German Government Blocks Ed Snowden From Testifying Before Parliament So As Not To Upset The US

from the we-delicate-flowers dept

A month ago, we wrote about how the German Parliament was opening hearings in the NSA's surveillance of German citizens (including Chancellor Angela Merkel) and that some of the lawmakers wanted Ed Snowden to testify (either in person, or providing evidence remotely). At the time, it was noted that "analysts believe Merkel’s government will find a way to sidestep such a move." And, indeed, that's exactly what's happened. The German government has blocked any such testimony for fear of upsetting the American government.
In a letter to members of a parliamentary committee obtained by Süddeutsche Zeitung, government officials say a personal invitation for the US whistleblower would "run counter to the political interests of the Federal Republic", and "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations.
Because the American government is apparently so insecure that it can't handle Ed Snowden testifying to the German Parliament? Really? Sometimes, when you look at world diplomacy, it looks like a bunch of elementary school kids. What happened to mature adults who can disagree about things without it causing an international incident?

Apparently, the Green Party is looking to challenge this decision, but it seems unlikely to change.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 1st, 2014 @ 10:28am

    'Move along, nothing to see'

    Well, if nothing else, such a move does make it pretty clear just how the rest of the 'hearings' over the NSA's spying will go, and the eventual outcome.

    'Nope, nothing to see here, our buddies in the good old USA would never conduct massive data scooping on an indiscriminate, wide level against the German people and politicians, so no need to make a fuss about it or investigate any further.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 11:20am

    WE WANT THE TRUTH! Except when it might hurt someone's feelings, then we don't want that truth.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 11:30am

    I don't understand German rules, but...

    Why does the executive have any say on who gets to speak in parliament? I can understand they may have power to block physical entry into the nation, but how does the executive have power to block remote testimony?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Personanongrata, May 1st, 2014 @ 11:37am

    Germany is such a good little client-state.

    Uncle Sam says, "sit", and Germany obeys.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 1st, 2014 @ 11:44am

    Re: I don't understand German rules, but...

    Taking a second look, and reading the source article, it looks like they 'only' blocked him coming to Germany to give his testimony personally, instead limiting it to a 'written questionnaire', which they apparently feel should be sufficient.

    As for the why, well, this might have something to do with it:

    '...it has emerged hours before Angela Merkel travels to Washington for a meeting with Barack Obama.'

    Though I imagine this is the more likely reason:

    'Last June the German foreign ministry rejected Snowden's application for asylum because it was not submitted in person on German soil. If Snowden had been invited as a witness, he could have met these requirements.'

    Denying the chance for him to give his testimony in person also means they don't find themselves in the position of scrambling for another reason to deny him asylum, since their previous excuse would be moot at that point, and once he was in Germany there would likely be a pretty hefty push to grant him asylum.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Re:

    Germany is still an occupied country without any sovereignty. We don't even have a peace treaty from WW2 yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    zip, May 1st, 2014 @ 12:04pm

    US-occupied Germany

    It's a shame that Germany has never really gotten past it's post-war occupation. More than just a puppet state, for all intents and purposes, Germany is still an occupied nation. Except for the Russians, the armies that invaded Germany 70 years ago never left, and the laws put in place by that foreign military occupation are still on the books.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Roger Strong (profile), May 1st, 2014 @ 12:50pm

    At least now we know what it takes.

    The NSA's surveillance of German citizens doesn't "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    The NSA's surveillance of Chancellor Angela Merkel doesn't "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    US agents kidnapping, sodomizing, drugging, torturing and shipping a German citizen (Khalid El-Masri) to Afghanistan - then dumping him without papers or money in a third country when they realized they had the wrong person - doesn't "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    U.S. officials threatening the German Government to stop them issuing international warrants for those US agents, doesn't "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    The US court system's shameful failure in the El-Masri case doesn't "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    But... you know.... *questioning* any of this... THAT will "put a grave and permanent strain" on US-German relations."

    Glad we cleared that up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    zip, May 1st, 2014 @ 1:42pm

    Re: At least now we know what it takes.

    Most world leaders know very well what happens to countries that resist being US-controlled puppet states. The Middle East serves as a good example. Although these countries are essentially all repressive dictatorships (or absolute monarchies, same thing) those showed obedience to the US had their unelected leaders propped up against popular uprisings, while those that resisted US control suffered from CIA-trained-and-financed revolutionaries, and either became cruise-missile targets or were at least overtly threatened with it.

    There are of course many ways to intimidate people, and if one method fails to work, there are multiple backups in the US arsenal. We still don't know what proverbial skeletons might be in Angela Merkel's closet (and learned through NSA spying) but such things make for convenient leverage to "influence" people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 1:58pm

    Snowden 2016

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Bluebell, May 1st, 2014 @ 2:20pm

    A Farce

    It just goes to show that the hearing is a farce intended to make German people think that somethingis being done about the US spying on them. This will lose Merkel a lot of support.

    You can't ask a questionare additional questions based on its answers. Banning someone with evidence from court is just wrong.

    It is time all countries upset the US government together.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Beech, May 1st, 2014 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    SERIOUSLY! What are they? Canada?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Beech, May 1st, 2014 @ 3:15pm

    Ostrich

    Reminds me of the South Park episode where everyone was going to literally bury their heads in the sand to avoid upsetting muslims.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    John, May 1st, 2014 @ 3:56pm

    Say what

    The USA spied on every German citizen and the German government is worried that getting to the bottom of that spying will hurt the feelings of the USA? Isn't that arse about? Shouldn't the German's be pissed? Did the USA give a damn about hurting the German's feeling when they decided to spy.

    You can only care as much as the other side. But I suppose the other side isn't the USA government. The USA & German governments are on the same side. Its their citizens they are opposing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 4:19pm

    Re: A Farce

    Agreed, they should upset them and I don't mean emotionally. It is about time the world told them to fuck off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Kronomex, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:19pm

    How weak can you get! I would have thought that after discovering the US spying on high level politicians that the Germans would liked to have rubbed the Yanks noses in the mess by allowing Snowden to speak.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 5:40pm

    and if the situation were reversed, the USA wouldn't testify for fear of upsetting the Germans! yeah, right! who the hell are you kiddin? the truth is, everyone knows he would speak the truth and no one wants to have to hear it for fear of being forced to make some changes somewhere along the line. what a bunch of gutless fuckers they are!! i gave them more credit, more sense and more nerve than this!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), May 1st, 2014 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    oh, hell yeah ! ! !
    you know, i do believe i will write him in for nearly every office i vote on...
    hell yeah...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), May 1st, 2014 @ 7:59pm

    We're tough

    Hey guys, we're tough, we can take it.

    I suppose there's a few whiners in our government that would get their feelings hurt, but who cares about them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 1st, 2014 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: I don't understand German rules, but...

    In addition, I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility that the questionnaire having to be posted ro e-mailed increases the likelihood of doctoring by US agents.

    Maybe my tin-foil band is growing into a hat. I don't know. But the US has been acting the it's the onyl game in town for at least a decade and a half, if not longer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    That One Guy (profile), May 2nd, 2014 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re: Re: I don't understand German rules, but...

    Intercepting the questionnaire, and changing it to make it look like he's saying something other than what he's actually saying, either to cover their actions, or make him look bad... with all the other things the spy agencies have been caught doing(especially considering the presence of what amounts to character assassination programs they utilize against 'enemies'), honestly, at this point I wouldn't put it past them.

    Funnily enough, and somewhat on that same topic, one of, if not the main reasons they wanted him to give his testimony in person was worries that the Russians would be able to affect or interfere with his testimony if he did it via video.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    G Thompson (profile), May 2nd, 2014 @ 2:05am

    Re: At least now we know what it takes.

    Ah I see your problem..

    you are confusing US-German relations with German-US relations.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2014 @ 2:57am

    As expected.
    Germany still tryin to avoid any conflict. Not surprising after the attrocities of ww2 and the illegal courts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    mdpopescu (profile), May 2nd, 2014 @ 3:53am

    Children?

    Sometimes, when you look at world diplomacy, it looks like a bunch of elementary school kids.


    When is that not the case?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    icon
    gorehound (profile), May 2nd, 2014 @ 7:22am

    Germany and other Nations should grow a few !!! Time to put some squeeze on our out of control Government I say.And it is time for others to step up to the plate and Tax the creeps who use their Nations to hide their real income..........weasel out of Tax Bills.Those type screw us and screw the Citizens of the Nation they use for low Taxes.
    Time for the other Nations to stand up.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2014 @ 10:44am

    Re:

    He's not old enough...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    I'm_Having_None_Of_It, May 6th, 2014 @ 3:20am

    German Government Blocks Ed Snowden From Testifying Before Parliament So As Not To Upset The People Who Are Spying On Them All

    FIFY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
Advertisement
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Support Techdirt - Get Great Stuff!

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.