Tag Archive: Brazil

Jul 13 2014

2014 World Cup Final: Germany and Argentina

This is the second time that Germany and Argentina have met in the World Cup Finals. In 1986, their first match ended with Argentina winning 3 – 2 against then West Germany. Four years later, West Germany took home the cup with a 1 – 0 win. Today is anyone’s guess, both are strong teams but Germany seems to be the more aggressive and dominated the ball in most of their games. Yet, many are optimistic about an Argentina victory.

World Cup final: Argentina won’t buckle like Brazil, says Pablo Zabaleta

by Owen Gibson, The Guardian

• Full-back says side is too strong to suffer same fate as hosts

• Confidence untouched as team prepares to face Germany

Argentina will learn the lessons of Brazil’s World Cup humiliation and maintain the steely focus that has taken them to the brink of a historic victory in their neighbour’s backyard, according to Pablo Zabaleta.

As Alejandro Sabella’s agent revealed to an Argentinian radio station that he planned to step down after the World Cup final, Zabaleta vowed to ensure their coach went out on a high against Germany .

The Manchester City full-back echoed the surprise of the rest of the footballing world at Brazil’s “strange” capitulation in Belo Horizonte but said his robust and resolute Argentina side would not make the same mistake if they lost an early goal.

“Even if you concede some goals before 15 minutes or 20 minutes you need to keep calm and keep playing in the same way as we have been doing for these six games,” said Zabaleta, whose tears of relief and battered, bruised face after their semi-final victory over Holland seemed to sum up their scrappy, resolute run to the final.

“A football game is just about 90 minutes. If you concede some goals and you try to score as soon as possible, you concede space at the back and you are finished. It was a lesson for us, the Brazil game.”

Joachim Löw can steer Germany to World Cup glory against Argentina

by Zico, The Guardian

The way Germany crushed Brazil makes them favourites in the final but don’t count out some Lionel Messi magic

So here we are: Germany and Argentina, two traditional football nations, will decide the 2014 World Cup and no one can say they don’t deserve to be within one game of the trophy.

While demonstrating different profiles and styles, both negotiated passage through one of the most competitive tournaments in history and we are in for a very special game at the Maracanã. I have the feeling it will be more like chess than the festival of sprints we have seen throughout this World Cup but it should still be memorable.

Just don’t expect a goal festival like Germany v Brazil. In fact, the drubbing delivered to the hosts by Thomas Müller and co was one of the main reasons the second semi-final was such an anticlimax in comparison. Argentina and Holland both entered the game with a risk-averse plan and played pretty tight. Argentina knew they needed to sort out their defence after multiple scares in the group stages but they finally did with the arrival of Martín Demichelis who, alongside Ezequiel Garay, formed a very reliable centre-back pair.

On the Dutch side Louis van Gaal adopted the same strategy and that helped bring about a stalemate. Neither team gave the other space and, while Holland managed to keep Lionel Messi quiet, the Argentinians neutralised Arjen Robben.

Besides the controversy over the costs, construction of the stadiums and ticket scalping scandals, FIFA is also taking criticism over their lack of concern for player safety. UNlke the NFL, FIFA has disregarded the dangers of repeated concussions and returning to play soon after a head injury. They and the fans are far more concerned over the players practice of “diving,” pretending to be injured to draw a foul, as explained in this article from The New York Times.

Shouting About Diving, but Shrugging About Concussions

World Cup 2014: Injuries to Mascherano and Neymar Demonstrate Poor Medical Care

When Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano cracked heads with a Dutch player during a World Cup semifinal last week, millions of soccer fans saw it. [..]

Spectators didn’t need a medical degree to realize that he had hurt his head, and probably his brain, and that someone with a medical degree should properly evaluate him.

But then came yet another example of the dysfunction of FIFA, the sport’s world governing body, and how it is apparently indifferent to player safety, given what it has shown at this World Cup: Mascherano spent about two minutes on the sideline before returning for the rest of the match. That’s about four or five minutes before he should have returned, if he had received a proper neurological evaluation to determine the extent of his injury. [..]

Mascherano’s injury came about a week after the Brazilian star Neymar took a knee to the back in a quarterfinal match and fell to the ground, writhing in pain and saying he couldn’t feel his legs. Medical workers went to him without a backboard and instead rolled him onto a stretcher. Then they jogged off the field with him jostling around and crying out with every step. One person even slapped his right leg several times.

Once again, no medical degree was needed to see that it wasn’t the best treatment of someone who might have just sustained a serious spinal injury. Neymar, as it turned out, had a fractured vertebra.

It’s a wonder what medical protocols FIFA enforces – if it enforces any at all – when the world is not watching. But it’s a good bet that the federation would have snapped to attention if any of those players had faked an injury.

It’s obvious that FIFA needs to catch up with 21st century medical protocols.

Meanwhile, in Italy, there was some speculation on any friendly rivalry between Pope Francis, an Argentinian, and Pope Benedict XVI, a German, since their home country teams are rivals:

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, who has fielded soccer questions this week with a chuckling amusement, doubted the two men would watch the game together, or at all. He noted that Benedict, a scholarly theologian and author of a multipart meditation on the life of Jesus, has never been much of a soccer fan, “though he clearly understands that it’s important to many people.” (In March 2012, Benedict did greet the German star Miroslav Klose at the Vatican.)

The first Latin American pope, Francis is unquestionably a fan, who as archbishop of Buenos Aires cheered for San Lorenzo, a local soccer club. After San Lorenzo won the Argentine championship last year, a small delegation of managers and players came to the Vatican in December to present Francis with a trophy and an inscribed team jersey that read, “Francisco Campeon,” or “Francis Champion.” [..]

And will the pope be watching on Sunday night?

Father Lombardi said the pope “sent the Argentine team his best wishes before the tournament,” but added that Francis watches very little television, “and especially at that hour.”

“Above all,” he added, “I think they both want the best team to win. They’re above partisan passion. In this, they are united.”

There is still time to get yourself some snacks and drinks to get you through to the end of the match. One of the drinks concocted to commemorate the games is the German 71, in honor of the score of the Brazil – German match:

The German 71

1 ounce Monkey 47 gin

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

2 ounces Dr. L Sparkling Riesling

Lemon twist

1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, gin, lemon juice and syrup.

2. Pour into flute or cocktail glass, chilled if you like. Top with sparkling wine. Add lemon twist.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine 1 teaspoon of sugar for each ounce of water. Microwave until hot. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Let cool before mixing drink.

The article suggest not pouring a new drink with every goal if the Germans are on their game again today. Like the team. the drink is more potent than it looks. I do doubt many Brazilians will be toasting the winner with that.

One last note, today is the anniversary of the first World Cup in 1930. The first venue was in Uruguay and the first two matches were played simultaneously on July 13. Those games were won by  France and USA, who defeated Mexico 4-1 and Belgium 3-0 respectively. The first World Cup was won by the host country, Uruguay who defeated  Argentina 4-2 in Montevideo before a crowd of 93,000.

I have no favorite, although this would be Germany’s first cup since the unification and they have shown themselves to be quite formidable. So, may the best team win.  

Jul 12 2014

2014 World Cup Third Place Match: Brazil – Netherlands

This afternoon Brazil will try to salvage its World Cup with a win in the Third Place Match against Netherlands (Holland).

Semifinal Losers Will Vie for Third Place, Like It or Not

World Cup 2014: Brazil and Netherlands to Play for Third Place, a Game No One Wants

Brazil lost its World Cup semifinal match to Germany by a devastating 7-1 score. The Netherlands lost its game against Argentina in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of tense scoreless play.

After each match, the losing players wandered off the field, glassy eyed, crushed that their World Cup dreams had ended so close to the final.

The last thing any of them wanted to think about for a long time was soccer.

But their World Cup is not over. Instead, the losing semifinalists have had to haul their tired bodies and their dashed hopes to Brasília, where they will compete one more time on Saturday, for third place.

The third-place game is an oddity that many coaches, players and fans wish would fade into history. Netherlands Coach Louis van Gaal minced no words about the game.

“I think that this match should never be played,” he said. “The worst thing is that there is a chance you are going to lose twice in a row. And in a tournament in which you have played so marvelously well, you go home as a loser.”

C’est la vie, M. van Gaal. The man needs to stop whining about who went first and why.

Van Gaal remains convinced, though, that the World Cup was set up to favour Brazil. “I will stick to the facts,” he said. “The facts are that Brazil started first. And Brazil again has played first again and we played a day later.

“These are the facts. I am not going to beat around the bush. Then you know what the implications are if that is the case. The question is why? I think Scolari should think about that if he wants to do that and is allowed to do that.”

Van Gaal’s annoyance has clearly been heightened by the fact that Brazil have had another day to prepare for the third-place play-off. “We have one day less than Brazil,” Van Gaal added. “We have to get into shape in two and a half days, which physically is hard.”

Although much of the protesting has slowed, the corruption and political controversy of the game continued:

World Cup 2014: Executive Is Called Fugitive in Ticket-Selling Case

by Seth Kugel, The New York Times

A police investigation into an illegal ticket-selling scheme at the World Cup took a cinematic turn as one of the suspects slipped out of an employee entrance of the luxurious Copacabana Hotel in Rio de Janeiro just minutes before the police arrived to arrest him.

The suspect, Ray Whelan – an executive with Match Services, the company contracted by FIFA to sell match tickets and hospitality packages – can be seen on security footage casually following his lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, out an employee entrance of the hotel on Thursday afternoon. Police officers arrived minutes later with an arrest warrant. Whelan had been arrested earlier in the week and then released by a judge after a habeas corpus request. [..]

The police have been investigating an alleged Ticket Mafia, as the Brazilian press has called it, that supposedly acquired and sold World Cup match tickets and packages for well above list prices. The Rio de Janeiro police have recorded 50,000 phone calls, including around 900 calls between Whelan and Mohamadou Lamine Fofana, an Algerian who officials said was the mastermind of the operation, the police investigator Fabio Barucke told The Associated Press.

Investigators have accused 12 men of charges including ticket scalping, criminal conspiracy and, in three cases, bribing police officers in a sting operation. All but Whelan and José Massih, who assisted investigators during his initial arrest, are in police custody.

Brazilians Grumble and Take Stock After Crushing World Cup Loss

by Simon Romero, The New York Times

The hosting of the World Cup has been politicized from the moment FIFA, the scandal-tarred organization that oversees global soccer, awarded the tournament to Brazil in 2007. Back then, the economy was booming and the president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, viewed the Cup as an opportunity to celebrate Brazil’s achievements on the global stage.

Now the economy is sluggish, in its fourth consecutive year of slow growth. While the feat of lifting millions out of poverty over the past decade remains intact, Mr. Lula da Silva’s handpicked successor, Dilma Rousseff, has grappled with widespread protests over political corruption and spending on lavish stadiums.

Just last week, a survey suggested that Brazilians were softening in their views of the Cup, buoyed by a series of stunning matches and a lack of major problems in the hosting of the tournament itself. Antigovernment protests had dwindled substantially, even though discontent continued to smolder over the public financing of stadiums when other large-scale projects remained unfinished.

On the lighter side, if you liked the Lego movies and videos, The Guardian has an on going series of videos that highlight the best and worst moments of global sports, called “Brick by Brick.” The last several have focused on the 2014 World Cup starting with the first game between Brazil and Croatia to Suárez playing hero and villain, poster-boy Neymar’s injury and Brazil’s humiliating exit

The coverage for today’s game is on ESPN with pre-game hype starting at 3:30 PM EDT and kick off at 4 PM EDT.

Jul 09 2014

2014 World Cup Semifinals: Argentina – Netherlands

The winner of today’s match will face a very formidable German team in the final on Sunday, July 13. The loser will play Brazil for 3rd place on Saturday. Yesterday’s trouncing of home team Brazil by 7 – 1 was the most lopsided World Cup semifinal game ever and devastated the Brazilian fans.

Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, Goal, and Brazil’s Day Goes Dark

The fireworks began at dawn. All around this city, loud pops and bangs rang out as men and women and children, so many dressed in yellow, set off flares and beeped car horns. It was supposed to be a magical day. The Brazilian national soccer team, playing at home, was one game away from a World Cup final.

No one could have guessed the tears would come before halftime. No one could have imagined there would be flags burning in the streets before dinner. Certainly no one could have envisioned that any Brazilian fans, watching their team play a semifinal in a celebrated stadium, would ever consider leaving long before full time. [..]

At the very minimum, it will go down as Brazil’s worst loss, surpassing a 6-0 defeat by Uruguay in 1920. It was also Brazil’s first loss in a competitive home game since 1975, a stretch of more than 14,000 days. For more than six decades, Brazilians had been hoping to erase the embarrassment of their team’s defeat in the 1950 World Cup final – also against Uruguay – which denied them a championship the last time they hosted their favorite sport’s biggest tournament.

Somehow, the fans came away from this World Cup with a nightmare even darker.

The team’s humiliation continued on the internet with Twitter exploding with match becoming the most discussed sports event in Titter history with 35.6 million tweets most of them laughing at the team.

Here are some of the things to look for in today’s game:

How will Di María’s absence affect Argentina?

While Ángel Di María was Real Madrid’s best player in the Champions League final, he has been more fitful for Argentina.

Van Persie’s form

Robin van Persie began the tournament with the header to end all headers, that staggering swan-dive improvisation that sent the ball looping over a baffled Iker Casillas and Holland on their way to a momentous 5-1 crushing of Spain.

Higuaín and Lavezzi’s movement

Gonzalo Higuaín has never quite convinced in an Argentina shirt and there were many wondering whether he was worth his place leading into the quarter-final against Belgium.

Holland’s defence without Vlaar

Ron Vlaar has been a rock for Holland, marshalling their defence and using his experience to guide the younger players around him, so it will be a huge blow if a knee injury keeps him out on Wednesday night.

And some analysis from The Guardian‘s Zico:

Argentina v Holland: two teams on the up, both fancying their chances – it’s too close to call and I won’t dare predict a result. Our neighbours and the Dutch have deservedly made it to the semi-finals and Wednesday’s game in São Paulo promises to be an occasion we will remember for a long time judging by how the teams have fared at this World Cup.

Let’s start with Argentina. It was clear from the start that Lionel Messi would be their focal point in this tournament and he has delivered when they needed him most, either through vitals goals or assists, or making moves that opened up spaces or created chances for others. That latter scenario we saw in the game against Belgium. Gonzalo Higuaín was the scorer but Messi had created enough havoc to allow the Napoli striker to pounce on that ball.

A crucial factor for Argentina in the knockout stages has been the improvement in their defensive system. [..]

Holland’s graph is also rising but unlike Argentina they are not so dependent upon one player. In Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie they have an attacking trio that is clicking at the right time. [..]

In terms of fitness, Holland have been through some tough games under the north-eastern sun in Brazil but I haven’t seen them struggling as much as other teams. Even Germany looked more tired when they finished their quarter-final against France.

I think the Dutch have got enough in reserve to match Argentina – this could be even more intense than some games we have seen so far. Both teams have peaked at the right time and I reckon this semi-final could be decided by very tiny details.

The game coverage begins at 3 PM EDT with kick off at 4 PM.

Jul 08 2014

2014 World Cup: Semifinals Brazil – Germany

We are down to the Semifinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. In today’s match, it’s the home team Brazil faces off with Germany; tomorrow Argentina meets the Netherlands’ “Red Devils.”. Coverage of today’s game begins at 3 PM EDT on ESPN.

From The Guardian here’s what to look for in this afternoon’s game:

1) Brazil’s mind

Earlier in the tournament Luiz Felipe Scolari had fears for tears. The overwrought emoting of many of his players seemed to be sapping their energy and focus. [..]

2) Replacing Neymar

Brazil’s second task is, of course, to figure out how best to replace their stricken idol. Minus their leader, they need to operate better as a collective. [..]

3) Strikers with a point to prove

One gets the impression that the next worst thing that could befall Brazil fans after being deprived of Neymar would be for Argentina to go on and win the World Cup at the Maracanã. But it would also be supremely galling if Brazil were prevented from making the final by a goal in their own backyard from Miroslav Klose, who would thereby surpass Ronaldo as the tournament’s all-time leading goalscorer [..]

4) Time to see more of the wizardry of Özil

“If Löw is bold, he’ll say: ‘I will not play with only 10 people'” – that is the verdict of the former Bayern Munich left-back Paul Breitner, who has joined the chorus of German voices calling for Mesut Özil to be dropped for the semi-final [..]

5) The man in the middle

Referees are the subject of an unfair amount of attention in football and no one could reasonably criticise Marco Rodríguez for missing Luis Suárez’s bite when he took charge of the Italy-Uruguay match earlier in the tournament.

The Neymar injury and the Spanish referee are still very much in the news.

No Punishment on Neymar Hit

By The New York Times

World Cup 2014: FIFA Won’t Act on Neymar Hit Due to Referee’s Ruling

And since the referee, Carlos Velasco Carballo of Spain, did not issue a yellow card or red card incorrectly – or any card in this case – there also was no “obvious error” for the disciplinary committee to correct, FIFA said.

The disciplinary committee also dismissed the Brazilian federation’s appeal of a yellow card issued to Thiago Silva during the Colombia match. The yellow card, Silva’s second of the tournament, meant that he would be suspended for Tuesday’s semifinal against Germany.

2014 World Cup Neymar Injured photo 08BRAZIL-master495_zps01144091.jpg

Coutesy Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Tell can’t tell me that Zúñiga should not have been red carded. Neymar is fortunate that he wasn’t injured more seriously. It only takes 40 pounds of lateral pressure to severe the spine.

It’s also given the Cup’a theme to end world racism a black eye:

Neymar’s Injury Sidelines Effort to End World Cup Racism

By Simon Romero, The New York Times

After an episode in Peru earlier this year in which Peruvian soccer fans subjected a Brazilian player to racial abuse by imitating the sounds of monkeys, President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil swiftly pledged a “World Cup against racism,” declaring, “Sports should be no place for prejudice.”

Yet when Brazil’s top player, Neymar, broke a vertebra when he was kneed in the back during a match on Friday by a Colombian player, the torrent of racist insults against the Colombian, Juan Camilo Zúñiga, showed how far the host of the World Cup remains from achieving that goal.

Expressing fury over Neymar’s injury, which sidelined him for the rest of the tournament, some Brazilians took to social media, including Twitter and Instagram, to express their rage against Mr. Zúñiga with racial slurs. [..]

Brazil’s government issued stern warnings against racial insults or other discriminatory behavior during the tournament. Even before the match between Brazil and Colombia, players from both teams held aloft a banner declaring, “Say No to Racism,” a slogan promoted by FIFA, the organization that oversees the World Cup.

Yet Brazil’s racial divide has also come into greater focus since the tournament began in June. Reflecting high ticket prices in a country where blacks still generally earn far less than whites, a poll by the Datafolha polling company suggested that fans attending games were overwhelmingly rich and white.

The press is also underplaying the protests and riots that have been taking place all around Brazil over the inequality of the mostly poor black population many of whom have not only been priced out of being able to attend any of the games but where displaced from their homes around the venues, much like what happened in Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Winter Olympic village. You won’t hear about any of this on ABC or ESPN.

Before the World Cup Ends, Will the Media Tell the Truth?

FIFA boss Sepp Blatter was strutting like a rooster over the weekend about the absence of mass protests during Brazil’s World Cup. “Where is all this social unrest?” he asked in mocking snark that, along with bribery and corruption, has become his trademark. Then Blatter waxed rhapsodic about how “football is more than a religion” in Brazil, as if that explains the absence of millions of people marching on his “FIFA quality stadiums”. Similar, sentiments were expressed by Brazil’s Deputy Minister of Sports Luis Fernandes, who said that “during the World Cup, the passion for football has taken over.”

This position has been echoed continuously in the US media. The Washington Post has carried headlines that have read, “In Brazil,smiles, parties have replaced protests” and “A nation’s haves, have nots unite for a common cause.” No need to pick on the Post, as this has been “the line” in multiple media outlets over the last several weeks.

As is often the case with the mainstream media, they have started with an indisputable truth and then have chosen to draw conclusions that match their own embedded perspective: a perspective shaped by Sepp Blatter, his broadcast partners and a blinkered reality of hotels and black SUVs. It is certainly true that the million-person protests have not taken place during the World Cup, as they did during the 2013 Confederation’s Cup. But the conclusion that now everything is awesome and “parties have replaced protests” is simply not true. I recently returned from Brazil and saw a different reality. The fact is that there are protests, strikes and battles with police happening every day. In the favelas, there are demonstrations against the police occupations that are happening because of the Cup. (Here is a terrific photo essay by Andalusia Knoll that shows images from all the World Cup protests that are not happening.)[

Jul 01 2014

World Cup 2014: USA v Belgium

Most sports analysts are still scratching their heads that USA made it out of the elimination rounds of the 2014 World Cup. The team is almost the worst offensively and to get past Belgium today, they need to be more aggressive.

The pregame drama revolved around the health of two star players, with Belgium’s Vincent Kompany questionable with an injury and Jozy Altidore possibly making a return from his hamstring injury for the United States. The Americans could use some help with their attack, which generated precious few chances in their final group game against Germany. Belgium has fallen into the habit of scoring late, and only when it really needs to, often after substitutes come in to add energy. It will need to break out of that pattern as the competition improves if it hopes to advance.

Here are the results so far in the knockout rounds of sixteen:

After tying with Chile 1 – 1 and two mandatory overtime rounds, Brazil beat them 5 – 2 in penalty kicks.

Columbia 2 – Uruguay 0

Netherlands 2 – Mexico 1

Costa Rica beat Greece 5 – 3 in penalty kick after regulation and overtime play.

France 2 – Nigeria 0

Germany 2 – Algeria 1

Argentina 1 – Switzerland 0

The Quarter Finals start Friday July 4:

Noon EDT France vs Germany

4 PM EDT Brazil v Columbia

Saturday July 5

Noon EDT Agentina v The winner of USA – Belgium

4 PM EDT Netherlands v Costa Rica

Jun 15 2014

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: These are a few of my least favourite things by NY Brit Expat

It’s been one of those weeks where so many things have come to light that I simply do not know where to begin writing first. I sit there and think, which of the various things that I have been listening to or reading about have actually annoyed me to the point of actually writing about. I have realised that I am just generally annoyed.

When I thought about it more, I concluded that the underlying theme of these various stories is a complete and utter contempt by bourgeois governments (that lay claim to being utterly democratic) of the vast majority of people that they govern. Whether they govern competently or not, whether there is anything resembling a democratic mandate or not; it is the utter contempt in which they hold the majority of the population that has really gotten my goat.

I also realised that this is not only confined to governments, it is a view shared by the leadership of religious authorities, by arms of the state (police, armies, etc.) and even by the heads of sporting associations.  This contempt is a reflection of the fact that those in power think/know that when push comes to shove, they know who they serve and it is not the vast majority of people; it is a tiny elite hiding behind the word “democracy” while actually not even slightly being accountable to that majority. It is the abuse of power by those that have it wielded against those that view themselves as powerless. Having just spoken to my postman about my frustration, he agreed and said “this is a long term problem, what can you and I do about it”?

 photo e4cf2fda-af30-4419-a80c-34be035f7234_zps10c6a859.jpg

Oct 22 2013

NSA Busted for Spying on Other Countries For Profit

The revelation that the NSA was using its hoovering of data from other countries broke in August with the Der Spiegel report that the NSA had bugged the UN Headquarters in New York City, as well as,  European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In early September, a week before the UN General Assembly meeting in NYC, Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, cancelled her visit in Washington with President Barack Obama over the NSA’s spying on her, her inner circle of top aides and Brazil’s largest company, the oil giant Petrobras.

Now, this week its Mexico and France and its not about keeping us safe, its about industrial espionage:

In France, grabbed the data of over 70,000 phone calls:

Le Monde said the documents gave grounds to think the NSA targeted not only people suspected of being involved in terrorism but also high-profile individuals from the world of business or politics. [..]

French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault [said]  “I am deeply shocked…. 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 defence,” he told journalists in Copenhagen.

Mexico:

   The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. [..]

   In the space of a single year, according to the internal documents, this operation produced 260 classified reports that allowed US politicians to conduct successful talks on political issues and to plan international investments.

As has been revealed this summer, the NSA was recently revealed to have been spying on Brazil’s largest oil company. We now know they were also spying on the biggest financial payments systems such as VISA and Swift and on the on Chinese technology company Huawei.

One of the slides leaked by Edward Snowden from from a 2012 NSA presentation explained “economic” was one of the main justifications for spying.

The NSA would also like to keep better tabs on Wall Street under the guise of protecting it:

Drawing an analogy to how the military detects an incoming missile with radar and other sensors, (General Keith) Alexander imagined the NSA being able to spot “a cyberpacket that’s about to destroy Wall Street.” In an ideal world, he said, the agency would be getting real-time information from the banks themselves, as well as from the NSA’s traditional channels of intelligence, and have the power to take action before a cyberattack caused major damage.

Wall Street saw through Alexander’s “collect it all” ploy and quickly labeled it “wild:”

His proposed solution: Private companies should give the government access to their networks so it could screen out the harmful software. The NSA chief was offering to serve as an all-knowing virus-protection service, but at the cost, industry officials felt, of an unprecedented intrusion into the financial institutions’ databases.

The group of financial industry officials, sitting around a table at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, were stunned, immediately grasping the privacy implications of what Alexander was politely but urgently suggesting. As a group, they demurred.

“He’s an impressive person,” the participant said, recalling the group’s collective reaction to Alexander. “You feel very comfortable with him. He instills a high degree of trust.”

But he was proposing something they thought was high-risk.

“Folks in the room looked at each other like, ‘Wow. That’s kind of wild.’ ”

DSWRight at FDL News Desk duly notes that the US government has been doing what it has prosecuted others for doing under  the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the same law that was used to harass Aaron Swartz:

The hypocrisy is epic and disgusting. The NSA has disgraced and embarrassed the American people at home and abroad.

The rampant criminality and antisocial behavior of America’s intelligence community has not only diminished American rule of law at home, but is leading to increasing friction internationally with our allies. It is well past time for us to reexamine the power of the NSA and friends.

It is well past time the NSA was stopped before it shreds what remains of US credibility in the international and business community

Sep 24 2013

US Spying Lambasted by an Ally

The president of an close US ally, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, told the audience of dignitaries at the annual United Nations General Assembly session that the US is in violation of international law by using the NSA to indiscriminately collect “the personal information of Brazilian citizens and economic espionage targeted on the country’s strategic industries.”

Rousseff’s angry speech was a direct challenge to President Barack Obama, who was waiting in the wings to deliver his own address to the UN general assembly, and represented the most serious diplomatic fallout to date from the revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Rousseff had already put off a planned visit to Washington in protest at US spying, after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president’s phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil corporation, Petrobras. [..]

Also, Brazilian diplomatic missions, among them the permanent mission to the UN and the office of the president of the republic itself, had their communications intercepted,” Rousseff said, in a global rallying cry against what she portrayed as the overweening power of the US security apparatus. [..]

She warned, using very strong words that the the NSA surveillance was a direct threat to freedom of speech and democracy.

“Meddling in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law and as such it is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” [..]

“Without the right to privacy, there is no real freedom of speech or freedom of opinion, and therefore, there is no actual democracy,” [..]

“A country’s sovereignty can never affirm itself to the detriment of another country’s sovereignty,”

She called for the “establishment of multilateral mechanisms” to protect the internet and the privacy of individuals, businesses and diplomats.

Many countries have denounced the US at the UN, coming mostly from nations that disagree with US international policies. This rebuke, coming from a large influential and close ally was diplomatically painful.

The full transcript of Pres. Rouseff’s speech can be read here and here (pdf).