LATIN AMERICA

Rousseff blasts international spying “intrusion” before United Nations

Brazilian leader calls for global framework to protect internet communications

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff took advantage of her address before the UN General Assembly on Tuesday to denounce international spying in third countries.

Rousseff, who has reportedly been spied on by the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to leaked documents, proposed a global framework for governing the internet, and reiterated that her country would draft legislation to guarantee that Brazilians are protected from illegal interceptions of communications. Because of the allegations that she was spied on, Rousseff called off an official White House visit that was set for next month.

She said that “tampering in such a manner in the lives and affairs of other countries is a breach of international law” and violates human rights and the sovereignty of nations.

“Brazil has been a direct victim of this intrusion,” she said.

Although she didn’t name the US, she was firm in her condemnation

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden purportedly illustrate how US intelligence services monitored Rousseff’s phone calls and text messages as well as those of her top ministers. Earlier this summer, other leaked documents obtained by the O Globo daily claimed that the NSA worked together with Brazilian telecoms to spy on hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens.

Brazil has demanded formal explanations from the United States, and last week Rousseff, who was said to be livid over the allegations, canceled her Washington visit after holding two conversations with President Obama about the matter.

Although Rousseff didn’t name the United States in her speech or condemn the NSA, she was firm in denouncing the allegations that were reported in recent weeks by Brazilian media which was granted access to Snowden’s documents by Glenn Greenwald — a US journalist living in Brazil who helped the now-wanted former NSA contractor make his information public.

Tampering in such a manner is a breach of international law” 

“It is an affront to the principles that should otherwise govern relations among countries, especially among friendly nations,” she said.

Rousseff first spoke with Obama about the allegations during the G20 Summit in St Petersburg and again last week when the American leader telephoned her. She had given Obama a specific deadline to personally give her explanations for the spying activities.

Rousseff and Obama did not meet during the UN General Assembly even though they both spoke on the first day.

She proposed that the United Nations come up with international regulations that guarantee internet transparency and ones which outline norms to prevent international spying activities. “These activities are an attack on freedom of expression, and without freedom of expression, there can be no democracy and no basis for an adequate relationship between nations,” she said.

On other matters, Rousseff defended her government’s measures aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, in accordance with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals. She said that her country was against any unilateral action against the Syrian regime because of its reported use of chemical weapons, saying instead that she would back UN action on the issue.

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