Shortly after Spiegel Online published German Intelligence Under Fire for NSA Cooperation (Apr 24), I added what I thought would be the first comment on the article. I returned to the next day to see how the comment had fared. To my surprise, the caption "Be the first to comment on this article" remained in place. My comment was rejected (and remains so). Just maybe, I thought, the comment title, also the headline of this article, and my questions about German sovereignty were deemed unacceptable for Spiegel's reading public.
The April 24 Spiegel Online article added yet another chapter to the privacy violations by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). Along with its German equivalent, the BND, NSA engaged in electronic spying on the German government, German politicians, and commercial concerns in Germany and other European countries. This violated an agreement for shared electronic monitoring, which stipulated that there would be no spying on German or U.S. targets.
Even worse, according to leaks by Edward Snowden cited in the article, the German BND knew about the joint spying operations since 2008 but failed to inform the German government and parliament, the Bundenstag.
The article noted that there were crimes associated with the cover up of these activities:
"The spying scandal shows that the intelligence agencies have a life of their own and are uncontrollable," says the senior Left Party representative Martina Renner. "There have to be personnel consequences and German public prosecutors must investigate."
But as of late Thursday, the German government hadn't even informed the public prosecutor's office of the incident. SpiegelOnline, Apr 24
The lack of any legal action against BND officials for lying to the Bundenstag, tapping Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone, and spying on business in Germany and other European nations caused me to ask the following questions in the content section of my censored comment.
Does a sovereign nation allow a foreign nation to spy on its government?
Does a sovereign nation allow a foreign nation to spy on its businesses and those of neighboring countries?
Does a sovereign nation allow a foreign nation to commit the above acts without responding in some clear cut fashion and without punishing the sovereign nation's intelligence officials that abet this type of spying?
Is Germany a sovereign nation?
There are reasons to see Germany as an occupied nation with some autonomous rights rather than a sovereign state.
Germany houses major U.S. military installations critical to war making activities.
There are 54,000 U.S. troops stationed at over 20 bases in Germany. These bases serve as a staging and management area for U.S. military operations in the Middle East including drone attacks. Der Spiegel Online reported the importance of U.S. German bases for drone warfare:
"The graphics show that Ramstein is involved in virtually every Air Force drone attack. Even if the pilots are sitting at Air Force bases in Nevada, Arizona or Missouri, and even if the targets are located on the Horn of Africa or the Arab Peninsula, USAFE headquarters at Ramstein is almost always involved." Spiegel Online, Apr 22