Governments and NGOs: Germany Spied on Friends and Vatican

Efforts to spy on friends and allies by Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND, were more extensive than previously reported. SPIEGEL has learned the agency monitored European and American government ministries and the Vatican.

Radarkuppeln stehen am 07.05.2015 in Bad Aibling (Bayern) auf dem Gelâ°nde der AbhËrstation des Bundesnachrichtendienstes (BND). Die Dienststelle sei weder f¸r die â¹berpr¸fung der US-Suchkriterien noch f¸r die Sichtung der Treffer zustâ°ndig, sagte der Dienststellenleiter am Donnerstag vor dem NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss des Bundestages. Foto: Angelika Warmuth/dpa +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++

The BND’s listening station in Bad Aibling, Bavaria: In addition to spying on friends, German intelligence also monitored Oxfam, Care International and the Red Cross. Radarkuppeln stehen am 07.05.2015 in Bad Aibling (Bayern) auf dem Gelâ°nde der AbhËrstation des Bundesnachrichtendienstes (BND). Die Dienststelle sei weder f¸r die â¹berpr¸fung der US-Suchkriterien noch f¸r die Sichtung der Treffer zustâ°ndig, sagte der Dienststellenleiter am Donnerstag vor dem NSA-Untersuchungsausschuss des Bundestages. Foto: Angelika Warmuth/dpa +++(c) dpa – Bildfunk+++

Three weeks ago, news emerged that Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), had systematically spied on friends and allies around the world. In many of those instances, the BND had been doing so of its own accord and not at the request of the NSA. The BND came under heavy criticism earlier this year after news emerged that it had assisted the NSA in spying on European institutions, companies and even Germans using dubious selector data.

SPIEGEL has since learned from sources that the spying went further than previously reported. Since October’s revelations, it has emerged that the BND spied on the United States Department of the Interior and the interior ministries of EU member states including Poland, Austria, Denmark and Croatia. The search terms used by the BND in its espionage also included communications lines belonging to US diplomatic outposts in Brussels and the United Nations in New York. The list even included the US State Department’s hotline for travel warnings.

The German intelligence service’s interest wasn’t restricted to state institutions either: It also spied on non-governmental organizations like Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva. In Germany, the BND’s own selector lists included numerous foreign embassies and consulates. The e-mail addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers of the diplomatic representations of the United States, France, Great Britain, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and even the Vatican were all monitored in this way. Diplomatic facilities are not covered under Article 10 of Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law, which protects German telecommunications participants from such surveillance.

The initial revelations came after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Chancellery, which is in charge of overseeing Germany’s intelligence agencies, informed the Bundestag’s Parliamentary Control Panel, which is responsible for applying checks and balances to intelligence efforts, in mid-October that the BND had been surveilling the institutions of numerous European countries and other partners for many years.

In October 2013, Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned spying on her mobile phone by saying, “Spying among friends? That’s just not done.” Apparently these words didn’t apply to the BND.

EU Cannot Go On Fighting Russia, “We can not have our relationship towards Russia dictated by Washington”

 

junker-400x251Note: This article originally appeared at German Economic News. Translated from the German by Boris Jaruselski

Huge reversal: the EU seeks a normal relationship with Russia. It seems that the EU is being greatly affected by the actions of Vladimir Putin in Syria: suddenly the EU President Jean-Claude Junker is saying that the EU must not let the US dictate their relationship with Russia. He has demanded a normalization of relations – and indirectly, the end of sancitons. 

The EU Commission President advocated a relaxation in the conflict with Russia. “We have to achieve a sustainable relationship with Russia. It’s not sexy, but has to be done. We can’t go on like this anymore”, he said on Thursday in Passau. It isn’t necessary to achieve overall understanding, but a sensible conversational basis. “The Russians are a proud people”, the country has “a role to play”, said Junker: “One must not remove them from the bigger picture, otherwise they’ll call again, very quickly, as we seen already.” He critisized US Presidnet Barack Obama, for having downgraded Russia as “regional power”. “Russia needs to be treated correctly”, the Luxemburgian explained. “We can not have our relationship towards Russia dictated by Washington. It’s simply not on.

This statement is particularly noteworthy. Until now, the EU always placed emphasis on having complete accord with the Americans, with the placement of the Russian sanctions. Some time ago, the US Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the US had urged the EU to impose the sacntions. Junkers’ big back flip is confirming the statement made by Biden. It’s hard to discern what’s really going on Junker’s mind: as late as March, Junker was demanding the establishment of a EU army, which was expressly directed against Russia: such a European army would “give Russia the impression, that we are seriously intending to defend European Union’s values”, Junker said word for word, back then.

European Commission President Juncker: European policies must not be dictated by Washington

 

 

 

Published on Oct 12, 2015

Europe must treat Russia with more decency, improve the relationship, and not let EU policies be dictated by Washington, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a surprise speech in Germany.

Turning point? EU Commission head says relations with Russia ‘must be improved,’ US ‘can’t dictate’

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker © Vincent Kessler / Reuters

In the meantime, some progress has recently been reported in eastern Ukraine, as the armed forces of the self-proclaimed Lugansk People’s Republic (LNR) have begun withdrawing weapons under 100 mm caliber from the conflict zone. Ukraine’s Joint Staff has also announced the start of a withdrawal of artillery from the region. 

The withdrawal of weapons is part of the Minsk agreements, which was agreed upon by the leaders of the Normandy Four, namely France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia, in February. The deal required a ceasefire, a weapons withdrawal, constitutional reforms, legislative recognition of a special status for the unrecognized republics, and release and exchange of prisoners on an all-for-all basis.

However, lasting truce was only reached in late August. Kiev and the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk republics maintain the armistice has been holding since September 1, although both sides still occasionally accuse each other of violations.

Moscow continues to stress the importance of direct dialogue between Kiev and representatives of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ at the end of September that all countries need to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. 

“At no time in the past, now or in the future has or will Russia take any part in actions aimed at overthrowing the legitimate government,” Putin said, adding that Moscow “would like other countries to respect the sovereignty of other states, including Ukraine. Respecting the sovereignty means preventing coups, unconstitutional actions and illegitimate overthrowing of the legitimate government.”

EU sanctions against Russia could be renewed at the end of this year, however, even though some European countries have been hit hard by the fall in trade triggered, in part, by Moscow’s counter-sanctions on food imports.

EU sanctions include restrictions on lending to major Russian state-owned banks, as well as defense and oil companies. In addition, Brussels has imposed restrictions on supplying weapons and military equipment to Russia, as well as military technology, dual-use technologies, high-tech equipment, and technologies for oil production. A number of Russian and Ukrainian officials have also been blacklisted by the West.

World Bank sharply downgrades Ukraine’s GDP forecast http://on.rt.com/6t40