Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Rousseff talks illegal spying, Barack pimps war
Yesterday, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, called out Barack Obama's illegal spying as she addressed the United Nations General Assembly:
Recent revelations concerning the activities of a global network of electronic espionage have caused indignation and repudiation in public opinion around the world.
In Brazil, the situation was even more serious, as it emerged that we were targeted by this intrusion. Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate information - often of high economic and even strategic value - was at the center of espionage activity. Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the Permanent Mission to the United Nations and the Office of the President of the Republic itself, had their communications intercepted.
Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a breach of International Law and is an affront to the principles that must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations. A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of citizens of another country.
The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained.
Brazil, Mr. President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and do not harbor terrorist groups.
We are a democratic country surrounded by nations that are democratic, pacific and respectful of International Law. We have lived in peace with our neighbors for more than 140 years.
As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and censorship, and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the right to privacy of individuals and the sovereignty of my country. In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy. In the absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the relationship among Nations.
We face, Mr. President, a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.
We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.
Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.
Brazil, Mr. President, will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.
My Government will do everything within its reach to defend the human rights of all Brazilians and to protect the fruits borne from the ingenuity of our workers and our companies.
The problem, however, goes beyond a bilateral relationship. It affects the international community itself and demands a response from it. Information and telecommunication technologies cannot be the new battlefield between States. Time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage, and attacks against systems and infrastructure of other countries.
The United Nations must play a leading role in the effort to regulate the conduct of States with regard to these technologies.
For this reason, Brazil will present proposals for the establishment of a civilian multilateral framework for the governance and use of the Internet and to ensure the effective protection of data that travels through the web.
We need to create multilateral mechanisms for the worldwide network that are capable of ensuring principles such as:
1 - Freedom of expression, privacy of the individual and respect for human rights.
2 - Open, multilateral and democratic governance, carried out with transparency by stimulating collective creativity and the participation of society, Governments and the private sector.
3 - Universality that ensures the social and human development and the construction of inclusive and non-discriminatory societies.
4 - Cultural diversity, without the imposition of beliefs, customs and values.
5 - Neutrality of the network, guided only by technical and ethical criteria, rendering it inadmissible to restrict it for political, commercial, religious or any other purposes.
Harnessing the full potential of the Internet requires, therefore, responsible regulation, which ensures at the same time freedom of expression, security and respect for human rights.
You can find her speech in full [PDF format warning] here. The NewsHour (PBS) has video of the speech posted here.
Julian Borger (Guardian) reports:
Rousseff's angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Rousseff had already put off a planned visit to Washington in protest at US spying, after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president's phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil corporation, Petrobras.
Lara Jakes (AP) reports on the speech and notes the White House claims that that "intercepted messages" are only read when there is reasonable suspicion but that leaked documents "indicated that Rousseff's own e-mails were read." Conor Keenan (Journalist) adds, "Rousseff who became the first female president when elected in 2011 was once a member of a militant left-wing guerrilla faction who fought against the military dictatorship of Brazil during the 1970’s. She told the on looking world leaders that she was also seeking a new radical solution within the information technology industry against internet espionage by forcing to hold all data concerning that of Brazilian citizens onshore."
US President Barack Obama spoke after Rousseff. Thalif Deen (IPS via Antiwar.com) notes, "Even though Obama had the right of reply, he did not address the issues raised by Rousseff, who also canceled a proposed official visit to the White House last week protesting the electronic surveillance of her country."
What he did was use his time to make more war noises against Syria. The NewsHour (PBS -- link is text, audio and video) covered Barack's remarks yesterday:
MARGARET WARNER: President Obama came to the U.N. gathering asserting he'd been entirely right to threaten military retaliation last month over Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now, I know that in the immediate aftermath of the attack, there were those who questioned the legitimacy of even a limited strike in the absence of a clear mandate from the Security Council.
But without a credible military threat, the Security Council had demonstrated no inclination to act at all.
MARGARET WARNER: And now, said the president, it's essential that the Council does act to make sure the Assad regime hands over its chemical stockpile for disposal, as outlined in a U.S./Russian agreement.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: There must be a strong Security Council resolution to verify that the Assad regime is keeping its commitments. And there must be consequences if they fail to do so.
If we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the United Nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws.
MARGARET WARNER: But, in Moscow today, it was clear the U.S. and Russia remain at odds over whether any U.N. resolution should threaten military force or other punitive steps against Syria if it fails to comply.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov:
SERGEI RYABKOV, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister (through interpreter): In this situation, the attempts of the Americans actively supported by the English and French to push the U.N. Security Council to craft a resolution that would obtain a direct danger to Syria is absolutely illogical.
He couldn't defend his illegal spying because there is no defense for it. He couldn't stop lusting for war because he's a War Hawk.
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