Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Enrique Peña Nieto will speak directly to Barack Obama about NSA electronic spying in Mexico

On his way to Russia, Mexico's president calls U.S. e-mail snooping "espionage"

*Updated Sept. 6*
Guadalajara -
Two days after a U.S. journalist based in Rio de Janeiro said he has written evidence that the National Security Agency conducted electronic surveillance against Mexico's president in June 2012, tapping into the then PRI candidate's personal email account, Enrique Peña Nieto says he plans to take up the issue with president Obama this week when the two meet at the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg. Peña Nieto made his comments to the press during a brief stop in Canada, on his way to the former tsarist capital of Russia. The economic summit begins tomorrow.

"There's room for an informal discussion of this issue with the president, I think," said Peña Nieto.

On Monday Mexico's Foreign Ministry expressed "profound concern" over the accusations by Glenn Greenwald, a U.S.-trained attorney turned journalist who writes for The Guardian, a U.K. newspaper. Greenwald disclosed the National Security Agency's worldwide electronic surveillance program, called PRISM, in May. His principal source was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who fled the U.S. and received temporary political asylum in Moscow two months ago. Guardian journalist: U.S. spied on Enrique Peña Nieto before he was elected.

"The government of Mexico rejects and categorically condemns any espionage work which targets Mexican citizens as a violation of international law and norms. Such practices are contrary to the charter of the United Nations, as well as legal principles enunciated by the International Court of Justice at The Hague," said the Ministry in a Monday evening statement.

Hours later, the U.S. State Dept. said it did not intend to comment publicly. "We will respond to the concerns of our close partners and allies through normal diplomatic channels," a spokesman told the press. Mexico roars back over U.S. spying on Peña Nieto.

That may not be enough to satisfy Mexico's president, however, who on July 10 called the NSA program "totally unacceptable" - almost two months before he learned that he was one of its targets.

"Let me be very clear about our position. If eventually it is determined that there was some type of espionage or conduct outside of the law, Mexico obviously rejects that, condemns it and demands a full investigation and determination of responsibilities," said president Peña Nieto, who noted that his administration has already conveyed its views to U.S. ambassador Anthony Wayne.

The White House had no immediate comment on Peña Nieto's statements. Obama is also on his way to St. Petersburg, where he'll attend the G-20 Summit but will not meet privately with Russian president Valdimir Putin. The latter is the result of continuing fallout over the NSA PRISM revelations. Russia's asylum to Edward Snowden is a "serious humiliation for Barack Obama."

Oct. 21 - Der Spiegel: NSA broke into Mexican presidential email accounts for years
Oct. 21 - Desde 2010, Presidencia era espiada por EU

On the unrelated topic of Mexico's growing problem with autodefensas, or community self-protection units, Peña Nieto one again emphasized that his government will not tolerate them. "Clearly they're operating outside the law, which we cannot permit," noted the president. Civilian militias soar, with citizen police now patrolling 50 counties in 13 Mexican states. The local militias have been a major headache for the nine month old PRI administration since the beginning of this year. Some are alleged to provide security for warring drug cartels and crime gangs, mainly in southwestern Mexico.

Sept. 5 - President Obama has called Peña Nieto, the Mexican press is reporting today, to assure him that an "in depth investigation" of NSA surveillance targeting Peña Nieto before and after his July 1, 2012 election will be conducted. Both men are in St. Petersburg, but it appears they are not going to meet privately about the matter.

Sept. 6 - As it turns out, Obama and Peña Nieto did have a chat before departing Russia. The Mexican president still wants that investigation, but said the PRISM affair won't affect relations between the two countries. On Syria, Peña Nieto said the predictable about pending U.S. plans to launch a missile attack against the Damascus regime: "We condemn the use of chemical weapons, and we respect the right of every nation to respond as it deems appropriate."

July 24 - Civilian militias stop Mexican army near Acapulco
May 23 - Fiasco in Michoacán suggests little has changed under new government
Apr. 11 - Mexico's problematic policías comunitarias will prompt some to argue Failed State theories.
Mar. 6 - Peña Nieto's drug war czar says no to Mexican militias

© MGRR 2013. All rights reserved. This article may be cited or briefly quoted with proper attribution or a hyperlink, but not reproduced without permission.

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