snowden might have wanted to go through, has an extradition treaty with the U.S. Although Cuba has ignored this treaty in the past, the WSJ team thinks Cuba will be more careful about thumbing its nose at the U.S. this time.

    There's a freight flight from Moscow to Senegal and then to Ecuador, but it's operated by Lufthansa. And Lufthansa has said it doesn't carry passengers on its freight flights.

    Snowden and his Wikileaks helpers might be able to rent a private jet to fly Snowden directly to Ecuador, but there are actually few private jets that can fly that far without refueling. The Gulfstream 650 and 550 can do it, and one smaller plane can do it with a light load and favorable winds, but all those planes are expensive. A private aviation expert told the WSJ that a one-way flight from Moscow to Quito would cost $212,000, all in.

    Snowden could defect directly to Ecuador in Ecuador's embassy in Moscow, but to do that, he would have to get to the embassy. Ecuador diplomats could pick him up at the airport in a car with diplomatic plates, but the WSJ says the car's diplomatic status could be revoked instantly if Russia wanted to intervene.

    Snowden could stay in Russia if Russia decided to grant him asylum. But given Vladimir Putin's public statements on Snowden so far, it seems that Russia would prefer to get whatever they can out of Snowden and then send him on his way.

    So that leaves the Moscow airport transit lounge.

    Journalists have been searching for Snowden in the transit zone, but they haven't seen hide nor hair of him. This suggests that he is either well hidden or has already been moved to another location (or never arrived there at all).

    Given Snowden's apparently simple escape from Hong Kong, it's certainly possible that Russia will just announce that they no longer have him and have no idea where he is--and it's also certainly possible that he's already gone.

    But if he's in the Moscow airport transit lounge, it may be harder than everyone thinks for him to get to his new happy home in Ecuador or some other country that wants to stick a finger in the eye of the United States.

    Read more:

  2. Anonymous2:52 PM

    Snowden's Flight Path Strewn With Obstacles

    ...An analysis of the commercial air routes available for a U.S. fugitive seeking to travel from Moscow showed that all necessary layover stops on the 7,000-mile route to Ecuador would be in countries that have extradition treaties with the U.S.—including Cuba, which has been working recently to improve U.S. ties and has so far received two flights from Moscow since Sunday without Mr. Snowden aboard.

    "I think the fact that for three days in a row, Snowden hasn't gotten on the plane to Cuba begins to tell us something about how welcome he is in Havana," said Phil Peters, an analyst at the Cuba Research Center in Washington.

    In Washington, Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said granting asylum to Mr. Snowden would imperil access to the U.S. market for Ecuadorean goods under a trade-preference regimen that must be renewed by Congress next month.

    1. Anonymous3:50 PM

      Sorry, here's the link I forgot.

  3. Sally in MI2:54 PM

    I love to point out to my GOP relatives that under this adminsitration, we KNOW things. Things that were secret and/or denied by the Bush/Chensey cabal. We KNOW about Benghazi, we know that the IRS is doing its job, we know that spying continued until Obama stopped it. What did we know until 2009? Oh, we guessed about torture, we listened to the right insist that waterboarded was really no big deal, and besides, they got LOTS of credible (mis)information from it, and that the atrocities at Abu Graib were just some rogue soldiers whose officers were clueless about the torture. Right. Oh, and "he kept us safe." That's it.

    1. Anonymous4:26 PM

      Remember, there were NO terrorist attacks under Bush! He kept us SAFE!!!

      Oh, wait...never mind.

  4. Anonymous2:55 PM

    Kremlin's Bet on Snowden Appears to Sour

    'Why Did He Have to Fly Here,' Kremlin's Rights Ombudsman Asks

    MOSCOW—When American Edward Snowden touched down here from Hong Kong, Russia appeared to be handed an easy opportunity to taunt the U.S. without causing a massive diplomatic rupture. Instead, Moscow may have a bigger problem on its hands.

    "Why did he have to fly here?" Vladimir Lukin, the Kremlin's human-rights envoy, told the Interfax news agency Friday. "In effect, China's problem became our problem. Someone has created a situation that means we are the ones who have to deal with this….Here I see a serious problem."

    Mr. Lukin's comments came amid an increasingly pitched discussion in Russia over what to do with Mr. Snowden, the admitted National Security Agency leaker whose high-stakes Moscow layover entered a sixth day Friday with no end in sight.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin denied a U.S. request to expel the 30-year-old fugitive from Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport this past week, calling him a free man and saying the sooner he chose a final destination, "the better it will be for us and him."

    The comments made clear the Kremlin's approach: Russia wouldn't stop Mr. Snowden from escaping U.S. authorities but didn't want him to stay. The U.S., however, curtailed Mr. Snowden's options after he left Hong Kong, revoking his passport and pressuring intermediary countries on his path to Ecuador, which is considering his application for political asylum.

    Both Mr. Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have emphasized that Mr. Snowden technically hasn't crossed the Russian border because he remains in the airport's transit zone. Otherwise, Russia would need to issue him a visa, raising the level of its cooperation in the affair.

    Ecuador's foreign minister confirmed Friday that his government has held discussions with Russia about how Mr. Snowden could leave the airport. "There are some conversations that we've had in the last few days" with Russia about how Mr. Snowden could leave the country, said Ricardo Patiño, declining to give further details about Mr. Snowden's situation.

    ...It isn't clear whether Mr. Snowden would want to request asylum from Russia. A spokesman for WikiLeaks, which has said it is assisting Mr. Snowden in his asylum bid, said this past week that Mr. Snowden is focused on Ecuador.

    Any request for asylum here "will be a big problem for Russia," said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs, a foreign-relations journal. "To not give it to him, in this situation, would be indecent, and to give it to him would once again create a constant problem in relations with the U.S."

  5. Anonymous3:01 PM

    Journalists Scoured The Airport Transit Area And Found No Sign Of Snowden

    Read more:

  6. Anonymous3:07 PM

    I do feel for the guy.

    it's not four LAPTOPS - that's the media screwing up again. He is traveling with 4 hard drives. Copies have been given out, so if anything happens to him, the info will be released.

    1. Anonymous3:46 PM

      You actually feel sorry for this idiot! I don't. When he decided to commit treason he should have recognized that he would have to pay the price for it. In addition to having done a lot of damage, Snowden isn't really all that smart - to end up in the Moscow airport or anywhere in Russia at this point. The Russians would never trust him. Not for a minute.

    2. Anonymous7:50 PM

      The bigger picture, international, is the reaction of most of our congress and our administration.
      Investigations towards our going into Iraq: Not so much;
      investigation into machinations of our big banks: Failure.

      Going after Snowy: Yes, Yeaha.

    3. DetroitSam9:35 PM

      Anonymous @3:07 pm: There is nothing on these hard drives that we don't already know.

      I suggest that you spend a few minutes using "The Google" to find out what is going on. Make use of the numerous sources of information ad stop watching Fox and reading dribble by Sarah Palin's ghost writer.

  7. Anonymous3:32 PM

    So where, exactly, is Snowden?

    I had a dream he went back to Hong Kong after Russia got what they wanted.

    He may be in Siberia, I betcha Sarah can see him from her porch. That is why she mysteriously float planes with Todd about the wilderness.

    1. Anonymous5:12 PM

      Best comment of the day! Thanks for the laugh.

    2. Anita Winecooler9:37 PM

      Great Comment, but I seriously doubt Sarah's mastered "Where's Waldo?". This may not be in her skillset anymore.

  8. Anonymous3:42 PM

    I heard a Republican security/terrorist expert (forgot name) say that the Russian or Chinese do not need Snowjob's permission or for him to give access to laptops. She said they already have it all. If they want him for something, that is another matter.

    1. Anonymous8:09 PM

      Yes, the governments of China and Russia have spied at US. The US is spying on them. Nothing personal. It's the old black spy vs. white spy story.
      Snowy has embarrassed the overside committee: The US Congress.
      For that he will be shot.

  9. Anonymous3:49 PM

    Snowden's head doesn't have much in the way of secrets. It's the hard drives that may (or may not) contain useful information. Once Snowden or his allies release the info then neither Snowden or the drives have value.

    Snowden has to retain control of the hard drives AND his allies or he becomes pretty much worthless trash. Even an idiot like Snowden has figured out that releasing the info dooms him to oblivion and NOT releasing the info dooms him to oblivion.

    Lifetime in the Moscow transit zone only lasts until everyone gets bored with supplying him with food.

  10. Anonymous3:54 PM

    I hope he rots in hell for the rest of his life for this treasonous act. What the fuck was he thinking that he could play with the big guys and control the narrative. He's wet behind the ears, ignorant of world affairs and has severely jeopardized this country's security. I'd put him in front of a firing squad in a heartbeat. He is scum.

    1. Anonymous6:06 PM


    2. Anonymous8:29 PM

      What the fuck...
      This is not a Palyn story. It is much more involved. Snowy did't hurt you and me , like the machinations of our big banks, or our going into Iraq on mere pretensions. In both cases our Congress did a less than stellar job investigating.
      Snowy embarrassed Congress in it's role overseeing our spies.

    3. Anonymous6:03 AM

      Since he won't tell us what was on those hard drives, we have no idea if he has hurt us.

    4. Anonymous11:02 AM

      Yes your'e right.
      We don't know what damage Snowy did to the 97% of us.
      Bank failures and Iraq failures, that damage can be known, and Congress was amiss in their overside function.

  11. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Inside sources have said that Hong Kong already downloaded the contents of the four laptops before he left Hong Kong. Maybe all those people who rushed to call him a hero and were criticising Obama will now recant their previous rush to judgement.

    1. Anonymous5:28 PM

      Exactly. Nor do the Russians need him to get data.

  12. Anonymous4:39 PM

    "Even more troubling in my mind right now is that Edward Snowden is sitting in an airport with no Visa, and fewer and fewer prospects, along with four laptops filled with American secrets."

    There are no more secrets. The Chinese and the Russians already have the info on those laptops and/or hard drives. Snowden had to sleep sometime!

  13. Anonymous5:29 PM

    I hope this American hero, who exposed Obama's surveillance state, will find a country that will give him political asylum

    1. Anonymous6:05 PM

      American hero my ass. He's a punk, and he didn't expose anything new, it's been around for long before President Obama was on the scene. It's been sanctioned by Congress and is completely within the law. If you don't like the law, talk to your lawmakers, asshole.

      He's a worthless little shit, Snowjob and no one wants to touch him since he's such a loser. He will pay a huge price for his narcissism and need for attention.

    2. Anonymous6:24 PM

      So repetitive, so boring.

    3. DetroitSam9:38 PM

      Anonymous @6:05 pm: I see you still haven taken my suggestion given in your persona as Anonymous @3:07 pm.

    4. Anita Winecooler9:41 PM

      A gal in Alaska has a couple of cabins out in the sticks, if she's truly a patriot, she'd let him stay there, while she keeps an eye on Putin, of course!

  14. Anonymous7:51 PM

    Did anyone else notice that the "Newsoom" episode about a "whistleblower" from the NSA, who told Charlie Skinner (Sam Waterston) about the Bin Laden incident, hours beforehand, went on to divulge just how invasive the NSA has been in terms of spying on Americans--was aired about a year and a half ago?

    No one seemed to even REMARK on that if we all already knew all that.

    So, why is everyone NOW running around the chickencoop, flapping their wings and squawking, as if it is suddenly a new disaster?

    Have we become a nation of drama queens, always pretending to be outraged at every little thing that makes the news?

    1. Anonymous4:00 AM

      A lot of us have known about the data mining in very general terms since the discussion of the Patriot Act. What the "Newsroom" episode was about was the Rupert Murdoch and co. "wiretapping" of actual conversations. A difference of degree.

  15. In the meantime Snowden's Dad is trying to negotiate conditions for his return.

    Since when do criminals think they can call the shots?

    Snowden can try Iceland but I question if they want him either.

    Let him live out the rest of his life in the Russian airport lounge. I hear it's not very pleasant.

    1. Anonymous3:58 AM

      I think that is so weird. Snowden is showing himself to be a total coward.

  16. Glenn Greenwald on Friday evening, skyping in to Chciago, addressing what he thinks Edward Snowden represents. Introduced by Jeremy Scahill:

  17. DetroitSam9:40 PM

    AS I have said many times, all you need to know about Edward Snowden is that he is associated with Glen Greenwald.

    1. And your point is...?

  18. Anita Winecooler9:53 PM

    Have you seen this?

    Glenn Greenwald speaks out "Courage is Contagious"

  19. hauksdottir10:44 PM

    Do any of you people quoting the WSJ and NYT believe that you are reading the truth? They only print what Rupert Murdoch wants them to print!

    They've always been war-mongering rags (Judy! Judy! Judy!) because wars enrich the tippy-top of the 1% and they will use any and all means necessary, including lying, to discredit someone who might expose the machinery of war.

    BTW, until Dick Cheney is tried and shot as a traitor for revealing the name of an undercover CIA operative in time of war, exposing her operation and risking the lives of everybody there, the US has no moral grounds for going after any whistle-blower with deadly intent. If Snowden meets with an "accident", it will be very bad indeed.

    1. Anonymous5:59 AM

      Since when does Murdoch own the New York Times?

  20. Anonymous5:24 AM

    I think Snowdon realizes that he made a mistake, not in revealing that the government is doing surveillance on us, but how he went about giving us that information. It was not a good move to download that information and take it to Hong Kong and become a fugitive. If he had taken a different path, finding a trusted reporter or staying anonymous, he could have relayed the info and not been in his current limbo. Of course it's pretty clear that Snowdon desperately did not want to be anonymous or just another whistleblower. He doesn't just want to be an anonymous or humble whistleblower. He wants to be an international star. This is the reality tv generation whistleblower.

    And what's happened is that he's likely given (or been forced to give) classified info to nations that are not entirely "friendly" to the US. And now he's stuck. I predict he won't be extradited and he won't make it to a country that will give him asylum. In a few days we will see him negotiating to come back to the US (his dad has apparently already started this).

    The bad thing is that he would have been a hero of sorts if he had exposed the degree of surveillance our government is doing through a reporter. But when he made the dramatic choice to become a fugitive and ran to Hong Kong with classified information, he became something else.

    And even as a progressive who appreciates him as a whistleblower, I am uncomfortable with the rest of his actions including what I see as him wanting to be star. I don't see him as a traitor, but others do (because of how he has chosen to act). And he's going to have to pay the legal price of what technically look to be revealing state secrets to other countries.

    I see him as someone who overestimated and over dramatized his story and importance. Having come of age in a reality tv culture, it's not too surprising. It's like The Real World: Espionage.


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