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EU enraged as Snowden reveals evidence of mass hacking by US

Paul McGeough (via SMH) | July 2, 2013
Edward Snowden's latest leak has revealed a huge US surveillance program targeting its EU partners.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius: "These acts, if confirmed, would be completely unacceptable."

President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz: "If it's true, it's a huge scandal. That would mean a huge burden for relations between the EU and the US. We now demand comprehensive information."

Elmar Brok, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the European Parliament: "The spying has reached dimensions that I didn't think were possible in a democratic country. Such behavior among allies is intolerable. They have completely lost balance - George Orwell is nothing by comparison."

Luxembourg's Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn: "The US should monitor their own secret services rather than their allies. The US justifies everything as being part of the fight against terrorism - but the EU and its diplomats are not terrorists."

Calling for US Secretary of State John Kerry, now in the Middle East, to divert to  Europe on his home-bound journey to explain matters, Dutch liberal MP Marietje Schaake was quoted: "The US can only lead by example, and should uphold the freedoms it claims to protect against attacks from the outside. Instead, we see erosions of freedoms, checks and balances, from within.

But if Washington was being hammered for the latest revelations, it does appear to be making headway in its efforts to dissuade other countries, particularly Ecuador, from giving sanctuary to the leaker Snowden.

Snowden now appears to be at the mercy of the Russian government. His original plan in fleeing Hong Kong to stay ahead of American efforts to haul him back to a US court on espionage charges, was to transit Moscow, en route to Ecuador via Cuba.

But after thumbing their nose at Washington, Ecuadorean officials on Sunday sounded more sympathetic, with president Rafael Correa explaining, after what he described as a "friendly and very cordial" phone conversation with US Vice President Joe Biden, that emergency travel documents provided to Snowden had been issued in "serious error" by a London-based Ecuadorian diplomat.

Combined with Washington's cancellation of his passport, Snowden seemingly is dependent on the Russians, holed up as he is in the transit area at Moscow's Sheremetyevo International Airport.

In an interview on Sunday, the Ecuadorean president implied that the critical decision on Snowden was not his. He told Associated Press: "This is a decision of Russian authorities. He doesn't have a passport. I don't know the Russian laws, I don't know if he can leave the airport, but I understand that he can't.

In a massive departure in what previously sounded like taunting the US over Snowden, Correa added: "If he really could have broken North American laws, I'm very respectful of other countries and their laws, and I believe that someone who breaks the law must assume his responsibilities."


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