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CBS’s Face the Nation: Blatant Pro-Israel Pro-War Bias Revealed

By Michael Gillespie | Dissident Voice | September 9, 2013

CBS’s Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer brought together this morning what he characterized as “one of our best panels of analysts ever,” a group of five supposed experts, to discuss President Obama’s plan to launch military action against Syria: the Washington Post‘s Bob Woodward, the Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol, the New York Times‘ David Sanger, the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)’s Danielle Pletka. Schieffer presented this group as if his audience might expect it to represent a range of views. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Daniel Pletka is vice president of AEI, a neoconservative think tank that was instrumental in dragging the US into the hideously expensive and stunningly counterproductive war in Iraq. Several AEI scholars—including Richard Perle and Michael Ledeen—were associated with war profiteering and the phony intelligence used by pro-Israel neoconservative operatives inside the Bush/Cheney administration to stampede the USA into war in Iraq. Pletka was last in the news for smearing the then-Secretary of Defense nominee, former Senator (R-NE) and decorated Vietnam War veteran Chuck Hagel, as an anti-Semite. (Secretary of Defense Hagel is reported to be privately unenthusiastic about plans for military action against Syria.)

David Ignatius routinely defends Israel and champions proposed Israeli solutions to the Israel-Palestine conflict without letting facts get in the way. In 2009, Ignatius caused an international incident that adversely affected Turkish-Israeli relations when, during a panel discussion about the 2008-2009 Gaza War at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, he allowed Israeli President Shimon Peres to speak twice as long as the other participants and then attempted to silence Turkish Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan. The panel featured two heads of state, the U.N. secretary-general, and the secretary of the Arab League, and it dealt with an extremely sensitive issue. In allowing Peres to go last, giving him twice as much time to speak, and then repeatedly attempting to cut off Erdogan’s response, Ignatius showcased his pro-Israel bias on a world stage.

David Sanger has long propagandized for a US war against Iran in the pages of the New York Times. According to SourceWatch: “A few days after Ehud Barak, the Israeli Defense minister, admitted that Iran was not pursuing a nuclear weapons program, the New York Times ran a series of articles slighting Barak’s assertion all the way to confirming the opposite, i.e., that Iran was actually pursuing such weapons program. Sanger was key in the NYT’s drum beating.” Ray McGovern, a former CIA senior officer who briefed several US presidents, had this to say about Sanger’s articles: “Next it was time for the Times to trot out David Sanger from the Washington bullpen. Many will remember him as one of the Times’ stenographers/cheerleaders for the Bush/Cheney attack on Iraq in March 2003. An effusive hawk on Iran also, Sanger was promoted to a position as chief Washington correspondent, apparently for services rendered. In his Jan. 22 article, ‘Confronting Iran in a Year of Elections,’ Sanger pulls out all the stops, even resurrecting Condoleezza Rice’s “mushroom cloud” to scare all of us—and, not least, the Iranians.”

Bill Kristol is the chairman and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and a board member of the Emergency Committee for Israel. Author David Corn has referred to Kristol as “the No. 1 cheerleader for the Iraq War.” Kristol was one of the architects of the blueprint for regime change and “creative destruction” in the Middle East dreamed up by PNAC. Kristol signed the September 20, 2001, PNAC letter endorsing President George W. Bush’s “admirable commitment to ‘lead the world to victory’ in the war against terrorism.” Kristol said in a January 14, 2003, PBS Frontline interview “that the significance of President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address in 2002 (the ‘axis of evil’ speech) is too easily forgotten—that it was a rare moment, ‘the creation of a new American foreign policy’—and that Bush deserves credit for realizing very quickly after Sept. 11 that his presidency would be judged by how he handled the post-9/11 threat of weapons of mass destruction.” Weapons of mass destruction that, as it happened, could not be found because they did not exist.

Bob Woodward is yet another pro-Israel propagandist for executive power and for war. Andrew Bacevich, an accomplished author, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, and a retired career officer in the United States Army has described Woodward this way: “Once a serious journalist, the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward now makes a very fine living as chief gossip-monger of the governing class. … Back in 2002, for example, during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Woodward treated us to Bush at War. Based on interviews with unidentified officials close to President George W. Bush, the book offered a portrait of the president-as-resolute-war-leader that put him in a league with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. But the book’s real juice came from what it revealed about events behind the scenes. ‘Bush’s war cabinet is riven with feuding,’ reported the Times of London, which credited Woodward with revealing ‘the furious arguments and personal animosity’ that divided Bush’s lieutenants. Of course, the problem with the Bush administration wasn’t that folks on the inside didn’t play nice with one another. No, the problem was that the president and his inner circle committed a long series of catastrophic errors that produced an unnecessary and grotesquely mismanaged war,” wrote Bacevich. Somehow, Woodward missed all of that and a great deal more. “That war has cost the country dearly—although the people who engineered that catastrophe, many of them having pocketed handsome advances on their forthcoming memoirs, continue to manage quite well, thank you,” declared Bacevich.

This then is “one of our best panels of analysts ever,” according to Bob Schieffer, who once might have rightly claimed to be something other than a stooge for the Israeli foreign ministry. What CBS’s collection of well-heeled pro-Israel propagandists all agree on is this: The US government should launch military action in Syria in order to maintain political and military pressure on Iran, which Israel views as enemy No. 1 (though Iran has not attacked another country in well over 200 years).

One detail the panelists didn’t mention is that Syria is in the Russian sphere of influence and Russia has warships stationed in the eastern Mediterranean off the coast of Syria. Another thing the panelists didn’t mention is that Israeli air and sea forces attacked a lightly armed US Navy signals intelligence vessel, the USS Liberty, in the eastern Mediterranean on June 8, 1967, killing 34 US personnel and wounding 171. Nor did the panelists mention that in the middle 1980s Israeli spies handling an American-Jewish traitor, Jonathan Pollard, stole thousands of highly classified intelligence documents from the US Navy counter-terrorism intelligence facility where Pollard was employed, or that Israel provided many of those documents to the Soviet Union causing great harm to US intelligence capabilities and interests.

What CBS panelists didn’t say is that Syria is the next stop on Israel’s road to a US war against Iran. What they dare not say is that a US attack on Syria might well draw the USA into a much wider war in a region already severely destabilized by more than a decade of enormously expensive, ill-conceived, poorly managed, hideously destructive, and extraordinarily counterproductive US military actions undertaken largely at the insistence of pro-Israel neoconservatives whose wildly inordinate influence over the Washington foreign policy establishment poses an imminent threat to a great many legitimate US national interests, if not to the uninterrupted progress of human civilization.

~

Michael Gillespie, in addition to his regular freelance work for Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, is also a contributing editor and the Des Moines, IA correspondent for The Independent Monitor, the national newspaper of Arab Americans, published by Sami Mashney in Anaheim, CA.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Syria: Fate of Historic Christian Town Still Unknown

Maaloula is considered a heritage site by UNESCO, where a number of ancient Christian churches and monasteries are located. (Photo: Marwan Tahtah)
By Abdel Rahim Assi | Al-Akhbar | September 9, 2013

Reports coming out of the ancient Christian town of Maaloula remain unclear as to whether the Syrian army has in fact regained control after radical Islamists entered it last week.

Until Sunday, September 8, news reports of Maaloula conflicted each other. Some reports suggested that the hardline al-Nusra Front managed to filter back into the town after the Syrian military claimed it had expelled the militants and re-established security. Yet the town’s representative in the Syrian parliament, Maria Saadeh, explained that the army had in fact regained control of Maaloula after having been forced to retreat briefly for “tactical reasons.”

The number of casualties cited has ranged between four and 20 dead, in addition to four to 15 kidnapped locals.

Saadeh added that most of the residents are still in their homes, reluctant to leave due to the presence of snipers dug into the cliffs that surround the town, although some women and elderly people did manage to leave when the army first entered the area.

Maaloula is considered a heritage site by UNESCO, where a number of ancient Christian churches and monasteries are located. The town lies over 40 km from Damascus near the Lebanese border. Saadeh noted that some reports of the fighters’ targets were exaggerated, while confirming that at least two historic churches were heavily damaged.

The MP insisted that the attack on the town was not essential from a military point of view, saying that the fighters could have easily bypassed it in order to carry out attacks on army checkpoints in the area. But, she says, they wanted to enter Maaloula to vandalize and destroy it, adding that many residents confirmed to her that the fighters they saw were of foreign nationalities, including Chechens and Libyans.

She said that targeting the historic town was part of a larger plan to drive Christians out of Syria, pointing to many examples such as the attacks on a number of Christian areas in Damascus, Homs, and the Jazira area in the north.

By assaulting such a symbol of Christianity in the area as Maaloula, she maintained, the fighters are sending a message to the community that they must leave Syria, after having driven them out of Iraq over the last decade. Saadeh completely rejected European offers of refuge to Syria’s Christians, insisting that they have no intention of abandoning the deep roots and heritage that connect them to the Levant.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt’s coup leaders grateful for Israeli support

By Shazia Arshad | MEMO | September 9, 2013

The Egyptian army and Israel have grown much closer in the weeks since the coup d’etat. In a Ha’aretz report, Amos Harel, suggested that the Egyptian and Israeli relationship now was in fact stronger than it was during the rule of Mubarak. Following the coup, it was Israel that the Egyptians turned to ensure that the American government and the new Egyptian coup regime would reach an understanding. Although the toppling of the democratically elected government was widely accepted as a coup, Israel prevented the use of the term and encouraged America to accept events as a regime change. In doing so, Israel ensured that American financial support to Egypt could continue, as acceptance of a coup would mean that aid would have to be suspended under American law.

Israel’s role in securing continued US aid for Egypt’s army has made it possible for a stronger bond between the two to develop. Events in Egypt since the coup have demonstrated how grateful Egypt’s army are to Israel. Indeed, the Egyptian army’s particular focus on the Sinai and Gaza has won favour with the Israelis. Gazans in particular have been bearing the brunt of the warmer relationship between the two regimes. In recent weeks, the Egyptian army have closed all tunnels between Egypt and Gaza and restricted the border crossing at Rafah. The closure of the tunnels has had a significant impact, forcing Gaza to turn to Israel and import fuel through Israel at six times the cost. The tunnel economy, which has provided basic needs for Gaza’s blockaded residents, has been shut down and will cause further financial stress to the Gazan economy. The restrictions on the Rafah crossing have limited the travel of Palestinians in to and out of Gaza, including those who need access to urgent medical treatment. The Rafah crossing had allowed freer movement during the presidency of Mohamed Morsi, much to Israel’s chagrin.

Egypt’s new political direction has also left Hamas out in the cold, this time much to Israel’s delight. Prior to the coup, with increasing support from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt Hamas’ strength in Gaza had increased and Hamas used the opportunity to oppose Assad’s civil war in Syria. With the opposition to Assad, Hamas relied on Egypt, but with the turn of events, Hamas now face increasing isolation. To further weaken Hamas, the Egyptian army circulated rumours of Hamas’s involvement in terrorist activities in Egypt. Last week’s attempted assassination of the Egyptian interior minister was used to implicate Hamas, when local media sources suggested that they had been involved in the bomb attack. Despite the clear fallacy of the claim, the rumours have worked to suppress Hamas in Gaza, as the Israeli’s have wanted to do for some time now.

In the Sinai, the Egyptian army has been circulating rumours of terrorist activity too. With claims that Islamist terror groups are active in the region, the army has increased its presence with more troops, tanks and helicopters in the region. Under the Israel-Egypt peace treaty the Egyptians require Israel’s agreement for them to be able to do so, and in yet another example of the Egypt-Israel bond growing stronger, the Israelis have sanctioned the increase. The Egyptian army has reportedly killed 100 activists in the Sinai, wounded and arrested hundreds of others. Further reports have indicated that the Egyptian army is currently developing a buffer zone in the Sinai to prevent weapons and terrorist smuggling into and out of Gaza. Reports suggested that the buffer zone would be a military controlled area and that the residents currently there were being forced from their homes with no warnings.

The Egyptian army have been able to mount a coup against the democratically elected Egyptian president, ensure that America continues to bank roll the country and strengthen their grip on power since the coup thanks to the work, and the words, of the Israelis. Whilst they may not be making the strengthening of their relationship public, the Egyptians want to ensure that the Israeli’s know how grateful they are for their support. In this vein, the army’s attacks to protect Israel’s interests are sure to increase.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel’s Lobbyists Pushing Hard for another War in the Middle East

By Jeremy Salt | Palestine Chronicle | September 8, 2013

Ankara – Two million refugees out of Syria, some of them Palestinian refugees from 1948 and 1967 and some Iraqi refugees from 2004. They are the consequences of war and yet the raging beast that is devouring the Middle East is still not satiated. Another war looms. Another country already devastated is to be shattered by missile attacks. Who wants this war: who could want it? Who could even think of avenging the dead by calling for more killing?

It is not the people of the world. All polls show they are against it. Not just the people of Latin America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia and China but the American people, the British people, the French people and the Turkish people. It is only the politicians who want this war: Obama, Kerry, Hagel, McCain and others in the US; Cameron and Hague in Britain; Hollande in France; and Erdogan in Turkey. None of them has any proof of their accusation that the Syrian army used chemical weapons around Damascus, but proof is beside the point. Their Muslim contras have failed to destroy the government in Damascus and now in the chemical weapons attack they have their pretext for doing the job themselves.

The US administration is now deciding how long this attack should last. Should it be a few days, or a few months? Should it be aimed at just punishing the ‘regime’ or should it be aimed at destroying it altogether, which seems to be the emerging consensus? They are talking this over confidently, almost nonchalantly, McCain playing poker on his mobile phone because he is so bored, as though their missile attacks on other countries have lulled them into thinking that their military power is so great they could not possibly be hurt themselves.

Erdogan wants a ‘Kosovo-style’ aerial campaign. In 1999, NATO aircraft flew more than 38,000 ‘sorties’ over Yugoslavia, of which number 10,484 were strike attacks. Operation Allied Force lasted for 78 days, not the 30 days claimed by Kerry when being questioned by the Senate committee which finally voted for war on Syria. In 2011 NATO launched Operation Unified Protector against Libya ‘to protect the people from attack or threat of attack.’ This particular ‘operation’ lasted for seven months, during which 26,500 ‘sorties’ were flown, 9700 of them strike sorties. Even the National Transitional Council, the incoming government after the destruction of the government in Tripoli, said 25,000 people had been killed. A similar operation over Syria, a country much better able to defend itself, and with powerful allies besides, would cause enormous further destruction and the death of many thousands of people. This is the meaning of ‘Kosovo-style’ aerial warfare. In fact, what is shaping up is even worse, an air war that will have more in common with Iraq than the bombing of Yugoslavia. The targets and objectives are being expanded all the time.

Saudi Arabia has no politicians and no public opinion polls which would tell us what the Saudi people think of their government and its role in the destruction of Syria. The only country in which the government and the people are clearly united in their support for an attack on Syria is Israel. Polls show that nearly 70 per cent of Jewish Israelis – Palestinians are fully against it – are in favor of the US striking Syria, while thinking that Israel should stay out unless Syria or Hezbollah retaliate with strikes against Israeli targets. The British vote against war and Obama’s hesitation forced Israel and its lobbyists in the US to break cover, ending the silly pretense that Israel is not involved in Syria and does not really care who wins. David Horowitz, the former editor of the Jerusalem Post, wrote an infuriated piece about ‘how a perfect storm of British ineptitude and gutlessness sent the wrong message to the butcher of Damascus and left Israel more certain than ever that it can rely only on itself.’ The novelist Noah Beck accused Obama of being spineless. Others in the media called him weak and unreliable. By ‘blinking’, he had sent a dangerous message to ‘cruel regimes’ and terrorists everywhere. Debkafile, an outlet for disinformation and other scrapings from the floor of Israeli intelligence, echoed this line. Obama’s ‘about turn’ had let Iran, Syria and Hezbollah ‘off the hook ’, creating a ‘military nightmare’ for Israel, Jordan and Turkey.

The same lines of attack and support were duplicated by Israel’s formal and informal lobbyists in the US. Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post sneered at Obama for hesitating: ‘Perhaps we should be publishing the exact time the bombs will fall lest we disrupt dinner in Damascus’. Wrote William Kristol in the Weekly Standard: ‘Is President Obama going wobbly on Syria? No. He’s always been wobbly on Syria – and on pretty much everything else … the worst outcome would be for Obama not to call Congress back or not to act at all but to falter and retreat. For his retreat would be America’s retreat and his humiliation America’s humiliation.’ Kristol’s stablemate, Thomas Donnelly, thought Obama content ‘‘to see Assad kill his own people – which he has done in the tens if not hundreds of thousands – as long as Assad doesn’t use chemical weapons’. Thomas Friedman wrote in the New York Times that the most likely option for Syria was partition, ‘with the pro-Assad, predominantly Alawite Syrians controlling one region and the Sunni and Kurdish Syrians controlling the rest.’ The fragmentation of Syria on ethno-religious lines, of course, has been a Zionist objective for decades. No mention by Friedman of the Druze, but never mind that: in the interim, America’s best option is not the launching of Cruise missiles ‘but an increase in the training and arming of the Free Syrian Army – including the antitank and antiaircraft weapons it’s long sought.’ Friedman thought this might increase the influence on the ground of the ‘more moderate groups over the jihadist ones.’

At the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the entire stable was off and running. ‘Forget the red line and engage in Syria,’ wrote David Schenker, as if the US has not been intensely engaged in Syria for the past three years, fomenting the violence which has built up to the present catastrophic situation. Wrote Robert Satloff: ‘Given the strategic stakes at play in Syria which touches [sic.] on every key American interest in the region, the wiser course of action is to take the opportunity of the Assad regime’s flagrant violation of global norms to take action that hastens the end of Assad’s regime … this will also enhance the credibility of the president’s commitment to prevent Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability.’ Michael Herzog thought the US could learn from Israeli air attacks on Syria: ‘In Israel’s experience Assad has proven to be a rational (if ruthless) actor. He was deterred from responding to recent and past strikes because he did not want to invite the consequences of Israeli military might. Therefore, the United States has a good chance of deterring him as well.’

In Commentary, Max Boot called on the US to use air power in cooperation with ground action by ‘vetted’ rebel forces to ‘cripple and ultimately bring down Assad’s regime, making impossible further atrocities such as the use of chemical weapons.’ How these forces are to be ‘vetted’ and how they, rather than the Islamist groups who are doing most of the fighting, could bring down the ‘regime’ Boot does not say, most probably because he doesn’t know. Daniel Pipes, the long-term advocate of Israeli violence in the Middle East, writing in National Review online, wanted not a ‘limited’ strike but something that would do real damage and brings the ‘regime’ down.

Outside these journals and the think tanks, former ‘government advisers’ and ‘foreign policy experts’ signed a petition calling for ‘direct military strikes against the pillars of the Assad regime’. Many of the names will be familiar from the Project for the New American Century and plans laid long ago for a series of wars in the Middle East: Elliott Abrams, Fouad Ajami, Gary Bauer, Max Boot, Ellen Bork, Eliot A. Cohen, Paula Dobriansky, Thomas Donnelly, Douglas Feith, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Robert Kagan, William Kristol, Bernard-Henri Levy, Michael Makovsky, Joshua Muravchik, Martin Peretz, Karl Rove, Randy Scheunemann, Leon Wieseltier and Radwan Ziadeh.

AIPAC and the Jewish organizations piled the pressure on Congress and the White House. AIPAC’s statement on Syria stressed the sending of a ‘forceful message of resolve to Iran and Hizbullah’ at a time ‘Iran is racing towards obtaining nuclear capability.’ The Politico website quoted unnamed AIPAC officials as saying that ‘some 250 Jewish leaders and AIPAC activists will storm the halls on Capitol Hill beginning next week to persuade lawmakers that Congress must adopt the resolution or risk emboldening Iran’s efforts to build a nuclear weapon … they are expected to lobby virtually every member of Congress’. Their ‘stepped-up involvement’ comes at a welcome time for the White House, wrote the Politico correspondent, given its difficulty in securing support for the resolution. The two top Republican leaders in the Senate, minority leader Mitch McConnell and minority whip John Cornyn, had already been urged ‘by top Jewish donors and AIPAC allies’ to back the war resolution.

The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations called for an attack that would demonstrate ‘accountability’ to ‘those who possess weapons of mass destruction, particularly Iran and Hezbollah.’ Morris Amitay of the pro-Israel Washington Political Action Committee thought that ‘for our [United States] credibility we have to do something.’ Bloomberg reported the Republican Jewish Coalition as sending an ‘action alert’ to its 45,000 members ‘directing them to tell Congress to authorize force.’ The same message of support for an attack was sent out by the National Jewish Democratic Council and Abe Foxman of the so-called Anti-Defamation League, who stressed that while ‘he’s not doing this for Israel,’ the attack may have serious consequences for Israel.

With the exception of the Foxman statement, these organizations carefully kept any mention of Israel out of their public statements. In off the record discussions, however, it was the central concern. On August 30 Obama had a conference call with 1,000 rabbis, with Syria, ‘at the White House’s request,’ according to Bloomberg, being the first question asked. Iran was not mentioned either but, said a leading rabbi from New York, ‘we have a strong stake in the world taking seriously our insistence that weapons of mass destruction should not proliferate’. Bloomberg quoted Obama as ‘arguing’ that ‘a military response is necessary to uphold a longstanding international ban on the use of chemical weapons use and to deter Assad from using them again on his own people or such neighbors as Israel and Jordan.’ Of course, this was not an argument at all but Obama telling the rabbis what they wanted to hear. In a separate approach, 17 leading rabbis ‘covering the religious and political spectrum’, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, sent a letter to Congress calling on it to authorize force against Syria. The language could scarcely be more Orwellian: ‘Through this act, Congress has the capacity to save thousands of lives.’

Another conference call was held between representatives of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations and White House deputy national security advisors Tony Blinken and Ben Rhodes. The representatives waited until Blinken and Rhodes were ‘off the call’ before advising constituent organizations ‘not to make their statements ‘Israel-centric’,’ according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A powerful figure wheeled out by the lobby is Sheldon Adelson, the casino billionaire who funds settlement in Jerusalem and on the West Bank and spent (along with his wife) $93 million trying to see Obama defeated in the presidential election last year. Adelson is a board member of the Republican Jewish Coalition and supports the pressure it is putting on Congress to authorize a military attack on Syria.

The carefully crafted outlines of this deceitful campaign are very evident:

1. This is not about Israel
2. This is about America’s national interest.
3. This is about punishing a government which has used chemical weapons on its own people.
4. This is about saving lives
5. This is about a government that has no respect for international law and norms.
6. This is about sending a ‘forceful message of resolve to Hezbollah and Iran.’
7. This is about showing that Obama’s red lines are not empty threats.

Obama’s own ‘full court press strategy’ includes interviews with six television anchors ahead of the congressional vote. The moment Obama said everything AIPAC wanted to hear during the primaries was the moment he took the first step into the tight corner in which he now finds himself. This is now a global confrontation with a lot at stake besides Israel’s interests, but it is pushing as hard as it can to make sure this war goes ahead. Like David Cameron, a congressional vote against war will allow Obama to back out of the corner by saying that the American people have spoken and he cannot take them into war against their wishes. Will he do that, or is really going to plunge his country into war irrespective of what Congress or the American people think? By the end of the coming week we should have the answer.

Jeremy Salt is an associate professor of Middle Eastern history and politics at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No economic espionage? NSA docs show US spied on Brazil oil giant Petrobras

RT | September 9, 2013

Despite earlier US assurances that its Department of Defense does not “engage in economic espionage in any domain,” a new report suggests that the intelligence agency NSA spied on Brazilian state-run oil giant Petrobras.

Brazil’s biggest television network Globo TV reported that the information about the NSA spying on Petroleo Brasileiro SA came from Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist who first published secrets leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Globo TV aired slides from an NSA presentation from 2012 that revealed the agency’s ability to gain access to private networks of companies such as Petrobras and Google Inc.

One slide specified an ‘economic’ motive for spying, along with diplomatic and political reasons.

This seems to contradict a statement made by an NSA spokesman to the Washington Post on August 30, which said that the US Department of Defense “does not engage in economic espionage in any domain, including cyber.”

An official from the NSA told Globo that the agency gathers economic information not to steal secrets, but to watch for financial instability.

Petrobras is known to have discovered some of the world’s biggest offshore oil reserves in recent years.

Some of the new reserves are estimated to be around as 100 billion barrels of oil, according to Rio de Janeiro State University.

None of the leaked slides went into the reasons behind the NSA spying on the Brazilian firm.

The US spy agency then reportedly shared the gathered information with the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The new report about US spying on Brazil could intensify the already existing tensions between Brazil and US.

The relationship between the two countries became tense as Globo reported about allegations that NSA has intercepted private communications of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and her Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto.

Brazil responded by canceling preparations for the presidential visit to the United States and beginning a probe into telecommunications companies to see if they illegally shared data with the NSA. Also, Brazil has asked for a formal apology.

During the G20 summit US tried to address the issue by US President Barack Obama pledging to work with Brazil and Mexico to address their concerns over US spying revealed in recent NSA leaks.

September 9, 2013 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Economics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment