It saddens me that two thirds of my voting readership would prefer to read about international espionage and chicanery rather than the clandestine world of concrete. I had so much to say on the subject of curing times, builder’s cracks, suitable underwear, knee pads, floats, trowels, how Enrico Caruso started his stellar career as a ‘concrete whisperer in Italy and how best to screed a large flat area with a concrete pump and 14 cubic metres of Melbourne’s finest wet concrete. Oh well, your loss not mine
The whole Snowden affair is like the perfect gift, it keeps on giving and you just don’t know what’s gonna happen next. Since last I wrote we’ve been treated to some of Putin’s words of wisdom. This is his sanguine comment on events as they stood two weeks ago…
“Extraditing human rights defenders like Snowden and Assange is like shaving a pig – lots of shrieking but little fur.”
The man has talent for the odd bon mots, non? I reckon his memoirs will be a cracking good read but perhaps not the most PC. I’d love to know what George W. bush would have done were he in this situation. I should rephrase that, I wonder what Rumsfeld et al would have George do in this same situation. I’ve long held the opinion that George W. would be a great stand up comic and should possibly do a world tour along the lines of ‘Playing it for laughs: my time in The White House.’ The fella is a natural for comedy.
For every day that goes by with another release of classified documents our world enters a new territory of unchartered freedoms and restrictions.
That’s my serious sentence for the day.
Now let’s get back to Snowden or ‘Snowy’ as I shall now call him. He’s done precious little that we know of since he checked into the “V Express” transit hotel at Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow. I hope he doesn’t have any serious dietary requirements because I don’t fancy his chances of getting activated almonds on gluten free toast with a side of quinoa and two free range eggs on top.
Them Ruskies can be a dour lot sometimes and don’t take kindly to fussy wussies throwing hissy fits over their nutritional requirements. Perhaps Evo Morales brought him some fresh organic Bolivian quinoa? Can Snowy avail of the duty free booze section? If so I’ll wager my hard earned democratic freedom and rights that he’s been drunk as a skunk for two weeks now. I’m unsure how valuable my freedoms are mind you, I think they’re just token rights with no intrinsic value at all if the truth be told.
Who’s picking up the hotel tab? Well, I’ll venture that a certain Wikiteer by the name of Assange has been very accommodating in that regard, so much so that he sent over his personal assistant, the fragrant Sarah Harrison, to assist Snowy in his time of need because crazily enough Assange is confined to a no man’s land himself and must rely on his stable of uxorious apparatchiks to do his bidding.
In case you were wondering the other Wikiteer is ex-Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon.
Old Assange may be in hip swinging London but I wonder what goes on in the Ecuadorean embassy of an evening. Lively rounds of charades, blind man’s buff, Scrabble, shove ha’penny perhaps followed by long political debates about the lack of press freedom in Ecuador. Did you know that the US of A signed their first ever extradition agreement with …guess who? Yup, Ecuador, way back in 1872.
All this has not gone unnoticed and Assange’s leaky but still sticky fingers are all over the affair much to the discontent of the Ecuadorians who feel like clowns in the big top under Ring Master Assange’s temporary control. And I say temporary because we all know who has the real power here, the Evil Empire of Amerika. Just make sure you clarify that as North America and not the lazy football loving Latino Southerners.
Just last week Evo Morales was on his way home after a quick jaunt to Moscow to talk about gas reserves and other such mind blowingly interesting fair that is the stuff of wet dreams for career civil servants. While old Evo was jetting across Europe all these boom gates started to come down around him, all of a sudden he’s doing a ‘u’ turn and heading to friendly Austria to refuel and sort out this international brouhaha. Well, I reckon sneaky Ring Master Assange tipped off the feds that Snowy had stowed away on Evo’s jet. After all, who else would know how to do something like that and make it appear legit?
So, France, Spain, Portugal and the rascally Italians all kowtowed to the mystery request to deny Evo ‘s plane access to their virgin airspace because Snowy was onboard with the Emperor’s stolen clothes. I bet you the Italians, Iberians and Gauls never raised a finger when the Yankees were flying around terrorism suspects during the dead of night. Those cheese eating surrender monkeys no doubt offered to guillotine the treacherous fellow.
Now, the strange thing is that France says they never refused permission to Evo’s plane and I think Spain said similarly. Apparently Evo’s jet was searched on landing in Austria but reports are unconfirmed and conflicting. Obama tapped his ebony finger on his teak desk and half of Europe jumped to attention.
Isn’t a president’s jet his castle? There’s a whole lot of egg on face this last week that is gonna take Herculean tasks of obsequiousness and fawning to clean up on the part of the lap dog Europeans. As things stand the Bolivians have kicked out the ever present symbol of western desire to get fat; McDonalds, and our hoary old uncle Monsanto too. The US embassy in Sucre might be issued with a cease and desist letter any time soon because Evo Morales is not happy and neither is Sth America in general. Latin America was once controlled by CIA funded juntas and dictatorships now there’s a more adversarial mood in the air and one less likely to get down on bended knee and cop it sweet up the jaxsie.
As Assange no doubt planned it, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua I think, have offered Snowy a kennel to call his own. And about time too. I sure as hell wouldn’t like to be a moving target for US hitmen in a transit terminal. For sure there’s CIA spooks camped out in the hotel lobby with poison tipped umbrellas and sonic cranial manipulators. I’d be wary of room service and all those sexy Slavic chamber maids too. Maxwell Smart would have a field day!
Oh, God before I forget didn’t we have Snowy’s daddy telling Obama to make some promises of a fair trial and choice of location of said trial and other such fantastical claims and then Snowy would come home like a lost puppy. I think Assange told him to quickly shut up. After all who is running this show?
Somebody also mentioned that Snowy should get a lawyer, well duh! Even the poor wretches in Gitmo have legal assistance for what it’s worth. Probably a good idea considering what the feds are capable of if you give them an inch.
Elsewhere on the interverse Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane has this to say:
Let’s detail what we now know the US government does because of Snowden and others:
- Keeps a record of every cell phone call made.
- Keeps a record of all emails sent.
- Takes pictures of all the letters mailed in the US.
- Uses drones for domestic surveillance.
- Reserves the right to detain people (including Americans) indefinitely without trial.
- Can search homes without telling people they were there.
- Can still carry out renditions.
- Can get copies of all of your records (from the library, bank or credit card company) without a warrant.
So to sum things up, if you become a person of interest, the government can quickly find out everyone you have ever talked to and written to; everything you have ever read and bought; and everywhere you have ever been.
If you are overseas, they reserve the right to bring you back against your will and possibly hold you forever without trial.
America; land of the free, just don’t quote us on that.
And the ever jocular John Pilger via The Guardian had this to say:
President Barack Obama says he wants to have a serious discussion about these programs – which he says are necessary. In his acceptance of the 2005 Nobel prize in literature, Harold Pinter referred to “a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed”. He asked why “the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities” of the Soviet Union were well known in the west while America’s crimes were “superficially recorded, let alone documented, let alone acknowledged”. The most enduring silence of the modern era covered the extinction and dispossession of countless human beings by a rampant US and its agents. “But you wouldn’t know it,” said Pinter. “It never happened. Even while it was happening it never happened.”
Naturally, Pilger continues in much the same vein and brings fascism into the equation, as one does. Gotta love his soft words.
If the yanks really wanted to get Snowy they would have hired those international assassins of mystery; Mossad. They’ve always got a few spare passports floating about and always get their man no matter what the odds are against them.
Being a whistle blower doesn’t do anything for your career prospects or employability and so far tends to lead to statelessness and being confined to prison like conditions. It’s funny that somebody with the world’s secrets in their laptop couldn’t sort out a nice tropical bolt hole with a comely maid.
This international stew is far from cooked and probably needs some more cooking before it’s ready to be served up.
How will Snowy escape the transit hotel?
Should he give David Blaine a call?
Perhaps he could Fed-Ex himself out of there.
Will the Ruskies let him go?
Will South America secede from the Americas?
Stay tuned as the Yanks try to save face and limit the fall out?