While you were sleeping, the Edward Snowden story has taken another incredible turn towards someone’s high-grossing biopic.
Here's what you missed: According to Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, after hearing the Russian President’s warning that Russia would only grant Snowden asylum if he “cease his work aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners,” Snowden withdrew his request for asylum in Russia. Relatedly, Glenn Greenwald announced that there are more bombshells—probably ones “aimed at inflicting damage on our American partners”—coming. Oliver Stone—yes, Oliver Stone—appeared to take up Snowden’s banner, leaning on Ecuador to allow Snowden in.
Wikileaks has in the meantime been filing asylum requests on Snowden’s behalf—an interesting move, since they were the ones that fucked over Snowden by taking him through Russia—to a total of 21 countries, including Spain, Italy, Finland, Brazil, India, Poland, Switzerland and Venezuela. Those countries are falling off one by one as possible homes for poor Snowden. Brazil has said no, as have Poland, India, Norway, and Spain. This list will only get longer as the day goes on.
The U.S., for its part, has issued a creepy statement, urging Snowden to come back for a “fair trial.” “He has a country to return to, which is the United States of America,” said a State Department spokesman.
Venezuela is probably Snowden’s best bet now, but with no one of Hugo Chavez’s stature around to take the heat, it’s hard to see Snowden getting there and staying there safely.
The U.S., for all the talk of its waning power around the world, has been pretty effective at twisting arms and threatening and cajoling the rest of the planet not to give Snowden shelter. They’ve even brought the Russians around to their side—as much, at least, as you can do that with the Russians. But given his options, it’s hard to see Snowden getting out of Russia. This time, it won't be because Russia wants to play the Fuck Uncle Sam Game again, but because the U.S. will have made it impossible for him to leave except to go to the U.S., and, for reasons of pride and sovereignity, that is the one destination to which the Russians won’t allow him to travel.
Nine days after slipping out of Hong Kong, Edward Snowden is still totally and profoundly stuck.