I’m pretty jealous of Edward Snowden. What a jetsetter! In the last month he’s covered America, Hong Kong , China and Russia and had his sights set on Ecuador and Iceland as well. I thought I did ok on the international travel front but that is impressive stuff. I mean sure he’s been constantly fleeing for his life from the might of the American spy network but hey if you’re going to hide out anywhere, it might as well be somewhere cool. There’s a reason he chose not to escape to Slough, and it has nothing to do with whether Britain would have handed him over to the USA (fyi we would have).
His gap year style round the world trip has now come to a bit of a standstill but not in the way he wanted, with Russia rejecting his bid for asylum. I like to think he’s currently hanging out in Moscow International Airport like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, charming the other passengers and befriending the cleaners. That would be nice. In reality, he’s probably been sat in some gross holding cell while Russia tried to work out what action they could take that would piss America off just enough to make themselves feel good, whilst not causing an international incident.
The action they’ve gone with is to grant him asylum but only if he stops damaging America’s interests. A clever move, certainly cleverer than anything I could come up with. It says ‘we really like that you leaked all that stuff because we’re no longer the only country in Europe who doesn’t like America, but chill out now yeah?’
Which of course brings us to the other awkward dimension to the whole fiasco. The U.S. is trying to pursue a crucial trade deal with the EU but Europe’s leadership (otherwise known as Germany) are not happy that America has been listening in to its conversations. Phrases like ‘it’s the cold war all over again’ are no doubt being thrown around. From my point of view, all of this is a happy distraction from the fact that our very own communications agency, GCHQ, has also been revealed to have been using America’s vast quantities of information. Oops.
Intriguing as this all may be, it doesn’t really help our man Ed. It’s not just Russia he’s tried. The poor guy has put in requests for asylum to about twenty countries around the world, and they’ve all done the international diplomacy equivalent of walking past a homeless person whilst mumbling something about not having any change.
Perhaps some kind of dating profile would work better: ‘Man, 30, seeks asylum for relaxed time away from international manhunt.’ Alas, I’m not sure that would go down too well with the one person that no one seems to be talking about, the real victim in all of this – Ed Snowdon’s girlfriend. I bet she’s livid.