South China Morning Post, Hong Kong

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NSA Targeted Latin American 'Trade Secrets' (O Globo, Brazil)


"One aspect that stands out in the documents seen by O Globo is that, according to them, the United States doesn’t appear interested in military affairs alone, but also in trade secrets - 'oil' in Venezuela, and 'energy' in Mexico, according to a list produced by the NSA in the first quarter of this year. ... the NSA collected data on petroleum and military acquisitions in Venezuela, and energy and narcotics in Mexico."


By Glenn Greenwald, Roberto Kaz and José Casado


Translated By Brandi Miller


July 10, 2013


Brazil - O Globo - Original Article (Portuguese)

Brazil Foreign Minister Antônio Patriota is demanding an explanation from Washington, after evidence came toi light showing massive NSA surveillance against his country and surrounding countries.


RUSSIA TODAY, RUSSIA: Ecuador's foreign minister slams jet fiasco involving Bolivia President Evo Morales, urges more nations help Edward Snowden, July 10, 00:02:57RealVideo

RIO: The United States has espionage and monitoring programs in several Latin American countries beyond Brazil. Classified documents from the National Security Agency (NSA), to which O Globo had access, show similar situations occurring in Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador, among others.


One aspect that stands out in the documents is that, according to them, the United States doesn’t appear interested in military affairs alone, but also in trade secrets - “oil” in Venezuela, and “energy” in Mexico, according to a list produced by the NSA in the first quarter of this year.


Over the past five years in terms of NSA espionage activity, Colombia was the second priority target in Latin America, right after Brazil and Mexico. The NSA documents show the collection of information in Colombia to be significant and constant, although not always at this same tempo, between 2008 and the first quarter of this year - up until this past March.


There is no evidence that espionage via satellite, telephone and electronic mail, with teams from the NSA and CIA, has continued over the past three months.


From last January to March, according to the documents, NSA agents conducted espionage in Latin America under the rubric of at least two programs: PRISM (in the period between February 2-8) and Boundless Informant (from January to March).


PRISM makes it possible to access e-mails, online chats and voice calls of the clients of companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and YouTube. Through it, the NSA collected data on petroleum and military acquisitions in Venezuela, energy and narcotics in Mexico, and mapped the movements of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). One in April 2007 NSA graphic clearly shows the amount of data that the agency could capture transmitted over underwater fiber optic cables. This flow of information would serve to fuel the processing of data under PRISM.


This program, however, doesn't allow access to the entire universe of communications. Under PRISM, large volumes of telephone call and internet data traffic were outside the reach of the NSA and its partners.


To extend their reach, the agency developed other programs with corporate partners, capable of providing access to international communications. That is the case with Boundless Informant, which catalogues phone calls and Internet access.


An undated document that accompanies maps from 2012, describes the attributes of the operation Silverzephyr (the code name is in reference to a train line that existed in the United States during the 1940s). According to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation, Silverzephyr was aimed at “accessing lines for information transmission through a partner.” The agency has a policy of creating partnerships with private companies that operate satellites, telephone systems and networks which transmit data. The targets, as the image shows, were countries in Latin America. From the documentation, it is possible to conclude that in this region, the agency collected information from telephone calls, faxes and e-mails that were tracked, possibly by the Fairview program.


The importance of operations in Colombia is also highlighted by the agency’s maps. In part, this can be explained by the intense cooperation between the governments in Washington and Bogotá, in regard to the offensive against FARC guerrillas and their financial alliance with the drug cartels. But beyond the purely military aspects, there are also economic ones - such as petroleum.


Colombia maintains a military alliance with the United States that is unparalleled among South American countries. That makes it a privileged area of operation for U.S. agencies like the NSA when it comes to the routine collection of information to the north, west of and south of the country.


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The documents obtained by O Globo contain no specific numbers, but the color scale used to elaborate on the agency’s maps allows one to conclude that in the months of March, this year and last, Colombia was considered a target for espionage just as relevant as Brazil and Mexico.


Surveillance in Chávez’s death


Also spied upon, steadily but at a lower intensity, were Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, and El Salvador.


In 2008, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela were also monitored by something called the X-Keyscore program, which was able to track and identify foreigners in a country based on the language he or she used in e-mails.

Posted By Worldmeets.US


In that year, coincidence or not, Colombia faced a serious crisis with Ecuador and Venezuela. Colombian forces attacked a narco-guerilla faction inside Ecuadorian territory, and that country responded: they closed the border and cut off relations with Colombia, creating a serious diplomatic crisis.


In March of last year, according to the NSA documents, Colombia and Venezuela again figured prominently among the targets of espionage. The agency used software known as Fairview. The volume of data collected, according to NSA maps on that period, was apparently less than what was taken from Brazil during the same period.


In March this year, Colombia became as much a priority for the NSA as Brazil. That is when Hugo Chávez died. It was the end of the cycle of Chavismo. That also began another political game in South America.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US June 10, 2013, 12:48pm