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Monday, October 21, 2013

France, Mexico Recoil over U.S. Espionage Hubris

France’s foreign ministry has summoned the U.S. ambassador over allegations the National Security Agency (NSA) spied on millions of phone calls in France. French newspaper of record Le Monde, obtained data from Edward Snowden which indicated that in the mere 30 days this past winter, NSA spied on 70.3 million phone calls in France. French Prime Minister Ayrault, was “deeply shocked” by the revelations, saying, “It’s incredible that an allied country like the United States at this point goes as far as spying on private communications that have no strategic justification, no justification on the basis of national defense.”

In a related revelation this weekend, Der Spiegel found the “NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years.” The report found that the NSA division, “Tailored Access Operations” (TAO), even breached Felipe Calderon’s public email account while he was president. Mexico is a significant trading partner with the United States and a party to a number of economic and military agreements with its neighbor to the north. Mexico’s foreign ministry issued a statement today saying such spying was “unacceptable, illegal” and contrary to good relations. The statement went on, “in a relationship between neighbors and partners, there is no place for the alleged practices.”

South Sudanese Rebels Attack Remote Village

According to Hussein, the acting governor of the state of Jonglei, in South Sudan, rebels loyal to militia leader David Yau Yau killed at least 41 people in a gun attack in a remote area of the state. “63 got wounded, some of them critically,” announced Maar. “Some of the injured are in very bad condition and they will most likely die tonight or later.”

Yau Yau rebelled against the South Sudanese government after he lost a bid for a parliamentary seat in the 2010, accusing the ruling party of rigging the elections. President Salva Kiir granted Yau Yau amnesty in 2011. But last year he fled to Sudan to start a new rebellion against South Sudan. South Sudanese officials have long accused Sudan’s leaders of supporting a number of rebellions in South Sudan.

Deported French Roma Assaulted in Kosovo

Kosovar police said Resat and Xhemaili Dibrani, the parents of Leonarda Dibrani whose deportation from France sparked outrage, were attacked in Mitrovica by another Roma couple. Xhemaili was treated in the hospital for her injuries. This assault proves, according one police officer, that “the Dibranis are not safe here.” The seven members of the Dibrani family left Kosovo five years ago. They cited discrimination in Kosovo as grounds for asylum that they might continue living in Levier, in the Doubs region of eastern France. They lost their asylum case and were expelled forcibly from France earlier this month.

French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who infamously told the 20,000 Roma living in France to ‘go home‘, said the Dibrani deportation was just. Adding, “We should be proud of what we are doing, rather than feeling sorry for ourselves.” Valls’ Socialist party has launched an investigation in why Leonarda was forcibly removed from her school bus in view of other pupils.

Last week, French President François Hollande offered Leonarda the opportunity to continue her studies in France, without her family. Leonarda refused.

First Nation Anti-Fracking Protests Continue Despite Mountie Violence

Members of the Elsipogtog First Nations group and their allies may continue their years-long peaceful protest of fracking in New Brunswick. Earlier this month, SWN Resources, the Canadian subsidiary of U.S.-based Southwestern Energy, was quietly granted an injunction required protestors to leave the area, but protests continued. Last Thursday, dozens upon dozens of Royal Canadian Mounted Police arrived with shotguns and dogs to disperse the protestors. At least 40 people were arrested during the ensuing violence. John Bennet, executive director of the Sierra Club Canada, criticized the police action saying, “”or me it brings images of Custer and people attacking Indian villages to make them leave. It was done in the same spirit. They could have come in without weapons and tried to mediate. Instead the police did a dawn raid in camouflage. They caused the violence.”

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