The linchpin of an empire is the link between two elites, one in the imperial centre, the others in the peripheries. Symmetric alliances exist, but not when there is a superpower at the centre.
As the first formal probe by an international rights body into allegations of U.S. mass surveillance began here Monday, privacy advocates from throughout the Americas accused Washington of violating international covenants and endangering civil society.
When Clare Short, Britain's former minister for international development, revealed that British intelligence agents had spied on former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan by bugging his office just before the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the U.N. chief was furious that his discussions with world leaders had been compromised.
Throwing diplomatic protocol to the winds, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff launched a blistering attack on the United States for illegally infiltrating its communications network, surreptitiously intercepting phone calls, and breaking into the Brazilian Mission to the United Nations.
Reported U.S. spying on Brazil’s Petrobras oil firm revived the controversy over opening up the company, a symbol of Brazilian sovereignty since the 1950s, to foreign investment.
Non-governmental organisations are urging the United Nations Human Rights Council to demand explanations from the Mexican state for the weak protection it provided its citizens from large-scale spying by the United States.