RSN August 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Ash writes: "... The NSA and the US government are spying on anyone and everyone in the world they choose, including but certainly not limited to heads of allied states - including Angela Merkel - and the American people."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Obama at G-8 summit. (photo: Getty Images)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Obama at G-8 summit. (photo: Getty Images)


Tossing Angela a Fig Leaf

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

29 October 13

 

he New York Times reports that US president Barack Obama is "poised to order the National Security Agency to stop eavesdropping on the leaders of American allied nations." Diane Feinstein reportedly agrees. All of which wildly misses the point, and pays little more than lip-service to the far broader problem: The NSA and the US government are spying on anyone and everyone in the world they choose, including but certainly not limited to heads of allied states – including Angela Merkel – and the American people.

Tossing a token fig leaf to those foreign elected officials the US government and the NSA arbitrarily deem to be leading states that conduct their affairs in an acceptable manner is nothing other than cheap theater, and an insult to those very leaders. All of this electronic invasion of sovereignty is presented as a means to enhance American national security. In fact, as it alienates our staunchest supporters, it isolates the US it makes the nation far more vulnerable.

What is of even greater concern is that the proposed meager act of contrition is entirely discretionary. At this moment in time, this sitting US president has decided to extend this measure of good grace to a handful of chosen favored elites. Nothing that is now is proposed would create any lasting impediment to doing all of this again if a John McCain, Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz, or Hillary Clinton were elected president. In short, it's grandstanding without substance.

What is needed is a substantive change in course. It's not enough that our allies cooperate with us, we must also cooperate with them. The US must adhere to a code of ethics that other nations have confidence in. Yes, it is a complicated and adversarial world, but betraying the trust of all nations makes it no safer.

To believe that a unified Europe cannot impact US economic and security interests is a silly notion. The leaders of Europe don't need fig leaves, they need the kind of respect for the sovereignty of their nations and their people that builds lasting partnerships.


Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+23 # reiverpacific 2013-10-29 12:02
Nice bit of US "Exceptionalism ", innit?!
What they are really saying is "So whadd'ya goin' to do about it"? -We've got a bigger military than the rest of you combined!
Exceptionalism is rapidly turning into "Isolationism" as in the historical-hyst erical fate of all over-armed and increasingly paranoid and dysfunctional Empires.
Merkel is, I'm sure, perfectly aware of this and I hope that she takes Dilma Rousseff' of Brazil's lead to spurns further diplomatic visits and meetings with the US until it has proven to have reined in it's global paranoid keyhole-peeping.
Of course all countries spy to a certain extent but in this case, "Spy-vs-spy" is self-defense as "Civilized" nations spend more of their citizen's taxes on their well-being, whilst the global bully is using the data mining for the furtherance of it's creeping, blundering Military/Corpor ate/Finance-hou se dominance, including nosing into the affairs of it's own citizens and residents for any signs of non-conformance.
So in case they read this, including Dianne Feinstein, it's most loyal defender, I invite them to go take a runnin' fuck at a rollin' donut!
 
 
+4 # indian weaver 2013-10-29 12:16
Well put. Don't get me started too because my disgust at Obama et. al. is extreme. Obama has no credibility, nor does our entire government anymore. It is an illegitimate regime because it has lost the confidence of the citizenry, a classic fascist terrorist regime operating under No Rule of Law, torturing and imprisoning innocent people worldwide, as well as terrorizing nation states and their citizens.
 
 
+4 # Sweet Pea 2013-10-29 12:33
Wow! So what are we going to do in the next election? Many of us voted in the last election for the lesser of two evils. Now I'm wondering if all government hes their fair share of evil.
 
 
+2 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-29 15:55
"All Governments Lie", penned by Izzy Stone, was meant to be a wake up call (to those who had not earlier been warned by Hayek's "Road To Serfdom" or maybe by the 1st Commandment's warning to have no other gods before Him). It is emulating Lot's wife's backward look to expect solutions from murderous thug/control freaks. Recall, also, T.S.E.'s comment that "they only want to feel important". Your participation in the circus gives them that and costs you your very soul.
 
 
+4 # reiverpacific 2013-10-29 17:50
Quoting JohnBoanerges:
"All Governments Lie", penned by Izzy Stone, was meant to be a wake up call (to those who had not earlier been warned by Hayek's "Road To Serfdom" or maybe by the 1st Commandment's warning to have no other gods before Him). It is emulating Lot's wife's backward look to expect solutions from murderous thug/control freaks. Recall, also, T.S.E.'s comment that "they only want to feel important". Your participation in the circus gives them that and costs you your very soul.

The full comment is; "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out".
Describes the current state to a tee, Dunnit!
Also; "I sought in political reporting what Galsworthy in another context had called "the significant trifle" — the bit of dialogue, the overlooked fact, the buried observation which illuminated the realities of the situation".
The likes of the late "Izzy" are all but gone or marginalized these days, which is why RSN, "Democracy Now" and other "Alternative" media + the foreign press, are so important in countering the soporific, hypnotic, "Idiotocracy", dumb-making US corporate owner media conglomerates, down to six now.
 
 
0 # JohnBoanerges 2013-10-31 11:30
Dear RP,
I was referring to the book rather than the comment which formed the title. But, you are sooooo right. Except for the part about almost gone (Greenwald, Hedges, Cole, Raimondo, Rockwell and his crew at LRC.com). Keep the faith, Bro.
 
 
+6 # tclose 2013-10-29 17:24
It is disappointing. I think we all assumed that at the end of the day Obama would govern according to his conscience. But it seems he is too nervous about offending his corporate backers, or about raising the ire of his opponents in the GOP, to do the right thing. The out-of-control NSA needs to be reigned in, and President Obama should be showing courage by getting out in front of this issue and issue guidelines that limit the invasion of privacy for both citizens and allies.

We overacted as a nation after 9/11, and put in place policies that offend our concept of privacy in a democracy. Whatever happened to the "home of the brave"? Time to correct this imbalance.
 
 
+1 # jwb110 2013-10-29 12:25
This could be the end of the Global Economy in that tariffs on US goods as a retaliation for the spying might just run rampant. I, for one, have always thought that this Global Economy was no more than a new name for the Communist idea of One Worldism.
 
 
+8 # NAVYVET 2013-10-29 15:04
The Nazis had that idea, too. Remember Hitler's speech, "Tomorrow--the world!" The Brits and before them the Romans stopped conquering only when they ran out of warm bodies to put in uniform. All imperialists dream happy dreams of a day when they can control everyone, everywhere.
 
 
+15 # puppets 2013-10-29 13:04
Here is a quote from another article from Merkel. Sent chills down my spine...

Mrs Merkel - an Americophile who was awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 - is said 'to be shocked that Washington may have engaged in the sort of spying she had to endure growing up in Communist East Germany'.
 
 
+15 # Milarepa 2013-10-29 13:07
We might start a new era. Rather than BC and AD we could start
counting BS (Before Snowden) and AS (After Snowden). This is Year 1 AS. He proved that we'd been right not to trust anything the government said. That's where we are today. Not trusting one word, nothing they tell us. Simply ignoring it. Snowden brought a slingshot of documentary evidence into the fight. He dealt Goliath a severe blow. Every time he tries to get up his knees buckle and he goes down again. What a spectacle!
 
 
+9 # reiverpacific 2013-10-29 16:09
Quoting Milarepa:
We might start a new era. Rather than BC and AD we could start
counting BS (Before Snowden) and AS (After Snowden). This is Year 1 AS. He proved that we'd been right not to trust anything the government said. That's where we are today. Not trusting one word, nothing they tell us. Simply ignoring it. Snowden brought a slingshot of documentary evidence into the fight. He dealt Goliath a severe blow. Every time he tries to get up his knees buckle and he goes down again. What a spectacle!

Wish I could get some more copies of the proudly-worn bumper-sticker on my van (my only company vehicle); "Snowden-Assang e, 2016"!
 
 
+2 # Annietime13 2013-10-29 14:04
Oz
 
 
+10 # tigerlille 2013-10-29 15:03
What a joke. Obama didn't know who NSA was spying on to begin with. He can issue an executive order to stop spying on heads of states in ally countries, but how will he enforce it? This is a token gesture only.
NSA will continue doing what ever they want...until maybe the next leak.
 
 
+3 # Merschrod 2013-10-29 19:01
Who is really in charge?

It seems to boil down to, "because we can." Plus most immorals will do it because it is interesting, the criminals will do it for gain, e.g., sale of secrets to business and political interests. Think of the mindset of J.Edgar!
Inside info is power - on wall strert, main street or Penn Av.

Can we "just get over it?"
 
 
+3 # ishmael 2013-10-29 21:51
And still no one knows what other countries' spy agencies are doing.

Of course US sees itself as the center of the universe and probably greatly overestimates the importance of its spying faux pas ....

A conundrum: The operations have to be secretive, so who or what can oversee such entities ...
 
 
+2 # MindDoc 2013-10-30 00:48
Parsimonious!

This nicely describes how we came to be seen not as friends of democracy - nor even of our friends - but as an example of arrogance, aggression, irrationally exuberant paranoia, and UN-trustworthin ess. Hated.

Not just NSA - Us! As FDR said - and the world sees it even if we no longer do - our government is *us*! NSA may be a tail wagging a dog or two. Uncontrolled. Who knows? (Halloween spooky music here)

The spin I caught on 'mainstream' network TV today was that "Obama is now considering" changing some of the agreements among 'friends' to ensure trust. Like a contract. It's not the most inspiring 'damage control', nor can we deny how the world views our (official) government. [Hint: A lot like *we* do!]

The response, of course, is that 'everybody does it'.
On this scale, and spying on their own people?

The point about not minimizing a united Europe's collective power rings true. I'd not heard of any unified action taking hold. But why do we hear so little about real trends within Europe, reflecting collective bewilderment about the U.S.? UK, US, & a few other countries are now absorbed in their own local-style politics.

Yes, we need to change course, in fundamental ways which don't lead to such revelations which in turn make *us* embarrassed when we travel. We used to be known as freedom-maker & world health leader, using our abundant wealth. Now? We spy on our friends and have a dysfunctional government waiting to implode.
 
 
+1 # tomo 2013-10-30 13:51
Good commentary by Marc! I think the implications are as broad as Chris Hedges and Joe Sottile say they are. We are witnessing the melt down of the hopes of those who still aspire to see America evolve into a genuine democracy.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN