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“Mother of God! What a world!” raged Argentine President Cristina Kirchner while Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa railed on Twitter about the “attack” and “affront to our America” urging Latin Americans to take action.

These were some of the reactions when the Bolivian Presidential plane carrying Evo Morales and other high ranking government officials was denied the right to fly into certain European airspace and kept for 13 hours on an Austrian tarmac, late last night.

Morales and his entourage had just concluded diplomatic meetings in Russia and were planning on traversing European airspace to get back home.  Just an hour before it was to fly over France it was told it could not.
Authorities believed alleged U.S. spy and NSA leaker Edward Snowden was aboard the flight.  He is currently holed up in a Russian airport waiting for asylum from whoever will take him.
In total France, Portugal and Spain “canceled” flight authorization for the plane forcing them to land in Vienna to refuel.  Vienna only cleared the plane for flight and landing because it had no fuel.  Morales in turn had to agree to the “search” - who knew a search for an underfed, pale computer hacker would take 13 hours?
No Snowden!  No Surprise!
Bolivia is not one of the countrys Snowden has apply to for asylum, says Bolivian officials.  Could it be because Bolivia is one the poorest nations in South America with an average annual income set at $1,630 and 60 percent of its people living below the poverty line?  Could this be the same reason a head of state was forced to beg for gas for the presidential plane?

Bolivia’s Foreign Minister stated what many are feeling in South America: “It’s discrimination against our president. The life of our president has been put at risk over unfounded suspicions.”  Bolivia’s Defense Minister Ruben Saavedra labeled France and Portugal “colonists.”  

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala has called for an investigation and an explanation of this diplomatic affront.  It is doubtful that if Russian President Putin was flying over European space his plane would be denied flight clearance and be forced to a strip search – they like Bolivia have indicated support of alleged spy Snowden.

The action is unprecedented in diplomatic circles.  A duly elected President was forced to spend the night at an airport’s VIP lounge eating dried crackers and old peanuts all while “being held hostage” according to Morales himself.

South Americans are also enraged that Spain reportedly had to check with the U.S. to see whether to allow the plane to fly over on the way home.  Spain unlike the other European countries share a language with Bolivia and a long history.

The Bolivian government believes the airspace blockade and forced search was all orchestrated by the U.S.

Officially the U.S. has no comment.
The Bolivian Presidential plane left Vienna this morning around 6 am EST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The link in the diary is defective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    link. This is a legitimate cross post.

  •  Unfortunately for all outraged parties... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the (purported) cockpit audio recording appears to undercut Bolivia's claims.

    According to audio posted online and purportedly taken from the flight's radio communications, the pilots called in to Vienna air traffic control to request permission to land, saying, "We need to land because we cannot get a correct indication of the fuel indication – we need to land."

    According to Bolivian officials, the flight diverted to land in Vienna because European countries they were to pass through had revoked their permission to fly over or perhaps to stop for refueling. The Bolivians charged this was because those countries suspected NSA leaker Edward Snowden may have been on board. And, indeed, Austrian officials said they conducted a routine search of the plane and passport check.

    But the Bolivian narrative appears to be contradicted by European officials, some of whom have said Morales's plane always had permission to enter their airspace.

    Just because the pilots may have stated one reason for landing does not necessarily exclude the possibility that they may have had other reasons as well, of course, nor does this on its own rule out Morales's claims. But it certainly adds to the confusion of the incident and, at least, would seem to undercut any possibility that the flight was told to land.

    •  oh well. (4+ / 0-)

      Look . ...

      Según fuentes diplomáticas españolas, el embajador de España en Austria, Alberto Carnero, tuvo un papel clave para el desbloqueo de la crisis, al mediar durante toda la noche con el presidente boliviano para que este diese permiso a las autoridades austríacas para que revisasen el avión "a petición de Estados Unidos". Finalmente, siempre según estas fuentes, Morales accedió a esta inspección.
      That is according to spanish diplomatic sources. They themselves said that they were doing the bidding of the Americans.

      The foolhardiness of the US in this affair is beyond belief. What do they hope to accomplish with this?

    •  And you belive that? (0+ / 0-)

      I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box. The TSA would put Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad on the no-fly list.

      by OHdog on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:03:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Half truths are the most effective lies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      because they're, well, "true" - but they're far from the whole story.

      President Morales' plane was not "diverted" in the common understanding of that term. It was FORCED TO REVERSE COURSE and fly in the direction it had been coming FROM, because it was refused permission to continue on its originally scheduled flight path.

      You can look up images of the July 2 flight path and see the doubling back quite clearly for yourself. If you care.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 02:46:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Being unable to get a correct fuel reading (0+ / 0-)

      is an emergency, when you're in a craft that depends on fuel so that it won't, y'know, auger into the ground and kill everyone on board.  It could be as simple as a bad fuel gauge, or it could be some kind of leak.  The worst-case scenario is a fuel leak combined with a spastic fuel gauge, so that it -looks- like you probably have enough fuel but don't.

  •  Thanks for covering S America's reaction (4+ / 0-)

    I couldn't stop wondering what hold the US has over the four sovereign nations (including Italy) that refused overflight, plus Austria who wouldn't let the plane leave without searching it.  This bit somehow made sense of the question regarding France, Spain & Portugal--

    These EU governments did that because they suspected - falsely, it now seems - that Morales' plane was also carrying Snowden: the person who enabled them to learn of the NSA spying aimed at their citizens and themselves that they claim to find so infuriating. They wanted to physically prevent Bolivia from considering or granting Snowden's request for asylum, a centuries-old right in international law. Meanwhile, the German government - which has led the ritualistic condemnations of NSA spying that Snowden exposed - summarily rejected Snowden's application for asylum almost as soon as it hit their desks.

    A 2013 report from Open Society documents that Spain and Portugal were among the nations who participated in various ways in rendition flights - ie kidnapping - by the US. In particular, the report found, "Spain has permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA secret detention and extraordinary rendition operations." Similarly, "Portugal has permitted use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations." The French judiciary previously investigated reports that the French government knowingly allowed the CIA to use its airspace for renditions.

    And actually, 'the White House' did comment, in a non-denial denial.  From the Guardian's liveblog, 3:18am BST:

    Our Washington bureau chief, Dan Roberts, has been assessing the potential fallout from the diplomatic row over the diversion of Morales's flight to Vienna. He writes:

    Though the White House declined to confirm whether it ordered Western European allies to block the diplomatic flight containing Bolivia's president, the affair casts further doubt on promises made by Barack Obama that the US would "not scramble jets" to retrieve the whistleblower who has brought so much embarrassment upon his administration.
    The phrase 'declined to confirm' is a non-denial denial.  the White House did not deny, but declined to confirm, ordering allies to block the flight.

    In the Watergate era, we learned that a non-denial denial equals a confirmation.

  •  The party gets rough, what to do now? (0+ / 0-)

    Asylum for this man will require luck, spunk and huge tolerance for the US's response.  God, I'd be terrified if I were the President of a country that got Snowden into my country.  This is very hot stuff for all concerned and the Russians are playing a huge part here.  As we speak about this the spy elements continue to spy on us and save our data.  The world will nevfer be the same President Obama.  

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