There can few people in the west who have not heard of ex-CIA employee and whistlebower Edward Snowden. Since his revelations about government backed US intelligence snooping on citizens, his name has been constantly in the news. Friday a report claims that the British government issued a warning to airlines not to allow Snowden passenger status on any flight bound for the UK.
According to a report by Sky News:
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, reportedly told AP that any carrier that brought Mr Snowden would be liable to be fined £2,000, adding that he would likely have been deemed by the Home Office to be detrimental to the "public good".
The British Home Office document, issued by the Risk and Liaison Overseas Network, part of Britain's Border Agency, dated Monday, shows that the UK government was quick to judge the situation and act. Was it an independent move or due to a hasty call from Britain's "special friends" across the Pond?
Certainly as the one-year-anniversary of Julian Assange's Ecuadorean siege in London approaches British foreign secretary William Hague will be running scared of another controversial character becoming an unwelcome visitor in the UK.
Snowden is now officially persona no grata in Britain and his options are slim. Even if Snowden hops a flight to the UK it is doubtful he would be allowed entry, according to officials, but he could of course seek asylum.
A couple of days ago there were reports on Russia Today that the Russian government were considering offering Snowden asylum, but it is fair to say that he has few options. Assange's advice to Snowden is secure refuge in South America but surely that will be too close for comfort?
The US administration want to get their hands on Snowden and will use any means possible. With a track record of using drones to kill those viewed as enemies of the State by the administration it is doubtful that any action will be ruled out as a step too far.
When Edward Snowden decided to take his story to the British media he acted in both a prudent and foolish manner. He was wise to use a British publication, the Guardian, to out his story and ultimately himself. Can you imagine the response had his story been leaked in the USA?
He was however foolish unless he had considered the personal long-term implications. With details of US treatment of people such as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange public knowledge, Snowden must have known he would face a tough, if not impossible, battle?
The US administration is trying every trick in the book to turn the situation around, including character assassination of Snowden and the old "T" card, that is terrorism, but they were caught red-handed.
Lies followed denial before President Obama came clean, well almost. One week on it is clear that whatever was going on was official and authorized and that there is much more to cause concern than we the "little people" have been told.
The curious case of Edward Snowden has divided opinions. Many have blithely accepted that our governments spy on us and opted to settle for reassurances that this is all done to protect us from terrorism.
A wide-range of well supported petitions online however show that there are still people who believe Snowden is a hero and not a traitor.