It seems there is no end to the political hypocrisy that has taken over our well surveilled world.
I wrote a post a few days ago about the Belgian government wanting Skype to hand over confidential customer data. I called it ‘Taking A Swipe At Skype’ (if you want to read it click here )
In a previous post called, ‘What Is The German Word For Hypocrite?’ (if you want to read that one click here) I had a bit of rant against the hypocrisy of Germen Chancellor Angela Merkel who professed great anxiety publicly about the Americans snooping in on her phone calls while she and her intelligence agencies were in cahoots with the US to spy on other European countries.
Now a week or so later the two stories have merged with yet another piece of hypocrisy, this time by the Belgians who have announced that they are starting an official investigation into allegations that Belgium’s telecommunications networks were spied on by a consortium of German and American intelligence agencies.
In other words, it is okay for the Belgians to snoop on Skype users, but not okay when someone else wants to snoop on the Belgians.
If that’s not another good example of hypocrisy I don’t know what is.
Specifically the targets in Belgian sights are the United States National Security Agency and Germany’s Bundesnach-richtendienst (BND) and an operation that they referred to as ‘EIKONAL’.
The Belgians found out about the snooping when Austrian politician Peter Pilz blew his whistle at a press conference in Bern, Switzerland, saying that EIKONAL had targeted European telecommunications carriers for at least four years, from 2005 to 2008.
Spokesmen for the Belgian government have said that if the alleged espionage is confirmed, it would have “not only legal implications, but will also affect relations between Belgium, Germany and the US”. It also threatened to “take appropriate action” but didn’t specify what that would be – they probably don’t know yet.
Needless to say, the governments of Switzerland and the Netherlands were not amused by the revelations either and immediately launched their own investigations into this thing called ‘EIKONAL’.
It’s all turning into what they call “a right old mess”.
The fallout from the attempt by the EU bureaucrats to steal money out of Cypriot bank accounts continues.
Many people have missed the significance of what has happened and the fact that sooner or later it will also affect them.
But it will, simply because the whole attempted theft in Cyprus has set down dangerous markers for the future.
First, anyone with savings of $100,000 or more is categorized as ‘rich’ and will be targeted by their bankrupt governments as fair game for confiscation of some of their savings.
Second, what happens in one part of the world will eventually happen in another. You can count on that.
Already there are signs of this in the most unlikely of places, Australia.
Compared to most European countries and to the United States, Australia is in a relatively strong financial position. Although, like a lot of countries, it has been running at a net deficit for years, it was largely unaffected by the real estate bubbles and bankster debacles that has caused so many financial problems elsewhere.
Yet even in Australia the government is enacting new legislation that will penalize ordinary law abiding citizens who have responsibly set aside savings for their own retirement.
The Australian government now wants to tax income over A$100,000 withdrawn from what is known there as superannuation funds – US citizens know these better as IRAs – elsewhere as pensions funds.
Previously one of the incentives to saving money for retirement in a pension fund was that when the time came for you to withdraw the money, you could do it free of any government taxes. In fact in most countries that was THE big selling point to entice people to open and save regularly into pensions funds.
But the Australian government has now decided to change the rules. When withdrawals are made from these accounts over the magic $100,000 mark, they will be taxed at a rate of 15%. (That’s 15% at the moment, once established these rates could increase depending on how desperate the government becomes.)
What this means is that the Australian government now wants to tax the money you put into a pension fund when you put it in, AND then tax it again when you try to bring it back out! The archetypal taxation double-whammy!
Is that unfair, or that unfair?
Like what happened in Cyprus, these latest moves in Australia could quite easily happen in your country too!