End the Lie

Britain and Sweden block critical talks on espionage and intelligence between EU and US

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By End the Lie

(Image credit: European Parliament/Flickr)

(Image credit: European Parliament/Flickr)

Britain and Sweden vetoed plans to launch two working groups to deal with issues of espionage and intelligence with the United States, thus restricting upcoming talks in Washington to issues of data privacy and the National Security Agency’s PRISM program.

Instead of allowing two working groups to deal with the complex issues that have been raised in the wake of stories publicizing the United States’ surveillance of Europeans, especially Germans, there will be just one working group focusing on the PRISM program.

Interestingly, there is apparently no mention of the UK’s massive data mining operation run through GCHQ which hands data over to the NSA.

The talks on PRISM and data privacy were arranged to coincide with upcoming trade talks in an effort to lessen the transatlantic tension, according to the Guardian.

“EU diplomats and officials say the offer of talks by the Americans is designed to enable the leaders of Germany and France to save face following revelations about the scale of US espionage – particularly in Germany, but also of French and other European embassies and missions in the US,” writes Ian Traynor for the Guardian.

However, it’s worth noting that France has a program much like PRISM that they are running as well.

While the talks will deal with PRISM and data privacy, larger issues like traditional espionage and intelligence concerns will be off the table, thanks to the UK.

Britain maintained that the European Union had no authority to even discuss issues of national security and intelligence, a claim which was backed up only by Sweden.

“It was decided. It finished successfully,” said Dalia Grybauskaitė, president of Lithuania.

Grybauskaitė recently took up the EU’s rotating presidency position, lasting six months, and mediated the highly charged talks in Brussels over the past two days.

While Grybauskaitė said on Thursday that the Europeans wanted to hold two separate sets of talks with the U.S., just a day later she said one was dropped, along with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

“Intelligence matters and those of national security are not the competence of the EU,” Barroso said.

Comments like that from Barroso are somewhat laughable given the fact that he is an appointed bureaucrat who determines the policy agenda and legislative proposals for the only body that can propose EU laws.

Thanks to Britain, national governments will have to attempt to pursue the issues with Washington on their own, something which will likely be more difficult without the collective bargaining power.

Since it was only Sweden and Britain that stood against the dual talks, it’s quite clear that most of the EU wanted to band together to discuss the issues.

Indeed, the Guardian reports that senior EU diplomats, officials and government ministers all confirmed that Britain stood in opposition to most of the EU on the joint European talks on espionage and intelligence.

Sources told the Guardian that the Lithuanian government attempted to get Sweden to remove their opposition by calling Carl Bildt, Sweden’s foreign minister, to no avail.

Officials stated that this latest fiasco has highlighted the splits that have emerged within the EU and calls for among pro-EU figures for European cyber defenses.

“We need our own capacities, European cloud computing, EU strategic independence,” said Michael Barnier, a French politician and European commissioner for the single market.

Interestingly, the Guardian states that “senior east and west European politicians and intelligence veterans privately suspect a Russian role in the intelligence row.”

What this alleged role is, exactly, is unclear but they point to the reported presence of the whistleblower, Edward Snowden, in Moscow’s airport and the controversy surrounding the forced landing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane.

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5 Responses to Britain and Sweden block critical talks on espionage and intelligence between EU and US

  1. ozspeaksup July 6, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    which sort of shows WHY Assange refuses to go to Sweden,
    obviously usa Sweden and UK are all working hand in glove.
    Not that almost ALL nations with capability are NOT spying on their own people anyway, you would have to be real dim or gullible to think they dont. However the Global spying would appear to be the realm of the big n better fundeds
    is’nt it rather OBVIOUS?? that Israels superspy mob shin bet/mossad and all their links to all the Usa uk etc invasive snoopers is NOT BEING MENTIONED AT ALL…gee how come?
    they are supplying and running so much of the infrastructure globally yet dont rate a mention…aww cmon.

  2. Nora July 7, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    You Know Britain is the original spy. It started back when they sent their spies here in colonial times. There’s an evil origin in congress, who was made up of lawyers who swore an oath to the crown as members of the American Bar Assn., which is a franchise of the crown. They surreptitiously rewrote our common law over the course of six decades and implemented UCC or Uniform Commercial Code in it’s place. All case law prior to 1938 was taken off the books so that there was no precedent in common law to protect us. We’ve been destroyed by Britain, from the inside just as James Madison predicted. Here we are thinking we are free, yet we are still a British colony, paying our tax without representation. The royals who are behind our demise knew that congress was the branch of government tasked with writing laws, so they set upon them the task of eliminating all laws that protect property and punish plunder. In the next revolution, we must be sure we do a better job of stomping the king.

  3. Shlomo July 8, 2013 at 2:42 AM

    How come no-one is discussing the massive ramifications of commercial espionage? Never mind the psychological profiling that has occurred by having ready access to everyone’s s#$t – how about the gazillions involved in utilising this network to “win” large-scale business contracts, pre-empt international “free” trade, and basically “own” every socio-economic political decision around the globe.

  4. Dunning-Kruger Effect July 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Should I be surprised that a site claiming to “end the lie” talks nothing about what the the is based upon: economics. This site is utter and complete bullshit. What about the coming bond collapse you fucking idiots? Fucking garbage in, fucking garbage out.

  5. Anonymous July 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    That’s funny coming from someone who has done nothing. Armchair critics.


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