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.
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."|
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.|
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."|
|That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing and have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.|
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.”|