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The European Parliament announced today that it will vote next week on an action plan to protect the privacy of its citizens from the mass surveillance practices of the NSA.

At stake is the eventual adoption of a Digital Habeas Corpus and the future of transatlantic relations. The outcome of the vote may pave the way to sever a framework of cooperative agreements between the EU and the US in the areas of law enforcement, judicial matters, and commerce.  Unless the US discontinues the mass surveillance it conducts on 509 million Europeans, the EU response could lead to a balkanized internet with companies like Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and others banned from Europe.


In the unraveling of transatlantic relations, there was a moment of poetic justice this week.  It was the Americans’ turn to have their phones tapped.  And in a recorded conversation between  Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and Geoffrey R. Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, it came out that “Fuck the EU,” is now an element of US foreign policy.

The week began with  Nuland and Secretary of State Kerry travelling to Berlin and Munich to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European leaders. Merkel set the tone for their visit with a speech before the German Parliament a couple of days before they arrived. Speaking about the NSA's mass surveillance of Europeans, she said:

“A way of operating in which the end justifies the means, in which everything which is technically possible is actually done, that violates trust, it sows mistrust. At the end of the day, there is not more, but less security."
After meetings in Germany, Nuland travelled on to Greece, Cypress, the Czech Republic, and finally Kyiv, Ukraine. During her two-day visit there, her intercepted phone conversation with Ambassador Pyatt was disclosed by a Russian official.  Any progress toward reestablishing trust between the US and its European allies was undone.  

The New York Times included a link to the recorded call which was posted on Youtube. It appears to be authentic. Nuland was asked about it during a press conferece in Kyiv today. Her reply:

I’m obviously not going to comment on private diplomatic conversations, other than to say, it was pretty impressive tradecraft, the audio was extremely clear.
In the video, the photos, are synced with the conversation.
In her statement to the press today, Nuland said she was in Kyiv “to support the sovereignty, the democracy, and the prosperity of an independent Ukraine.”

However, democracy doesn't seem to be a primary concern in the State Department’s resolution to end the opposition movement against President Yanokovich and restore stability.

In this part of the recorded conversation, Nuland talks about the selection of one opposition leader, Arseny Yatsenyuk, for inclusion in the Yanokovich government and  the exclusion of a rival opposition leader, Vitaly Klitschko.

"I think Yatsenyuk’s the guy. He's got the economic experience, the governing experience. He’s the guy. You know what he needs is Klitschko and Tyagnibok on the outside. He needs to be talking to them four times a week, you know. I just think Klitschko going in, he's gonna be at that level, working for Yatsenyuk. It’s just not going to work."
Anticipating non-cooperation from Klitschko, Nuland looks to the UN to support the State Dept plan. Her offhand remark that became the focus of much attention implies dissatisfaction, frustration, impatience, and disagreement with the EU for the efforts it made on its own to resolve the Ukraine situation.
That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.
Angela Merkel called Nuland’s remark “absolutely unacceptable.”

Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said, “The concept ‘diplomat’ and her choice of words basically contradict each other.” And noting the connection between the Nuland incident and European concerns about mass surveillance, he added:

“The dangerous thing is that we see every day that there is nothing in the digitalized world of secret services which one could regard as protected. A diplomat, with help from his or her government, can perhaps correct things. An ordinary citizen in such a situation would be helpless.”

Originally posted to researchandanalyze on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:19 PM PST.

Also republished by 11111000000.

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Comment Preferences

  •  That is hilarious. (17+ / 0-)

    Now the U.S. government has to contend with the same facts that they have forced the rest of us to adjust to - no communication is private. You reap what you sow.

    But it isn't going to be so funny when the other arm of U.S. foreign policy becomes the world norm. How are  they going to like it when the skies of the world are filled with everyone's drones, taking out anyone a foreign leader disagrees with?

    Or a corporate leader?

  •  The laughter over the diplomatic (20+ / 0-)

    potty mouth has obscured the more important revelations about the heavy handed US imperialism. It goes hand in glove with the overreach of the NSA. It would appear that Obama's foreign policy has a great deal of continuity with the neocon adventures of the Bush crowd.

    The two major proposed trade agreements appear to codify the nuts and bolts of it.

    •  It's National Corporatism. In the research I did (16+ / 0-)

      for this diary I came across the press conference Nuland gave in the Czech Republic. I have to take a second look at it. There was a question she answered by saying that Westinghouse had been selected to provide something that they needed there because it makes the best product blah blah blah

      My immediate reaction was,"Does she work for the US Government or Westinghouse?" I think the answer is "Both" or "Same difference."

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:42:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is what these trade treadies are about. (14+ / 0-)

        They provide the mechanism for global capitalism to override the power of national governments.

        •  It's not specifically American nationalism (7+ / 0-)

          in the sense that we have known that historically. It is neoliberal global control.

          •  Global Neoliberal. Exactly What the Wingers Accuse (3+ / 0-)

            us of plotting with the UN, just a slightly different agency.

            We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

            by Gooserock on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:29:55 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's a superficial accusation that gets thrown (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Involuntary Exile, marsanges, koNko

              around often. It's a false equivalence and it's too general to apply to 28 countries that have varied characteristics.

              The American rightwing hallucinates risks where there are none as part of its propaganda.

              In Europe, the anti-globalist, anti-corporatist, anti-militaristic left isn't hallucinating.

              There is no existence without doubt.

              by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:07:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Europe ... (7+ / 0-)

              ... would be more than receptive ground for a more responsible and partnering concept of global cooperation and (American) leadership. However, the course of events rather looks like an absurd comedy.

              BTW ... in continental European use of language, "liberal" has some connotation of what "libertarian" means in the US and is considered not a leftist but centrist position that, as a distinct feature, cherishes individual liberty and opportunity more than both rightist conservatives and leftist socialists do ... and the term "neoliberal" as used in continental Europe has developed to mean free market policies with few regard to social considerations, and in particular in terms of foreign policy is now quite synonymous with the term "neoconservative" as used in the US ...

              •  I saw an interview (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Involuntary Exile, GermanGuy

                of Obama by Claus Kleber on the tv program, 'Heute.'

                Obama didn't seem very reassuring with some of the things he said.

                There is no existence without doubt.

                by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:59:40 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Missed Transatlantic Opportunities (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mark Lippman, duhban, greenbell

                  I have for a long time been politically active in the liberal party of Germany (currently recovering from a desastrous - and somewhat deserved - electoral defeat on federal level last year). Generally, German liberals - remember the continental European meaning of the term - feel more sympathy to the US than any other party in the political spectrum, and there are multiple relationships. For example, one of our former ministers (Daniel Bahr) will now work to advise on "Obamacare" via the Center for American Progress, and many feel close to what one would call "New England Republicanism" ...

                  I am telling you this background to get to the organization a friend of mine works for, The American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) ... and I would recommend that institute's work, for example some months ago they published a piece related to our issue at hand ("Why spy on Merkel?"), which I consider very much to the point (and very close to something I myself had written days earlier) ...

                  It would open opportunities beyond imagination if the transatlantic relationship would be what it could be ...

                  •  I understand the AICGS piece that you linked and I (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    wu ming, lotlizard, greenbell

                    have a different opinion about the situation.

                    About Merkel, it's hard to excuse eavesdropping on her conversations for the reasons given.  Yes, Germany is a competitor. It may try to sell its debt to China like the US does but it doesn't have enough of it to really matter.

                    Why spy on Merkel?

                    Germany is going to need a reliable source of crude oil very soon. Production in the North Sea is drying up and it will continue to decline. The US would like to export Canadian crude produced from tar sands and it expects Europe to buy though the pipeline hasn't been approved and there is much opposition to it.

                    The US has big dreams of a single market of 850 million affluent consumers with GDP that makes China look puny.
                    With NATO and the TransAtlantic Trade & Investment Partnership, which  includes free-trade in military procurements, security would be guaranteed.  

                    If the US has to spy on Merkel, it would have to be warranted and we can imagine all sorts of reasons to justify it.

                    The truth is that Germany participates in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) with the US in Afghanistan. Germany is one of the countries that already agreed to contribute troops to a post-2014 force that would remain in Afghanistan.

                    The US has cooperative agreements to share electronic data with the EU for counter terrorism and other law enforcement matters. But secretly collecting data and metadata on 509 million people isn't counter terrorism or law enforcement. These are people who haven't done anything.

                    There's much talk about Merkel but it's not really the point. The real question is "why spy on everyone?"

                    There is no existence without doubt.

                    by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:09:35 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Some More Interest, Empathy And Smartness (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mark Lippman, greenbell

                      I do not see much of a difference in opinion here - bottom line of both your diary and the AICGS piece that I linked in my understanding is that some more interest, empathy and smartness on the side of the US administration concerning Europe would be a win-win (and beside of that, that Orwellian surveillance of the entire communication of friendly nations in general is not a helpful idea). Sentiment in Europe has reached a point where TTIP will definitely be delayed and might possibly be sacrificed for lack of public acceptance.

                      Of course Europe in general and Germany in particular will be much dependent on oil (and gas) imports for decades to come, other than newly independent America. This will influence European and German policies towards both Russia and Arab countries (both to my dislike as a supporter of value-based foreign policy, and the latter very much to my dislike as a very committed supporter of Israel). However, both Russia and the Arab countries are Europe's neighbours anyway, so I would suggest not to expect a fundamental change in policy towards them even if the oil (and gas) issue would disappear over night. By the same token, I would not say that Europe or Germany are "desperate" for Canadian oil. It is a point probably less important here than America thinks it to be. And the rise of China definitely is not a top issue for European and German policymakers. Actually, there is no perception in Europe of an external threat of significance.

                      Nevertheless, there are good arguments for a comprehensive transatlantic political partnership ("political marriage") like TTIP from a European and German perspective. Positive wealth effects and global stakeholding in times of diminishing weight of Europe on the world stage and demographic aging feature prominently, and so do for many (in particular liberals) the positive effects of close bond with Lady Liberty on our polity. However, economic positives are necessary but not sufficient reasons for a marriage from a European perspective. What is felt lacking in public opinion here, besides and related to the impression of a breathtaking lack of empathy from the American side, is a common purpose, common mission, as there was, say, behind NATO during the Cold War. There is plenty of material around to build that, and progressive America in particular would be perfectly suited to engage in it. But for the time being, the overwhelming public impression here is that America, in the language of Ms. Nuland, gives a fuck ...

              •  I would not really say (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GermanGuy

                that "American libertarianism" is a centrist position per say. At least not in the states. In point of fact given that there are liberal and conservative libertarians (who would fight over whom is the real libertarian) I'm not even sure one can easily or simply define what exactly "American libertarianism" is.

                Der Weg ist das Ziel

                by duhban on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:02:15 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Liberals and Libertarians in Europe (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TheMomCat, truong son traveler, koNko

                  The big difference is that in Europe there are strong collectivist leftist parties like socialists or social democrats in all countries. So liberal parties are usually reduced to liberal libertarians - and differ from country to country depending on how much influence of conservative libertarianism they have. The amount of that dose of conservative libertarianism is the main basic struggle within the ALDE, the European roof of liberal parties.

                  •  I think that's actually more a symptom (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GermanGuy

                    the difference honestly is that unlike in Europe, America has a 'first to the top' style system. Where as say in Germany it's representation proportional to voting percentage right? If I remember correctly the minimum is 5% for the Bundestag. This has encouraged like minded people to group together. In the States it doesn't matter unless you can have a majority.

                    Personally I wish we had a proportional system too but I'm not holding my breathe on that.

                    Der Weg ist das Ziel

                    by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:45:46 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  My subjective impression is that recognition of (4+ / 0-)

          this as a danger has sunk in with Europe more than the US.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:06:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JoanMar, wader, virginislandsguy, FG, duhban

      pulling back from Syrian airstrikes to pursue a diplomatic opportunity, and taking the political risky move of engaging with Iran over their nuclear program is definitely in keeping with the "neocon adventures of the Bush crowd."

      •  After (4+ / 0-)

        Two surges and taking many many years to pull out.  Obama pulled back from hitting Syria only because Congress was ready to smack him down if he tried.   In addition he was pretty ok with welcoming the military coup in Egypt

        As in most things, a definitely mixed record that is more neocon than it isn't

      •  I wouldn't use the word 'neo-con' to describe the (5+ / 0-)

        foreign policy of Obama's administration. The neo-cons have been very outspoken about their dissatisfaction.

        I don't believe that we have a word for the foreign policy in force today. That's why I play with the term Obama Doctrine in my writing. Having a name for something is powerful.

        If we no longer have neo-con foreign adventures, that still doesn't say much about what we do have.  

        What do you think about Afghanistan and the proposal for a post-2014 follow-on force? What about the cultivation of poppies for heroin currently at unprecedented levels? Is it to be ignored or is it a legacy of the 12 years of American presence? Where does all that heroin go?

        Look at a map. Iran, where there is a market for it, and a number of addicts never seen before.  Iran's northwest border leads to the Caucasus and Russia, where a lot of Afghanistan heroin ends up.

        Americans are spared of having to ever think about Afghanistan even though there are still 60,000 troops there.

        You only know what they tell you.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 08:36:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Imperialism is a good old fashion word. n/t (0+ / 0-)
        •  That's been a problem since Clinton (0+ / 0-)

          Bill Clinton had the golden opportunity after the end of the Cold War to redefine American foreign policy and he frittered away his second term.  So Dick Cheney and the neo-cons redefined it.  Obama doesn't seem to much give a damn.  Go with the flow.  He's no neo-con.  He's no warmonger.  But he doesn't care enough to bother trying to set a new course.  And HRC seems to be too worried about getting funding from the lobbies to do anything but maintain the status quo which will be swell until the bloated Imperial Empire collapses under the weight of the defense contracts and foreign commitments we can't afford.

    •  Not just the Bush Crowd, this has been (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      US policy pretty much forever.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:47:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As much as I share the EU's outrage over (5+ / 0-)

    excess spying, I also can't help but remember the continuous war in 1984 between Oceana, Eurasia, and East Asia.

    I used to teach a lot of senior management courses in Europe and frequently noticed a different, more "practical" attitude about "free trade."  One very senior executive of a major European based multinational corporation told me that Europe would never allow Japan to do what it did to the American electronics, and auto industries.

    By that he meant, let them take them over, without doing anything because of our passionate zealotry about the ideology of "free trade."  Back in those days the EU had much higher trade barriers to protect their key industries and corporations.

    I can not help but wonder how much of this passionate proclamation in defense of privacy, and the the threat to block American companies Google, Facebook, Yahoo comes from a "continental" desire to develop and protect domestic versions of these corporations.

    Sometimes NJ is a better model for the EU and South East Asian nations, than the idealized conceptions of "free trade" we worship here.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:03:44 PM PST

    •  The recommendations for a Digital Habeas Corpus (6+ / 0-)

      include development of EU enterprises using EU technology and EU privacy standards to replace American companies.

      The EU Justice Commissioner who has to sponsor the Digital Habeas Corpus initiative in the face of inertia and opposition has spoken about the 'good for EU business' angle in developing home-grown substitutes for the American enterprises that trashed the privacy agreements they signed. The business angle is a powerful argument.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 07:20:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  sophomoric diplomat - need grown ups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VirginiaJeff
  •  Nice we have a nice liberal S0S (5+ / 0-)
    Earlier, Mr. Kerry repeated Washington’s admonitions to Russia not to interfere in Ukraine
    NYT

    So backstabbing the EU in the UN via Feltman, backstabbing Americans in the Midwest for a pipeline...

    Gotta love that State Dept.

    •  To go with our nice liberal DOJ & AG Eric Holder. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mark Lippman

      The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

      by lotlizard on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:11:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Last November, Holder met with his counterpart, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, GermanGuy

        the EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding.  The EU was conducting an investigation of mass surveillance as a law enforcement matter the way that detectives do.  The work wasn't done but there were concerns about the lack of US cooperation.

        Holder and Reding issued a joint statement full of reassurances about the remedies already begun in the US, as Holder listed them. He cited the work that PCLOB was doing. It's in the statement posted on the European Commission's website.

        A couple of weeks ago PCLOB released it's findings and opinion. Mass surveillance practiced by the NSA is illegal.

        I know this may be a big yawn to a lot of Americans. It doesn't restore trust when the administration reacts to the findings by trying to shake them off. They may be able to get away with this bullshit with Americans. It won't work in Europe because the NSA's activities aren't their secret to keep. There is someone who may be able to blow the lid off this game and he has been invited to testify.

        There is no existence without doubt.

        by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:51:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  yes let's please take an off hand remark (0+ / 0-)

    and run with it.

    If anyone ever doubted that Chancellor Merkel's reaction to all of this was anything other than pure politics I'll note that  she did not seem to have much to say about privacy in this case.

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 10:57:58 PM PST

    •  With all due respect, I have to point out the (7+ / 0-)

      absence of logic in your comment.

      You seem to doubt Merkel's objection to having her phone tapped because she didn't object to Nuland's phone being tapped.

      If Merkel said nothing about Nuland's privacy, then we don't know her opinion and we can't assume that she was insincere when she complained about her own phone.

      Merkel's concern was within the scope of her position as Chancellor of Germany. Her concern was about the damage to the mutual trust that's expected between allies that cooperate on a number of issues. She expressed a desire to maintain good relations with the US and the NSA's practices could test the strength of an important alliance.

      Now Merkel's concerns wouldn't apply to the tap on Nuland's phone. Germany wasn't a party to it. It didn't take place on German territory. The tap doesn't jeopardize transatlantic relations.  

      The concerns Merkel expressed were within the scope of her position as Chancellor of Germany here too. She reacted to a comment that seemed to disparage the role of the EU in trying to settle the conflict in Ukraine. If the US State Dept has a problem with EU efforts to restore stability in a nearby country, it's Merkel's business.

      It's not Merkel's business every time some random diplomat's phone gets tapped somewhere in the world by some other country. And you don't get to make it her business in the place of international law and treaties.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 12:22:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  With all due respect (0+ / 0-)

        You're missing my point.

        It doesn't matter whether Merkel's phone was tapped or not. It wouldn't surprise me if that was in fact true however the fact that now when it's politically convenient to her (Merkel) her outrage is no where to be found shows that all this has been to Merkel is yet another move in the game of states.

        And your efforts to shift this into a discussion of 'area of concern' are illogical. Either Merkel is truly concerned about privacy or she is not. There is no middle ground to be had and yet  that she is trying to do precisely that shows her motivations to be purely political.

        To be clear I don't fault her on this. Someone official made an off hand stupid comment that can easily be taken out of context and become a much bigger deal than it really is. That she (Merkel) wants to use that to her political advantage is just how it is. But at the time anyone thinking that her motives are anything other than pure politics is quite mistaken.

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:01:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ok. Got it. Mass surveillance is still illegal./ (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          truong son traveler, koNko

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:36:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ms. Nuland's Sexual Fantasies (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          TheMomCat, koNko

          I feel I have to defend Angela Merkel a bit.

          Merkels outrage about her own cellphone being tapped by the NSA was not a "privacy issue" - it was a perceived breach of trust by a partner. In the case at hand, two recorded call were published without an identified source (and everybody assuming it probably was a Russian or Ukrainian job); one call between American diplomats and one call between EU diplomats. There was no impression of any kind of breach of trust involved in these two.

          All this said, I think it was unnecessary for her to expressly say the obvious. Sometimes silence is golden. She felt she had to do something to give the European and German public the impression that she reacts to "American disrespect". I would wish this were not an issue; and as this kind of stuff regrettably has become an issue, I would wish more class in dealing with it.

          •  "Trust" appears 31 times in the European (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koNko, GermanGuy

            Parliament Civil Liberties Committee Draft Resolution which is the document coming up for a vote next week. This document is the work of a group that includes the left, center, and right.

            Trust is shaken because the US violated agreements that it has with the EU.

            Our so-called free press isn't what it used to be. Its purpose now is to influence opinions, not inform the public. A couple of weeks ago, a Senator who heads the Intelligence Committee, with 20 years tenure, said on television that Snowden collected classified information with help from Russia. She admitted there is no evidence but insisted it was so.

            Her committee held a public hearing about 10 days ago with NSA Director James Clapper. He refused to answer the questions he didn't want to answer. Most of the Senators gave him very easy questions.

            A lot of Americans would rather gossip about inconsequential matters than think about the risk they face. They don't know the risk because it hasn't been shown to them.  Intelligence, the law, and information technology are beyond their understanding.  

            So we have denial, division, and inertia. Honestly, I think Europeans care about this issue and maybe even care about America more than Americans do.

            There is no existence without doubt.

            by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 05:19:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  I am curious (0+ / 0-)

            Do you think that Germany spies on the US or other allies?

            Speaking personally I do.

            And I will say that a lot of people here at least have been making this a privacy issue.  That's why I brought up the issue. Please don't think though that I am expressly attacking Angela Merkel. I really am not. I am just pointing out she is doing what any state leader would do under the circumstances.

            Der Weg ist das Ziel

            by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 01:50:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  State of Innocence (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              duhban, stevemb

              As to your question: Compared to peers, Germany is quite constrained concerning secret intelligence gathering in general and extremely so towards its Western partners. From all I know, and I do have some insight, there is not and was not any kind of operations against the US government which could be considered breach of trust.

              Plus, pretty much all programs and operations of the BND which might be worth a challenge on privacy grounds are done in more or less close cooperation with the Five Eyes. A good informative piece to give you an impression is here ("GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance").

              There are two states in the EU which run ambitious and aggressive intelligence operations, the UK (within the Five Eyes framework) and France. The latter also devotes considerable ressources to commercial espionage against Germany, which is a disgrace. It feels a bit like Texas setting up an intelligence service to spy on Californian businesses and pass the gathered information to Texan businesses ...

              •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                The guardian would disagree with you

                http://www.theguardian.com/...

                Der Weg ist das Ziel

                by duhban on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 04:28:11 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  The Legal Framework Is Important (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  duhban

                  The article you link and the studies it refers to basically only compare the legal framework for secret service internet surveillance operations in the US, the UK und Germany ... while this of course is a point of major importance, the legal findings here do not contradict anything I wrote above ...

                  •  we will have to agree to disagree than (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    GermanGuy

                    Thank you for your time and discussion, you have a good day, Auf Wiedersehen

                    Der Weg ist das Ziel

                    by duhban on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 01:57:43 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  In the last European Parliament hearing, on (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      stevemb, duhban

                      the course of action in response to mass surveillance, the person who chaired the meeting reminded everyone after the first speaker, let's not single out the US. She pointed out that the draft resolution states that the national governments of the UK, France, Germany, and Sweden have agencies with the same practices. She added that Russia and China do, too. There's also the Five Eyes which extends to Australia and New Zealand.

                      The EU's primary concern is to maintain mutual trust among its 28 members and to maintain mutual trust with external allies in North America.  

                      It's important to understand that mutual trust is the foundation for the treaties and agreements that hold the EU together. The same goes for the Atlantic alliance. There's a level of fiduciary obligation among the parties to these treaties to protect each other in certain situations.

                      The European Parliament's job is to restore the level of mutual trust among its members so that the organization is preserved and to obtain the cooperation of its North American partners to restore mutual trust with them as well.

                      When I write, it's for an American audience, to explain the circle of mutual trust that encompasses the EU and the larger circle of trust that includes North America and the EU. Within that circle, the US and its partners still have obligations to each other. That's the focus of my writing.

                      What Russia does, what China does, is outside our circle of mutual trust. We don't condone the spying they do and we understand that we don't have the kind of alliance with them that obligates mutual protection. The EU has no leverage to resolve surveillance issues with them comparable to the leverage it has within its own circle.

                      I'm not a fan of Merkel and the problem we have goes beyond political personalities like Obama. The problem we have may be around after they are gone. The purpose of my writing would be clearer if I referred to countries instead. In that context, Germany may complain that the US is acting more like a country that's outside the circle, like Russia or China. And Germany, the UK, France, Sweden, and maybe one or two others are also doing their part to corrode mutual trust too.

                      The European Parliament's plan encompasses all of this.

                      There is no existence without doubt.

                      by Mark Lippman on Sun Feb 09, 2014 at 05:20:31 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

  •  Does our government's cockiness (2+ / 0-)

    and swagger ever take a break?

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 11:28:56 PM PST

  •  Find it hard to get overy concerned about this (0+ / 0-)

    Yeah, it was dumb to say but I can only imagine how embarrasing it would be for every country on earth if the opinions of its diplomats towards other countries and foreign leaders was shown to the general public. Some of what got released by wikileaks showed this.

    •  The Wikileaks diplomatic cables I remember (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      referenced incidents that took place some time ago, before the current administration. Some of those incidents took place during administrations that most liberals, Democrats, Progressives wouldn't consider an example to follow. And the Wikileaks disclosures weren't meant to be an instruction manual for diplomats to follow.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 07:58:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where is (0+ / 0-)

    the condemnation of Russia for eavesdropping on this US communique?

    Oh, wait, Russia is allowed to do whatever, but the US must be hammered for doing the same thing.

    Double standard? yes...Snowden's Russia is perfect, while the evil US is ...evil.

  •  What struck me as hilarious about the Nuland thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mark Lippman, Richard Lyon

    Was the lame jargon and mixed-metaphors coming from what I assume to be well-educated and worldly career diplomats, which comes off as so sophomoric that I actually felt embarrassed reading it, like I was eavesdropping on some teenagers (or salesmen) on a bus.

    Gesh:

    Nuland: OK... one more wrinkle for you Geoff. [A click can be heard] I can't remember if I told you this, or if I only told Washington this, that when I talked to Jeff Feltman [United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs] this morning, he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry did I write you that this morning?

    Pyatt: Yeah I saw that.

    Nuland: OK. He's now gotten both Serry and [UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. So that would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and to have the UN help glue it and, you know, Fuck the EU.

    Pyatt: No, exactly. And I think we've got to do something to make it stick together because you can be pretty sure that if it does start to gain altitude, that the Russians will be working behind the scenes to try to torpedo it. And again the fact that this is out there right now, I'm still trying to figure out in my mind why Yanukovych (garbled) that. In the meantime there's a Party of Regions faction meeting going on right now and I'm sure there's a lively argument going on in that group at this point. But anyway we could land jelly side up on this one if we move fast. So let me work on Klitschko and if you can just keep... we want to try to get somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing. The other issue is some kind of outreach to Yanukovych but we probably regroup on that tomorrow as we see how things start to fall into place.

    Nuland: So on that piece Geoff, when I wrote the note [US vice-president's national security adviser Jake] Sullivan's come back to me VFR [direct to me], saying you need [US Vice-President Joe] Biden and I said probably tomorrow for an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick. So Biden's willing.

    Pyatt: OK. Great. Thanks.

    10-4 and 23 ski-do on that, got the superglue ready for those airborne torpedoes.

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 09:58:23 AM PST

    •  I liked the nicknames they used. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko, Richard Lyon

      Yotts for Yatsenyuk. (Yotts is the guy.)
      Kleech for Klitschko.

      At one point Vickie and Geoff pass the responsibility for a difficult phone call back and forth like a hot potato. It's comical.

      Why does Geoff call for someone with an "international personality?" Isn't that the definition of his job as Ambassador?

      This is mediocrity in action.

      There is no existence without doubt.

      by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:31:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For a good time (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mark Lippman, Richard Lyon

        Read the entire transcript.

        BTW, Nuland is married to Robert Kagan.

        What do John McCain, Hilary Clinton and Barrack Obama have in common?

        No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

        by koNko on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:38:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not sure. They have both been around and around (0+ / 0-)

          but it's a mystery what their talents are. Nuland was at the State Dept under Hilary if I remember correctly I want to say that she effed up her boss on Benghazi.

          There is no existence without doubt.

          by Mark Lippman on Sat Feb 08, 2014 at 10:54:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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