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Snowden's Primary Challenge: Avoiding Reach of US Empire

Avoiding capture by 'rogue, lawless' US empire will be whistleblower's primary obstacle

- Jon Queally, staff writer

What does a "flight of liberty" look like?Though a rush of speculation mounted on Tuesday, the ongoing saga surrounding NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden's attempts to find political asylum continued Wednesday.

Venezuela, whose President Nicholas Maduro has offered asylum, now seems the most likely destination for the man, whose intelligence disclosures have given the world an unprecedented look into the massive global surveillance machine run by the US spy agency. But the real challenge, according to many, is how Snowden will make his way from Moscow to any of the possible countries willing to take him in, which also include Bolivian and Nicaragua.

Wikileaks, which has been offering guidance and legal assistance to Snowden since he left Hong Kong over two weeks ago, has indicated that plans are underway for some kind of effort. On Tuesday night, the group tweeted:

Other supporters of Snowden's have suggested raising funds for a private aircraft that could deliver Snowden using a flight path free from US interference.

As USA Today reports:

For Snowden to leave for South America, he would need for Venezuela to issue him travel documents and he would need to find a way to get there. The only direct commercial flight from Moscow stops in Havana, Cuba.

The Moscow-Havana flight goes over Europe and the U.S., which could cause complications. Some European countries refused to allow Bolivian President Evo Morales to fly through their airspace on his way home from Moscow last week because of suspicions that Snowden was on his plane.

Despite that, no other details have become available at this point to indicate whether or not Snowden has, in fact, officially accepted Venezuela's asylum offer.

The bigger question, however, is how Snowden would possibly get to South America if and when the decision is made.

Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who broke the NSA story after being contacted by Snowden and given access to the NSA documents, said in a video interview that Snowden's acceptance of Maduro's offer for aslym was the "most plausible" now available to him.

The bigger issue, said Greenwald, is getting there.

"Figuring out how to get to the country that has offered him asylum without the rogue, lawless empire—that has proven itself willing to engage in rogue behavior—being able to stop him. That's the challenge," said Greenwald referring to the episode with Morales' plane that followed pressure from US amid rumors that Snowden was possibly on board.

Amnesty International and others have called the US attempts to thwart Snowden's asylum an affront to international law and a person's right to seek protection from undue persecution.

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