Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Brazil and Germany want anti-surveillance UN resolution

Brazil and Germany want the UN General Assembly to adopt a draft resolution to end mass surveillance, as German public figures call for Edward Snowden to receive asylum.

The two countries say that the mass surveillance on the scale revealed by the Snowden leaks “constitutes a highly intrusive act,” reports the BBC.

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  • US spy revelations by Edward Snowden have led to global outlash against mass surveillance (Photo: Abode of Chaos)

The resolution, which calls for the right to privacy, is set for a vote at the end of the month.

It says countries must protect the right to privacy as guaranteed under international law.

Meanwhile, some 50 high profile German personalities in the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel said Snowden should be granted asylum in Germany.

“Snowden has done the western world a great service. It is now up to us to help him,” noted Heiner Geissler, former general secretary of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Other public figures like Hans Magnus Enzensberger said he should be granted asylum in Norway.

Snowden, for his part, said last week he would be willing to testify in Germany against the NSA.

The 30-year old, who has reportedly been offered a job at a major Russian website, wrote in the German weekly that the spy scandal has provoked “an unprecedented smear campaign” by governments in an effort to intimidate journalists.

The partner of former Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, David Miranda, had been detained for nine hours at Heathrow Airport in August under an obscure UK terrorism act.

The act was invoked, according to court documents seen by the Guardian newspaper, because Miranda was promoting a “political or ideological cause.”

The UK government had also threatened an injunction against the paper unless it destroyed NSA documents it had in its possession.

So-called prior restraint laws in the UK were invoked to make the Guardian to destroy laptops containing the files even though copies were held elsewhere.

Last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron threatened further government action should the newspaper not demonstrate greater social responsibility.

The UK actions and Cameron’s recent veiled threats prompted around 70 of the world’s leading human rights organisations to write a joint letter to the prime minister.

The open letter, published on Sunday in the Guardian, denounces Cameron’s tactics and his government’s reactions to the NSA scandal.

The letter states that national security cannot justify preventing disclosures of wrongdoing “no matter how embarrassing such disclosures may be to the UK or other governments.”

It notes that a “presumption of in favour of freedom of expression requires governments to demonstrate that the expression will actually harm national security; it is not sufficient to simply say that it will.”

The tone in Washington DC is different.

The US has rejected any notion of clemency for Snowden.

Senior White House officials on Sunday said the whistleblower should return to the US to face charges after he leaked a large cache of NSA documents to the Washington Post and The Guardian.

Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein told CBS in an interview that the House intelligence committee would have heard out Snowden had he approached them before leaking the documents.

“That didn't happen, and now he's gone and done this enormous disservice to our country. And I think the answer is no clemency,” she said.

Greek EU commissioner challenges bribery allegations

Dimitris Avramopoulos says he will mount a legal challenge to reveal the identities of people behind allegations that he, along with other former Greek ministers, had accepted money from a Swiss pharmaceutical giant.

Rights watchdog to visit Turkey over rule of law

The Strasbourg-based human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, is heading to Ankara next week. The trip follows new plans by Ankara to meet EU demands for reforms in areas like anti-terror legislation.

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