Carrying out an order from Washington, the authorities in France, Italy, Spain and Portugal forbade the presidential airplane of Bolivian leader Evo Morales to overfly their territory en route home to Bolivia after an official visit to Russia where Evo attended a summit of gas-producing countries.
To make their genuflection was even more humiliating, suffice it to say that what motivated the U.S. order to the Europeans was an attempt to capture Edward Snowden, the former agent of the CIA and National Security Agency (NSA), author of public disclosures about espionage operations performed systematically by Washington against its European allies, whom they wrongly assumed was traveling with the Bolivian president.
When the plane that transported Morales was a few kilometers from the French border, the authorities in Paris – who several days before had given the authorization requested in keeping with aeronautical standards and international diplomacy- canceled permission to fly over its territory, obeying U.S. orders and forcing the presidential aircraft to perform an emergency landing in Austria because it lacked enough fuel for an alternative route. “What we have had is a presidential plane circling about while the countries in the area denied it permission to land,” said the Bolivian Minister of Communications, Amanda Davila.
“In an emergency situation any commercial plane can land at the nearest airport, but this time they did not allow the plane to land and forced the President to risk his life and return to a place …” she said.
With such a performance, unprecedented in postwar times, Europe violated provisions and rules of international law, endangered the life of the Bolivian president, and could have created a crisis of extreme gravity with unpredictable repercussions for the security of European diplomats worldwide.
Edward Snowden, with his revelations about the espionage the U.S. has practiced on several European Union countries, had rendered a valuable service to the peoples of Europe whose governments -upon the publicizing of the trampling over their sovereignty- were forced to take a public stand censuring Washington, condemning the denounced facts, and demanding respect for their sovereignty.
The official actions of these European governments in the case of the ban on the Bolivian presidential aircraft flyover clearly showed the hypocrisy that lay beneath their earlier pronouncements.
Some other European countries not included in the planned route for the presidential flight, such as Italy, were apparently contacted by the U.S. to prevent possible alternatives to the presidential flight, and, obeying the order from Washington, hastened to communicate their willingness to prohibit the landing or flyover.
On June 27, President Obama said at a press conference in Senegal, where he was visiting as part of his tour of Africa, that he would not “scramble jets” or poison relations with China or Russia to capture Edward Snowden. “If he leaves the international transit area in the Moscow airport where he’s hiding, we will not try to intercept him. I will not be scrambling jets to catch a 29-year-old hacker,” he said.
However, less than a week later, we saw the action of the U.S. intelligence agencies that could have cost the life of the Bolivian head of state. So far, Washington has not even apologized to President Evo Morales, or to those European dignitaries who were compelled to play such a subservient and ridiculous role in front of their own peoples.
The fact that Washington has been revealed to be so obstinately interested in capturing Edward Snowden, without having been able to show public opinion anything to smooth down the disrespectful and treacherous behavior of the superpower toward its own allies, speaks to the actual behavior of the empire concerning its respect for the human rights of its own citizens, and is, therefore, a strong argument in favor of the legitimacy of Edward Snowden´s request for political asylum.
Google translation. Revised by Walter Lippmann.