Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Brazil: Rousseff Snaps Back that NSA Monioring Goes Beyond What Friends Do To Each Other

According to The Latin American Tribune, President Dilma Rousseff said on Monday (September 9) that the espionage on her country’s state oil company [Petrobras] is “incompatible with democratic coexistence between friendly countries.”

President Rousseff went further by saying that Washington's spying on Petrobras "went well beyond legitimate security concerns."

COMMENT: The US National Security Agency spied on Petrobras, according to Brazil’s TV Globo reported on Sunday (September 8), citing documents from whistle-blower Edward Snowden, seemingly "the gift that just keeps on giving."

Targets listed in the GLOBO piece include Petrobras, Google, the French foreign ministry, and SWIFT, a provider of secure financial messaging services to institutions worldwide.

The appearance of Petrobras among surveillance targets “contradicts NSA’s statement that monitoring does not have economic or commercial objectives,” GLOBO emphasized. 

The disclosure came a week after GLOBO said NSA intercepted telephone calls and e-mails of Rousseff and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.

“There is no doubt that Petrobras represents no threat to the security of any country,” Rousseff said Monday. “What it does represent is one of the largest petroleum assets in the world and the patrimony of the Brazilian people.”

Besides demanding an explanation from the US, Brazil will insist the US government take “concrete steps that definitively exclude the possibility of espionage which violates human rights, our sovereignty and our economic interests,” she said.

Rousseff said last Friday that whether she makes a planned state visit to Washington next month depends on Barack Obama’s response to the revelations about NSA’s monitoring of her communications. 

President Barack Obama reportedly “committed himself to responding to the Brazilian government before next Wednesday." The two heads of state met on the sidelines of the G-20 conference to discuss unchecked spying.

“My journey to Washington depends on the political conditions President Obama creates,” Rousseff said in St. Petersburg.

When asked about the US-Brazil relationship that "seems to be going down the toilet," Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf responded that "Brazil and the United States obviously are partners, close global partners, as the recent trip of Secretary Kerry to Brazil demonstrated."

"We agree that our broader relationship remains vital and that we need to move forward on a host of issues – economic, diplomatic, others as well. So we’ll address any concerns, as we have said repeatedly, in diplomatic channels about reports of intelligence activities. But we obviously believe this is an important partnership and we’ll continue working with them."

Unfortunately, the above statement is nothing more that diplomatic "noise" that reveals little in terms of the US really wanting to have a relationship of trust based upon a positive track-record between two nations. 

Based upon President Rousseff's statements, it seems clear that President Obama has some hoops to jump through in order re-establish US credibility with the Brazilian government. 

It appears that the onus is on Obama and not Rousseff, as it is Brazil that has been "victimized" by the US. 

No doubt, having technological "superpowers" brings with it grave responsibility if one is to be trusted on the global stage. 

On the face of it, Washington has gotten very used to  overseeing EVERYONE, yet being addicted to information renders "trust among friends" a political incompatibility...UNLESS there is a written understanding of what is "below the belt."