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NSA, UK Spied On Politicians, Intercepted Emails, Eavesdropped On Russian President's Phone Calls

Tyler Durden's picture


The espionage scandal that keeps on giving has released its latest installment, once more courtesy of the Guardian, which on the eve of tomorrow's starting G-8 meeting reveals that foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G-20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored, their phone calls intercepted, and fake internet cafes were set up on the instructions of the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the sister organization to the US NSA.

Naturally, it wasn't just the GCHQ - according to the Guardian, during the 2009 G-20 meeting there was an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on then-Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

And while broad espionage allegations can be deflected by pretending by the rhetoric-endowed and teleprompter-aided that only terrorist threats were targeted, it will be very difficult to explain why the national information super spooks used every trick of the trade to spy on the so-called leaders of the developed world.

The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

And like that, one more conspiracy theory is relegated to the "fact" bin, as those using the "tin foil, crack-pot conspiracy theorists" fallback, are slowly becoming the biggest laughing stock in town.

So who gave the green light for this blatant spying operation, which assuredly takes place at every meeting of the world's leading political (and other) dignitaries? Why that supreme gold top-tick timer himself, Gordon Brown:

There have often been rumours of this kind of espionage at international conferences, but it is highly unusual for hard evidence to confirm it and spell out the detail. The evidence is contained in documents – classified as top secret – which were uncovered by the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by the Guardian. They reveal that during G20 meetings in April and September 2009 GCHQ used what one document calls "ground-breaking intelligence capabilities" to intercept the communications of visiting delegations.

The timing of today's release comes at a perfect time, just as yet another G-8 meeting is due to commence shortly in the UK:

The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.

What else did the revealed G-20 spying consist of:

  • Setting up internet cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates' use of computers;
  • Penetrating the security on delegates' BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;
  • Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;
  • Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;

It just goes downhill from there:

A briefing paper dated 20 January 2009 records advice given by GCHQ
officials to their director, Sir Iain Lobban, who was planning to meet
the then foreign secretary, David Miliband. The officials summarised
Brown's aims for the meeting of G20 heads of state due to begin on 2
April, which was attempting to deal with the economic aftermath of the
2008 banking crisis. The briefing paper added: "The GCHQ intent is to
ensure that intelligence relevant to HMG's desired outcomes for its
presidency of the G20 reaches customers at the right time and in a form
which allows them to make full use of it." Two documents explicitly
refer to the intelligence product being passed to "ministers".


GCHQ ragout 1


According to the material seen by the Guardian, GCHQ generated this
product by attacking both the computers and the telephones of delegates.

Most importantly, the bullshit excuse that spying by the GCHQ and the NSA, was being done to safeguard the safety and security of "the people" will no longer fly. And if anything, the latest set of disclosures should generate a diplomatic scandal of unprecedented proportions. Alas, in a world in which everyone is broke and reliant on the goodwill of the Fed, and by implication, the Fed's code breakers, the NSA, we wouldn't be surprised if nothing happens.

Other documents record apparently successful efforts to penetrate the security of BlackBerry smartphones: "New converged events capabilities against BlackBerry provided advance copies of G20 briefings to ministers … Diplomatic targets from all nations have an MO of using smartphones. Exploited this use at the G20 meetings last year."


The operation appears to have run for at least six months. One document records that in March 2009 – the month before the heads of state meeting – GCHQ was working on an official requirement to "deliver a live dynamically updating graph of telephony call records for target G20 delegates … and continuing until G20 (2 April)."


Another document records that when G20 finance ministers met in London in September, GCHQ again took advantage of the occasion to spy on delegates, identifying the Turkish finance minister, Mehmet Simsek, as a target and listing 15 other junior ministers and officials in his delegation as "possible targets". As with the other G20 spying, there is no suggestion that Simsek and his party were involved in any kind of criminal offence. The document explicitly records a political objective – "to establish Turkey's position on agreements from the April London summit" and their "willingness (or not) to co-operate with the rest of the G20 nations".


The September meeting of finance ministers was also the subject of a new technique to provide a live report on any telephone call made by delegates and to display all of the activity on a graphic which was projected on to the 15-sq-metre video wall of GCHQ's operations centre as well as on to the screens of 45 specialist analysts who were monitoring the delegates.


"For the first time, analysts had a live picture of who was talking to who that updated constantly and automatically," according to an internal review.


A second review implies that the analysts' findings were being relayed rapidly to British representatives in the G20 meetings, a negotiating advantage of which their allies and opposite numbers may not have been aware: "In a live situation such as this, intelligence received may be used to influence events on the ground taking place just minutes or hours later. This means that it is not sufficient to mine call records afterwards – real-time tip-off is essential."

The surveillance got so far as reading people's emails at the same time as they typed!

One document refers to a tactic which was "used a lot in recent UK conference, eg G20". The tactic, which is identified by an internal codeword which the Guardian is not revealing, is defined in an internal glossary as "active collection against an email account that acquires mail messages without removing them from the remote server". A PowerPoint slide explains that this means "reading people's email before/as they do".

End result: a very grateful GCHQ:

In the week after the September meeting, a group of analysts sent an internal message to the GCHQ section which had organised this live monitoring: "Thank you very much for getting the application ready for the G20 finance meeting last weekend … The call records activity pilot was very successful and was well received as a current indicator of delegate activity 


"It proved useful to note which nation delegation was active during the moments before, during and after the summit. All in all, a very successful weekend with the delegation telephony plot."

And now we go back to your regularly scheduled prime-time soap opera tragicomedy for idiots, in which the protagonists read from teleprompters advising the same idiots, that only terrorist suspects are targeted by the totalitarian superstate, and that no matter what, one should trust the government - after all they are only here to help you.


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Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:25 | 3663258 max2205
max2205's picture

This will go over well

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:30 | 3663271 Burt Gummer
Burt Gummer's picture

And the police state marches on......

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:37 | 3663292 negative rates
negative rates's picture

I've been trusting him all along.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:58 | 3663358 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Putin ought to drop a big fat ass EMP right on top of the NSA.





Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:10 | 3663383 eclectic syncretist
eclectic syncretist's picture

more than anything the governments coordinate with the TBTF banks to track all your purchases and expenditures.  The very best way to fight this is simply to USE CASH for all your transactions.  They can't track that!

Which brings up the point that companies like walmart and target must also be involved here.  It's one big collusion anti-constitutional conspiracy circle-jerk cluster fuck against the citizens, as well as whoever else the people in power are afraid of.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:45 | 3663462 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Gawddamn narcissists at the guardian ruining the world! Don't they understand how self-absorbed it is to actually publish newsworthy articles? Scheiffer gets it! 

Never ever say anything useful or contrary to state interests, only narcissists do that shit!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:11 | 3663633 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

That's why I've coined the term which describes the Criminals.

The Global Criminal Cabal Oligarch Bankster Intelligence Crime Syndicate.

Sums it up nicely.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:29 | 3663667 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Just wait till they tell Obama about this one!

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 06:43 | 3664226 King_of_simpletons
King_of_simpletons's picture

Those darn communist hackers. Oh wait, we are the ones doing all evil deeds.

Looks like the strategy seems to be cry wolf first and do the same thing to other countries. Dumb citizenism will believe you and support multiple wars.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 02:12 | 3664115 varnelius
varnelius's picture

Not a solution either as I suspect every $20 you pull from the ATM is tagged by serial # and logged by the business that redeposits it.  Lately I have been getting some awfully fresh $20s from the ATM, frequently with sequential serial numbers.

While I don't like breaking "big bills" ($50s/$100s) nearly anywhere, perhaps its time to start withdrawing those from the bank; then breaking them at a random biz who can actually do it (and not a gas station after dark).  Then proceed to spend most of the change freely, as it likely came from other random people.

I suspect much tracking is done on cash these days.  Serial numbers are easy to scan.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:21 | 3663410 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

............I concur. In fact, it might be good for the whole fucking planet if we take a big fat time fucking OUT on all of it.

I mean everything.....sans electric at it's most basic forms........3rd world countries are off limits....

Shut the whole system down.............then go find and kill everything Rothchild, Bilderbooger and all the other wankers....

The entire system needs an enema....


Tylers...your cue.....

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:18 | 3663526 Ban KKiller
Ban KKiller's picture

I NSA agree. Great NSA idea NSA to NSA spread NSA around NSA. Jefferson NSA would NSA approve. 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:24 | 3663660 SnobGobbler
SnobGobbler's picture

quite the revelation to find out these psycopaths AREN'T on the same page and still need to spy on each other...

"liberty or death, words we so proudly hail! " 

p.s fuck jamie dimon, seriously.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:30 | 3663432 Go Tribe
Go Tribe's picture

Was thinking along the same lines. But a simultaneous dumping of bonds by China, several countries announcing a new reserve currency/commodity basket, and a well placed nuke against Syrian rebels might make a more lasting impression on America.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:55 | 3663346 TeamDepends
TeamDepends's picture

This too shall pass.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:30 | 3663428 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Obviously. The US:

CNN "celebrates 50 years of women in space";

Fox News is blabbing on about some immigration bill;

ABCNews talks about scouts demanding "apology for gay pride parade"

NYTimes is waffling on about race relations

The UK:

BBC News talking about the US and Russia "sharing aims on Syria"

Telegraph reports Boris Johnson warns on arming Syria Rebels

... only left-wing Guardian is doing its job - to report the fucking news.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:17 | 3663524 trader1
trader1's picture

"left wing" Guardian...?


you might want to re-check that assumption.


hint: they're centre-left with a mix of right

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:25 | 3663549 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

No, they're not. You might want to get your assumptions checked.

All their social commentry is as rhetoric-rules socialistic nonsense as you'll get from a mainstream paper. The only times they side with the "right" is when the inescapable conclusion is that the "left" is wrong on the topic.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:37 | 3663576 trader1
trader1's picture

i checked my assumptions.

check your calibration.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:36 | 3663673 toys for tits
toys for tits's picture

Are you two guys idiotic enough to argue about whether a newspaper is center-left or leftist, when it's doing a noble job offending politicians of all stripes?

If they could have published this Snowden shit anonymously you two wouldn't even be having this discussion.

People are always trying to discredit the messenger, rather than embrace/attack the message, which once again shows the wisdom of the Tylers, who allow us to participate in this website.

I'm not the one junking you two despite thinking both of you are playing into the hands of the TPTB by allowing yourselves to be divided and then conquered.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:44 | 3663695 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture

All of you are playing into the hands of TPTB.  Left/Right/Center is irrelevant.  They are simply doing what they've been commanded to do, in this time, in this place.  We've known about this surveillance for years now.  William Binney, Siebel Edmonds, etc., they all told us this shit already.  It is simply that now is the time for this revelation to come to the fore, as it augurs in the next act of the play.

I am Chumbawamba.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 23:30 | 3663966 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

part of me is "right" part of me is "center" and as my wife reminds me, part of me is way out in left field

none of these terms ever made sense to me really. actually, these days, nothing makes sense to me

labels are the oldest game on earth to divide and conquer, obscure the issues, persecute, prosecute, and shift the blame

I know we need labels, but they're also the bad guys favorite tools.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 01:55 | 3664094 putaipan
putaipan's picture

i'm so far left that i am right. i am so far right that i am left out. think- r.paul/dennis d.


and oh yeah- fuck neo liberals and neo conservatives!

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 02:18 | 3664123 geekgrrl
geekgrrl's picture

I think most folks are like that, a little left, right, and center, depending on the issue. What I think is interesting is that all this surveillance stuff really transcends all those political boundaries.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 05:59 | 3664198 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

Well, it should transcend those political boundaries.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 07:58 | 3664322 Burticus
Burticus's picture

The political spectrum is from 100% (totalitarian) gubmint to 0% (absence of) gubmint.

Except for a few centrists (like Ron Paul) who advocate only enough gubmint to protect individual rights, the entire parasite class and lamescream corporate media cartel globally are on the extreme or far left.

Most ZH readers would be considered centrists, who advocate individual liberty, limited gubmint and free enterprise economics.

The hundreds of millions people robbed, kidnapped or murdered by gubmints throughout history could make a persuasive argument for anarchy.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 01:50 | 3664090 trader1
trader1's picture

can't you see we're both screwing around?  

and who are TPTB?

last time i checked, i am.

(no i'm not drunk...i only know it's just a ride)



Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:16 | 3663645 Mine Is Bigger
Mine Is Bigger's picture

The American political landscape is highly skewed to the right.  What is considered right wing in some countries would be center or even center-left in the U.S.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 22:42 | 3663883 lolmao500
lolmao500's picture

Fox News is blabbing on about some immigration bill;

That is very important... it's a part of the security state if it passes...

Immigration reform bill establishes a national biometric database of all Americans

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 23:04 | 3663923 zerozulu
zerozulu's picture

This bill, no doubt is important for US but not for the hard working Mexicans who have decided to go back home when there are no jobs here. This bill won't be able to stop the exodus.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:42 | 3663447 Monedas
Monedas's picture

Eavesdropping on .... Dmitry "tell Vlad I'll be more flexible after the election" Medvedev .... so called leader .... of the .... so called developed world .... is the equivalent of spying .... on Joe "this is a big fuckin' deal" Biden !

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:51 | 3663476 chumbawamba
chumbawamba's picture a kidney stone.

I am Chumbawamba.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:31 | 3663274 Jorgen
Jorgen's picture

Will there be enough space in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for The Guardian personnel involved in publishing these revelations? Move over Mr. Assange...

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:33 | 3663280 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Someone made a comment to me last week, that I thought was insightful:

All the old media know their days are numbered, that they're dead in the water, but bless the Guardian, they're going out swinging.


Pretty much sums it up.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:59 | 3663355 trader1
trader1's picture

does anyone know how much money is left in the scott trust?

rage, rage against the dying of the light

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:03 | 3663367 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Not as much as Bloomberg's or Murdoch's, that's for certain.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:10 | 3663386 trader1
trader1's picture

but, guardian is a member of project syndicate, no?  wouldn't soros bail them out in case of liquidity problems?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:22 | 3663415 BeetleBailey
BeetleBailey's picture

some editor there is getting butt-fucked for running this as we speak....




some Bilderbooger elitist douchebag is getting pole-axed

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:47 | 3663427 trader1
trader1's picture

but none of this shit is all that new...



who junks me for posting the truth?  wtf!  

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 00:44 | 3664054 thestarl
thestarl's picture

See Murdoch and his wife have filed for divorce hope she takes him to the cleaners.

Im gunna piss all over that pricks tombstone one day.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:14 | 3663397 RichardP
RichardP's picture

That's a slogan fit for a t-shirt.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:23 | 3663417 trader1
trader1's picture

all of this is great press for the IT security industry...

zee germans want to play.


Mon, 06/17/2013 - 12:55 | 3665161 trader1
trader1's picture

looks like i've attracted serial junker(s) like!

i never thought i could be *that* special...

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 23:34 | 3663972 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

shit that's a great line.


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:36 | 3663289 freewolf7
freewolf7's picture

"it will be very difficult to explain why the national information super spooks used every trick of the trade to spy on the so-called leaders of the developed world."

Just keeping an eye on the kids in daycare.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:46 | 3663316 machineh
machineh's picture

Perfidious Albion ...

Call me when the Guardian releases Obama's REAL birth certificate!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:03 | 3663371 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Too right.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:39 | 3663443 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Who the fuck cares. Do you seriously think it matters one iota which Republicrat or Democan puppet is elected?

All this nonsense about fucking birth certificates is just another red herring.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:46 | 3663459 Lore
Lore's picture

The point is, who the hell is this guy REALLY?  Aren't you a little curious?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:59 | 3663494 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Oh I can tell you that. He's just another empty suit.

In a few years, he'll be replaced by another charismatic empty suit.

It'll be portrayed as a huge success for the populace that this particular empty suit won a narrow victory versus the other empty suit. But at the end of the day, their policies would have been exactly the same, though the rhetoric would have attempted to mask it.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:23 | 3663537 chubbar
chubbar's picture

Well, the beauty of finding out this guy is a manchurian candidate is the ability to nulllify every dumbass legislation that  was passed on his watch. Just think of being able to take down NDAA, Patriot Act extension, Obamacare, etc., in one fell swoop.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:32 | 3663570 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

"On his watch" - seriously? GWB passed some of the most anti-constitutional bills ever. Whichever puppet is in will pass what he's asked to (aka an "offer he can't refuse").

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:18 | 3663520 Cacete de Ouro
Cacete de Ouro's picture

At least the Brits laid on decent G20 dinners. O wait, maybe the asparagus was bugged....:)

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:32 | 3663275 PSEUDOLOGOI

this will not go over well, there fixed it for ya... /sarc /sarc

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:34 | 3663283 iDealMeat
iDealMeat's picture

I'm starting to wax giving a shit about this NSA crap.


90% of everything they have is a Lie..  or SPAM..


Governments / Politicians Lie about everything. All the numbers, the promises, the economy.. 

Religion is a Lie

All of it is a Lie..  All the time..  Because people lie by nature.

They're building the data warehouse to store billions of fake facebook pages..

Bunch of fucking liars..  All of us..

How many login handles you ZH bitchez have?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:53 | 3663314 lewy14
lewy14's picture

How many login handles you ZH bitchez have?



Mon, 06/17/2013 - 07:02 | 3664240 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

one. but I'm thinking about having a second one with an EU flag on it. I find the EUR sign I'm sporting clouds the minds of some of repliers

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:16 | 3663398 RichardP
RichardP's picture


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:19 | 3663409 AlaricBalth
AlaricBalth's picture

One. And one for my cat, JEdgar.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:03 | 3663504 nmewn
nmewn's picture

lol...JEdgar Holder? ;-)

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:36 | 3663438 EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

You'll want to swallow the blue pill, then.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:44 | 3663307 nasdaq99
nasdaq99's picture

How would you know if they were blackmailing politicians to keep from getting their budget cut???????????????


But, anecdotally, Congress hasn't done much budget cutting lately, right?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:55 | 3663345 Spawn of Cagliostro
Spawn of Cagliostro's picture

Who is listening to who and who owns what and who owns who and where has all the good collateral gone? 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:16 | 3663401 ebear
ebear's picture

 "Questions are a danger to you and a burden to others." -- Mr Crabs

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:26 | 3663420 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

Spongebob is quite a well done show in an otherwise murky lake of shit called cartoons nowadays. It defintiely challenges the viewer from time to time, and there are plenty of lessons to learn.

"The inner machinations of my mind are an enigma."


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:50 | 3663601 Miss Expectations
Miss Expectations's picture

Spongebob "Maximum Power"

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:59 | 3663359 Chaffinch
Chaffinch's picture

Can't wait for press coverage of G8 - showing delegates hiding under blankets to log-in to emails on their Blackberry's!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:42 | 3663449 Handful of Dust
Handful of Dust's picture

Putin's Purty Pissed.


All the G8 members will be wearing Tin Foil Caps next meeting.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:46 | 3663699 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Like Putin didn't know...

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:25 | 3663547 stocktivity
stocktivity's picture

Wow! ...just Wow!!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:28 | 3663259 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Spoiler: PRISM was also used to target the U.N.


Washington is running a secret intelligence campaign targeted at the leadership of the United Nations, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the UK.

A classified directive which appears to blur the line between diplomacy and spying was issued to US diplomats under Hillary Clinton's name in July 2009, demanding forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications.

It called for detailed biometric information "on key UN officials, to include undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders" as well as intelligence on Ban's "management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat". A parallel intelligence directive sent to diplomats in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi said biometric data included DNA, fingerprints and iris scans. [Guardian 2010]

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:35 | 3663288 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Indeed...more international fallout...

(Reuters) - German outrage over a U.S. Internet spying program has broken out ahead of a visit by Barack Obama, with ministers demanding the president provide a full explanation when he lands in Berlin next week and one official likening the tactics to those of the East German Stasi. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman has said she will raise the issue with Obama in talks next Wednesday, potentially casting a cloud over a visit that was designed to celebrate U.S.-German ties on the 50th anniversary John F. Kennedy's famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech.


Government surveillance is an extremely sensitive topic in Germany, where memories of the dreaded Stasi secret police and its extensive network of informants are still fresh in the minds of many citizens.


In a guest editorial for Spiegel Online on Tuesday, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said reports that the United States could access and track virtually all forms of Internet communication were "deeply disconcerting" and potentially dangerous.


"The more a society monitors, controls and observes its citizens, the less free it is," she said.


"The suspicion of excessive surveillance of communication is so alarming that it cannot be ignored. For that reason, openness and clarification by the U.S. administration itself is paramount at this point. All facts must be put on the table."

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:53 | 3663332 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Umm... wait a second.

Feeling a little hard to muster shock or outrage here in that, well, this is what state officials do, and have done to each other, as long as there have been states and officials. They spy on each other. All the damned time.

A state official who is actually shocked and outraged by this is likely too naive for the job.

The proper response is more like Whoah there, they got us? Well played, gents... our side needs to step up their game. Good thing it was just a damned conference. Carry on.

Seriously, this is ruling-class-on-ruling-class shit. Why do we care?

[To be sure, mass surveillance of populations is a different thing.]

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:55 | 3663342 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

For that small, tiny, miniscule sliver of hope that a progressive faction will decide to make Utopia instead of turning the planet into a cesspool.


Hey, it's somewhat unlikely, but it's the best shot us un-People have, isn't it? They might even upgrade their stock while they're at it.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:58 | 3663352 lewy14
lewy14's picture

progressive faction will decide to make Utopia

Finding this statement curious and problematic.

Absent the intervention of the divine presence to profoundly alter and expand the nature of human consciousness, any political construct - n.b. especially the "progressive" variants - will expand the scope of state power, and, roughly proportionally, human misery.

Crooked timber of humanity and all that.

Pretty sure you're not betting on the right horse there.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:01 | 3663362 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

I might have forgotten a /sarc tag there. (? Who knows - maybe the algos ?)


Crooked Timber is a problematic blog, some interest there, but too dusty and dry. Some good debate though.


And I'm not betting on any horses - I'm providing potential futures as a thought experiment. Think about it, mull it over, consider if it's likely to you. That's all.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:12 | 3663392 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Agreed about Crooked Timber the blog - some interesting stuff but in all a misappropriation of the saying.

No "straight thing" - virtuous institution - will be made from humanity's crooked timber. And yet they are all about building institutional castles in the sky. 

As to potential futures - so much is being built today without institutions, and especially without chartered institutions.

Ad hoc collectives of cooperating agents that coaslesce and disband.

Software, and now hardware, and physical goods, and food... the chief obstacle is often not the ecosystem of agents, but the state. See, e.g., "raw cheese".

This is the direction my vision runs - because it's what I see, not what I imagine, and it works.


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:00 | 3663499 Spanky
Spanky's picture

"As to potential futures - so much is being built today without institutions, and especially without chartered institutions.

"Ad hoc collectives of cooperating agents that coaslesce and disband.


"This is the direction my vision runs - because it's what I see, not what I imagine, and it works." -- lewy14


Perhaps you'd care to elaborate... Things that "work" interest me.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:04 | 3663622 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Just for example:

The nexus of open source software (and now hardware), tech startups, and design consultancies is a rich one.

The trust these entities operate on rarely exceeds the human-scale - i.e. trust in the principles, not the umbrella of an institutional"brand" that interchangeable personel operate beneath.

The entities themselves don't "scale" (the number of strong connections a single human principle is capable of sustaining being limited), but the ecosystem as a whole scales quite well, and is highly adaptive.

Events happen quickly and the recourse of "law" and "justice" is remote in time, if not in distance - the Emperor isn't far away, just embedded in molasses - and so people behave ethically, because reputation is everything. To be shunned is to starve.

This system isn't new, it's very old, and can (and does) extend to many other forms of production.

Society or the State - which is primary?

The great lie of the 20th century was the propagation of the idea that Society depends on the bedrock of the State, not the other way around. In fact the object of the State now is to kill Society, so as to make the people directly dependent on the State. But like any smart parasite, the State cannot move on this too quickly, as it remains dependent to some extend on the productivity of Society.

So it's a race. The only organization which will "save us" is self-organization.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 11:28 | 3664890 Spanky
Spanky's picture

"The only organization which will "save us" is self-organization." -- lewy14

Interesting. And I happen to agree.


"Society or the State - which is primary?" -- lewy14

The entirety of Constitutional self-governance (of the people, by the people, and for the people) rests your consent. Our consent. We give that consent every two years when we elect candidates to Constitutional office. Implicit in your vote for a candidate is your consent to be governed by any candidate elected.

This implicit transfer of our consent during elections is what legitimates our government under the Constitution. Nothing else.

Consent which is given implicitly can only be revoked explicitly in the same manner, by voting to do so during an election. 

Might our society reject corrupt governance by directly challenging its legitimacy at the ballot box on a self-organizing basis?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:00 | 3663361 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Yeah, I thought about that.

But I gotta think at some point even the politicians are gonna say wait just a fucking minute. I don't want people knowing I call escort services & buy Viagra on-line with my credit card.

Once they start going down that road it becomes like the old Star trek episode of the good Spock/bad Spock where the captain has a device in his cabin to make his enemies just disappear.

Regimes change, I would think, they don't want to leave that device laying around.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:17 | 3663404 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Regimes change

Do they? Do they really, anymore? Personel changes, but does the regime?

These devices are a danger to the personel, but an advantage to the regime. Everything evolves, including institutions of the state.

Even the mirror universe in Star Trek had power structures which had found equilibrium - an evolutionarily stable state. 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:37 | 3663430 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Lesson #1 of the RAND models: What you perceive as a "stable state" is anything but. It's a total myth, and doesn't exist in reality.


Told you ya'll needed ecology to be on the basic education ticket - might want to do some catch up boys.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:39 | 3663444 trader1
trader1's picture

should we be looking into this ecology?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:45 | 3663461 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Talk to tip. e (who seems to have stopped responding to my posts in lieu of you; I'm still on his path, but hey, gotta morph a little).


Been there, tried that path. Not enough inflection points. You gotta play hard to run with the wolves.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:10 | 3663493 trader1
trader1's picture

so, you think permaculture is a joke / not worth the time/effort?  i haven't a clue, but i'm practicing and trying to find out for myself.  

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:50 | 3663600 Cathartes Aura
Cathartes Aura's picture

permaculture, and all things peripheral to the core ideas is one way to take a step back from the constant need to monitor the ongoing shenanigans we're being fed via the 'net.

a sort of parallel that may crossover / intersect at some point - meanwhile one creates a relationship with a more self-sufficient way of being in the world, which at this point in time seems to be a very smart move.

"You simply have to turn your back on a culture that has gone sterile and dead, and get with the program of a living world and the imagination."

                                                                                  ~  Terence McKenna

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 21:35 | 3663772 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

you called?


sorry but don't do intentional communities...too messy...don't like other peeps gettin in me bizness (hello prism).   if someone could remix the principles into more of a live and let live vibe, they might be onto sumthin tho...

p.s. fuck jeezy, he can't run wit'dis

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 01:26 | 3664082 Dave Thomas
Dave Thomas's picture

+1 for the Slick Rick reference

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:29 | 3663558 trader1
trader1's picture

thanks for keeping me up late into the wee morning hours reading!!!!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:23 | 3663536 nmewn
nmewn's picture

You know lewy, thats a damned good point...a damned good point.

"Do they? Do they really, anymore? Personel changes, but does the regime?"

I think many who argued for the Patriot Act did so on the basis of the regime in charge at the time. What was never thought about was the apparatus left behind for when a regime changes or as it morphs into something else unintended.

The fact is, things inside the regime are meant to endure when laws are passed as opposed to the faces at the top.

Whoever thought we would come to a time and place where the AG would be hesitant in saying flat out that drones would never be used against a citizen at all...let alone on American soil?

I said the other day I'm in favor of repealing the Patriot Act now I believe it more than ever. And with it the DHS which is nothing more than a quasi-military force meant for the protection of the appartus itself.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:45 | 3663591 lewy14
lewy14's picture

The previous roster occupying the regime chairs seemed to do a better job at convincing the public that the safety of the public from enemies was the actual object of the surveillance.

The current roster occupying the regime chairs has done a bang up job of convincing the public that the safety of the regime from the public is the actual object of the surveillance.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:21 | 3663656 nmewn
nmewn's picture

You're on a roll my man and I'm hearin ya ;-)

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 22:24 | 3663846 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Thanks, nmewn - indeed I think we're on the same page on this one.

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 02:21 | 3664125 putaipan
putaipan's picture

repost re: regime change- "can americans trust mitt romney with a kill list"? at the dnc....classic.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:03 | 3663370 reload
reload's picture

Fair points, I think the significance is what the public make of it. Either they glaze over and go back to watching TV, or they wake up just a tiny bit. If the latter.the conclusion will be that the spin of these gatherings is bullshit - the veneer of trust and cooperation is thin. Another piece of trust just got grated away.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:12 | 3663512 Lore
Lore's picture

There is a dissonance here.  Major gatherings like the G8 are primarily for show.  They're a performance, like ballet, or a high class pet show.  Delegates attend in order to be seen to be attending.  It's well and good that different groups (it would be naive to presume that GCHQ is the only one) work frantically to crack and monitor the flow of information at these things, but since major decisions are typically made in advance, the only really important objective during the actual conference might be to take the first step of cracking the technology that each delegate uses, with the intention of leveraging it later, when everybody has gone home, and when that same technology might permit identification of and access to more important sources of information, and achievement of other objectives... 

Projecting emails on a wall is dandy, but I'll wager the primary benefit is to the job security of the projector, since he is seen to have accomplished something "Tom Clancyish."  Most of what goes on is probably damned boring.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:07 | 3663377 Meme Iamfurst
Meme Iamfurst's picture



My question to you is....why DON"T YOU CARE??????

Being so cleaver is fine and dandy as a world leader to discover all those 'moles' that each government has stashed in someone elses government.  But ....BUT...this is 'supposed to be a gentlemans Club'...this G20.  If I were one of these heaqds of state, I would boycot the damn meeting and encourage everyone else to do the same.

Just how low can America stoop before, before when we look up again, the only thing we see is the bottom of a shoe?

Without FREEDOM...there is NO security...anywhere.  WE are allowing our drum beating of our Great Freedom to be come a sham.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:21 | 3663411 lewy14
lewy14's picture

Operative words being supposed to be. 

Nobody who is actually part of it imagines it to be - or rather, their idea of "gentlemen's club" differs materially from yours in scope and richness.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:38 | 3663442 Meme Iamfurst
Meme Iamfurst's picture



I am not trying to be little Nell from the Woods, nor do I believe that any of these Heads of State are either  Trust, shall we simply assume that every word, promise, COMPRIMISE, has no honesty?  No hand shake worth taking?  Do you think that is will be contained to just diplomats?  The trust and honor of every American is on the line....tourists, businessman, soldiers....everyone.  Who will or can trust us now?  Tell me, please, tell me...let me by little Nell for a moment?  This is not going to go away because there is a basketball show on the telly.

Americans can not continue to shrug off and say 'so what,big deal'. 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:27 | 3663554 lewy14
lewy14's picture

I don't mean to suggest that mass surveillance is a non issue - nor do I mean that trust even among the ruling class never exists.

Only that a "trust not to spy" among the ruling class has never existed. 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:44 | 3663458 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

I agree...there are no rules...and it has been going on since the beginning of is a fun example:

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:22 | 3663529's picture

In 1917 the US government was looking for a way to get into WWI and so they spied on the Germans. Rather than enemies, the G-20 folks are supposed to be trusted trading partners. But trust goes both ways.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:42 | 3663691 Unknown Poster
Unknown Poster's picture

"But trust goes both ways."  Maybe the spying does too.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 21:23 | 3663755's picture

I'm watching Big Brother.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:59 | 3663356 BoNeSxxx
BoNeSxxx's picture

Well if she really wants to send a message, she will demand Germany's gold back NOW.

That would do it.  But she won't.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:41 | 3663300 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

"See you on the dark side" by Pepe Escobar  6/13/13

Pink Floyd :  Brain Damage/ Eclipse



Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:51 | 3663324 Aurora Ex Machina
Aurora Ex Machina's picture

Feel free (I'm sure the NSA has) to do a GREP to see when I linked to Pink Floyd.


And, media translation for the youngsters, is in the house. 1:55 - Zuckerberg: "We have a program, it's called Fascism". Acing it, love you!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:47 | 3663468 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

@ AexM

i like u,..? yes.    you certainly bring an unusual mus`tee[?] unorthodoxy testosterol requiem to ZH.  !


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 21:52 | 3663789 tip e. canoe
tip e. canoe's picture

Activate This Task Engine

Anyone - with the right clearance - may use TIA to amass serious inside financial information and make staggering profits. So yes, follow the money. - pepe

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:08 | 3663381 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Full Spectrum Dominance more than suggests Full Spectrum Resistance.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:29 | 3663267 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

If a Russian intelligence agency was revealed to have eavesdropped on phone calls of the president of the united States of America there would be screaming calls to drone bomb the main buildings of the Russian intelligence agency.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:30 | 3663270 ghandi
ghandi's picture

Its only terrorism if someone else does it, duh.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:04 | 3663375 Chupacabra-322
Chupacabra-322's picture

Sick, sadistic and Psycopathic isn't it?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:49 | 3663474 HelluvaEngineer
HelluvaEngineer's picture

This is directly related to the article from earlier regarding the degredation of the American school system.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:29 | 3663269 ghandi
ghandi's picture

Snowden is rockin!


Just give me a couple of dixie cups and a damn string!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:30 | 3663272 SimMaker
SimMaker's picture

I really did'nt think Americas world wide reputation could sink much further after the Bush years........I was very wrong.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:40 | 3663298 NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

agreed, I have thought the same thing.


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:31 | 3663273 essence
essence's picture

Control ... it ALWAYS comes down to control.

Control the issuance of credit & money. Control the digital communications highground.

Ultimately one has to wonder just who the political puppets and Spy agencies report to.



Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:11 | 3663387 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Next - who controls the orbitals.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 22:07 | 3663824 SMG
SMG's picture

Rods from God.  I hope those things are just a rumor.  

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 14:01 | 3668891 fallout11
fallout11's picture

They're not. My father worked on that program.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:30 | 3663563 newengland
newengland's picture


The old boss is the same as the new boss: the nazionists, monarchy, vatican and their hofjuden.

Polititics is showbiz for ugly people, the puppets cajoling or coercing the masses.

The Constituion and Declaration of Indpendence warned about the evil of greedy power brokers, and gave the USA the only protection it needs, but that has been systematically dismantled since the founding of the un-Federal no-Reserve Bored in 1913, buying Wilson who later lamented that his Presidency had betrayed the Republic.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:31 | 3663276 williambanzai7
williambanzai7's picture


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:46 | 3663317 logically possible
logically possible's picture

Coming soon to your country too. Next to each U.S military base. We can't be too safe.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:48 | 3663322 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

"Digital Blackwater rules"  by Pepe Escobar  @

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:52 | 3663336 freewolf7
freewolf7's picture

Black in the box.
Sorry, it just came out.
I'll junk me, too.

Any president/race will do.
NSA, a division of BIS.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:59 | 3663360 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Homey don't play dat: "If people don't trust the government.... we're going to have some problems here."

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 20:56 | 3663714 MsCreant
MsCreant's picture

Yes he's sprung, but whose hand is up his ass? 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:34 | 3663281 gwar5
gwar5's picture

Good stuff, but Piers Morgan was a criminal cell phone hacker before it was cool.


Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:34 | 3663285 Tinky
Tinky's picture

George Smiley would have been quietly disappointed.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:34 | 3663286 Yes_Questions
Yes_Questions's picture



Time for the cone of silence again.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:35 | 3663287 jim249
jim249's picture

Reads like the stock market.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:37 | 3663290 PaperBear
PaperBear's picture

Would a congressman like to step up to the nearest microphone and claim that this latest revelation damages 'national security' and 'aids the terrorists' ?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:37 | 3663291 HowardBeale
HowardBeale's picture

I am liking/respecting Snowden more by the minute. He's going to keep peeling this onion until he's gets a significant result. He had plenty of time and access to array a series of increasinging damning evidence against not just the U.S. "government" in general, but against specific individuals. He said himself that he could monitor the president himself...



Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:56 | 3663347 gwar5
gwar5's picture

And that was 2009, Obama was only in office a couple of months. What a bitch.


I definitely like how the data dumps are being managed like Breitbart did with the ACORN scandal.

Let the the statist MSM denials and lies go on and on, until the frenzy begins to taper, then DUMP on them again to blow all the previous lies away and start the cycle again. Repeat until they are completely flummoxed and unraveled.

They don't know what denials and lies to give anymore because they don't know what cards Snowden is holding or how he is going to play them. They're going to have to kill him at this rate so I hope they stay safe and have contingency thumb drives to give the alternative media.

USA is the new evil empire. This is just reckless assholism.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:13 | 3663394 samsara
samsara's picture

I hope he has an ace in the hole.  At least to have them stored on a million systems and automatically dump all if he gets.....  Not here to care for them....

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:44 | 3663457 BigJim
BigJim's picture

That would protect him from the US. But it would incentivise Russia/China etc to kill him themsleves, so the data get dumped.

I frankly think Snowden is fucked whatever he does. Godspeed, dude, maximum respect and all, but I don't think you have long to live, Ed.

Needless to say, I hope I'm wrong... but that's the way I see it playing out. If he has no more info, he can't blackmail the US into leaving him alone. If he does have info, and threatens to spill it on his death, the US' enemies will kill him. 

Mon, 06/17/2013 - 06:00 | 3664199 DrewJackson
DrewJackson's picture

This is why it is taking NSA Keith Alexander so long to release "details" of when surveillance efforts stopped a terrorist attack.   They can imagine what other cards Snowden has to play.   Full props to Snowden he is a hell of a poker player.

There are certainly a public list of FAILURES to stop "terrorist" attack, Boston and Ft. Hood jihadist.  Even after being tipped off by Russians, and Hassan admitting he was jihadist.

This is world class poker being played, we will see who is bluffing soon enough.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:37 | 3663293 gwar5
gwar5's picture

So the NSA and the metrosexuals at the GCHQ are the espionage world's equivalent of up-skirters. Good to know.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:51 | 3663333 machineh
machineh's picture

What kind of perv wants to be an up-skirter with Hillary Clinton and Angela Merkel around?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:38 | 3663295 GOSPLAN HERO
GOSPLAN HERO's picture

 Obama's real daddy: Frank Marshall Davis. 

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 19:32 | 3663568 BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

@ Cosplay Hero   That Frank Marshall Davis stuff never gets old with you guys, does it?


I guess Frank Marshall Davis is also the father of Obama's dirt poor, never spoken of yet amazingly similar looking KENYAN half brother George Obama...


I'm no Obama fan but come on...



Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:39 | 3663296 toady
toady's picture

Okay, for the last time, everyone is being electronically monitored by every device possible at all times.

I don't need to hear about every individual operation.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:44 | 3663309 NuckingFuts
NuckingFuts's picture

You'ld have thought it was some big secret by the way everyone is carrying on.  Sure it is 100% fucking wrong,.... but really??  folks didn't think this was going on?? HELLO!!!! they watch you!

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:47 | 3663319 wretch
wretch's picture

But other people do need to hear about it, and believe it or not, that affects you too.

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 17:47 | 3663323 Debeachesand Je...
Debeachesand Jerseyshores's picture

Why not?

Sun, 06/16/2013 - 18:13 | 3663395 toady
toady's picture


A) all this fake 'it's so surprising' crap is just bullshit. It's just stuff to sell ads and newspapers.


B) you truly didn't know that facefuck and the telecoms were collecting your data and still don't believe it. If that's the case you're too stupid to live.

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