More than 12 hours ago a diplomatic incident unfolded. It involved the President of Bolivia Evo Morales and the suspicion that whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board his plane. The Bolivian President, Evo Morales, experienced first hand the west's anger at whistleblower Edward Snowden's information leaks, when his plane was forcibly diverted, merely on suspicion that Snowden was on board.
The west disrespected Morales and the office that he holds in a way that would sicken westerners if it involved their President or Prime Minister. As it is the leader of a South American country many of those same people will be quick to explain away the diplomatic assault on Morales but imagine if the man at the heart of this story was US President Barack Obama. What an outcry we would hear from Americans.
Morales' plane has now left Vienna, Austria, where it remained for 12 hours following its diversion. A thorough search of the plane did not locate Snowden. Many other countries would call such abuse an act of aggression or war.
In Vienna, an official has told AP that Morales' aircraft asked controllers at Vienna airport to land because there was "no clear indication" that the plane had enough fuel to continue on its journey.
Associated press broke the news more than 12 hours ago tweeting:
Bolivian minister says Evo Morales' plane was rerouted to Austria on suspicion that Snowden was on board, (@AP) July 2, 2013, but there was more to follow.
AP reports that Venezuela's foreign minister Elias Jaua has condemned the decision by France and Portugal to block the plane from its airspace. He claimed that changing a flight's route without checking on how much fuel was left in the plane, put Morales' life at risk.
A live blog at the Guardian has followed the story since it broke.
It began as Morales was returning from a summit of major gas exporters, having met with Russian leader Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin. Various countries including Spain, Portugal and France refused to give the President's flight airspace, causing it to divert.
Earlier Morales had hinted that Bolivia may look favorably on an asylum request from Snowden, if one was forthcoming. That it seems was enough for those in power in the west to collaborate and agree to help catch Snowden at any cost.
President Morales spent the night at a hotel in Vienna before eventually being allowed to continue his journey back to Bolivia.
When accused of bowing to pressure, and acting on behalf of the US administration, the countries involved in diverting President Morales' plane refused to be drawn on the matter. Washington when asked said it was up to the countries involved to state their position. The lack of commitment says it all. At least for once they are not simply spouting more lies.
Venezuela has now weighed in to condemn the move by France and Portugal to block airspace for the Bolivian President's plane. As foreign minister Elias Jaua rightly commented, without ensuring fuel supplies and more it was a potentially dangerous act which could have cost Morales his life.
The west is colluding, which means they are all worried by Snowden's information leaks. Either that or they are all frightened of the potential wrath of the USA.
Tuesday Snowden accused the US of bullying nations to refuse him asylum which has obviously happened. Those in America who call Snowden a thief have no comprehension of whistle-blowing. In order to blow the whistle on what you may view as wrong or illegal you must have supportive evidence. That will invariably result in "stealing"; not stealing as we know it but as regarded by governments and intelligence officers.
Consider the tyrants and despots who have flown over your countries and been able to use your air-space. Does Snowden compare to the likes of cruel dictator Idi Amin?
No he does not and for some of us Snowden remains a brave hero.