Dispute over whereabouts of fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden

Dispute over whereabouts of fugitive whistle-blower Edward Snowden

Moscow : Russia | Jun 24, 2013 at 7:39 AM PDT
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NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden: Headed for Russia?

It has become a game again of where in the world is Edward Snowden. Russian media close to the government say he has left the country.

"It is our understanding that he (Snowden) is still in Russia,” said President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney.

The fugitive whistle-blower may have already left Russia, according to the Russian Interfax news.

To paraphrase the words of Jean Le Carre, it could be a long time before the whistleblower has to come in from the cold. It's only early summer in Russia.

During decades of the Cold War, there were at least 10 defectors from the Soviet Empire for every American. Some in the American media say Snowden is a traitor, not a whistleblower. The Soviets said the same when agents of their government left carrying their secrets.

In the Snowden case, his supporters would say even though he broke the law he is a whistleblower. That is because he let his country, and the world, know about the exent of US spying, including on Americans. The Obama Administration says it was only spying on others. Some other governments have responded that the US did not have the right to spy of their nations.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is threatening any other governments that cooperate with Snowden. If it fails to grab him it will be another embarrassment, and critics will say it further evidence has let its security state get out of control.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose group has a member traveling with Snowden, said he is "healthy and safe,” according to Al-Jazeera. Assange refused to say where Snowden is.

Al-Jazeera also reported Interfax had said Snowden may have left Russian on a different plane than one journalist had expected him to use to fly to Cuba.

AFP reported that Interfax, which has strong security ties, “confirmed that he was not on the Havana flight and quoted an informed source as saying he was likely already out of the country.”

At this point, it was not clear that any reports could be trusted as neither side wanted to help the other determine what was really going on.

Interfax also reported that US demands to arrest or detain Snowden could not be complied with because he had never entered the country.

This is an issue that has arisen many times around the world. In general, international law does not allow a government to arrest someone whose flight merely stops in transit.

Reports in other Russian media said a concern had been raised about whether if Snowden had taken the scheduled flight its scheduled route might have allowed US jets to intercept it.

Other flights, even a private flight, were possible methods of exit.

Neither Moscow nor Beijing has submitted to US demands that they hand over Snowden. US Secretary of State John Kerry's threats have so far changed neither government's opinion.

In effect, Russia and China have accused the US of mass spying on the world while it has always claimed to be a country that protects civil liberties.

Although much of the US mass media and Congress have defended the Obama administration, there is growing opposition to spying on American citizens and reviewing the records of The Associated Press and other journalists.

WikiLeaks posted a statement saying “US bullying Russia for Snowden’s rendition is counterproductive. No self-respecting state would accept such unlawful demands,” the group wrote. The use of ‘rendition’ was an explicit reference to the way the United States has handled terrorism suspects.”

While Wikileaks has said it was helping with efforts to get Snowden to asylum in Ecuador, it was not out of the question that the messages they provided on his travel were false flags.

The South China Post reported Snowden had told them he took a job with the Booz Allen Hamilton Corp. because he wanted to gather evidence of NSA spying.

“My position with Booz Allen Hamilton granted me access to lists of machines all over the world the NSA hacked,” he said. “That is why I accepted that position about three months ago.”

Meanwhile, as many as two dozen journalists boarded the plane for the 12-hour flight, CBS said. They could be put on the next flight back because visas are required for journalists in Havana.

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Julian Assange at Ecuador London embassy
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is shown here by Reuters at the Ecuador embassy in London.
Robert Weller is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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