[A-List] Europeans Accused of "Paranoia"

Bill Totten shimogamo at ashisuto.co.jp
Sat Dec 11 01:50:25 MST 2010


Over Fears of US Economic Espionage, Documents Reveal

by Tom Burghardt

Antifascist Calling (December 07 2010)

Exploring the shadowlands of the corporate police state


Confidential State Department documents released by the whistleblowing web
site WikiLeaks {1}, revealed that a European Parliamentary vote earlier
this year that suspended participation in a US government program that
secretly monitored international bank transactions, surprised and angered
the Obama administration.

In a stunning rebuke of US policies the February 2010 memo, "Chancellor
Merkel Angered by Lack of German MEP Support for TFTP", 10BERLIN180 {2}
provided new evidence that the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (also
known as Swift) is viewed skeptically by the European public and their
representatives.

Distrust of the Swift program runs deep and its "War on Terror" pedigree
is considered little more than a pretext for American spies to carry out
economic espionage on behalf of US multinationals.

Alarmed over privacy breaches by American firms and criminal acts, such as
the illegal US transfer of prisoners on CIA "black flights", aided and
abetted by European intelligence agencies, outraged public opinion forced
the hand of parliamentarians, who voted overwhelming to suspend the
program.

German opposition to Swift "was particularly damaging" The New York Times
{3} reported, "because the country was among a handful of allies that,
according to a 2006 cable, made up a 'coalition of the constructive'
organized to ensure that the Swift operation was not 'ruined by privacy
experts'".

Launched shortly after the 9/11 provocation by the Bush administration,
the secret program handed American officials unprecedented access to
global financial information on bank transactions routed through a vast
database administered by the Swift consortium in Brussels.

Access to such unique data would be particularly valuable to US
corporations. In light of evidence published in a 2001 European Parliament
report {4} that the National Security Agency's ECHELON program was a cover
for economic espionage, such fears are not unfounded.

Since the program's disclosure in 2006 by The New York Times {5},
criticism over its operations have mounted steadily.

CIA and Treasury Department officials secretly poured over records of some
$6 trillion dollars in daily financial transactions flowing through global
banks and brokerage houses.

"European Union regulators", the ACLU {6} reported, "found that the mass
financial prying was not legally authorized, was conducted without proper
checks and balances, and violated several important rules established to
protect the privacy of Europeans".

Increasing the "creep factor" amongst EU officials, the ACLU disclosed {7}
that the ultra-spooky Booz Allen Hamilton corporation had been hired to
"oversee" the program by the federal government.

Concluding that the firm was not an "independent check" on Swift
surveillance, the civil liberties' watchdogs wrote that "Booz Allen is one
of the largest US Government contractors, with hundreds of millions of
dollars in US Government contracts awarded each year. Booz Allen has a
history of working closely with US Government agencies on electronic
surveillance, including the Total Information Awareness program."

Initial misgivings amongst the public and privacy advocates have since
blossomed into outright hostility, thus setting the stage for last
summer's vote.

Cynical Maneuvers

Noting that the American-led "War on Terror" coalition is fraying at the
seams, US Ambassador to Berlin Philip Murphy, wrote that "Merkel is
particularly irritated with German MEPs from her Christian Democratic
Union (CDU) and sister Christian Social Union (CSU) parties, most of whom
reportedly voted against the agreement despite previously indicating they
would support it".

The ambassador claimed that "public German reactions" to the European
Parliament's vote "have come exclusively from TFTP detractors who
portrayed the veto as a sign that the European Parliament has won a
victory over an arrogant Commission/Council, as well as delivering a
rebuke to US counterterrorism policies that undervalue data privacy".

Free Democratic Party (FDP) Federal Justice Minister Sabine
Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of Merkel's coalition, was derided
by Murphy as "a strong proponent of data privacy rights", who had welcomed
the vote saying that "the citizens of Europe have won a victory today that
strengthened not just data protection, but democracy in all of Europe".

That's certainly a "diplomatic" way of saying they don't trust their
American allies!

Undeterred however, Murphy recommended that the US crank up the "Mighty
Wurlitzer" {8} disinformation machine a decibel or two.

"These events", the ambassador wrote, "suggest the need to intensify our
engagement with German government interlocutors, Bundestag and European
parliamentarians, and opinion makers to demonstrate that the US has strong
data privacy measures in place".

Murphy said this "debate was not just about TFTP"; the ambassador averred
that "paranoia runs deep especially about US intelligence agencies".

Those quaint denizens of "old Europe", where do they ever get such
fanciful ideas!

US Embassies: Global Spy Nets

In the Cablegate file, "Reporting and Collection Needs: The United
Nations", 09STATEE80163 {9}, dated July 31 2009 and classified
SECRET/NOFORN ("no foreign distribution") we learned last week that under
America's revised National HUMINT Collection Directive (NCHD) US diplomats
and State Department employees under CIA cover are directed to spy on key
UN personnel, including Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

State Department documents revealed that diplomats have been ordered to
gather "as much of the following information as possible when they have
information relating to persons linked to: office and organizational
titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards;
numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact
information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic
format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet 'handles',
internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card
account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other
relevant biographical information".

US overlords demanded that their diplomat-spies collect relevant data on
"about current and future use of communications systems and technologies
by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile
satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile
radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption,
international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange,
Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for
microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks".

Documents released so far have revealed that similar "diplomatic" spying
operations are underway globally and target Bulgaria {10}; Romania {12};
Slovenia {12}; Hungary {13}; Venezuela {14}; Paraguay {15}; Palestine
{16}; African Great Lakes {17}; and West Africa {18}.

Denouncing WikiLeaks for the embarrassing disclosures, not for US
duplicity and deceit, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who authorized
the surreptitious collection programs, said last week that covert action
by its foreign service "is the role our diplomats play in serving America".

A "Well-Placed Source"

Despite full knowledge, "we were astonished to learn" ambassador Murphy
wrote, "how quickly rumors about alleged US economic espionage - at first
associated with the new US air passenger registration system (ESTA), then
with TFTP - gained currency among German parliamentarians in the run-up to
the February 11 vote in Strasbourg".

Are there legitimate reasons perhaps, why "paranoia" would "run deep"
among the public, or the German government for that matter, considering
the track record of "US intelligence agencies"?

Last Friday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle's chief of staff,
Helmut Metzner, was sacked after he confessed he was the "young,
up-and-coming party loyalist" who served as an American asset inside the
Free Democratic Party, a coalition partner of Chancellor Angela Merkel's
right-wing government.

Der Spiegel {19} reported that Metzner was the "top-level national party
employee responsible for passing secret information on to US diplomats
during the negotiations to form the current German government in 2009".

According to the 2009 Cablegate file 09BERLIN1271 {20}, "Westerwelle Firm
on Removal of Nuclear Weapons", Metzner is described therein as "a
well-placed FDP source".

>From his perch, Metzner was privy to sensitive information that he passed
on to his American handlers; in fact the go-getter was "the head of
international relations for the national party". Rather conveniently, one
might say!

Indeed, the strategist-spy "shared with Emboffs and visiting Senior
Germany Desk Officer October 7 information on issues discussed during the
first two days of these negotiations as well as the negotiations schedule
and working group make-up. Source serves as his party's notetaker for the
negotiations and has been a long-standing close Embassy contact."

"It's now clear", Der Spiegel reported, "why the US ambassador appeared so
pleased in his cables back to Washington - after all, his mole had the ear
of the head of the party and was part of the inner circle of party
leadership".

Eventually, ambassador Murphy's call to "intensify our engagement with
German government interlocutors, Bundestag and European parliamentarians,
and opinion makers" over the Swift program paid off.

In July, "after mobilizing top administration officials, including
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy F
Geithner and Attorney General Eric H Holder Junior", the Obama
administration was able to reverse the vote in the European Parliament,
"after the United States made modest concessions that promised greater
European oversight", The New York Times reported.

"Concessions" that will accelerate the erosion of privacy rights while
enhancing US efforts to steal economic secrets from their capitalist
rivals.

Tuesday's arrest of Julian Assange in Britain on a dubious Swedish
warrant, and the court's refusal to grant the activist/journalist bail,
will not stop the leaks. Despite intense pressure from the Pentagon, the
State Department and lickspittle American politicians, more than 500 web
sites currently mirror {21} WikiLeaks.

The steady drip, drip, drip of dark secrets will continue, as will further
revelations of US crimes.

Links:

{1} http://213.251.145.96/

{2} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2010/02/10BERLIN180.html

{3}
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/world/middleeast/06wikileaks-swift.html?_r=1

{4} http://cryptome.org/echelon-ep-fin.htm

{5} http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/23/washington/23intel.html

{6}
http://www.aclu.org/national-security/european-officials-declare-us-financial-spying-dragnet-illegal

{7} http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/safefree/boozallen20060914.pdf

{8} http://www.namebase.org/news17.html

{9} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/07/09STATE80163.html

{10} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/06/09STATE62392.html

{11} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/06/09STATE62395.html

{12} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/06/09STATE62397.html

{13} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/06/09STATE62393.html

{14} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2010/01/10CARACAS107.html

{15} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2008/03/08STATE30340.html

{16} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2008/10/08STATE116392.html

{17} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/04/09STATE37561.html

{18} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/04/09STATE37566.html

{19} http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,732579,00.html

{20} http://213.251.145.96/cable/2009/10/09BERLIN1271.html

{21} http://213.251.145.96/mass-mirror.html

_____

A researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition
to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, I
am the editor of Police State America: US Military "Civil Disturbance"
Planning (2002), distributed by AK Press.

http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/2010/12/europeans-accused-of-paranoia-over.html


http://www.billtotten.blogspot.com
http://www.ashisuto.co.jp




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