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America spying on Germany, EU

An ugly image of a double-faced, hypocritical America emerges

Off-topic, philosopher's birthday: One of the greatest polymaths of the history, Gottfried von Leibniz, was born on July 1st, 1646. See this biography written in 2008. His father, a professor of moral philosophy in Leipzig, East of Germany (who was half-German, half-Sorbian i.e. Slavic: I couldn't understand a Sorbian song, looks like a countryside Czech dialect pronoucation of Polish words inspired by some Yugoslav speakers), died when Gottfried was six. From that moment on, he had access to the dad's huge library and was affected by his mother's teachings. He wrote often valuable things in dozens of disciplines but his standards and ingenuity in natural sciences couldn't match Newton's.
Edward Snowden hasn't been assassinated by the U.S. government yet so he is starting to make some real impact, unfortunately a negative one so far. The media such as the Guardian told us about the anger in Europe that erupted after some European countries' officials were shown documents indicating that Prism is spying on EU in general and Germany in particular:
Berlin accuses Washington of cold war tactics over snooping
The extremely promising Euro-American free-trade pact has been threatened after we learned that half a billion of phone calls, text messages, and e-mails are tapped by the U.S. every month. I can't really imagine how this huge amount of information may be effectively monitored, how many (invisible?) people the U.S. intelligence services are employing etc.



It would be great if people kept their heads cool because the trade pact could be a great thing and if they tried to see all the things in the context – every major power is spying on someone and Snowden actually indicated that the U.K. is more brutal in this respect than the U.S., a subtlety that the Guardian and others fail to mention – but on the other hand, I won't hide that I am kind of troubled by the revelations, too.

I generally like the Americans' character but this story highlights some of its darker sides including an unmatched level of hypocrisy, a hardwired hardcore centralization sentiment, and a generally poor understanding of (and respect for) other nations' culture and inner working. I will get to these points momentarily.




The NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium were the starting point for the NSA to obtain some EU politicians' (and many other people's) sensitive data in an unfriendly way. The offices of the European Union have been a major target. Well, let me say that these Eurobastards should be monitored – but they should be monitored by the European citizens because the European citizens are those who are affected by the Eurobastards' acts most intensely.

The NSA hasn't told us anything about these acts – without Snowden, we wouldn't even know that the spying was going on – so it is hard to present the U.S. spies' behavior as a friendly one even if I dislike most tendencies in the EU today.




But Germany is the main targeted nation state. The American scrutiny of Germany was elevated to a new level sometime in 2010 – clearly during Obama's tenure. In fact, Germany was placed in the same box as China, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia while the English-speaking countries such as the U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand were included in the less monitored, more friendly category. It is hard to convince oneself that this surprising categorization of Germany occurred because the U.S. services haven't detected the violent resignation of Adolf Hitler as the German chancellor yet.

All these revelations are worrisome because they're so hostile. It isn't hard to understand that stealing half a billion of secret messages from a nation every month isn't exactly a friendly behavior. But aside from the intrinsic hostility and the lack of trust, the documents unmask some troubling aspects of Obama's America's thinking – and perhaps America's thinking in general.

First, you can't really believe current American officials – and perhaps other Americans – when they praise you as a great ally and friend. In particular, Obama has repeatedly praised Germany as an extraordinary ally. He did so a few days ago. But even if you return to November 2009, a moment a few months before the new wave of spying began (and a moment when it was probably already under construction), he said things like:
"I should just note that Germany has been an extraordinarily strong ally on a whole host of international issues," Obama said. "Chancellor Merkel has been an extraordinary leader on the issue of climate change [oops]. And the United States, Germany, and countries around the world I think are all beginning to recognize why it is so important that we work in common in order to stem the potential catastrophe that could result if we continue to see global warming continuing unabated [blah blah blah]."
He has always had a big mouth but a sensible person just can't take his words seriously. These comments don't apply just to his remarks about the friendship.

America has been among the most vocal defenders of the preposterous meme that the ethnically, culturally, and historically defined nations and their interests belong to the past. We may hear this total rubbish all the time – after all, nations are defined by their territory and values only, and so on. But when you look under the surface, you may see who are the "real" allies and who are not. The "real" allies just happen to be those who speak the same language. A coincidence? I don't think so.

Also, America repeatedly claims that individual citizens and all the ethnic groups are participating in the decision-making process. That's how America – according to its public proclamations – imagines the mechanism of the decision-making process, at least in democracies. However, as soon as you look under the lid, you see something entirely, entirely different. The U.S. agencies are literally obsessed by the (fundamentally misguided) question "who is really controlling Europe". So we have learned that they have decided that some politicians in Brussels and Berlin have this power.

It's just amazing. This obsession breathtakingly contrasts with the publicly available proclamations, with America's declared will to help the oppressed nations and ethnic minorities to decide about their fate. In reality, the power in Europe isn't as centralized as the naive, geography-challenged folks in the U.S. agencies seem to imagine. Most political decisions are still being made at the national level. This is true even (or especially?) when it comes to the foreign policy issues.

Germans represent about 1/6 of the EU population (the most populous single nation) and Germany's contribution to the European GDP (22%) is somewhat (a little bit) larger than that, much like Germany's contribution to the power and decision-making in the EU (30%?). But it's just nowhere near 100 percent. Germany's opinions may be correlated with the ultimate decisions by the EU in a percentage of cases that may approach 100 percent but that doesn't mean that Germany is actually behind this correlation. In most cases, it just means that other EU countries or politicians agree with those in Germany and Germany agrees with them – in a balanced way.

At any rate, the revelations do reinforce the picture in which a majority of the Americans – including most of the bureaucrats in the intelligence services – are just too stupid and too disrespectful when it comes to foreign countries and the idea that Europe is composed of dozens of largely independent nations seems just too difficult for them to grasp. They're obsessed by the idea to simplify this complex world and look for a framework in which the political arrangement of Europe is fully analogous to the arrangement of the U.S. Well, it's not! American spies may spend decades by the search for Henry Kissinger's notorious and proverbial "one telephone number of Europe" but after they penetrate through trillions of telephone calls, they won't find anything because there is no single telephone number of Europe.

Politicians from many European countries are demanding explanations. I don't think that there's much to explain here. The stories are almost certainly true. It's pretty normal for countries to spy on others which is the actual explanation why America is doing it, too. We shouldn't investigate whether the U.S. spies on Europe – it clearly does. Instead, people should try to find out who else may be spying because some of the analogous information that we weren't shown yet may be much more dangerous for us.

To summarize, the very fact that Prism has targeted the communication in Europe isn't too surprising to me. The detailed ideology – ideas about the way how Europe and the world do operate and how they should operate – seem more troublesome to me. At any rate, a sensible person should learn that big words about friendship, equality of nations, and democracy spoken by folks like Barack Obama – and his very smile – shouldn't be taken seriously. In your real decisions, all these things should be ignored. While Obama himself has won the 2008 and 2013 elections as the ultimate king and symbol of hypocrisy and the search for the most politically correct, kitschy image (and yes, something as irrelevant as his colorful racial background was the main fad that was helping him to win both recent elections), I am afraid that these revelations tell us about the character of many more people than just Barack Obama.

And that's the memo.

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reader Peter F. said...

Good one, Lubos!


reader Luboš Motl said...

Thanks, Eugene, for your very interesting info. I didn't even know about the Five Eyes - UKUSA

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Eyes



These treaties seem to originate in the 1940s. One would think that they're archaic, outdated, and out of business but they're apparently not.


reader anna v said...

Dear Lubos, you ask

"I can't really imagine how this huge amount of information may be
effectively monitored, how many (invisible?) people the U.S.
intelligence services are employing etc."

it is called "data mining" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_mining and has come into its own with the large computing and processing power that exists presently.


Now on the content: we have to return to the age of the village mentality. The fast and free communications have made the whole world a village. When living in a village you would not go out on the square and discuss your family's business affairs. The mobile phones and internet are exactly as if each of us has gone out on the square of the world village and laid open our family secrets.


The ancient greeks had a saying: what is for the household should not be discussed in the demos ( root of democracy, the gathering of the people). We should be aware that there are no secrets really in the electronic atmosphere. One can hope to be lost in the noise, except data mining is making this difficult. We should all be aware that all of our declarations are like writing them on the wall in the village square, be aware that no matter how overlayed the graffiti are, data mining will get what it is searching for.


In the sense of looking for terrorists it is good. In the sense of businesses seeking unfair advantage or even rivals in other fields being able to dig up and decipher anything, it is bad. We have to learn to live with this, we and our politicians. Maybe communicate in secret code by writing :).


reader John H. said...

Good post Lubos. The USA seems to have the attitude: land of the free but we're watching your every move. Under the Bush years there was an attempt to obtain all the library borrowing records but the librarians stopped them. Sortta quashes that idea of librarians being meek and mild. The USA and my country needs to pull its head and stop buggering around with other countries internal affairs. As recent history has indicated we may(only that!) have good intentions but look at Afghanistan and Iraq, both still a shambles and no prospect of improvement.


reader anon said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiJ0j6qjo8w


reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Anna. there is one thing about some computer programs being data mining, and perhaps some special confidential people reviewing some materials that were mined; and it's another thing for the communication to become public.


I would find the latter absolutely unacceptable. It doesn't matter whether communication occurs via pigeons or the Internet lines. Both of them may be listened to, both of them may be secret. In fact, the electronic communication has much better tool to protect the confidentiality. I just don't buy your suggestion that the loss of confidentiality is an inevitable consequence of the electronic means to propagate information. These two aspects have nothing to do with one another.


reader Luboš Motl said...

LOL, surely he must compensate his beneath-his-height creativity and originality by something else.


reader BlueScreenOfDeath said...

Given that the biggest terrorist atrocity in world history - 9/11 - was cooked up by terrorists in Munich under the benign eyes of the local security services, and given that nothing seems to have improved since - a serving soldier being hacked to death on the streets of London by adherents of the "Religion of Peace", for example - i would consider it purely constituted self-preservation for the US/UK to attempt to keep track of threats that the Europeans seem - for fear of being accused of 'Islamophobia' or some other PeeCee fantasy ailment appear to willfully and blindly ignore.


reader Eugene S said...

Hamburg, not Munich :)


reader serene deputy said...

There is quite extraordinary lack of consistency in your view: "nothing seems to have improved since - a serving soldier being hacked to death on the streets of London", "purely constituted self-preservation for the US/UK to attempt to keep track of threats that the mainland Europeans seem". Since you seem to easily mistake European cities, let me tell you that London is in UK, and UK is one of the harbor places for radical Muslims. You must realize that one can use exactly the same arguments that you use (9/11 was in the US, wasn't it? And it preceded terrorist attacks in Europe, didn't it? and I seem to recall a recent incident in Boston by the way!) to justify Europeans to spy on Americans. I guess that you would agree with that too.


reader thejollygreenman said...

'Keep your friends close and your enemies closer' - Machiavelli
The clue is in the meaning of the word spy. Are we surprised that spies are spying and that civil servants are actually doing their jobs?


reader lucretius said...

Sorry to sound pedantic but I have read everything by Machiavelli and he definitely never wrote this. This quote is also sometimes attributed to Sun Tzu but it is not in "The Art of War" and this clearly is not a good maxim for warfare. In fact, it seems to belong to 20th century popular culture and appears in "The Godfather Part II".


reader Gordon said...

The main thrust of the spying scandal may be the extent of it in Germany, but you can trust the French to go more apes%it over it :) Obama is turning out to be a hollow man: ("We are the hollow men, we are the stuffed men, leaning together, headpiece filled with straw"--Eliot) His rhetoric is vacuous, predictable, and boring.
OT--Nerdy joke about Germans:
fMRI (functional MRI) is a great brain scanning to to highlight areas of the brain that are being used and to pinpoint them in real time. It works by having a scan taken during an activity or behavior or emotion etc and subtracting an fMRI scan that was taken as baseline (at rest, sort of).
An example would be to subtract a German fMRI from an English fMRI to see the brain's humor centre.
(I warned about the nerdiness :))


reader Trimok said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON


reader cynholt said...

"Judicial Watch Obtains Records Detailing Obama Administration’s Warrantless Collection of Citizens’ Personal Financial Data"



http://www.judicialwatch.org./press-room/press-releases/jw-obtains-records-detailing-obama-administrations-warrantless-collection-of-citizens-personal-financial-data/



Looks like the rabbit hole has turned into a wormhole, folks. How
deep it runs is anybody's guess. Rest assured, though, we'll know in the
fullness of time.


reader Gordon said...

This indiscriminate spying against Germany, France, Belgium, and who knows which other allies, is going to be harder for Obama to spin. You do not do this to allies and friends. Of course, I do not think that anything would be different with the Republicans. The policy was likely articulated by the shadow government and the agencies involved. This, for a beginning, may lead to the collapse of the EU-US trade deal being discussed.
I hope that Snowden can get to Iceland and that the Allthing grants him citizenship like they did for Bobby Fischer. I also hope that the Russians are not abusing him to get classified information. His flight to Russia may have been necessary for him, but was likely a worst case scenario.


reader Gordon said...

"Sorry to sound pedantic but I have read everything by Machiavelli"...
Hmmm, it sounds like you work for the

NSA :)


reader cynholt said...

If the NSA is so dedicated to
fishing for terrorists, they ought to get evidence against the Banksters who've done
more damage to this country than any Mideastern terrorist. I bet more
people are afraid of the power banks hold over this country than some
rogue terrorist who, by the way, has the potential to create as much
damage as our domestic mass murderers.



Apart from that, I'm both gratified and in awe of Edward Snowden.
Yes, I think he has done us a great favor, really sacrificing his life
(though I hope it doesn't come to that) to square his conscience. Many
people who'd like to blow the whistle don't have a trusted press helper
to ensure the whistle is heard. My hat's off to Greenwald as well for
the important role he's played here.


All I can say right now is the US Government is not going
to be able to
cover this up by jailing or murdering me. Truth is coming, and it cannot
be stopped. ----Edward Snowden


reader cynholt said...

The quality of an administration can be measured by its attitude toward
secrecy, Gordon. This does not bode well for the Obama Administration,
which is reaching toward Mad-Hatter levels of secrecy.



Interestingly, Bill Clinton was nowhere so secretive as our more
recent Presidents. Under Clinton, the government declassified huge
numbers of documents, making them available for public view.



Specific policies promoting transparency and open government were
quickly reversed under Bush-Cheney, who actually began reclassifying
many of the documents the Clinton people had freed up.



These Kafkaesque policies have continued under Obama, despite him
being dead-set to outdo Bush-Cheney in bringing fascism to America. The
government is continuing to reclassify documents, some going as far back
as World War II. At some point since the tenure of Bill Clinton, the US
went south on matters of secrecy.



Whistleblowers naturally become villains to the members of a corrupt
system. The more corrupt the system, the worse it treats people like Ed
Snowden, which shows you how bad it's gotten.





Our liberty's under attack

Our freedom is starting to crack

At tyranny's rise

A proud nation dies

And rights begin fading to black



The Limerick King


reader woodnfish said...

They spy on us as well, Gordon. The British were actively engaged in espionage against the US during WWII to try and bring us into the war. This stuff has been going on since the beginning of civilization. You know, "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer."


reader woodnfish said...

They have evidence against HSBC was laundering money for terrorists and drug cartels and the bank and its officers, who were involved, walked away scott free, Cynthia.


Nothing the government says is the truth. Only a fool would believe anything they say.


http://www.alternet.org/economy/too-big-jail-big-banks-can-finance-terrorists-and-walk-away-scot-free


reader woodnfish said...

Take your blinders off Cynthia and stop being such a partisan hack.


reader woodnfish said...

It is that type of data mining that turned up the unsent messages between Gen. Petraeus and his lover that brought him down. His political opponents obviously had much more that they did not release, but used to convince him to resign.


I use that as an example because the fact is that with the data trove they have, and it goes back for at least a decade, they can do anything they want to anybody, and they will.


reader woodnfish said...

Only brainwashed stooges think this is a free country anymore John. Unfortunately, we have many millions of them as our public schools are some of the best propaganda machines in the world.


reader Gordon said...

But in this case, woodnfish, she is right. And since Cyprus, the new meme "bail-in" is being repeated over and over in the EU and elsewhere---that is, depositors (ie, you) of the bank are "loaning" their money to the banks and are considered unsecured creditors whose deposits can be confiscated. It suits the government; it suits the banksters, it scr$ws the people.


reader Gordon said...

It would be great if Canada were to grant asylum to Snowden, like they do to persecuted from many countries. Unfortunately we have a somewhat paranoid fundamentalist control freak as PM right now whose reign is self-destructing, but who won't stand up to US pressures like Diefenbaker and Trudeau did. Even if this happened, he would certainly not be safe here.


reader lucretius said...

Most people don't really know Machiavelli or misunderstand him. They may be surprised that of all the peoples of his times he most admired the Swiss for their freedom and their ability to defend it. In "The Prince" he wrote of them: "they are heavily armed and perfectly free". He wanted the Italians to be like that.
In any case, one does not need to have read all of Machiavelli (or any other classical writer to know) that this citation could not be from him. Machiavelli's writings are all very serious and contain no witticisms of "wise-cracks", which are so typical of modern American style. Take any genuine Machiavelli aphorism, e.g. "It is better to be feared than loved if you cannot be both" and you can see the difference.


reader lucretius said...

My favourite Western politician ;-)
He has stood up against Obama pretty well and adopted exactly the opposite of his economic policies as well as policies in relation to Israel etc.
Both Diefenbaker and Trudeau did everything possible to help the Soviets - it is fair to regard them as agents of influence. Leter Pearson very likely was one.


reader John H. said...

Take heart, some of the stories I hear about what is happening in Britain are almost too hard to believe. The level of government interference in peoples' lives there is worrying. I sometimes refer to it as "creeping totalitarianism". In my country Australia the government was for some time pushing an internet filter. They received such a backlash that the plan was quietly dropped. I think, or at least hope, that people are becoming increasingly concerned about government intrusion. This isn't just about surveillance but the continual growth of legislation that directly impacts on our day to day lives.

And yes Lubos, Aussies, or more correctly their governments, love to prattle on about how we "punch above our weight". Silly little turkeys. :)


reader lucretius said...

Snowden is asking for asylum in a rather weird collection of 20 countries:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bw6EUppxi5S1T2R5ZGIwaGJOMTA/edit?usp=sharing

I have to say, I have no sympathy at all. People who have committed treason against evil regimes are my greatest heroes:

Hans Oster (chief of staff of German military intelligence) in 1939, after the failure of several plots to overthrow Hitler and prevent war, decided to pass the German war plans to the allies (via a Dutch military attache whom he knew) even though he knew this action would probably cost the lives of many thousands of German soldiers. He thought that a military defeat was the only way to bring down Hitler. Afterwards he told his driver than he was ready to be hanged for what he had done but thought he was a better German patriot that those who blindly followed Hitler. Oster was hanged in 1945, just weeks before Germany's surrender.

Ryszard Kukliński, a colonel of the Polish (communist) Army passed top secret Warsaw Pact plans to the CIA between 1971 and 1981. His motives were purely patriotic: he was motivated by the invasion of Czechoslovakia, the crushing of the Polish workers rebellion in 1970 and what he knew of Soviet war plans. Both his sons died in mysterious circumstances after his escape to the US. After the fall of communism a Polish court revoked Kuklinski's death sentence. He is buried n the row of honour in the Powiązki Military Cemetary in Warsaw, and has been given honorary citizenship of several Polish cities.
Oleg Gordievsky was a KGB colonel and resident designate and bureau chief in London. He was also turned against the Soviets by the invasion of Czechoslovakia. The information Gordievsky provided to the British is considered the most important intelligence information obtained by the West during the cold War. The Soviet era death sentence against Gordievsky has never been revoked but he has received the highest British honours. (Gordievsky also provided convincing evidence that the former Labour Party Leader Michael Foot, a hero of the Left, was a KGB agent of influence under the code name "Boot". Which shows, not for the first time, that the KGB had a sense of humour).

As I wrote, I consider all these three "traitors" as great heroes. They "betrayed" evil regimes (in Oster's case a "satanic regime" - in his own words). All three took huge risks and paid a terrible price. Snowden, on the other hand, betrayed a highly imperfect but far from evil government and in trying to save his own skin provided significant help to vastly worse ones. A person like this deserves nothing more than contempt, whatever his initial motives might have been.


reader Shannon said...

I personally think that it is unbelievable that in a huge spying agency such as NSA a young guy was left unsupervised... It is the NSA's dilettante attitude that is flabbergasting... The persons who recruited him are at least as responsible.

From now on the Americans will have to be kept on a lead like a delinquent with an electronic strap :-)


reader lucretius said...

Obama is incompetent in most things but he is competent in some. To see what sort of things I mean read this:

http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials-perspective/062713-661675-obama-pushing-racial-preferences-on-employers-lenders-schools.htm

He is making big "progress" here. The Egyptian secularits also think he is "competent" and something else. That's why they put up this poster:

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=549294308465041&set=a.288139251247216.74161.244154415645700&type=1&theater



By the way, the foreign minister of Poland has just stated that Poland will refuse Snowden's request for asylum as it is not "in the country's interest". I doubt that he will get a different answer from any country other than Iran but he has not applied for asylum there. I wonder why.


reader lucretius said...

There is an interesting article (unfortunately only in Polish) here

http://www.rp.pl/artykul/9158,1025328-Wszyscy-szpieguja-sie-nawzajem.html

The title is "Everyone spies on everyone" and the author accuses the Europeans "surprised" by American "spying" of extreme cynicism.

The article points out that, at least as far as new technologies and business are concerned, everyone spies on everyone - even if you include only NATO members. According to British MIV, 20 foreign intelligence agencies are active in Britain, including the German and the French. According to WikiLeaks Barry Smutny, the head of OHB Techologies stated two years ago that the French intelligence causes more damage to the German industry than the Russian and Chinese intelligence combined. In fact (according to the article) it is the French rather than the Americans who are the most active in spying on the allies. In 2010 the French and US intelligence agencies tried to negotiate a mutual non-spying agreement but the negotiations broke down.

This, I think, puts Snowden's revelations in perspective.


reader Shannon said...

Of course that everyone spies on everyone. However it is the first one who is caught and proven guilty who is the loser ;-)


reader lucretius said...

Indeed. It also seems clear that "fighting terrorism" has evolved into an excuse and a cover for industrial espionage. As could have been expected.


reader cynholt said...

The thing is, WoodnFish, in my attempts to comprehend Obama and other
government actors, I don't think it's enough to imagine them as simple
and ruthless calculators. The characteristic that defines them is what
we might call cognitive dissonance, and Orwell would have called Double
Think. Obama typifies this very well, at once possessing a mind of
ruthless realpolitik in the service of power, and yet maintaining a
grand delusion of acting for a higher good - a madness that abandons
solidarity with the individual, to protect some sublime concept of
identity - God and nation.



It is mistake to attribute this to intelligence or foolishness - it
is a special cocktail of mind that can arise in anyone, that proves so
dangerous.



Obama's a puppet with strings

A sign of what tyranny brings

His noble disguise

Lends credence to lies

He answers to clandestine Kings



The Limerick King


reader lukelea said...

One of the greatest polymaths of the history . . .

Along with Benjamin Franklin -- who only had a second grade education. Does anyone else compare with Leibniz and Franklin for diversity of accomplishment?*

* I heard a beautiful string quartet on the radio a few weeks ago. Turned out it was composed by Benjamin Franklin no less. In his excellent biography of Franklin I don't remember Walter Isaacson even mentioning that.


reader Gordon said...

Thomas Young.


reader lucretius said...

One natural candidate is Thomas Young (of the Young double-slit experiment): physics, medicine (he was a practicing doctor as well as a physiologist), linguist (he introduced the term "indo-european languages"), Egyptology - played a major role in deciphering the Rosetta inscription, music (the Young temperament). Another is Robert Musil - professional soldier, physicist, mechanical engineer, inventor, philosopher and psychologist and, most importantly, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. Of course if you go back into the Renaissance, you will find many more: the most obvious candidate being Leonardo da Vinci and farther back in the antiquity even more than that (my favourite being Eudoxus - famous as one of the greatest mathematicians ever but also interested in astronomy, ethics, theology, meteorology and more).


reader cynholt said...

Snowden should have asylum, Obama/Holder, etc. should be in one! :~)


reader papertiger0 said...

Let's not redefine terrorism, OK? Just ride this out on the tools they agree with us about.

I like this part;

"If the NSA is so dedicated to fishing for terrorists,..." [I suppose the question is "Why (fill in the blank ---. As in why haven't they caught any terrorists?)"



You think you all got problems? He can't cut your water or power off, or sick the I.R.S. on you, or throw out a dragnet to take you to prison in the middle of the night as the pretext for a cover story to save his heiney.


Nope that the guy who has to worry about that stuff would be me.


reader cynholt said...

It looks like snail mail and the written word can't escape NSA's PRISM Program either, Anna:



"U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement"



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/us/monitoring-of-snail-mail.html



But don’t worry. It’s only metadata. Happy Fourth of July! I hear they re-opened the Statue of Liberty!


reader An American said...

The head of each intelligence agency of the US serves at the pleasure of the President. Prism , Echelon, etc., were initiated at the behest of this political leadership, and there is exactly zero evidence that somehow cabal(s) within the agencies are conducting their own surveillance programs re Europe for their own purposes. The blame or credit for their actions rests solely with the President.

You owe the dedicated people of those agencies a sincere apology, and you might reflect that many of them worked on projects that helped bring about the demise of the USSR, which I trust you approve of, and that they presently work to monitor - " spy on " - if you will, entities who might make your future world a significantly less pleasant a place to live in.


reader Casper said...

Clearly the citizens of the United States and its legislature are only there to serve the needs and wants of the national security state.


The reason the national security state is spying on its allies at the EU is simple, and has nothing to do with national security. It just that it has so much money and resources that it has to do something that makes it look like it is doing something.