German FM and staff were targets of systematic NSA taps

By Jérôme Hourdeaux, Mathieu Magnaudeix and Julian Assange (WikiLeaks)

The phones of German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and those of many of his ministry staff were systematically tapped by the US National Security Agency (NSA) in an eavesdropping operation that began at least 15 years ago, Mediapart can reveal in this report in collaboration with WikiLeaks. Confidential NSA documents obtained by WikiLeaks also disclose how Steinmeier, during his first term as foreign minister in 2005, “appeared relieved” to have been spared details of infamous rendition flights operated by the US over German airspace. Jérôme Hourdeaux and Mathieu Magnaudeix report.

Central African Republic: the grim backdrop to French troops childsex scandal

Following the revelation in late April that a UN investigation had collected convincing evidence that French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) had sexually abused boys aged as young as nine, including acts of rape, the French authorities feigned to be unaware of the alleged events, despite being alerted at least eight months earlier. In this investigation by Mediapart, we present the confidential UN report in full, and hear from aid workers and members of inter-governmental organizations active in the strife-torn country how child abuse cases are in fact more widespread, why they believe there was a deliberate cover up of the UN evidence, and the tales of wider scandals involving members of the foreign community in CAR, a country that has become anything but a sovereign state. Thomas Cantaloube in Bangui and Célhia de Lavarène in New York report.

How French officials prepared super spyware well ahead of snooping law

By Jérôme Hourdeaux

Earlier this month, confidential documents belonging to Italian spyware company Hacking Team were dumped on the internet after a cyber attack against the firm extracted 400GB of data from the its computers. Apart from confirming the Milan-based company’s sophisticated communications interception systems were sold to a number of repressive regimes, they also reveal how the French government had been in contact since 2013 with Hacking Team for the purchase of its flagship computer snooping software Galileo. Jérôme Hourdeaux reports.

Why Europe's new problem is Germany

By François Bonnet
 © Reuters © Reuters

The dogmatic intransigence and unprecedented brutality that Germany has directed towards the Greek government now marks a historic break-up of the European project, writes Mediapart editor François Bonnet in this analysis of the five years of high drama surrounding the Greek debt crisis. The camouflage, he writes, has finally dropped: the arrival of an aggressive German superpower in Europe, seated on economic strength but also its influence over a number of central European states, one that is intent on imposing its economic and monetary vision, promises untold divisions and dangers.

Raymond Barre, professor-turned-French PM and inventor of 'competitive deflation'

By Philippe Riès
 © DR. © DR.

Raymond Barre served as conservative prime minister of France between 1976 and 1981 during the first episode of an economic crisis whose repercussions are far from over. Little known outside of France, the late Barre was an economics professor who became a politician almost by accident, a statesman who was better at wielding power than winning it. Historian Christiane Rimbaud has recently published a biography of the man who was the first to liberalise France's highly administered, regulated and planned post-war economy. Her book is reviewed here by Mediapart economics writer Philippe Riès, himself once a student of Barre’s, and who argues that the conservative was a much more nuanced political figure than he is often depicted.

 

'We underestimated their power': Greek government insider lifts the lid on five months of 'humiliation' and 'blackmail'

By christian salmon
 © Reuters. © Reuters.

In this interview with Mediapart, a senior advisor to the Greek government, who has been at the heart of the past five months of negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, reveals the details of what resembles a game of liar’s dice over the fate of a nation that has been brought to its economic and social knees. His account gives a rare and disturbing insight into the process which has led up to this week’s make-or-break deadline for reaching a bailout deal between Greece and international lenders, without which the country faces crashing out of the euro and complete bankruptcy. He describes the extraordinary bullying of Greece’s radical-left government by the creditors, including Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s direct threat to cause the collapse of the Hellenic banks if it failed to sign-up to a drastic austerity programme. “We went into a war thinking we had the same weapons as them”, he says. “We underestimated their power”.