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Update: This diary has been rendered obsolete by events, as Snowden has sought refuge in Ecuador.


Okay, so everyone who's followed the case so far knows the basics. Edward Snowden is the admitted source of major NSA whistleblowing leaks. He confirmed his identity, and also admitted that he would like to try to seek asylum in Iceland. Today, not long after he was indicted by the US, he took a commercial plane from Hong Kong to Moscow.

Now here's what possibly comes next. I say "possible" because I have no personal knowledge as to what Snowden is thinking, nor to what actions the US or Russia will take when his flight lands. But there are no direct flights from Hong Kong to Iceland and it's too far for a private plane to travel. There are direct commercial flights from Moscow, it's almost directly along a Great Circle route to Iceland, and it gives tons of possible intermediary stopovers, plus is close enough for some private planes. I don't think it's all that unreasonable to suspect that he might be attempting to make his way to Iceland to fight out the battle here.

And that's where we all come in. Because I work at the Reykjavík airport.

I'll admit, I have mixed feelings about Snowden, as I've written elsewhere. On one hand, he seems to be a self-aggrandizer, questions regarding the veracity of some of what he's reported have been raised, his alliance with Greenwald and potentially Assange doesn't win him brownie points in my book, and so forth. On the other hand, just the mere fact that the leaks occurred has elevated a debate on spying (not just in the US, but around the world) that had been sitting idle for far too long, and has encouraged others to talk about the various information collection programs as well. And to that, I'm thankful for him, all else aside.

And on a more basic note, it's scary moving to a new country where you don't know many people or speak the language well. It has to be an order of magnitude worse if you could be deported at any time to face serious criminal charges in the country you were trying to leave. While I expect Snowden to quickly develop a large base of support here due to what he's done (I can offhand name dozens of people here who I know would queue up just to shake his hand), I'd still like to help him feel welcome and settle in to whatever degree I can, regardless of how this whole situation plays out.

So here's what may be about to happen -and if it does seem that way and if there's any way for me to keep abreast of it, I'll attempt to liveblog it for you. I work in a small building beside the Reykjavík airport. If he comes by private plane, I may actually see it land (my window isn't perfectly aligned and there's some buildings in the way of the runway, but I could probably swing something to make sure I know when it gets here - if I knew what to look for). If he were to come by commercial jet, he would arrive at Keflavík, about 40 minutes away (I'd be willing to try to take time off work to head down there).

Want to take part? Here's what you can do:

1) Help me follow the story. Is he actually going to Iceland, or just Russia? When is he arriving in Russia? If he leaves to Iceland, when? On what kind of plane? What's the scheduled arrival time? Would it be possible to look up the aircraft ID or flight ID of the plane to help track it? Etc. If any news article covers this or anyone knows how to get such information, it would help stay on top of things.

2) Offer whatever you want. If he arrives and you want me to do something, let me know what. If you've got a message, for example, I could print it out or say it if I got a chance.  If you had any questions, I could ask if there's an opportunity.  If I should hold up a sign, let me know what. If there's something you'd like to buy him, if it's small enough I could buy it on my own, otherwise you could contact me and send me money to purchase it, or you could purchase it remotely and I could pick it up.

Keep me informed and I'll help keep you all informed!

Update 1, 11:15 BST: Snowden is aboard Aeroflot flight SU213, due to arrive in Moscow in 3 hours (2:15 PM BST).  Wikileaks states that they are helping him to get asylum in "a democratic country and that he it traveling with a Wikileaks legal advisor.  Russia says he has a connecting ticket to Havana, but it is unknown whether this is a diversion, and I suspect we won't know for 4-5 hours.

Moscow to Iceland is an 4 1/4 hour flight.  Moscow to Cuba is a 13 1/2 hour flight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you get close enough, an handshake (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WheninRome, Lisa Lockwood

    And my thanks.

    A slower bleed out is not a sustainable value.

    by MrJayTee on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:47:47 AM PDT

  •  Maybe not (0+ / 0-)

    Or the following info could be just a distraction.

    Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow: live updates |

    Interfax, the Russian news agency, is saying Snowden is set to fly on to Cuba. It's citing Aeroflot sources as saying there is a ticket in the American's name for a Moscow to Cuba flight, Reuters reports.

    Read the European view at the European Tribune

    by fran1 on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:51:17 AM PDT

  •  Heh (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, Pinto Pony, Zwoof, Diana in NoVa

    We're leaving Iceland out of Keflavik in the morning tomorrow, so could find ourselves amongst it by sheer chance. From personal experience, I know that incoming customs are pretty relaxed; at least they were 2 weeks ago when we arrived.

    We visited with a woman from the Embassy at the wedding the other night. She worked really hard to get the paperwork approved, in a Catch 22 kind of situation, so she was invited to come. This'll be a different level of tension within the Embassy if he comes here; in what is generally a more laid back environment.

    I guess Iceland and Ecuador and Cuba are the main countries being floated as destinations, both with Wikileaks connections. Supposedly there's a ticket to Cuba, but I could imagine that being a decoy.

    Some years ago, I happened to arrive at Albuquerque just as the "Runaway Bride" was departing. What a zoo! There was press all over the concourse where normally only confirmed passengers are allowed.

    BTW: Great meeting you the other day, and seeing a little of the city through your eyes.

    Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:54:25 AM PDT

  •  I have to say (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, Sue B, Pinto Pony

    this is kinda cool, your offer.

    I feel similarly nuanced about Snowden. Glad to see it elsewhere. A bit reticent but withholding judgement, recongnizing his self-agrandizing streak, but glad the light has been shown on the issues he's revealed. Thank you!
    Its bugged me to have my concerns about Snowden shut up as "just distracting from the main issue". It's a separate issue, to me.

    I know Iceland is a small country so you may very well meet him. Hope its interesting to you.

    It feels like he's done some things actually Against our country's interests. I don't know what I'd say to him if I had a chance.

    It's morning where you are I think. Have a good day.

    •  it's kind of you to offer to do things for people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as well. It would be cool to have a sign at least marking his arrival but I am so conflicted I'm not the one to know what to say. I don't think he was ill intended.

    •  We've been told (0+ / 0-)

      ... that the newly-elected more conservative government announced (a week or so ago) that they would not give Snowden asylum. Given that, it seems unlikely that he would come here to Iceland. (I'm in Reykjavik at the moment, friends who are local told us about that announcement.)

      Mark Twain: It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.

      by Land of Enchantment on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:07:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rei--you always manage to write some of the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, OleHippieChick, Pinto Pony

    more interesting diaries on here...

    Cool offer.  I also like your nuanced take on Snowden--I don't know what to make of the guy either.  People are too quick to hero-worship or pillory around here...

  •  "All your data are belong to us" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leo Flinnwood, psychodrew, Zwoof

    Hold up a sign saying this, have Snowden sign it, sell it on ebay.

    You might as well turn a profit on this!

  •  Be a Witness (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Lisa Lockwood

    Are you an Icelander?

    I would appreciate it, if he does go to Iceland, if you could ask around to fellow Icelanders to see what people are feeling about his presence in your country. Also, it would be great to get translation of articles on him from the Icelandic press.

    I've been trying to follow the story of recent mass demonstrations in Brazil. I don't read Portuguese. Trying to understand the situation there through the English-language media filter has been very difficult, as the major press outlets in the U.S. and U.K. seem to be playing a game of telephone with each other, mostly rephrasing each other's reporting or relying on wire service reports.

    It would be great for someone who knows the Icelandic language and society, and who can parse Icelandic law on asylum seekers, who could help cut through the barriers of understanding for the rest of us.

    "I'll believe that corporations are people when I see Rick Perry execute one."

    by bink on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:35:44 AM PDT

    •  I'm an immigrant to Iceland. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DRo, Ashaman, Zwoof

      Iceland is my home.  I speak only Icelandic in my everyday life here.  

      I have not seen any polls in the news as to people's feelings toward Snowden.  I can tell you, for example, what my FB friends have been writing, but that's not really a representative sample, is it?  

      Here's what's been going on in the news here regarding him.  A number of people including some former Wikileaks members and a couple current, have been asking around in various corners of government about getting Snowden asylum.  There's a lot of sympathy, but the general consensus is that that can't be granted when he's not in the country.  So he has to come here before his case could be processed.

      Icelandic treatment of asylum seekers is rather varied.  Certainly there's precident for high-profile people getting asylum (and citizenship) pretty much for no other reason than people in parliament liked them - most prominently, the case of Bobby Fischer.  On the other hand, regular asylum seekers are treated like asylum seekers in most parts of the world - the default presumptive answer to their case being "no" and them needing to prove a good case for a "yes", often living for long periods in a legal limbo not knowing whether they'll be deported,  etc.  Most people are generally supportive of asylum seekers, but still, unless you get an act of parliament on your case, it's not easy sailing, and people do regularly get sent back.

  •  Heh. What would be great if it turns out that (0+ / 0-)

    both Snowden and you could come to NN14. Doesn't look good now, but quien sabe? And of course, LOE tambien.

    The Americas greatest political dynasty...the Kaan

    by catilinus on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:39:30 AM PDT

  •  BBC is saying Ecuador is also a possibility. n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns. --- John Oliver

    by voroki on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:08:46 AM PDT

    •  And the Russian Press is saying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Venezuela is.  Really, I think Russia, Iceland, Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, and probably a half dozen others are all open possibilities right now.

      I figure what I'll do is keep an eye on what flights leave Russia bound to Iceland between now and when the Cuba flight departs tomorrow.  If possible, I'll try to be present for the arrivals of them, if any.  I imagine that within an hour of the Cuba flight taking off, we'll know for sure whether he was on it.

    •  the BBC is right again apparently (0+ / 0-)

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 24, 2013 at 05:06:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hope he makes it, so he can be free to also (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    define the parameters of this discussion.  As you said the discussuon  on safety-spy stuff is taking place world -wide.  The longer he stays free the longer we will be able to surface all the stuff we need to look at, debate. and or change on the spy safety spectrum.  So what do we need to know abou the government since they know so much about us?  

  •  Snowden is a hero. He took deliberate action to (6+ / 0-)

    reveal to the American people the extent to which we are being spied on for the sake of safety which we did not know before his revelations.  He very aware of what his actions would get,  a show trial and prison-death penalty.  He has put his life on the line, the rest of talk after all.

    •  or could be a real trial--since the allegations (0+ / 0-)

      of espionage may well be as real as the good that's been done in terms of exposure.

      One can do good and ill at the same time.  I think the 'hero' and 'traitor' extremes are both inaccurate.

    •  Wikileaks Statement: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:


      Statement by Julian Assange after One Year in Ecuadorian Embassy

      Saturday June 22nd, 15:00 GMT

      It has now been a year since I entered this embassy and sought refuge from persecution.

      As a result of that decision, I have been able to work in relative safety from a US espionage investigation.

      But today, Edward Snowden’s ordeal is just beginning.

      Two dangerous runaway processes have taken root in the last decade, with fatal consequences for democracy.

      Government secrecy has been expanding on a terrific scale.

      Simultaneously, human privacy has been secretly eradicated.

      A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program - involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants - to spy on everyone in the world.

      As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.

      The US government is spying on each and every one of us, but it is Edward Snowden who is charged with espionage for tipping us off.

      It is getting to the point where the mark of international distinction and service to humanity is no longer the Nobel Peace Prize, but an espionage indictment from the US Department of Justice.

      Edward Snowden is the eighth leaker to be charged with espionage under this president.

      Bradley Manning’s show trial enters its fourth week on Monday.

      After a litany of wrongs done to him, the US government is trying to convict him of "aiding the enemy."

      The word "traitor" has been thrown around a lot in recent days.

      But who is really the traitor here?

      Who was it who promised a generation "hope" and "change," only to betray those promises with dismal misery and stagnation?

      Who took an oath to defend the US constitution, only to feed the invisible beast of secret law devouring it alive from the inside out?

      Who is it that promised to preside over The Most Transparent Administration in history, only to crush whistleblower after whistleblower with the bootheel of espionage charges?

      Who combined in his executive the powers of judge, jury and executioner, and claimed the jurisdiction of the entire earth on which to exercise those powers?

      Who arrogates the power to spy on the entire earth - every single one of us - and when he is caught red handed, explains to us that "we’re going to have to make a choice."

      Who is that person?

      Let’s be very careful about who we call "traitor".

      Edward Snowden is one of us.

      Bradley Manning is one of us.

      They are young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.

      They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.

      The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.

      One day, their generation will run the NSA, the CIA and the FBI.

      This isn’t a phenomenon that is going away.

      This is inevitable.

      And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges, the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.

      This isn’t how to fix things.

      The only way to fix things is this:

      Change the policies.

      Stop spying on the world.

      Eradicate secret law.

      Cease indefinite detention without trial.

      Stop assassinating people.

      Stop invading other countries and sending young Americans off to kill and be killed.

      Stop the occupations, and discontinue the secret wars.

      Stop eating the young: Edward Snowden, Barrett Brown, Jeremy Hammond, Aaron Swartz, Gottfrid Svartholm, Jacob Appelbaum, and Bradley Manning.

      The charging of Edward Snowden is intended to intimidate any country that might be considering standing up for his rights.

      That tactic must not be allowed to work.

      The effort to find asylum for Edward Snowden must be intensified.

      What brave country will stand up for him, and recognize his service to humanity?

      Tell your governments to step forward.

      Step forward and stand with Snowden.

      Information is power. But; like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. Aaron Swartz ~1986-2013~

      by Lisa Lockwood on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 05:49:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The seven young men listed above tell it all. (0+ / 0-)

        They could have sucked it up and done as told, but instead they blew the whistle on antics unknown to US citizens.  They put themselves at risk for the sake of the truth as told to common people.  The government must learn to trust the people it serves and tell us about what it will do before it does it.  The vast amount of spying that was and is done was done without our ok.  That is one big issue in a Democracy Mr. Obama.

  •  Hong Kong's statement: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Since the documents provided by the US Government did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law, the (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) Government has requested the US Government to provide additional information so that the Department of Justice could consider whether the US Government's request can meet the relevant legal conditions. As the HKSAR Government has yet to have sufficient information to process the request for provisional warrant of arrest, there is no legal basis to restrict Mr Snowden from leaving Hong Kong.

    Tyrion Lannister: "It's not easy being drunk all the time. Everyone would do it if it were easy."

    by psychodrew on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 04:58:19 AM PDT

  •  If he had only released the stuff about domestic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    issues and how the NSA was affecting Americans, I wouldn't care what happened to him.

    But he had to go release information about US operations in foreign countries.

    That makes him a criminal.  

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:16:43 AM PDT

    •  Are non-US citizens human beings? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      need pr

      Do they have human rights that should be respected?

      Stop the NRA and the NSA
      Repeal the Patriot Act and the 2nd Amendment

      by dream weaver on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:21:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So you're OK with China doing the same to us? (0+ / 0-)

        As we know they are and have been for a while.

        But your argument could be also saying that we shouldn't even monitor those countries that are hostile to us like North Korea.  

        "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

        by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 07:34:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You would have a stronger argument if... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          need pr

          US monitoring had been limited to China, Russia, NK, et. al.

          The fact that extensive, intrusive "information collection" activities were directed at both inoffensive US citizens and the governments of friendly democracies rather takes away from the effectiveness of this line of arguement.

          •  As I said, the US stuff is one thing. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The foreign stuff is another.  And allies spy on each other all the time.  There's someone right now serving a life sentence for passing along classified information to Israel. I forgot his name.

            "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

            by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 08:41:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Johnathan Pollard (0+ / 0-)
              And allies spy on each other all the time.  There's someone right now serving a life sentence for passing along classified information to Israel. I forgot his name.
              And as you noted, he is serving a life sentence in a Federal prison. The US government was extremely unhappy over this incident, and made sure that a price was exacted.

              To carry your analogy forward, are you "going to be ok with" France/Germany/Italy/whoever arresting NSA employees - or considering some of the revelations, maybe Microsoft or Google executives - the next time they are foolish enough to take a European vacation?

              •  He was an American passing information to Israel. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                He wasn't an Israeli "on vacation". Bad analogy.  A better one would be if a French citizen got caught passing information about France to the US.

                "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

                by zenbassoon on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:51:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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