back to article CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN

As the whistleblowing NSA sysadmin Edward Snowden made his dramatic escape to Russia a year ago, a secret US government jet - previously employed in CIA "rendition" flights on which terror suspects disappeared into invisible "black" imprisonment - flew into Europe in a bid to spirit him back to America, the Register can reveal …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet there's been no terrorist attacks since before he released his documents. Boston was a month before the documents were released.

    So where is all this damage they claim he has caused?

    1. Flawless101

      I'm personally still waiting see all the havoc and terrorist attacks caused by Chelsea Manning's leak.

      1. Titus Technophobe
        Go

        @Flawless101

        How about the Arab Spring, whilst not as such a terrorist attack, one of it's causes is the release by Wikileaks of diplomatic cables obtained by Chelsea Manning.

        I would consider this to be at least 'havoc', and a 'bad' thing. That said I guess opinions may vary on that one.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Titus Re: @Flawless101

          "How about the Arab Spring, whilst not as such a terrorist attack, one of it's causes is the release by Wikileaks of diplomatic cables obtained by Chelsea Manning....." How many times do you guys need to be told that simply repeating a myth (and ignoring all proof to the opposite) does not make it a reality?

          The 'Manning started the Arab Spring' meme was started by WESTERN sheeple during his trial and was not heard from the actual Arab states involved. It was desperately thrown up as another apologists' defence for Manning's actions, and then seized on by A$$nut as a means of further stroking his ego (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/06/assange-claims-credit-for-egypts-revolution/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0). Under scrutiny, the claim is that ten diplomatic cables relating corruption inTunisia released by Wikileaks in November 2010 'stirred up revolution'. The reality is that not only did the cables refer to events from years before, the events were already widely know in Tunisia. It also fails to explain why the 'outraged' Tunisians sat calmly on their hands for over a month before 'spontaneously' rioting. The actual trigger in Tunisia was the self-immolation of Mohammed Bouazizi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohamed_Bouazizi) in December 2010, more than a month after the cables were released. If anything, it was the clear message from Obambi that he would not support the Arab dictators that actually kick started the individual and unconnected 'revolutions' that people like to think made up one big 'Arab Spring' and SFA to do with Manning or A$$nut.

        2. tom dial Silver badge

          Re: @Flawless101

          The Arab Spring. Well, it hasn't worked out all that well for the Egyptians, Tunisians, or Syrians, to mention a few of the more populous countries, and the secondary fallout in places like Nigeria is unpleasant, to understate considerably. Havoc seems a reasonably appropriate description. The number of downvotes seems likely to be mainly a matter of giving the finger to the US.

        3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          @Titus_Technophobe

          ??? You consider the Arab Spring a bad thing? That bit where a downtrodden people took control of their own governments and slowly started to move away from repressive dictatorships towards a new culture of their own making? This is bad?

          Why? Is it because the culture they wish to make is different from your own? Or because a few have stumbled and fallen? An entire generation learned the value of self-determination and you call it "a bad thing?"

          I do not comprehend you.

          Anything that moves a society closer to self-determination is a good thing. Even if the road is rough, it's better than dictatorship.

          1. Titus Technophobe

            Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

            ??? You consider the Arab Spring a bad thing? ....

            Why? Is it because the culture they wish to make is different from your own? Or because a few have stumbled and fallen? An entire generation learned the value of self-determination and you call it "a bad thing?" .

            To answer 'why' I think the Arab Spring is a bad thing I would look at the results. Accepting if all these countries end up with a constitution along the lines of "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.- ... etc etc then I will be wrong.

            But what I think will happen in most, if not all, of the Arab Spring countries will be brutal civil wars which end up with much the same style of dictatorship as was overthrown in the first place.

            There seems to be a prevailing North American belief that if you overthrow the current monarch/regime/dictatorship a country will immediately embrace democracy adopting truth, justice and the American way etc. Yet the reality of what happens in places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and a lot of the former USSR just does not bear this belief out.

            Historically most of the countries that have ended up democratic have slowly evolved from monarchies in their own good time. The belief that external influences will hasten this evolution just isn't substantiated by the evidence on the ground. Ultimately this belief is probably at best a little bit naive.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

              Why would these countries develop a constitution similar to the USA's constitution? Why would they want to? They have completely different cultures with completely different ideas of right and wrong...and the USA failed. It was cute, at first, but there's far better examples to choose from.

              Egypt has signed a new constitution. It seems sane and rational in the context of the culture that created it. It has had an election with American-levels of apathetic turn out, but an outstandingly clear mandate for the extant candidate. It has a vibrant opposition looking to assert itself and appears to be a fledgling democracy. With issues. With the potential that president what's-his-nuts the military guy won't let go when his term's up...but with a populace that demands a say in their government and is willing to die to ensure they have it.

              Other countries are getting there. Some are dividing up. That's also good.

              Look, most of Africa and especially the middle east was drawn up by a bunch of Brits who didn't give a rat fuck about the culture of the people living there. They just cared about straight lines on a map.

              The thing is...those cultures are very insular, tribal and xenophobic. Think football fans, but who wrap it up in patriotism, nationalism and religion. They don't think of "nations" in the same way westerners do, with borders being so very, deeply important and the concept of national sovereignty overriding the individual's duty to their tribe.

              These people are going to either shatter their nations into smaller, more easily governed ones broken along tribal lines, or they are going to break into a federal system with individual territories having large amounts of autonomy, and probably their own seat of government. Either way, they are going to create a nation where the historic groups are all represented and largely self governing...and that's what they need today.

              What they absolutely don't need is some one-size-fits-all ruler imposing their will on everyone. This is why Egypt went berzerk when their duly elected post-spring president broke his promises and started getting religious on everyone's behind: because he has to be able to represent more than just the interests of the "tribe" to which he belongs.

              Here then, we may well see a better form of government emerge from this chaos. One that grow beyond the tribalism that afflicts their nations...and which has ground the US itself to a partisan standstill.

              So, sirrah, I submit that you are wrong. The Arab Spring was a great thing. Not because it was the first step in these nations becoming more like us...but because it was the first step in these nations stepping out from our shadows and becoming something entirely unlike us.

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Facepalm

                Re: Potty Re: @Trevor_Pott @Titus_Technophobe

                Ignoring the childish digs at 'Imperial' Britian and the US, I would have to say I agree that a lot of the borders will have to be redrawn. You get an upvote for that. Does that mean you agree with the idea that Iraq will have to be broken up into at least three countries (Kurdish, Sunni and Shia)? Apart from the obvious question of how do you share the oil wealth, what about the minor Iraqi religions such as Christians, Jews and Zoroastians, all of which pre-date Islam, do they get their own chunk, and if so where? Are their 'cultures' less important? To them, Islam was the invader, the imperial oppressors.

                And you get an upvote for the idea of respecting other cultures, though it seems you're more intent on bad mouthing Western culture than anything else. Anyway, what about Iraqi people that want to leave Islam, are you going to force the Muslims (both Sunni and Shia) to accept what they call 'apostasy', a crime their 'culture' insists is punishable by death? Where do the apostates then go? Maybe their 'culture' isn't so wonderful after all.

                Maybe you can now realise what the 'Imperialist' Brits realised long ago - the Middle East is complex, and if it was easy it would have been fixed long, long ago. The only powers that have managed to maintain anything like peace in the region have been imperialist (ranging from the Assyrians through the Ottoman Turks, the Brits and French and the Hashemite Arabs) or dictatorial (Assad, Hussein, Sadat, Mubarak, etc.). Just blaming everything on 'Imperialism' is a cop out.

          2. CoolKoon
            Facepalm

            Re: @Titus_Technophobe

            Oh, you mean the "revolution" among people, according to whom clerics===government, was a good thing? You think that in such countries a "new culture" or especially "self-determination" will win and people will live happily ever after? Ever heard of Iran (which prior to their "self-determined" theocracy was called Persia) BTW?

            On one thing I agree with you though. Yes, they probably WILL make new culture and those WILL surely be different from "my own". However such "new cultures" are mostly called "dictatorships", "autocracies", "despotism" etc. (or "theocracies" at best) where I come from.

            1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

              Re: @Titus_Technophobe

              I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...and, quite frankly, I see a few of the western nations sliding way too close towards "theocracy". Australia, for example. Or the Batshit Bananas Party Republicans in the states.

              Maybe some of these middle eastern nations will slip back into dictatorships. I seriously doubt they all will. At least one of them did elect a cleric as president, then had a revolution to evict him when he couldn't look beyond his own religion.

              Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

              By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

              When I look at the countries that went through the Arab Spring I see nations where the people have learned the value of their own freedom and are prepared to keep fighting for it to the bitter end. And yes, they'll fight you and your nation too if you think for a half a second you're going to waltz in there and tell them what to do.

              it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

              1. Titus Technophobe

                Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...

                Like you I don’t say any real difference between either a Christian or Muslim theocracy. That said I would state that they are both a very poor form of government. In particular people who lose out being, women, unbelievers and other neighboring smaller countries with a different religion.

                Maybe some of these middle eastern nations will slip back into dictatorships. I seriously doubt they all will. At least one of them did elect a cleric as president,then had a revolution to evict him when he couldn't look beyond his own religion.

                This was the basis of my original point, fingers crossed that most of these countries don’t just either end where they started or worse. I would still hold by original point most of these countries will end up with a civil war and another dictator.

                If you are referring to Egypt in your last point above you could clarify that the elected ‘president’ was effectively booted out by the military, and the government has been described by some as a military junta.

                Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

                The implied racism in this comment isn't justified by my comments. From this end I am speculating that you are just ‘projecting’ your own subconscious.

                By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

                Whilst it is certainly true that the western societies haven’t solved all the problems. I have traveled to a number of places that have made much less progress, have you?

                When I look at the countries that went through the Arab Spring I see nations where the people have learned the value of their own freedom and are prepared to keep fighting for it to the bitter end. And yes, they'll fight you and your nation too if you think for a half a second you're going to waltz in there and tell them what to do.

                it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

                Fingers crossed this happens. But the evidence in the news suggests otherwise.

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                  "If you are referring to Egypt in your last point above you could clarify that the elected ‘president’ was effectively booted out by the military, and the government has been described by some as a military junta."

                  And yet, after the election the junta-like activities seem to have ceased. They were imposing martial law after kicking out that cleric. They were suppressing dissent. Unless I'm terribly mistaken, a lot of that has eased up and they are slowly opening up, within reason, given that the religious whackos are still blowing things up periodically.

                  "Whilst it is certainly true that the western societies haven’t solved all the problems. I have traveled to a number of places that have made much less progress, have you?"

                  Yes, and I've traveled to places that have made more. Your point? Western civilization isn't "better".

                  "Fingers crossed this happens. But the evidence in the news suggests otherwise."

                  What evidence? Your own innate pessimism? Or your irrational belief that if reovlutions don't result in paradise after the first [short timeframe] they're a failure?

                  1. Titus Technophobe

                    Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                    Yes, and I've traveled to places that have made more. Your point? Western civilization isn't "better".

                    Western civilization isn't better ... but it is better than a lot of other places. I am now curious as to where you have traveled that is better?

                    What evidence?

                    The on-going revolution in Syria and the formation of what appears to be a very brutal caliphate across into Iraq.

                    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                      Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                      Personally, I consider Japan to be in many ways "better" than most western nations. It has it's problems, but I believe they are less horrible than our problems. I rather like the Nordic countries, and consider them exemplars for the world. They're sort of Western...but yet...not. Their take on things is so different from that of Americans and Australians that they really can't be considered part of the same culture.

                      In addition, while India is besieged by various problems, I admire their democracy. Not comparing levels of corruption or "effectiveness"...but the lack of political apathy amongst their voters. The right to self determination means something there. More than it does in Canada or the USA.

                      As to the Syrian revolution, as you said it is ongoing. The people are sorting themselves out. But I see no reason whatsoever to believe that they will end up under a brutal dictatorship, as you posit above. Their issue is that Syria is a dozen+ tribes that all have to coexist and find a way to share power. They are currently trying to find that balance. It's messy, but they've got issues there to deal with that no Western nation does.

                      As to Iraq...Iraq wasn't part of the Arab Spring. Not even a little. The Arab Spring was the people rising up to overthrow repressive regimes and assert themselves. Iraq was invaded by the USA and a puppet government installed. "The people" had no say in anything there, so that's an invalid example.

                      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                        FAIL

                        Re: Potty Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                        "....Iraq was invaded by the USA and a puppet government installed. "The people" had no say in anything there...." Apart from the democratic parliamentary elections in 2005, and again in 2010, and only as recently as April this year? Guess you missed those whilst you were ranting on about the US.

                  2. CoolKoon

                    Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                    What evidence? Your own innate pessimism? Or your irrational belief that if reovlutions don't result in paradise after the first [short timeframe] they're a failure?

                    Iran? Or the permanent civil war between factions in various African states, all of which are commanded by various cannibalistic chieftains (some of those are also Muslim, and just as radical as their ME counterparts)? Oh and in some of these areas the status quo has been lasting for the last couple decades (Somalia anyone?) too, which isn't quite a short time frame either....

                    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                      Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                      "Iran? Or the permanent civil war between factions in various African states, all of which are commanded by various cannibalistic chieftains (some of those are also Muslim, and just as radical as their ME counterparts)? Oh and in some of these areas the status quo has been lasting for the last couple decades (Somalia anyone?) too, which isn't quite a short time frame either...."

                      Ah, so the root of your spite here actually is just "Muslims = bad". Carry on, citizen.

                      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                        WTF?

                        Re: Potty Re: @Titus_Technophobe

                        "Ah, so the root of your spite here actually is just "Muslims = bad". Carry on, citizen."

                        I'm not sure what you're saying here, Potty? Either you're agreeing and saying 'Islam is the root of all evil', or you are denying the fact at Islam has a big role in many of the problems in the World by jumping to the convenient denial of implying 'Islamophobe - ignore him'? IMHO, both options are wrong. Please clarify your position.

              2. CoolKoon

                Re: @Trevor_Pott

                I don't see the difference between a Muslim theocracy and a Christian one...and, quite frankly, I see a few of the western nations sliding way too close towards "theocracy". Australia, for example. Or the Batshit Bananas Party Republicans in the states.

                Me neither. But if you compare the western countries that slid "way too close towards theocracy" to the ones from the ME (Egypt and Turkey being especially notorious examples), there's a striking difference in the mechanism that stopped theocracy from happening: in the West it were the elections (or the Supreme Court at some of the more extreme lunacies), while in the Middle East it was the army. In this latter case I have this feeling that they didn't have any other options left (with a cleric/pack of clerics seizing the opportunity and trying to create a dictatorship much in the way Hitler did after being legitimately elected as Germany's chancellor).

                Things aren't so simple as you pain them. Brown people aren't "primitives" that need our "guidance". They're human beings, not all that different from you or I, with hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs. Some are similar, many are different.

                I think that this doesn't have anything to do with race at all (in fact I'm more inclined towards religion as the main reason, but that's a different story). Your comment is even beyond the point which I tried to make i.e. the western democracies pretty much have only two options to choose from: either they support a local strongman (who isn't a complete nutjob and can be reasoned with, even if he's a tad bit bloodthirsty at times) who'll turn the country in question into a dictatorship OR they support the local cleric (imam, ayatollah, whatever you name it) who'll turn the country in question into a theocracy or more likely a theocratic dictatorship (and in addition is completely nuts, paranoid, spreads hate propaganda against the West, and cannot be reasoned with at all). Deep inside I really hope that history will prove me wrong, but at the moment no third option seems to be viable.

                I hope that Egypt is a tad bit different in this story (since the army turned out to be the smartest part of the government), but it's different in more ways than one: first of all it's the most populous Arabic country, and second (mostly thanks to tourism) it has a very broad SME sector (which is almost unheard of in other Arabic countries). Since these SMEs live pretty much only off of foreign tourists, they surely won't take a cut in their business lightly (which'd happen if theocracy would win over in Egypt and the number of tourists visiting the country would sharply drop). This lessens the likelihood of wannabe despots doing anything stupid. However these same conditions don't apply to the rest of the Arabic world, so I really can't keep my fingers crossed in their case.

                By what right do you call yours better, and where is your evidence? Has your society solved all problems? Is it without corruption, without oppression, "-ism"s, dramatic wealth disparity, rampant unemployment and so forth?

                The country I come from is a post-Communist Eastern European country full of people who are feeling nostalgic about Communism and are cynical pessimists too who are just unable to think in terms of the free market at all. Thus yes, my country has all the problems common to EE including corruption, cases of oppression here and there, cronyism, unemployment, lack of education etc. However at least I'm confident that nobody would sincerely wish for a theocracy (like many Muslims do) nor any form of dictatorship here. Like I said, in the Muslim world, clerical and worldly leaders are one and the same thing ("western inventions" such as separation of church and state just don't exist there and the general populace seems to reject the notion as well), regardless of the "hopes and dreams, desires and beliefs" they have. And this just isn't gonna change no matter how much "humanitarian bombarding" or "fights for freedom/democracy" (all done by one of the factions against the other ones with the help of the West, especially US) will try to advance the cause (and naturally make things even worse). Intelligence services probably know this already (or at least should) so now they're probably trying to side with the least despicable (and ideally also most powerful) faction (after they gather enough intelligence in such mess of course).

                it's their nation, and they're going to run it how they like. And that's the whole goddamned point.

                Yeah, but with nowadays the world being as small as it is, they're pretty much "close neighbors" (at least to me). And IDK about you, but I just won't be too happy if whatever monsterregime they create will spend all its spare time (and maybe even resources) to spread anti-western hate propaganda day and night (and possibly also think up ingenious ways of wreaking havoc in Europe too). The precedent is there already: Gaddafi, but also Iran (even though if the latter was only involved in hate propaganda/political trolling so far, since they still need someone to buy their oil).

                1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

                  Re: @Trevor_Pott

                  @Cool Koon

                  I'm perfectly okay with nations "spreading Western hate." Go for it. We need to be reminded on a regular basis that there's nothing "exceptional" about us, and that we aren't superior. For that matter, we need to be reminded that naked capitalism isn't the "best' form of government and that political and social development don't just suddenly stop because it is our collection of nations that is currently on the top of the heap.

                  Do I think theocracies are good? No. Do i think for a second that I - or anyone else in my nation - has a right to judge a system of government elected by it's people? No. Maybe theocracy is good for them, maybe it's not. But if it's what they want, then they need to find out for themselves if it works, or doesn't.

                  And maybe they'll invent something new. Democratic Socialist Theocracy. Freemarket Strong Arming. Flying Spaghetti Nationalist Capitlaism. Who knows. Not you and not me. And that's the point.

                  Free market capitalism has shitloads of problems that we brush under the rug. Yet apparently it's all good to tell others to be just like us? Why?

                  1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                    Stop

                    Re: Potty Re: @Trevor_Pott

                    ".....We need to be reminded on a regular basis that there's nothing "exceptional" about us...." Apart from the fact that we've established the longest peace Europe and Northern America has ever seen through a series of treaties and international agreements on security and trade, you mean? Just slightly different to the old monarchies and theocracies of Europe, and very different to the current turmoil in much of the World.

                    "....we need to be reminded that naked capitalism isn't the "best' form of government....." Capitalism is not a form of government, it is merely a form of economics that is usually a part of democratic government.

                    "....and that political and social development don't just suddenly stop because it is our collection of nations that is currently on the top of the heap...." The fact you can blather on in an Internet forum is exactly because of the social development opportunities that democracy and capitalism have offered and continue to offer. Do you see any similar musings posted here from 'Concerned of Pyongyang'? Maybe democracy (and capitalism) is not the best solution but it sure seems to be the best we've come up with so far.

    2. TheOtherHobbes

      Trrrrism is a red herring - as a proved in Iraq this week, where insurgents suddenly took over a city and everyone was surprised. (Was the NSA not listening?)

      The real point of surveillance is dissident monitoring, political surveillance, and industrial espionage - just as it has been for more than a century now.

      So when world + dog piled out of US-accessible cloud systems and started hardening their communications, and allies starting complaining that their calls were being monitored, the NSA's masters were not pleased.

      It's debatable how successful some of these efforts have been, but they've certainly made some kinds of surveillance more difficult.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Was the NSA not listening?

        nonono, you got it all WRONG! This is EXACTLY why they need to listen to EVERYTHING. It proves their point (the listening system isn't perfect yet, so they have, despite their best efforts, unfortunately, on this occassion, not managed to intercept the coms), while some undercover supporters of terrorist cause at home try to hinder the development of the perfect system.

        So most people see it's pathetic excuse?! Well, do we f... care what people think?! And we will fix what they think - all in due course!

      2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: TheOtherHobbes

        "....as a proved in Iraq this week, where insurgents suddenly took over a city and everyone was surprised....." You may have been surprised, but many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout. Red travel warnings to the area have been circulating in the City for weeks, which basically means the insurance cost of sending employees or contractors to that part of the World is the same as Afghanistan, a pretty good indicator of how those 'in the know' expected the current events. The UK's Foreign Office has been advising against any travel to Ramadi and Fallujah (two of the cities seized) for a month. The US's Dept of State issued a warning on March 6th. The Internet has been awash for over a year with articles warning that Maliki, in competition with that other Shia nutcase Sadr, has been pushing the Sunnis into a corner. Do not assume that your ignorance is anything but your own.

        The sectarian issues in Iraq have been festering for years, it was only going to be a matter of time before it all kicked off in a new civil war. Maliki thought getting the Yanks out would give him free reign to persecute and oppress the Sunnis, the Sunnis saw it as Obambi abandoning them, so it is any surprise the Sunnis have turned to extremists for protection? Half the Obambi administration wants to punish and/or remove Maliki from power and probably see a Sunni revolt as a 'necessary evil', and the other half are too terrified of more news items showing American body bags coming back from Iraq. The result is a free hand for ISIS and other extremist groups the US successfully pushed put of Iraq as part of the co-operative work done with local Sunnis in the Anbar Awakening.

        1. Mike Smith

          Re: TheOtherHobbes

          Spot on, have an upvote.

          I seem to recall that when he was caught, Saddam Hussein snarled at his captors, "You fools, do you really think you can run Iraq?"

          Looks like he was right after all.

          I'm not trying to justify Saddam's brutality, but there are a lot of corpses in Iraq who might still be alive if Dubya and Benito Blair had left him alone. Just sayin', as they say.

          1. kmac499

            Re: TheOtherHobbes

            Benito Blair Love it....Especially as he'll probably hate it..

            1. Gio Ciampa

              Re: TheOtherHobbes

              Not sure Benito (or descendants thereof) would be too pleased...

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: TheOtherHobbes

                Mussolini did invade Abyssinia. However, so far Blair hasn't been shot by partisans and hung up in Milan. One out of two isn't good enough to draw a parallel.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: TheOtherHobbes

                  "One out of two isn't good enough to draw a parallel."

                  Mussolini and Blair also announced their policies with the phrase "The Third Way".

                2. Tom 7 Silver badge

                  Re: TheOtherHobbes Arnaut the less

                  Why should Milan have all the fun?

          2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

            Re: TheOtherHobbes

            @ Mike Smith

            True, but Saddam would have generated another, different pile of corpses. Sadly, Iraq seems to be benighted.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: TheOtherHobbes

          "You may have been surprised, but many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout. "

          Many of us predicted this would be the result of the 2003 invasion. The dates of 1919, 1930, and 1958 are some of the previous deja vu moments on the Iraq timeline. Like most of the Sykes-Picot Ottoman Empire re-organisation - most of the new countries created were apparently designed to have internal tribal fracture lines.

          There is a recurring theme in the Arab world which goes along the lines: "I will join my brother to fight against my cousin; I will join my cousin to fight against my neighbour; I will join my neighbour to fight against a foreign invader.".

          The same with Afghanistan and the two previous ill-fated British expeditions - plus the Russian one.

          ...but then - Tony Blair regarded history as a subject of no interest. No doubt the Whitehall staff who had studied history had their heads in their hands.

          1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Re: TheOtherHobbes

            Not sure how you get designed-in fracture points when, looking at maps of Africa (fnarr fnarr) and the Middle East, most of the borders seem to be arbitrary straight lines drawn with a ruler.

            I'm not saying this was a good thing, but the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME seem to have had more interest in sipping tea on the verandah than ensuring the chunks they divided their colonies into were actually governable.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              Facepalm

              Re: gaz Re: TheOtherHobbes

              "....the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME...." Oi! It was the Sykes-PICOT agreement, so don't forget to blame the Fwench. And if you want to start on about Africa you also have to include the German, Italian, Belgian and Portugese pencil-wielders as well. The Dutch get a pass in Africa but only because we took away their pencils.

              1. Brian Morrison

                Re: gaz TheOtherHobbes

                Hardly, the Dutch descendants were responsible for Apartheid which in itself added to the pressure building up in the southern part of Africa.

                You can't let them off, they're as guilty as all the other colonial powers!

            2. Bloakey1

              Re: TheOtherHobbes

              <snip>

              "I'm not saying this was a good thing, but the British colonial administrators of the time in the ME seem to have had more interest in sipping tea on the verandah than ensuring the chunks they divided their colonies into were actually governable."

              Agreed, Sykes Picot, Balfour and all that innit <sic>.

              The Irish have a little song about those rum coves and their tiffin.

              Captains and the Kings

              I remember in September when the final stumps were drawn

              And the shouts of crowds now silent when the boisterous cheer had gone

              Let us O Lord above us remember simple things

              When all are dead who love us, Oh, the captains and the Kings

              When all are dead who love us, Oh, the captains and the Kings

              We have many goods for export Christian ethics and old port

              But our greatest boast is that the Anglo-Saxon is a sport

              When the dart's game is finished and the boys their game of rings

              And the draughts and chess relinquished, Oh, the captains and the Kings

              And the draughts and chess relinquished, Oh, the captains and the Kings

              Far away in dear old Cyprus or in Kenya's dusty land

              Where all bear the white mans burden in many a strange land

              As we look across our shoulder in West-Belfast the school-bell rings

              And we sigh for dear old England, and the captains and the Kings

              And we sigh for dear old England, and the captains and the Kings

              In our dreams we see old Harrow and we hear the crow's loud caw

              At the flower show our big marrow take's the prize from Evelyn Waugh

              Cups of tea and some dry sherry vintage car's, these simple things

              So let's drink up and be merry for the captains and the Kings

              So let's drink up and be merry for the captains and the Kings

              <snip>

            3. Levente Szileszky

              Re: TheOtherHobbes

              "Not sure how you get designed-in fracture points when,"

              He was probably thinking of the partitioning of India which arguably was designed to be unstable - and unstable it was (actually it is.)

              1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                Boffin

                Re: Levente Zillyboy Re: TheOtherHobbes

                "He was probably thinking of the partitioning of India which arguably was designed to be unstable...." The partitioning of India was thanks to the intractability of locals Muslims, especially Muhammad Jinnah, not the British. The British simply wanted out, especially as they were now under the post-War government of Labour's Clement Attlee. Ghandi certainly did not want to partition India, he wanted a single state where all religions could live in equality, but the Muslims feared being the minority under the dominion of the Hindu majority. The British tried to accommodate both sides with the Mountbatten Plan but it left the smaller princely states the choice of which country - India or Pakistan - they wished to join. And that's how the whole Kashmir mess started, when the Maharaja of Kashmir chose to join Kashmir to India against the wishes of his Muslim subjects, leading to the first Indo-Pakistani War in 1947. The big difference was pre-partition India had very distinct states and principalities that made up the overall country, whereas the chunk of the Middle East seized by the Brits from the Ottoman Empire did not, hence the countries of the Mid East were just about all arbitrary European creations.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: TheOtherHobbes

            Got to pick you up on the common misconception concerning British interventions in Afghanistan.

            The British invasions of Afghanistan in 1839/ 42 and 1878/80 were not the military disasters they are usually portrayed as. Concentrating on the betrayal of Elphinstone or the smashing of a brigade in Maiwand is like only studying WW2 as far as Dunkirk and then declaring the whole British involvement a disastrous defeat.

            In 1842 the vengeful British marched back to Kabul, freed the hostages and burned down the Grand Bazaar (and every village that they passed on the way). In 1880 they left after enforcing the treaty of Gandamack which held until after the end of WW1 almost 40 years later.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: TheOtherHobbes

              "Got to pick you up on the common misconception concerning British interventions in Afghanistan."

              Thanks for the details - my copies of Peter Hopkirk's "The Great Game" series have gone awol.

              The common thread in foreign invasions of Afghanistan appears to be that they have all tried to support/install an amenable leader in Kabul - which was not acceptable to all the differing tribes.

              The Russians supported a modern system in Kabul - with education and jobs for women. That was then undermined by the systemic corruption - and the violent conservative culture in the rural areas. The West supplied weapons, training, and support to people like Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban - in what was effectively an unnecessary proxy war with Russia. The Great Game mentality was still in play.

            2. Not That Andrew

              Re: TheOtherHobbes

              I don't see how losing four and a half thousand soldiers and God knows haw many camp followers is anything less than a military disaster. Just because they burnt down the Grand Bazaar in retaliation doesn't make it any less of a disaster.

        3. sabroni Silver badge

          @Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout

          You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?

          1. Bloakey1

            Re: @Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen since the US pullout

            "You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?"

            Saddam kept the lid on it all, the US removed the lid and the pot boiled over. The Shia minority were long repressed by the Sunni (mainly) minority.

            Now all of our chickens have come home to roost.

            I saw it in the Lebanon and elsewhere, the Arab concept of nation is often subjugated to the concept of religion and / or tribe.

          2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Boffin

            Re: sabroni Re: @Matt Bryant: many others have been waiting for it to happen.....

            "You don't think the invasion was the point at which this was precipitated, rather than when western forces left?" The invasion removed Saddam and the Ba'ath party from control but did not create the Sunni-Shia schism. Saddam had papered over the schism by oppression, killing about 80,000 people in each year he was in power. What the Allies did was (naively) believe that the promise of democracy could over-turn the tribal desire for vengeance. The politics of other countries in the area also played a part, Turkey in particular not being keen on the Kurds getting an autonomous state in the North, and Saudi not being keen on Shia Iran getting their feet under the table. Allied efforts, such as the Anbar Awakening, were successful in reducing the sectarian violence, but as soon as the Allies left the sectarian violence ramped back up. So, no, the invasion did not precipitate the problem, it simply exposed the nature of the problem.

        4. Brian Morrison

          Re: TheOtherHobbes

          Remember that all these countries boundaries were created in 1918 in a stitch-up between France and the UK. Those straight lines on the map are a dead giveaway aren't they?

          What is happening now is that the Middle East map is being redrawn with the tribal and religious links from the past reimposed, although quite how this will end up I don't know.

          It was inevitable that once the regional dictators were changed/removed/challenged that something like this would happen.

          May you live in interesting times!

          1. CoolKoon

            Re: TheOtherHobbes

            Well guess what, it wasn't only in ME where "all these countries boundaries were created in 1918 in a stitch-up between France and the UK", but also all throughout Eastern (and Central) Europe too. And the only reason those "lines on the map" in EE aren't as straight as their ME counterparts is because most of the times they were pegged to various landmarks (mostly rivers or some cases creeks). But the main philosophy was the same: they did cause the same kind of "tribal cracks" as in ME or Africa (divide et impera). Taking this into consideration it might not be too far-fetched that the EE maps would be redrawn in the same fashion as in the ME (provided it does happen in the ME, for which there's no proof as of this day), especially if the traditional Western European superpowers' power weakens (especially if it'd be coupled with Russia's demise), is it?

        5. Christoph Silver badge

          Re: TheOtherHobbes

          "The result is a free hand for ISIS and other extremist groups the US successfully pushed put of Iraq as part of the co-operative work done with local Sunnis in the Anbar Awakening."

          With a bit of help from the Saudis, and a lot of hypocrisy from the west, it's a right old tangle.

          About the only people who don't get a say in what happens are, as usual, the ones actually living there (or trying to).

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            Stop

            Re: Christoph Re: TheOtherHobbes

            Sorry but you lost all cred when you linked to that raving loon Craig Murray. His drivel makes Campbell's half-baked theories look like scientific fact.

        6. DrBobMatthews

          Re: TheOtherHobbes

          Considering that Iraq was not a threat to the the US prior to the illegal invasion and war constructed on the lies of WMD's the US and the UK have nothing to be proud of. GWBush was looking for any excuse for "intervention" because Saddam refused to toe the line by selling his coountry's oil in currencies other than the US$. America needed a war to fill the coffers of its arms manufacturers which are the basis of the economics of the Military Industrial Complex. This war, the same as the war by in Afghanistan, the proxy war in Libya, the destabilisation in Egypt, the funding of known Alquaeda terrorist "freedom fighters" (kindly supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia) in Syria were and are all necessary so tht America could continue to substantiate the lie of the war on terror. The terror exists primarily in the twisted manipulative minds of the US State Department and the Department of Defence ably supported by the CIA, the NSA and various US NGA.s who provide a thin veneer of respectability for US interference. The UK joined at the hip by the spineless UK establisment politicians is no better, all of them both US and UK take their orders eventually from the Zionist banking elite who pull the strings. They continue to look for opportunities for war to add to their ill gotten spols, and have no compunction in sacrificiing young mens lives and spilling blood of civilians in their endless greedy quest for wealth and control. The sheep who vote for these corrupt governments are fed a daily diet of dumbed down garbage on TV through the selective "news" channels and further by dumbed down TV output of celeb media icons. Nothing short of bread and circuses to deflect any thoughtful questioning of the whole rotten to the core established masters. When the election of a parliamentary candidate is determined by the amount of money that the candidate can raise, there is no such thing as "democracy" we live under an international kleptocracy run by crooks, murderers, thieves and low life driven by an on demand consumer society.

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: DrKnob Re: TheOtherHobbes

            ".....the lies of WMD's...." Go learn something (http://www.iraqwatch.org/wmd/).

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        This article has to be wrong. Because didn't Obama promise - he PROMISED - to end extraordinary rendition? Didn't Obama promise to end extraordinary rendition? Didn't he?

    3. Thomas Whipp

      Damage

      The alleged damage that this sort of thing causes doesn't lead to an immediate terror attack - what it would do is get some intelligence sources killed as their identity gets leaked, it damages diplomatic relations, etc... this damages the infrastructure used by an intelligence service so that its not as effective in the future.

      This doesn't translate into "we can directly trace attack X back to the disclosure of this information", you'd never be absolutely certain that you'd have caught it anyway. Plus you'd probably not want to disclose the change in capability if you could prove it.

      I personally think that you can choose to argue somewhere on the scale of:

      (*) the damage is a good thing as all intelligence services are evil

      (*) that its a bad thing which is justified because intelligence is getting too invasive

      (*) the damage is a bad thing which isn't justified as security is worth any price.

      But I don't think you can argue that it causes no damage at all - after all wasn't the whole point of the disclosure to make some level of impact.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Damage

        You've been reading too many spy novels, Thomas.

      2. Uffish

        Re: Damage

        There is also damage to a free society* caused by rampant bugging of everything that can be bugged, and the non-stop analysis of the data. There is also the damage caused to a free society by the neutralisation of democracy.

        This damage is inflicted by the security services on the people they profess to be protecting - that is what has to be balanced against any damage done to the security services.

        * free society on an international scale also

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Uffish Re: Damage

          "There is also damage to a free society* caused by rampant bugging of everything that can be bugged.....also the damage caused to a free society by the neutralisation of democracy...." So, you can show evidence of this 'damage', right? Maybe you'd like to help YawnGreen with his search for proof of 'harm' and Marsbarbrain with his search for evidence of his claimed 'chilling of liberty'. It should keep the three of you quiet for quite a while.

    4. R69

      I wonder if you can so confidently argue that the increase in Taliban/Al Qaeda etc activity in the middle east - most notably the ISIS events this week - are not linked to the publication of details of exactly what was being monitored and how??

  2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Impressive amateur tracking work...

    Have they any data for MH370?

    1. Chris Miller
      Happy

      Re: Impressive amateur tracking work...

      Unsurprisingly, there are few amateur radio receivers in the middle of the Indian Ocean :)

      1. Don Jefe
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Impressive amateur tracking work...

        That's what they want you to believe...

    2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Impressive amateur tracking work...

      "...measure differences in the time at which an aircraft's radar transponder signal reaches locations on the ground...."

      Really? Not just the usual $10 SDR USB thingies from eBay? Reading out the Latitude, Longitude, and Altitude data stream from the ADSB pings?

      I'm curious, Refs please! Or at least a Lego mock-up.

      1. Brian Morrison

        Re: Impressive amateur tracking work...

        Have a look at the PlanePlotter site, I think it's at www.coaa.co.uk or some such.

        Bev is one very smart chap, he managed to make MLAT work because the original SBS-1 receiver has a fast clock that is used to timestamp received transponder signals, with ntp and some clever PhD level maths you can then create intersecting hyperbolas that tell you where the thing is provided that you get enough receivers to resolve the ambiguities in position.

        From 45,000 feet, just about everyone can hear a transponder.

        1. dvv

          Re: Impressive amateur tracking work...

          Define "enough".

  3. tony2heads
    Black Helicopters

    the personal accommodations and amenities you can't find at commercial airports

    I would like the 'accommodations and amenities' that Mr Snowden would find at the end of his flight

    1. Psyx

      I believe Torture Garden in London might suit your needs.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Needs a jingle.

        I'm attempting to 'develop a catchy advert even now :

        "No need for fees you can't afford, we'll fly you home* from abroad! Onboard room and (water)board!"

        *No cancellations once boarded. Limited destinations available. The following is the current comprehensive list: Cuba. Our optional extras include legal representation, medical care, and daylight. Your optional extras include breathing. Details of this product, flight and destination may only be reproduced with the express permission of the Company. Offer void in Russia. Battery included.

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Needs a jingle.

          Battery (to the nipples) included.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I believe Torture Garden in London might suit your needs.

        Nope. That is based on informed consent :)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am surprised they have not just had him assassinated already. Returning to the states would certainly not have been good for his health.

    You only have to look at what they did to Bradley Manning, what he exposed was nothing compared to Snowden, a number of American perpetration of war crimes, America being an ass when talking about every other nation. Little bit of embarrassment, the whole thing blew over quite quickly.

    They do love their little "damaged national security" moniker though, which of course means that if you ask for evidence of this they simply state that they cannot show you what they know you just have to trust them... ...

    So is the reg going to add an inverted black plane icon after this?

    1. i like crisps
      Big Brother

      Re; Assassination.

      Hasn't happened yet because they don't want to "Martyr" him. Usual proceedure is to destroy your targets name/character first, to get public opinion on your side, then "Off" him....what a fuckin world!!!

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Re; Assassination.

        "Usual proceedure is to destroy your targets name/character first, to get public opinion on your side, then "Off" him"

        Or they could make it look like he committed suicide by slashing his wrists despite not having the strength to do so.

        Another method would be to make it look like a bizarre accident, such as climbing inside a holdall and then locking it from the outside.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      I am surprised they have not just had him assassinated alread

      That would only fuel their critics. Much better to have Snowden as a fugitive, he's already fallen off the edge of most newspapers' short-term-memory and been forgotten by the general public, but the NSA can always warm the hunt up again if they need more gung-ho publicity or a bargaining chip with Putin.

      1. Don Jefe

        Now, I'm sure the US would like to capture Snowden and make extra certain he isn't hiding any state secrets in his colon, but there's just no point in killing him now. The damage is done and can't be undone. Besides, the risks of a military operation in Russia are simply too great and there is zero reward.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Hollerith 1

          Dear Don Jefe

          You underestimate the appetites of American for petty vindictiveness.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Steve Evans

      Assasination...

      The US can't have him assassinated because everyone would immediately know it was them. They'll have to wait, and hope he upsets someone else who could be blamed.

      At the moment assassinating opponents is the only differentiation the US have from Putin's regime.

      If I was Snowden, I'd have a truck load of embarrassing stuff held on a dead man's switch on multiple servers... If I go off the grid, it gets automatically published, emailed and serialised on Twitter.

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Assasination...

        <snip>

        "At the moment assassinating opponents is the only differentiation the US have from Putin's regime."

        <snip>

        Agreed, the Russians are almost gentlemen in comparison. Ohhh, I see, you are presumably saying the US does not assassinate people.

        Hmmmm, mumble, Predators, Camp Lemonier, Special Activities Division etc.

        They assasinate 'en masse' with lots of colateral damage (*), see below for localised example not including Yemen or elsewhere:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan#Statistics

        * Murdered Civillians.

        1. Steve Evans

          Re: Assasination...

          I agree with your sentiments Bloakey1. The difference is that Snowden has achieved headline status above that of the targets the US have taken out from 10,000 feet. Even my mother has heard of him, and knows what he has done. This guarantees he'd get wide coverage if he "disappeared".

          The Pakistan victims are generally unknown, and when the "incident" is reported, they are portrayed as evil terrorists, even if they were nothing more than a goat herd.

          Dropping a rocket on Snowden whilst he's sitting in Moscow, wiping out a chunk of the local, densely packed, population, is just not going to happen... He'd need to be selectively targeted and taken out surgically, and that is something the US is just not good at.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Assasination...

        The US can't have him assassinated because everyone would immediately know it was them.

        unless they used polonium...

      3. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Assasination...

        On the other hand, given the Russians have him they do it then the US gets blamed and they get points for attempting to harbor a patriot. Win-win for Putin on this.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I am surprised they have not just had him assassinated already. Returning to the states would certainly not have been good for his health.

      That hasn't happened for the same reason Assange is still enjoying Ferrero Rocher (he must be almighty sick of them by now): the US is not going to turn these guys into martyrs.

  5. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    FAIL

    Groundless conjecture.

    The headline states that this jet was on standbye to transport Snowjob as a fact. The article, however, reveals nothing but conjecture. The facts presented are that the jet was previously used for rendition flights in a previous role, but is now used for a different purpose by a different branch of the government; that it flew a high flightpath to avoid having to log a public flightplan; that it flew to Copenhagen during the period Snowjob was stuck in Moscow. Everything else in the article is simply unproven conjecture, based on the paranoid dribblings of Internet wannabes. Unfortunately, that seems to be the limit of Duncan Campbell's journalistic capabilities. No doubt, if Snowjob wasn't on the scene, then Duncan would be jumping to some other wild conclusion based on sheeple fantasies, probably something along the lines of 'being on standbye for an extraordinary rendition of Assange' (oh, but then A$$nut is soooo last year with the trendy sheeple, right?).

    1. Psyx

      Re: Groundless conjecture.

      True enough. I don't see why you have so many downvotes.

      It's an interesting read, and even probably true, but still total conjecture.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Groundless conjecture.

        "True enough. I don't see why you have so many downvotes."

        Because Bryant seems to be a cheerleader for the surveillance state, that's why. In this case he's saying that they send a "black" aircraft off halfway round the world with no flight plan just for the effing fun of it, which is clearly nonsense.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Groundless conjecture.

          "Because Bryant seems to be a cheerleader for the surveillance state, that's why."

          I think he's generally rather unpleasant in character and opinion too, but that doesn't mean that everything he says is automatically wrong. Just because I am on one side of a debate, I don't discard everything from the other side of it. Even a stopped clock has the right to openly carry a firearm and shout at commie, liberal, sheeple, hippies for being leftie traitors twice a day, or something.

          "In this case he's saying that they send a "black" aircraft off halfway round the world with no flight plan just for the effing fun of it, which is clearly nonsense."

          Isn't it now in use with the US Marshall Service, according to the article? That's not a black arm of the government, last time I looked: they secure courthouses, protect witnesses and handle important prisoners. If Snowdon was going to be handed over to the US then it would make sense to hand him over to them. That's perfectly legitimate and rather different from the CIA flying to Moscow on the QT, putting a bag over Snowdon's head and flying him off to a country which is a little less restrictive in its use of enhanced interrogation.

          Having US Marshalls on hand to handle extradition under due process after doing some diplomatic wrangling is a very, very long way from "CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN", I think we can all agree. It's an interesting story and a great tale of techies finding stuff out, but the headline is just lame clickbait, worthy of the Daily Fail.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: Groundless conjecture.

            "Having US Marshalls on hand to handle extradition under due process after doing some diplomatic wrangling is a very, very long way from "CIA rendition jet was waiting in Europe to SNATCH SNOWDEN", I think we can all agree."

            Yes, we can, but...

            I don't know for sure, but it seems unlikely that "disclosing classified information" is a normally extraditable offense in any country where Snowden was likely to appear on his way to Iceland. It is also normal even in the event where the country recognises the extradition request that it takes some considerable time for the due process to take its course. Certainly, sending a bunch of Marshals to prepare for an extradition before all of that even started sounds a bit like jumping the gun... Why would one be so presumptive, I wonder...

            Unless, of course, you expect that the country you are sending the Marshals to will SNATCH SNOWDEN themselves and will hand him over to your welcoming team with total disregard of any due legal process. And that does not give the US any extra points in my eyes either.

            1. Psyx
              Happy

              Re: Groundless conjecture.

              "Certainly, sending a bunch of Marshals to prepare for an extradition before all of that even started sounds a bit like jumping the gun... Why would one be so presumptive, I wonder..."

              I think we can all guess that the US was applying a ton of back-channel diplomatic efforts to secure him. I can't say that I blame them, given the shit-storm they knew they were potentially walking into. And I don't think anyone would have been surprised if the Russians had put a bag on his head, either - upstanding saviours of free speech and individual rights that they are.

              Given that. it'd be a bit embarrassing to say "Err...thanks for being so keen to hand him over with a bag on his head in exchange for a few sweet trade deals or whatever you wanted, but we don't have anyone around to pick him up. Can we pop over next Tuesday for him?"

              I guess it's better to be an *efficient* bunch of totalitarian bastards than the keystone cops equivalent!

          2. Brian Morrison

            Re: Groundless conjecture.

            IIRC the US Marshals are part of the FBI and hence can be used to do stuff that isn't publicly admitted.

            Isn't that why Florida police have deputized some of the cellular surveillance operatives into the Marshals so that they can't be so easily FoI'd about what they're doing?

            1. Psyx

              Re: Groundless conjecture.

              "IIRC the US Marshals are part of the FBI and hence can be used to do stuff that isn't publicly admitted."

              No, they're a separate Federal organisation, doing separate jobs. nothing to do with the FBI, apart from they both fall under the DoJ (Along with the DEA and ATF).

              Handling an important prisoner or fugitive is precisely what the USMS is for, so it would completely legitimately fall to them to babysit him and keep Snowdon in one piece.

          3. Jos V

            Re: Groundless conjecture.

            "Isn't it now in use with the US Marshall Service, according to the article?"

            http://registry.faa.gov/aircraftinquiry/NNum_Results.aspx?NNumbertxt=N977GA

            From 2010 until now, it's owned by the US DOJ.

      2. cynic56

        Re: Groundless conjecture.

        @Psyx.

        I think the downvotes might have a little to do with the predictable sneering tone of his comments complete with the usual "Snowjob", "paranoid dribblings of Internet wannabes", "sheeple", "A$$nut" and rubbishing of the journalist's capabilities. This is tedious and detracts from any valid points he might have made.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Groundless conjecture.

      There has been a lot of conjecture recently concerning the activities of 'security agencies'. And it is normally denied off the bat (or ignored). Then when more facts come to the front the denial is reversed but we are told its not as bad as its made out.

      The problem now is a trust issue. It has been clearly demonstrated that the security agencies cannot be trusted to tell the truth even to the people they are answerable to. At the same time this is exposed by a single guy being pursued in a heavy handed way while being told he is an insignificant and untrustworthy traitor. Whatever the reality it absolutely looks like Snowden is telling the truth while security agencies look less and less like friends and more like villains.

      Also I would like to address your bottled up erotic fantasy. If he does get caught and detained by the defenders of freedom and democracy I would not be surprised if his punishment, at whatever black site he is taken to, would be forced into giving Snowjob's. But that kind of emotionally repressed fantasy would require a twisted mind. Maybe some of the staff from Guantanamo Bay could be transferred to assist.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Destroyed All Braincells Re: Groundless conjecture.

        Aw, I luv you too, hunnybunz! Isn't it nice, having so many sheeple dedicating their time to forum-stalking? Now, if only Destroyed and YawnGreen could get together, by pooling their limited capabilities they might even post a relevant and original idea!

        /If you need sarc tags it's because you baaaaah-lieve YawnGreen and Destroyed are 'valuable contributors'.

    4. BlueGreen

      Re: Groundless conjecture. @Plump & Bleaty

      Hi lambchop, kindly get your worthless wooly behind back here and provide proof of your assertion. I'm sure you just forgot, it's not like you to make claims then fail to back them up or anything.

      You naughty little pot-stirrer, you.

      "I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative" - J. S. Mill

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: YawnGreen Re: Groundless conjecture. @Plump & Bleaty

        And yet another content-free forum-stalker post. BTW, show me the 'harm', and I don't mean what the social services staff did to you.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: YawnGreen Groundless conjecture. @Plump & Bleaty

          Work yourself up into a frenzy Clapper. You'll explode soon :-)

    5. fran 2
      Meh

      Re: Groundless conjecture.

      "Snowjob"

      Please use grown up language

      1. Bloakey1

        Re: Groundless conjecture.

        "Please use grown up language"

        Agreed it should be Fellatio Nix.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Groundless conjecture.

      Thanks for your contribution Mr Clapper. We'll call you if we ever need your garbage here again ...

    7. John H Woods Silver badge

      Ruined it ...

      Matt, you actually made sense in your previous post and presented a cogent argument. In this post you have reverted back to ad-hominems against everyone with whom you disagree. In contrast, there is some pretty decent conservative / (sometimes quite far) right-of-centre writing on El Reg, what with Tim, Andrew and Lewis, and they generally present a coherent view with which one who holds a differing perspective can engage -- and even in some cases be persuaded.

      You are of course right that this is conjecture. However, your statement that this conjecture is "based on the paranoid dribblings of Internet wannabees" (whatever they are), along with your terms "Sheeple fantasies", "A$$nut" and "Snowjob", adds very little to your argument - I would say it detracts from it.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: John H Woods Re: Ruined it ...

        "....there is some pretty decent conservative / (sometimes quite far) right-of-centre writing on El Reg, what with Tim, Andrew and Lewis....." Am I the only one that remembers when this used to be a valued TECHNICAL website and not an home for poor socio-political opinion pieces? All I can surmise is that the sheeple the site has been attracting for the last few years must click on a lot of adverts (probably by accident due to their generally confused state).

        1. BlueGreen

          Re: John H Woods Ruined it ... @Plump & Bleaty

          > Am I the only one that remembers when this used to be a valued TECHNICAL website and not an home for poor socio-political opinion pieces?

          wut?

          "and not an home for poor socio-political opinion pieces?"

          THIS? Coming from YOU???

        2. Psyx

          Re: John H Woods Ruined it ...

          "Am I the only one ...sheeple... confused state"

          Yes Matt, you are the only one that remembers that, because everyone else is a retard and you are special, not a sheep like them. You can have a good wank about it later.

          If you don't like it, you can always go elsewhere.

          " In this post you have reverted back to ad-hominems against everyone with whom you disagree."

          Yeah. I'm really regretting that upvote, even if he did have a point.

    8. Brian Morrison

      Re: Groundless conjecture.

      That'll be the same groundless conjecture that DC has been writing about for 35+ years now where he's regularly been shown to be pretty much right in hindsight is it Matt?

      The establishment hate him, and have tried to stop him many times, they wouldn't bother if he was an insignificant gadfly now would they?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Brian Morrison Re: Groundless conjecture.

        "That'll be the same groundless conjecture that DC has been writing about for 35+ years now where he's regularly been shown to be pretty much right in hindsight is it Matt?...." He may have proven the existence of the God Particle in another work, it does not detract from the fact his conclusion in this article is a massive jump of faith. Campbell could have stated it was his theory, that the limited facts available made him believe that conclusion, but instead it was passed of as a factual statement.

        "....The establishment hate him, and have tried to stop him many times, they wouldn't bother if he was an insignificant gadfly now would they?" Again, that is no measure of the factual content of this article or the conclusions that Campbell makes. If you are saying that you are going to unquestioningly accept whatever he says regardless, then that is your choice, but please accept that others may prefer a little more actual evidence.

  6. Hellcat
    Black Helicopters

    I for one like this new edgy side of el reg.

    Flightradar24 even has helicopters now. Say goodbye to another 30 minutes of your life!

  7. John Deeb

    Mr Snowden's colleagues??

    "According to Mr Snowden's colleagues,..."

    Ahum. And who are those exactly? Former colleagues? Colleague whistle-blowers? Fellow planespotters? No reason for this added mystique here, I'd think.

  8. Number6

    Your Twitter feed mentions men in black suits turning up at your offices. Are these suits actually white like the jet in question?

    1. MartinBZM
      Black Helicopters

      Dontcherknew?

      White is the New Black.

      Just helpin'

      1. mrobaer
        Joke

        Re: Dontcherknew?

        Orange is the new black.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dontcherknew?

          Orange is the new black.

          Only if the Dutch win :p

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dontcherknew?

            Orange is the new black.

            Only if the Dutch win :p

            They started off well, 5-1 ...

      2. Gronk

        Re: Dontcherknew?

        If the CIA people are wearing white suits and flying white planes then it's probably the F.I.R.M.

        They might have Archangel running the operation.

  9. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    There's a certain delicious irony

    in spying on the spies.

    I wonder how they liked it ?

    It's all the more sweet for being such a Heath Robinson story - how much did these guys spunk on *their* tech ?

    1. MartinBZM
      Trollface

      Re: There's a certain delicious irony

      Spy-vs-Spy ?

    2. Jos V

      Re: There's a certain delicious irony

      About $20 including a free premium subscription to flightradar24 I suppose :-)

      http://www.flightradar24.com/dvbt-stick

  10. i like crisps
    Big Brother

    RENDITION n. surrender; translation; performance.

    I'm old-skool. Not 'RENDITION' but' KIDNAP & ABDUCTION'.

    1. i like crisps

      Re: RENDITION n. surrender; translation; performance.

      To the person who "Down Voted" me....is it 'Collins English Gem Dictionary' (1974) or my interpretation of the word "RENDITION" that you've got the problem with?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RENDITION n. surrender; translation; performance.

        "To the person who "Down Voted" me....is it 'Collins English Gem Dictionary' (1974) or my interpretation of the word "RENDITION" that you've got the problem with?"

        Dunno about the others, but I've downvoted your whinge about being downvoted. Annoying practice that more and more people here are indulging in.

        My Concise Oxford (early 80s) gives one meaning of rendition as rendering, with an archaic usage of render having such meanings as give up, hand over and so on. It's being used as a crass euphemism, but apparently not linguistically incorrect.Unless they say they're doing the rendition, in which case they've got it entirely backwards.

      2. Bloakey1

        Re: RENDITION n. surrender; translation; performance.

        "To the person who "Down Voted" me....is it 'Collins English Gem Dictionary' (1974) or my interpretation of the word "RENDITION" that you've got the problem with?"

        The Americans were so surprised at their interpretation of rendition that they added a word in front, i.e. Extraordinary Rendition.

        Extraordinary translation of Kidnapping, extraordinary down voting.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Probably Fotherington-Thomas, who is a wet and a weed.

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      re:Fotherington-Thomas

      utterly...

  12. southpacificpom
    Paris Hilton

    Disgusting

    Is the CIA after Snowden's snatch now?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: southpacificpom Re: Disgusting

      "Is the CIA after Snowden's snatch now?" Disgusting? Lindsay Mill is not THAT bad that a bit of the old beer-goggles couldn't solve - http://boston.barstoolsports.com/files/2013/06/snowden-480x480.jpg. (PNSFW!)

      And apparently she's looking for a shoulder to cry on now that Eddie has 'abandoned her' - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/10580662/Edward-Snowden-completely-abandoned-girlfriend-says-her-father.html

    2. Bloakey1

      Re: Disgusting

      Nope. They tried to snatch him but as he was beavering away in muffti <sic> they could not get to him or con him into exposing himself.

      A bit like king Cnut turning back the tides.

  13. Arachnoid

    You guys should know by now

    In espionage and politics in particular, nothing is ever what it seems.Its akin being back the the cold war era using time tested spying and infiltration techniques to get a squint of the other players cards before he plays them.The use of puppet like pawns and feints to achieve a goal even when the poor sap doesn't know they are but a part of the bigger agenda.

    As for Iraq I'm sure their were multiple scenarios discussed in regard to what would happen after the withdrawal of troops and what better way to deplete an enemies forces and reduce its effectiveness than to use internal politics and rivalry get it to fight itself

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: You guys should know by now

      "As for Iraq I'm sure their were multiple scenarios discussed in regard to what would happen after the withdrawal of troops"

      The only ever possible scenario was "it will all go to shit, again". You don't need sophisticated intelligence apparatus to figure that one out.

      BTW, that will be exactly the same scenario for Afghanistan too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You guys should know by now

        ..."it will all go to shit, again" - that was the plan.

        US foreign policy is very simple:

        1. Get your puppet to rule, or if that doesn't work,

        2. Divide and conquer (actively or passively makes no difference)

        Already rolled out in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Syria. Underway in Pakistan, Ukraine, Iran and North Korea.

        Peace making is of zero interest to the military industrial complex. Plus more bad guys means less civil liberties. Win-win :(

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: AC Re: You guys should know by now

          "....US foreign policy is very simple:...." What, you want to claim the US went back in time and created the Sunni-Shia schism? Apart from Ukraine (which is a problem of Russian origin), the ret of the countries listed share a simple common factor - Islam. Trying to pretend the US is the sole cause of all the World's ills may get you kudos inside the herd but don't be surprised when the rest of the World laughs at your sheepleness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: AC You guys should know by now

            They didn't need to go back in time.

            John Glubb (Glubb Pasha), probably the most expert expert on the Middle East ever to wear a British Army uniform, commented that while individual Arabs are the nicest people on Earth, their tragedy is that they have never found a way to have a peaceful transition from one government to another; hence gerontocracies (as Mubarak became) and government transition by invasion or internal rebellion.

            This is a problem of Arab culture more than a problem of Islam per se. Iran is not an Arab country,nor is Malaysia.

            The present state of the ME was created by British and then American governments. They have tried to impose democracy on countries that don't really get it, they have drawn arbitrary borders and mixed up hereditary enemies in one country (Iraq), they have implanted a Western state in the region (Israel), which is rapidly changing its ethnic mix to become mainly Russian and African. And, disastrously, they have supported a religious fundamentalist State (Saudi Arabia) which is now mischief making all over the region in the interests of enforcing Wahabi Islam. The US has consistently sided with the Sunnis and only now are having to admit that there is nothing to choose between Sunni and Shia - after spending 2 trillion dollars on doing 6 trillion dollars of damage to Iraq.

            I realise it is impossible to have a rational discussion with you because of your predilection for personal abuse, but your categorising Islam as the problem would be like blaming Christianity for the series of European wars from Luther to Hitler, on the basis that frequently States with different flavours of Christianity were involved.

            If Manning, Snowden and Assange have done us all a favour, it may be by causing the brighter thinkers in US politics to start to grasp, not only how they have been spied on, but also how the Intelligence agencies and their neocon cheerleaders have consistently misrepresented what is happening on the ground to get support for policies that favour the arms makers and the oil industry. Growing US gas extraction means that at last the US can look coldly at Saudi Arabia and, to a lesser extent, Israel, and perhaps get a more rational grip on the Middle East.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Arnaut the clueless Re: AC You guys should know by now

              ".... Iran is not an Arab country,nor is Malaysia....." Neither Iran or Malaysia were listed in the countries the original AC poster tried to claim where their current problems were 'all the fault of US foreign policy'. However, as well as being a major cause of the friction in the current Shia-Sunni conflicts in the Middle east, Iran itself is not immune to the problem, the Shia authorities having oppressed and victimised local Iranian Sunni Arabs, especially since the Islamic Revolution. Malaysia is currently awash with petrol cash and stabilised by the system of government, law and civil service they inherited from British rule, but all is not rosy there either. They currently have an internal struggle between those that want to encourage Western investment and those that want to impose hardline Sharia laws. Persecution of Christians in Malaysia has been rife since the British colonial powers left. The Open Doors charity has an UK site which has a list of the fifty worst offending countries that persecute Christians (http://www.opendoorsuk.org/persecution/country_profiles.php), topped by North Korea (one of the last rabid Marxist countries, therefore outlawing religion) and including Malaysia - please do count the number of Islamic states that appear in the list, then try arguing it is a co-incidence. Islam is non-democratic and breeds intolerance, hence their inability to let bygones be bygones in Iraq.

              "....they have implanted a Western state in the region (Israel), which is rapidly changing its ethnic mix to become mainly Russian and African...." Apart from the fact that the UN Partition Plan for British Mandate Palestine was based on areas which had an existing Jewish population that had been there for thousands of years, you mean? And are you being racist as well as anti-Semitic when you say Russian or African Jews should be refused the right to live in Israel simply because they are Russian or black? You do realise (probably not) that there are plenty of Islamic states in Africa, such as Egypt, with black African Muslims, are you going to insist they get rid of all of them too?

              "....The US has consistently sided with the Sunnis...." If that were true they would not have let the Shia majority take control in Iraq. The US stood by their democratic ideals, it is the Iraqi Shia that failed to see the possibilities of engaging peacefully with all Iraqis.

              "....I realise it is impossible to have a rational discussion with you...." Because I expose the idiocy of your convictions? Because I debunk your silly ideas with ease? Because you are unable to argue against the points I raise? Grow up, TBH.

              "....your categorising Islam as the problem would be like blaming Christianity for the series of European wars from Luther to Hitler...." If you wish to pretend that the Sunni-Shia schism has no bearing on the current conflict in Iraq (or Syria, or simmering away in Lebanon) then please do provide an in-depth appraisal of the history of each country the AC listed and point out how only the US is to blame. It should be good for a few laughs!

              ".....it may be by causing the brighter thinkers in US politics to start to grasp, not only how they have been spied on, but also how the Intelligence agencies and their neocon cheerleaders have consistently misrepresented what is happening on the ground to get support for policies that favour the arms makers and the oil industry....." Too silly for words! If the 'brighter thinkers' actually needed Snowjob, Manning or A$$nut to give them an insight into the capabilities of the NSA or GCHQ then they can't have been that bright. The evidence has either been there or been public conjecture for many years. Even Duncan Campbell had to admit during the ABC Trails that all the 'secrets' on GCHQ he had 'exposed' were already in the public arena, what he was prosecuted for was discussing the secret work of a former GCHQ employee in breach of the OSA. If your 'bright thinkers' hadn't picked up on it then they were, frankly, not bright. You also forget, all too easily, that the Democrats have been holding the reigns during much of the NSA's existance, and yet they didn't dismantle the "neocons' apparatus"? Your diatribe against 'neocons and the arms makers and the oil industry' just sounds like junior grade sheeple material, please try and be original.

  14. Mitoo Bobsworth
    Devil

    Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence...

    I'm pretty sure one of his reasons for letting in Snowden was purely to wind up the 'merkins.

    (sings in a russian accent) "You can't alvays get vot you vant..."

    1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence...

      Probably - and it has worked.... possibly one of the few things Putin has done to improve things

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only Vladimir Putin's intransigence...

        Putin approval rating in 18-24 year age group in Russia is over 80%.

        Outside the US-and-allies bubble, he's winning the propaganda war. Inside Russia he's delivering Chinese-sized growth rates (not hard, just stop some of the wholesale theft of Yeltsin's mob.)

        Hillary says he's like Hitler. He says he's like Charles de Gaulle. Personally, I think he's like von Bismarck, or would like to be. I leave it to anybody interested to look up Bismarck's career and see the similarities, especially the way he went about German unification. The similarities between the ploy over customs unions, and the leveraging of cheap gas, are I think obvious.

  15. Roland6 Silver badge

    Why wasn't the plane investigated or shot out of the sky?

    What is missing from this piece is that here we have an aircraft that has not announced it's presence to air traffic control and hence too all intents and purpose is up to no good and there is no mention of it either receiving a visit from the RAF or simply just have a missile tossed at it (sorry didn't you know we were conducting a military exercise over the north sea...). Hence we conclude either the UK government knew about it or they have turned off our military radar systems to save money...

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Roland6 Re: Why wasn't the plane investigated or shot out of the sky?

      "What is missing from this piece is that here we have an aircraft that has not announced it's presence to air traffic control...." Because the article only states no public flight plan was filed, that doesn't mean no-one was aware. Indeed, the whole article is based on the fact they tracked the radar transponder, which means air defence radar in most of Western Europe would have been aware of the aircraft. It also means they could simply look up the tag and say 'oh, it's an US Government aircraft which has been granted carte blanche to fly overhead outside ATC controlled airspace'. For all you know they could have spent the whole flight chatting with the RAF controllers that monitor and control the airspace outside the commercial levels.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Roland6 Why wasn't the plane investigated or shot out of the sky?

        Whilst you are absolutely correct, this is an opportunity to further stir the pot and increase the heat on politicians who at the end of the day tacitly approved the over flight...

      2. Jos V

        Re: Roland6 Why wasn't the plane investigated or shot out of the sky?

        45.000ft is within Class-A airspace (FL180-FL600), which is controlled airspace.

        Private jets (or the US DOJ jet in this case) fly above the commercial flight routes so they don't interfere with it, so 45.000ft (FL450) is not abnormally high for an aircraft that has a service ceiling of 51.000ft (Gulfstream G-V).

  16. Arachnoid

    According to Mr Snowden's colleagues,..

    Russian or Polish good time girls would probably be his only constant colleagues at the moment though he may need to watch they don't inject him between the toes with some US supplied substance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: According to Mr Snowden's colleagues,..

      he may need to watch they don't inject him between the toes with some US supplied substance

      I don't think so, see the martyr discussion earlier under this topic.

  17. Arachnoid

    Death from natural causes i.e. Heart attack

    The favoured Russian way to remove someone from power

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's gonna be painful...

    ...when the Russians plug radiation into Snowden for all the world to watch him wither away. As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

    1. Uffish
      WTF?

      Re: It's gonna be painful...

      So the Russians kill Snowden in one of their trademark ways - why? - so that everyone thinks it was the Americans - because ? ... no, you've lost me.

  19. Mark Butler

    Airspace classes

    Considering the ceiling for IFR flight across Europe is around 66,000 feet and that requires a flight plan and ATC comms it doesn't bode well for the accuracy of the rest of the story.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Mark Butler Re: Airspace classes

      "Considering the ceiling for IFR flight across Europe is around 66,000 feet and that requires a flight plan and ATC comms it doesn't bode well for the accuracy of the rest of the story." I don't think that's the case for the North Atlantic, over which most of the flight took place. I think you'll also find that a NATO countries agreement from 2001 allows US military and government aircraft to overfly NATO countries without filing a public flight plan.

      1. Mark Butler

        Re: Mark Butler Airspace classes

        Well, I was specifically referring to the Scottish and onward portion, but fair enough, I didn't know about the NAT tracks. Do you have a source for the NATO thing?

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Mark Butler Airspace classes

          "....Do you have a source for the NATO thing?" Not really. It's mentioned in the Wikipedia article on rendition flights as having been agreed on 4th October 2001, otherwise it got a lot of airtime in these forums. It basically allowed the other NATO governments to deny all knowledge because they didn't have to record legal docs like flight manifests. To the public, it was dressed up as allowing NATO to deploy resources quickly in response to terrorist threats without the delays of flight plans, etc. It's also been used by US politicians to keep surprise visits to dangerous areas as secret as possible right up to the time of visit, in the hope it won't allow someone like Hezbollah or AQ (or ISIS) to setup a 'reception'.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Mark Butler Airspace classes

          >Well, I was specifically referring to the Scottish ... portion

          You might be getting ahead of yourself, the Scottish independence vote isn't for a few months yet... :)

  20. Arachnoid

    everyone thinks it was the Americans - because

    Whilst the US is not as good at the game as the Russians they do have undercover agents [allegedly] and if its done on foreign soil....

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

    ... about this extraordinary rendition aircraft, its purpose, how it was going to be used in Mr. Snowden's case, how it was not going to be used in Mr. Snowden's case, who was on board this aircraft, who wasn't on board this aircraft but should have been, NATO Treaty intricacies, subsequent amendments and their applicability as a matter of law, I move that we table this discussion and collectively express our gratitude for having someone as knowledgeable and enlightened as Matt Bryant willing to share some of his invaluable time and edumacate the rest of us.

    Matt Bryant Knows Everything, ranging from finance to economics to central banking to interest-rate setting mechanisms, undercover intelligence gathering, inner workings of the NSA, SIGINT, international flight plan filing requirements, Copenhagen Airport, exact geographical location of Scotland, Vladimir Putin's thinking, Edward Snowden's thinking about Vladimir Putin's thinking, Solaris, SPARC, Itanium, you name it, Matty-Boy Knows It.

    Someone at a bar told me that he can also walk on water, be physically present in several different places at the same time, operate in multiple N-dimensional spaces, bend the time-space continuum by focusing gravitational waves, cure cancer and bring about World Peace.

    Matt Bryant Is Love.

    We are truly blessed for having Matt Bryant here, amongst the undeserving rest of us.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

      Hey Matty B called it right with his man love for the Itanium didn't he?

    2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: AC Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

      ".....edumacate the rest of us..." Well, some of you seem to be suffering from an excess of education from which you derived no knowledge.

      "....ranging from finance to economics to central banking to interest-rate setting mechanisms...." Aw, you're not STILL sulking over the kicking you took in not being able to disprove my simple example of how someone earning 100k lives like a millionaire, are you? That 'illustrious' college degree you bleated on about should have included a module in getting over yourself.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

      Matt Bryant is an attention seeking troll, probably suffering from some form of autism.

      The perpetual stream of condescending insults at anyone and everyone who disagrees with him is totally unacceptable and an abysmal failure by the moderators on this forum.

      You can be sure that such bile directed against Orlowski would have been promptly removed and warnings issued, but obviously the same standards aren't applied when genuine contributors are verbally abused.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: AC Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

        I see that you go another whole post bitching about my posts but - again - being unable to post any counters. And now you're moaning about Orlowski too? You must be a Green sheeple.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

        I would be extremely cautious to diagnose Matt Bryant as suffering from any form of autism spectrum disorder. Anger management issues perhaps; what is clear is that he expects to be able to disagree with other people, using insulting language, but he doesn't like it if anybody disagrees with him.

        Only two of the Americans I've met over the years have resembled him in this; one was also a hard right Republican, and the other was a Vietnam vet who most likely was suffering from PTSD, though I don't think it was called that in those days, and again this isn't a diagnosis. Opinion polls have suggested that more than 90% of scientists in the US vote Democrat in national elections, and really I'm not surprised.

        What is interesting about him is that he cannot resist personal insults and can't make his case without them. I've decided I don't mind. If he wants to call me "Arnaut the clueless" let him. P J O'Rourke constantly insults Harvard graduates and Jimmy Carter, but I don't notice any of them leaving suicide notes in which they state that his rudeness was the final straw.

        1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

          [ ... ] he expects to be able to disagree with other people, using insulting language, but he doesn't like it if anybody disagrees with him. [ ... ]

          [ ... ] Opinion polls have suggested that more than 90% of scientists in the US vote Democrat in national elections, and really I'm not surprised. [ ... ]

          Link to the abstract of an interesting research article published in the Journal of Psychological Science:

          http://pss.sagepub.com/content/23/2/187

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: AC Re: now that Matt Bryant has clarified everything there is to know ...

            "....Link to the abstract of an interesting research article published in the Journal of Psychological Science...." Of course, because there never were any racist or homophobic Lefties, right?

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalin%27s_antisemitism

            You guys really need to realise bad science is just bad science, no matter how comforting you find it. Oh, and that's another sheeple post with SFA to do with the thread or the with any counter to the points I raised. Try again, only a lot harder, mmmkay?

  22. tovangar2

    "Snatch" or Save?

    If, as many suspect, Snowden is a CIA asset in it's continuing in-fighting with NSA, maybe the jet was there to save Snowden if the USG got too close

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bolivian President's plane diverted in Europe

    Don't forget that the President of Bolivia had his plane diverted inside Europe when returning from a trip to Moscow. Apparently it was thought possible that he was smuggling the then "in limbo" Snowden to South America.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23156360

  24. DougS Silver badge

    I'm surprised this works, and wonder if it works when it matters

    If amateurs can track US planes on presumably pretty dark if not completely black missions, why wouldn't they turn off the transponder? (yeah, I know they're made to not be turned off, but that should be an afternoon's work for one engineer to put a switch on it)

    Then they could turn on a transponder with a fake identify, so every time it flies it is a different plane. Sort of like James Bond's rotating license plates.

    Seems like it would be easy to avoid this type of amateur tracking if they wished, so given that they didn't, that means they didn't care in this instance if they were tracked. When they're on a mission that isn't already splattered over the world press, they might be a bit more subtle.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: I'm surprised this works, and wonder if it works when it matters

      I imagine that every use of obfuscating procedues exposes them to discovery. And so they are used only when necessary so as to prolong their lifetime.

      I don't think this flight qualifies as a 'black op'. The World knew Snowden was a target of US law enforcement and intelligence agencies. So having people see the plane coming for him was not really a surprise. On the other hand, if this knowledge would have resulted in a flash mob showing up to block the runway (had ES been apprehended and loaded onboard), the DoJ might start cloaking their ops. Then, we might see some interesting cat and mouse games involving amateur tracking.

    2. Vic

      Re: I'm surprised this works, and wonder if it works when it matters

      why wouldn't they turn off the transponder? (yeah, I know they're made to not be turned off

      On the contrary, they *are* designed to be turned off.

      Here's a picture of one of the units I use - note the "on", "off" and "stby" buttons in the circle. Another type (similar to one I use, but not quite the same) can be found here. Again, note the "off" position on the switch...

      Then they could turn on a transponder with a fake identify

      Not all transponders have any knowledge of the aircraft identity (although I suspect this one would have).

      Seems like it would be easy to avoid this type of amateur tracking if they wished, so given that they didn't, that means they didn't care in this instance if they were tracked.

      I suspect it's more along the lines of flying a jet at high speed is significantly safer if you have a mode S transponder active, and the risks of being tracked are nothing like the risks of flying into something because you haven't seen it in time. I don't know the capabilty of this particular aircraft, but an indicated airspeed of 400 knots at 45,000 ft comes out as a true airspeed of 760 knots. That's bloody fast in anyone's language (although I'm pretty sure the aircraft won't achieve this, at it would be supersonic at that altitude).

      Vic.

    3. Jos V

      Re: I'm surprised this works, and wonder if it works when it matters

      Transponders usually have a selector switch, which can be set to "off", "standby" , "on", and "alt". The last one being the mode it would be in during your regular cruise flight.

      So, just turning it to "off", does exactly that. It turns of the transponder.

      I think people get a bit confused with the only thing that pilots cannot turn off, which is the Flight Data Recorder. It turns on when all the avionics are activated (or like when the beacon lights are turned on), or when the wheels leave the ground, until wheels touch ground again and avionics are turned off.

      Having said that, it will disappear you from secondary radar, but not from primary radar (the conventional radio bounce thing). I think most countries will frown upon aircraft turning up on radar into controlled airspace, without identification on secondary (unless you fly around Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, or Indonesia, apparently). Not sure if radio communication with ATC alone is enough...

  25. FuzzyTheBear
    Black Helicopters

    All good intentions

    Come on .. the CIA was just trying to be courteous towards one of a US Citizen in need of assistance .. they were to take him on a personalised tour so he could relax at one of the world most famous hotels and enjoy superb dining in Cuba . Really people .. you should stop seeing conspiracies and evil where there's none .. The cheerfull lads at the CIA have , haven't and never do any wrong or anything illegal. Nothing but good intentions.

    ( Note : this comment was written with a cheerfull CIA operative pointing a silenced .45 at my temple .. nothing to see here , it's for my security .. or so i'm told ...

  26. wiggers

    Life imitating art...

    Has anyone read Le Carré's latest, A Delicate Truth? Deals with all this kind of stuff very well. Spot on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Life imitating art...

      I read it, but sadly I think the old boy is losing his touch a bit. I wouldn't recommend buying it. A small town in Germany remains my favourite Le Carré book.

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. JaitcH
    Happy

    I, and no doubt many others, are happy that Snowden ...

    missed his flight.

    Where's his Nobel?

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re. I, and no doubt many others, are happy that Snowden ...

    Fair enough, Snowden deserves it far more but IMHO should share it with Assange for daring to out the surveillance state which we all knew existed but couldn't prove until quite recently.

  30. David Glasgow

    One jet or more?

    I'm sure I read somewhere that in June Obama said that he was “not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker.”

    Perhaps it is the specific use of the plural that allowed him to make such a statement - or maybe he just had his fingers crossed behind his back

    1. James Pickett

      Re: One jet or more?

      "to get a 29-year-old hacker"

      I thought he was a 29-year old government employee.

    2. David Glasgow

      Re: One jet or more?

      I got a thumbs down, for that?

      Barak......was that you?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: David Glasgow Re: One jet or more?

        "..... Barak......was that you?" Obambi? Unlikely. Now, Shrillary or one of 'her people'.....

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks Reg

    You sometimes seem like the last bastion of journalism. I have unblocked advertisers for your site only, thats how much I appreciate you :)

  32. Blitheringeejit

    Matt Bryant Silver Badge Commentard Rating

    I am vaguely aware that large numbers of upvotes can gain a commentard the coveted Silver Badge status. But does El Reg count downvotes towards removal of said status?

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Blitheringeejit Re: Matt Bryant Silver Badge Commentard Rating

      "..... the coveted Silver Badge status....." Aw, what a laughable little popularist troll you are! I take it you think you need the adulation of your fellow sheeple to be 'a success' to have 'achieved something'? Would you stick your head in an oven if they offered to upvote you for it because it sounds like you would. As I have pointed out before, I really couldn't give a jot whether you sheeple get your panties in a bunch. When the forums started the badges, I posted that there should also be a black badge for achieving a certain number of down votes, it would at least show independent thought.

      ".....But does El Reg count downvotes towards removal of said status?" LOL, to really upsets you, does it? So amusing! Oh, and again, nothing at all to do with the thread. You sheeple really do hate a dissenting voice, don't you.

  33. Shannon Jacobs
    Holmes

    Shocked, shocked I say.

    I'm just saying that because I'm sure I've already been on their watch lists ever since I accidentally typed the big dick Cheney. So much trouble for forgetting to capitalize a "d" and a certain lack of humor?

    War crimes? Damn good thing Iraqi lives are worthless, even in the 10s or 100s of thousands. Dare I say a million? Or actually, shouldn't we just say the big dick's books are still open? You know, it's like a pitcher who left a couple of men on base and still gets their runs added to his ERA. Or maybe we should use the joke about the outfielder who messed up so badly that no one can play center field now.

    Kind of makes me laugh at my naivete. When Dubya snuck into the White House in 2000, I had no capacity to imagine the mess he would leave behind. Then in 2008 I actually had a delusion that President Obama could clean it up. You know what they say: "Fool me once, shame on... You can't get fooled again." Hey, thank goodness you can't fool me any more. My vote has been cancelled to zero!

  34. DrBobMatthews

    Alquaeda was the child and invention of the CIA and a direct result of arming the Mujahadeen in Afganistan by the US to harrass the Russians. No big surprise then when the Mujahadeen having seen off one bunch of invaders turned their freely supplied weaponry on to the next invader, the USA.

    In all the ensuing mess that followed, not once has the USA or the UK had the guts to point the finger at the main supplier of terrorists, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Both countries being customers of the benevolent USA arms industry. Wouldn't wish to impact on the profits of the arms dealers would we? after all there is little profit in sacrificing young men and spilling their blood, just a few days uncomfortable headlines, while our glorious leaders 1,000s of miles from the war zone or any risk to their cowardly bodies, stand to attention and proudly watch the result of their craven behaviour consigned to gun salutes, declared heroes and being wrapped in the flag. Absolutely sickening and hypocritical. The really sad thing is some of us still fall for it.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: DrKnob

      "....the Mujahadeen having seen off one bunch of invaders turned their freely supplied weaponry on to the next invader, the USA....." Actually, you I'll-educated moron, the Taliban turned on their fellow Afghanis, aided by AQ. On the other side of the border, they turned on the Pakistanis. Both happened long before the US invasion. The Northern Alliance, which represented the MAJORITY of Afghans, was all in favour of the US removing the Taliban from power, especially after AQ murdered their leader. Try a bit of reading before bleating thoughtless propaganda pieces, mmmkay?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      and if we fly sorties into Iraq right now

      We're going to face all those SAMs we sold to the Iraqis over the last decade -- now in the hands of ISIS.

      Was wondering today if we gave Iraq any M-60's or M-1's? Not to worry. Maybe the Iranians could take them out with what's left of those old TOW missiles sold to them during the Iran-Contra "arms for hostages" swaps.

      Every time one of the war hawks in Congress starts blathering about sending more weapons to that part of the world someone should remind them that they don't come with safeties to prevent their being turned back on our own troops. Morons.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: AC Re: and if we fly sorties into Iraq right now

        "....all those SAMs we sold to the Iraqis over the last decade....." And which SAMs would that be? As far as I can discern, none have been sold to the Iraqis since the invasion. I believe the US has agreed the sale of tanks, artillery and some F-16s, but no SAMs. Any other SAMs will have come from Russia, China or Iran, and will be as much use against the USN as they weren't in Libya.

        "....-- now in the hands of ISIS....." The majority of US arms haven't even shipped! If ISIS have captured any American arms from the police and security troops they have met so far it is more likely to be EU-supplied Glock pistols and the odd M4 carbine, not M1 tanks or SAMs. They may have captured a few HUMVEEs but that's not exactly much of a problem to even a Hellfire-equipped Predator, let alone an USN F/A-18.

        ".....Was wondering today if we gave Iraq any M-60's or M-1's?....Maybe the Iranians could take them out with what's left of those old TOW missiles....." As shown again by the Libyan events, knocking out tanks when you have air-superiority is no too big a problem, even the Fwench managed it.

        "....Every time one of the war hawks in Congress starts blathering about sending more weapons to that part of the world someone should remind them that they don't come with safeties to prevent their being turned back on our own troops...." Agreed, only the current weapons being shipped to Iraq were agreed by Obambi and his chums, not the 'war hawks'. And the variants of the high-tech kit the US would send to places like Iraq will be down-graded compared to front-line US kit, if only to stop the Iraqis giving it to Iran. So, much less of a problem than you want to make out.

  35. Archie1954

    That jet has been used in criminal enterprise and no nation should allow it landing rights. Any country that does should be reported to the UN and the Court of International Justice. Any use of assets to kidnap individuals off the streets of other nations should be subject to confiscation and forfeiture to the nation that bore the attack on its laws and civil peace.

  36. James Pickett

    "flying above the level at which air traffic control reporting is mandatory"

    Surely it has to make contact on the way down and when landing? It must be an interesting conversation when it appears out of the blue...

  37. WhoTheHeckCares?

    Why is the jet in the "teaser photo" an SR71 Blackbird?

    The photo in the teaser link on the Register web pages shows an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane - long retired from service, although it routinely did photo recon for the CIA - and not the humble corporate Gulfstream jet shown in the photos in the body of the story. Not that it really matters, but, one more or less expects the Register to get such things right. I suppose that all news sources use hype in their teasers, to get people to watch or click on them. Still, I'm amused and slightly disappointed in El Reg for such a silly inconsistency. I mean, why not show a jumbo jet, or an F14 Tomcat, or a British Harrier, as long as we're being absurdly fanciful in the photos? Oh well... either way, it went back empty.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inset photo of SR-71

    Have to wonder what Snowden would have done if they'd actually offered him a ride on an SR-71?

    That's the problem with these guys. Too stupid or lazy to "know thy enemy".

    Personally I might have gone for it. At least there would have been an interesting story to tell out in the prison exercise yard.

  39. Archie1954

    I wonder if this jet was used in Italy to assist in the kidnapping in Milan. If so it could be confiscated by the Italian government because of its use in a criminal act.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Archie1954

      "I wonder if this jet was used in Italy to assist in the kidnapping in Milan...." If you are referring to Abu Omar, he was flown out of Aviano in a Lear, not a Gulfstream.

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