Glenn Greenwald says that the reaction of German chancellor Angela Merkel to the revelation of NSA spying gives us a revealing insight into the hypocrisy of government leaders.
When the original news reports emerged of how the NSA was spying on German citizens, her reaction was muted, more pro forma in its denunciations, that gave people the impression that this was actually business as usual. But not that it has been revealed that the NSA has been spying on even the personal cell phone of leaders including hers, hers and the others’ anger seem more genuine.
It is always thus. Our political leaders don’t much care about violating the rights of ordinary people but take umbrage when they are the victims, because they think that they are a privileged class, above the normal rules.
It reminds me of Jane Harman, Democratic congresswoman from California. She was one of the most vocal supporters of George W. Bush-era illegal domestic eavesdropping programs, repeatedly pooh-poohing the concerns of civil liberties groups. But when it emerged that her own phone had been tapped, she was absolutely outraged at this invasion of her privacy even thought that particular wiretapping had been done with a legal warrant as part of a criminal investigation. Practically overnight she went from a supporter to an opponent of this kind of eavesdropping.
These people have no principles, just self–interest.
Greenwald points out other hypocrisies, such as the new expressions from European leaders about how glad that these stories of spying are being revealed, as if they are now champions of openness. If so, why are they still pursuing a US-backed vendetta against Edward Snowden, the person whose work they are praising, instead of offering him asylum?