Gregor Peter Schmitz writes: Mick Jagger, 69, might be a father of seven and a grandfather of four, but he can still pull off the role of the eternally youthful rebel. The Rolling Stones recently gave a concert in Washington, just a few kilometers away from the White House. “I don’t think President Obama is here, but I’m sure he’s listening in,” the Stones frontman quipped.
The audience laughed out loud because Barack Obama — the man who carried so much hope and was long believed to be a very European US president — has become the butt of jokes. Some view him as the embodiment of the very “Big Brother” once sketched by George Orwell, the dictator who spies on, monitors and controls every citizen without any scruples.
But how much of that is a cliché, and how much truth is there to it? Given the revelations published by SPIEGEL in recent days showing evidence of a US spying program that is directed at European Union institutions, and monitoring an almost inconceivable number of communications connections — 500 million a month in Germany alone — you can’t blame a person for thinking the worst. Even if Obama has explicitly ensured that Americans needn’t fear some kind of “Big Brother,” the “3rd Party Partners,” as Germany was categorized in top secret NSA documents, are now asking if the same applies to Europeans. [Continue reading…]