[News] Brazilian president: US surveillance a 'breach of international law'

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Sep 24 14:54:29 EDT 2013

    *     News <http://www.theguardian.com/us>
    * World news <http://www.theguardian.com/world>
    * United Nations <http://www.theguardian.com/world/unitednations>

  Brazilian president: US surveillance a 'breach of international law'

*Dilma Rousseff's scathing speech to UN general assembly the most 
serious diplomatic fallout over revelations of US spying


Brazil <http://www.theguardian.com/world/brazil>'s president, Dilma 
Rousseff <http://www.theguardian.com/world/dilma-rousseff>, has launched 
a blistering attack on US espionage at the UN general assembly, accusing 
the NSA <http://www.theguardian.com/world/nsa> of violating 
international law by its indiscriminate collection of personal 
information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the 
country's strategic industries.

Rousseff's angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/barack-obama>, who was waiting in the 
wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and 
represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the 
revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff had already put off a planned visit to Washington in protest at 
US spying, after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US 
electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president's 
phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil 
corporation, Petrobras.

"Personal data of citizens was intercepted indiscriminately. Corporate 
information -- often of high economic and even strategic value -- was at 
the centre of espionage activity.

"Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission 
to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had 
their communications intercepted," Rousseff said, in a global rallying 
cry against what she portrayed as the overweening power of the US 
security apparatus.

"Tampering in such a manner in the affairs of other countries is a 
breach of international law and is an affront of the principles that 
must guide the relations among them, especially among friendly nations. 
A sovereign nation can never establish itself to the detriment of 
another sovereign nation. The right to safety of citizens of one country 
can never be guaranteed by violating fundamental human rights of 
citizens of another country."

Washington's efforts to smooth over Brazilian outrage over NSA espionage 
have so far been rebuffed by Rousseff, who has proposed that Brazil 
build its own internet infrastructure.

"Friendly governments and societies that seek to build a true strategic 
partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to 
take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable," she said.

"The arguments that the illegal interception of information and data 
aims at protecting nations against terrorism cannot be sustained. 
Brazil, Mr President, knows how to protect itself. We reject, fight and 
do not harbour terrorist groups," Rousseff said.

"As many other Latin Americans, I fought against authoritarianism and 
censorship and I cannot but defend, in an uncompromising fashion, the 
right to privacy <http://www.theguardian.com/world/privacy> of 
individuals and the sovereignty of my country," the Brazilian president 
said. She was imprisoned and tortured for her role in a guerilla 
movement opposed to Brazil's military dictatorship in the 1970s.

"In the absence of the right to privacy, there can be no true freedom of 
expression and opinion, and therefore no effective democracy. In the 
absence of the respect for sovereignty, there is no basis for the 
relationship among nations."

Rousseff called on the UN oversee a new global legal system to govern 
the internet. She said such multilateral mechanisms should guarantee the 
"freedom of expression, privacy of the individual and respect for human 
rights" and the "neutrality of the network, guided only by technical and 
ethical criteria, rendering it inadmissible to restrict it for 
political, commercial, religious or any other purposes.

"The time is ripe to create the conditions to prevent cyberspace from 
being used as a weapon of war, through espionage, sabotage and attacks 
against systems and infrastructure of other countries," the Brazilian 
president said.

As host to the UN headquarters, the US has been attacked from the 
general assembly many times in the past, but what made Rousseff's 
denunciation all the more painful diplomatically was the fact that it 
was delivered on behalf of large, increasingly powerful and historically 
friendly state.

Obama, who followed Rousseff to the UN podium, acknowledged
international alarm at the scale of NSA snooping revealed by Snowden.
He said: "Just as we reviewed how we deploy our extraordinary military
capabilities in a way that lives up to our ideals, we have begun to
review the way that we gather intelligence, so as to properly balance
the legitimate security concerns of our citizens and allies, with the
privacy concerns that all people share."

Brazilian officials said that Washington had told them about this
review but had noted that its results would not be known for months
and that Rousseff believed it was urgent to raise the need for an
international code of ethics for electronic espionage.

Rousseff will leave New York tomorrow without meeting Obama but
Brazil's new foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, will remain at
the UN throughout the week and will meet his opposite number, John
Kerry, Brazilian officials said, in an attempt to start mending the
rift between the two countries.

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