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Bolivia to file UN complaint over airspace blockade (rt.com)
537 points by Libertatea 1605 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 378 comments



You don't have to ponder this much to see what kind of abuse of power this is. As a brief thought experiment, imagine a country trying to ground Air Force One (the US presidential plane), and then asking to search it. I'm thinking you'd see calls for war, from political pundits in the US.


It's likely not really about Snowden anymore, it's about making an example of Snowden to dissuade any future whistle-blowers from doing what he did.

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.


I think this case of denied airspace is more about showing leaders of smaller countries the price of saying no to US demands, than about threatening future whistleblowers.

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.

Interesting play.


But as always the true power in a relationship is from the subordinate party, they can always say "no"; i.e. take their ball and go home. Authority comes from submission. Maybe this is why Cuba is still hounded even worse than the USSR ever was, they refused to play along.

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?).


"as always the true power in a relationship is from the subordinate party, they can always say no"

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.


In the case of slavery, even subordination could lead to misery and death. What would have happened if every slave had simply stopped responding and refused to do work for even one minute? They'd be beaten and tortured but if they kept it up, their people wouldn't be enslaved anymore as doing so would just be a waste of money and time.

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.


> their people wouldn't be enslaved anymore as doing so would just be a waste of money and time.

Doesn't look like a big win to me. Native Americans were not very popular as slaves, so they were simply killed instead...


There is the case of the Haitian Revolution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haitian_Revolution, where that is exactly what happened.


Well, it somewhat worked with religious martyrs of various denominations. I'm thinking of Christian martyrs and Islamic ones for example, where the act of resisting was in itself a way to transcend death.

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.


Does a poem count as research?

There are no masters, only slaves. None command, when none obey.


"It's making itself vulnerable."

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?


No, this morning they just look incompetent. When was the last time you ever heard of any presidential plane ever being stopped and searched in transit through a foreign airport? Or passage through airspace being denied?

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!


Rather than incompetent, it looks brazen to me. They don't do this unless they know they can get away with it, and that makes it scary.


Well put, really puts into perspective how incredibly out of proportion and punitive this measure was.


Let me preface this by stating I'm not a big fan of guns personally, but let's modify that question a bit to say: "What would you do in their place if faced with an angry and ridiculously armed populous?"... well I'd probably do my best to stay off their radar.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_c...

Sometimes I think the powers that be are poking an enormous sleeping dog with a stick just for giggles.


Personal firearms are worthless against NBC weapons. And I wouldn't be surprised to know genetic weapons are being developed...


Not in an insurgency, low-intensity warfare sort of way. Not unless you can somehow make them very targeted.

"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.


Exactly. It's guerilla warfare. The military would be next to useless in a situation like that. Not to mention morale issues.


Yes, but that's assuming there are people in the government with the will to deploy those weapons against the public. At best they'd only achieve pyrrhic victory.


It's funny that the US has twice the amount of guns per capita compared to Switzerland, when Switzerland is the country that demands that all conscpripts in their militia keep a gun at their home.


But where does this power come from? Now that other countries (and their citizens) see the "men behind the curtains", they will likely start taking steps to limit their exposure to this country and hopefully begin weakening its power.

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.


What would you do in their place if faced with a angry populous?

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.


"prostitution avoids rape" isn't blackmail, it's just ignorance since rape is about power, not someone desperate for a lay.


<quote>...who will likely be absolutely furious with America, but even more so europe.</quote>

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.


The leaders of these countries may have agreed, though some apparently have later reversed their position. The citizens certainly have not.


> 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.

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.


A beast that seemingly can't be controlled by anyone we elect

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.


Ah, there's nothing quite like trying to hijack an issue for your preconceived partisan hobby horse.

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 read that more as a "statist (which both republicans and democrats are) vs non-statist (libertarians, anarchists, etc)" shading. The parent mentioned both Bush and Obama, so he's clearly suggesting that BOTH democrats and republicans like bigger government. Both parties have little pet "get the government out" issues but nothing serious.


Man, and here I am, just an almost-true-scotsman.


Could you help me out here? I'm not trying to be purposefully dense but I can't really figure out what you're trying to say.

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.


Definitely about making Snowden an example. It's in the gov't's interest to make the cost of leaking high to discourage future leakers.


Ironically, what they're actually doing is showing that leaking can cause them to make disastrous decisions. How many more Snowdens will it take before the US irreparably damages itself? From the looks of things, not that many more.


Obama saying on national TV "we only target foreign entities [without a warrant]" is enough irreparable damage to the US internet industry.

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.)


Yea, and this was just one Snowden. Imagine if another popped up with some other program we don't know about. They'd likely get even more frantic and take an even bigger gauge shotgun to their feet. I have to imagine that inspires whistleblowers at least as much as it scares them.


You know what's probably the worst part of all of this?

It's at I'm afraid to say what I want to say about the topic online.


Self-censorship is the worst kind of censorship.

(Meant as words of understanding, not criticism.)


I don't know if that's true. But at least we are aware that we are scared like sh*t about this.


It's true. A government can only censor so much content. Inevitably there will be some escaping it.

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:

http://mobandmultitude.com/2013/07/02/the-nsa-comes-recruiti...


Agreed. Similarly when countries everywhere started changing their law that made living in those places a worse experience.. the terrorists won.


That link is brilliant, well worth listening to.


Same here, this is weird. I live in a country where free speech is given but I still censorship myself when talking about the US online.


This might be paranoia , there are plenty of controversial anti-US things all over the internet and AFAIK the writers have not been rounded up and arrested.


At present people are harassed or turned away at the border for their published views, that policy could get worse in time, and information online lives forever (esp. if it is intercepted and stored). So it might be prudent to limit your statements online, or just accept you're not going to visit the US any more.

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.


> At present people are harassed or turned away at the border for their published views, that policy could get worse in time, and information online lives forever (esp. if it is intercepted and stored). So it might be prudent to limit your statements online, or just accept you're not going to visit the US any more.

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.


The distinction I'd make is between harassment for your political views or because your name is on some opaque list, and legitimate questioning or investigation of known terrorist suspects.


You are confounding two things now too. One is legitimate concerns that would lead to refusal to entry or questioning or similar. The other is pointless harassment due to problems with the system. The OP gave examples of the latter. Hopefully, you don't think the latter is OK no matter what.


> Hopefully, you don't think the latter is OK no matter what.

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.


> On the other hand, refusal of entry to American citizens is a whole different issue.

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[1] 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).

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc


Yet.


How would we even know if something like this had already happened on a small scale?


Yep. South African here.


You arguably have more to fear from your own government, which has far greater capability to (legally) spy on your electronic communications in real-time.

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.


AFAIK there are no physical RICA interception centres up and running yet.


I'm hearing conflicting reports. I know Laurie Fialkov of CyberSmart has stated that there aren't any up and running and no live interception happening, but I've heard elsewhere that at least one large one exists. I'd be interested in hearing the responses to the same question posed to Telkom, Vodacom, MTN & Cell C, who would be the first to be approached for live streaming.

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.


Just use a handle from LoTR and bounce your trace around China before posting...


Is my up-vote being sniffed?


And that's where RetroShare comes in: http://retroshare.sourceforge.net/

It's:

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.


I rather think that's where this comes in:

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.


I agree. What you are saying is really important, and using RetroShare does not seem to be the correct solution to mark_integerdsv's problem.

> 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 :)


Hah, that is a good point. Of course we need encryption, and we also need to play alpha and beta testers to help find out what works and doesn't. Regardless of politics, there will always be blackhats, so don't take any of that as arguing against using Retroshare, which I like. I just like to stay hungry :)


I applaud that attitude - we definitely need more Edward Snowdens!


In a documentary about Africa I saw zebras trying to cross a river. It was full of crocodiles awaiting them, and the zebras all gathered around the edge nervously... sooner or later, a few zebras would step (or get pushed) into the river, and then the rest scrambled to follow them, as if on cue. A few got surrounded by crocodiles and eaten ("without ever having felt / sorry for itself" .. !), but the vast majority made it across fine.

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.


Thanks for this great story


I've recently started developing something like this. Now it looks like I might not have to. Thanks!

I found RetroShare worthy of its own submission, given today's climate: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5983913


I'd rather have my public opinions public and face the consequences.

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.


Nothing has ever happened to me in the past and I have no reason to believe I'm under investigation for anything I've ever said. Yet I've already made the decision to never go back. The "lose" position is simply too high to make it worth it. As it stands, if someone decided to "make an example" out of me for some bizarre reason I could be detained indefinitely with no realistic recourse. I can't think of anything the US has (that other countries don't) that makes that sort of risk, regardless of how unlikely it is, worth it (in case that's not clear, what I mean is, my expected odds for getting kidnapped by the US might be one in 100 trillion trillion, yet if it happens my life could be over).


I am a US citizen, born within the continental US, carrying a US passport.

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.

https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/q71/s720x720/100...

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.]


Did a google image search on that photo to see if it is a hoax and it's real. The park is in Cleveland Ohio.

http://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2013/07/0...


With very few exceptions, firearms are strictly prohibited anywhere in DC. Ironic, huh?


Thanks! Going to check this out.


Thanks - I've been looking for something that would be similar to the BBS functionality I found very useful a couple decades ago. This looks like it does an even better job.


Totally what I was thinking. I feel like there should be huge protests about the NSA situation right now in the US but it's like no one cares, let's just move on with our daily lives and forget that everything we say and do is being listened to and watched.


This indifference of the "average Joe" is a major trait of totalitarianism.

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.


People never care until they are hungry. Empty stomaches spark revolutions. Vast majority of Americans still have jobs.


"Every society is only three meals away from revolution."


Even if you exaggerate the known NSA spying by one or two orders of a magnitude, the US is nowhere near becoming a totalitarian state.


Here are some examples of the "hallmarks of totalitarianism" I see in the United States. Read it and tell me that this is nowhere near totalitarianism. Tell me: what exactly is missing, and how much?

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).


I notice you list persecution of investigative journalists. What case were you thinking about?


I'm not sure "persecution" is the right word for this, but the DOJ unilaterally seized phone records for several Associated Press journalists directly from the telephone company without notifying the AP first.

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.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/20/business/media/head-of-the...

EDIT: here's a Wikipedia article on the topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Department_of_Justice_inve...


Barrett Brown is the first name that comes to mind. Julian Assange is arguably in the same camp, at least partially. There has also been a sentiment that Glenn Greenwald should be prosecuted for his role in the Snowden case, albit not by government officials.

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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrett_Brown

http://falkvinge.net/2013/06/30/with-journalism-persecuted-t...


I think it is a stretch calling him a journalist. I would consider him an activist.


Newsflash: Journalism has evolved. Technology changes things. There is more journalism done today by "activists" and "bloggers" than the mainstream media. You can tell just by watching the mainstream media and checking where they get a lot of their "scoops" from. The blogosphere is the new AP. It is now economically feasible to publish the entirety of recently public primary documents.


There is an expectation of objectivity in journalism. I think being an activist makes it more difficult for readers to trust your objectivity. I'm not taking anything away from contributions from activists, they are often on the front lines, but that doesn't mean they are journalists.


Such an expectation is grossly misplaced. Anyone who has ever watched the sausage being made will attest to that. It probably hasn't been objective since Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, and these days only the journalists in the field, far from the newsroom are able to exercise the free will to be objective. People used to get into the news because they want to tell the truth, or that's the romantic story I've been told. However, I have rarely met anyone that went into journalism that was any more objective than activists and bloggers.


Okay, but I still don't think it is crazy to expect some level of objectivity in journalism. I suppose I'm thinking of news not editorials or opinion.


I think it would be nice to require color coding of the news by a fact-checking editor. Basically, anything that is a confirmed fact is highlighted in green. Anything considered fact, but hasn't been confirmed is highlighted yellow. And anything that is opinion or has no basis in reality is red. With that, just let users toggle things on and off in the article.


Maybe. But the sentiment is there. This is a slippery slope, and the US is on its way down.


the fact is that all the elements are there to make it into one. A huge government, a large military force, constant spying, a major disrespect for basic constitutional rights, and now it's just about how fast it slides.


>Even if you exaggerate the known Gestapo spying by one or two orders of a magnitude, Germany is nowhere near becoming a totalitarian state

Everyone believes this before and while it is actually happening. The US already has literally all required elements. All that is missing is scale.


You are severely misquoting me, to the point of outright lying.

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.


I'm misquoting you? I copied your line exactly... You can look right above and see it there unless you've edited it.


Depending on your definitions of "huge" and "no one", here ya go: http://www.reddit.com/r/restorethefourth/


At the time of this comment, r/restorethefourth has 19,511 subscribers. The US has a population of approximately 319 million (WolframAlpha estimate).

We are the 0.00612 percent!


> I feel like there should be huge protests about the NSA situation right now in the US

Weren't you all going to protest on july 4th? Tomorrow?



If I were Bolivia I would make it a point to give Snowden asylum now. Fuck this.


I'm kind of hoping that when they get the plane "home", it turns out he actually was in there, and they show him popping out of a cupboard on live TV.


While I think this is not impossible, I am not sure whether I wish for it to be the case, as it will, to some, justify the US & EU reaction.

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.


Are you still dreaming?

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.


And in 30 years they can make a Hollywood movie about the operation...


My thought exactly!


There's only one equation in international politics, POWER. There's nothing wrong or right, there's only power.


That's a pre-WWII view, a hobbesian view of Leviathans wrestling for power and resources across the globe.

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.


I suspect you may be thinking of the "Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal (IMT)" which was not a US only effort - it had judges from the UK, US, France and the Soviet Union, indeed the President of the Tribunal was Sir Geoffrey Lawrence, a UK 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuremberg_Trials

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subsequent_Nuremberg_Trials

NB The IMT was in the US zone and did benefit a lot from the material support of the US.


Of course the IMT was a joint effort, it was unthinkable not to be; still, the initiative was mostly American (and from Soviets, to be honest, always sensitive to a bit of good propaganda). Churchill (with other "traditionalists") was much more inclined to old-school measures.

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.


Interesting; the way non westerners thought about this was the Nuremberg trials as victors' justice. From that perspective, nothing America has been doing since then has been contradictory.


Indeed! Exactly to avoid that charge, Allied policymakers and judges went to great lengths to ground their accusations on solid and universalistic reasoning, that could be "reused" later. Without Nuremberg, international institutions like the UN would be even more powerless than they are now.


> Exactly to avoid that charge, Allied policymakers and judges went to great lengths to ground their accusations on solid and universalistic reasoning, that could be "reused" later.

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.


They still made sure nobody in their own countries could go after them for stepping over international law. That is an important factor, because it shows that even "imperial" power is now aware (and somewhat afraid) of the new legal framework and must take it into consideration.


Current US foreign policy is short-sighted. There is more to power than force.

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.


Is it even useful to talk about 'US foreign policy' anymore? I mean, I generally hold Conspiracy theorists in marginal disdain, but aren't we seeing the machinations of a shadow authority usually beyond the concrete knowledge of the electorate in operation?

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?


There is the good part of US government staffed by great people. One example is the State Department. I imagine they are furious over this. Then there is the shadow, rogue part which is the intelligence community, full of people with paranoid delusions who will skirt the law at-will because it's for "national security."


Would that be the same State Department who sent Powell to make a fool of himself at the UN? Ok, maybe not exactly the same people, but still. The malaise is much more widespread than you think, in government and in the electorate.


Powell was the Secretary of State so I don't see how the Department itself could "send" him. He served at the pleasure of the President, who asked him to do it.


The Department provides an army of analysts and bureaucrats to support the Secretary, and its their responsibility that he doesn't make a fool of himself on the public stage by using incorrect or false data. It's well known that a lot of them did, in fact, push back on some of the absurdities contained in the initial documents provided by intelligence agencies [1], but when it became clear that most of the material was of that sort, they should have smelled a rat and should have told Powell the risk was too high. Your boss losing any credibility on the political and international stage is the worst possible scenario for any SD official.

[1] http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jul/15/nation/na-powell15


It is policy. Large swaths of the active US electorate hold their military as a sacred institution since the late '80s. The intelligence apparatus is an offshoot of that same military and enjoys the same privileges. Until the role of the US military as a whole is put into question, nothing will change. That's a political and a cultural problem, the sort of problem that political organizations are supposed to bring up and try to fix.


domestic policy too, the land of the free isn't so attractive to the potential immigrant as it once was. I don't think China is going to be filling the void though.


China does not have to win for the United States to lose.

The talented person might go to Europe, or to Canada. Or he might stay home and contribute towards the economy of his native land.


that doesn't make it right..


You are right, that doesn't. But history won't remember that. History will consider the powerful and the victorious as right. There's no Karma checker.


History may now be being written by different people than in previous eras. In oz, 100 years or so of pro British army brainwashing was undone with one line in one movie.. shoot straight, ya bastards.

its not about karma. what is right resonates.


Thanks for your response.

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.


What movie was this? I'd like to hear more about this.



This is the Digital Age, not the age of the scribes. History will be laid out in much more excruciating, and correct, detail. People might have to do some work to find the right pieces in the sea of information, but it will be there for those that want to know the truth.


We are setting a great example for China.


True, but a statesman realizes that you gather more power the less you use it.


I can think of several historical examples that would seem to definitively disprove this.


They would seem to not disprove it at all, seeing as they're "historical".


Everybody dies.


Strong organisations don't.


It seems to me that as far as international rules go it's not an "abuse" of power. National airspace is, after all, national. You can refuse entery to a foreign president if you damn well please. (High ranking official have a very limited liberty of movment since every deplacment abroad is subject to authorisation of the receiving country.)

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)


An interesting through experiment is to imagine if one day Air Force One were on its way to Argentina and just before it reached the continent, every country in Latin American denied it entry as in collective show of solidarity.


Given the resources available to the US they'd probably just have a fuel carrier divert its route and do an inflight refueling, an operation which Air Force One is very capable of.


The Spanish were denied to search the plane, for the record.

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
"Walk through?" If it turns out snowden was hiding in a cupboard millenium falcon style I might actually die laughing.


Turns out my suspicion was right. But I had nothing at that point to confirm it.

Still, Bolivia's story is slowly falling apart.


Please at least read the article before you comment.

They did indeed search the plane.


They did search the plane according to the foreign ministry's Twitter https://twitter.com/Minoritenplatz8/status/35232163910871449...


I am not sure that makes sense anymore, considering that Spain is denying they ever denied the plane entry.[0]

[0] http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_23590259/snowden...


AIUI France and Portugal denied entry, so they landed in Spain for fuel. Corrections welcome.


They are still flying to the Canary Islands to refuel: http://www.flightradar24.com/ (FAB1)

Updated at 14:40 UTC: landed at Las Palmas.


Are you sure about the code? I am getting some plane over Canada.


That was the Callsign code. Well, at least it was working for me back then.


The full code is FAB-001.


Reference?

The article claims:

> Morales refuted speculation that Snowden had stowed away on the plane and allowed authorities to conduct a search.


You mean they denied they searched the plane, or they tried to search the plane and were denied?


I hate this happened, it's a black eye to those who hold this country to a high standard and love it. However, if you know you have to travel through various allies of your enemy - don't let your plans be known if it undermines their agenda. You WILL be a target.

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.


Blame Canada?


This is really, _really_ serious. Even more so that Snowden wasn't even on board, so effectively France, Spain, Portugal and Italy refused airspace to a _presidential jet_ over _claims_ by the US govt (which by the way turned out to be false).

This is crazy.


> _claims_ by the US govt

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.


Last time the US gov't claimed some stuff that turned out to be a lie, more than 100.000 civilians

Last time?

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.


>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


It comes from an old joke about onanism and the devil.


Very true! Awesome expression.


brilliant. i'm stealing that expression from you.


I don't think it is a lie so much as total incompetence. Good thing we can trust them to do the right thing with our private data.


If you think that, you are delusional.


Which part, the first sentence or the sarcastic second?


One of the reasons to kill Saddam was that he defended the end of USD as world currency and had the means to help toward that goal, he was selling oil only for Euro or gold.

WMD was just a excuse, it was obvious to the entire rest of the world it was a lie.


I don't think that the US invaded Iraq to defend the USD as a world currency - the USD was in no danger despite whatever Saddam was doing.

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)


You are forgetting that Iraq is the third biggest export of oil in the world, and that the "reserve currency" of the world currently is what people call "petrodollar"

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...


The first part.


I'm pretty certain that the Bush administration was convinced that Saddam had WMDs. I'm also pretty certain that it was because we gave/sold them to him for his fights with Iran, before the Kuwait invasion.

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).


There is also the redefinition of "weapon of mass distruction" that took place. If the the Boston bombing was the use of a WMD,surely Saddam had something that qualified...

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.


Yeah I caught that definition too. Truly ridiculous. But I'm not sure the public is convinced.


No, they knew he had none. So did the UK. They even went so far as to off a few scientists and bureaucrats who were leak risks.


I don't think that was the last time...


For those of us without good knowledge of US foreign acts, what was that last time?


Colin Powell going to the UN with certain knowledge that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and it was imperative to attack them before they were used. Donald Rumsfeld saying, "We know where the weapons of mass destruction are." Condaleeza Rice warning that the smoking gun could come in the form of a mushroom cloud (that is, it was important to attack Iraq before there was conclusive evidence of wrongdoing - convenient, that.)


The Middle Eastern wars fought over the past 11 years.


Probably referring to iraq

(spelling edit)


For the record, Spain and France are denying that they refused the plane entry.[0]

[0] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/03/edward-snowden-a...


As far as France is concerned, this seems to be an incorrect statement by unnamed Foreign Affairs Ministry officials.

Le Monde reports[0] 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.

[0] http://www.lemonde.fr/ameriques/article/2013/07/03/une-rumeu...


Lol i wonder if the nsa hacked the radio freq and sent false transmissions


Also for the record, Evo Morales is insane. Here he is saying that eating chicken makes you gay http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YT3yCRjEDCI


Bush said God told him to invade iraq and other boatload of stupid shit, didn't stop Americans from electing him twice. What does it say about bush and even worse what does it say about americans?

The point is, what stupid shit the president said has nothing to do with what is being discussed here.


He's making a claim that various countries claim to be untrue (they say his plane wasn't denied). So reminding people that Morales is no stranger to making false claims is relevant IMO. That being said, those other countries could be the ones lying too for all I know. No need to get rude though.


The plane was searched for Snowden, this is a fact. Do you even need anyone's claims to understand what happened? The president could have said nothing, it would still be crystal clear he was being denied on the purpose of an attempt to get Snowden. Don't argue over meaningless details, look at the big picture.


'Two wrongs don't make a right'


I'm sorry, I have no idea where did I imply that "two wrongs made a right". Could you please point it to me? I personally support Snowden but just like I'm suspicious of the US gov, so I am with the Bolivian one.


What stupid shit the president said has nothing to do with other things the president said that may or may not be truthful? I think you're mistaken.


Anericans did /not/ elect Bush.


That's true about 2000, but the 2004 result was legitimate. And that's after he started a war. So really the point stands.


I'm going to have to ask you for some evidence of your claim that the 2004 result was legitimate. Do you really know that or is it something you've heard through others? We have programmers under oath stating that electronic polling stations were rigged. But that is totally besides the point. The people's vote, even if it were accurately tabulated and reported, counts for zero percent of the real decision. Have you heard of the electoral college? The will of the people is totally decoupled from who assumes office - and it's happening right in front of our eyes.


Why the downvote?

Because I asked for evidence?


Afghanistan, 2002; Iraq 2003. What war are you talking about?


Presidential planes should be relatively free from interference, but they're not sacrosanct.

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.


> 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.


The US does not have a policy of caring that much about internal support, unfortunately.


And this is why Venezuela will continue to be a sticky point for them. It's not 1970 anymore, you can't think of overthrowing an elected government with the sole support of a bunch of elites, you have to be clever and divide public opinion enough to squeeze in your "preferred choice". Unless, of course, you just bomb it back to the middle ages, but in most cases that's not an option.


It has been officially confirmed that Spain and France did not refuse airspace. It seems that the announcement (by unknown source) was made to disrupt the flight, and create a halo of sovereign support towards limiting Snowden's freedom of movement.


My guess is that these unnamed officials in Spain and France are playing games with terminology, to confuse matters. Like they didn't "refuse airspace", they just refused to give the plane a flight plan through the airspace.


My guess is that the list of countries restricting airspace was said by an Austrian "official" to the Bolivian passengers, including the Bolivian president once they landed. At no point in time I have seen an article stating the "unnamed officials in Spain and France" have closed the airspace to the Bolivian president. What is official is that named French and Spanish officials have denied such statements.

Additionally, the plane has landed in Spain to refuel. No questions asked, no plane searched, no restrictions. This should clear many doubts.


>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.


Like you, I can be a cynic, I can read between the lines, I can speculate. When the news stream is limited, and there is a lot of noise, I don't do any of the above.

The real "risk" here is, press and citizens, jumping to false conclusions.


The head of a sovereign state was forced to turn around his plane and land at an airport, then the plane was searched against his will. What false conclusions are you talking about, these are facts, not conclusions.


This is the first time I see Italy included in this story where did you get that from?


I don't know how serious it is - Bolivia is ranked #93 in the world in terms of GDP, and isn't particularly strategic. They can complain, but, at the end of the day, this won't amount to much.


Apart from damaging even more the already quite low international reputation of the US.

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.


> And one day some country may use this as a precedent for a more damaging action

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.


Indeed, but all the South American countries are outraged by this, so it's getting bigger.


That's the attitude that's made your country so despised by so many.


I'm not an American. Canadian. And we have a very long history with the United States that has taught us that when it comes to conflicts, the United States always ends up winning, regardless of perceived objective facts of the situation. Google "Softwood Lumber United States Canada" - Basically wiped out (economically) the province I was in (or at least if felt like that in Lumby). Shut down entire towns. Despite trade agreements, and ruling after ruling going against them, The United States was able to arbitrarily decide that the cost of Lumber in Canada was too low, and set tariffs high enough to protect their own industry.

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.


Sometimes you just have to take a little country and smash it against the wall to show the world who's boss - is that the game you're playing?

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.


Not sure why everybody is downvoting you, especially sicne you don't claim to be happy about the facts, just stating them.

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.


Well, I'm happy to see the downvotes. It suggests that idealism is alive and well on HN. Ironically, I speak from the experience of being the citizen of Canada, in particular, BC that had a number of disagreements with the United States (Air, Water, Lumber Tariffs) over 10 years. Issues that I'm certain 99.99% of the United States has never heard of, were front page news of the Vancouver Sun on-and-off for a decade.

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.


Well, that's why he flew to Hong Kong originally, and why he's currently transiting through a Moscow airport.

The trouble for Snowden is: neither the Chinese nor the Russians want to keep him.


It's not as if Bolivia and the US live in a vacuum. The rest of the world can see what they are doing, and they might not be so impressed by it.


The rest of the world is the other 2 countries that matter (and shit like that doesn't happen to them), a multitude of countries that don't matter (the USA doesn't give a fuck what their impression is) and a handful of "allies" who are in it with the US.

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.


This is just "might makes right". It's not an ideology that anyone who wants to live in a country or a world that values individual liberty should desire.

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".


Not really. There is a principled distinction between the two: people in other countries are not part of the same social pact and thus don't have rights. Its tribalism, sure, but tribalism has historically been pretty effective at maintaining different standards internally versus externally.


Yeah, well maybe the people in MY state are OK, but those bastards one state over are fair game. And don't get me started about the neighbours across the road. Their tribe has no rights in my book.


The people one state over are part of the same compact (the Constitution) with you. A compact which, by the way, bars you from discriminating against them in commerce, which actually causes a lot of problems in practice. E.g. states that want to enact social welfare programs for their own people have a difficult time doing so at the state level, because of free rider effects (it is unconstitutional to require a citizen of another state to live in your state for say a year before applying for welfare benefits). Trying to get around the free rider effect creates increased demand for solutions at the federal level, which undermines federalism and state sovereignty. At the level of sovereign nations, similar pushes for extending rights across national boundaries creates pressure for trans-national governments. It's no accident that the tearing down of economic barriers between European states went hand-in-hand with the creation of trans-EU legislative and executive bodies.

There is a lot of value to trans-national barriers that isn't immediately obvious, especially in a democracy.


No idea why you are voted down here. From a US POV Bolivia is nothing. Replies about US reputation are irrelevant. We clearly see that US reputation is irrelevant, since it has the financial and military power force its will.


Because Bolivia is 'nothing' from a US POV, doesn't make it any less wrong. Apart from right and wrong, there are several examples where countries which were 'nothing', are creating several problems for the US. Most of the middle-east, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc are countries which at some point were 'nothing'. It is because of this heavy-handed approach that he was being downvoted.


I think people are taking my assessment of how "serious" this is to the United States as a indication of my belief as to how just/unjust or reasonable their behavior is. Over twenty or so years, I learned that when it suits their purpose/needs, the US is willing to step on much more important and strategically important countries than Bolivia. And, in this situation, apparently all they were asking for was countries (presumably friendly to the United States) to request a passenger/manifest inspection in return for over-flight privileges.

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.

http://www.airliners.net/aviation-forums/general_aviation/pr...


Reputation is extremely important for long term security. We're finding this out, and I think it'll only get worse if we don't start treating others with respect.


This is a real slippery slope. Just how "big" does a country have to be so that its rights will be respected?


The more the US make use and abuse it's force, the more it will lose it, the more it will try to keep control, the more authoritarian it will become, the more resistance will grow, the more the US will get alone. Keep thinking like that.


"The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." ―Princess Leia to Grand Moff Tarkin.


Good for Bolivia. This has started becoming a farce now, on hand you've had Obama stating that the U.S. wasn't going to spend political currency wheeling and dealing to get Snowden back, and handwaving over the core issue of overreach. Then on the other you've got the U.S. making veiled threats about repercussions to anyone willing to offer him asylum.


As a Brit I've seen every US government since I was old enough to take notice, act like this. They go through the official media outlets saying one thing and then do completely the opposite. I've often wondered how the American people who seem so intelligent on the one hand fall for this each and every time.

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.


Well it's like how can certain computer programmers be Christian fundamentalists[1]? They were taught that way as a child and have no influences that really refute what they believe. I thought USA was the bee's knees until I had a chance to interact with citizens of other countries.

[1] I think programmer implies they have critical thinking capabilities, and I think as empiricists we all must reject fundamentalism as a hypothesis.


I'm a programmer and a Christian fundamentalist.

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 [1] 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.

[1] Summary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_views_of_Albert_Eins...


> I believe as I do because it is an essential part of who I am (identity).

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?


First off, it seems you've made X arbitrary large, when for the OP it seems to have been a carefully defined set of beliefs that are attached to their identity. In other words it does not follow they'll believe literally "anything".

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.


>> [they] have no influences that really refute what they believe

>> 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.


> I believe as I do because it is an essential part of who I am (identity).

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 don't think you are a poor empiricist in your field. If you can somehow equate fossil records with creationism, then yes you are a poor empiricist in that field. I specifically wrote that it's a kind confirmation bias, however.


What sort of programmer? Are you a computer scientist, or a computer engineer? I sincerely don't mean any offence, but I wonder if there are two ends of the spectrum of code and computer programming. Do you muck about in fractal algorithms or learn how best to utilise the latest protocols and languages for functional requirements?


I'm more interested in hearing what pi18n has to say, but it's a fair question:

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.


Hmm. I am curious as to why you think these two categories would think differently.


Out of interest, what was the empirical evidence that led you to believe that there is a God?

Is your belief in a God falsifiable?


It seems hard to reconcile taking the Bible literally and being an empiricist. Downright impossible if you are a geologist.


I doubt that he's taking the book literally. It would be hard to follow the old testament to a T. (Maybe he's betting Pascal's Wager or having a spiritual life really does help him get through the rest of this irrational life's crazy times.)

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.


Just FYI: Genesis 10:25 could be interpreted as a plate-tectonic level event.

http://www.biblica.com/bibles/chapter/?verse=Genesis+10&vers...


And Jesus could be interpreted as an alien visitor playing a prank on us primates. Works both ways.


I respect those who believe, for example, that the earth was created in 7*24 = 168 hours.

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.


If you had removed that first sentence and the footnote, you'd have gotten an upvote (instead of a downvote) from me. This site isn't for your political/religious bashing. And btw, if you're going to talk about such things you should probably look into philosophy.


> I've often wondered how the American people who seem so intelligent on the one hand fall for this each and every time.

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.


Mostly Brits can only screw over Brits. The US can screw over countries. Same nasty deal, sure, but the scope of the US is much, much bigger.


You guys had your fun back in the colonial days. Don't spoil it for the rest of us just because you're bored of world domination!


You might want to rethink that conclusion - lots of US traffic to anywhere in Europe is going through the UK on tapped lines and being delivered back to the NSA. The UK has a lot of power to harm US citizens, EU partners, and UK citizens by doing this.


If you live inside the US for a bit, you'll get a feel for how isolated it is. Most Americans don't have a clue how the rest of the world views them and even more couldn't possibly care less because they imagine the rest of the world to be inferior.


I'm not generally a conspiracy theorist, but you have to wonder what we still don't know if this is the extent to which the US is willing to go to get this guy.

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.


I haven't seen anyone elsewhere point out that maybe he is onboard.

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 haven't seen anyone elsewhere point out that maybe he is onboard.

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.


As a EU citizen, I'm really ashamed of this. Are we the guard dogs of US interest, even when the US so obviously disregards our own interests - and rights - as in this case?


> Are we the guard dogs of US interest,

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>


They are a farce, but they shouldn't be. A common defense policy would be so much more effective AND efficient. The real problem is that we would need a common foreign policy too...


You, the US and the rest of the world are nuclear/conventional weapon and economic hostages to those actually in power. Once you realize that you really can't change truly change that, you will become enlightened.


Don't you mean a citizen of an EU country? Last I heard the EU wasn't a state.


Try to google "world citizen". Language is a tool, not a prison.


The EU may not be a state, but it can still have citizens.

http://ec.europa.eu/justice/citizen/


Last I heard the EU wasn't a state and that's the problem...


People that live inside the EU have a normal passport and a EU passport. It seems appropriate.

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