By Pepe Escobar
Asia Times Online
July 9, 2013

The working title of the Edward Snowden movie is still The Spy Who Remains in the Cold. Here’s where we stand:

Snowden could only fly out of Hong Kong because China allowed it.

Snowden could only arrive in Moscow because Russia knew it – in co-operation with China. This is part of their strategic relationship, which includes the BRICS group (along with Brazil, India and South Africa) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. No official source though would ever confirm it.

With the Latin American offers of asylum (Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua; even Uruguay would consider it), we’re approaching the clincher: Moscow is now calculating whether – and how – to help

Snowden reach his final destination while extracting maximum political capital out of Washington.

Into this script comes roaring the coup-that-is-not-a-coup sub-plot in Egypt. Cynics’ eyebrows will be raised that just as the Barack Obama administration was going mental over the National Security Agency (NSA) spy scandal a revo-coup-o-lution explodes in Egypt. New revelations about the extent of the NSA-centric Orwellian Panopticon keep on coming, but they have been totally downgraded by US corporate media; it’s all Egypt all the time. After all, the Pentagon – to which the NSA is attached – owns the Egyptian military, something that even the New York Times had to acknowledge. [1]

Yet they don’t own Snowden. This has nothing to do with “terra”.

Meanwhile, the US intelligence gambit of intercepting a non-adversarial presidential plane spectacularly backfired in true Mad magazine Spy vs Spy fashion. Obama had said he would not “scramble fighter jets” to catch Snowden; of course not, just ground them.

Austrian paper Die Presse revealed that the US Ambassador in Austria, William Eacho, was responsible for spreading the (false) information about Snowden being on board Bolivia President Evo Morales’ Falcon out of Russia – leading to the denial of overflying rights in France, Spain, Portugal an Italy. [2] Eacho – a former CEO of a food distribution company with no diplomatic experience whatsoever – was appointed by Obama to go to Vienna in June 2009. Why? Because he was a top Obama fundraiser.

Eacho did little to disprove those who sustain that the NSA really needs to “analyze” every phone call, email and tweet on the planet – otherwise they could never obtain such pearls of intelligence as pinpointing Snowden on Evo’s plane. As for the astonishing incompetence of accumulated European intelligence agencies, that was already a given. Yet they were certainly very competent to logistically support countless extraordinary rendition CIA flights during the Bush years. No flight – much less a presidential one – was “grounded” then.

Snowden’s leaks – from PRISM to TEMPORA – have established how the NSA’s sweeping up of petabytes of data from just about anyone anywhere is now the norm. The Obama administration insists this is essential for its new branding of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), which Tom Engelhardt memorably described as actually being the Global War on You (GWOY). [3]

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