US strong arms its allies

Glenn Greenwald comes out with another shocking story in The Intercept about the kinds of threats that the US uses against its allies if they gave asylum to Edward Snowden.

German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel (above) said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged for him to travel to that country. “They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said.

Afterward, however, when I pressed the vice chancellor (who is also head of the Social Democratic Party, as well as the country’s economy and energy minister) as to why the German government could not and would not offer Snowden asylum — which, under international law, negates the asylee’s status as a fugitive — he told me that the U.S. government had aggressively threatened the Germans that if they did so, they would be “cut off” from all intelligence sharing. That would mean, if the threat were carried out, that the Americans would literally allow the German population to remain vulnerable to a brewing attack discovered by the Americans by withholding that information from their government..

Nonetheless, one of two things is true: 1) the U.S. actually threatened Germany that it would refrain from notifying them of terrorist plots against German citizens and thus deliberately leave them vulnerable to violent attacks, or 2) some combination of high officials from the U.S. and/or German governments are invoking such fictitious threats in order to manipulate and scare the German public into believing that asylum for Snowden will endanger their lives. Both are obviously noteworthy, though it’s hard to say which is worse.

I can well believe that the US would be willing to sacrifice the people of other countries, even those of close allies, if they do not acquiesce to their demands. This subservience is what the US demands of all its allies, except Israel.


  1. Kimpatsu says

    Nothing new there, Mano. When French intelligence bombed the Greenpeace flagship the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour, the USA knew of the planned attack but withheld the information from NZ because NZ has a nuclear-free policy and so does not allow US nuclear submarines to enter NZ waters.

  2. Who Cares says

    The US threatening allies does have precedent, again with Snowden. After they lost him in Moscow airport while Morales (president of Bolivia) was there the US managed to get France, Italy and Spain to close their airspace to the plane, then managed to get Austria to keep the plain grounded until Snowden could be located.

  3. moarscienceplz says

    If the U.S. unilaterally made this threat, not only is it evil, it is stupid. Intelligence sharing works both ways. We need data from German agencies just as much as they need ours. To threaten to burn that bridge just to spite Snowden (because he was going to air his cache no matter what was done to him personally) is harmful to everyone and helpful to no one, except the terrorists.

  4. Andrew Rocelli says

    I appreciate your updates on Snowden and US intelligence and US relations with allies etc!.
    It got me thinking that it would be interesting also to see anything you hear of about Chinese actions in the spheres of intelligence, spying, and control of other nations. What sparked this was learning about how strong the Chinese presence is in the internet -- in terms of numbers of Chinese language web sites, of Chinese held e-commerce sites, of Chinese ownership of foreign companies and control of scarce resources.
    I can see why you are mainly concerned about the US -- you live there, you know most about it and its ‘leaders’, etc. But the US is NOT where all the important action is occurring these days. We need to ‘check China’ regularly.

  5. says

    @moarscienceplz…Bingo…It’s a total bluff…The more that The U.S. becomes a liability for it’s allies, the more our allies will try to find ‘alternate’ ways of going about their business…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *