World reaction to Snowden’s spying revelations continues

Edward SnowdenBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Governments around the world continue to issue sharp official reactions to the revelations of large-scale spying by the United States, as Washington attempts to minimize the diplomatic fallout from the disclosures. The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, told a session of the European Parliament on Tuesday that, if confirmed, the claims of US espionage against European Union institutions would be “very disturbing”. He was referring to allegations, aired last week by German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, that America spies on the communications of many of its allies, including European Union (EU) agencies, with the same intensity it spies on China and Iraq. The claims were based on documents supplied by American whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former technical expert with the Central Intelligence Agency, who is currently believed to be in Russia. Numerous EU officials have contacted the US with requests for clarification, while EU ambassadors are scheduled to hold a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday, to discuss how to commonly respond to Der Spiegel’s revelations. Some of the strongest criticisms against US intelligence policies have been issued by German officials, as some business figures in the country are raising concerns about US economic espionage against German financial interests. Christian Social Union politician Hans Michelbach reminded participants in a German parliamentary session this week that the EU may be a political ally of the US, but “is indeed a strong competitor in the global economy”. He added that business circles in Berlin are concerned that US intelligence collection aimed at German businesses would give Washington “dishonest advantages”. In Italy, the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Emma Bonino, attended a special parliamentary session on Thursday, in which she assured those present that the Italian embassy in Washington was not being spied upon by US intelligence services. She noted that Italy’s “secret services have not unearthed elements of espionage in our [Washington] embassy”. The government of India, meanwhile, expressed strong concerns on Wednesday over reports that US intelligence services have especially targeted nearly 40 diplomatic missions in Washington, including that of India. Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said New Delhi would “take up the issue with US authorities”. But the strongest reactions to Snowden’s revelations have come from the government of Bolivia. Read more of this post

About these ads

News you may have missed #677: Analysis edition

Che Guevara after his arrest in BoliviaBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►New book ties Johnson administration to Che Guevara’s death. Michael Ratner and Michael Steven Smith are the co-authors of a new book about the US role in the killing of Cuban revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara. In their book, Who Killed Che?, Ratner and Smith draw on previously unpublished government documents to argue the CIA played a critical role in the killing. “The line of the [US] government was that the Bolivians did it, we couldn’t do anything about it. That’s not true”, Smith said. “This whole operation was organized out of the White House by Walt Whitman Rostow. And the CIA, by this time, had become a paramilitary organization”.
►►CIA digs in as US withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan. The CIA is expected to maintain a large clandestine presence in Iraq and Afghanistan long after the departure of conventional US troops as part of a plan by the Obama administration to rely on a combination of spies and Special Operations forces to protect US interests in the two longtime war zones, US officials said. They added that the CIA’s stations in Kabul and Baghdad will probably remain the agency’s largest overseas outposts for years.
►►Indian Army ‘preparing for limited conflict with China’. Noting that India is increasingly getting concerned about China’s posture on its border, James Clapper, US Director of National Intelligence, said this week that the Indian Army is strengthening itself for a “limited conflict” with China. “The Indian Army believes a major Sino-Indian conflict is not imminent, but the Indian military is strengthening its forces in preparation to fight a limited conflict along the disputed border, and is working to balance Chinese power projection in the Indian Ocean,” he said.

News you may have missed #578

Syria

Syria

►►CIA agent who helped kill Che wants payout from Cuba. This is from the “news that isn’t” department: Gustavo Villoldo, a Cuban-born CIA operative, who helped track down and kill Che Guevara in Bolivia, has won $2.8 billion in damages from the Cuban government, for confiscating his family property after the 1959 revolution. But he is unlikely to ever collect the money because Cuba does not recognize US court rulings.
►►Cheney wanted Bush to destroy suspected Syrian nuke site. Former US Vice President Dick Cheney says in a new memoir that he urged President George W. Bush to bomb a suspected Syrian nuclear reactor site in June 2007. But, he wrote, Bush opted for a diplomatic approach expressed misgivings. Eventually Israeli jets bombed the site. Cheney’s account of the discussion appears in his autobiography, In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir, which is to be published by Simon & Schuster next week.
►►South Korea indicts five for spying for North. Five South Koreans, including a former parliamentary aide, have been indicted for allegedly spying for North Korea, in connection with the Wangjaesan spy ring.

Some underreported WikiLeaks revelations

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is little point in recapping here the bulk of disclosures contained in the ongoing WikiLeaks revelations. The news sphere is jam-packed with them —and perhaps this is the real story in the WikiLeaks revelations, namely the fact that espionage and intelligence issues have near-monopolized the global news cycle for the first time since the post-Watergate Congressional investigations of the 1970s. But it is worth pointing out a handful of news stories on the WikiLeaks revelations that have arguably not received the media coverage that they deserve. Undoubtedly the most underreported disclosure concerns a 2007 meeting between US officials and Meir Dagan, the then Director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency. During the meeting, Dagan apparently “presented US with five-step program to perform a coup in Iran“.  But there are other underreported disclosures. Take for instance the revelation that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally authorized US diplomats to engage in all-out and indiscriminate spying on senior United Nations officials. Although there is nothing here that will surprise seasoned intelligence observers, the breadth of intelligence collection that US diplomats are instructed to engage in (which includes collecting credit card numbers and biometric data of UN officials) is astonishing and certainly unprecedented. Moreover, it should be noted that many senior UN officials are in fact American, which leads to the intriguing question of whether US diplomats are routinely required to engage in intelligence collection against American UN officials. Read more of this post

International mercenary cell uncovered in Bolivia

Eduardo Flores

Eduardo Flores

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last month, the Bolivian government expelled a senior “diplomat” from the US embassy in La Paz, whom it accused of covertly supporting efforts to depose the country’s leftist president, Evo Morales. This past week, Bolivian authorities announced they had foiled operations by a major international anti-government mercenary group operating out of the city of Santa Cruz, a hotbed of anti-government activity in the country’s wealthy eastern provinces. Three of the unit’s members, a Bolivian of Croatian descent, an Irishman and a Romanian, were killed by Bolivian security forces; two others, a Hungarian and another Bolivian of Croatian descent, were captured and are now in custody. What were the plans of the covert unit, and who is behind it? Read article →

Bolivia expels second US diplomat for having CIA links

Evo Morales

Evo Morales

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Two weeks ago, Bolivian President Evo Morales said the CIA was actively conspiring to subvert his government’s energy policy. On Monday, the President announced the expulsion of a US diplomat, whom he accused of working for the CIA. The diplomat, Francisco Martinez, Second Secretary at the US Embassy in Bolivian capital La Paz, has been given 72 hours to leave the country. The Bolivian government says Martinez “was in permanent contact with opposition groups” in the country, and helped facilitate the separatist protests of September 2008. Martinez’s alleged actions were reportedly exposed by a Bolivian police officer who was recently arrested for participating in an alleged CIA-led effort to infiltrate Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB), Bolivia’s nationalized oil company. The scandal led to several layoffs at YPFB and to the subsequent arrest of the company’s former Director, Santos Ramirez, on corruption charges. Read more of this post

South Africa pressed to cut diplomatic, intelligence ties with Israel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
After Venezuela and Bolivia, which last week cut off diplomatic relations with Israel in protest of the Jewish state’s invasion of Gaza, the government of South Africa has come under pressure to do likewise. The powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) urged the governing African National Congress (ANC) to “cease all relations with Israel and close down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria”. The organization also called on the governing party to expel “Israeli security agencies and Mossad” operatives from the country. Although it is unclear whether COSATU’s call will influence South Africa’s official relations with Israel, it will be difficult for the ANC to ignore it completely, especially with Jacob Zuma now at its helm. Read more of this post

US intensifies attack on Bolivia

George W. Bush has been dismissed as a “lame duck” President, but his aggressive policy on Bolivia points otherwise. Although at the last stages of his presidency, Bush appears to be intensifying its vindictive war on the South American nation. Specifically, on Wednesday the White House announced that the US will be suspending “special trade benefits with Bolivia because of its failure to cooperate in drug-fighting efforts”. The “failure to cooperate in drug-fighting efforts” refers to the recent decision of the Bolivian government to halt the operations of the US Drug Enforcement Agency in the country, after it discovered that the agency tried to tap the telephone conversations of Bolivian President, Evo Morales, and actively funded and supported anti-government secessionist movements in selected oil-rich provinces. Using standard blackmail terminology, White House spokesperson Dana Perino stated that “the benefits can be restored if Bolivia were to improve its performance under the criteria of both programs and at the president’s discretion”. [IA]

.

Morales accuses DEA of tapping his telephone conversations

Thursday’s Washington Post article on Evo Morales’ trip to Washington was typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Bolivian President’s first-ever visit to the US capital. Specifically, the paper mentioned the Bolivian leader’s stated opposition to the policies of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in his country. The article mentioned Morales’ allegation that the DEA had “been used for ‘political vengeance’ against him”, but gave no details. Yet Pamela Constable, the Post’s reporter writing the article, surely must know what Morales means by “political vengeance”. The Bolivian President mentioned during his address to the Organization of American States earlier this week that the DEA tried to “tap his telephone conversations instead of going after cocaine traffickers”. Earlier, Morales had stated in a radio interview that “lately, when I was already in the government, but when the communications were in hands of the telecom company from Italy, a team of the DEA were listening [to] phone calls to be able to spy on me. This is a political thing”. These serious allegations were picked up by Reuters, but not a word of it was printed by the Washington Post, which obviously considers them an irrelevant detail influencing the Bolivian President’s recent decision to expel the DEA from his country. For more on the role of the DEA in the US government’s covert operations against the Morales Administration see here. [IA]

.

 

US covert operations in Bolivia detailed

Counterpunch has published today a well-researched analysis piece by Roger Burbach (Director of the California-based Center for the Study of the Americas) detailing some of the recent covert operations by Washington in Bolivia. These operations do not appear to veer significantly from CIA’s (more or less standard) approach in Chile in the early 1970s, and include “direct and covert assistance to the opposition movement” in Bolivia’s energy-rich eastern provinces. USAID and the DEA are mentioned as core institutional elements in the US effort to destabilize the democratically elected Morales government. The article is available here. [IA]

.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 637 other followers