What’s bugging Angie?-A A +A
Saturday, November 2, 2013
A CNN reporter went around the streets of Berlin and asked people for their opinion on the spying row, which the US is currently embroiled in.
The majority interviewed condemned the practice. They thought the trust between the US and its Western allies was sacrosanct. That trust, they said, was broken with the revelation that the US, through the National Security Agency (NSA), has been bugging the phones of some European leaders, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Most of them looked adamant.
The gist of what they were saying was that no civilized country should do that to another civilized country. I guess, like what their forebears did 74 years ago, right? It’s no coincidence that words like “Gestapo” or “Kristallnacht” strike fear into the minds of many to this day. So what if they put six million Jews in the gas chamber. (Okay, a bit too much.) I know it truly is unfair to punish the current generation for the atrocities committed in the name of the “Fatherland” almost a century ago.
So yes, the German public has every right to be indignant. Germany is not the villain here. The US is. To quote Alanis: “A little too ironic... and, yeah, I really do think.”
One Berliner caught my attention. When asked by the reporter, he laughed and shrugged the whole thing off. “Doesn’t everybody?” he told the camera.
This was confirmed by Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA. He insisted that all countries spy on one another. (Interestingly enough, when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden first disclosed that the US was spying on its allies, the NSA denied it. Go figure.)
Apparently, spying is a common practice. So is denying it. How convenient.
Some European leaders have made light of the issue. Those who didn’t make the list must not be worth spying on, they joked. Or in lay man’s terms, “not important enough.”
By the way, I looked up the NSA on the net. Here’s what I learned.
According to that most trusted and factual website Wikipedia, “the NSA is tasked with the global monitoring, collection, decoding, translation and analysis of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, including surveillance of targeted individuals on US soil.
The agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through clandestine means, among which is bugging electronic systems and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software. The NSA is also responsible for the protection of US government communications and information systems. As part of the growing practice of mass surveillance in the United States, the NSA collects and stores all phone records of all American citizens.”
No goose bumps yet? Isn’t it enough that we in the Philippines, particularly here in Cebu, have to contend with nature’s fury? Now we also have to worry about Big Brother listening in on our phone conversations or recording our text messages.
If the US can do that to its citizens, what’s stopping Malacañang? (Like the Palace would be interested in my text about this small hole-in-the-wall Chinese place downtown that serves great lomi and steamed dumplings. It’s called Mingnan, by the way.)
The NSA justifies its actions by saying it’s protecting the country from terrorism. Remember 9/ll and the thousands who died? Yeah.
It’s not like we’re not reminded of it every day.
Meanwhile, the rest of the world will have to “trust” the US’s explanation that it has no intention of abusing the gazillion information it has amassed. “That it’s only interested in communications that may be relevant to a terrorism investigation,” according to Wikipedia.
Well, why didn’t it say so in the first place?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 03, 2013.