'Uncle Same Looks for Snowden'

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French Political Class Holds 'Outrage Contest' Over NSA Spying (Le Monde, France)


"François Hollande referred to the free trade agreement, implying that it cannot be reached if U.S. espionage on E.U. officials did not cease 'immediately.' ... Green member of the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit argued for the need to 'terminate all agreements' between the E.U. and U.S., including negotiations for a free-trade deal, to force our U.S. partners to 'negotiate an agreement on the protection of personal data.' ... Arnaud Danjean, chairman of the Security and Defense Subcommittee of the European Parliament, criticized 'the European competition to be the most outraged by American espionage, which he considers naive and 'a bit pathetic.'"


Translated By Jill Naeem


July 4, 2013


France – Le Monde – Original Article (French)

French President François Hollande triggered a wave of outrage within the French political class over NSA spying on Europe. Have the Europeans been protesting a bit too much?

EUX TV VIDEO, BRUSSELS: After Spying Allegations, E.U.-U.S. trade talks at risk, July 2, 00:02:14RealVideo

The latest revelations that America's sweeping surveillance program has also affected European institutions provoked a wide range of political reaction in France. Many voices, on the left and right, took the opportunity to denounce negotiations for a transatlantic free-trade agreement between the European Union and United States, which are due to begin this month.


On Monday afternoon, [President] François Hollande referred to the agreement, implying that it cannot be reached if U.S. espionage on E.U. officials did not cease "immediately."


"There can be no negotiations or exchanges until such a guarantee is obtained by France, but also for the entire European Union - both of which are partners of the United States," Hollande said.


Over the weekend, Green member of the European Parliament [MEP] Daniel Cohn-Bendit had the most extreme reaction, arguing Sunday for the need to "terminate all agreements" between the European Union and United States, including negotiations for a free-trade deal, to force our U.S. partners to "negotiate an agreement on the protection of personal data."


National Front President Marine Le Pen also called for an immediate halt to these negotiations, but added that there is "no hope that François Hollande is capable of making" of such a gesture. The MEP stressed that she was "the first" to demand France grant political asylum to Edward Snowden, the whistleblower on the diplomatic espionage as well as the surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency of the personal data of millions of users of various Internet services (PRISM). The Greens and Left Party Leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon also asked that he be given asylum.

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Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Vice Chair and MEP Marielle de Sarnez, has, meanwhile, called for a European investigation and possible sanctions against the United States. She also envisages summoning the Obama Administration's E.U. representative [William E. Kennard] before European MPs.




Before the speech by Mr. Hollande, government reactions remained cautious. On Sunday, Justice Minister Christiane Taubira called it an "unspeakable act of hostility." But Digital Economy Minister Fleur Pellerin played down the importance of the affair. "It's not exactly the first time in history this has happened," Pellerin said on Monday on BFM TV, citing "the same type of occurrence during the war in Iraq."


However, Ms. Pellerin said she was shocked by the "widespread surveillance machine" exposed by the first of Edward Snowden's leaks - the PRISM program. Questioned about the wisdom of reprisals like a suspension of trade talks, the minister asked, "let's not mix issues at this stage."


In the Socialist Party, Deputy Jean-Christophe Cambadélis, national secretary for Europe and International Affairs, is taking a different view, calling on his blog for negotiations to be suspended: "Europe would discredit itself if it wiped the slate clean. If trust isn't there, there's no reason to negotiate, "added the top socialist leader.


Eduardo Rihan Cypel, Socialist Party expert MP on cyber security, sees this case as proof that "France and Europe must arm themselves, and provide themselves the technical means to counter penetration attempts and cyber-spying initiated by the United States," particularly in the commercial sector.




Like Mr. Cypel, MEP Arnaud Danjean of the Union for a Popular Movement [UMP], chairman of the Security and Defense  Subcommittee of the European Parliament, sees "nothing completely illogical" in the spying program, an opportunity to revive Europe's (cyber) defenses, and calls for a "minimal investigation." On Twitter, Danjean criticized in passing, "the European competition to be the most outraged by American espionage, which he considers naive and "a bit pathetic."


"This European competition to be the most outraged by U.S. espionage is a bit pathetic. It's as if all these officials live in la-la land. Danjean (@ ArnaudDanjean) June 30, 2013.

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Elsewhere in the UMP, reactions were muted. Jean-François Copé, who heads the France - U.S. Parliamentary Friendship Group, confirmed on Monday that these acts of espionage, if confirmed, "would taint" the relationship between Washington and the E.U., and showed, he said, a certain naiveté." Echoing these words, former Prime Minister Francois Fillon said in a statement that if true, the matter was "very serious."


"I support Hollande. ... An ally does not spy on an ally, a friend does not spy on his friends."


MP for Yvelines, Henri Guaino, considered that these revelations were not the "deal of the century," because "there is so little to spy on in Brussels." Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (UMP), called on Monday for "clear and frank talks with the Americans," as did Valerie Pécresse,  Associate Secretary General of the UMP, who asked the French government to obtain information from the U.S. government "on the volume and extent of any collection of personal data on French citizens and French companies," under the PRISM program.

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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 4, 2013, 6:28pm