Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ominous Skies

Trey Smith

John Pilger characterized it as "an act of air piracy and state terrorism." For Margaret Kimberley, it was an example of "gangsta government."  Dave Lindorff called it a shameful case of "fawning obedience."  The recent episode of European governments bowing down to pressure from the Obama administration in regards to restricting air space for an airplane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was all these things and more.

What instigated this sordid affair?  The US government thought that whistleblower Edward Snowden might possibly be on the presidential plane.  There was no substantive evidence to support this suspicion and, as it turned out, Snowden was NOT on the aircraft!  So, they ended up humiliating Morales for no good reason.

Mind you, the Bolivian President is not a thug who stands accused of murdering his own people or looting the national treasury.  He wasn't a leader trying to escape justice.  The democratically-elected Morales was doing something that national leaders do quite frequently: He was on a trade mission.  But because the trade mission was to Russia where Snowden is and he remarked that Bolivia might be open to granting asylum, that's all the information needed by Obama to restrict Morales' travel itinerary.

Kimberley later noted, "If the U.S. doesn’t respect the rights of a head of state, then Snowden’s goose is cooked."  While I agree with her, I think it goes much deeper than that.  If the US government has no compunction about treating Morales this way, what does it say about the rest of us? If they are more than willing to mock a democratically-elected President, how far would they go in their treatment of lowly peons like you and me?

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