Snowden also said the U.S. had taken "the unprecedented step" of ordering its military allies to ground a Latin American president's plane in search of a political refuge.This is something we and many others have wondered. Yes, he's been granted asylum in Venezuela and other countries, but how does he get there without crossing the airspace of the United States or a US ally? He admits that he can't, at least not in short order. So he's requesting temporary asylum in Russia (what human and civil rights hero wouldn't want asylum in Stalin's homeland?), until he can figure out how to get to Latin America (I hear he's considering braving it on foot).
He was referring to a decision by some European countries to deny airspace to the plane of the Bolivian president who was flying home last week from Russia. The plane eventually landed in Austria, where it was searched in an apparent belief that Snowden was on board.
"This unlawful threat makes it impossible for me to travel to Latin America and enjoy the asylum granted there in accordance with our shared rights," Snowden said.
For someone who claims to understand the horrendous illegality of completely lawful NSA programs, Snowden really has no clue about what a political refugee is, or what constitutes a political refugee's right to seek asylum. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 14, sets out that right.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.The idea that Edward Snowden has a "right to asylum" is preposterous, and centers around the even more idiotic idea that Snowden is being persecuted in the United States for political reasons. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ed Snowden is being charged with stealing and distributing classified information under the Espionage Act, and espionage is a legitimate crime in every country that signed the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Snowden's applications for asylum are an abuse of Article 14.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations
If Snowden had broken into the Oval Office to steal the president's classified daily national security briefing, he would be charged with essentially the same thing, plus breaking and entering. That is what he essentially did - he stole information, smuggled it out of country, and disclosed it to a foreign organization (The Guardian), in the process helping our enemies. Edward Snowden is not being charged for his political views; he's being charged because of his actions. There's only group of people bringing politics into this, and they are Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald and their supporters. There is no political right to divulge national security information for one's own political gain.
There's this idea out there among the Snowden backers that if they like the crime a criminal has committed, then that crime is automatically political in nature, and the criminal therefore deserves asylum. Under the Snowden theory of what constitutes a political crime, Dick Cheney's top aide should have been able to seek asylum for leaking Valerie Plame's name, and so would the subjects of the Left's favorite prosecution demands - who would, after all, have to be charged for lying a country into a war and playing .. ahem... politics with soldiers' lives. Not to mention asylum would become the right of every person committing a hate crime or assassinating a political leader.
The reason Edward Snowden has no way out is not because it is physically daunting to get over to Latin America from Russia while also avoiding the airspace of US allies. The proper reason those allies can deny airspace to aircrafts suspected of carrying Snowden is not simply their sovereignty; it is also that they correctly recognize Snowden's claims of asylum as an abuse of Article 14 of the UNDHR, rather than a proper use of it. The reason Edward Snowden is stuck and has no way out is because his claim that he has a "right" to asylum is wholly without merit.