Forcing down Evo Morales’s plane was an act of air piracy | John Pilger

forcing-down-evo-morales’s-plane-was-an-act-of-air-piracy-|-john-pilger

25-05-21 08:26:00,

This article is more than 7 years old

This article is more than 7 years old

Denying the Bolivian president air space was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world

Bolivian President Evo Morales arrives at El Alto airport in La Paz

President Morales arrives back in La Paz, Bolivia. ‘Imagine the response from Paris if the French president’s plane was forced down in Latin America.’ Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features

President Morales arrives back in La Paz, Bolivia. ‘Imagine the response from Paris if the French president’s plane was forced down in Latin America.’ Photograph: Zuma/Rex Features

Fri 5 Jul 2013 04.00 AEST

Imagine the aircraft of the president of France being forced down in Latin America on “suspicion” that it was carrying a political refugee to safety – and not just any refugee but someone who has provided the people of the world with proof of criminal activity on an epic scale.

Imagine the response from Paris, let alone the “international community”, as the governments of the west call themselves. To a chorus of baying indignation from Whitehall to Washington, Brussels to Madrid, heroic special forces would be dispatched to rescue their leader and, as sport, smash up the source of such flagrant international gangsterism. Editorials would cheer them on, perhaps reminding readers that this kind of piracy was exhibited by the German Reich in the 1930s.

The forcing down of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane – denied airspace by France, Spain and Portugal, followed by his 14-hour confinement while Austrian officials demanded to “inspect” his aircraft for the “fugitive” Edward Snowden – was an act of air piracy and state terrorism. It was a metaphor for the gangsterism that now rules the world and the cowardice and hypocrisy of bystanders who dare not speak its name.

In Moscow, Morales had been asked about Snowden – who remains trapped in the city’s airport. “If there were a request [for political asylum],” he said, “of course, we would be willing to debate and consider the idea.” That was clearly enough provocation for the Godfather. “We have been in touch with a range of countries that had a chance of having Snowden land or travel through their country,” said a US state department official.

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