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eyes on the U.S.

Exclusive: Germany To Spy On U.S. Intel, Other Allies

The decision comes in response to Snowden's NSA revelations, and follows two recent cases of German officials accused of spying for the U.S.

In front of Berlin's British Embassy
In front of Berlin's British Embassy
Christoph Hickmann and Georg Mascolo

BERLIN —The German federal government intends to start spying on the secret service activities in Germany of countries with which it maintains good relations, Süddeutsche Zeitung has learned. The decision is the result of months of discussion between the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Federal Foreign Office.

The so-called “360-degree-view” should make it possible to also keep tabs on American and British agents on German soil. Until now, the focus has been on the Russians, Chinese, and Iranians.

The decision is in direct reaction to the recent accusations against the CIA of spying in Germany. An employee of BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, has admitted working as an agent for the U.S. for two years, while a worker at the German Ministry of Defense has denied charges of doing the same. After these incidents came to light, the CIA station chief in Berlin was forced to leave Germany.

The plan to monitor the secret services of “friendly” countries was developed last year by Chancellor Merkel in reaction to the NSA affair and the tapping of her personal cell phone. However, the federal government hesitated for a long time to implement it, mainly because it was worried about a conflict with the U.S.

"But we now need to send a strong signal," a source close to the decision told Süddeutsche Zeitung, adding that the measures were purely defensive. The BND has no intention of spying on American soil.

What dimensions the surveillance will take has yet to be established. When asked, the Ministry of the Interior chose not to comment on such details. However, along with observation, a main focus will be monitoring communication in embassies and consulates.

According to the BND employee in custody, he communicated with the U.S. Embassy in Berlin via e-mail.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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