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View Diary: What the MSM Did Not Report About Edward Snowden's Testimony Before the Council of Europe (249 comments)

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  •  For the record, there is a major difference (8+ / 0-)

    between
    --  the Council of Europe, which is a treaty-based body of governments, represented by Ambassadors at weekly meeting, and by Foreign Ministers twice yearly, and
    --  the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (aka the PACE), which is a get-together of legislators from the National Parliaments of the Member States.

    They represent only themselves (and sometimes their parties), and often grandstand for various reasons having little to do with national policy or serious foreign affairs issues.  They often hold committee hearings on matters they consider important, but whatever outcomes they decide are not binding on their governments nor on the entire COE organization.

    This is not to diminish the importance of what Mr. Snowden had to say, only to put in perspective the (relative) importance of those to whom he was saying it.

    It's really about time i change my sig line...

    by stevenwag on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 06:05:47 AM PDT

    •  It's a form of subtle humor to have a (16+ / 0-)
      Council of the European Union;
      European Council; and
      Council of Europe

      So that no one will confuse any of them with the European Commission.

      Just one more. Then the torture will stop.
      Nothing ever happens in Brussels.
      Why was Mr. Snowden giving testimony at a hearing before a random collection of relative nobodies?

      His appearance was part of the directive for a European Digital Habeas Corpus, an enormous and ambitious initiative. Its work so far:

      • a six-month investigation of mass surveillance practices including those disclosed by Snowden.
      • 15 hearings where experts and witnesses gave testimony.
      • A resolution  that would alter the US-EU relationship in a number of ways, including an end to mass surveillance. It was passed by a wide margin on March 12 in the full Parliament.
      • A binding directive that revamps Europe's privacy standards to protect personal data handled by law enforcement, the judicial system, and business enterprises. It passed 621-10 on March 12 in the full Parliament.

      The council (Ministers representing 28 members) still has to approve the two measures passed by the Parliament. There are many obstructions in the way of completion as I've been reminded a thousand times since last summer.
      There's a schedule of deadlines. An election May 22-25 in the member states with all seats in Parliament at stake. NSA practices are a campaign issue that has support from the public. The Digital Habeas Corpus and privacy standard include replacement of US electronic technology with a new generation of privacy-ensured European technology. EU business enterprises are motivated and committed. Angela Merkel already announced Germany is in.

      The project is spread out now because it touches many areas. The Council of Europe provides legal opinions upon request. New law has to be harmonized with existing law. 28 members have to be harmonized with each other. The national governments have work to do.

      Snowden is informally on-call as a subject matter expert. He gave testimony earlier and he has insights into tech, intelligence, and law.

      On March 26, President Obama travelled to a US-EU summit in Brussels. This issue was high on the agenda because the free-trade agreement depends on it. Ukraine intervened and the US had no deliverable except the unsatisfactory last-minute Intelligence Committee proposal.

      Europe moves on.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 09:16:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A superb comment, Mark Lippman! (9+ / 0-)

        Thanks for sharing your hard-earned knowledge with us, and for showing us that the two venues which Snowden addressed do have value and are part of a much larger initiative within the EU and among European countries.

        And thanks for pointing out (as you have before in your diaries) that real actions have already begun due this multi-government initiative, and that those actions -- even at this early stage -- are having an impact on American government and American businesses.

        I think it would be entirely appropriate, and very helpful, for you to post links here to your recent diaries reporting on these issues.  I remember them as being chock-full of very good reporting as well as wonderful links to documents produced by the Parliament after Snowden's testimony.

        Thanks again for this excellent comment, and for all your hard work!

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