Power, Money and Crushing Dissent Are Real Motives
The Guardian reports:
One unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoringby the NSA.
The NSA asked government agencies to share their Rolodexes, so the NSA would have phone numbers for top foreign political and military leaders.
A confidential government memo admits that the spying didn’t help prevent terrorism:
The memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced “little reportable intelligence”.
Because the leaders of allies such as Germany, Brazil, Mexico, the EU and G-20 have no ties to Al Qaeda terrorists, the spying was obviously done for other purposes.
The NSA conducts widespread industrial espionage on our allies. That has nothing to do with terrorism, either.
Indeed, there is no evidence that mass surveillance has prevented a single terrorist attack. On the contrary, top counter-terror experts say that mass spying actually hurts U.S. counter-terror efforts(more here and here).
If NSA spying were really focused on terrorism, our allies and companies wouldn’t be fighting back so hard against it.
And even the argument that 9/11 changed everything holds no water. Spying started before 9/11 … andvarious excuses have been used to spy on Americans over the years. Even NSA’s industrial espionage has been going on for many decades. And the NSA was already spying on American Senators more than40 years ago.
Governments who spy on their own population always do it to crush dissent. (Why do you think that the NSA is doing exactly the same thing which King George did to the American colonists … which led to the Revolutionary War?)
Of course, if even half of what a NSA whistleblower Russel Tice says – that the NSA is spying on – andblackmailing – top American government officials and military officers (and see this) – then things arereally out of whack.
The boom and bust cycle | Zero Hedge. (source)
As is clear to all with half a brain the production of un-backed fiat money distorts the economic system. Simply told, when an entity in society is given monopoly to manufacture medium of exchange at its own discretion they will harness this power. Slowly at first, unsure about its effects, but always testing the limits of the privilege bestowed upon them.
As always, they will overexploit the power. They will manufacture money and give it to the masters that coercively secure the continuation of the power. The masters will obviously spend the money, creating a transaction in whichnothing is payment for something. These transactions are by definition unsustainable because they violates Say`s law. We call them “bubbles”
In a free market supply is used to create its own demand. When people spend fiat money they exercise demand without providing supply. Said in other words, spending fiat money is tantamount to capital consumption and makes society poorer.
While the boom that follows money spending feels good, it must inevitably come to an end because the economic system cannot maintain the constellation that was induced by the money printing in the first place. Within the boom lays the seed for the necessary bust.
We have made a metric that sums up fiat money in its purest sense and compared that to the underlying trend growth of nominal GDC.
Our hypothesis is simple: if money growth exceeds the GDC metric a deflationary busts will inevitably come. If authorities refuse to accept reality and print more fiat money at the first sign of bust, they may “save the day” but they will “ruin tomorrow”!
For every action taken there will be an equal and opposite reaction! When the fiat masters go too far they create the set-up for an imminent deflation.
We looked at this relationship and as the chart below show, a boom-bust cycle based on monetary expansion is clearly visible..
Source: Federal Reserve of St. Louis (FRED), own calculations
Our main concern is obviously what happens when the equal, but opposite reaction comes as a consequence to the monetary experiment dubbed the “Bernanke-put”.
A secondary concern is indirectly derived from this. Money printing tears the social fabric apart and people react by taking up massive amounts of debt; debt that will never be repaid in currency units of equal purchasing power.
Now, if the equal reaction comes, that will raise the real burden of outstanding debt, which consequently will bankrupt all debtors.
The next chart looks at various sovereigns’ roll-over risk for 2014. The exceptionally large amount of debt taken on since the financial bust in 2008 will forever constitute a massive risk for the issuing country as debt is never repaid, only rolled-over, that is old debt is paid with new debt.
Source: Bloomberg, International Monetary Fund (IMF – WEO), own calculations
By this it is obvious to us that deflation simply cannot be allowed to happen! Our monetary masters will lose everything if they even flirt with the mere idea! Witness the taper scare this summer!
And since we are getting close to the next cycle low, why even bother try
Source: National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), own calculations
We leave the last word to the real Maestro
“There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.”
– Ludwig von Mises
Economic policy and the price of gold
Then the rumour circulated that at night the Fed Governors neglected their sacrifices and prayers. A great depression seized everyone. One day the President said to the Fed Chief, “When will we celebrate the return of normal unemployment rates? I would like to make a journey and return in time for the feast. How long is it until the day of the feast?” The Fed Chief was embarrassed. It had been several days since she had looked at the moon and the stars. She had learned nothing more about their courses. The Fed Chief said, “Wait one more day and I will tell you.” The President said, “Thank you. Tomorrow I will come to see you again.”
The Fed Chief gathered the Fed Governors together and asked, “Which of you lately has observed the course of the stars?” None of Fed Governors answered, because they had all stayed to listen to the stories of Fiat-do-lar. The Fed Chief asked again, “Hasn’t even one of you observed the course of the stars and the position of the moon?”
— modified from The Ruin of Kasch
Economics isn’t a science. It is a mistake to think it would be so. Science does not have schools. Only philosophies have schools.
The difference between a science and a philosophy is the difference between seeking truth while honestly admitting you don’t know it and declaring that truth is something you define.
Ideally science is described by working hypotheses, which are constantly tested, and if falsified, replaced (unless pride is involved or money). In philosophy, you begin with axioms, which are untestable statements that are defined as being true. Each school of economics has its own set of axioms. From axioms, you apply rules of inference (logic) in order to generate new statements, which are also true. These generated statements are called theorems. Thus all theorems are true (within the school of philosophy) but not necessarily applicable to the real world!
In the early days of geology, there were competing schools: the Neptunists and thePlutonists being two that come to mind immediately. The Neptunists believed that all rocks formed in the sea, either as sediments, or by crystallization as salts (this was their central axiom). The Plutonists believed that all rocks formed from magma (as their central axiom). Debates between adherents of the two schools were rowdy, fruitless affairs, because the nature of philosophy is that it cannot be overturned by mere observations.
The distinction between science and philosophy with respect to economics is important because economists have an annoying ability to set policy–policy that affects the quality of your lives. It probably doesn’t matter much to you whether some geologists can’t decide among themselves whether a particular rock formed in the sea or on a volcano (or even on a volcano in the sea). But it does make a difference if some Fed official acts on her belief thatbankrupting the elderly eliminating interest on savings is a cure for unemployment.
Application of economic policy follows the axiomatic approach. Some high priest of an obscure caste
Recently, The World Complex presented the inverse correlation between the unemployment rate in the UK and its “confidence ratio” (dollar value of public debt divided by the dollar value of gold holdings). The idea was that a high ratio could only be supported if bondholders had high confidence that the debt would be properly serviced (forget about repayment). The flip side is that a high ratio could be interpreted as a measure of a country’s ruin.
In the article I had suggested that government economists might cheer a decline in the price of gold.
So today, we look at the same relationship for the United States.
Once again we see a strong inverse relationship between confidence ratio and unemployment.
One of the goals set out for the Federal Reserve is to manage the unemployment rate. Looking at this chart, the answer is clear–to reduce unemployment, increase the confidence. Confidence (as defined above) can be increased in three ways: 1) raise debt, 2) sell gold, 3) lower the gold price.
Of course we all know that correlation does not imply causation. But it doesn’t have to in order to impact on Fed policy. That’s the beauty of politics–reality and truth don’t really matter when there are elections to be won.
There was a comment that perhaps I have too much time on my hands. I’m not sure if the intent was to say that only someone with a lot of time on his hands would notice this relationship. The economists at the Fed have far more PhD’s and time on their hands than does this corner of webspace. So I’m sure they have already seen this.
So the question becomes–even if no causation can be established, can it be used to set policy? And what policies will be followed?
Raising debt is the old standby–but as we see in the clarified chart below, it doesn’t seem to be working anymore.
Since the 2001 peak (on September 10, perhaps?), the increasing debt has been more than compensated by the rising price of gold. Don’t be fooled into thinking the US is sinking into solvency–it is creating debt faster than any time in history. But the price of gold has been rising faster still (although we shall see about 2013).
It appears that policy #2, the sale of gold, is politically untenable. Officially at least. Selling gold is for lesser countries. So that leaves option #3–hope the price of gold falls. Perhaps they do more than hope.
. . . at first the story of Fiat-do-lar was like hashish when it makes wakefulness happy. Then the story was like hashish when it makes dreams delirious. Toward morning, Fiat-do-lar raised his voice. As the Nile rises in the hearts of men, so his words swelled. To some, his words brought serenity; to others, they were as terrifying as the appearance of Azrael, the angel of death. Happiness filled the spirits of some, horror the hearts of others. The closer morning came, the mightier that voice grew and the more it resounded within the people. The hearts of men rose up against one another like clouds in the sky on a stormy night. Flashes of wrath met thunderbolts of fury. When the sun rose, the tale of Fiat-do-lar reached its end. Ineffable wonder filled the confused minds of the people. For when the living looked around, their gaze fell upon the Fed Chief and Governors. They were stretched out on the ground, dead.
— modified from The Ruin of Kasch
- David Morgan explains the manipulation of the price of gold (marketsanity.com)
- Guest Post: Gold And The Four Words That Define Western Economic Policy (zerohedge.com)
- What You Need To Know About The Real Price of Gold (etfdailynews.com)
- What’s Affecting Gold Prices Today? (tradethenewsroom.com)
It’s the “Wild East” of the European Union. Here nationalism, cronyism,anti-Semitism, anti-Roma racism and corruption — above all corruption— strut and dominate the public arena.
Where to begin?
Perhaps in the Czech Republic. They’re holding parliamentary elections on the weekend. The reason? The Czech government collapsed because the prime minister, Petr Nečas, was forced to resign.
His senior aide, who was also his lover and is now his wife, had ordered the country’s security services to spy on the prime minister’s then wife and report back. The aide wanted to push through a speedy divorce.
Then there’s Romania where large street demonstrations against corruption are the order of the week, the month, the year, not to mention last year and the year before.
The demonstrations have brought down ministers and governments without ending the problem.
- Police end protesters siege of Bulgarian parliament
- Canadian gold mine project in Romania could go to referendum
The added twist this fall is that the demonstrations have been against corruption AND the development of the Rosia Montana open-pit gold mine, the biggest in Europe, which is owned by a Canadian company.
Next door, in Bulgaria, things are even wilder. In February, 100,000 people stormed through the streets protesting against unemployment, corruption and high electricity prices. The government resigned.
In June, a new government appointed a so-called security czar, Delyan Peevski, a 32 year old referred to coyly as “a media mogul with dubious friends.”
He also had no experience in policing or security. Within 36 hours he was gone, the victim of a huge public backlash. The backlash continued for 40 days, with demonstrations getting bigger and bloodier.
The irony is that bringing these countries into the union in the last dozen years was supposed to be the first step to emptying the swamp of corruption.
Each of these nations had to sign “governance agreements” that committed them to cleaning up their acts. That clean-up hasn’t happened.
Instead European money, rivers of it, has flowed in to build roads, restore buildings and improve a stagnant infrastructure.
Large chunks of that money has simply gone missing. In effect, Europe has magnified, not reduced, the corruption problem by putting more cash up for grabs.
Hungary, a special case
Hungary doesn’t quite fit the mould of the other three countries as it combines nationalism, corruption and the rise of the extreme right.
Once, a dozen years ago, Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, was hailed by outsiders as the best post-Communist leader the country had had.
Now, three years after his return to power in 2010 he has become a strident nationalist who denounces Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, of which his country is a member, as the “new Moscow.”
The EU parliament returned the compliment, officially rebuking his government for working to strip the Hungarian judiciary and media of their independence and for rewriting the country’s constitution to suit its whims.
But that’s only a taste of Hungary’s current anxieties.
The country’s fastest growing party is Jobbik, an extreme right-wing group that polled 17 per cent in the 2010 elections, largely by attacking the Roma minority (roughly 800,000 in a country of 10 million) in virulent terms.
Roma were “Gypsy criminals,” Jobbik leader Gabor Vona, shouted from podiums. Other Jobbik leaders railed against “Jews and financiers” as well.
Jobbik created its own vigilante group, calling it the Hungarian Guard and giving it uniforms and symbols that intentionally recalled those of the pro-Nazi militia of the 1930s and ’40s.
The Orban government tolerated this and then, this spring, went further when its minister of culture awarded the country’s highest award for journalism to a man who had called the Roma “monkeys” and was known for his scarcely-veiled anti-Semitic remarks.
Oligarchs and mafia
Hungary’s position on the Roma is the most glaring, but official attitudes towards that group in all four countries are unforgiving.
It’s an ongoing headache for Brussels and for countries like France that find themselves trying, and failing, to cope with the inflow of Roma from Eastern Europe.
Just as worrying for Brussels is the continuing rampant corruption in these former Soviet satellites.
Bulgaria is the worst case. It is the poorest country in the EU and many leaders in Brussels, not to mention the legion of Bulgarian protestors, believe that much the state is beholden to “oligarchs” or “mafias.”
So glaring is the problem that when tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, this summer to denounce corruption and the government, European justice commissioner Viviane Reding went along, to meet the demonstrators, and tweeted, “Here in Sofia my sympathy is with Bulgarian citizens who are protesting against corruption.”
Alas, the tweets and weeks of protests were not enough to force the government to resign.
Compared to Bulgaria, the Czech Republic is far richer but hardly immune from corruption and cronyism. In the two-year period before Nečas was forced to resign, a former defence minister, a former top aide to a prime minister, an MP and governor of a large province and the mayor of Prague were all charged with crimes relating to fraud, bribes and corruption.
In Romania, a report in July by the country’s National Agency for Integrity said that half the mayors should resign because of conflicts of interest. They sat on the boards of companies their cities were giving contracts to.
Throughout all of this, EU leaders look on and cluck censoriously. They do little more.
It has been less than a quarter-century since these countries cast off the Communist yoke. But whether it’s the centralization of all power, as in Hungary, or the dead hand of corrupt elites, the ways learned in the days of Soviet domination persist.
The Wild East still thrives.
- Why There Has Been a Rise of the Far Right (hungarianfarright.wordpress.com)
- Neo-Nazis mobilise against minorities in Czech republic (dokmz.wordpress.com)
- Jobbik’s menacing shadow over Hungary (politics.hu)
Whistleblower lawsuit says CN is cooking its books – CBC News – Latest Canada, World, Entertainment and Business News
A whistleblower lawsuit in the United States is accusing CN Rail of fudging its numbers to increase executive bonuses and to make it appear to be North America’s most efficient railroad for investors.
Tim Wallender, a former CN trainmaster based at the company’s Harrison Yard in Memphis, Tenn. has filed a lawsuit under the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley Act — which was passed into law to protect whistleblowers following the Enron scandal in the early 2000s.
CN is asking that Wallender’s claims that it routinely reported fraudulent efficiency statistics to shareholders and customers be thrown out. CN claims he repeatedly reported train movements falsely and got fired for it.
Wallender, 42, does not deny fudging the numbers but insists he was ordered to by his boss.
He alleges in his suit that his managers made large bonuses, and the company was able to promote itself as being 20 to 25 per cent more efficient than its competitors, by creating favourable statistics that “were based on a persistent and pervasive fraud.”
None of these allegations has been proven in court.
“My (general) superintendent was always talking about how he had carte blanche to do whatever he had to do to make it work in Memphis,” Wallender told CBC News in an interview in Mobile, Ala. where he’s now working for a different railroad. “He would talk about how him and [then-CN vice president] Keith Creel were so tight and how they talked every day and he had permission to do whatever he needed to do.
“What do I do? — that’s my livelihood, this job. Without it I have no insurance, no pay, no benefits, nothing. “
Wallender outlines how to misreport ‘efficiencies’
Wallender claims he and other lower-end employees were asked to tamper with “dwell time” statistics — an industry measure of how long freight trains sit in a yard — to make it appear that trains moved quickly. The crucial reporting time was 5 a.m., and if trains arrived later their dwell time clocks would not start until the next morning.
The goal, Wallender alleges, was to get trains out of the yard just before 5 a.m., or have them arrive just after, either by moving the train so it could trigger time-stamp sensors, or by adjusting the clock in the company computers.
They also reported cars were either broken or delivered to the customers — so they would be taken off the clock — when in each case they would still be in the yard, he claims in his lawsuit.
Another trick was to move a train onto a ghost or dummy track which did not get monitored on the company’s computer, he claims.
“I’m telling you everybody knew about this,” said Wallender, who originally hails from Wisconsin. “It’s a common practice. I know it happened in Chicago, Champagne, Memphis, Jackson — it happened all over the U.S.”
According to CN documents related to the case, the company did audits of the Memphis yard — three times before Wallender’s dismissal in September 2012 — and indeed found several employees were falsifying efficiency records.
“I am extremely disappointed to learn about these reporting infractions,” wrote Creel in a February 2012 letter. The letter acknowledged other reporting scams at CN, not listed above. “It cannot and will not be tolerated. We have an obligation to our customers and shareholders to continue our pursuit of ‘service excellence.'”
But Wallender says Creel’s letter was just “lip service” to the idea that the company cared about accurately reporting its efficiency ratings to the stock market.
“The allegations in this matter are unfounded and factually incorrect,” said Creel, who is no longer with CN. “I have, and always will, hold all employees to the highest ethical standards and the facts in this case will reflect that.”
Because of a December 2011 audit, Wallender was to be disciplined. He brought a tape recorder with him to the meeting with his boss, general superintendent Andrew Martin.
“I was supposed to be [suspended] for two days, lose two days’ pay, and [they were going to] put a letter in my file,” recalls Wallender.
CBC has obtained a copy of the recording in which Martin can be heard saying: “I’m suspending you for two days, but I’m suspending you for two days to put you on your off days… I have to draft this letter. I’m going to give you a copy of this letter. I ain’t gonna never send it” to human resources.
“He never told me to stop,” said Wallender, echoing arguments in his lawsuit. “He just said ‘Don’t be so perfect on the report next time.'”
A complaint against Martin from another railway worker in the summer of 2012 led to the investigation that led, Wallender claims, to his demise at CN.
Wallender handed over emails of the instructions he had received to fudge CN’s numbers, and his audiotape of his discussion with Martin, to CN’s human resources investigator.
He recalls telling the investigator: “I’m done lying. If I get fired for this, which I expect to do, at least I can walk away with my head up, that I got fired for telling the truth.”
He was fired the following month, CN claims, for continuing to fudge the numbers. After his dismissal, he pointed out to his bosses how others were continuing to fudge the numbers, and his access to CN’s computers was cut off.
Wallender’s lawyer, Bill McMahon of the Chicago law firm Hoey & Farina, said Martin got a slap on the wrist after the review, “and continues to be employed at CN. The only person who got terminated, who lost his job, is the man who came forward with the concrete irrefutable evidence of the statistical manipulations of efficiency ratings in the Harrison yard.”
CN told CBC News yesterday, in a three-page email from spokesman Mark Hallman, that CN “collects data to make informed business and operational decisions. The notion that CN would condone any misreporting in that context is untenable.”
CN ignored many of the CBC’s requests, including a question about why their computer software is so easily manipulated to change data, but they did say that through their auditing process CN has found “only a limited number of reporting issues which did not affect the integrity of the data that the Company has reported to the rest of the rail industry.”
Although it boasts of its dwell time and train speed on its website and heralded a five-percent drop in dwell time in this week’s third quarter report to the market, CN says its “operating metrics such as yard dwell are performance indicators that are not included in any part of CN’s audited financial reports that are sent to shareholders and securities regulators.”
Hallman added that the Montreal-based company’s “decision to terminate Mr. Wallender was fully warranted given his history of misreporting, management’s repeated admonishments for such misreporting, and Mr. Wallender’s brazen disregard and continued misreporting of data even after he was ordered to cease such practices. Mr. Wallender’s termination illustrates the seriousness of CN’s approach to insure data integrity.”
Former CN employees back Wallender claims
However, two former employees of the Memphis yard have come forward to CBC to back up some of Wallender’s claims.
Toby Lehman, a former CN yardmaster in Memphis, put in the aforementioned complaint about Martin because he and others were constantly being harassed to falsely report the efficiency statistics of the yard, such as by inputting false arrival and departure times. When nothing was done for three months, he sent a complaint further up the chain of command, and an investigation commenced that, he believes, led to Wallender’s dismissal.
“I apologized to Tim — he was just backing me up with his evidence,” said Lehman, who has since left CN for another company. “Even after Tim got fired,” the manipulation of the train’s arrival and departure times continued, said Lehman.
A former clerk at the Memphis yard, Sara Welch Wood, also jumped to Wallender’s defence, saying employees shouldn’t be made to choose between their jobs and doing the right thing.
She remembers the fear that went through the office if employees didn’t find a way to make cars disappear so they wouldn’t be on the 5 a.m. report.
“There were a lot of different times that I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of getting chewed out,” recalls Wood, 30, who is now a nursing student. “At 4:45 those cars were miraculously gone. There were several times I’d show them at a different yard,” though they were still at Harrison in Memphis, she said.
“I felt bad because I knew I was lying about it. So you’re in between making your supervisors happy and lying. That was one of the reasons it was such a stressful job. It never feels good to lie.”
In his lawsuit, Wallender alleges that “Creel — whose compensation substantially depends on a high price for Canadian National’s shares — protected Martin from discipline, gave a green light for Martin’s misconduct, and gave Martin carte blanche to continue the misconduct that protected and increased the value of his stock options.
Martin, who remains the general superintendent of the Harrison Yard, did not respond to messages.
Wallender’s lawyer, McMahon, said the victim in this case is just not Wallender, who suffered the indignity of being fired, losing his income and his health insurance for himself and his daughter who is suffering from a chronic illness, but all employees of CN.
McMahon said that what the U.S. has learned from the Madoff, Enron and Worldcom scandals is that the “real victims that we know from this type of corporate malfeasance are the employees, their families and the people that rely upon these corporations to accurately and professionally manage their businesses in order to provide a job.”
Wallender got a job with another railroad in the southern U.S. where he is happy to accurately report figures on the company’s efficiency, but he wishes CN well. “There are a lot of good people there. The problem I had with all the cheating is you can’t fix anything unless you know it’s broken.
“And by us hiding everything, nobody knows it’s broken.”
Last month the world witnessed a paradigm shift: China surpassed the United States as the world’s largest consumer of foreign oil, importing 6.3 million barrels per day compared to the United States’ 6.24 million. This trend is likely to continue and this gap islikely to grow, according to the EIA’s October short-term energy outlook. Wood Mackenzie, a leading global energy consultancy, echoed this prediction, estimatingChinese oil imports will rise to 9.2 million barrels per day (70% of total demand) by 2020.
Forget Syria, Iran and Bahrain … the stated reasons for the Saudi shift.
- Saudi Arabia to “shift away from US” (worldbulletin.net)
- Saudi Arabia set for diplomatic shift away from US (noliesradio.org)
- Saudi Arabia’s Spy Chief: The Kingdom Is ‘Shifting’ Away From The U.S. Because Of Syria And Iran (warnewsupdates.blogspot.com)
- Saudi Arabia in diplomatic shift away from old ally US (telegraph.co.uk)
ClubOrlov: The Sixth Stage of Collapse. (source)
Ideally, it would start of with a global financial collapse triggered by a catastrophic loss of confidence in the tools of globalized finance. That would swiftly morph into commercial collapse, caused by global supply chain disruption and cross-contagion. As business activity grinds to a halt and tax revenues dwindle to zero, political collapse wipes most large-scale political entities off the map, allowing small groups of people to revert to various forms of anarchic, autonomous self-governance. Those groups that have sufficient social cohesion, direct access to natural resources, and enough cultural wealth (in the form of face-to-face relationships and oral traditions) would survive while the rest swiftly perish.
- Review: The Five Stages of Collapse by Dmitry Orlov (peakoil.com)
- TFMR: Preparing for Political Collapse – Orlov’s Stage 3 (silveristhenew.com)
- On Gender, Collapse, & Communities We Can All Abide (peakoil.com)
Merkel’s ObamaPhone Scandal Escalates: US Ambassador Summoned By German Foreign Minister | Zero Hedge
The diplomatic farce in the aftermath of the most recent revelations that Obama had tapped not only Hollande‘s butMerkel’s cell phone as well, continued when moments ago Germany’s Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain if it was indeed true the NSA “may be spying” on Merkel, a ministry spokeswoman said. They used the word “may” loosely. John B. Emerson, the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to Germany, will meet Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle Thursday afternoon.
But while the latest diplomatic escalation will have zero impact whatsoever on either US spying intentions, mostly of US citizens let alone foreigners, or German-US relations, what is missing is that had this “scandal” happened four short months ago, the farce would have been truly complete as the summoned US Ambassador would be none other than former Goldman senior director and head of Goldman Germany, Philip Murphy, who alas stepped down in August. Had that been the case someone may have just put two and two together.
From the WSJ:
The German government’s position will be clearly presented to [Mr. Emerson],” the spokeswoman said. The U.S. Embassy referred questions back to the German Foreign Ministry.
Germany’s Parliamentary Control Committee, which oversees the intelligence services, will meet for an impromptu session on the cellphone scandal at 1200 GMT, said the head of the committee, Thomas Oppermann.
Ms. Merkel spoke by phone with President Barack Obama on Wednesday to discuss the claims that the U.S. monitored her communications. The chancellor made clear that surveillance among allies would be “fully unacceptable” and a “grave breach of trust,” her spokesman said in a statement released late Wednesday in Berlin.
The White House said Mr. Obama assured Ms. Merkel in the call that the U.S. “is not monitoring and will not monitor” her communications. “The United States greatly values our close cooperation with Germany on a broad range of shared security challenges,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
In other news, the German Parliament security committee meets today on merkel phone tap, German govt spokesman Seibert comments in text message. A text message which it goes without saying, was intercepted by the NSA.
And here is Angie herself showing just where the NSA’s bug was planted:
- US ambassador summoned in mobile row (bbc.co.uk)
- Hot Water: German Foreign Minister Summons US Ambassador (spiegel.de)
- Obama Denies Monitoring Merkel’s Phone (irishnewsreview.net)
- US ambassador summoned in mobile row (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)