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U.S. allies angered over NSA 3:03
Germany’s interior minister is pressing for “complete information” from Washington on the alleged U.S. surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone and any other snooping.
Merkel complained to U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday after receiving information her phone may have been monitored. German spy chiefs plan to travel to Washington for talks.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich was quoted Sunday as telling newspaper Bild am Sonntag he wants “complete information on all accusations” and that “if the Americans intercepted cellphones in Germany, they broke German law on German soil.” He added wiretapping is a crime and “those responsible must be held accountable.”
News magazine Der Spiegel, whose research prompted the government’s response, reported that a document apparently from an NSA database indicates Merkel’s cellphone was first listed as a target in 2002.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Rome and Paris on Saturday and was confronted by outrage over the sweep and scope of U.S. snooping abroad.
The magnitude of the eavesdropping is what shocked us,” former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in a radio interview. “Let’s be honest, we eavesdrop too. Everyone is listening to everyone else. But we don’t have the same means as the United States, which makes us jealous.”
Free trade talks
The spy flap could give the Europeans leverage in talks with the U.S. on a free trade agreement, which would join together nearly half of the global economy. “If we go to the negotiations and we have the feeling those people with whom we negotiate know everything that we want to deal with in advance, how can we trust each other?” Martin Schulz, president of the European Parliament, asked.
Claude Moniquet, a former French counterintelligence officer and now director of Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, said the latest NSA flap came at a good time for Europe “to have a lever, a means of pressure … in these negotiations.”
To Henry Farrell and Martha Finnemore at George Washington University, damage from the NSA disclosures could “undermine Washington’s ability to act hypocritically and get away with it.”
- Obama says U.S. not listening to German chancellor’s calls
- U.S. officials long denied massive data trawling
- British official calls U.K. electronic surveillance legal
The danger in the disclosures “lies not in the new information that they reveal but in the documented confirmation they provide of what the United States is actually doing and why,” they wrote in Foreign Affairs. “When these deeds turn out to clash with the government’s public rhetoric, as they so often do, it becomes harder for U.S. allies to overlook Washington’s covert behaviour and easier for U.S. adversaries to justify their own.”
They claim the disclosures forced Washington to abandon its “naming-and-shaming campaign against Chinese hacking.”
The revelations could undercut Washington’s effort to fight terrorism, says Kiron Skinner, director of the Center for International Relations and Politics at Carnegie Mellon University. The sweeping nature of NSA surveillance goes against the Obama administration’s claim that much of U.S. espionage is carried out to combat terrorism, she says.
“If Washington undermines its own leadership or that of its allies, the collective ability of the West to combat terrorism will be compromised,” Skinner said. “Allied leaders will have no incentive to put their own militaries at risk if they cannot trust U.S. leadership.”
Push for end to eavesdropping
The Obama administration’s rebuttal to outrage has been that the U.S. is gathering foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations and that it’s necessary to protect the U.S. and its allies against security threats.
Kerry discussed the NSA affair in Europe with French and Italian officials. “He certainly recognizes that as we look to pursue a range of diplomatic priorities, whether that’s working together on global issues like Syria or Iran or TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), it would really be a mistake to let these disclosures get in the way,” she said.
Most governments have not retaliated, but some countries are pushing back.
Germany and France are demanding that the Obama administration agree by year’s end to new rules that could mean an end to reported American eavesdropping on foreign leaders, companies and innocent citizens.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled her official state visit to the White House. She ordered measures aimed at greater Brazilian online independence and security after learning that the NSA intercepted her communications, hacked into the state-owned Petrobras oil company’s network and spied on Brazilians.
Brazil says it is working with other countries to draft a United Nations General Assembly resolution that would guarantee people’s privacy in electronic communications.
A European Parliament committee in Brussels approved sweeping data protection rules that would strengthen online privacy and outlaw the kind of data transfers the U.S. is using for its spying program.
European lawmakers have called for the suspension of an agreement that grants U.S. authorities access to bank data needed for terror-related investigations.
“We need trust among allies and partners,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose cellphone was allegedly tapped by the NSA. “Such trust now has to be built anew.”
- U.S. may have bugged Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002 (scharleme.wordpress.com)
- US spied on Merkel’s phone since 2002: report (worldnews.nbcnews.com)
- Report: German Newspaper – Obama Lied To Angela Merkel, He Personally Ordered The Bugging Of Her Phone (theconservativetreehouse.com)
- US’ NSA tracked Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002 (dnaindia.com)
- NSA Allegedly Spied on Merkel’s Cell Phone for Over a Decade (theatlanticwire.com)
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.
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)
In a stunning claim, Germany’s Der Speigel reports that theUS targeted Angela Merkel’s private mobile phone for years…
- *MERKEL TOLD OBAMA TAPPING WOULD BE UNACCEPTABLE, SEIBERT SAYS
- *MERKEL COMPLAINED TO OBAMA ABOUT PHONE SURVEILLANCE: SPIEGEL
- *MERKEL DEMANDS FULL EXPLANATION FROM OBAMA, SPIEGEL SAYS
So Obama promptly complied:
- *OBAMA TOLD MERKEL U.S. NOT TAPPING HER PHONE, SPIEGEL SAYS
We await Snowden and Greenwald’s clarification…
Carney is now denying it all in the WH press conference:
- *CARNEY SAYS OBAMA, MERKEL SPOKE ABOUT NSA ALLEGATIONS TODAY
- *CARNEY SAYS OBAMA ASSURED MERKEL HER PHONE NOT MONITORED
- *CARNEY SAYS MERKEL, OBAMA AGREED TO INTENSIFY COOPERATION
- *CARNEY: NOT MONITORING, WILL NOT MONITOR MERKEL COMMUNICATIONS
- Germany: We Think The NSA May Have Tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cell Phone For Years (businessinsider.com)
- Angela Merkel concerned at ‘US phone spying’ on HER cell phone! (aconservativeedge.wordpress.com)
- Ooops! They did it again!! (homegrownmedia.info)
- Merkel concern at ‘US phone spying’ (arunbabyveranakunnel.wordpress.com)
- Bank of England puts hedge funds’ ‘threat to stability’ under microscope (standard.co.uk)
- The Financial Crisis: ‘What Has This Got to Do With Monetary Policy?’ (minyanville.com)
- James Rickards: “When The International Monetary System Collapses – It’s Going To Be About How Much Gold You Have” (silverdoctors.com)
- With Angela Merkel’s Germany at the helm, Europe will remain a tortoise | Timothy Garton Ash (theguardian.com)
- IMF: Eurozone needs joint budget to be resilient (miamiherald.com)
- Greek finance minister sees recovery (bbc.co.uk)
- Bears Retreating as European Shorts Drop $80 Billion to 2006 Low (bloomberg.com)
- Is Europe out of the woods? (praguepost.com)
- This Day in Crisis History: Sept. 4, 2008 (blogs.wsj.com)
- Angela Merkel warns over far-Right extremism (telegraph.co.uk)
- Merkel’s Dachau Visit Sparks Controversy (israelnationalnews.com)
- Merkel expresses her ‘deep sorrow and shame’ during historic Dachau visit (telegraph.co.uk)
- Schaeuble Says Merkel Delivered on Economy as Third Term Teeters – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Are the Germans now fiddling with the figures? (forexlive.com)
- Schaeuble: Euro crisis not yet over (forexlive.com)
- Germany Repeats: No Greek Haircut (greece.greekreporter.com)
- Greece Bans Protests During Schaeuble Visit (abcnews.go.com)
Testosterone Pit – Home – NSA Spying in Germany: Turning “A Parliamentary Democracy Into A Banana Republic”
- German Writers Slam Merkel Over NSA Spying Involvement (news.softpedia.com)
- Thousands in Germany protest NSA surveillance (bostonherald.com)
- Germany Caught Nuzzling With NSA (technewsworld.com)
- Germany backs away from claims that the global Surveillance NSA program thwarted five attacks (sott.net)
- Protest rally at suspected German NSA site (star-telegram.com)
- German MP injured during angry protests over NSA spying revelations (upi.com)
- Thousands in Germany protest NSA surveillance (kansascity.com)
- Protest rally at suspected German NSA site (star-telegram.com)
- Several hundred protesters gather to ‘spy’ on suspected German NSA surveillance site (foxnews.com)