Tuesday, July 02, 2013


President of Bolivia forced to land in Austria, drones, Egypt, Argentina… yikes, Twitter overload

by Larry Geller

It’s been a crazy Twitter evening. I have pity on the afternoon shift at the Star-Advertiser if they should be still at work and struggling to figure out what they can put in the paper for tomorrow. Twitter is so immediate, a newspaper is hopelessly slow for this sort of news.

Various tweets are following the diversion of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ private jet to Vienna after it left Moscow Airport. No, Snowden has not been found on the plane. But it appears the US thought he might have been spirited out of his digs in the waiting lounge at the airport and on his way to Bolivia in the company of the country’s president. Several European countries denied the plane passage through their airspace. The Bolivian defense minister said that France, Portugal, Italy and Spain had prevented the jet from entering their airspace.

At the time of this posting, it appears that Spain has still not cleared the plane to pass through its airspace, so its departure is uncertain.

Who called all those European countries to ask that they deny passage of President Morales’ airplane? Was it someone in the White House? I suppose we could ask the NSA, since it was leaked today that they record all phone calls. Can’t be Obama, can it? Earlier, he said "We're not going to scramble jets for some 29 year old hacker..." But asking European countries to violate international law isn’t exactly scrambling planes, but since the US reaction to those it doesn’t like is to kill them, perhaps he would have sent jets had Morales’ plane set off across the Atlantic for S. America. No, I’m just kidding, NSA. If you’re listening, and I know you are, the preceding sentences were just a joke.

South American governments see nothing funny about the diversion. See the Guardian’s live reporting at: South American nations furious over diversion of Bolivian president's plane. The latest news is that Morales’ plane is about to take off from Vienna airport. Another tweet says that Spain has not yet granted passage through their airspace.

Here’s a tweet from the President of Ecuador:


UNASUR refers to the Union of South American Nations. The middle part is roughly “either we graduated from colonies or claim our independence, sovereignty and dignity.” Or something like that, via Google Translate. That’s pretty strong language!

Argentinian president, Cristina Kirchner has been tweeting up a storm.


In the above tweet, Kirchner is referring to Peruvian president Ollanta Humala who is reported to be calling a meeting of the Union of South American Nations tomorrow on the issue of the diversion of Morales’ airplane.

Meanwhile, one never knows if tweets are accurate, but a few are indicating that the ambassadors of Ecuador, Venezuela and Cuba were spotted at the Vienna airport for a meeting with Morales.

Of course, the US is not afraid of Bolivia or Ecuador. Nor, it seems, is Austria, which is reported to have searched Morales’ airplane, perhaps another violation of international law. But if UNASUR acts in unison, there could be economic repercussions at least on selected European countries. The US can predictably continue doing whatever it likes.

There’s also plenty of reaction on twitter to the diversion of Morales’ airplane from ordinary folks. It’s impossible to give a representative sample. Here’s one guy’s reaction:


Seaman’s first remark is reasonable when you consider how the US treats those it doesn’t like. It kills them, or tries to.

While the newspapers sleep, you can keep in touch via Twitter.


While the world’s attention is focused on Vienna and on Egypt, other tweets reported that 16 or 17 people have been killed by a US drone attack in Pakistan.


Demonstrations continue, and some demonstrators have been killed. Is the Army poised to eject President Morsi? See: Egypt demonstrations viewed from the air (7/2/2013) and the excellent coverage each day on Democracy Now.

There are plenty of tweets in English and in Arabic. Again, I can’t reasonably summarize. But as you can see, it’s been a very busy night on Twitter.


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