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View Diary: Out of Control NSA Spied on U.N., E.U. (214 comments)

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  •  Keep Perspective Please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tony Situ

    Everyone around the world has laws that outlaw by others spying.  Everyone spies on everyone else.  Everyone.

    Once in a while someone gets caught.  Many times it is handled by tossing that someone out of the country.  Or, if serious enough, or an example needs to be made, or for some other policy reason, people got to jail.

    Ah, you say, but "friends don't spy on friends!"  Think again.  

    Example Numero Uno is US Citizen Jonathan Pollard.  He is in prison for spying for Israel.  The same Israel that is the US number 1 ally.  Every Israeli Prime Minister tries to get Pollard released as a favor.  Every US President says no.

    So if the US and the UN have an agreement not to spy on each other, that agreement should be placed in the same pile as the many, many other such laws and agreements around the world that everyone signs up to and everyone then ignores.

    There is a reality gap in many NSA diaries.  While domestic spying is a legitimate issue as a matter of US Constitutional law and treatment of its own citizens, spying on foreigners is another ball of wax.  People act as if they didn't know all this spying on foreigners was going on.  Hello?  Is anyone home?  Why do you think we have this huge intelligence establishment?  

    If people are upset we spy on other people, then let's move to defund the US intelligence establishment.  Let's be up front about it and not get the vapors.  

    But don't complain then if everyone BUT the US knows what's going on around the world.

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

    by FDRDemocrat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:13:35 AM PDT

    •  I have to disagree with you here. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midagedlib, ukit, TJ, Enzo Valenzetti

      I know that quite a few Americans seem to think that everybody does it, but I see very little evidence to support that assumption.  I think it entails a heavy dose of self-projection, tbh.  Countries like China and Russia definitely do, but our allies, by and large, are not like that.

      For example, I know the workings of the German state pretty well and I highly doubt that they are doing extensive spying on the U.S. Govt.  Furthermore, I highly doubt that most other E.U. governments are doing this kind of thing at anywhere near to this level.  They just don't put aside enough budget for that kind of thing, tbh., with the exception of Great Britain and, possibly, France.  Furthermore, they care a lot more about spying on dangerous and antagonistic nations than they do about spying on an allied nation like the U.S.

      This "huge intelligence establishment" of ours was created during the Cold War to counter the entire frigging Soviet Bloc.  The Cold War is over and the intelligence apparatus is in some serious need of reform.  If we need intelligence information from European allies, their security agencies will be happy to collaborate with ours as long as it is not in violation of their laws.

      I tell you what, here's a novel approach for the NSA in regards to the U.N.:

      it could help the U.N. combat spying so that no nation can spy on the U.N.  That way, if a country like China does it, they can be publicly shamed.

      With the way we are doing it now, I think the damage in reputation and credibility that we are experiencing right now far outweighs any (doubtful) benefits we may have had from spying on the U.N. and our allies and friends.

      Last, but not least, soldiers from many of these nations have been fighting and dying next to our soldiers in Afghanistan.  How do you think these countries feel when they figure out that they are being spied on while that is happening?

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

      by Lawrence on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:53:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  France is one of our few Western European (0+ / 0-)

        allies that I would expect does spy on the United States.

      •  Good point. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lawrence

        What other nation would drop $60 billion a year (that we know about) on stuff like this?

      •  Major EU Powers.. (0+ / 0-)

        ...like Germany (and also UK, Italy, France, etc.) all have very well regarded intelligence agencies.  Believe if you will that these agencies don't do what they are intended to do...

        Believe if you will as well that "friendly" nations don't gather intelligence on each other.  The line gets blurry given the close relationships under the NATO banner.  But it happens.

        It gets uncomfortable when someone gets caught.  But it is a game all play.  I expect the US, Germany, France, the UK, etc. all know a lot more about what each other are up to that is publicly known (and likely won't ever be fully revealed).

        Remember, the US and these countries are also economic rivals to a degree.

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

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:33:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think you understand these countries (0+ / 0-)

          fully.  It would be a huge scandal if the German BND got caught bugging U.N. internal video conferencing and/or E.U. conference offices or the White House or Congressional offices.

          Heads would seriously roll.  It might even lead to the downfall of a government.

          What I do know that the BND does, however, is that it passes on information to the NSA from its espionage efforts in Afghanistan and surrounding regions.

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

          by Lawrence on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:49:25 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  But, but, but, everyone else does it! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Enzo Valenzetti

      Where have I heard that level of argument before?  Oh right, on the playground.

      I guess your mom never asked you if everyone else was jumping over a cliff if you would too?

      •  It is what it is... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tony Situ

        But don't mind me.  If you want to believe every country in the world has an intelligence agency but doesn't use it, go right ahead...

        People need to bear in mind the numerous instances "spying" saves lives.  Like during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.  when US intelligence helped reveal truth of Soviet intentions and actions, thus helping avoid WW3.

        As I said, if the American people don't want intelligence agencies, then defund them.  But if the democratic decision is to have them, while we need to make sure they stay within legal boundaries, we should otherwise expect them to do what they do.

        People say "I am against all secrecy!"  Or "I am for always telling the truth!"  But they don't examine what this would mean in practice, for good or ill.  We should strive to do good and avoid doing evil, to behave morally.  But not all choices are clear cut.  Sometimes you are dealing in greys...

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

        by FDRDemocrat on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 11:39:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We don't control every other country. We have at (0+ / 0-)

          least some slight impact on ourselves.  We get to decide if we merely want to be as bad as everybody else, or actually try to be that 'shining beacon of democracy' we at least used to pretend we want to be.

          You can make the exact same arguments for and against doing anything about climate change, as well - it's obvious at this point that China is going to be the up and coming polluter, but we can't control them, only play on their sense of 'face' - if we make serious steps to reduce our own emissions, it might, might, have some impact on them so that we don't 'shame them' before the rest of the world.

          •  I agree we should set an example (0+ / 0-)

            But that example is by reforming the NSA if it is shown to have improperly or illegally collected information on our own citizens.  The reason is rule of law.

            But if we have US laws - and we do - that authorize the NSA to collect information on foreign citizens, then that is a different matter.  Spying on foreigners is universal.  And no, it doesn't equate to polluting the environment or warming the planet.

            Respect for rule of law is not an absolute value though.  Totalitarian nations have laws that can violate basic human rights.  The solution in the first instance is to change those laws.  If that cannot be accomplished, then it becomes a grey area.  Since Saddam would not leave peacefully, Bush invaded.  Many - myself included - felt that was committing two wrongs to make a right and imposed too high a price on innocents.

            Choices of grey...

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

            by FDRDemocrat on Mon Aug 26, 2013 at 03:41:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  So you're saying that German intelligence (0+ / 0-)

      is wiretapping the White House at this moment, and you have no problem with that?

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