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Berlin Must Reveal U.S. ‘Blackmail’ Over Snowden Asylum (La Jornada, Mexico)

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Over the weekend it was reported that German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, when pressed by journalist Glenn Greenwald as to why Germany didn’t offer Edward Snowden political asylum, replied that Washington, ‘told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters.’ This editorial from Mexico’s La Jornada implores Germany to live up to its image as a ‘global benchmark of legality’ and lay out the facts of the episode without delay. The newspaper points out that if Washington can subordinate ‘developed countries of the greatest technological and economic strength’, one can only imagine the ‘fierce control’ the U.S. continues to exercise over ‘less advanced nations like ours.’

The La Jornada editorial begins with the report on the vice chancellor’s comment to Glenn Greenwald:

According to a report on the electronic portal The Intercept, the U.S. government told Berlin it would deny information on terrorist plans to the German intelligence services if it offered asylum to U.S. computer analyst Edward Snowden, who currently lives as an exile in Russia. Journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has assisted the former Central Intelligence Agency analyst screen and disseminate [classified] documents, said that information was revealed by German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel. Washington, meanwhile, has denied the accusation and said that the relationship between the two secret services has saved lives.

In the case of Germany, public awareness of this demand for submission, which borders on blackmail, presents the government in Berlin with a difficult dilemma: reduce their response [to U.S. surveillance] to mere acts of pretense or present an explanation that will satisfy the understandable discomfort of its population to what has been exposed as an act of subordination to the superpower. In the context of the persecution launched against the former CIA analyst and in light of the obsequious attitude shown by several European states, the assumption that the U.S. pressured the German government is given added credibility. In the case of Germany, the revelations have the additional component of espionage, revealed by Snowden, carried out by Washington against the government in Berlin. Despite the assumption that the United States would have to pay a political cost in its relation to Europe’s most powerful country, all Berlin offered was a warm, ambiguous response that has been harshly criticized by its own inhabitants.

One must to weigh the profile of a world power which in recent decades has encountered planetary and regional counterweights in Brazil, China, Russia and Iran, but has established a domain in Western Europe hardly resistant to its plans. For Berlin, a government that has been depicted as a global benchmark of legality, it is imperative to as quickly as possible lay out the facts of this episode of presumed blackmail by a regime that has attacked not only the necessity of confidential communications on the part of the ruling class, but the privacy of millions of people and the security of the country.

In another sense, if this is the degree of subordination exerted by the United States on developed countries of the greatest technological and economic strength, one need not be a suspicious type to imagine the fierce control it can exercise over less advanced nations like ours, nor the immense power that gives impetus to such behavior.

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR GERMAN, OR READ MORE ON MASS SURVEILLANCE AND GLOBAL PERCEPTIONS OF OUR NATION AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of global news and views about the United States.

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William Kern, founder of www.worldmeets.us, is the inventor of trans-copyediting, a system for checking the accuracy of translated copy into multiple languages. Since 2005, managing a team of dedicated volunteer translators, Kern has edited, packaged and posted thousands of columns of news and opinion about America from publications around the world and from every major language, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Swedish, Spanish, Hungarian and Farsi. From the height of the Iraq war to the annexation of Crimea right up to today, Kern and his team have provided intelligence to the American people by opening up a whole new media world.

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