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Topic Summary

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: May 01, 2015, 08:18:14 AM »

Double standards of politicians are well-known. Helping the NSA spy on EU institutions and France must be something different than being spied upon. What is she going to say now?

German BND spy agency 'helped US target France'

Germany's national intelligence agency, the BND, spied on top French officials and the EU's headquarters on behalf of US intelligence, German media report.

The leaks from a secret BND report suggest that its monitoring station at Bad Aibling spied on France's presidential palace and foreign ministry, and the European Commission.

The US National Security Agency also allegedly spied on some European firms.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere denies claims of a cover-up.

The BND reportedly collected information on European firms at Washington's behest to check if they were breaking trade embargos.

According to the reports, the BND did not target German or US officials in the surveillance, as they are protected by a BND-NSA agreement signed in 2002.

However, it has emerged that the German government knew about NSA spying on European arms businesses as early as 2008. The government found "shortcomings" in the BND's operations, German TV reports.

Read more: BBC
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: June 05, 2014, 09:39:15 AM »

As expected, the US Foreign Ministry isn't too happy about this. They said, the "most appropriate" way would have been to clear this through "diplomatic channels".

Sounds like they never heard of the separation of forces in a democracy. Politicians and diplomats can't command the judiciary; well, maybe in the USA!
Posted by: coolkorat
« on: June 04, 2014, 08:48:01 PM »

Bear in mind Germany has sophisticated spy tools at its disposal: every highly-developed nation does, to monitor internal and external threats. Germany is faced with these threats as much (perhaps more) than other western European nations.

Whether Germany feels the need to spy on its allies is a different point: if the conversation were reversed, and Berlin had to explain why it had bugged the White House, what would the outcry be? The US would apply de facto sanctions, and the sanctions would be targeted at Germany's economy: Mercedes, BMW, Miele, Audi, VW, Leibherr, Siemens etc. Germany has a well-earned reputation for quality engineering: I think there are many US companies who would relish their removal from the market.

I think Germany has bigger problems, Putin being the main one. Why would Germany rock the boat with it's most significant ally over eavesdropping on a (temporary) politician when the big bad bear next door might cut off the gas. I think I'd want the reassurance of a squadron or two of F18's nearby to keep the peace, and worry less about Frau Merkel's conversations. And Frau Merkel knows well enough her mobile is vulnerable: I am sure her secure conversations are exactly that.

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: June 04, 2014, 04:55:21 PM »

The General Federal Attorney Harald Runge has opened criminal investigations into the affair of spying on Merkel's mobile phone now. He sees an early suspicion as given. At the moment the investigation is directed against 'unknown'. I wonder what will become of it. But it happened before that a German court sentenced CIA operatives for kidnapping. Of course all that happens is that those CIA agents gotta stay away from Germany to avoid arrest. Obama will have to take the newest criminal investigation against employees of his secret service as another sign for vanishing power over an ally.
Posted by: sicho
« on: March 24, 2014, 09:26:54 AM »

He's showing arrogance and a lack of empathy with just about anyone, not just those of German nationality. The references to Germany's past have the look of gratuitous snide comments.
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: March 24, 2014, 08:20:16 AM »

NSA Scandal

Former NSA chief Hayden apologizes to Germans, but not for spying

Michael Hayden has issued an apology to Germans in an interview with news magazine Der Spiegel. Yet he said he had no regrets about the NSA's surveillance practices, only that the group failed to keep its actions secret.

The former NSA director Michael Hayden told this week's Der Spiegel that attending the recent Munich Security Conference made him realize how much value German people place on their privacy.

"I admit that we Americans did not just underestimate the effects on the chancellor, but rather on the whole German population," Hayden said. "Perhaps the Germans have some different sensibilities because of their history. During the Munich Security Conference I sensed that the Germans regard their privacy in a similar way that we Americans see perhaps the freedom of speech or religion."

In an interview with DW during the Munich Security Conference earlier this year, Hayden had also mentioned how he was struck by "the depth of feeling" on the issue.

Germans retain comparatively fresh memories of oppressive secret police services, first under Adolf Hitler and then in former Communist East Germany. Parliamentarians in the Bundestag this week unanimously approved launching a special parliamentary inquiry into the extent of NSA espionage.

Schröder tapped over Iraq, Russia

Hayden was at the head of the NSA in 2002, when it began monitoring the telephone of German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, later continuing to observe his successor Angela Merkel. He told Spiegel that Schröder's opposition to the Iraq war and his comparatively close political and business ties to Russia and Gazprom first piqued the interest of US secret services.

He said he was not prepared to apologize for conducting such espionage against another country, but was willing to apologize for "making a good friend look bad."

Irrespective of what the NSA had done in secret, Hayden said, "we could not keep it secret and therefore put a friend in a very difficult position. Shame on us, that's our mistake."

Deutsche Welle

Is he trying to mock? Or is he deliberately exposing himself as insensitive? :uhm

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: March 23, 2014, 10:06:13 AM »

Targeting Huawei: NSA Spied on Chinese Government and Networking Firm

According to documents viewed by SPIEGEL, America'a NSA intelligence agency put considerable efforts into spying on Chinese politicians and firms. One major target was Huawei, a company that is fast becoming a major Internet player.

The American government conducted a major intelligence offensive against China, with targets including the Chinese government and networking company Huawei, according to documents from former NSA worker Edward Snowden that have been viewed by SPIEGEL. Among the American intelligence service's targets were former Chinese President Hu Jintao, the Chinese Trade Ministry, banks, as well as telecommunications companies.

But the NSA made a special effort to target Huawei. With 150,000 employees and €28 billion ($38.6 billion) in annual revenues, the company is the world's second largest network equipment supplier. At the beginning of 2009, the NSA began an extensive operation, referred to internally as "Shotgiant," against the company, which is considered a major competitor to US-based Cisco. The company produces smartphones and tablets, but also mobile phone infrastructure, WLAN routers and fiber optic cable -- the kind of technology that is decisive in the NSA's battle for data supremacy.

A special unit with the US intelligence agency succeeded in infiltrating Huwaei's network and copied a list of 1,400 customers as well as internal documents providing training to engineers on the use of Huwaei products, among other things.

Source Code Breached

According to a top secret NSA presentation, NSA workers not only succeeded in accessing the email archive, but also the secret source code of individual Huwaei products. Software source code is the holy grail of computer companies. Because Huawei directed all mail traffic from its employees through a central office in Shenzhen, where the NSA had infiltrated the network, the Americans were able to read a large share of the email sent by company workers beginning in January 2009, including messages from company CEO Ren Zhengfei and Chairwoman Sun Yafang.

"We currently have good access and so much data that we don't know what to do with it," states one internal document. As justification for targeting the company, an NSA document claims that "many of our targets communicate over Huawei produced products, we want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products." The agency also states concern that "Huawei's widespread infrastructure will provide the PRC (People's Republic of China) with SIGINT capabilities." SIGINT is agency jargon for signals intelligence. The documents do not state whether the agency found information indicating that to be the case.

The operation was conducted with the involvement of the White House intelligence coordinator and the FBI. One document states that the threat posed by Huawei is "unique".

The agency also stated in a document that "the intelligence community structures are not suited for handling issues that combine economic, counterintelligence, military influence and telecommunications infrastructure from one entity."

Fears of Chinese Influence on the Net

The agency notes that understanding how the firm operates will pay dividends in the future. In the past, the network infrastructure business has been dominated by Western firms, but the Chinese are working to make American and Western firms "less relevant". That Chinese push is beginning to open up technology standards that were long determined by US companies, and China is controlling an increasing amount of the flow of information on the net.

In a statement, Huawei spokesman Bill Plummer criticized the spying measures. "If it is true, the irony is that exactly what they are doing to us is what they have always charged that the Chinese are doing through us," he said. "If such espionage has been truly conducted, then it is known that the company is independent and has no unusual ties to any government and that knowledge should be relayed publicly to put an end to an era of mis- and disinformation."

Responding to the allegations, NSA spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said she should could not comment on specific collection activities or on the intelligence operations of specific foreign countries, "but I can tell you that our intelligence activities are focused on the national security needs of our country." She also said, "We do not give intelligence we collect to US companies to enhance their international competitiveness or increase their bottom line."

Spiegel online

Will the Chinese be as lenient as Merkel? :uhm
Posted by: thaiga
« on: February 24, 2014, 02:07:46 PM »

The NSA has stepped up its surveillance of senior German government officials since being ordered by Barack Obama to halt its spying on chancellor Angela Merkel, Bild am Sonntag reported yesterday.

Revelations last year about mass US surveillance in Germany, in particular of Merkel’s mobile phone, shocked Germans and sparked the most serious dispute between the transatlantic allies in a decade.

Bild am Sonntag said its information stemmed from a high-ranking NSA employee in Germany and that those being spied on included Thomas de Maiziere, the interior minister and a close confidant of Merkel.

“We have had the order not to miss out on any information now that we are no longer able to monitor the chancellor’s communication directly,” it quoted the NSA employee as saying.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said it would not comment on the “allegations of unnamed individuals”.

To calm the uproar over US surveillance abroad, President Barack Obama in January banned US eavesdropping on the leaders of close friends and allies of Washington.

Germans are especially sensitive about snooping due to their experiences in the Nazi era and in Communist East Germany, when the Stasi secret police built up a massive surveillance network.

Berlin has been pushing, so far in vain, for a “no-spy” deal with Washington. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the foreign minister, is due to visit the US on Thursday but has doubts such a deal would have much effect.

Bild am Sonntag quoted a security adviser to Obama, Caitlin Hayden, as saying: “The United States has made clear it gathers intelligence in exactly the same way as any other states.”

The paper said the NSA was monitoring 320 people in Germany — mostly politicians but also business leaders.

Steinmeier said he was hopeful the US has understood that surveillance of political partners “can have a political price”.

He was quoted as saying in an interview with Der Spiegel yesterday that the task of overcoming differences over US surveillance activities “should not be underestimated”.

He added his voice to growing scepticism over a hoped-for “no-spy” accord with the US, saying: “I doubt that a ‘no-spy’ agreement will get us much further.”

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: February 05, 2014, 08:46:41 AM »

German papers report today that not only Angela Merkels phone was spied on by the NSA, but also her predesessor Gerhard Schröderäs phone. "eason" for that had given his critical stance against the Irak-War. He was number 388 on the "National Sigint Requirement List".
Posted by: thaiga
« on: November 10, 2013, 10:17:15 PM »

McCain demands NSA chief's head

US Senator John McCain called on National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander to quit over the damage done to US-German relations by revelations that the NSA may have tapped Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone.

The disclosures and allegations meant it was time for a “wholesale housecleaning”, including a personal apology to Mrs Merkel by President Barack Obama, and repercussions for Mr Alexander, Mr McCain said in an interview with the German news magazine Der Spiegel published today.

“Of course he should resign, or be fired,” Mr McCain said when asked if Mr Alexander should quit. It’s “conceivable” that Mr Obama didn’t know about the eavesdropping, “but the fact remains that he should have known it. Responsibility always stops at the president’s desk,” he added. “Knowing how angry Angela Merkel was, he should have apologised.”

Mrs Merkel called Mr Obama last month to demand clarification after Spiegel reported that German authorities had enough information to confront the US over suggestions that the NSA may have tapped Mrs Merkel’s personal mobile phone. While the revelations risked a rift over broader US surveillance of German citizens, Mrs Merkel’s government made clear last week that its trans-Atlantic relationship with the US was paramount and would ride out the spying scandal.

Mr McCain, a former presidential candidate who sits on both the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, said the allegations of phone tapping had overstepped “certain boundaries”.

‘Credible’ Commission

He proposed the Obama administration set up a commission to make recommendations on intelligence gathering in the post-Sept. 11, 2011, world, including “credible people here and around the world” such as former US defence secretary Robert Gates and ex-secretary of state Condoleezza Rice.

“Friends spy on friends, we all know that, but there have to be certain boundaries,” Mr McCain said. “Those boundaries were probably, to some degree, there because we didn’t have the capabilities we have now. But when you go to the point where you invade someone’s privacy, the leader of certainly Europe, if not one of the foremost leaders in the world, Angela Merkel, then it was a mistake.”

Asked how damaging it would be to US-German relations if Germany were to grant asylum to former contractor Edward Snowden, the source of many of the intelligence leaks, Mr McCain said that Mrs Merkel “would never consider such a thing”.

“We’re too good friends,” he said.

Mr McCain’s spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail sent outside of US office hours asking him to confirm the interview.

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: November 05, 2013, 08:10:05 PM »

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked people in the US for their opinion about spying on friendly nations' leaders. 56 % found it unacceptable, a shocking 36 % supported it, 9 % had no opinion.  :o
Posted by: sicho
« on: October 30, 2013, 09:56:48 AM »

I think that he may not see foreigners as real people. after all, he's a military man.
Posted by: Roger
« on: October 30, 2013, 09:20:08 AM »

According to the BBC - the Head of USA Intelligence has told lawmakers that discerning foreign leaders' intentions is a key goal of USA spying operations. Amazing - disgraceful - how can the USA expect to be treated with respect around the World until they understand the destructive nature of such intrusion.
Perhaps they should ask questions and talk to foreign leaders instead !
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 29, 2013, 12:10:53 AM »

President Barack Obama should “stop apologizing” for the National Security Agency’s telephone- surveillance program that has “saved thousands of lives,” according to Republican U.S. Representative Peter King.

Disclosures of the extent of the NSA phone-monitoring have upset politicians from Brasilia to Berlin. European Union leaders said last week they would seek a trans-Atlantic accord on espionage after Der Spiegel magazine reported the NSA targeted German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone and Le Monde newspaper said the agency collected telecommunications data in France.

“The president should stop apologizing, stop being defensive,” King, a lawmaker from New York, said yesterday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives -- not just in the United States but also in France and Germany and throughout Europe.”

The NSA program gathers “valuable intelligence which helps not just us but also helps the Europeans,” King said.

The NSA operations have also prompted some Europeans to call for a suspension of talks for a free-trade zone between the European Union and the U.S., while German Chancellor Merkel, whose country is export-oriented, has rejected those calls.

Obama’s Apology

Obama apologized to Merkel in a telephone exchange Oct. 23 and said that he would have stopped the alleged spying had he known about it, Spiegel magazine reported, citing unidentified chancellery officials.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” program, Republican Representative Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said “the bigger news story” would be “if the United States intelligence services weren’t trying to collect information that would protect U.S. interests both home and abroad.”

“We should collect information that’s helpful to the United States’ interests,” Rogers said.

The Michigan lawmaker also said that recent friction with Saudi Arabia “has been developing over the last two years.” He cited what he said was a U.S. decision two years ago to stay away from the Syrian conflict and the recent “quick rush to the sweet talk” from Iran on that country’s nuclear program.

“Those are critical issues to the Saudis, to the Qataris, to the Jordanians, to others in the Arab League that I think rattled their faith in the administration’s ability to protect them in a very dangerous world,” Rogers said.

Security Council

Saudi Arabia refused to accept the membership of the United Nations Security Council it won earlier this month, citing issues including Syria’s civil war that it said show the world body is incapable of resolving conflicts.

The council’s “style, working mechanisms and double standards” prevent it from ending the turmoil in Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said in a statement on the state-run Saudi Press Agency. The body has also failed to rid the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms programs, it said.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week,” former Republican Vice President Dick Cheney also was critical of Democrat Obama’s policies, saying the Middle East no longer has confidence in the U.S., whereas its presence in the region was “enormously important” for decades.

‘Significantly Diminished’

“If we’re not heavily involved there, if we’ve turned our back on the region, if we’ve had a president who believes we overreacted to the terrorism attacks on 9/11, I think the Saudis, the Emirates, the Egyptians, many in that part of the world no longer have confidence in the United States,” Cheney said on the television program.

U.S. presence, capability and influence “has been significantly diminished” as the nation has withdrawn from the region and cut the number of forces there, Cheney said. “Our friends no longer count on us, no longer trust us, and our adversaries don’t fear us. That was sort of the cornerstone and the basis of the U.S. ability and influence.”

Cheney said he didn’t have a lot of confidence in the ability of the Obama administration to negotiate an agreement with Iran over its nuclear program, a skepticism he said is shared by officials in the Middle East.

“They’re very fearful that the whole Iranian exercise is going to go the same way as the Syrian exercise, that is, that there will be bold talk from the administration,” Cheney said. “But in the final analysis, nothing effective will be done about the Iranian program.”

In response to a question on whether military action against Iran was inevitable, Cheney said “I have trouble seeing how we’re going to achieve our objective short of that.”

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 28, 2013, 02:39:11 PM »

"nor has he ever"

Well, if it wasn't Alexander, who told Obama "last summer" about the spying operations, who was it then?
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 28, 2013, 02:29:24 PM »

NEW YORK - The National Security Agency stopped spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders after the White House learned of the snooping, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

President Barack Obama learned of the electronic surveillance in an internal review he ordered at mid-year, the Journal reported, citing unnamed US officials.

The review showed that the NSA had tapped the phones of some 35 world leaders. The White House ended programs tracking several of the leaders including Merkel, according to the Journal.

Some programs have been scheduled to end but have not yet been terminated, the Journal said.

Officials told the Journal that there are so many NSA eavesdropping operations that it would not have been practical to brief the president on all of them.

Obama was "briefed on and approved of broader intelligence-collection 'priorities,'" but deputies decided on specific intelligence targets, the Journal said.

"These decisions are made at NSA," the unnamed official told the Journal. "The president doesn't sign off on this stuff."

Ending a surveillance program is complicated because a world leader like Merkel may be communicating with another leader that Washington is monitoring, officials told the newspaper.

Germany's Bild am Sonntag weekly quoted US intelligence sources on Sunday as saying that NSA chief General Keith Alexander briefed Obama on the operation against Merkel in 2010.

In Washington, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines denied the claim.

Alexander "did not discuss with President Obama in 2010 an alleged foreign intelligence operation involving German Chancellor Merkel, nor has he ever discussed alleged operations involving Chancellor Merkel," Vines said.

"News reports claiming otherwise are not true," she said.

The snooping allegations, based on documents leaked by fugitive former US defense contractor Edward Snowden, indicate that US spy agencies accessed the electronic communications of dozens of world leaders and likely millions of foreign nationals.

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 28, 2013, 10:40:55 AM »

It is reported on Die Zeit (Google-translated) that the printed newspaper BILD am Sonntag ran an article yesterday that Keith Alexander had informed Obama already in 2010 about their spying operation on Merkel, and that Obama had not stopped the operation according to a high NSA official. Later the White House would have even ordered a dossier on Merkel. That high NSA official would have told the newspaper, that Obama didn't trust Merkel and wanted to know everying about her. The NSA contradicts that media report.

Problem is that the BILD newspaper belongs to the same category as the SUN in Britain and shouldn't be taken so seriously.

Posted by: sicho
« on: October 28, 2013, 09:38:19 AM »

Some Republicans seem to have lost touch with reality.

Monitoring terrorists, suspected terrorists and criminals within the limits of the law may be acceptable but spying on business people and 'friendly' politicians is no less commercial and political espionage. The denials and grudging apologies suggest that the US Administration doesn't care a fig what the rest of the world thinks.
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 28, 2013, 08:48:44 AM »

And this guy, Peter King, is abusing the affair for his intended run on the presidency in 2016:

Rep. Peter King defends U.S. spying on German leader, even as allies fume

 As European leaders fumed amid reports that the National Security Agency had been spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel for more than a decade, at least one prominent Republican lawmaker defended the controversial tactic Sunday, claiming that it keeps citizens of the U.S., as well as Europe, safe.

“We’re not doing this for the fun of it,” Long Island Republican Rep. Pete King said Sunday, responding to a report from Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine that the NSA began tapping Merkel’s cellphone in 2002. “This is to gather valuable intelligence, which helps not just us, but also helps the Europeans.”

“We’re not doing this to hurt Germany,” King told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

 According to Der Spiegel, Merkel’s cellphone had appeared on an NSA-assembled list of spying targets in 2002 and continued to be under watch as recently as the weeks preceding Obama’s June visit to Berlin.

An allegedly furious Merkel called President Obama earlier this week, after reports first emerged that the German chancellor was among 35 global leaders whose phones had been monitored by the NSA, to seek an explanation for the phone-tapping.

Obama apologized for the spying, Der Spiegel reported, and said he would have taken action to stop it, if he had known about it.

 The purported apology, however, irritated U.S. Republicans, who claim the spying actions help combat terrorism worldwide.

“I think the President should stop apologizing and stop being defensive. The reality is the NSA has saved thousands of lives not just in the United States but also in France, Germany and throughout Europe,” said King, a former House Homeland Security Committee chairman and a 2016 presidential candidate, on Sunday.

“The NSA has done so much for our country and so much to help this president, he should be out there, he should stand with NSA,” King added. “If he can find the time to go to Junior’s with Bill de Blasio” — a reference to the President’s Friday appearance at the famed Brooklyn cheesecake establishment with the mayoral front-runner — “then he can find time to go to Fort Meade.”

 On Wednesday, after the initial reports emerged, the White House would not deny that the NSA snooped on Merkel’s cellphone in the past, but claimed that it had put an end to the practice.

“The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said.

But the half-denial wasn’t nearly enough for Merkel, who blasted the purported action as a “serious breach of trust.”

 â€œSuch practices must be stopped immediately,” she said.

Outrage among her fellow politicians prompted Germany’s foreign minister on Thursday to summon the U.S. ambassador, John B. Emerson, to discuss the issue — a highly unusual move between long-time allies. And on Saturday, German intelligence officials announced plans to visit Washington to seek further answers.

The stiff reaction isn’t without precedent.

France summoned its U.S. ambassador last Monday after Le Monde newspaper reported that the NSA had been spying on French citizens.

The alleged surveillance has also ruffled feathers in Brazil and Mexico in recent weeks.

New York Daily News

Learned nothing from Watergate!

Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 27, 2013, 05:26:47 PM »

Obama assured Merkel in a phone call on Wednesday, he hadn't known about the spying on her mobile phone. He said, if he had known, he would have stopped it. He apologized.

That's even worse, if the secret services aren't under control of the top politicians anymore. Can we call the US an anarchy now?
Berlin: US President Barack Obama was personally informed of mobile phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday.


Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 27, 2013, 01:12:34 PM »

We know a book about this, don't we?
Originally titled Last Man in Europe it was renamed Nineteen Eighty-Four for unknown reasons :uhm
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 27, 2013, 12:58:47 PM »

WASHINGTON — Thousands rallied against NSA's domestic and international surveillance on Saturday by marching to the Capitol and calling for closer scrutiny of the agency as more details of its spying are leaked.


I think I rather believe "hundreds" reported by Der Spiegel instead of the "thousands" reported by USAtoday. :-[
Posted by: sicho
« on: October 27, 2013, 12:58:03 PM »

We know a book about this, don't we?

Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 27, 2013, 12:27:57 PM »

WASHINGTON — Thousands rallied against NSA's domestic and international surveillance on Saturday by marching to the Capitol and calling for closer scrutiny of the agency as more details of its spying are leaked.

Holding signs that said "Stop mass surveillance," "Thank you, Edward Snowden" and "No NSA mass spying," and chanting slogans like "no secret courts," the protesters gathered under a blue sky to hear various speakers.

Craig Aaron, head of the group Free Press, said "this isn't about right and left -- it's about right and wrong."

Stop Watching Us organized the march and is a diverse coalition of more than 100 public advocacy groups aiming to deliver a petition to Congress on Saturday calling for an end to mass surveillance of the National Security Agency. The group includes civil liberties watchdogs like the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and more broad-based groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Koch brothers' FreedomWorks and Occupy Wall Street-NYC, according to a press release.

The NSA spying controversy has been growing amid new revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the U.S. monitored the cellphone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It was the latest in revelations of spying on foreign countries — leaders of France and Italy have protested NSA surveillance as well as Brazil's president, who has canceled a visit to the U.S.

Germany is sending an intelligence team to Washington to discuss the issue. On Friday, the prime minister of Spain announced plans to call in the U.S.ambassador to discuss surveillance.

Jesselyn Radack, national security director for the Government Accountability Project, one of the rally organizers, read the crowd a statement from Snowden decrying the government's ability to examine call records and internet transactions.

"Our representatives in Congress tell us this is not surveillance. They're wrong," Radack quoted Snowden as saying. She gestured toward the Capitol building behind her and added, "We are watching you."

David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress, one of the grass-roots groups that helped organize the event, said before marching from Union Station to Third Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the Capitol that the goal is to put a face to opposition to surveillance.

Members have been lobbying this week for legislation to curb surveillance after a near-miss in July, with a 205-217 loss in the House, for a provision to block bulk collection of data such as phone records. The provision was sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., who is scheduled to speak to protesters on the National Mall.

Other legislation is expected next week from Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., Segal said: "I think that what the NSA has been doing is so transparently egregious that we have a real shot at winning this fight."

Holmes Wilson, right, of Worcester, Mass., holds a sign at anti-NSA rally in front of Union Station before marching to U.S. Capitol on Oct. 26.(Photo: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY)

Dave Miller of Bloomfield, N.Y., near Rochester, held a sign saying "What part of 'shall not' don't you understand?" At 56, he was attending his first political rally because of his concerns about surveillance.

"The natural progression is more control, more power," Miller said. "No matter what they say, we're going down the path toward tyranny."

Miller wore a dark-blue windbreaker with "U.S. Citizen" in yellow letters to mimic FBI jackets and send the message that citizens are in charge of the country. He brought enough jackets to sell.

"I just decided I was going to get off my duff and do something," said Miller, an unemployed engineer. "It's to demand respect from authority."

Dave Miller of Bloomfield, N.Y., joins the anti-NSA rally in D.C.(Photo: Bart Jansen, USA TODAY)

Holmes Wilson of Worcester, Mass., and a founder of the grass-roots group Fight for the Future, wore tape across his mouth and held a walking banner that said "Spying is censorship."

"I'm terrified by the ability the U.S. has to do surveillance here and all over the world," Wilson said, referring to the NSA gathering information from people's phones and e-mail. "They know who we associate with and where we are at any given time. It's only getting worse."

Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at NSA who was charged with 10 counts of spying but who pleaded to a misdemeanor for exceeding authorized use of a computer, exhorted the crowd gathered in front of the Capitol to push for repeal of the Patriot Act.

"It's time to roll back the surveillance state," Drake said. "It is time for the U.S. government to stop watching us."

Posted by: sicho
« on: October 27, 2013, 09:29:15 AM »

I expect GCHQ to be dragged into this soon. It's known that the agency has received funding from either the CIA or NSA.

No sooner said than done. GCHQ knows that it has contravened laws:
Posted by: sicho
« on: October 27, 2013, 08:04:31 AM »

I doubt whether it's much of an issue in the US. People who are content for semi-autonomous agencies to spy on them and are unwilling to do anything to stop their kids being killed at school won't see foreign relationships as important.
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 27, 2013, 07:57:57 AM »

Only a few hundred people were demonstrating yesterday in Washington against their government's spying on who they call friends. It seems all too normal and acceptable to most. :o

Posted by: sicho
« on: October 27, 2013, 07:27:47 AM »

Obama assured Merkel in a phone call on Wednesday, he hadn't known about the spying on her mobile phone. He said, if he had known, he would have stopped it. He apologized.

That's even worse, if the secret services aren't under control of the top politicians anymore. Can we call the US an anarchy now?

It's long been clear that the CIA had its own agenda quite separate from that delegated to it by government. The organisation has its own income from drug trafficking and so can fund extra-curricula activities. It seems now that the NSA is similarly partially independent of the government. If agencies are beyond the full control of government then it may be assumed that they are not acting in the best interests of the population.

It's unlikely that the CIA and NSA would go far beyond the boundaries set by government just for the fun of doing so. What, then, is their intention and who is pulling their strings?

I expect GCHQ to be dragged into this soon. It's known that the agency has received funding from either the CIA or NSA.
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 27, 2013, 07:08:08 AM »

New revelations by DER SPIEGEL: The US have  Merkel's phone on a secret list for being spied on since 2002, three years before she was elected chancellor.  They have been spying from the US embassy in Berlin with a non-legally registered spy-center. From there NSA and CIA are spying with modern high performance antennas on communication in the government district.

For those who can read German:

Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 26, 2013, 09:41:09 PM »

Obama assured Merkel in a phone call on Wednesday, he hadn't known about the spying on her mobile phone. He said, if he had known, he would have stopped it. He apologized.

That's even worse, if the secret services aren't under control of the top politicians anymore. Can we call the US an anarchy now?
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 26, 2013, 05:48:43 PM »

"If one thinks that it is really important, then you have to also pursue,"

Quite rightly too - They get away with far to much
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 26, 2013, 05:35:13 PM »

A couple of days ago I read an interview with John Kornblum, who served for decades as important US government executive in East-West relations and finally US ambassador to Germany. Even he said, Germany shouldn't take this as lightly and react "more energetic".

For those who can read German:

Google translated:
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 26, 2013, 05:30:15 PM »

Not even the German chancellor is safe from American snoops

IN JULY, when revelations by Edward Snowden were just beginning to drip out about the breathtaking extent of American spying on its own citizens and allies along with its enemies, Barack Obama, the American president, was still hoping everyone would simply calm down. “Here’s one last thing,” he said at one press conference. “I’m the end user of this kind of intelligence. And if I want to know what Chancellor Merkel is thinking, I will call Chancellor Merkel.”

He was speaking about Angela Merkel, one of the most pro-American leaders of a country that has been one of America’s closest allies. For her part, Mrs Merkel also spent the summer trying to minimise the scandal. She was in the throes of an election campaign and her opponents were trying to paint her as either naive or weak in the face of American violations of German privacy that were being compared to the practices of the Stasi, East Germany’s notorious secret police.

Mrs Merkel was re-elected in September, but the scandal did not go away. Each new revelation has caused fresh outrage somewhere. The Americans allegedly spied on the leaders of Brazil and Mexico and offices of the European Union. On October 21st Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, summoned the American ambassador in Paris after Le Monde, a newspaper, reported the huge scale of alleged American spying on French citizens. According to Le Monde, the National Security Agency (NSA) recorded 70.3m items of French telephone data between December 10th, 2012 and January 8th, 2013 and collected tens of thousands of French phone records. The NSA’s targets appeared to be individuals suspected of links to terrorism, but also people tied to French business or politics. France’s president, François Hollande, telephoned Mr Obama to demand an explanation of these reports.

Then, only two days later, Mr Obama got a call from Mrs Merkel. It may have been the most awkward conversation he has had on the topic yet. Mrs Merkel demanded to know whether the Americans were tapping her mobile phone. A German magazine, Der Spiegel, had asked Germany’s intelligence agencies this, as a result of which Mrs Merkel discovered reasons to suspect as much.

Not now and not in future, Mr Obama replied. This conspicuously left one tense unaccounted for: the past. Germans must assume that their chancellor has in fact been bugged and are wondering what they will discover next.

If there was such espionage, it amounts to “a grave breach of trust” among friends, said Mrs Merkel’s spokesman. Germany’s foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle, followed his French colleague by angrily summoning the American ambassador in Berlin. America’s image has been sinking in Germany and Europe ever since the revelations began. Many EU negotiators are losing their zeal to discuss a free-trade agreement with America without clarifying their overall relationship.

On the same day that Mrs Merkel called Mr Obama, the European Parliament voted to recommend that the EU suspend an arrangement with America in which they share a money-transfer database. As European leaders arrived in Brussels on October 24th for the latest EU summit, American spying was not officially on the agenda. Many were itching to talk seriously about it nonetheless.
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 24, 2013, 04:32:03 PM »

JF, how do you feel about the warning from political experts?

I'm also worried about democracy in Germany. Already four years ago there was a clear majority left of Merkel and her coalition partner "Liberaldemocrats". But the opposition can't work with each other. The "Liberaldemocrats", who then formed a coalition with Merkel, got the receipt for their "pact" now and not enough votes to enter parliament again.

Again there is a majority left of Merkel's. But those parties are not mature enough to act as coalition partners. Red-Red-Green is the option that could work. But that reminds people of the Weimar Republic, where parties were never strong enough to actually govern, and thereby led the path for the Nazis.

Another option would be a minority government by Merkel, where of course not much could get done due to the strong opposition.

New elections nobody really wants, as they're afraid of Merkel gaining even more power.
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 24, 2013, 04:15:36 PM »

German Chancellor's Phone 'Monitored By US'

German Chancellor's Phone 'Monitored By US'
Posted by: sicho
« on: October 24, 2013, 03:54:51 PM »

Yes, she quickly settled with the matter of her citizens being spied on but is now making a fuss about it because it involves her personally.

The NSA has spied on both her and Obama so I wonder how may NSA staff were listening in to their conversation.

JF, how do you feel about the warning from political experts?
Posted by: Johnnie F.
« on: October 24, 2013, 02:14:47 PM »

Merkel rather cooperates with the NSA. She was criticised heavily for not taking a stance against the US's spying. But she didn't win the election and cannot form a cabinet without a coalition partner. The Greens already ruled that out. Now she negotiates with the Socialdemocrats. That coalition would leave a tiny opposition of 20%, something Political Scientists and Constitutional Lawyers warn would be the end of democracy in Germany.

Now she acts like she thought and felt with the people, playing sandman. ::)
Posted by: sicho
« on: October 24, 2013, 12:02:02 PM »

Does not and will not.

That doesn't rule out 'We were but just stopped a minute ago' or 'We tell bare faced lies'.
Posted by: thaiga
« on: October 24, 2013, 11:36:02 AM »

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called US President Barack Obama after receiving information that the US may have spied on her mobile phone.

A spokesman for Mrs Merkel said the German leader "views such practices... as completely unacceptable".

Mrs Merkel called on US officials to clarify the extent of their surveillance in Germany.

The White House said President Obama had told Chancellor Merkel the US was not snooping on her communications.

"The United States is not monitoring and will not monitor the communications of the chancellor," White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Wednesday.

The US has been on the receiving end of anger from allies over spying allegations based on material said to originate from fugitive American leaker Edward Snowden.

'Breach of trust'

Mr Carney told reporters that Washington was examining concerns from Germany as well as France and other American allies over US intelligence practices

But the spokesman did not address whether Mrs Merkel's phone had been monitored in the past.

Berlin demanded "an immediate and comprehensive explanation" from Washington about what it said "would be a serious breach of trust".

In a statement it said: "Among close friends and partners, as the Federal Republic of Germany and the US have been for decades, there should be no such monitoring of the communications of a head of government."

The statement also said that Mrs Merkel had told Mr Obama: "Such practices must be prevented immediately."

The BBC's Steve Evans in Berlin says because the statement was issued after the phone call, there were indications that Mrs Merkel had not been reassured.

He says the issue of state monitoring of phone calls is a real one in Germany - Angela Merkel grew up in East Germany, where phone tapping was pervasive.

President Obama had assured Chancellor Merkel when he visited in June that German citizens were not being spied upon and our correspondent says she was criticised then by political opponents for not being more sceptical.

The German government would not elaborate on how it received the tip about the alleged US spying.

But news magazine Der Spiegel, which has published stories based on material from Edward Snowden, said the information had come from its investigations.

Mrs Merkel's call comes a day after US intelligence chief James Clapper denied reports that American spies had recorded data from 70 million phone calls in France in a single 30-day period.

He said a report in Le Monde newspaper had contained "misleading information".

A number of US allies have expressed anger over the Snowden-based spying allegations.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff cancelled a visit to the US this month in protest at alleged electronic espionage by the NSA against her country, including of communications at her office.

In a speech at the United Nations, she rejected arguments put forward by the US that the interception of information was aimed at protecting nations against terrorism, drugs trafficking and other organised crime.

The Mexican government has called the alleged spying on the emails of two presidents, Enrique Pena Nieto - the incumbent - and Felipe Calderon, as "unacceptable".

US officials have begun a review of American intelligence gathering amid the international outcry.