The threats and ultimatums with which the Obama administration is bombarding potential harborers of Edward Snowden should not surprise anyone. No other reaction from the U.S. authorities is possible. The likelihood that Snowden will be able to find safe haven in one of the countries of South America is fairly high. Whatever limitations his status as a «political refugee» might place on him, he will find a way to continue his fight and to demonstrate the inner workings of the «Exemplary Democracy» and its real attitude toward human rights to the international community.
For most of his 29 years, Edward Snowden was a law-abiding U.S. citizen. But after signing a contract and a non-disclosure agreement with the National Security Agency (NSA), he got the rare opportunity to see firsthand the colossal disparity between what his country's leaders pharisaically preach about human rights and how they trample those same rights every day in the name of establishing control over the planet. Provocations, starting wars, «color revolutions», lies and falsifications for the propaganda support of the fight against «hostile regimes» - all of this could not but horrify a young man raised on the principles of morality and integrity.
Making an example of Snowden is the main objective of American intelligence's large-scale operation to capture him and bring him to U.S. territory. «For him there is only one possible outcome,» state top-ranking U.S. officials, «a return to the country with all the resulting legal and court proceedings.» Snowden knows perfectly well what awaits him in that case. The most recent example is the prison abuse of Sergeant Manning, who passed tens of thousands of documents from the State Department and other agencies to WikiLeaks for publication. During his time in military prison, Manning has had to drink the cup of humiliation to the dregs no less than the prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq or on the U.S. base in Guantanamo. If Snowden is able to avoid punishment, it is not impossible that many others who long ago decided for themselves that silence is a crime, who do not want to be accomplices in the systematic trampling of elementary human rights and who are inwardly ready to break with the system will follow his example. During the Obama era there could be a repeat of what the older generation of Americans remembers from the Vietnam War: in protest against what America was doing on the other side of the world, the opponents of the dirty war deserted from the U.S. army and intelligence agencies by the hundreds.
Today the enormous electronic «ear» of the NSA, CIA stations and other intelligence agencies are working in combat mode in order to obtain information about the further actions of Snowden and those who sympathize with him. As usually happens in such cases, journalists who are working with the intelligence agencies are asking carefully formulated questions throughout the field of the fight for Snowden - in Havana, Managua, Caracas, La Paz, Quito and other capitals. Latin Americans have been deluged with publications and TV segments on the consequences which threaten countries harboring «traitors» like Snowden. A prime example of this is an article by Beatriz de Majo published in the Venezuelan opposition newspaper El Nacional on July 9 of this year. The journalist has long been noted for relaying CIA propaganda on critical international issues. And this time she «made fun» of the competition which is supposedly taking place between the leaders of Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia over the right to grant Snowden asylum. It turns out that they are doing this in order to be at the center of media attention.
The journalist brands the fugitive from the CIA and the NSA as an «arrogant cub», a «criminal» and an «amoral traitor» who «besmirched the respected institution in which he worked». She also warns the Latin American presidents, obviously at the suggestion of her overseers: in the end, «there is no guarantee of a happy ending for Snowden or for the countries which are vying for first place in this perverted game». The journalist reminded her readers that by U.S. law Snowden's crime is considered espionage, that is, he risks a prison sentence of no less than 30 years. «And Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela are trying to make a hero out of this fugitive and play the role of his international protectors. The price they will have to pay for that could be high».
The previous attempt to seize Snowden from the presidential airplane of Evo Morales ended in a disgraceful fiasco. Now Western European diplomats are repenting thoroughly, conveying to the Bolivian Foreign Ministry via unofficial channels that they «were forced» to do it, that they had been «deceived», and that they were «set up» by their overseas partners. Evo Morales' government is unshaken in its demands: a public and explicit admission of guilt for the criminal act and the disclosure of all circumstances leading up to it. In Latin America no one doubts that the dangerous provocation was coordinated from Washington.
The arrogant gringos' flagrant disregard for international norms of conduct, the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention has alarmed even those governments in Latin America which consider themselves U.S. allies. Today, yes, they formally seem to be allies. But tomorrow, when circumstances change, when populists from the new wave come to power, the United States will act against them with the same barbarous methods and from the same position of power as they are now acting against Bolivia or Venezuela. That is why an effective united rebuff from Latin America against the colonizers from Washington and their lackeys in Western Europe is so essential. And lackeys they are indeed: no other word fits here, as it is the one most frequently heard in the commentaries of Latin American journalists and political scientists.
In the pro-American media the possible options for Snowden's relocation to the Western Hemisphere to one of the countries which has stated its willingness to grant him humanitarian asylum are being avidly discussed. The most frequently mentioned option is a non-stop Airbus 330-200 flying from Moscow to Havana. As a transit passenger, Snowden can peacefully purchase a ticket on a Cuban airline to a destination in practically any country which is a member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) with no risk to his life and without ever leaving Jose Marti International Airport. It is assumed that the hysteria in the U.S. over the «Snowden case» has not yet reached such heights that a top-level decision would be made to force the plane to land.
There are many ambiguities and things left unsaid in the Snowden case. Judging by everything, he is saving the most «killer» information for an emergency. Say, specific data on how NSA leads on international adversaries of the United States are used against the country's own citizens. The information is passed to the FBI, and operatives «bring» the candidates «up to the mark». Don't the majority of the 40 or 50 «terrorists» who have been exposed using NSA wiretapping belong to this type of successful collaboration between the NSA and the FBI? Isn't the unconvincing story about the Tsarnaev brothers an example of such a «creative» approach to the war on terrorism?
What else could Snowden, who deliberately gathered information for future revelations before his flight from the NSA, have found out? Take, for instance, the suspicious illness and subsequent death of Hugo Chavez, about which much has been said and written. Could Snowden have used the opportunities he had while he was working at the NSA to learn the truth about the murder of the president of Venezuela? Maybe that is the explanation for the heightened nervousness in the upper circles of U.S. leadership? One gets the impression that Snowden's acts and movements concern Washington much more than, say, events in Egypt or in Syria. Well, we'll wait and wish Snowden a successful flight to the Western Hemisphere. He hasn't yet had the last word…