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US spying? Contribute to growing US-Euro rift?
by Elson Boles
19 March 2003 21:40 UTC
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The first article is timely.  The second is no surprise, but related (and I 
would only add to it that anti-US sentiment is also intensifying among those US 
citizens opposed to Bush and the hawks.)

The key passages in the first are:

1.  The disclosure came on the eve of a two-day summit meeting of the European 
Union, which has been torn apart by differences over the imminent American-led 
war against Iraq.
2. "...the findings were disclosed today by a French newspaper, Le Figaro. The 
newspaper quoted Belgian police as identifying the devices as American, but the 
Belgian police declined to comment on the report."

If the origins are American, I suspect this could significantly widen the rift. 
 Wallerstein, once again, has been insightful in noting the US hope of causing 
a rift in the EU, something implied in the first passage above.

-- Elson

New York Times
Spy Devices Found at European Headquarters

PARIS, March 19  The European Union has uncovered a bugging operation aimed at 
5 of its 15 member countries, the organization said today.

Listening devices were found late last month in a headquarters building that 
houses the offices of the French, German, British, Austrian and Spanish 
delegations, officials said.

"This equipment, which is assumed to be of hostile intent, is currently being 
examined in order to determine whether it may have resulted in breaches of 
privacy or possible damage," a European Union statement said. "A full 
investigation is under way in cooperation with the member states involved."

The disclosure came on the eve of a two-day summit meeting of the European 
Union, which has been torn apart by differences over the imminent American-led 
war against Iraq.

The sprawling glass-and-marble Justus Lipsius building in central Brussels, 
where the listening devices were found, was opened in 1995 and is used for 
high-level meetings. It also houses the secretariat of the Union's council of 

The Union had hoped to keep the investigation secret, at least until it was 
completed, but the findings were disclosed today by a French newspaper, Le 
Figaro. The newspaper quoted Belgian police as identifying the devices as 
American, but the Belgian police declined to comment on the report. European 
Union officials said they could not confirm the origin of the devices.

"At this point, we cannot say who planted these bugs," said Cristina Gallach, a 
spokeswoman for Javier Solana, the Union's high representative for foreign and 
security policy.

The devices were uncovered in a routine security sweep by Union security 
services. According to the statement, officials discovered an "anomaly in an 
internal telephone line" and detected the presence of "an unknown electronic 
device linked to the telephone system." It continued, "A small number of 
similar devices were found immediately afterwards in other locations in the 

This is the first time in the building's history that a spy operation has been 
uncovered, officials said. Union officials said the devices could have been in 
place for some time, perhaps years. No devices were found on the phones at the 
organization's sensitive military wing, which is located in the same building, 
Ms. Gallach said.

A spokesman for the United States mission to the European Union, Ed Kemp, said 
the mission had "received no communication about the investigation from the 

European Union officials reacted to today's disclosure with shock and anger. 
"The first thing I can do is to condemn this act," said Foreign Minister George 
Papandreou of Greece, whose country holds the Union's rotating, six-month 
presidency. He added, "To all those who feel that it is necessary to tap our 
phones, we say that Europe is a very transparent organization" and they should 
not "go to such lengths to try to find out information." He vowed that 
"appropriate measures" would be taken against those responsible following the 

In Paris, Fran*ois Baroin, a parliamentary deputy and a spokesman for President 
Jacques Chirac's party, UMP, said he was "surprised, very astonished and 
profoundly shocked" by the discovery.

"Everything concerning illegal devices, everything concerning the surveillance 
of friendly countries" is "a pure and real scandal," he said in the National 

A spokesman for the Austrian delegation to the Union, Georg Possanner, said the 
bugging was a "totally professional operation," according to the Austrian Press 

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry, Rainer Lingenthal, said, "There 
is an urgent interest in clearing this up." He added, "We still hope to find 
those responsible."

France's European Affairs minister, No*lle Lenoir, attending a ministerial 
meeting ahead of the European Union summit meeting, said she was "very shocked" 
by the discovery.

A British delegation spokesman confirmed that its offices were among "about 
half a dozen" affected. "We are obviously very concerned about this," the 
spokesman said. "We've offered whatever help we can."

Two years ago, the European Parliament investigated reports that an 
American-led global electronic eavesdropping network had spied on Europe's 
business community. Its report found no concrete evidence that the network, 
dubbed Echelon, had been used in commercial espionage against European 

Still, the European Parliament warned member nations to step up security 
measures to protect sensitive government and business communications.

New York Times

March 19, 2003
Negative Views of U.S. Are Increasing in Europe, Poll Finds

WASHINGTON, March 19  As the Bush administration drives toward war in Iraq, 
resentment and hostility are building toward America in general and Mr. Bush in 
particular, a new poll has found.

Most of America's major European allies and Russia view the United States 
unfavorably, and overwhelmingly disapprove of the way President Bush is 
handling United States foreign policy, according to a nine-country survey 
released on Tuesday by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

The poll was conducted within the last week in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, 
Spain, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and the United States. In most instances, it 
offered a glimpse of hardening, increasingly negative views of the United 
States, as compared to surveys from last year and 2001.

The survey lends empirical support to critics who say the Bush administration 
has squandered an outpouring of goodwill and sympathy among American allies and 
partners in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The nations asserted that American foreign policy has more of a negative effect 
on them than a positive one  with only the British evenly divided. All of them 
opposed taking part in a war to end Saddam Hussein's rule, even though most 
believed that the Middle East would be more stable after an American-led 

Every nation surveyed wanted to recast the partnership between the United 
States and Western Europe to grant Europeans more independence in determining 
their security and foreign policy. The poll also underscored the extent to 
which the few governments allied with Washington, particularly Britain and 
Spain, are bucking the sentiments of their own people.

Mr. Bush came in for special criticism from Europeans. Although his approval 
ratings have held steady at home, respondents across the Atlantic who viewed 
American policy negatively mostly blamed Mr. Bush, rather than a "general 
problem with America." 

"Overwhelming majorities disapprove of President Bush's foreign policy, and the 
boost in ratings he enjoyed post 9-11 in Western Europe has dissipated," said 
Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew center. "Western Europeans mostly see Bush as 
the problem, rather than America more generally."

Most noticeably anti-Bush were the French, three-fourths of whom said the 
problems created by America were "mostly Bush," while only a fraction  15 
percent  faulted America in general. Russia and Turkey were the only nations 
that were inclined to blame America in general rather than the president.

The poll showed a serious disconnect between Americans and their traditional 
allies. While 59 percent of Americans supported a war to remove Saddam Hussein, 
only 39 percent of Britons and 13 percent of the Spanish favored military 

The survey demonstrated how anger and dismay toward America have intensified in 
recent months as the United States, seeking action against Baghdad, has clashed 
with members of the United Nations Security Council.

In Germany, for example, America's staunchest ally on the continent during the 
cold war, only 25 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the United 
States, down from 61 percent last June.

In France, where respondents last year held a 63 percent mostly favorable view 
of the United States, the number has fallen to 31 percent. Similarly, in Italy, 
the favorable opinions fell from 70 percent to 34 percent.

Only two nations  Poland and Britain  held views toward America that were 
more favorable than not. But that support has sharply diminished over the past 
year. Poles, who have long embraced the United States because of family ties 
and as protection against stronger neighbors, held a view that was 79 percent 
favorable of the United States last year. The new poll places that positive 
view at only 50 percent.

The erosion of support in Britain is perhaps the most troubling from the 
American perspective. Tony Blair, the British prime minister, has steadfastly 
stood by the Bush administration throughout the diplomatic wrangling and has 
committed troops to any invasion.

But the British  despite their claim of a "special relationship" with the 
United States, and their skepticism toward European integration  nevertheless 
voice growing dislike of the United States and its foreign policy. 

Last year, 75 percent of Britons had a generally positive view of the United 
States. This year, that number plunged to 48 percent, while the negative views 
more than doubled.

The United States did not fare any better with other partners in the anti-Iraq 
coalition. The Spanish, for example, held a 74 percent unfavorable opinion of 
the United States, and 79 percent of them opposed Mr. Bush's policies, even as 
that country's prime minister, Jos* Mar*a Aznar, hews tightly to Washington's 

The antipathy to Mr. Bush and the United States is all the more striking 
because most of the European nations firmly believe that the people of Iraq 
would be better off if Saddam Hussein is removed from power and disarmed by the 
United States and its allies. 

By wide margins, they agreed that the Middle East region would be a more stable 
place after a United States-led ouster of Saddam Hussein. Russia and Turkey 
were the only exceptions.

In addition to their unhappiness over war, the survey respondents displayed a 
restive, even sour mood about conditions in their own countries. All the 
nations were dissatisfied with how things were going internally. The Poles were 
the most unhappy, with 89 percent dissatisfied. The Germans were highly 
dissatisfied, at 79 percent, a 13 percent increase over last year. Spain seemed 
the most at peace with itself, with 47 percent unhappy and 41 percent satisfied.

Americans were 50 percent dissatisfied and 44 percent satisfied in a Pew poll 
conducted in January.

American views were largely in sync with most European allies on the importance 
of the United Nations as a broker in international conflicts.

Most Americans  54 percent  said the United Nations is still important, with 
33 percent saying it is "not so important." That margin was closely followed in 
Britain, France and Italy. Germany proved to be the biggest backer of the 
United Nations, with 73 percent asserting that the world body was "still 

The survey involved about 1,000 adults in the United States and in Britain and 
about 500 adults in each of the other seven countries. Interviews were 
conducted by telephone, except in Poland and Turkey, where they were conducted 
face-to-face. The survey is based on nationwide samples except Poland and 
Russia, where the survey was only conducted in urban areas. The margin of 
sampling error is plus or minus 3 to 5 percentage points.

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