So we can expect massively disproportionate actions like this.
And you know what... that's great. Because you know what it does? It reinforces a sense that at the heart of the American government there's an intelligence community that's turned into a feral beast. A beast that seemingly can't be controlled by anyone we elect and it's wandering around the world pissing off people indiscriminately in its wild attempts to get Snowden back.
Snowden has revealed the nature of the beast and the beast itself can't help but make things worse for itself.
So with this latest escapade, they've thoroughly pissed off the South Americans, who will likely be absolutely furious with America, but even more so europe. The european populace is going to be scratching its head wondering why the hell they're denying flights into their airspace at the behest of people who apparently spend all their time spying on them?
Seems like a complete and utter mess to me. The beast can't help itself, it's panicking, running around the world doing increasingly stupid and desperate things to get Snowden back.
The beast has lost its anonymity, it's showing itself up by taking actions obviously not in the best interests of the USA but rather out of pure panic.
It's making itself vulnerable.
If you're the leader of a sovereign country and try to make decisions that clash with wishes of USA, they will make your own life difficult.
In the end sovereign relations is little different from playground antics; pleading your case from the stance of rationality and/or fairness doesn't get you very far, only once someone is seriously hurt do things change (sometimes not ever then; Stubenville anyone?).
That's the first I've heard of this line of thought. Is there research on this statement? It's pretty counter-intuitive to think that the true power in a relationship lies with the subordinate party. I don't see how slaves, military personnel, or even office workers could be considered truly powerful over their superiors. In some cases saying "no" would lead to serious inconvenience and possible misery. In other cases it could lead to death.
Obviously you couldn't get that many people to allow themselves to be tortured to death to prevent future enslavement, but the thought exercise makes it appear that the GP's assertion has merit even if it's not entirely practical.
Doesn't look like a big win to me. Native Americans were not very popular as slaves, so they were simply killed instead...
I think in the end it's all a matter of how you sell it. There wasn't a unifying story for all those enslaved africans to rally behind. In the end there needs to be a narrative that pushes people into openly rebelling against the status quo.
There are no masters, only slaves.
None command, when none obey.
It's not vulnerable, it's more dangerous.
It's just that more people are finally see the men behind the curtains and realizing that they are just as petty and human as the rest of us, but have insane amounts of power. And are not willing to give up any of that power or even display any true global leadership or responsibility.
Realize that "these people" have absolute power. And as time goes on, don't need as much as the population around to maintain their status or luxuries. What would you do in their place if faced with a angry populous?
I can't remember it ever happening. Dictators can fly around the world with impunity but they'll contrive to ground the plane of a democratically elected president and search it, for some guy who published a bunch of powerpoint presentations?
And they did all this... with all the consequences it's going to have and they didn't even get Snowden!
Sometimes I think the powers that be are poking an enormous sleeping dog with a stick just for giggles.
"We had to destroy the [village] in order to save it" doesn't really apply if you consider, say, New York City.
As https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millennium_Challenge_2002 (and, of course, successful terrorist acts over the last decade) demonstrated, low tech is still Good Enough for a lot of purposes.
The US gets away with much of what it does because of the enormous US market. But at some point other countries will realize that the cost of that market has gotten too high and then a large chunk of the the US' power will dissolve.
I would behave so much better than when faced with an apathetic one.
To me this is like the argument that "prostitution avoids rape", it's blackmail.
France, Italy, Spain and Portugal all agreed to deny this aircraft access to their airspace. Europe may be furious with America, but they are certainly not showing it by their actions.
Europe's bark is worse than it's bite - and America will be very satisfied with that.
Unfortunately, I doubt that. I think that anything the US does in its search/example-making of Snowden will be accepted by the majority of Americans as reasonable and even virtuous.
They're in total control of the beast. They want the beast. They could end the beast at any time.
You think that Bush's and Obama's massive expansions of government weren't all about amassing and maintaining political power? Those guys both believe that more government power/money solves all woes.
Where are all the big government apologists in this thread? Let's hear a defense for the inevitable abuse of power that unchecked government growth leads to.
Tell us more about how those of us who believe in investing in public education and transit infrastructure while cutting the military/security budget are really the ones in favor of this military/security program.
Don't forget to include how the Tea Party are the heroes here. You can cite all the redstate.com contributors calling Snowden a traitor as evidence. (http://www.redstate.com/2013/07/01/tech-at-night-snowdens-on...) Or you could go to David Brooks or basically every conservative except for Rand Paul.
Or maybe, just maybe, you should drop the tribal BS and recognize that this issue cuts across party lines.
I understand the "almost true scotsman" as a reference to this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman but I'm not really sure how it's applicable.
> You think that Bush's and Obama's massive expansions of government weren't all about amassing and maintaining political power? Those guys both believe that more government power/money solves all woes.
This is clearly bipartisan. He's attacking both democrats and republicans and suggesting that on many issues there's little difference. I don't believe it's possible to argue that it's partisan. It attacks both sides.
It might be tribal, but on an axis orthogonal to the traditional left/right political spectrum.
No non-US entity is ever going to give high-value confidential data to Google, GMail users, Android phones, AWS, companies hosted on AWS, Apple, iPhones, or Skype ever again.
Even if NSA swears up and down that they've stopped spying, how could we ever know if they're lying? (We already know they're more than willing to lie under oath.)
It's at I'm afraid to say what I want to say about the topic online.
(Meant as words of understanding, not criticism.)
But if everyone censors themselves out of fear, then that's much more effective of a power for a government to have, since they barely have to do any censorship work themselves. They just need to set examples every now and then to remind people "what's waiting for them" if they dare try to expose the truth.
I've said it before around here - the most dangerous thing is not the dictator himself. He can be removed if, and only if, the population itself has a free spirit and viciously opposes him, until they remove him.
But the real threat is when part of the population starts believing in the dictator's "ideals" and principles, and defend his actions "for the good of the people", and the other part is too scared to say anything anymore. That's when a dictator can rule in "peace", for a long time, and so will his successors, because then, for "his kind", the environment is very "welcoming".
Here's a good example of the opposite of self-censorship, and what everyone should be doing:
Laura Poitras for example is routinely questioned for hours on entering or leaving the US, just because she made a film about Iraq. She is no danger to the US, she is not a terrorist or associated with them any more than another journalist, and yet she is harassed for her views, even before she interviewed Snowden. I believe Jacob Appelbaum is another example.
She's quite high profile, but I personally know of at least one other case of someone being detained every time they crossed the border - an ordinary apolitical person living in the US, stopped every time for hours simply because of where they were born or their name, they were never sure which. It was so frequent that they gave up living/working there.
There is a distinction here to make though; I don't think it is inherently wrong to refuse entry to the U.S./question any person who is not an American. It is not clear why that should be the case ever. (I say this as a person who found the visa system to enter the U.S. profoundly annoying.)
On the other hand, refusal of entry to American citizens is a whole different issue.
I never said that; just because I don't think a system is wrong doesn't mean that I think it is right. I am saying that the system is broken. It however is a complicated system; I don't see any possible way of making it magically better.
I am pretty clear that the U.S. can decide however it wants to to allow entry to its soil. For example, the visa process when I traveled was atrocious; yet for most Europeans under a visa waiver program, it becomes easy. It is easy to claim discrimination or complain; however, I am not a voter, there is no lobby out there complaining about why the visa process for non-Europeans is so awful.
Also, the U.S. is not special in this process. A white American traveling to Europe faces way less hassle than someone else who doesn't have the right ethnicity or the right passport does.
Most of you are becoming aware of the process when people you can relate to are being affected; my point is that this has been happening for decades with no domestic opposition to the process.
AFAIK Jake Appelbaum is a US citizen.
They can't actually refuse entry to citizens, but they sure as hell can interrogate/threaten/harass/etc. I know Jake's been harassed a bunch of times at the border (and had his laptops/phones/etc stolen under the guise of searching them - they get to keep them for 48 hours to forensically image but then never give them back).
It's happened to me, too, and I'm not even on any of these lists, I just choose not to answer any of the voluntary questions they ask of everyone coming in. Anyone who values their freedom and has watched the excellent Don't Talk To The Police video will do the same, and will meet with similar harassment and abuse.
Cops in the USA are real dicks, especially the super-"patriotic" border cops, and they can and will make your day really terrible if you don't do exactly as they say (even if you have the legal right not to).
Both the NCC and the Interception Centres set up under RICA have virtually unlimited power and access, in fact every service provider is required by law to install the equivalent of Verizon's Room 641A which feeds data real-time directly to an Interception Centre.
We do know that the OIC carried out 3 million interceptions between 2006 and 2010 and the implication has been that at least some were live.
The biggest problem at the moment though is the NCC, which the Matthews Commission found regularly conducted warrantless bulk interceptions and environmental scanning. Unfortunately the Matthews Commission's recommendations went nowhere and from what I'm hearing the NCC has even fewer internal controls on what it monitors within our borders.
I just wish South Africans would have as much outrage about what happens locally as they do for what the NSA does.
1. Decentralized (real p2p, no central servers)
2. Encrypted communication
3. I'd even add: Easier to set up than encrypted email:
Install -> Exchange "certificates" -> Done.
IMO, it's currently the best way to communicate.
When I was asked to make this address I wondered what I had to say to you boys who are graduating. And I think I have one thing to say. If you wish to be useful, never take a course that will silence you. Refuse to learn anything that implies collusion, whether it be a clerkship or a curacy, a legal fee or a post in a university. Retain the power of speech no matter what other power you may lose. If you can take this course, and in so far as you take it, you will bless this country. In so far as you depart from this course, you become dampers, mutes, and hooded executioners. -- John J. Chapman
Retroshare is nice, but can't be used to talk in public as a member of the public with other members of the public. I mean, a few friends talking freely behind closed doors? Even dictatorships have that.
Don't take this wrong, I know you meant to point out a cool program, and I'm not having a go at you or anyone seeking technical solutions for this.. but I think this is a social/political problem, and ultimately needs to be deal with as such, if we're ever to achieve anything real.
If talking freely is risky, because we're still in the stone age in so many ways, then I want the risks, not to shut up.
> a few friends talking freely behind closed doors? Even dictatorships have that.
But I feel that I do not have this across the Internet! It is good to be able to talk freely behind closed doors, too. This is why RetroShare seems to solve an important problem for me :)
Imagine if the zebras instead had watched in horror as the first few "pioneers" got mauled... prodding each other saying "your turn", until all of them were too weak to be able to cross, even as a herd, and the crocodiles simply came out of the river and dragged them into it (which is exactly what would have happened, because the reason they cross rivers is that there is nothing left to eat on their side of it).
Not that I consider humans herd animals, or that I want to other humans who prey on humans so much that I would cast them as a different species. But I still think there is a lesson for us in there, too. Cowardice, as rational as it may seem, simply doesn't pay in the long run. Until we learn that, we're stuck.
I found RetroShare worthy of its own submission, given today's climate: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5983913
If the next time I visit the US I have my laptop confiscated, my luggage searched or have my entry denied, so be it. I'll know that's because the US no longer welcomes free speech and plan my future travels and career moves accordingly.
I'll add that, if that ever happens, it'll be a sad day for me. I still have faith a country founded on principles rather than ethnicity or geography means something. I'd like to keep that faith, if possible.
When I exercise my fifth amendment right to silence when I am questioned upon attempting to re-enter my home country, I get arrested and harassed and threatened for hours and hours.
The phones are all tapped, the cops rule everything, and all of the basic rights we were told we had are now exercised only at the mercy of the military rulers.
A few years ago I went back to the US to visit the crypto museum (incidentally, right across the street from NSA in Fort Meade). It was my first trip to the DC area and the first night I got in, I went over to the Jefferson memorial. A sign on the pathway approaching the dome warns visitors that due to federal law, firearms are prohibited on the grounds.
Jefferson would be proud, I'm sure.
[note to non-US citizens: It's basic right #2 in the USA that people can own and carry firearms.]
I never thought I would say this, and I'm actually afraid of saying it out loud because it sounds like hyperbole. But the way I see it, the USA is becoming a totalitarian state. It won't look like any previous totalitarian regime, but many of the hallmarks are there.
Indiscriminate spying and privacy violation. Selective execution of citizens with no trial or oversight. Secret courts. Gag orders for oversight initiatives. World record in incarceration. Lifetime prison sentences for non-violent offenses. Indefinite, extrajudicial detention of prisoners. Torture. The use of plea bargains to persuade a guilty plea. Use of paramilitary forces (SWAT teams) to apprehend non-violent suspects. Asset freezes, with the consequence of rendering a fair trial impossible. Systematic persecution of whistleblowers, even those who follow the "chain of command". Harsh limits on legal protests ("free speech zones"). Persecution of investigative journalists. Overtly propagandic statements in the news media (referring to, for instance, CNN's very particular use of language in the Snowden case).
Needless to say, this is a gross abuse of power; the AP couldn't even challenge the seizure in court because they executed the seizure secretly. It's particularly frightening because it dissuades anyone, particularly government officials potentially privy to corrupt programs & practices, from anonymously talking to journalists.
EDIT: here's a Wikipedia article on the topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Department_of_Justice_inve...
The US does not systematically persecute investigative journalists, at least not yet. But the sentiment is there, and there are cases that have crossed the line.
Everyone believes this before and while it is actually happening. The US already has literally all required elements. All that is missing is scale.
I don't believe it is useful to level accusations on a society based on such simplistic hand waving.
The details are important. The scale is important. On this very small scale there is significant resistance, what would you expect when the scale widens?
In a democracy, dissent is usually oscillatory. It will rise as public opinion takes a for all practical purposes random walk in some direction, and the people in power, who are necessarily few, develop into another direction. Then there's a bang, be it an election, an accident, a scandal, or something like Fukushima prompting the German exit from nuclear power, and "dissent" is incorporated into power, lowering the amplitude of discontent.
We are the 0.00612 percent!
Weren't you all going to protest on july 4th? Tomorrow?
I would rather Snowden still was in Moscow, but found asylum swiftly in an EU nation.. Unlikely, but I think that would be the best outcome.
These EU nations, France Portugal Italy, you think they would ever give him asylum? Europe is the backwater of the world when it comes to freedom right now. These countries are puppets of US, no more no less than Manchuko was for Japan, Vichy France, Quisling/Norway for Hitler.
If anything, behind the scenes they are running to lick ass of US, running against each other to bring Snowden to their big daddy first.
Funnily enough, the US government itself pushed to overcome that view after WWII, by instituting the Nuremberg tribunal: they flat-out invented "international law" as we know it today, introducing the concept of a "law of humanity" that didn't know borders. This was done against the will of European rulers, who knew it would have come back to haunt them one day (which it did, when they were forced to dismantle their colonial empires).
Today, power is just one of the various factors of international relations. The fact that subsequent US governments have been hell-bent into ignoring this, will count against them whenever the inevitable redde rationem comes, be it at the hands of crazy Middle-Easterners or fed-up Europeans. History is a harsh judge.
After the International Military Tribunal there were US-led trials at Nuremberg but there were lots of different sets of trials held by the Allies in their parts of Germany and also by countries like Poland.
NB The IMT was in the US zone and did benefit a lot from the material support of the US.
It turns out that the IMT was a fantastic idea, probably a bit too successful -- it made more difficult for nation states to (ab)use their military forces, at least until the end of the Cold War.
I am not denying that happened. My point was that only the losing side was punished; you didn't see Roosevelt or Churchill taking the stand for the Dresden bombings? Neither did Hirohito get punished for Japan's part in the war. Realpolitik always prevailed. In fact, let us even take Iraq to this day, the UN thing that Powell did was a farce. However, did anyone get punished for that? I don't see Powell or Bush or Blair in a criminal court.
When the brightest minds of the young Latin American population in 5-10 years time ponders an international career in the US or China, things like this will nudge a few more people to China instead. This could make a huge difference in the long-term. Big leaps can be made by relatively small teams of people.
Either it's incompetence, or ruse, or a 'not-giving-a-fuck' if we know that the intelligence agencies are above the law and can act with near global impunity.
whelp. I should shut up. Probably?
The talented person might go to Europe, or to Canada. Or he might stay home and contribute towards the economy of his native land.
its not about karma. what is right resonates.
I humbly disagree with you though. There are many instances where heinous acts by the powerful have gone unpunished. Many of them by the US and Britain. They have had no repercussions on the perpetrators because of power.
On the other hand once you have authorising them to cross your airspace usually grants them extra-territoriality. Meaning that for an reglementary standpoint you can't force a plane to land and search it. (No suspending authorisation once the plane is in the airspace, and you can't search the plane because it is considered foreign territory.
(note this is what i understand of this matter, and may not be exact)
Edit: I inaccurately wrote Austrians.
Austrian journalist tells me: Bolivia did not give
permission to have Morales' plane searched, but airport
policeman allowed to walk through
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) 12:00 PM July 3, 2013
Still, Bolivia's story is slowly falling apart.
They did indeed search the plane.
Updated at 14:40 UTC: landed at Las Palmas.
The article claims:
> Morales refuted speculation that Snowden had stowed away on the plane and allowed authorities to conduct a search.
There's a line you have to draw between keeping it real and getting it done. What's going on a gross misuse of power - but President Evo knew who he was going against when he publicly made note that he would consider Edwards asylum application.
This is crazy.
Last time the US gov't claimed some stuff that turned out to be a lie, more than 100.000 civilians died as a consequence. And there are still civilians dying every day, because of that claim.
If there were a clock that ticked every time high US government officials lied over matters of state, you could use it as a fan.
I just want to say how brilliant I thought this expression was. I can't believe people don't use it more often
WMD was just a excuse, it was obvious to the entire rest of the world it was a lie.
From what I understand, most people believe that the invasion was instigated by Neoconservatives who believe(d) that the creation of a free democratic state in the Middle East would be a stabilizing force, which would be beneficial for US foreign/security policy.
WMD seems to be an excuse, but the true reason is well-intentioned (from a US point of view), albeit self-centered and naive. To think it had anything to do with the USD is a bit conspiracy theorist.
(Iraq did change reserve currencies from USD to EUR in 2001, however their total foreign reserves are $53b, not enough to spark a multi-year, trillion dollar war)
It is not a conpiracy theory, it is simple and obvious, many people outside US saw through the WMD accusation immediately, if everyone switched to buy oil with anything other than USD, US would be unable to print more money to keep getting indebted, and we all know that US currently has no way to sustain its economy without growing its debt.
It is just a matter of pre-emptive defense of domestic issues, the US cannot risk at all, even a minor risk, of other countries not allowing it anymore to generate loads of debt, because it depends deeply on it to sustain all its government spending.
Libya for example had the same kind of "protests" that turned into civil war, EVERY year, the only difference between the year they got a "no-fly" from others, is that Gadaffi also stopped selling oil for USD.
It is VERY CLEAR that US consider this a serious threat (and it is)
From some points of view, the government had no choice but to go to war...
Now, after we invaded in '03 and couldn't find the WMDs they started lying. Absolutely. But the basis for the war was incompetence.
Russia, France, and Germany seem to have much better intel, but we don't like listening to them. This seems to cross administration lines so it's not quite clear what the problem is (although that doesn't prevent a lot of speculation).
At what point does any sovereign nation that we disagree with become a threat because they have traditional munitions that we consider a WMD? At what point does having a 5gal gas can and a road flare in the back of a truck become a WMD... When ever enough of the public can be convinced of the new definition.
Le Monde reports that government spokeswoman Najat Vallaud-Belkacem says that France "eventually allowed the plane to fly through its airspace", implying that they denied it at first. A more detailed official account of the incident is supposedly forthcoming.
The point is, what stupid shit the president said has nothing to do with what is being discussed here.
Because I asked for evidence?
For example, the US Sec'y of State warned Iraq to deny access to airspace to any sovereign countries wishing to aid President Assad. In addition, several congressmen (both houses) have asked for the military destruction of the Syrian presidential plane.
Hussein, Gaddafi, Ceaușescu, etc., would have been treated similarly had they made a diplomatic attempt to fly over many countries during the times they were openly perceived as being international criminals.
I imagine this would be more than about Snowden. This is one of the first moves to show Morales that he is not in as strong a position now that Chavez is dead.
If that was the real aim, it's even more misguided: there's nothing better to solidify internal support than a bit of unprovoked foreign aggression.
Differently from many other Latin American rulers, Morales' (and before him Chavez's) power is directly linked to oil prices, not to perceived US benevolence.
Additionally, the plane has landed in Spain to refuel. No questions asked, no plane searched, no restrictions. This should clear many doubts.
After the plane was already searched in Austria. Doesn't seem to be much risk of letting them land at that point.
The real "risk" here is, press and citizens, jumping to false conclusions.
And one day some country may use this as a precedent for a more damaging action. There are international rules for a reason, and it took us centuries to get them in place and universally accepted.
Slightly related, but the 1993 Rwanda civil war was started because of a (let's say) similar incident: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Habyarimana_an...
> The airplane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down as it prepared to land in Kigali, Rwanda. The assassination set in motion some of the bloodiest events of the late 20th century, the Rwandan Genocide and the First Congo War.
This was front page news for 10+ years in BC. I have a gut feeling for what going against the (much larger) United States is like when you are smaller, even if you are a close trading partner and neighbor.
Americans loved international law as long as it was to our advantage; now it's passé to imagine that anybody but Americans or rich people might have rights endowed by their Creator. I guess it's not so self-evident these days.
Bolivia is, well, unimportant, and their complaints to the US will amount to nothing. There are exactly 2 countries in the world that the US cannot mess with. If it was a Russian or a Chinese plane, do you all think it would be denied airspace entry? (And EVEN IF it was denied entry and still decided to go through, do you think anything would happen to it?)
What should be downvoted is the state of affairs when a US whistleblower has to be escorted around the world by Putin himself to guarantee his safety.
There was a sense of anger, helplessness, and eventually resentment (but, to some degree, acceptance) that when engaging in disputes with much larger countries, you need to avoid going up against them head-on, because you will lose every time.
At least we got NAFTA out of it, which has worked out well for some percentage of the Canadian population.
The trouble for Snowden is: neither the Chinese nor the Russians want to keep him.
It will take really coordinated efforts of multiple governments for the US to even start caring about "impressions" and so on. Highly unlikely to happen.
Consider how few hops it is between "it's ok to violate a country's sovereignty if it is small and powerless" and "it's ok to violate someone's 'rights' so long as they are powerless, unimportant, or poor".
There is a lot of value to trans-national barriers that isn't immediately obvious, especially in a democracy.
I wonder how many people here are aware that the United States requires this of every single flight from Canada that passes over the united states, in particular, " requires airline carriers to hand over the names, birth dates and gender of all passengers travelling through American air space." regardless of whether they are landing in the US.
Or is it rather that on the whole they have all these nice houses in nice safe places (no wars etc) with hundreds of TV channels to watch that in a way no one can be bothered to do anything about the way their leaders make them look internationally.
 I think programmer implies they have critical thinking capabilities, and I think as empiricists we all must reject fundamentalism as a hypothesis.
Do you think because I have a religion that I am a poor empiricist? Or that because I know programming languages in the high double-digits I am a poor believer?
Einstein's 1930 NYT article  might serve as common ground for us to discuss this rationally. I have to point out, though, that my faith is not out of "fear, social morality, [or] a cosmic religious feeling." I believe as I do because it is an essential part of who I am (identity).
I actually agree with you that there is plenty of unwarranted, blind nationalism in the USA.
 Summary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Eins...
Interesting. I do not think I've heard someone put it quite like that before. I find it quite bizarre and circular:
"I believe in X because I define myself as a person who believes in X, and therefore not believing in X means I lose my identity, therefore I believe in X"
So it's literally impossible for you to stop believing in anything, no matter how ridiculous, without losing your entire sense of self. Kind of defined yourself into a corner there, eh?
Besides I don't see what would prohibit the OP from changing his identity or evolving it. Unless we've somehow established identity is unchangeable, of which I'm not convinced.
>> I believe as I do because it is an essential part of who I am (identity)
You've not left much of a case for pi18n to debate with that statement.
What an odd reason to believe something. I generally try to only believe things because they're the conclusion that best fits the available evidence. Why would you use any other technique?
I hold multiple degrees above my BSc in Electrical Engineering, one of which is in Computer Science. I'm also PE certified (US Professional Engineer certification).
So I believe the answer to your question is: yes.
Is your belief in a God falsifiable?
As for geology, it's pretty evident that prophets that wrote the "Truth" millennia in the past probably didn't listen when the voices from on high droned on about plate tectonics and such.
I don't believe that, however.
The pentateuch's creation story differs enough from how it appears in modern English translations that I have no problem believing it is literally God's word.
I think the same thing is true for Britain as well. We have a largely docile population in the face of grotesque abuses by governments of all political stripe.
Not only are they further torpedoing their international image, I would imagine they severely strained their reach with nations like France when it turns out he wasn't on board.
It may not be the case, but there must have been some convincing information to convince various countries to do this, and our evidence against is the departure site and the president's word.
There is an ongoing tension between a block of south American countries (see the Argentinian tweets on github), and the USA. Non-violent aggressive acts like this, or conversely offering asylum, are part of it.
The US has strongly resisted any external influence on the rest of the continent, as a doctrine. Now a block is forming locally, they will go to great lengths to resist it. I think an explanation for why the block is upset in turn can be found in the leaked cables.
I've seen speculation along those lines, especially since it emerged they didn't allow a proper search. A "walk-through" indeed - I would be willing to bet there's at least 10 places he could have been hiding.
It will be absolutely hilarious if he turns out to have been on board all along. Apparently, however, the plane left from a different airport, so I don't know how he could have gotten from one to the other without having to officially enter Russia.
That's what happens when you externalize almost all of your defense-related needs. France did try to go its own way around the 1960s, but it turns out building lots of carriers and nuclear-powered submarines is not that easy when you're not in the global top three, economically speaking (and even so, the Soviets went bust because of it). And of course recent attempts at a "common European defense policy" are a farce, as most of the people who know a thing or two about the matter will attest.
</rant from another European citizen>