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Last night was one of the strangest nights in news that I can recall.  I was watching the situation with Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, in shock that our government would use its clout and allies to essentially capture a head of state and ground his plane, simply on the suspicion that he had one young man, a fugitive in the U.S., and even though the president of Bolivia denied that Snowden was on his plane.

The situation was shocking to begin with, but then just before I was headed for bed, I checked through the messages in a Twitter list that I created a month ago to collect what I think are the best sources of information on the Snowden situation.  I named the list "Big Brother".   Somehow, by following one string or another, I came across tweets from a woman who appeared to actually be at the airport in Vienna, and she had pictures of Morales.  Then I learned that she was with another journalist and they both were tweeting in German, sometimes in English, and they appeared to be working solely through their cell phones, no camera crew.  It's Twitter, so I was skeptical at first but after awhile, it became apparent that they were for real.  They were real, but the situation was surreal.  And mainstream news did not seem to have found them yet. The Guardian found them soon afterward.   At the same time, another link had floated around on Twitter and then Chris Hayes also tweeted it, and we could all watch Morales' plane via online plane tracking, at flightradar.com.   Again, kind of surreal, but really just 21st century world of information, if you know where to look.  No wonder the big corporate media organizations are in a panic.  

Morales was there with his defense minister and his pilots, but there were no Austrian officials.  Morales was in good spirits, or at least was putting a good face on it.

And at one point, his pilots were trying to figure out an alternate route and then resting up, sleeping in chairs.  Still, no amenities, no accomodations and no media crews.

The journalists submitted a news article, but in German.

Spain was denying them access to their air space. The hours went on and on.  Morales made no attempt to hide the fact that it was the U.S. behind all of this, though the fierce Obama defenders would very much like to deny this, as they demonstrated last night in the comment threads here.

Morales was in touch with other heads of state and officials in South America and they were furious, and stood behind him.  Tomorrow, a meeting has been called.

A really interesting detail came out later. As far as these journalists know, no one in Austria was allowed on the plane and it was not searched, contrary to some reporting last night.  News orgs issued statements saying that Snowden was not on the plane. Many of us assumed (and I think it was reported) that Austrian officials made that claim. But this information via Twitter says nobody searched that plane.

The hours went on and media crews showed up. The Guardian began to use these women's tweets in their liveblog (I was asleep) and Austrian officials showed up, and ambassadors to other South American countries came too.  And Morales was finally cleared to leave, having gotten permission to cross the air space that he needed.  This obviously is not the end of this bizarre story.  I read that he was there for thirteen hours.

The Guardian liveblog on the situation.

Bolivian president's plane leaves Austria after enforced diversion – live
• Plane takes off after more than 12 hours in Vienna
• Jet was diverted amid fears Snowden on board
• France, Spain, Italy and Portugal accused of blocking airpsace
• Snowden not on board say Austrian and Bolivian officials
• Bolivia accuses United States of 'hostile act'
• Summary of the day's events
Another bizarre story. I guess I'll have more to say about this at some point.  The hacker claims to be just a citizen, a vet, and a patriot.  I don't believe that for one minute.
Snowden and Assange Targeted by Mysterious Hacker "The Jester"
The "patriot" hacktivist cyberattacked an Ecuadorean stock exchange on Monday. Wait till you hear his plan to flush the WikiLeaks founder out of the country's embassy.

A shadowy, self-described "patriot" hacktivist has launched a series of cyberattacks against Ecuador and says he plans to direct a similar onslaught against any country considering granting asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The hacker, who calls himself the "th3J35t3r" (the Jester) and in the past has identified himself as a former soldier, has also taken aim at Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been assisting Snowden in his efforts to seek safe haven.

On Monday, the Jester launched denial-of-service attacks against Ecuador, which is considering an asylum request from Snowden. He targeted the primary email server for the second biggest Ecuadorean stock exchange and the country's official tourism website. Gabrielle Murillo, a spokeswoman for Ecuador's tourism site, could not confirm the attack and said only that "the internet was working," but the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Dave Maass, who follows the Jester, told Mother Jones that he was unable to access the tourism website after the infiltration occurred. Officials at the stock exchange did not respond to questions sent by Mother Jones.

And one more thing.  Jacob Appelbaum and Barton Gellman were taking interest in this person on Twitter last night, who was sending out encrypted messages.  At some point, someone said that they believed it was Snowden.  Obviously I don't know if that is true or not, but here are a couple of messages that were sent out, that were not encrypted.  It's a new Twitter account... Ah, I just went to get the embed code for those tweets, and they are now gone.  Well, here's what Appelbaum had to say about it:

And one more thing.




Action




Stop Watching Us.

The revelations about the National Security Agency's surveillance apparatus, if true, represent a stunning abuse of our basic rights. We demand the U.S. Congress reveal the full extent of the NSA's spying programs.

Massive Spying Program Exposed
Demand Answers Now (EFF petition)


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