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  •  If someone walked out of the German Govt. Today... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anna M, pamelabrown, LiberalMegan

    ...with four laptops worth of classified materials on what the German intelligence services were doing, it would contain similar "bombshells."  You could say the same for [fill in name of any country] - if they have the capability they attempt to gather information abroad.  

    Can people here really be shocked that spies spy?  The USA has the most toys, so it naturally has its hands in the most cookie jars.

    Frankly, the German minister's remarks were for her own domestic consumption.  

    If you were to ask the Germans whether they spy on other EU members, there would be an embarrassed silence I guarantee.

    These affairs are handled by the governments as it was based on an unwritten understanding that everyone knows everyone is doing it.  

    As far as "friends don't spy on friends!" let's be real.  Why is it that you think Jonathan Pollard still rots in a US prison cell?  Despite entreaties by just about every Israeli Prime Minister?

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:06:37 AM PDT

    •  Sorry, but you are wrong here. (16+ / 0-)

      Personal data protection laws are much, much stronger in Germany and many other European states and it would be illegal or, at the very least, strongly frowned upon for German intelligence agencies to do this kind of broad-based and often seemingly random spying in allied nations.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:23:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so - US laws as strong or stronger (5+ / 0-)

        The EU likes to posture that its protections are greater, but it depends on your perspective.  The average European citizen provides far more information to their governments - willingly or unwillingly - than the US average citizen.  The concerns in Europe tend more towards what the private sector gathers.  There is a much stronger tradition of centralized government among European countries.  For example, they all have "national police" while we in the US do not.  We have a 1st Amendment...in several EU countries they can arrest you for content.  It gets worse outside the EU of course - in Turkey its a crime to defame Ataturk.

        Germany has been involved in its own "spy scandals."  Just Google "German spy scandal" and see.

        Bear in mind, the Germans are also presently unhappy with the British:

        http://news.yahoo.com/...

        I am not saying this spying is legal in their country.  It is not.  Germany, like the US and every other country, has espionage laws.  If US officials get caught, they can face exposure in theory.

        In theory.  Again, usually these matters are not followed up because they tend to lead to tit-for-tat.  If the Germans started arresting all the US spies, we would just start arresting theirs.

        Two last thoughts:

        - it is highly likely the German intelligence services were already aware of what the US was up to
        - it is highly likely the US knew the Germans knew, and so forth

        None of this is clean or pretty.  It is spying.  The very term is pejorative.  But you can find as many instances where it defended freedoms or prevented evils as the obverse.

        The real debate should be over the size and scope of the US intelligence establishment.  It is valid to ask whether we have created a machine that is flailing around sucking up information, but that same machine takes a decade to find Osama Bin Laden.  We should also debate the over-reliance on technology over human intelligence gathering.  

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:39:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Correction: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Lawrence, lotlizard
          There is a much stronger tradition of centralized government among European countries.  For example, they all have "national police" while we in the US do not.
          We certainly do have a national police--it's called the FBI.
          •  FBI are not National Police - we have federalism (0+ / 0-)

            FBI has limited jurisdiction over federal crimes, as defined.  If there is no federal jurisdiction, it becomes a state or local matter.  A classic national police has national jurisdiction.

            I think I am beginning to understand why every pro-Snowden diary rockets to the top of DKOS with hundreds of recommendations.  People have little idea of how the US system actually operates.  

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:00:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps you would like to read through (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, Celtic Merlin, lotlizard

        a summary of current EU surveillance and security measures before you make that judgment.  Some laws are stronger, but some less.  With Europol as a combined agency they probably don't spy on each other, but they certainly do surveillance of foreigners.

        •  Hmm... (5+ / 0-)

          Is there any evidence that Germany spied on the US?  Of course not.   The Germans are upset because we call them allies but we treat them like enemies.   It is that simple.

          •  We have yet to see the actual NSA documents (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            middleagedhousewife

            that DER SPIEGEL has concerning US spying.  Have they published it yet?   Or is that too much to ask?   Could you please put up a link if you have it?  

          •  Not to mention that mass surveillance (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fran1, JesseCW, KenBee, lotlizard

            is a sensitive issue in a nation that includes the former East Germany. This hits really, really, really close to home.

            "As the madmen play on words, and make us all dance to their song / to the tune of starving millions, to make a better kind of gun..." -- Iron Maiden

            by Lost Left Coaster on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 01:02:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  new elections going to be good for German National (0+ / 0-)

              nationalists?

              irony there...well, democracy was a nice experiment.

              This machine kills Fascists.

              by KenBee on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 01:37:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hard to say which German political party benefits. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KenBee

                The Pirate Party, being the only party whose main focus is the Internet?

                Alliance '90 / the Greens, the civil liberties party after the Free Democrats* abandoned civil liberties to concentrate exclusively on neoliberal economics?

                The Left Party, which includes the ex-communists, just to poke U.S.-NATO Cold Warriors in the eye?

                Right-wing populist splinter parties? Their main draw in recent years has been linking social ills to immigration. Unlike right-wing populist parties in the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria, or France, they have never become major players, failing to clear the 5% cutoff on the federal level.

                * the party Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger belongs to, and junior partner to the Christian Democrats in the current German government

                The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ☮ ♥ ☺

                by lotlizard on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 05:56:06 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  heh..don't all these people seem sooo dated? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lotlizard
                  The Left Party, which includes the ex-communists, just to poke U.S.-NATO Cold Warriors in the eye?
                  ...but are they, or do they still have some steam?

                  Dammed if I know, I'm still stuck in the 60's :>

                  This machine kills Fascists.

                  by KenBee on Mon Jul 01, 2013 at 11:37:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Enemies? Evidence? (0+ / 0-)

            Hardly.  Are the US and Israel enemies?  Then why does Pollard remain in prison?

            As far as evidence, it took me all of ten seconds to find this:

            http://www.dw.de/...

            As the article makes clear, the German intelligence gathering is limited mainly by the fact that, compared to NSA and the USA, they are underfunded and lack capabilities the USA has.

            As the article further makes clear, this is why the Germans won't push too far on this.  Once you start scratching the surface, who knows where all this data that was collected went?  

            Better to beat up on those nasty Americans with the side benefit of helping EU companies grab more of the lucrative data management sector through dubious claims that it is they, not the Americans, who can guard it better.

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:20:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Comparative studies Better (0+ / 0-)

          I will see if I can dig this up and link to it, but a US law firm recently did a comparative study and found that US protections were as strong, if not stronger, as those in the EU.

          Bear in mind the EU has a strong commercial motivation for constantly painting the USA as an insecure and weak privacy domain.  US and EU companies are in fierce competition for market share in the tech sector, especially in the booming industry of data management.  We are talking billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.

          US companies try to assure customers their data is safest with them.  EU companies do the same.  Politicians of both sides protect their constituencies.

          As far as the current US/EU spat, it will die down soon.  Both sides are clever enough to know that no one wins when you start bashing the other for collecting intelligence.  The EU values its intelligence sharing relationships with the US too much.

          A better question for German voters would be whether and how their own governments used intelligence gathered by the US - was it used for German domestic purposes by German government agencies in ways that were illegal and improper?  

          Bashing the USA is a sign that the German Government doesn't want to go that route.  It is also a sign that this will die down sooner than you think.

          "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

          by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:13:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Would you say the same (6+ / 0-)

      if the EU, or Russia, or China had been bugging the offices of the US Congress? and other facilities and maybe even use the NATO to do it?

      Read the European view at the European Tribune

      by fran1 on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:35:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Russia and China? please... (4+ / 0-)

        They have been bugging us for decades.  

        As for the EU, if we have Israelis spying on us don't you think the EU countries would?

        Remember, information is fungible.  Spies are not necessarily just trying to find out what someone is doing or thinking.  They want to know what they know.

        Also, people aren't always what they seem.  A "German intelligence agent" may be actually a Russian double agent.  You may laugh as this starts to sound like James Bond.  But how do you think the FBI Hanson case was broken? It was a Russian defector who told us he was a Russian spy.

        If spies get caught, they face the music.  We threw the Anna Chapman Ring out a few years ago and Putin held a dinner for them when they arrived back in the Motherland.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 08:53:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well that's an eye-popping assertion you're making (8+ / 0-)

          You were asked specifically how you would react to Congressional offices and other facilities being bugged and your response is:

          They have been bugging us for decades.
          Seriously? You believe our Congressional offices have been bugged by foreign governments for decades? Russia, China, Germany.....all of them with their own bugs or do you see some international conspiracy of espionage sharing intelligence of what goes on in our Congressional offices and meeting rooms?

          If that were true I suspect people would be in an utter meltdown about it. Consider what a meltdown people are in because Snowden released documents. How, on the one hand are we not supposed to care because everyone spies on everyone and everyone knows it, but on the other hand we're supposed to be calling for Snowden's head because he's released this information. According to you, all these countries already knew about this right?

          "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

          by Siri on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 09:43:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I do (0+ / 0-)

            The FBI is currently investigating whether Mitch McConnells offices were bugged, for example.

            Do you truly believe that foreigners can't do something that (allegedly) a PAC can do?

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:42:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Are you insinuating that whistleblowers (4+ / 0-)

          are foreign govt agents?  

          Drake, Binney, et. al. are whistleblowers.  

        •  So now the new examples (0+ / 0-)

          for the Obama fanboys have become authoritarian regimes like China and Russia.

          •  No (0+ / 0-)

            The point was that the ruckus over the US listening in on foreigners is not what it seems.  This is because foreign intelligence gathering is done by every government.  When they get caught by the other country, there are consequences.

            This is a different issue from domestic spying.

            I don't see why the pro-Snowden people are jumping all over this.  It doesn't help their cause to conflate what Snowden is alleging (US agencies violating US constitutional rights) with foreign intelligence gathering (which is done all the time).

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 04:48:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  qsdf (0+ / 0-)
              This is because foreign intelligence gathering is done by every government.
              An outlandish claim that many are making these days but refuse to provide evidence for every time.

              Also, even if this were true, it still wouldn't excuse that behaviour.

      •  I would (0+ / 0-)

        because they do it, and it's pretty much the way nations operate.  We spies on the brits and they on us and we are each other's closest allies.

        The quantity may have been stepped up by the US and tech certainly has opened up new doors, and it's fair to argue that we've gone too far, but the idea that we spy on our friends, and they don't spy on us is just plain wrong.

    •  I have to wonder (0+ / 0-)

      why the German press doesn't report on their own government intelligence agency spying on their own people.   For that matter the European Union passed a law in 2006 requiring that communication data be stored for 2 years.  The Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC looks quite similar to the NSA metadata program.  Where's all the outrage about that?

      •  Give it some time... (0+ / 0-)

        ...and your wishes may come true.

        If you are a fan of irony, that is the beauty of this all.  

        Right now, we are in the "Clinton slept with Monica" early phase.  All the EU finger-wagglers remind me of the GOP Congressman who were shocked - shocked - that Clinton would violate his marriage vows.

        Well, the press then got around to fact-checking the lives of these GOP stone throwers.  The right wingers screeched that this was a "distraction" from the real issues.  But the results were hilarious.  

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:31:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really. So you're saying that Germany is doing (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nota bene, Lost Left Coaster, JesseCW

      something on the scale of intercepting 100's of millions of communications a month from one of its allies? Is that correct?

      One failed attempt at a shoe bomb and we all take off our shoes at the airport. Thirty-one school shootings since Columbine and no change in our regulation of guns. --- John Oliver

      by voroki on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 10:29:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stop excusing your governments criminal behavior (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim Domenico, fran1

      There is nothing normal about what the US is doing, and the ones responsible should rot in a jailcell.

      •  I excuse no criminality (0+ / 0-)

        I just point out how the world actually works.  If Snowden was caught out in Roma with four laptops full of Italian government secrets, don't you think he would be getting an interview about now from the Italian police?

        It is laughable to see the Europeans get on their high horse about this.  As if Europe doesn't have intelligence agencies ...

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 30, 2013 at 05:26:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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