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United States Government The Military United Kingdom Politics Your Rights Online

Journalist Claims Secret US Flight 'To Capture Snowden' Overflew Scottish Airspace (thenational.scot) 198

schwit1 writes with a story in The National (a newspaper which makes no bones about it support for an independent Scotland) describing the charge laid by a Scottish journalist that in 2013 a secret U.S. flight involving a plane involved in CIA renditions crossed Scottish airspace, as part of a secret plan to capture whistleblower Edward Snowden. Alex Salmond, then Scotland's First Minister, is calling for transparency with regard to the knowledge that the UK government had of the flight and its mission. According to the report, The plane, which passed above the Outer Hebrides, the Highlands and Aberdeenshire, was dispatched from the American east coast on June 24 2013, the day after Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow. The craft was used in controversial US 'rendition' missions. Reports by Scottish journalist Duncan Campbell claim the aircraft, traveling well above the standard aviation height at 45,000 feet and without a filed flight plan, was part of a mission to capture Snowden following his release of documents revealing mass surveillance by US and UK secret services. ... [N977GA, the aircraft named as involved in this flight] was previously identified by Dave Willis in Air Force Monthly as an aircraft used for CIA rendition flights of US prisoners. This included the extradition of cleric Abu Hamza from the UK. Snowden accused the Danish Government of conspiring in his arrest. In response to flight reports, he said: "Remember when the Prime Minister Rasmussen said Denmark shouldn't respect asylum law in my case? Turns out he had a secret."
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Journalist Claims Secret US Flight 'To Capture Snowden' Overflew Scottish Airspace

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  • Okay... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rei ( 128717 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @09:20AM (#51429411) Homepage

    I don't know any of the details of what they're alleging here concerning Snowden. But Abu Hamza wasn't "rendered". He underwent an 8 year extradition process involving tons of appeals, ultimately his case to block extradition failed (after receiving binding pledges from the US as to the maximum sentence that would be sought and in what sort of conditions he'd be kept in), and he was extradited to the US to be tried on terrorism charges. Last year he was sentenced to life in prison for them.

    The fact that they're playing fast and loose with the terminology on the stuff that's easy to double check here makes me question this report. There might be something to it, but it's not a good start. Extraordinary rendition is a very serious charge to levy. And Abu Hamza wasn't rendered, it was an entirely above-board, fully within normal legal processes extradition.

    • Re: Okay... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Journalism is the art of writing fiction with a few verifiable bits of data.

    • Fruit of the poisonous tree.

      By TFS's own admission, the Scottish paper at the heart of this accusation has an agenda.

      Look. The U.S. still rightly wears some egg on its face from the government's routine disrespect for the sovereignty of other nations, but at the time of the alleged flyover, at worst, the UK was probably just assisting an ally.

      • Fruit of the poisonous tree.
        By TFS's own admission, the Scottish paper at the heart of this accusation has an agenda.

        So if I present arguments for my case they should be disregarded because I have an agenda (making my case)? Nice logic.

        • Idealogical bias is allowed, of course, and typically it is ubiquitous. Truth is not.

          GP was shown to have exaggerated one debate point, and so we must at least consider the possibility other debate points are suspect.

      • Newsflash: still close military allies.

        You'll need to change that first, for it to end. You not feeling the love anymore? Nope, doesn't change the relationship between nations in any way.

        Scots wha hae, hae. Scots wha hae nae, hae nae.

    • Re:Okay... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @09:59AM (#51429707)

      I strongly suggest that, for anyone who doubts just how far the U.S. is willing to go to get Snowden (and Julian Assange too, for that matter), to just ask the President of Bolivia how far [wikipedia.org] the U.S. is willing to go.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Rei ( 128717 )

        Funny that you mention both Assange and the president of Bolivia in that same context, given that Assange later admitted [telesurtv.net] to having "SWATed" the president of Bolivia, leading to the president of Bolivia to demand an apology from him. He was the source of the misinformation that Snowden was on the president's airplane.

        • Yeah, it's true that Assange spread this misinformation, the same Assange convinced Snowden to flee to Russia instead of S. America.

          But, it doesn't change the fact that *some one* forced to ground and searched airplane of a PRESIDENT of a country by that information. Assange use this misinformation to prove the fact that (reposted [wired.com]):

          The story, by Greg Miller, recounts daily meetings with senior officials from the FBI, CIA, and State Department, all desperately trying to come up with ways to capture Snowden. One official told Miller: “We were hoping he was going to be stupid enough to get on some kind of airplane, and then have an ally say: ‘You’re in our airspace. Land.’ ” He wasn’t. And since he disappeared into Russia, the US seems to have lost all trace of him.

    • But Abu Hamza wasn't "rendered"

      Yes he was. An extradition is a rendition.

      Extraordinary rendition is a very serious charge to levy.

      No-one said anything about extraordinary rendition.

      • The actual words are clumsy but the most reasonable interpretation is 'the plane was also used to extradite Abu Hamza'. Just the bad writing letting people read rendition into it.

    • Extraordinary rendition is a very serious charge to levy.

      Extremely serious; no doubt they're quivering in their boots...

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      He was rendered, though. 'Render' just means to give something to someone, in this case a prisoner to whoever extradited him. The process is "extradition", and the act is "rendering". 'Extraordinary rendition' is not the same thing as 'rendition', hence the extra word in there to highlight the difference.

    • The fact that they're playing fast and loose with the terminology on the stuff that's easy to double check here makes me question this report.

      It's a bird! It's a plane! Nemo me impune lacessit!!!!

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @09:39AM (#51429567) Homepage

    Yep, in response to the "Ask Slashdot: How Can We Improve Slashdot?" post, I think the first port of call is definitely proper UTF-8 support.

  • Hey whiplash -- it's 2016. How about fixing the text encoding?
  • Obama lied?? (Score:5, Informative)

    by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @09:56AM (#51429679)

    Wasn't this around the time Obama said on TV that he "wouldn't be scrambling jets to get a 29 year old .....hacker"

    • Wasn't this around the time Obama said on TV that he "wouldn't be scrambling jets to get a 29 year old .....hacker"

      Jets! Plural! This was only 1.

    • Wasn't this around the time Obama said on TV that he "wouldn't be scrambling jets to get a 29 year old .....hacker"

      You really think a mere elected official (a black one at that) *really* has complete control over the US organs of security? They are a priesthood all to themselves and answer to no one - especially politicians.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The USA is above international law, after all.

  • (a newspaper which makes no bones about it support for an independent Scotland)

    "It support"? C'mooon. Maybe you should call "it support" to fix your apostrophe problem.

    • by dtmos ( 447842 ) *

      a newspaper which makes no bones about it support for an independent Scotland

      Maybe you should call "it support" to fix your apostrophe problem.

      Sorry, no. The GP poster's statement is merely missing an "s" -- an apostrophe would be incorrect there. (It should read, "a newspaper which makes no bones about its support for an independent Scotland.")

      Remember it this way: his, her, its. If you can replace "its" with "his" or "her", it does not need an apostrophe.

      • The apostrophe problem I was referring to was the liberal sprinkling of â about the summaries of late. As snarky comments go, it wasn't well thought out.

  • ....as Scotland isn't a country.

    It's as meaningful as insisting a plane overflew "Iowan" airspace.

    It may have overflown UK airspace, and I'd suspect that the UK was cool with it (whether they knew what it was doing or not, as I'm guessing US/UK flights don't necessarily engender too much scrutiny).

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Wednesday February 03, 2016 @10:39AM (#51430043)
    What a misuse of government power and tax dollars. Give the man a freedom award, not an arrest. This is why secrecy is such a mess. We need a government that is wide open with a total release of all information to our public. In regard to Snowden, the US government is the terrorist.
  • by rossdee ( 243626 )

    Never mind Scotland or other EU/NATO countries, to capture Snowden they would have to fly into Russian airspace, and I don't think Putin would be too pleased about that...

  • This story was published in 2014....why is it on /. today?
  • 45000 feet is not "above standard aviation altitudes". Bizjets quite frequently fly up that high.

  • I just thought I'd point that out in case you needed a bit of perspective.

    Because Snowden's masters don't think twice about transporting radiological toxins into other countries, in order to render political refugees dead.

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