Does the US Have a Double Standard When it Comes to Spying on Latin America?
|Written by Dan Beeton|
|Friday, 11 July 2014 10:29|
Brazilians may have little love for Germany following Brazil’s historic World Cup loss to the German team Tuesday, but the two countries do have something in common: both have notably been targeted for espionage by the U.S. Yesterday, U.S.-German relations suffered a new blow after Germany announced it was kicking out the CIA station chief over revelations that an employee of the German defense ministry may have passed secrets to the U.S. government. Just last week a member of Germany’s intelligence service was arrested, accused of selling information to the CIA. These scandals follow disclosures made available by Edward Snowden last year of NSA spying on Germans, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Snowden has also revealed extensive political and economic spying by the NSA on Brazil.
The Washington Post reported yesterday:
Germany is a key partner for U.S. intelligence, and Germany’s allegations and response are no doubt being taken very seriously by both the Obama administration and the media. While the administration clearly hopes it can downplay the scandal -- and while the CIA chooses to Tweet about its robotic fish rather than publicly address the incident (h/t Jonathan Schwarz) -- officials have underscored the gravity of Germany’s response in anonymous comments to press. The AP reported:
But in fact U.S. intelligence officials have recently been asked to leave countries, in Latin America: employees of the DEA. The Intercept recently revealed that, through cooperation with the NSA, the DEA has enabled large-scale surveillance of governments partnering with the DEA in counternarcotics operations. As we’ve previously noted, when Venezuela stopped cooperating with the DEA in 2005, accusing it of spying, the State Department rejected Venezuela’s accusations outright. When Bolivia expelled the DEA, saying its agents had “worked to conduct political espionage,” the State Department called the claims “patently absurd.”
In November, well before the new spying scandals involving Germany broke, David Rothkopf described the double-standard the U.S. government has regarding snooping on Latin American countries versus “friends” like Germany:
But the spying on the German government clearly wasn’t stopped, and now the Obama administration is facing the consequences.
The Doppelmoral also applies to the media. There were no hand-wringing editorials when the U.S. Ambassador to Bolivia was revealed to have asked Peace Corps volunteers and Fulbright scholars to engage in spying, let alone any that took Venezuela’s complaints of DEA espionage seriously or lamented the damage done to U.S.-Latin American relations.
As a target of U.S. espionage, Germany is now in a class with Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and others. The German government may now want to consider offering asylum to Edward Snowden, as have some of those countries.