​Germany bends over backwards to satisfy US spying demands

Annie Machon
Annie Machon is a former intel­li­gence officer for MI5, the UK Secur­ity Ser­vice, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incom­pet­ence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler. Draw­ing on her var­ied exper­i­ences, she is now a pub­lic speaker, writer, media pun­dit, inter­na­tional tour and event organ­iser, polit­ical cam­paigner, and PR con­sult­ant. She has a rare per­spect­ive both on the inner work­ings of gov­ern­ments, intel­li­gence agen­cies and the media, as well as the wider implic­a­tions for the need for increased open­ness and account­ab­il­ity in both pub­lic and private sectors.
​Germany bends over backwards to satisfy US spying demands
Despite the historic lessons Germany has bent over backwards trying to accommodate spying requests by the US, yet has done nothing so far to protect the privacy of its own citizens guaranteed by the constitution, Annie Machon, former UK MI5 agent told RT.

READ MORE: Germany to drop investigation into US spying on Merkel - report

RT:Was all that initial anger and disgust from the German leadership just a load of hot air?

Annie Machon: I think they had to make the right sounds at the time. But it is a shame that they can't follow through and have a proper investigation. Bear in mind that what Snowden disclosed was not just the fact that Angela Merkel was being snooped on and listened to, but also another 121 leaders were being spied on by the NSA. And I suppose that most of us thought, because of the German history and the sensitivity of being spied on particularly the East German Stasi regime, that there would be a proper investigation here. And it would be lovely for other countries and other leaders who have been spied on as well would also instigate such investigations. But it is a shame that in Germany it hasn't been followed through.

RT:Why aren't the Snowden revelations enough evidence to go on?

AM: Well, one would indeed think. I would recommend anyone who wants to read the raw intelligence that came out of Snowden, go to Der Spiegel and they have a whole German file in PDF form ready to download. So you can read exactly what the Americans have been doing with the German intelligence agencies. And it is vast. It is one of the biggest spy centers in Europe. And it appears to be from what we can see in the disclosures unconstitutional under the German law. Under the criminal code, section 99 I think it is, no spying is legal on people in Germany by the German spy agencies. Yet we know from Snowden that they have been very complicit working with the NSA. They have been bending over backwards over the last decade since 9/11 to facilitate the work of the NSA across Europe and wider.

RT:Are you expecting some sort of a backlash then in Germany, given that it is unconstitutional to spy?

AM: One would hope. After the historic lessons, the Germans are really much more sensitive to these sort of issues than perhaps some other countries where we still see the intelligence agencies as the James Bond glamorous good people who protect our liberties. I think what Snowden has disclosed has shown very clearly that what we're living under this surveillance, police panopticon at the moment. So it would be nice to think that the Germans will be able to push back because of their history.

And I know there has been a lot of anger. There are 80 million people living in Germany and they are not happy with the fact that the NSA and the GCHQ and the BND apparently are complicit in spying on their private communications, and rightly so, because if you don't have the sense privacy in your communications, and all use the internet these days, if you don't have that, you can't have a healthy functioning democracy. So I think the Angela Merkel phone intercept was a test case and I wish the Germans could have pushed this further.

RT:Do you think there are any signs that that Washington was exerting any pressure on Germany in this to drop the investigation?

AM: I’m sure they were. We have a situation where we know that the head of the BND, the external intelligence agency in Germany and the head of the BfV, counter-espionage internal agency in Germany, put a long list of written questions into the NSA and into the American government asking for explanations into what has been going on. This has not been answered. All that has happened is: ‘There's is no evidence around the Angela Merkel’s phone.’ What about the rest of us? What about the 80 million Germans and the rest of us, the 500 million European citizens who have been snooped on? We need answers too.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.