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.