Datagate goes international

I was catching up on the Italian news this morning and saw that Datagate is what the Italian press is calling the explosive new revelations that the NSA has secret agreements with European countries to spy on European citizens as well. The news is not quite so readily available in English, although Prachi Gupta’s article at Salon is still accessible:

NSA has been working with at least seven European other countries to
collect personal communications data, according to Wayne Madsen, a
former NSA contractor who has come forward because he does not think the
public should not be “kept in the dark.” According to Madsen, Denmark,
the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy all have formed secret
agreements with the US to submit sensitive data.

The Guardian reports:

international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified
documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust
level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New
Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third
party relationships.

In an interview published last night on the blog,
Madsen, who has been attacked for holding controversial views on
espionage issues, said he had decided to speak out after becoming
concerned about the “half story” told by EU politicians regarding the
extent of the NSA’s activities in Europe.

He said that under the
agreements, which were drawn up after the second world war, the “NSA
gets the lion’s share” of the sigint “take”. In return, the third
parties to the NSA agreements received “highly sanitised intelligence”.

news could be potentially damaging to countries, particularly Germany,
whose chancellor Angela Merkel has vocally condemned the NSA program
that recently came to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

This sounds like Echelon on steroids, dwarfing anything Orwell imagined in Big Brother. Moreover, as La Repubblica reports, the Observer article has already been removed from the web “pending an investigation: 

“Datagate, anche l’Italia collabora” 
Poi il Guardian rimuove la pagina web
Il Telegraph: quella fonte è inaffidabile
Foto Ma l’articolo è comunque finito in edicola

“Datagate, Italy also collaborates”
Afterwards the Guardian removes the web page
The Telegraph[sic]: that source is not found
Photo But the article is nevertheless still on the newspaper stand

Note that La Repubblica mistakenly refers to The Telegraph when the link actually refers to The Guardian.  These revelations should give a massive boost to the growing anti-Merkel forces in Germany, as it reveals her to be a shameless and bald-faced liar.