Hollande and Merkel cornered, Cameron still blustering

Out on a limb

Johnny Sajem. Image 1048845 illustrations Of.com

The timing is perfect – an absolute delight. No stand-up comic could do better; and the comparison is perfectly appropriate because that’s what they’re all starting to look like, all the European so-called leaders — a bunch of fucking clowns.

After a week of righteous European anger aimed at Obama and the NSA, we now learn (here) that they’re all in it together:

The German, French, Spanish and Swedish intelligence services have all developed methods of mass surveillance of internet and phone traffic over the past five years in close partnership with Britain’s GCHQ eavesdropping agency.

The bulk monitoring is carried out through direct taps into fibre optic cables and the development of covert relationships with telecommunications companies. A loose but growing eavesdropping alliance has allowed intelligence agencies from one country to cultivate ties with corporations from another to facilitate the trawling of the web, according to GCHQ documents leaked by the former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

The files also make clear that GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies.

This leaves Hollande and Merkel out on a limb. They’ve both been breathing fire down the line to the White House, demanding that Obama clean up his act. Now — lo and behold — along comes the Guardian weilding a saw! What do they do now — jump?

It’s hard to see how they can get out of this one. Either their calls to Obama were an outrageous and outrageously cynical bluff, or they really were out of the loop. The choice is pretty stark: heads they’re fucked, tails they’re buggered. And the same goes for us.

Personally, I hope they have in fact been lying, hamming it up centre stage, because the alternative is pretty grim. After all it’s not unknown for politicians to lie. We’ve come to expect it, haven’t we? Even if we do get hot under the collar every time. But if the security services really have gone rogue, that is seriously bad news for everyone.

Western governments have already sold out to Big Capital — Ted Heath saw that coming 40 years ago and warned us about the “unacceptable face of capitalism”. If it transpires that they are also being sold short by their own appareils sécuritaires, then the rest of us might as well pack up and go home.

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