EU Parliament, Mercosur blast US spying

EU Parliament, Mercosur blast US spying
Thu Oct 31, 2013 09:35:07

Members of the European Parliament and the South American trade bloc Mercosur have condemned the United States for widespread spying on European and American nations.

The nine-member European Union (EU) delegation met with US officials in the White House on Wednesday to seek a response to allegations of the US National Security Agency (NSA)'s massive cyber espionage activities against EU citizens and governments, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"Spying has always existed, but friend-on-friend spying is not something that is easily tolerable." said Britain's Claude Moraes, head of the EU delegation. "We want to get to the truth of these allegations."

Members of the European Parliament's civil liberties committee have been in Washington since Monday, and have also held discussions with officials from the US State Department, Congress and intelligence agencies.

The South American trade bloc Mercosur has harshly criticized the United States’ global surveillance programs as well.

"We have condemned the global spying network that the US government developed which has included snooping on Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff," Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said on Wednesday after meeting with top diplomats from Mercosur member countries in the capital Caracas.

"We agreed on condemning worldwide spying by the United States and we discussed what measures would be best taken by governments and societies as a whole," Jaua added.

Mercosur is an economic union and political agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela founded in 1991. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people, and currency. Bolivia became an accessing member in December 2012.

Last week, The Guardian reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had monitored the telephone conversations of 35 world leaders.

"A US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders… Despite the fact that the majority is probably available via open source, the PCs [intelligence production centers] have noted 43 previously unknown phone numbers. These numbers plus several others have been tasked," according to a classified document provided by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.


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