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Brazil president censures 'NSA spying on Merkel'

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Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has censured alleged spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone communications.

“Nobody, no democratic nation, will permit this violation of sovereignty and human and civil rights,” Rousseff said on Thursday, adding, “There will be a growing reaction” from countries targeted by the spying scandal.

The Brazilian president further rejected the US justification that the spying was conducted for fighting terrorism, saying it “does not fit in my case, and neither do I think it fits in the case of the monitoring of (Merkel’s) cell phone.”

On Wednesday, the German leader called US President Barack Obama after learning that the NSA may have monitored her and demanded “an immediate and comprehensive explanation” from the US administration.

Rousseff herself has been the victim of NSA spying. On September 1, Brazil’s Globo television network said that the NSA spied on emails, phone calls and text messages of Brazil’s president.

The US spying revelations on Brazil have greatly strained the relationship between the two countries and caused Rousseff to cancel last month a visit to Washington.

Brazil has announced that it plans to bypass the US-centric internet, with measures including storing data locally and to lay underwater fiber optic cable directly to Europe and all the South American nations in order to create a network free of US surveillance.

Rousseff spoke recently at the United Nations General Assembly, calling for international regulations on data privacy and limiting espionage programs targeting the Internet.

Germany, France and several other countries have also expressed concerns about US spying after American surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed classified information about US surveillance programs.

Snowden, a former CIA employee, leaked two top secret US government spying programs under which the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) are eavesdropping on millions of American and European phone records and the Internet data from major Internet companies such as Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

The NSA scandal took even broader dimensions when Snowden revealed information about its espionage activities targeting friendly countries.

The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, admitted in July that Snowden’s exposés have seriously damaged US ties with other countries. “There has been damage. I don’t think we actually have been able to determine the depth of that damage.”


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