It is not often that I agree with Spiegel columnist Jan Fleischhauer, but his recent piece mocking the current hysteria in Germany concerning the NSA data mining activities hit the mark:
Die traurige Wahrheit ist, dass die Deutschen von den Spähprogrammen derzeit erheblich profitieren. Leider ist die Bundesrepublik auf der Weltkarte der Islamisten alles andere als ein weißer Fleck. Die allermeisten Informationen über deren Umtriebe stammen von den Diensten, über die wir nun so empört sind
(It is a sad truth that we Germans reap enormous benefits from the spying program. The Federal Republic is anything but unknown territory on the Islamist extremist world map. Virtually all the information concerning their activity comes from the agencies that outrage us just now.)
Ever since Snowden leaked information about the NSA data mining the German left has been screaming about "American totalitarianism". Obama is worse than the Stasi - no, he's worse than Stalin. Obama wants to impose a North Korea-like order on Europe and the world with its spying activities.
Leading the charge is Fleishhauer's colleague at Spiegel, Jakob Augstein. His over the top columns, foaming at the mouth with hatred of the US, have become more hysterical by the week. America, Augstein writes, wants to control every aspect of its "vassal" - Germany:
Es geht den Amerikanern längst nicht mehr um Sicherheit. Es geht um Kontrolle. Als es die Stasi noch gab, haben ihre Agenten Geruchsproben von ihren Gegnern gesammelt. Das haben die Amerikaner nicht nötig. Sie müssen nicht unter unseren Achseln schnüffeln. Ihre Algorithmen erlauben es ihnen, in unseren Kopf zu kriechen. Sie kennen unsere Vergangenheit, und sie wollen unsere Zukunft ausrechnen. Sie streben die totale Kontrolle an - über jeden einzelnen von uns. Dieses Bestreben macht ausgerechnet das Land, das wie kein anderes auf der Welt für die Freiheit des Einzelnen stand, zu einem totalitären Staat.
(For America, it's no longer a matter of security. It's all about control. The Stasi was able to collect the scents of its opponents. America doesn't have to do this; it doesn't have to sniff our armpits. Its algorithms permit it creep into our head. They know our past, they want to determine our future. They strive for complete control - of every single one of us. And this mission is transforming the country that is supposed to stand for the freedom of the individual into a totalitarian state.)
Oh please. What control? How many German "dissidents" have been rounded up. How has Der Spiegel been punished after it published the interview with Snowden? In fact, the NSA shares its data with the BND, which has its own global data collection operation.
I agree that the national security apparatus has become far too bloated and needs more oversight. In this sense, Snowden's revelations have served a purpose - even though much of this information was already published in 2010 by the Washington Post.
But the Snowden affair has opened the floodgates for the German left to vent its full anti-American hate. In Telepolis we learn that Snowden will be tortured - or maybe suffer a worse fate - if he is extradited to the US. In Nachdenkseiten, Jens Berger rages that the NSA feeds secret information to American businesses so that they can win contracts at the expense of their European competitors. His evidence? A BBC article from the year 2000 concerning some Boeing airliner orders in Saudi Arabia. (If this is true, then the NSA is doing a lousy job, as EADs has won $$billions in Saudi contracts over the past decade).
The truth is, the German left has always hated America and always will. To this day they firmly believe the US government orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. It is a common belief that the US somehow caused the 2010 earthquake in Haiti so they it could occupy the country and use it as a staging ground to invade Venezuela. The fact that Germany in large measure owes its postwar prosperity and security to the United States is conveniently ignored.
Vladimir Putin is their idol. So the German left is overjoyed that Snowden has evidently found sanctuary in Putin's Russia, where journalists critical of the government are incarcerated or murdered. This outcome actually completes the Putinization of the German left.