In this video acTVism Munich asks Glenn Greenwald at a press conference in Munich about Germany’s political reaction towards Edward Snowden’s revelations and whether it sufficed to bring about meaningful change. Greenwald also provides his opinion about previous programs that were implemented after World War II which were targeted at the civilian population that include: FBI’s COINTELPRO & CIA’s CHAOS operations.
Historical Summary: Germany NSA Scandal
Although the US long considers Germany as an “indispensable” and “valuable” ally within NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), the highly classified documents made public by Glenn Greenwald & Edward Snowden in 2013 reveal that the NSA collects more data from Germany in contrast to any of the other 27 European Union (EU) member states. Bulk surveillance and collection is not only targeted at the German population, where around 500 million Meta-Data connections are collected (normal days for up to 20 million telephone calls and 10 million Internet data exchanges) but also at high level politicians such as the current chancellor, Angela Merkel (CDU), whose phone was tapped by the US agency.
More recently in April, 2015, Wikileaks released documents that exposed how the German BND assisted the spying operation of the NSA aimed at European firms and officials. In July, 2015, the whistleblowing website also exposed how the NSA tapped the phones of the political offices of the last three German chancellors – Angela Merkel (2005-Present), Gerhard Schröder (in office 1998–2002) and Helmut Kohl (chancellor from 1982 to 1998).
Noteable quote from the interview:
“I would put Germany as sort of the other country alongside Brazil that has benefited the most: spying on the German population but also German political leaders. The reason you have that is because there was one individual, who was willing to risk everything in order to protect the privacy rights of German citizens and German political leaders, and they (both) benefited greatly from that. To watch the same very people who have benefited so much from the sacrifice of Edward Snowden, namely German politicians, be unwilling to risk anything in order to do for him what he did for them, which is to protect his political rights from persecution has been, I think, not just surprising but kind of horrible to watch. I actually do not think that the German government would have to risk all that much if it were to give asylum to Snowden but what we saw even in the investigation that the German Parliament pretended to do was that they weren’t willing to risk anything, even bring Edward Snowden to Germany just to interview him or to question him if it meant alienating the United States or angering the United States in any way. So I think the investigation here, the attempts to find out what the NSA was really doing were more symbolic than they were genuine.”