Thursday, October 24, 2013

Anger Growing Among Allies Over U.S. Surveillance / Obama Lies / NY Times, Reuters, WaPo

 From the Times:
Leaders and citizens in Germany, one of America’s closest allies, simmered with barely contained fury on Thursday over reports that American intelligence had tapped into Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cellphone...
Ms. Merkel herself angrily demanded assurances from President Obama that her cellphone was not the target of an American intelligence tap as soon as suspicions surfaced on Wednesday. Washington hastily pledged that her calls were not being monitored and would not be in future but conspicuously said nothing about the past...
Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière, gave full voice to the shock expressed by politicians and citizens.
“If that is true, what we hear, then that would be really bad,” Mr. de Maizière told ARD, Germany’s leading state television channel. America is Germany’s best friend, he noted, adding: “It really can’t work like this.”
He suggested that there would be consequences. “We can’t simply go back to business as usual,” he said...
Reuters brought up the particularly sensitive issue of East Germany's infamous secret police, the Stasi, curbed only two decades ago, which had arguably the most intrusive spy machinery in the Soviet bloc.
For Germany the matter is particularly sensitive. Not only does the government say it has evidence the chancellor's personal phone was monitored, but the very idea of bugging dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police in the former East Germany, where Merkel grew up...  
Reuters suggests that the EU may draw up new rules on data privacy as a result:
The furore over the alleged espionage could encourage member states to back tougher data privacy rules currently being drafted by the European Union. The European Parliament this week approved an amended package of legislation that would overhaul EU data protection rules that date from 1995. The new rules would restrict how data collected in Europe by firms such as Google and Facebook is shared with non-EU countries, introduce the right of EU citizens to request that their digital traces be erased, and impose fines of 100 million euros ($138 million) or more on rule breakers...
BBC says the German anger is intensifying and the response in today's papers "blistering." Had President Obama told the truth about NSA surveillance previously, to his own citizens, perhaps European leaders would trust him now.  The Washington Post listed some of his lies back in August. Watch him lie on the Tonight Show.  

The New Republic goes into the flimsy legal arguments now being twisted to justify a level of surveillance whose scope was even hidden from the FISA court, according to its chief Justice, Reggie Walton.

UPDATE Nov. 17:  Verbatim from the Christian Science Monitor:
... Fresh anger was unleashed after two new reports, first in the German magazine Der Spiegel, and then in the Sydney Morning Herald, named cities in Asia in which the “Five Eyes” group – the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand – have allegedly worked together to gather intelligence. The cities include Jakarta, Bangkok, Hanoi, Beijing, and Kuala Lumpur.As the Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Australian embassies are being secretly used to intercept phone calls and data across Asia as part of a US-led global spying network, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden and a former Australian intelligence officer.
The top secret Defense Signals Directorate operates the clandestine (US) surveillance facilities at embassies without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats. 
The signals program at issue is called Stateroom, and involves radio, telecommunications, and Internet traffic inception, in US, British, Australian, and Canadian diplomatic missions. In all, surveillance equipment was allegedly installed in about 80 embassies and consulates around the world, according to the Sydney Morning Herald...

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