Wednesday, July 03, 2013


(Editorial cartoon by Jim Morin/The Miami Herald (July 2, 2013) and featured at McClatchy DC.)

Most of the stories these days on the massive NSA spy program deal with poor Edward Snowden who is still stuck in limbo at the Russian airport.  So far, none of the places he has sought asylum from have indicated they will take him and not extradite him to the US for prosecution under the Espionage Act.  There's a story there, but it takes the focus away from what I consider to be a bigger story:  the massive spying being done by the NSA on us and, as it turns out, most of the rest of the world.

Some of our allies are understandably outraged by the spying, but I had to root around the L.A. Times on-line edition to find the story I knew had to be there.  In any event, here's the salient part.

Europe turned up the pressure on the Obama administration Monday to respond to new allegations that the U.S. bugged the embassies of some of its long-standing allies and eavesdropped on European Union diplomats around the world.

Leaders and officials of EU countries said that, if true, the reports of American spying on friendly nations were unacceptable and potentially damaging to relations across the Atlantic and to joint endeavors such as upcoming talks on a U.S.-EU free trade pact.

“We cannot accept this kind of behavior from partners and allies,” French President Francois Hollande said on television Monday.

A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel was equally blunt, saying, “We’re not in the Cold War anymore.” ...

The new allegations add to the concern that many European leaders have already expressed over the alleged collection of mountains of data on the emails and phone calls of millions of their citizens by American intelligence agencies. Privacy laws are generally more stringent in Europe than in the U.S. Germany in particular, where bitter memories of widespread informing and spying in the former East Germany are still fresh, has responded to allegations of U.S. surveillance with outrage.

“Clarity and transparency is what we expect from partners and allies, and this is what we expect from the U.S.,” the European Commission said in a statement Monday.   [Emphasis added]

While I doubt that when push comes to shove our allies will back off on any trade deals that might benefit them, the negotiations just might be a little trickier and tense than they otherwise would have been, which is OK by me.  Those trade deals rarely prove to be beneficial to the 99% of us who don't own the corporations behind the deal-making.

Still, it is, to say the least, both embarrassing and shame inducing to see such quotes from countries which have stood by us for a long time.

Outrageous all the way around.

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