Germans Want To Give Snowden A Medal, French Want To Give Him Asylum — And To Call Off TAFTA/TTIP

from the never-a-dull-moment dept

Although nobody seems to know what Edward Snowden is up to at the moment, there have been plenty of reactions from others to the earlier revelations about US spying in Europe. Alongside the outrage, there is also a certain gratitude towards Snowden in some quarters for providing information about what has been going on. For example, one of the local wings of the German Pirate Party has suggested that he should be awarded a Federal Order of Merit (original in German.) In France, a surprisingly broad spectrum of politicians are calling for him to be offered political asylum according to this report from France 24 :

“France must give this whistle blower and defender of freedom political asylum without delay,” the Green Party, in coalition with the ruling Socialists, said in a statement. “It would serve to remind the US, as it enters into free trade talks with the EU, that France wholeheartedly rejects the US stance on data protection.”

And in a rare show of cross-party unity, Marine Le Pen of the far right National Front and at the very opposite end of the political spectrum from Mélanchon’s Left Party also said France had a duty to take Snowden under its wing.

If that offer were to become official, it might be welcome. Snowden has applied to 21 countries for political asylum, although he has since withdrawn his application to Russia because Vladimir Putin imposed a striking condition for offering it:

If he wants to stay here, there is one condition — he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.

As this table from The Guardian shows, so far Snowden doesn’t seem to be having much luck in finding a country willing to take him, although now that Ecuador has dropped him, Venezuela remains a possibility:

On a visit to Moscow, [Venezuelan] president Nicolás Maduro said he would consider an asylum request and said the whistleblower “deserves the world’s protection”.

“We think this young person has done something very important for humanity, has done a favour to humanity, has spoken great truths to deconstruct a world … that is controlled by an imperialist American elite,” he said.

Although these questions of asylum are probably uppermost in Snowden’s mind, in political terms the most important development in the last few days has been several of Europe’s senior politicians warning that the latest information about the scale of US spying on them could affect the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations, due to begin next week. That’s particularly the case in France, as the BBC reported:

French President Francois Hollande has said allegations that the US bugged European embassies could threaten a huge planned EU-US trade deal.

He said there could be no negotiations without guarantees that spying would stop “immediately”.

The New York Times noted that many in the European Parliament felt the same way:

The European Parliament, which will vote on any free trade agreement, will debate the latest spying revelations in Brussels on Wednesday, with the Parliament’s president, Martin Schulz of Germany, saying that he was “deeply worried and shocked.” If the latest reports, which include American spying on the European Union itself, are true, he said, “it would be an extremely serious matter that will have a severe impact on E.U.-U.S. Relations.”

European lawmakers across the political spectrum warned of a loss of confidence in the Obama administration that would make a free trade deal difficult. Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the Green Party floor leader, spoke for many when he said that the European Union “must immediately suspend negotiations with the U.S. over a free trade agreement.”

Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of posturing going on here. The most senior European politicians surely knew the NSA was active throughout Europe, and probably even benefitted from information it gathered. But the scale of the operations, and the fact that there seems to have been literally no limit to what could be gathered or from whom, does seem to have taken many by surprise.

That could be enough to encourage the European Parliament to make the Data Protection Regulation, currently being drawn up, impose far more stringent terms for companies that want to transfer personal data out of the EU — and that would be a big problem for Internet companies like Google and Facebook. Since data transfers are also likely to be part of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations, any such moves would complicate discussions there even more.

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Comments on “Germans Want To Give Snowden A Medal, French Want To Give Him Asylum — And To Call Off TAFTA/TTIP”

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Alto says:

Sorta how I felt when this started:
“We think this young person has done something very important for humanity, has done a favour to humanity, has spoken great truths to deconstruct a world ? that is controlled by an imperialist American elite,”
Well I didn’t think the “imperialist American elite” part, but I do agree with the rest.
The American people should be just as outraged.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The american elite is either a reference to the economic reality of american politics (companies controlling politicians through super PACs, lobbying and doors revolving or worse) or a suggestion that the underlying problem is deeply ingrained in the systems politicians were meant to control (IRS, USTR and NSA seen as almost completely independent entities with no political leadership).

Pick what suits your ideological religion better! Personally I subscripe to both.

chronoss2008 says:

ya know it wont be getting better for americans.....
ya know it wont be getting better for Americans until they smarten up and realize YOU DON’T DO THIS KINDA CRAP….

it makes the usa charging him with treason look petty and show that it really does think its own people and the entire world is the enemy

You americans need ot have all these NSA people that are involved and every politician involved arrested and put away for life.

END of story the cost of the jail term is easy compared to the cost of the program and the cost of privacy and morality.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ya know it wont be getting better for americans.....

What we NEED to do is put obummer and his corrupt political mob in jail, but that won’t happen because then American would be racist.
This has been the democratic progressive party?s plan all along, a bloodless coup turning America into a one party socialistic system.
But I could be wrong.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Message to France: Pot, meet Kettle.

And no, I’m not translating into French for you.

Kinda surprised the French are even considering giving Snowden asylum, considering that it will probably remind the US that France is the world leader in industrial espionage (they’ve probably been spying on US negotiators in preparation for TAFTA/TTIP in order to have an edge at the bargaining table).

But if it kills TAFTA/TTIP then by all means, go right ahead.

Rick C. Hodgin (user link) says:

Re: Message to France: Pot, meet Kettle.

If it were only France that felt that way … it would be suspect. But it is people all around the world. And many governments — they’re just unwilling to withstand the economic sanctions our “wonderful” U.S. government has been mentioning through the press and personal phone calls by the Vice President.

Who Cares (profile) says:

The Netherlands

The biggest problem with his request for asylum is that he has to be here (can’t request asylum from an embassy).
Then there is a division between the political parties. Some say yes. Others say no. The minister who would most likely process the request said: “No he broke the law”, to which people have already reacted by saying: “Oh when are we going to send all the Iranian homosexuals requesting political asylum back as well since that is against the law in Iran.”,
The biggest reason why he shouldn’t try coming here (as said by the people who want to grant him asylum) is normal (That is deferential) behavior of the country in it’s relation with the USA.

chronoss2008 says:


um when germany elects a anti US govt …thigns are about to change considering GERMANY is basically bankrolling the EU…

and then your going to have soon in a few years a new Canadian govt that wont be so friendly to that keystone oil project
and without a huge reserve you cant do shit…the crap about self sufficiency is about fraking
SO YOUR nation will run out of water to power tanks…
either way the military machine days are going to have to come to an end…

Who Cares (profile) says:

Re: @8

Chronoss you really need to get your reading comprehension level checked. Kindergarten level just doesn’t work well on the internet.
That point you think is/was racism was made to show how much of a hypocrite the comment of the minister was.

You have the same problem with comprehension with your first point.
Who cares if he goes to France and Germany. This is not about them but about about countries which are US allies but are seriously debating to give Snowden political asylum.

Anonymous Coward says:

About a week ago, I said this was a likely repercussion to the admission of spying on the EU that it was likely to effect future trade treaties. There’s this trust issue that is not likely to go away any time soon.

While the EU may be seeking greater advantage in negotiations, there will still be that trust issue at the bottom of it all and that is not going to go away with out the US coming clean to it’s citizens as well as the world.

Do as I say and not as I do coming from the US as just taken a major hit and will no longer be heard for anything other than posturing.

The US has lost a lot of it’s creditability with this issue.

Lord Binky says:

Every politician that points to these reactions as an example as to how Snowden harmed the US needs to be slapped until sense begins to take hold in them. These are negative responses based on the United States’ actions.

The logic used to blame Snowden is the same as ‘it wasn’t wrong until I got caught’ then blaming the reason for being caught as the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

as far as these various trade negotiations are concerned, the EU needs to look extremely carefully at the terms because you can bet your ass they will be more of a benefit to the USA than any other country, and more benefit to the US entertainment and pharma industries in particular. i also bet that there will be specific rules for the various ‘Investor-State disputes as well, and i’m sure we can all guess as to where the advantage will be in them. there definitely needs to be some serious rethinking on data sharing, file sharing, copyright restrictions lifted and much lower penalties for doing something wrong instead of making it a much more financially beneficial option to sue someone over a music album download than negotiate and offer sensible alternatives that are constantly begged for!!
as for Snowden, i think it’s good to see various EU member states saying how good what he has done is and offering to give him asylum. also no surprise to see that the only information from the UK is to inform airlines not to bring him to the UK. i guess that shows their loyalty, or is it fear, is towards the USA rather than towards it’s actual partners in the EU. perhaps this has finally made the government decide which way to fall but the people haven’t been asked as yet. i would assume they would want to be friends with everyone, but when the UK has been doing it’s damnedest to copy what the USA is up to over the domestic spying and follow their lead, it is a bit unnerving. the UK has been doing it’s best to get the ‘snoopers charter’ into law. dont know why considering everyone is being surveilled already! they have also started to not follow, but actually take over from the USA over copyright and file sharing, despite the recommendations in hand to make the laws less severe and less restrictive. i dont know what’s going on, but it dont seem very good for the people, yet again!

Votre (profile) says:

Dear Mr. Snowden:

You are welcome to come here and possibly be granted political asylum. But you must agree to stop releasing information the United States considers harmful to its political interests lest the NSA makes good on its threat to release all the scandalous information it has compiled over the years on the crimes and blatant hypocrisy of European politicians and governments.


The Member Nations of the EU.

The Real Michael says:

“If he wants to stay here, there is one condition — he must stop his work aimed at bringing harm to our American partners, as strange as that sounds coming from my mouth.”

I heard that FEMA signed a deal with the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry to exchange experts and wonder if Putin’s peculiar stance is influenced by this.

Eman (user link) says:

Edward Snowden warns of loss of privacy in 'alternative' Christmas message

Together we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying,” he said in the pre-recorded segment. Snowden appeared to draw comparison with the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four which described a fictional state which operates widespread surveillance of its citizens.

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