Today’s tales from the dark side begin with the latest Edward Snowden leaks and attendant blowback, then hit the latest word in political lies, drone debacles, old-fashioned cloak and daggery, and corporate profiteering.
We begin with the latest in blowback from Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
EU lawmakers vote to halt US financial data-sharing
The European Parliament voted Wednesday to suspend cooperation with Washington in a financial data-sharing deal in response to allegations of US spying revealed by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.
More from The Guardian:
Freeze US-EU pact aimed at tracking terrorism funds, advises Strasbourg
Suspected NSA ‘prying’ into bank business means data-sharing deal must be suspended, says European parliament
Still more from Deutsche Welle:
US abused spirit of SWIFT Agreement, parliamentarian says
The EU parliament has suspended an accord on sharing banking data with the US. Intended to fight terrorism and organized crime, there are allegations the NSA used the deal to spy on Europeans, says MEP Birgit Sippel.
The Toronto Globe and Mail begins our coverage of the the latest round in the NSA/Germany brouhaha:
Merkel demands explanation from Obama after allegations U.S. tapped her phone
The German government has obtained information that the United States may have monitored the mobile phone of Chancellor Angela Merkel and she called President Barack Obama on Wednesday to demand an immediate clarification, her spokesman said.
USA TODAY has the inevitable denial:
Obama says NSA not spying on Merkel’s cellphone
And South China Morning Post exposes the inevitably ornamental nature of all that French mewling:
France downplays NSA spying row after demanding US explanation
France has warned the United States to stop snooping on the telephone calls of its citizens but backed away from picking a fight with its ally over the issue.
But Le Monde is sticking to its guns, reports RFI:
French paper publishes NSA snooping records after US lie claim
French daily Le Monde has published an alleged daily breakdown of the US’s monitoring of millions phone calls by of French citizens after US intelligence boss James Clapper’s claimed its revelations of snooping in France were “inaccurate and misleading”.
And Techdirt does some righteous parsing:
James Clapper Plays More Word Games In The Official Denial Of French Phone Data Collection Leak
from the nothing-means-anything-it-used-to-mean dept
While EUobserver observes therevealingly curious:
EU-wide whistleblower protection law rejected
The European Commission has rejected a request by MEPs to introduce EU whistleblower protection laws before the end of year.
From The Guardian, more response to blowback from another quarter:
Mexican diplomats say Obama promises investigation into NSA spying
Apparent pledge come after documents reportedly showed NSA accessed current and former Mexican presidents’ email systems
Xinhua notes blowback in yet another quarter:
Italian PM raises spying issue during talks with U.S. Secretary of State
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta on Wednesday raised the issue of alleged U.S. special service’s spying on the European Union (EU) during his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome, according to ANSA news agency.
And The Guardian poses a question:
Merkel spying claim: with allies like these, who needs enemies?
Is the negotiating edge that secret eavesdropping gives the US worth the immense reputational damage it is now suffering?
ProPublica digs and discovers lies, damn lies, and statistics:
Claim on “Attacks Thwarted” by NSA Spreads Despite Lack of Evidence
The agency, President Obama, and members of Congress have all said NSA spying programs have thwarted more than 50 terrorist plots. But there’s no evidence the claim is true.
From a companion piece from ProPublica:
How the NSA’s Claim on Thwarted Terrorist Plots Has Spread
A review of official statements shows the NSA has been inconsistent about how many plots have actually been thwarted by spying programs and what the role they actually played. Despite a lack of evidence, Congress and the media have rushed to repeat the most extreme version of the NSA’s claims.
Deutsche Welle, covering blowback to come:
Germany accused of aiding US drone strikes
Amnesty International raises a serious accusation, saying deadly US drone attacks in Pakistan are conducted with German help. Experts fear things are actually a lot worse.
And the Express Tribune with more dronal blowback:
Nawaz urges Obama to end drone strikes
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on US President Barack Obama to end drone strikes which are widely unpopular in his country during a meeting in the Oval Office on Wednesday.
From Techdirt, a hopeful sign:
NSA Leaks Making Law Enforcement Officials More Wary Of Carelessly Deploying Surveillance Technology
from the should-have-been-this-cautious-all-along,-but-we’ll-take-what-we-can-get dept
While AlterNet goes for the gold:
Who Buys the Spies? The Hidden Corporate Cash Behind America’s Out-of-Control National Surveillance State
Democratic leaders are full-fledged players in the national surveillance state, right along with Republicans.
NHK WORLD covers blowback to a proposed new anti-leaker law in Japan:
Bar lobbies against secrecy protection bill
Lawyers have taken to the streets of Tokyo to protest against a state secrets bill on the eve of the Cabinet’s approval
While the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas reports on a positive step in Brazil:
Journalists lead public information requests in first 18 months of Brazil’s new transparency law, official says
Of the 124,394 applications received during the first 18 months since Brazil’s new Law of Access to Information (LAI) went into effect, 5.15 percent came from journalists, according to Brazil’s Inspector General Jorge Hage.
From RIA Novosti, something to make you feel secure, really, really secure:
US Nuclear Officers Napped with Blast Door Open
U.S. Air Force officers entrusted with the launch keys to long-range nuclear missiles have been caught twice this year leaving open a blast door that is intended to help prevent a terrorist or other intruder from entering their underground command post, Air Force officials said.
The Christian Science Monitor covers idiocy in the national security realm:
White House official fired for caustic tweets. What was he thinking?
Jofi Joseph, a National Security Council official, was fired this week for maintaining an anonymous Twitter account featuring scathing tweets about White House policy and personnel. Another public servant is felled by allures of social media
More from Sky News:
Critical White House Tweets: Official Fired
Jofi Joseph’s insults included saying Hillary Clinton had “no wins” and labelling a senior adviser a “vacuous cipher”.
From The Verge, a helping hand is sought:
The government wants industry input on protecting infrastructure from cyberterrorists
If you have opinions on how to protect America’s critical infrastructure from hackers, the government wants to hear ‘em. The 45-day public comment period is about to open for the preliminary guidelines on how to safeguard power plants, mass transportation, and other large utilities from cyberattacks. The guidelines are set to be released in February 2014 by executive order of the president.
The South China Morning Post covers new security — for Beijing:
We won’t interfere in China’s sea disputes, says Indian minister
The territorial dispute between Manila and Beijing is a bilateral issue in which New Delhi will not interfere, Indian external affairs minister Salman Khurshid told the South China Morning Post.
And the Washington Post reminds us that old-fashioned snooping remains alive and well, in this case, allegedly, in the person of Yury Zaytsev, who heads the Russian Center for Science and Culture:
Head of Russian center in Washington being investigated as possible spy
The FBI is probing whether the director of a government-run program was recruiting Americans
From The Verge, when “liking” translates into losing:
Idaho court seizes developer’s computer after he says he likes ‘hacking’
A federal court has ruled that a software developer’s computer be seized and copied after he described himself as a hacker on his website.
And from China Daily, a chance to gloat:
US press not so free, experts say
Falling short of delivering his campaign promise to bring about an “open and transparent” government, US President Barack Obama is further squeezing space for media through tight information control and aggressive prosecution of leaks, observers say.
UC Davis pepper spray police officer awarded $38,000 compensation
Filmed spraying a row of seated protesters, John Pike filed a lawsuit claiming anxiety and depression after video outrage