Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 16:59 p.m. EDT, 3 July 2013
SHEREMETYEVO AIRPORT, Moscow – Edward Snowden’s flight from the United States with government secrets which he stole from the National Security Agency, now finds himself in the untenable situation of being denied asylum in 21 countries to which he has appealed.
Snowden arrived in Moscow on June 23rd. He flew into Sheremetyevo airport where he petitioned a Russian consular officer to issue asylum requests to countries he identified as potential places for him to hide.
However, shortly after his arrival, Washington revoked his U.S. passport which means he cannot officially cross the airport border into Russian territory.
Snowden’s current situation is reminiscent of the 2004 American comedy-drama titled “The Terminal.” The movie is about “a man who becomes trapped in a New York City airport terminal when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot return to his native country due to a revolution.
The film is partially inspired by the 17-year-stay of Mehran Karimi Nasseri in the Charles de Gaulle International Airport, Terminal I, Paris, France from 1988 to 2006.”
In the film, the protagonist who is named Viktor Navorski, is played by Tom Hanks. When Navorski “arrives at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, he finds that his passport is suddenly no longer valid due to the outbreak of a civil war in his homeland. As a result, the United States no longer recognizes Krakozhia as a sovereign nation, and he is not permitted to either enter the country or return home.” (Source: Wikipedia)
Snowden has become such an incendiary character that despite the secrets he carries, not one of America’s allies, nor even some of the less than friendly nations seemed inclined to offer asylum to the man who has been internationally branded as a traitor.
He has become, in American parlance, such a ‘hot potato,” that some European nations have imposed restrictions such as denying air space entry to planes feared to be transporting Snowden. According to Carol J. Williams of the L.A. Times, “some states to which Snowden turned for help, like India, Poland and Germany, have said ‘no’ outright.
Austria, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland all require asylum bids to be made in person on national territory – a technical barrier that spares them having to make a decision.
Even Ecuador and Venezuela, where officials earlier suggested Snowden should be treated as a human rights hero, have been pulling back the welcome mat as they ponder the potential costs of crossing U.S. national interests.” (Source: L.A. Times)
Though, Russian President Vladimir Putin initially stated that the Kremlin would offer Snowden asylum, through sophisticated political maneuverings he has allowed himself to appear sympathetic to both Snowden and the White House.
Putin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, stated on Monday, 1 July 2013 that Snowden would be welcome to stay in Russia, but only if he refrained from leaking more classified information “aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners.”
Upon this request, Snowden who seems committed to revealing all of the secrets with which he absconded promptly withdrew his request for asylum in Russia. At this juncture, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Ecuador have yet to formally answer Snowden’s asylum appeals.
Perhaps because of these countries’ leftist leaning governments Snowden surmised that they would be amenable to his overtures for asylum. It would be an even bolder step if he could make his way to a country like Iran, a sworn enemy of the U.S. But, the revocation of his passport has quashed all possibilities except asylum or return.
It remains to be seen what Snowden will do if his remaining asylum requests are denied. Will he stand by his stated convictions and live out the remainder of his life in Sheremetyevo airport? Will he accept Putin’s offer to cease further disclosure of top secret information and petition once again for asylum in Russia?
Or will it end where it all began, arriving on a flight back to the United States to face the music?
- Putin: If Snowden Wants Asylum, He Should Stop Leaking Info (israelnationalnews.com)
- Putin: Snowden Must Stop Leaking Secrets (scooprocket.com)
- Snowden Threatens More Leaks (reuters.com)
- Bolivian President’s Plane Rerouted Over Snowden Suspicions (voanews.com)