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

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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