back to article Furious French choke on chardonnay over NSA's phone spying in France

The latest documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have the French government up in arms: the spying agency collected data on seven million calls and texts a day in the land of fine wine and cheese. That's according to a dossier published by Le Monde on Monday. The files reveal that the NSA had two spying …

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Anonymous Coward

The back lash against the French will be terrible.

Congress will soon be serving Freedom Fries in their cafeteria again.

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the irony being French Fries are Belgian.

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Big Brother

No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

I guess the French will insist on being served liberte' cheese on their Big Macs from now on....

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Re: No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

Another irony is that US consumption of fries and other fast foods is really a secret rest-of-the-world plot to incapacitate and bankrupt a nation via health terrorism in a subtler(?) way than the NSA has dreamed of: the victims enjoy every last sugar-fat-salt mouthful of their journey and the development, manufacture and marketing is all done by themselves.

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Happy

Re: No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

Actually, the reason I used Big Macs as an example is that per-capita France is McDonald's best market in the whole world. The land of Cordon Bleu cooking is pretty nuts about their "Royale with Cheese" with a side of pommes frites.....

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Coat

Re: No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

"plot to incapacitate and bankrupt a nation via health terrorism" Please don't be stupid. You are experts of doing it to yourself. Nobody is as good as you are with that. Fast food shit is an American invention exported to the rest of the world. Nobody loves bad fat with potato as much as you do. You are the words most obese people. Have a look at Food.inc on Youtube and look at what you have managed to do to yourself. No help from abroad has been needed. I have my coat as it still fits me.

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Re: No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

"I guess the French will insist on being served liberte' cheese on their Big Macs from now on...."

Ce n'est pas un Big Mac, c'est un Maxi Mac!

Or so I was stroppily told by the woman behind the counter in a Parisian McDonalds several years back (despite the menu behind her quite clearly saying the opposite).

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Re: No! No!! You've got it backwards!!

"maxi" is the meal, for some reason called "best of" and "maxi best of" (dear McDo France, I don't think that means what you think it means).

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And strictly should be called 'vlaamse frites' = Flemish Fries

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Swadding Belgium

> the irony being French Fries are Belgian.

Unlikely, since there are documented references to them dating from before the establishment of that country.

-A.

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Black Helicopters

Oh, so the cheese-eating surrender monkeys are one of the biggest threats to the US freedoms?

I think they really don't have any integrity left what so ever to pull that off... The whole spying on world + dog was just a power trip, nothing less nothing more.

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"The whole spying on world + dog was just a power trip, nothing less nothing more."

More the acts of people* that are terrified of every and anything, and seek extreme measures to monitor and control every aspect of existence in a vain attempt to feel secure.

Like Dick Cheney discombobulating his pacemaker to foil 'terrorists'.

*not Americans, or even the World at large, just ultra conservatives. Psychological studies show that the conservative mindset is driven by fear.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201104/conservatives-big-fear-brain-study-finds

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/28/conservatives-fear-center-brain/

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ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

Americans like to say, "Oh, don't blame me, its the government."

But the USA is fairly close to being a functional democracy.

Ultra conservatives did not elect Obama. Ultra conservatives did not elect Bush.

A majority of the American public elected them.

And a majority of the American public re-elected them. The American public should be held to account for the people select.

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

"But the USA is fairly close to being a functional democracy."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny7uGEPgoXk

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Unhappy

Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

. . . and the measures enacted under the one were continued and even expanded under the other.

However functional the democracy, the choice is between a group with left-wing ideology that supports wholesale spying on the entire world and a group with right-wing ideology that supports wholesale spying on the entire world.

Democracy is about giving people the power to choose but in this regard, the choices available to the people largely amount to what radio station to listen to in the car and occasionally what route to take, but not the destination. Sometimes you get a colouring book or some sweets.

You also forget, or simply ignore, that these decisions were made without consulting the people in any way. It's not like the Bush administration went to the election with a platform of massively expanded, blanket surveillance or his opponents in Kerry and then Obama went in with opposing views.

The only public face of the NSA's snoopapalooza is the PATRIOT act and both Bush and Kerry were strongly in favour of it and then Obama extended the sunset clause to ensure the US federal government would continue to have the legal power to massively and increasingly violate the personal liberty of all American citizens and indeed the privacy of people the world over.

I, personally, do not hold the American people 'to account' but instead offer my sincere sympathy that their government manages to misrepresent them to a degree that is remarkable even in the current age of platitude-spouting, glad-handing, self-serving, pocket-lining, hyphen-requiring corporate shill politicians that Western society has managed to end up with.

(Not discounting that non-western nations aren't full of the same but the notable ones seem to have, sadly, even worse flaws.)

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Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

WatAWorld, no, a majority of the American public did not elect Obama, or Bush, or any other president. It is only the members of the Electoral College who elect the president (and vice-president). The American public could be held to account for their choice of representatives and (since 1913) senators, though.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

"However functional the democracy, the choice is between a group with left-wing ideology that supports wholesale spying on the entire world and a group with right-wing ideology that supports wholesale spying on the entire world."

What is this new left-wing party that's suddenly running in US elections? I certainly would welcome a break up of the existing "how far to the right do you want to go?" system.

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Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

Ha.

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Re: ultra conservatives did not elect Obama

Just like the UK, the vast majority of the votes cast are irrelevant. Here we have marginal constituencies, there they have swing states.

What's needed is a way of making everyone's vote equal, and preferably of having people to vote for that have integrity.

I think that will be a while coming...

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Re: What's needed is a way of making everyone's vote equal

You mean like in France, where the President is elected directly from the vote of the people ?

Yes, that must be what you mean.

So, it is France that is actually a "functional democracy".

The USA is more of a functional plutocracy, or, at the very least, a corperatocracy.

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Re: What's needed is a way of making everyone's vote equal

@Pascal

The problem is REPRESENTATIVE democracy. Such a system is, in effect, a democratically-elected oligarchy.

The only real difference in outcome is that the ability to vote the currently ruling oligarchic group out every so often means that no group can go too far, too quickly towards operating solely for the interests of itself and it's allies. Instead, each successive group gradually disregards the people more and more until your choice ends up between a group that (if you'll permit an excursion into the vernacular) wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire and one that would stop, think for a moment, and then resolve to spit on your face a little.

Of course a direct democracy has it's fair share of flaws too, not least that for any sizable electorate the logistics are a nightmare.

In practice, most, if not all, modern democracies are mixtures of direct and representative democracies. What's needed is to inject more direct democracy, allowing more scope for the public to control individual issues. This is especially important given the tendency for elected governments to claim a 'mandate' that justifies them enacting any law or implementing any policy they choose, regardless of if the public even new about the policy prior to the election.

You might run on a platform where your two primary policies are massive tax cuts and banning gay marriage (to use a current world-wide debate) but if you are elected that doesn't necessarily mean the majority of the public support a ban on gay marriage.

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"Like Dick Cheney discombobulating his pacemaker to foil 'terrorists'."

Oh come on, haven't you watched Homeland? It's a perfectly reasonable worry.

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oh the outrage!

NSA spies on France, recording millions of phone calls.

How? With the connivance of whom?

Reaction of the French government - which we are being led to believe only found out about this outrage from a newspaper article (they would of course have no means of their own to find out about, aid or abet such activities): it is unacceptable"

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French outrage!

It's a bit hollow, isn't it, coming from one of the few "civilised" countries whose intelligent service actively supports it's (somewhat) private sector with industrial espionage. And who in the first place enabled such broad snooping (or didn't prevent it)? One would think the French government should have known one or the other bit about it.

What's currently going on within France that they need a bit of their beloved American outrage?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: French outrage!

What's currently going on within France that they need a bit of their beloved American outrage?

US visit to a President and Prime Minister who are hitting record lows in the satisfaction surveys, plus a big surge by the populist extreme right in the polls a week ago.

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Unhappy

Re: French outrage!

True, this is almost as bad as the "What?! America is using NATO bases in Europe to rendition terrorist suspects and building secret prisons in the EU!!" faux outrage during the Bush years. How much do you want to bet that European permissions were received and promises of intelligence sharing and "We'll keep your bad guys off the street" made in return.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: French outrage!

one of the few "civilised" countries whose intelligent service actively supports it's (somewhat) private sector with industrial espionage

Alas, it's happening in other countries too (I'm omitting the qualifier "civilised" because that''s more a matter of opinion). That the French have been exposed a bit more in the past is no reason to assume it isn't happening elsewhere, something the NSA docs demonstrate.

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Happy

Re: French outrage!

"It's a bit hollow, isn't it, coming from one of the few "civilised" countries whose intelligent service actively supports it's (somewhat) private sector with industrial espionage. And who in the first place enabled such broad snooping (or didn't prevent it)? One would think the French government should have known one or the other bit about it.

What's currently going on within France that they need a bit of their beloved American outrage?"

This: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidblair/100242400/france-is-shocked-shocked-i-tell-you-that-america-would-spy-on-its-allies/

Everyone does it. Even the birds and the bees do it, let's do it, let's fall in hate.

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Re: French outrage!

"It's a bit hollow, isn't it, coming from one of the few "civilised" countries whose intelligent service actively supports it's (somewhat) private sector with industrial espionage."

One of the few?

Like the USA, the UK,....

Uh, just about everyone I guess.

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Anonymous Coward

the French are furious

because the Yanks dared to competed spying on French citizens with the French spies.

whereas the right attitude should be that displayed by the British government: yeah, whatever.

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If this is "like," what is "hate?"

"US ambassador Charles Rivkin ... commented that US-French relations were the best they have been in a generation."

OK, so even with this revelation, the French like us. It's because Lance Armstrong stopped competing, isn't it?

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me ..

.. or are these releases starting to become very politically timed? Any other foreign visits scheduled?

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Get rid of Windows, phones by Google, Microsoft and Apple and lets go back to open source and two cans between long strings for telephone calls. The rest of functions on todays phones are gimmicks that pander to the lazy anyway

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Anonymous Coward

Get rid of Windows, phones by Google, Microsoft and Apple and lets go back to open source and two cans between long strings for telephone calls. The rest of functions on todays phones are gimmicks that pander to the lazy anyway

Yeah, I've come to that conclusion too. We're back to morse with torches. We were planning the smokey fire + blanket trick of the Indians for WAN, but that got stymied by satellites.

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Anonymous Coward

If I know the frogs ..

'France was the third most highly spied-on European state ...'

They'll be pissed that they were third instead of first.

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Anonymous Coward

The struggle against terrorism.

Now that the communist bogeyman is gone the Neocons are using the terrorist threat as a pretext to carry on subverting local autonomy, it's business as usual. The Very Big Corporation of America 'loans' third world country to finance some big project. As long as project is implemented by the Very Big Corporation of America. Effectively the money is funnelled back to the US. The third world country goes broke and as part of the IMF rescue package they have to sell their entire country to the Very Big Corporation of America. For non-compliant countries there's, military coups and assassinations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man

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Unhappy

Re: The struggle against terrorism.

It's not even neocons, unless you want to lump Obama, Hollande, Blair and Gordon Brown into that camp. It's just control freak pols who want to order every aspect of society because they know better than the plebs.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The struggle against terrorism.

"...they have to sell their entire country to the Very Big Corporation of America. For non-compliant countries there's, military coups and assassinations"...

Your own words articulate this better than the wiki link. You've gotta love the 'The Land of the Free' ....It was always a lie. It was just a glossy brochure, tourist guide, and press-pack marketing campaign for USA Inc. In a perfect world your truths would be on the marketing materials instead...

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Re: The struggle against terrorism.

Idealism only works when you have some oppression to combat. Once you win, you have to start defending yourself and so end up adopting some of the very same policies you once railed against.

The whole idea of 'The Land of the Free', later converted to the national anthem, is that even though the price may be high, if freedom and liberty are preserved then it is worth it. It would almost be ironic if not for the fact that the gross betrayals of those ideals have also encroached upon the liberty of people the US claim as 'allies' and, more, annoyingly, friends.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The struggle against terrorism.

Quote: "It's not even neocons, unless you want to lump Obama, Hollande, Blair and Gordon "

First of all, Blair is definitely "lumped" in that category.

Second, economic "hits" are carried out not just by Americans and Neocons. I have observed from close distance an economic hit on an small European country. Hit unfolded at follows:

0. It had a service-able debt of ~ 10Bn - roughly half of its GDP (by today's standard not a debt at all).

1. As a part of the overall dissatisfaction worldwide with the life being sucky towards the end of the 2000s its government was replaced via democratic election by a populist party headed by a royalty returned from exile. Where did they get the money from to run the election campaign - nobody knows (but you can guess reading the next 3 steps).

2. The newly elected government brought "new people" with "experience" on "turn-around" mostly from City asset stripping investment fund desks and their spouses and relatives do run the rest. It also did a colation with a few other suspects with a good history in "running the country" (down) - ex-communists, etc.

3. 4 years of asset stripping followed. Personal reprivatisation of all the ex-exiled royalty assets inclusive (despite the new prime minister officially declaring on national TV that he will never do it in order to be elected). I guess that was his "price tag". On some Eu programmes up to 95% of the funds disappeared with nobody knowing where they went. The country debt went up from ~10Bn or so to >45Bn most of which short term at crazy interest rates.

4. The economy collapsed and so did the government. Most of the hit-group went elsewhere.

5. Hit executed.

It was a small and quick hit (nothing compared to one of the big ones that made the newspapers), but very successful none the less.

The "hitmanship" is a trade. It is executed on "failing" companies (often the failing is arranged), "failing" countries and other similar targets. Hienas circling a sick lion is a normal occurance in nature. One of the key features of moving from the wild pre-1920-es boom-n-bust capitalism to the modern regulated society was to put some of that under control. That was one of the fundamental reasons for the world being relatively stable economically after WW2. We had the 70-es recession and downturn at the end of 80-es. However, none of that as anywhere as bad as the 19th century boom and bust.

This has now changed in the recent 20 years or so Neo-cons (this includes Blair) have removed the controls on this through "globalization" and relaxation of key financial market regulations. You can now take a hit-team and take down anything from a 100Bn capitalization corp to a country, feed on the carcas and leave the "park rangers" to figure out how to burry it so it does not upset the "tourists". The stops to prevent this are not there any more. Neo-cons however, are not who is executing it. They are the fleas sucking some blood out of the hienas, not the hiena pack themselves.

By the way, this will continue until we either have the fences back in place or we have an world wide open season to reduce the hiena population including simplified extradition requirements for economic crimes. This includes working extradition for economic crimes, forcing countries to jail (at least) politicians responsible on a wholesale basis as bailout conditions and proper investigations of hit teams.

Otherwise we will end up where we were in the 19th century. A massive depression and at least one regional war every 10 years. That is the real price for economic hitmanship and I do not like me (and my kids) paying it.

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Re: The struggle against terrorism.

Not sure the pols even think they know better than the plebs.

They probably think that if the plebs find out just a little bit more about what they get up to they'll dislike them even more and it might even get dangerous, so better control them as much as possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Economic Hit men

Sometimes they don't even need to be Economic Hit men, they can simply act like drug barons peddling meth (cheap money), and then let the country hang itself... Case in point today's biz news..

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-22/how-wall-street-fed-puerto-rico-s-70-billion-borrowing-binge.html

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I wonder

How broad the parameters are when data mining the millions and billions of emails and phone calls from around the world?

I find it difficult to believe that an organisation with the power to intercept and evaluate so much would limit themselves to purely terror/drug related data when the possibility of gaining so much other interesting stuff like Industrial, Financial, scientific information is out there being discussed without encryption or insufficient encryption no matter how careful people think they are being.

'National Security' after all is about the wellbeing of the nation in all respects not just protection from terror and crime.

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Re: I wonder

Are you suggesting our self appointed lords and masters would be stashing compromising info on everybody so that if by some mischance Joe/Joan Random citizen winds up in a position of interest they can be persuaded to see things USSA/Big Business (tm) way ? Inconceivable!

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Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA

Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA (other than its vassal state, the UK, doing that at the USA's request).

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Re: Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA

Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA

Do you seriously think that they don't?

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Re: Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA

Everyone does it to everyone else. It's the way that we stay safe; governments deliberately allow their allies access to information so that they can reassure themselves. The difficult part is when they try to access the 'inner secrets'.

It's naive to think that only the current bogey man - the USA - spies on enemies and friends. This has been going on certainly since Walpole's magnificent system of espionage and security, and probably before that.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidblair/100242400/france-is-shocked-shocked-i-tell-you-that-america-would-spy-on-its-allies/

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Re: Imagine if an EU nation had done that to the USA

Do you seriously imagine that any EU state has the means and will to bug 400 million US phone calls in a month?

(That''s the equivalent of what the NSA did - they bugged 70 million calls in a country with 68 million people!)

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How gullible are people that believe this was done to fight terrorism?

How gullible are people that believe this was done to fight terrorism?

Spying on presidents and prime ministers around the world. Spying on trade ministers. Spying on major commercial enterprises.

Millions of phone calls intercepted in a matter of days.

Even during WWII the French only had tens of thousands of people in The Resistance (the 'terrorists' of those days).

This only makes sense if this spying is about economics, about tracking peaceful political opinions, and about pressuring non-compliant leaders into carrying out the wishes of the Grand Imperial Government.

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Anonymous Coward

"'National Security' after all is about the wellbeing of the nation in all respects"

Eh, no sunshine 'National Security' its all about money, or were you just having a sarcastic Monday?!

William Binney knows as much about spying as anyone alive... (former NSA whistleblower)

www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/06/the-dirty-little-secret-about-nsa-spying-it-doesnt-work.html

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