Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
October 26, 2013

Merkel Sells Out For 5 Eyes Access

President Obama allegedly claims (German report) that he did not know about the 10+ years long NSA wiretap on the German chancellor Merkel's cellphones. I do not believe that. He will have been briefed about Merkel, her thoughts and positions each and every time he was calling or meeting her. Did he never ask where the information he got in those briefings was coming from?

(If he indeed did not know that Merkal was tapped by the NSA he should chop off not only the heads of the NSA and the DNI but also of his National Security Adviser who is supposed to know and explain such stuff.)

But I assume there is deal behind Obama's "I did not know" assertions. Merkel does not want to get rid of the "collect it all" spying on Germans and other people. She, who some believe was herself an nonofficial associate (IM) of the infamous East German state security service (Stasi), does not mind the violation of German citizens' rights to privacy. She wants to be, against German public opinion, part of the club that does the spying. She wants to have Germany accepted in the 5 eyes club which consists of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Those countries have pledged not to spy on each other but to share everything they have. But in effect the secret services of these countries are just NSA appendages. The NSA even pays for many of the other services efforts.

To make a deal Merkel will have to claim that she can trust Obama. His claim that he did not know about the wiretap on her is supposed to make that possible.

I doubt that such a deal will happen. Neither the UK nor the United States ever really trust Germany especially over its relatively good relation with China, Russia and Iran. They do not want to share with its services. They will probably offer some 5-eyes-light agreement that will give them more information from the German services but will not allow full access to the 5-eyes secrets. Merkel may even fall for that.

As Swoop remarks this week:
The first instinct of many members of the Intelligence Community is to dismiss the French and German complaints as naïve and hypocritical. However, a more conciliatory attitude is developing, motivated in part to prevent the Europeans from developing alternative Internet infrastructure that would be impermeable to US monitoring. With German intelligence officials due to visit Washington soon for talks on this issue, we expect a modus vivendi to be reached.

Posted by b on October 26, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Permalink


Surely you meant Australia, not Austria. Freudian slip aside, the Anglosphere is where you find the blatant spying.

Posted by: Gregers | Oct 26, 2013 1:11:11 PM | 1

Theater aside, it is gratifying to see the global community beginning to find the courage to openly villify the United States on a full range of issues. "The smell of sulphur" is becoming immpossible to ignore.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Oct 26, 2013 1:38:28 PM | 2

The big problem for the little Europeans (Merkel, Hollande, Rajoy, etc.) is that they are all responsible to the dominant corporate investors in their countries. With a big part of the NSA spying aimed at financially favouring big US corporations over their European competitors, there must be a very deep grumbling to the politicians by these. While they wouldn't give a damn about the political spying, the financial/business spying does affect their profits. So Merkel et al are being heavily pressured by the EU de facto powers.

Posted by: John Earlsd | Oct 26, 2013 2:00:23 PM | 3

5 Eyes is a direct product of WW2 military alliance: UK + ANZAC. So it isn't anachronistic to use that term, ANZAC, and I do use the formula UK + ANZAC to define 5 Eyes on my own blog, instead of laboriously spelling out the names of the countries. And because there is nothing so encrusted as the structure of the military-intelligence configuration (which is what determines access to variously classified material and sharing arrangements), therefore 5 Eyes will stay as it is, the anglo-saxon club, Britain plus what used to be called "the White Dominions" (and again, I do not apologise for the apparent anachronism, nor for its offensiveness by current standards, because that is what is at the root of this).

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 26, 2013 2:01:06 PM | 4

The problem with ANZAC, Rowan, is that it is already used to signify something different. How about CANZUK?

Greatly recommended, to students of these matters,(who abound in these threads) is the current New Left Review (83) in which Perry Anderson gives a masterful summary of modern US foreign policy.
Here are a couple of brief out-takes:
...To be effective, an ideology must reflect as well as distort, or conceal, reality. At the outset, as at the conclusion, of the Cold War, the United States possessed few colonies, was indeed an electoral democracy, did confront a socio-political system that was not, and as in the past enjoyed extraordinary natural advantages of size, location and endowments. All these could be, and were, synthesized into an imperial ideology commanding popular consensus, if never unanimity, at home, and power of attraction, if never ubiquitous, abroad. But the ultimately determinant instance in the formation of American foreign policy lay elsewhere, and could receive only circumspect articulation until the Cold War was won. So long as communism was a threat, capitalism was all but a taboo term in the vocabulary of the West. In the US itself, the virtues of free enterprise were certainly always prominent in the national liturgy, but even in this idiom were rarely projected as leitmotifs of the global defense of liberty against the totalitarian danger. The managers of the empire were aware that it would be counter-productive to foreground them. Early drafts of the Presidential speech that would become the Truman Doctrine, prepared by his aides Clifford and Elsey, presented Greece as a strategic line of defence for access to oil in the Middle East and, noting that ‘there has been a world-wide trend away from the system of free enterprise’, warned that ‘if, by default, we permit free enterprise to disappear in the other nations of the world, the very existence of our own economy and our own democracy will be gravely threatened’. This was speaking too plainly. Truman objected that it ‘made the whole thing sound like an investment prospectus’, and Acheson made sure such cats were not let out of the bag.[58] Even free trade, however essential to a Pax Americana, was not accorded top billing as an ideological imperative. But what, for the time being, was least conspicuous in the hierarchy of its legitimations would, as events were going to show, be most decisive in the map of its operations. For the moment, the Cold War had to be won, and the catechism of security was paramount...."

And, regarding the current situation in Syria,:

"...Russia did not oppose the UN resolution authorizing a no-fly zone over Libya, supposedly to protect civilian life, quickly converted by the US and its EU allies into a war with predictable loss of civilian life. Angered at this use of its green light, Putin vetoed a not dissimilar resolution on Syria, without offering notably greater support to the regime in Damascus, and temporizing with the rebels. Weakened by increasing opposition at home, he has since sought to make an impact abroad with a scheme for UN inspection of chemical weapons in Syria to avert an American missile attack on it. Intended to raise Moscow’s status as an interlocuteur valable for Washington, and afford a temporary respite to Damascus, the result is unlikely to be very different from the upshot in Libya. Born of the longing to be treated as a respectable partner by the US, naivety and incompetence have been hallmarks of Russian diplomacy in one episode after another since perestroika. Putin, fooled as easily over Libya as Gorbachev over NATO, now risks playing Yeltsin over Yugoslavia—thinking to offer weak help to Assad, likely to end up sending him the way of Milošević. Whether Obama, rescued from the embarrassment of a defeat in Congress, will prove as grateful to his St Bernard as Clinton was for escape from the need for a ground war, remains to be seen. In the Security Council, Russia can continue to fumble between collusion and obstruction. Its more significant relationship with the US unfolds elsewhere, along the supply-lines it furnishes for the American war in Afghanistan. A foreign policy as aqueous as this gives little reason for Washington to pay over-much attention to relations with Moscow...."

I offer both the article and these excerpts up merely to whet the appetite. I am not, it is unnecessary to remind sensible readers, endorsing the views in them.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 26, 2013 5:15:45 PM | 5

Bevin (#5);

Thanks for sharing the excerpts. I don't necessarily agree with some his conclusions (eg. I don't think that Putin's foreign policy could be decribed as "incompetent"). However, I think the author does have a point when he says that Russia "longs to be treated as a respectable partner by the US". If there is a confrontation between Russia and the West, it is not because Russia is sticking by some "principles" and wants to help smaller countries against the Western imperialism. It is not Russia which confronts the West, it is the other way around, it is the West which confronts Russia, and in so doing, leave Russia with no choice but to take the position it is taking right now. Russia wants to play ball and be a part of the "western" world. It wants to be a partner with US (and that includes partnership in global crime too); US doesn't want to a partner with Russia.
Russia's reluctance of selling any meaningful weapon system which would significantly increase the defense capabilities of Israel's adversaries (eg. S-300 to either Iran or Syria), it's treatment of Iran on joint ventures are in my opinion all Russia's attempts to flirt with US and signifies its desire to be a part of the "West".

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 26, 2013 6:07:07 PM | 6

To make a deal Merkel will have to claim that she can trust Obama.

is this like making a deal with the devil?

Posted by: james | Oct 26, 2013 7:28:17 PM | 7


I agree for the most part, but I truly think as Russian professor Stephen Cohen has stated, the honeymoon with the west is rapidly ending with Russia. Syria may've been the final nail in the coffin and they appear far less interested in forming any kind of partnership with the increasingly isolated US and more interested in strengthening their bonds with the BRICS. Russia has consigned itself to the fact that this will be the future - not the collapsing bankrupt unipolar world of the US which has all but run its course.

I don't think Russia will EVER be respected by the US elite so they can just forget it.

What the US DOES however want, is control of Russia's energy resources and to subjugate it to vassal state status - something they almost accomplished in the 1990s. This is why the jailing of corrupt Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky was a turning point in modern Russian history. If nothing had been done, then Khodor would have basically sold off to British Petroleum majority shares in all of Russia’s oil assets, present and future. Russia would have officially become a raw-materials colony of the West. Once that point was passed, Russia would have no other options except to either submit to full colonization, or go to war to get the oil back. When Putin and the Siloviki put a stop to that plot by arresting Khodor, the West knew in their guts that the gig was up and they had been defeated. They watched their prize being snatched out of their jaws at the last moment and they’ve been squealing about it ever since.

Posted by: RC | Oct 26, 2013 8:01:19 PM | 8

@ Rowan

5 Eyes is a direct product of WW2 military alliance.

Yeah obviously that is the jumping off point for the whole modern international system. Largely written by the Allied powers while Europe was in ruins. The US Empire was always a continuation of the British Empire with just a different centre of power. It's worth mentioning that Australia/New Zealand are probably included because they are still part of the British Commonwealth (for example the Australians still recognize the British Queen as their sovereign).

5 Eyes is not just a product of 1945 however. It probably begins there, but likely really emerged during the 1950's and 1960's when both France (under De Gaulle) and Germany (under Adenauer) both actively sought a European counterweight after judging that America was becoming too powerful in the world.

Under De Gaulle, France left NATO, refused any foreign troops on its soil, and developed its own nuclear weapons. Konrad Adenauer was more constrained in what he could do, given he inherited a ruined land that was half under Soviet control. But still both men pushed forward with what became known as Rhine capitalism as opposed to the Market Economy used in Britain and the US which was referred to as the "Neo-American model".

But it was this desire to have Europe as a counterweight to American dominance that likely made the US-UK-Canada-Austalia-NZ "5 eyes" to not trust Continental Europe enough to admit it into the club. Sure they did work together in NATO but that was because both the US and the European counterweights viewed the Soviet Union as a joint threat.

You can see this desire to act as a counterweight more recently in Chirac (himself a Gaullist) and Schröder working with Putin to veto the Iraq War in the Security Council, and Schröder's moves to increase ties with Russia including the Gazprom deal.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 26, 2013 8:18:07 PM | 9

Surely you meant Australia, not Austria. Freudian slip aside, the Anglosphere is where you find the blatant spying.

Posted by: Gregers | Oct 26, 2013 1:11:11 PM | 1

ah yes Austria/Australia...youd have to be pretty Dumb to make that mistake!

Posted by: brian | Oct 26, 2013 8:25:05 PM | 10

The question then becomes is Angela Merkel more likely to follow the more traditional Gaullist wing of the CDU, or the newer Atlantic wing. Either she acts as a counterweight or she merges into the system.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 26, 2013 8:31:52 PM | 11

Egypt’s Military: Doing What Germany’s Should Have Done in 1933

'Former British ambassador Charles Crawford later characterized Obama’s quixotic address in the following way: “It boiled down to a well delivered speech full of clever emollient phrases that ultimately sent a message of appeasement to militant Islamist tendencies: Under my restrained leadership the United States will respect and accept conservative forms of Islam. Even if Islamism gets too aggressive we don’t plan to do much about it.”
Why would the United States want to give the green light to militant Islam? Wasn’t militant Islam, after all, the problem? Of course, President Obama has never publicly admitted that it is as a form of the “violent extremism” he opposes. But perhaps the Obama administration thought there was no alternative, or perhaps it was simply ignorant of the true nature of the Muslim Brotherhood. Most likely it thought that the Brotherhood could be tamed if it were given political responsibility. At any event, its representatives said some extraordinarily strange things. At a House Intelligence Committee hearing on February 10, 2011, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described the Muslim Brotherhood as a “largely secular” organization with “no overarching agenda.” This was a rather unusual characterization of a group whose motto is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” If that is secular, what might the religious be?
As for an overarching agenda, the de facto spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi proclaimed: “Islam is a comprehensive school of thought, a creed, an ideology, and cannot be completely satisfied but by [completely] controlling society and directing all aspects of life, from how to enter the toilet to the construction of the state.” That means the rule of sharia (Islamic jurisprudence), to which the Muslim Brotherhood has been dedicated since its inception in 1928. The other objective is the restoration of the universal caliphate. The vehicle for doing both is establishment of a one-party totalitarian state.'

Posted by: brian | Oct 26, 2013 8:39:41 PM | 12

Five eyes ? or Six ?

And it's that sixth pair that causes most of the trouble.

NSA-Israel raw data dump

Posted by: john francis lee | Oct 26, 2013 9:25:26 PM | 13

@RC (#8)

"I agree for the most part..."

It goes both ways; I agree with you for the most part too. Especially I agree with you when you say:

"I don't think Russia will EVER be respected by the US elite so they can just forget it."

However, as I mentioned before Russia's position vis a vis the West is in reaction to the West's position vis a vis Russia and not as an independent action against imperialism. The countries which come closest to such principled anti-imperialist policies are the ALBA countries. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we should not support Rusia in the policies that it is currently adopting, or that the countries in ME (or in other places) should push Russians away. That is not my position at all. All I am saying is that we should be careful on how reliable the "Russian wall" on which we lean is and we should always keep it in the back of our minds that since the Russian position is a result of the West's hostile and hegemonistic actions against Russia, any change in US position -as unlikely as it is- may result in a change in Russia's position. Brzezinski for one seems to be supporting such a change of position for USA vis a vis Russia. But then again I don't think that Brzezinski could influence the US foreign policy a hell of a lot. So as I said before, I am inclined to agree with what I quoted from you above.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 26, 2013 10:28:52 PM | 14


The points that you make regarding Russia's recent dealings with Iran are very important. The excuse often made is that Medvedev's policies were much more submissive than Putin's. One hope that this is the case and that Anderson is wrong in his interpretation of the real determination of Russia to stop appeasing the US, which can not be appeased.

My view is that there has been a change, though it may not be permanent, and that Russia has realised that, while the US hated Communism, its quarrel with Russia is much older.

Anderson's analysis of US diplomacy underestimates the importance, in the strategy of establishing full spectrum domination, of maintaining the momentum of New Deal social policies. For a long time US power was based upon an increasingly contented working class (the middle class, as it was known) and the widespread view, among foreigners, that following the US would lead to prosperity, freedom and liberal democracy.
This is no longer the case: increasingly the US is viewed as a bad place for working people, with minimal social services and a corrupt government. At the same time mass consensus behind the government's policies is eroding: the government can no longer rely on popular support for its foreign adventures.
Just when they need international public opinion and domestic nationalism most, they are losing both. Why? Because the ruling class is so greedy that it wants it all,now: lower taxes, profits from privatising vital services and a labour market in which workers beg for work at starvation wages.

What you say about Brezinzki is interesting. Anderson says that B was foremost in pushing Clinton to renege on Bush 1's promise not to expand NATO, but that now he sees Russia as an ally against China. It seems to me that both China and Russia must, by now, have worked out that the US is always interested in dividing them, which is why they will refuse to take the bait again.
Sino-Russian co-operation is Washington's worst nightmare.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 26, 2013 11:41:07 PM | 15

Gee, since the Echelon alliances/sharing of info/intelligence - please see Wikepedia for crissake - have been common knowledge for DECADES I don't see why we are all treating this political theater as meaningful.

In the larger scope, it's silly - in the light of tapping agreements a la Echelon circa 1990 - that we're even attempting to figure out what the elite are going to do vis a vis these "revelations" because when looked at from above the most beneficial thing in the eyes of the elite would be the balkanization of the Internet.

Oh, wow, the NSA/Zusa "loses", huh?

But if they destroy the worldwide flow of information who is the real loser?

The elite? Hardly. Shocked responses aside, they will continue to share info as they have for decades.

It's the common person who will be deprived a global network of information and the creation of local national Internet fiefdoms - to protect against the evil NSA (wink wink) - will only assist in that.

Snowden's latest "revelations" about US wiretapping of foreign entities have totally cut against his mantra of not wanting to hurt/affect US interests and spying on foreign heads of state is WELL within the limits of the NSA charter.

Some here suffer under the seemingly inescapable delusion which is best captured in this question:

How would you know that the NSA - insert other national intelligence agency name HERE - was NOT spying on you?

That's right, you wouldn't.

So, in light of the fact that even though the "leaders" of these countries - e.g., Obama, Merkel, etc - express dismay and astonishment and promise to end such practices, how will any of us know - and for what legitimate reasons - that what they say is in any way connected to reality?

Yeah, we would all like to PRETEND that we live in democracies but really at the end of the day:

How do you know - even if the POTUS, the PM, etc says so- that the government is NOT collecting all of your data even if they say they aren't?

That's right, you can't.

Now let's talk.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Oct 27, 2013 1:54:08 AM | 16

I find it hard to believe that Merkel (or anyone else who's been following the NSA 'scandal') was surprised by this revelation. The story looks much more like an hastily cobbled together "discernible reality" decoy to me. Considering all the issues routinely cooked up and 'settled' behind closed doors in the West (by the pseudo International Community) I find it insultingly implausible for anyone to pretend that Merkel is as naiive as this story insinuates - unless she gets a bonus for drawing the short straw, and playing the role useful idiot, if an emergency arises. She couldn't possibly be this stupid.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 27, 2013 2:30:33 AM | 17

I find it hard to believe that Merkel (or anyone else who's been following the NSA 'scandal') was surprised by this revelation.

the outrage if for public consumption. of course she knew. it is so simple to listen in on cell phone conversations. cell phones can be sent a signal to turn them on and broadcast without even lighting up the display and have been like this for about 20 years or so. the only way you can make sure your cell phone is not sending everything it hears is for you to remove the battery. and guess which cell phone has a battery you cannot remove...

Posted by: dan of steele | Oct 27, 2013 3:07:15 AM | 18

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 26, 2013 10:28:52 PM | 14

a simple vote can return the ALBA countries to be once again US patsies...this view of the problems of 'electoral democracy' has been enunciated by the former revolutionaries of Zimbabwe

Posted by: brian | Oct 27, 2013 3:25:19 AM | 19

Was ISRAEL behind the hacking of millions of French phones and NOT the U.S.? Extraordinary twist in spying saga revealed

Posted by: brian | Oct 27, 2013 3:32:12 AM | 20

Look like he knew anyway and if Huffpo Germany is reliable it was the US Embassy in Berlin doing the spying and reporting directly to Obama.

Obama war angeblich in NSA-Abhörattacken gegen Merkel eingeweiht

BERLIN - US-Präsident Barack Obama soll einem Medienbericht zufolge seit 2010 von einem Lauschangriff auf Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel wissen. Wie die "Bild am Sonntag" unter Berufung auf US-Geheimdienstkreise berichtet, soll NSA-Chef Keith Alexander ihn damals persönlich über die Geheimoperation informiert haben. "Obama hat die Aktion damals nicht gestoppt, sondern weiter laufen lassen", zitierte die Zeitung einen hochrangigen NSA-Mitarbeiter.

Posted by: Fran | Oct 27, 2013 4:39:20 AM | 21

Der Spiegel does also mention the embassy aspect.

NSA-Überwachung: Merkel steht seit 2002 auf US-Abhörliste - SPIEGEL ONLINE

Der Special Collection Service unterhält in der Berliner Botschaft der USA am Pariser Platz eine nicht legal angemeldete Spionagedependance. Dort überwachen Mitarbeiter der NSA und der CIA mit modernen Hochleistungsantennen Kommunikation im Regierungsviertel.

And it is illegal because ist it is not regisitered. Interessting that they are supposed to register their spying.

Posted by: Fran | Oct 27, 2013 4:52:52 AM | 22

Why the (huge German media) outrage now when this has been known at least since summer (when Angela Merkel changed her mobile)?

My guess is - because of this.

A large part of what the NSA does is industrial espionage. To top that with the deregulation of industries and markets is not in Germans interests. Neither is the free trade zone.

Direct tariffs on goods and services between the two are already low, but there are other barriers such as regulatory and safety standards, inspection procedures, and preferences for domestic business.

Removing these could significantly reduce the costs for companies doing transatlantic business.

For example, European negotiators will be pushing for US states, cities and federal departments to drop preferences for American contractors.

In turn, Washington will be looking for the EU to open up its market to US biotechnology firms wanting to sell products like genetically-modified foods, something which remains controversial in Europe.

The potential of contracting for US state departments is negligible. There probably is more European protection of their industries. Germany does not possess cheap skilled labor. As is, with regulation, Germany imports more goods from China than from the US. Germany exports more goods to the US (without free trade zone) than the value of imports from the US. Germany's export surplus is 169 billion. Only China's surplus of 234 billion (with much higher population) is larger. The US runs a trade deficit.

Germany's trade surplus is a problem for the EU already, as other countries have to finance their import surplus by - expensive - debt. In a free trade zone with the US, pressure on Germany would grow.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 27, 2013 5:21:55 AM | 23

Re 14, 15: I think the problem with Russia is a very obvious and boring one which is for some reason never discussed, maybe because it's too depressing: namely, that the Russian governments of the present day are incredibly bourgeois. That is why Putin is constantly going on about the sacredness of religion and moral standards. Ultimately, it is about the sanctity of private property. And this bourgeois investment causes them to wonder why the US and the West in general are not cosying up to them: surely, they think, we and the Western powers are equally dedicated guardians of the sanctity of bourgeois values, we should all be standing together, like the Holy Alliance of 1815, against radical monsters of irreligion like Napoleon. The US regard all this as maudlin crap, which makes the Russians feel quite miserable. They have no desire to be regarded as a threat by anyone.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 27, 2013 5:31:10 AM | 24

Today the Bild (of all places)reports that Keith Alexander had personally informed Obama about Merkel's handy

About Israel's role, it is underlined in Greenwald's article in le Monde 2 days ago.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 27, 2013 5:59:25 AM | 25

British traitors:

The United States has used its Yorkshire base to track German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s calls since 2002, a US whistleblower says. J. Kirk Wiebe, who worked for US National Security Agency's (NSA) for three decades, dragged Britain into the spying scandal, saying the US used its British spy base to intercept Merkel’s phone calls.

According to Wiebe, US spies had been listening to Merkel and 35 other world leaders’ calls from RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, which is the biggest surveillance facility in Europe. Wiebe told the Daily Mail that the information has been “either directly collected” or “processed” by agents at Menwith Hill before they are sent back to the NSA headquarter in Washington.

Source: Press TV

How much times does it need to be proved that the UK is more loyal to America than Europe? The treasonous bastards should be kicked out of the EU, let them become a 51st State of America if they love it so much. It's madness to let them stay in the European Union knowing they are working to undermine it at every step.

Such a joke. I mean can you imagine if a state in the USA (say Texas) was constantly passing on information to China?

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Oct 27, 2013 7:46:09 AM | 26

Would Merkel not have known she was being tapped? In itself that is a quite strange...but sure, she may have been assured of top security, protection, etc., but see the previous fusses about it.

I’m ready to believe that Obama did not know as:

a) he and the NSA (though he uses them plenty) don’t really get on, and the NSA is a kind of ‘rogue’ agency, clearly out of control

b) the top dog is kept out of the loop to protect him, creation of plausible deniability

c) conjoined with O following a “don’t ask don’t tell” policy

d) the NSA plays its own power games and taps Obama as well -- The key is probably here.

e) some mix of the above

There might be yet other reasons that don’t come to mind right now.

Of course Merkel could more or less ignore (as Hollande for France) the surveillance on citizens but for herself - either as a person who feels violated - or as seen externally, a Head of State who has protection etc. under agreements and laws - *could not* ignore this breach. So some HOOPLA must ensure.

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 27, 2013 9:48:41 AM | 27

"I’m ready to believe that Obama did not know as:.."
According to The Guardian he knew and approved.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 11:24:49 AM | 28

Part of the problem, for Merkel and Hollande, not to mention Cameron and Harper who both know that the NSA has tabs on them too, is that the political structure of the Empire requires the maintenance of a mythology in which Germany, France the UK et al are all proudly independent nation states voluntarily joined with the USA which differs from them only in that it is bigger, more powerful and benevolent-the Saviour State.

In fact the relationship between these states is, as we know, that they all do as they are told by the United States or risk sanctions which intensify as dissent continues. The Merkel story includes the news that the excuse for homing in the Chancellor was Schroder's lack of enthusiasm for Iraq. An attitude which, coincidentally or not, was soon repaired.
I suspect that the real dynamics of the Five Eyes alliance has to do with nothing more significant than language: communications not in English required translations so they needed slightly different treatment.
The Imperial relationship is something that needs to be understood. Rowan @24, for example, doesn't see that Russia's position puts it outside the Empire. It is one of the leading impediments to US hegemony. It has been so since the obvious similarities between these two land empires, racing towards the Pacific, began to fascinate observers in the early C19th. And it doesn't matter whether Russia's government worships property, the Lord Buddha, nature or joins with the Old Believers-it is situated outside the pale of the Imperium and the only way into it is on its knees.
It has tried that. Putin was there when Yeltsin engaged in the greatest series of betrayals in history, and it didn't work.
My guess is that Russian leaders, like Putin, have now discarded their illusions about the US and have concluded that they have no alternative but to oppose the Empire at every turn. And that doing so involves entering into a, less than equal, partnership with China to dominate eurasia and marginalise the maritime Empire.
And that Syria was step one in the new strategic departure. Stiffening Iran's air defences will be step two.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 11:58:00 AM | 29

"How much times does it need to be proved that the UK is more loyal to America than Europe?"

The state apparatus, in the UK, is loyal to its masters whose primary tool is the US state. Nobody could accuse the government of the UK of being "loyal" to (in the sense of defending the interests of) the people of the UK. In fact it is sacrificing their interests daily to the ruling class. And it certainly feels no loyalty to the people of Europe (ask a Greek) Or, for that matter, solidarity with the Plain People of America, whose callous ill-treatment inspires it with the belief that people can be screwed in ways that Bismark and Lloyd George never dreamed of.
What they learn from America is that an Empires does not need a metropolis: everyone outside the charmed circle (Beltway Bubble) is a "native" to be plundered and dragooned.
Hence the Europe wide wave of austerity bringing "social Europe" down to US sunbelt standards.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 12:15:25 PM | 30

This guy deserves an award for the most cynical comment on that matter to date:
Mike Rogers, the Republican chair of the House intelligence committee, ...claimed that the emergence of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century could be partly explained by a conscious decision by the US not to monitor its allies.

"We said: 'We're not going to do any kinds of those things, that would not be appropriate," he said. "Look what happened in the 30s: the rise of fascism, the rise of communism, THE RISE OF IMPERIALISM. We didn't see any of it. And it resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people."

Posted by: Mina | Oct 27, 2013 1:16:02 PM | 32

BBC: German papers lay into Obama over US spying claims

The papers named in that piece. Bild, Die Welt, FAZ etc are all staunch atlanticists and usually full of pro-U.S. propaganda. For them to get harsh on the U.S. in major editorials is extraordinary.

Obama will have to do something about this or he will lose quite a bit of European support.

Posted by: b | Oct 27, 2013 1:18:29 PM | 33

In my humble opinion this Bild am Sonntag story is balls. Look at the supposed NSA document. It appears to have been printed in purple ink by a cheap inkjet on toilet paper. The story:

Obama was informed by Alexander himself about the secret operation in 2010. "Obama ordered the action not to stop, but to continue to operate," said a high-ranking NSA employee. Later, the US President ordered a comprehensive dossier on Merkel from the NSA. Obama did not trust Merkel and wanted to know everything about her, said the informant.

Well, look at Bild, it's a rag.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 27, 2013 2:22:43 PM | 34

I hope Germany is truly angry, but if they want to show it they can offer asylum to Edward Snowden. Even if now redundant, it would be an appropriate slap on the face.

But there are limits to what a vassal state can do.

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 27, 2013 2:26:31 PM | 35

Eric Margolis established himself in journalism, in Canada, by churning out neo-con style columns for an ultra right wing tabloid The Toronto Sun.
Since 9/11 he has become a critic of US foreign policy:

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 3:32:07 PM | 36

Mina, Mike Rogers' Wikipedia profile is very interesting, don't miss the fact that he is married to the former CEO of Aegis LLC either.
This ex FBI agent's escapades, in the form of ingenious ways of hiding information from Congress, are regularly chronicled at Emptywheel.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 3:41:44 PM | 37

@Bevin (#15)

Like always, it is a pleasure and enlightening to read your comments.

"My view is that there has been a change, though it may not be permanent, and that Russia has realised that, while the US hated Communism, its quarrel with Russia is much older."

Excellent point. Let's hope that this very valid point has properly sunk in the Russians head.

"Anderson's analysis ..."

Unfortunately I could not read his analysis in full length, because I don't have a subscription in the new left review and a "google search" gave me only the new left review website as the source. My knowledge on Anderson's view is limited to the excerpts you have quoted. Just thought that you should know the limits of my knowledge about the author and his article.

"Anderson's analysis of US diplomacy underestimates the importance, in the strategy of establishing full spectrum domination, of maintaining the momentum of New Deal social policies
Because the ruling class is so greedy that it wants it all,now: lower taxes, profits from privatising vital services and a labour market in which workers beg for work at starvation wages."

This whole passage -the middle part of which I ommited to save space- is really interesting, and I agree with the point.

"What you say about Brezinzki is interesting...."

Regarding this last part of your comment: I did not provide you with any link so just for the sake of clarification, I would like to explain that what I said about Brzezinski was based on the clip of an interview that he had given some time ago. I don't think that I can find that clip, because it was sometime ago and I don't remember what the main subject of the conversation was (it may have been about Syria, but I am not sure). In the clip Brz. was mentioning two countries which the West should acknowlege as "true democracies" and in so doing take them into the circle of alliance and consider them as part of the family so to speak. I am paraphrasing of course, but I remember at the time I got a clear feeling that he meant that Russia and Turkey should be included in the inner circle of "the West" (or what S. Amin calls the "triad").

"It seems to me that both China and Russia must, by now, have worked out that the US is always interested in dividing them, which is why they will refuse to take the bait again."

That is likely -and I most certainly hope that it is- true.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 27, 2013 5:10:10 PM | 38

Direct tariffs on goods and services between the two are already low, but there are other barriers such as regulatory and safety standards, inspection procedures, and preferences for domestic business.

Removing these could significantly reduce the costs for companies doing transatlantic business.
Posted by: somebody | Oct 27, 2013 5:21:55 AM | 23

yes the 'Free market' views even safety standards as an impediment to business: its time this was made more public

Posted by: brian | Oct 27, 2013 5:17:45 PM | 39

Posted by: Lysander | Oct 27, 2013 2:26:31 PM | 35

naieve: to expect any european state west of russia to offer asylum and then not expect them to turn him over to the UIS regime: rememer what Portugal Spain Italy France did to Morales plane!

Posted by: brian | Oct 27, 2013 5:19:30 PM | 40

@Brian (#19)

The struggle is for a system which is run BY the people and FOR the people. It may be a very difficult goal to achieve, but then again so are all goals worthy of a struggle. I'd take the weakness of a democracy any day over the weaknesses of a dictatorship. A dictatorship already has lost its touch with what people think and is dangerously on a path to go towards what the "dictatorial elite" want for their own interests.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 27, 2013 5:21:33 PM | 41

The basic thesis of this article - that Merkel will turn a blind eye to this in the hope of getting Germany into the Five Eyes club - is bound to be wrong.

Merkel knows that this is a club for Anglo-Saxon Countries.

She *knows* that, and so she knows that nothing she does will get her country through those doors.

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 27, 2013 5:23:00 PM | 42

@ #27, Noirette

yep, yep, yep... American Emperor, Alexander the Gr8... Ruler of allspace*

*cyber and beyond.

Bonus: Ellen Schrecker on Political Repression.

is known primarily for her work in the history of McCarthyism.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Oct 27, 2013 5:44:58 PM | 43

I was surprised to see that Andersen is hidden behind a paywall. I don't have a sub to the NLR either. Don't tell my wife but I bought the article over the internet.
It is good but it will keep. Lots of libraries subscribe and soon someone with technical abilities will liberate it for all to read. Nothing is more stupid than for revolutionary socialists to insist on payment for their analyses.

Brian @39
A US "fracking" firm is currently suing the Government of Quebec for damages because Quebec has passed a law banning hydraulic fracturing on the grounds that it poses a threat to the environment, particularly to pure aquifers.
The company claims that it will lose the chance to make $250 million in profits and that under the Free Trade Agreement the government has no right to prevent it from doing what it wants.
Under a FTA with NAFTA Europe will sacrifice much of its sovereignty and become a dumping ground for American surpluses. These agreements are enormously profitable for business which is why the NSA spends so much time and energy in order to anticipate European negotiating positions, including the limit of concessions they are prepared to make.
It can be assumed that the US knows in advance exactly how far it can go as well as how the various European interests clash with each other.
How Europe can agree to continue negotiations now shown to be completely biassed against its interests is difficult to understand. Or rather, it isn't difficult at all: the fix is in. And the EU bureaucracy and the leaders of the states have known this from the outset. They are, quite openly, selling their people down the river.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 27, 2013 9:22:58 PM | 44

Pirouz, 38: It's inconceivable that Brziz would have wanted to include Russia in anything, except the club of nations used as cannon-fodder by the US against other nations. His mainspring is hatred of Russia. IIRC, he comes from an old Polish aristocratic family which was savaged by the Russians, not just by the communists but by the Czarists. He's a sworn & dedicated Russophobe.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 27, 2013 11:45:43 PM | 45


I always wonder what goes on in the deep mind of statesmen, you know? I mean what do they think in private when they are completely honest with themselves, and needless to say that it is a curiosity which I would never be able to satisfy as I can't read anyone's mind.
So what's Brz. is thinking I don't know. But after the little conversation that I had with bevin, I got curious again and tried to see if I can find that clip and made some google search. So far as I understand, he thinks (and I agree with him) that "the West" is in a much weaker position than it was some 65 years ago and therefore it can no longer "dictate" its terms in the geopolitical arena and as a result it has to get new allies and use their support to make up for its loss of geopolitical strength. So *I* would word his point as that in the olden days, the capitals of US, Western Europe and Japan had a common interest to a significant point, that is to say that their common interests heavily outweighed their rivalries (and IMHO, that is the main reason behind the western Europe's apparent subservient behaviour vis a vis USA; I don't see them quite as vassal states but rather see their capitals as the junior partner to the US capital). Previously it was just fine and dandy because the Western capital (what S. Amin calls the capital of the triad) was heavily dominant and therefore could dictate its terms. It is no longer so. So Brz.'s view (with MY wording, not his) is that the triad capital should try to include other societies bourgeoisie (in particular Russia and Turkey) into its partnership and make up for the weakening of its geopolitical power by giving them a share of the global loot proportionate to the strength of their capital (I would assume much less than the share of US, Jap and EU).
Assuming that I understand him correctly, can such a project work? I don't know. My knowledge is quite limited, but I would guess that the answer depends on the balance between the "common interests" versus the "conflicting interests" of the Russian capital and the capital of the West. Besides apart from how much of a practical merit -as an idea to create a partnership between the rival capitals- his proposition may have, there is the fact that I don't think that Brz. is in a position to affect the US decision making so much.
But one can never be sure on how much the bitter reality of loosing geopolitical clout will force the West to make compromises to the rival capitals. And I think that most of us will agree that the west's geopolitical is in fast decline.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 28, 2013 1:14:15 AM | 46

By the way Rowan;

I should also add that the global loot (ie. rate of profit) itself is on the decline, so how much practical merit is there into sharing an already declining loot is again another good question to ask.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Oct 28, 2013 1:18:56 AM | 47

Obviously, the US plays a double game with Russia. We saw that when they were pushing their missiles, their so-called ABMs, right up to the Russian border, across all the FSU boundaries they had sworn to Gorbachov they would not trespass, and all they ever said was, "These aren't aimed at Russia, they should relax and stop being paranoid Cold War revivalists," which is the utmost hypocrisy. And this is their entire modus operandi now, to screw Russia in every possible way while claiming to have no ill intent. So Brz could certainly be playing both ends of this hypocritical game at the same time, while remaining just as much of a Russia-hater as he always was. But anyway, we know for a fact that the CIA is feeding its central Asian Jihadis just as it always did, and there is a whole website devoted to this, The New Great Game by Christoph Germann (a German, logically enough). Not to mention the business with the Boston Marathon bombers, classic blowback from a CIA operation to support terrorists inside an actual Russian province, Dagestan, though the mainstream press blithely ignored the fact.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 28, 2013 4:24:41 AM | 48

A typical dog and pony show. German "journalist" leak the news that their leaders are being spied on..German leaders blow a lot of hot air and outrage at the US and rally national sentiments on their side..

What people don't ask is, wasn't these EU governments wilfully giving free access to US intel agents to roam freely and do whatever they want in their countries? What changed??? Suddenly they don't like spying???

Posted by: Zico | Oct 28, 2013 6:52:36 AM | 49

Juan Cole has some interesting thoughts today:

AToL has an alarming report of Albright's latest propaganda against Iran. B's comments are anticipated.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 28, 2013 10:15:00 AM | 50

Juan Cole makes much of Alexander's and Clapper's expected departures from office, these being the manifestations of Obama's revenge. Alexander's expected departure was announced Oct 16. However, I can find no indication that Clapper is expected to depart, anywhere.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 28, 2013 11:55:27 AM | 51

Overall, Europe's reaction to Snowden revelations and US fakey patching-over has been very weak, slow, hesitant and now seems driven by a need to appease public opinion.

But...the US is at a cusp of influence or control that is eerily tipping, swaying, in the wind.

Obama himself is discredited abroad - the fall from a stellar height in the EU (O the man) can be as steep down as the previous approval, adulation.

Drone killings are finally attracting attention at the UN, at Human Rights Watch (!) and Amnesty International - these and their brethren did their best to ignore it all until their own credibility and stated reasons for existing were under let’s say serious question if not direct attack. They all moved at the same time in concert practically.

The abysmal failure of ‘ground‘ wars such as Iraq and Afgh. as opposed to O’s drones, stealth forces, etc. etc. have also slowly percolated to public conscience or are getting more bad press. And Vietnam is being re-discussed (ok, where i am...)

It has also become clear that the US supports some version of islamists or at least ‘muslim rebels’ (Syria) which was previous kept under wraps or at least not part of MSM discourse (e.g. Yugoslavia, Afghanistan) which has puzzled ppl no end, it is like the War on Terror is turned on its head, as my neighbor said.

These contradictions have become stark and TV news/MSM outlets are having a hard time dealing with it. They cough splutter and switch to some murky footage of dying babies...

The cherry on the cake (that is a French-ism for the proverbial straw + camel) was the Gvmt. shut down, the debt ceiling.

How can the model for democracy and civil rights with a stable Gvmt. and a Great Super Modern Sexy Compassionate Leader like O be trapped into such an abhorrent scenario that punishes ordinary workers and affects the whole country? Incomprehensible.

Putin’s success or rise is also a factor. US goon border control / of flights and examples of vicious unpunished authoritarian actions by police etc. are yet another. (Everyone has a story to tell. Even if it’s the second cousin with a dodgy past.)

Obama’s ACA hasn’t helped either. Many in Europe trusted that this boondoggle was a call from the heart, to provide something similar to EU schemes (yeah supposed to be great) to the ‘poor’ in the US. Heh. O as King or Champion of the poor and sick! Maybe not so much..

hi uncle scam :)

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 28, 2013 12:42:55 PM | 52

The WSJ, which seems to be the ultimate source for Juan Cole's reflections, says nothing about Clapper leaving his post as DNI. It seems to me that Juan Cole has simply misread the statement that "the NSA is set to lose both its director, General Keith Alexander, and its deputy, John Inglis. Both are scheduled to step down in coming months." If this is so, then not only is Cole an absent-minded old fool, but all his readers are mindless drones, because none of them in the comments either at his own site or at the reprint on Common Dreams have noticed this or commented on it.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 28, 2013 12:57:46 PM | 53

Rowan, Cole's thoughts on personnel changes are noy interesting. What is, in my view, is his raising, not for the first time of course but..., of the "who is in charge here?" matter. For a R2P Obama fan like Cole it is unusual to go beyond the conventional nonsense that the President is the decider.

Brian Cloughley raises equally interesting issues

Posted by: bevin | Oct 28, 2013 1:06:47 PM | 54

Juan Cole mentioned in several posts

When JC's aim was 100% support for the Bahai religion / community he had a cause.

(Not that any other opinions should be dismissed because of that.)

Bahai is one of the only ‘religions’ that has a side-seat with some power at the UN. (> anti-Iran.)

Even the Catholics did not manage that though the Christians have some kind of lame not ‘legit’ nor ‘accepted’ tribune, completely invisible.

Religious freedom is a huge deal at the UN though they ‘reach out’ to promote ‘dialogue’ between religious leaders etc. etc. but are of course wary, yet, the Bahai have gotten endless passes.

here is J C’s old blog, still works:

see here for ex all about Bahai matters:

here, website

Bahai International Community, United Nations Office

Maybe all this is well known, if so pardon me for bringing it up.

Opportunistic, much?

Posted by: Noirette | Oct 28, 2013 2:16:55 PM | 55

Not only B Cloughey but also M Brenner on Counterpunch reach the same conclusion: nothing will change. But Brenner manages to say two very peculiar things:

It is highly unlikely that any Western European government would itself engage in torture or follow a policy of rendition.

60 years ago, traumatized European leaders acted boldly and bravely to seek reliance on the US while moving to reorder their own affairs.

The first statement is just ridiculously naive. Of course Western European countries use torture, and they also 'rendered' various hapless Asian and African prisoners to the CIA. The second statement appears to be a sort of pious hat tip in the direction of the idea that WW2 demonstrated Europe's inability to govern itself. That is a diluted form of the wonderfully offensive statement that Representative Mike Rogers (House Intelligence Committee Chairman) made on TV:
In the 1930s, we had this debate before. We decided we were going to turn off our ability to even listen to friends. Look what happened in the 30s, the rise of fascism and communism. We didn’t see any of it. It resulted in the death of really tens of millions of people.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Oct 28, 2013 2:20:28 PM | 56

Cloughley says a lot more than "nothing will change."

As to Brenner's curiously old-fashioned ideas on the European fear of isolationism etc, he is right in one sense: the ruling classes in Europe, increasingly isolated from their own people, the victims of the austerity programmes implemented to appease Wall St and Washington, are worried that Big Brother might leave them to deal with the consequences of their own folly.
As to what Europe was thinking "60 years ago" Brenner is quite wrong. Anderson in Imperium is very good on this aspect of the origins of the Cold War.

And below, for anyone misled, is the peroration of Cole's Column. Like Cloughley, Cole emphasises the impact of the Panopticon on US government. Both conclude that the NSA cancels out constitutional democracy.
When mainstream commentators, such as Cole with his CIA and White house links, notice these things it is significant.

"...the NSA appears to be a secret kingdom that appropriates our money with no oversight or accountability. We didn't elect it, and if it doesn't let our chosen representatives know what it is up to, then it is taxing us without giving us any representation. It is a tyrant. It is an ominous homunculus within the body politic.

"Secrecy is anathema to a democratic republic. If we ever had one, it is long gone. The only real question left is what the unelected fourth branch of government, created inadvertently by Harry Truman, is really up to. It is clearly involved in a great deal of industrial espionage, but how are its discoveries transferred to US corporations? Who do the mostly right wing NSA bureaucrats really report to if not to Obama? And, what are they really doing with our cell phone records, which reveal to whom we speak, how often, and where exactly we are? How are these being data-mined and for what purposes?

"How much of our society and politics are shaped by selective leaks about individuals gained from this surveillance? Did the 2008 Wall Street Crash occur in part because the Bush administration had removed pro-regulation New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, using information gathered from his bank accounts, cell phone and personal computer? How many Iraq War critics were, like myself, targeted for surveillance? How many seemingly minor scandals that force decision-makers from office are actually a conspiracy of shadowy intelligence operatives? How many of the vocal defenders of the NSA, or of those politicians too timid to demand reform, fear revelation of personal secrets? Do we have a government or a Mafia extortion racket? These questions may seem outlandish, but they are evidence of the corrosive impact of covert government on a Republic. One can never know what politics is legitimate and what is the result of manipulation. NSA denials that they are using this material gathered on US citizens are not very credible given their officials' repeated lies and also given their hiding of their activities from the President of the United States."

Posted by: bevin | Oct 28, 2013 3:54:34 PM | 57

So the U.S. is spying on the leading economic and industrial power in Europe, Germany, but there's no industrial espionnage going on and this spying isn't financially-driven at all, because curiously the U.S. is emerging relatively well from the greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression without the need to spy on, cheat, or sink the Eurozone to prop up the dollar and inflate its own industry and economy. Because greed is not America's M.O. (End of sarcasm).

Here's how low the U.S. is sinking under Obama: Dick Cheney who's still not behind bars where he belongs, thanks to Obama, has the audacity to call Edward Snowden a traitor on different U.S. news outlets and everyone just switches back to Dancing with the Stars and forgets how that criminal savaged the Constitution and was the architect of so much bloodshed, destruction and cruelty. Americans deserve a twit like Obama; hell, they deserve a sadistic fascist like Dick Cheney as President.

Posted by: kalithea | Oct 28, 2013 9:10:49 PM | 58

@52 "Overall, Europe's reaction to Snowden revelations and US fakey patching-over has been very weak, slow, hesitant and now seems driven by a need to appease public opinion."

Now, that's what I find so curious, though probably not for the reasons you might think.

It's pretty clear that The Hottest New Thing in digital communication/finance is The Cloud i.e. everyone wants to move from in-house servers and services to "hosted" systems out in The Cloud, and if you aren't thinking about doing that then you are a nobody. A luddite.

But these revelations should make it very clear that if you are a European company and you put your stuff In The Cloud then whatever information you put there is going to be scooped up, prised open, and generally prodded 'n' poked at by the NSA.

And if you are a European company and you compete in markets against US companies then it's a pretty sure bet that puttin' yer' stuff In The Cloud pretty much guarantees that your American competitors get to see all your secrets, and gets to see all your transactions.

All of 'em, and all courtesy of the spooks at the NSA.

So forget about the German GOVERNMENT. Why aren't those German CONGLOMERATES screaming fit to murder of these revelations?
Why aren't they spearheading a campaign for an EU Cloud that is impenetrable to the NSA?
Why aren't they bankrolling an EU version of Amazon Cloud Services, or an EU-controlled version of Hotbox?

I don't see any push for this; it's almost as if they don't realize that Puttin' It In The Cloud is the exact equivalent of Handin' It Over To The NSA.

Bizarre. Utterly bizarre.

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 28, 2013 10:58:43 PM | 59

Here's how the U.S. recovers from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression:

"A report published by the European Parliament in February alleges that Echelon twice helped US companies gain a commercial advantage over European firms.

The US firm Raytheon used information picked up from NSA snooping to secure a $1.4bn contract to supply a radar system to Brazil instead of France’s Thomson-CSF.

Former CIA director James Woolsey, in an article in March for the Wall Street Journal, acknowledged that the US did conduct economic espionage against its European allies, though he did not specify if Echelon was involved."

"Brazil's Globo television network reported on Sunday that the U.S. National Security Agency hacked into the computer networks of Petrobras and other companies, including Google Inc., citing documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The report came as Brazil is preparing to auction rights to tap some of the largest oil finds in the world in recent decades, deposits trapped under a salt layer off its Atlantic coast. State-run Petrobras, Brazil's largest company and a source of national pride, made the discoveries in recent years and will be a mandatory partner in developing all of the new deep-sea fields.

If the facts reported by the press are confirmed, it will be evident that the motive for the spying attempts is not security or the war on terrorism but strategic economic interests," Rousseff said in a statement."

Posted by: kalithea | Oct 28, 2013 11:06:00 PM | 60

Given that the NSA displays ALL the manifestations of a typical Right-Wing plot (clumsy, disorganised, very expensive, privatised, abusively mismanaged, always someone else's fault when flaws emerge, saturated in wishful thinking) am I the only one who suspects that it is being used to flag 'inconvenient' blogs and websites in order to send NSA-sponsored trolls to make inane pro-Right comments?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 28, 2013 11:25:37 PM | 61

59) Assuming the cloud saves money companies have to use it to remain competitive. Business is not that national. The more information you have the better, you give to get and vice versa. Certain parts of companies like Research & Development presumably will relearn to use the typewriter, though in the end, research is international, too. You publish and you learn from where you can get information.

What the publicity of the NSA spying does is atmosphere - US companies will not be able to count on any "good will" in Europe (or Latin America). It is another nail in the coffin.

Posted by: somebody | Oct 29, 2013 3:19:44 PM | 62

Just for the record, the quote of Mike Rogers delirious statement did include "the rise of imperialism" in the article of the Guardian and here; but it's not in the quote given by Rowan nor in later extracts.

Posted by: Mina | Oct 30, 2013 4:54:31 AM | 63

@62 "Assuming the cloud saves money companies have to use it to remain competitive."

Sure, but currently those companies have no option but to use cloud services that are provided by AMERICANS, and so those clouds are not just going to be penetrated by the NSA: AMERICAN companies are obliged to lie back and open their legs to allow the NSA to slip one into them.

That's what I am pointing out: a German conglomerate may well decide that going cloud-based makes perfect sense from a cost-saving perspective - sure, I can see how that is a powerful incentive - but they should also be complaining loud and long about an obvious fact: their only choice of cloud-based service provider is between *this* American provider and *that* American provider, and that means the NSA can walk into their data.

They should Want An EU Cloud Based Service, and they should want the EU to build it now.

But.... nothing.
Not a squeak.

They act as if they aren't even aware that they are handing it all over - lock, stock and barrel - to their American competitors.

Posted by: Johnboy | Oct 30, 2013 5:33:24 PM | 64

This fornmer German believes that Merkel's parents were STASI linked. There were STASI informers in the protestant church in the East Berlin area. My late aunt (a theologian) was touched by a case of temporary imprisonment of a colleague. She would have been likely to continue to some degree. People moving from West Germany to the East after the 17th June 1953 uprisising were always extremely sus.

The objection to the spying on German society comes from the 'original' strata of Germans. It is vitally important that certain immigrant groups are monitored, but the original Germans have to cop it, too. They let in masses since about 1977, so the surveillance on citizens needs to continue.

Unfair advantage for US companies is quite another dimension and that needs to cease. It is quite unsettling to read that the NSA employs 4,000 hackers. Whether Chinese or Russians or whoever do the same is immaterial, either we have an honest playing field or a global trade war.

It must be really difficult for the US to understand that Russia, Poland, and other former satelites matter to Germany a lot more than the US. Now that the borders are open, these countries need to be prosperous or masses of people will walk across the borders and demand asylum in Germany with all the costs that social security entails.

Preventing millions of pedestrians to cross into Germany (worst case scenario), is the first priority of the German governmet. They already have a large contingent of Iranians (Shah opponents, Khomeini opponents, victims of sanctions) which influence the country.

Mass immigrations from the east will unsettle the country if that occurs and that must be prevented at all cost. People wanted freedom for the East Block which has arrived. But to ensure that they do not use their freedoms to come to Germany in ever larger numbers, there must be prosperity.

Posted by: Berlinois | Nov 13, 2013 7:58:59 PM | 65

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