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US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil 439

Posted by timothy
from the voting-with-your-reals dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a Reuters report shedding light on one consequence of increasing knowledge of the extent of U.S. government spying: "Brazil awarded a $4.5 billion contract to Saab AB on Wednesday to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets, a surprise coup for the Swedish company after news of U.S. spying on Brazilians helped derail Boeing's chances for the deal. ... The timing of the announcement, after more than a decade of off-and-on negotiations, appeared to catch the companies involved by surprise. Even Juniti Saito, Brazil's top air force commander, said on Wednesday that he only heard of the decision a day earlier in a meeting with President Dilma Rousseff. Until earlier this year, Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet had been considered the front runner. But revelations of spying by the U.S. National Security Agency in Brazil, including personal communication by Rousseff, led Brazil to believe it could not trust a U.S. company."
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US Spying Costs Boeing Military Jet Deal With Brazil

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  • Boohoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:28AM (#45735599)

    Seems fair. The US government does the same to Chinese companies for the same reason.

  • Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:28AM (#45735613)

    You made the correct choice, Brazil! For more than one reason.

  • About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toutankh (1544253) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:30AM (#45735637)

    It's about time something like that happened. Now if only all European countries showed the same level of responsibility, maybe the USA would learn to treat their "friends" better.

  • by rossdee (243626) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:33AM (#45735671)

    Maybe the Saab is a better deal anyway, their latest plane is a newer design, and more agile.

  • FRA (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:42AM (#45735773)

    I don't get it, FRA works for NSA so what's the difference?

  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:45AM (#45735811)

    Bullies have no friends.

  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:45AM (#45735815)
    By that logic, we should never punish people for crimes because they will only get better at committing them.
  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by toutankh (1544253) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:45AM (#45735821)

    I think it's not so much about the fact that it was hidden until now. We've heard about spying by the USA, for instance in order to help Boeing win contracts, for a long time (I know I have). It's more about the fact that so far nobody dared say anything because the USA are the biggest player. Of course other countries do it as well, but this time the biggest bully doesn't get away with it and that's something to be appreciated.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by scarboni888 (1122993) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @10:56AM (#45735943)

    I don't think you understand. There are two groups of people. Those who pay. And those who don't. And those who don't aren't about to start.

    M'kay?

  • Re:Yay! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Z80a (971949) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:01AM (#45736003)

    If the planes have some sort of hidden software that allows someone to monitorate/control the planes remotely, they're not the best anymore.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:01AM (#45736007) Homepage Journal

    The USA will eventually find itself alone, and without allies. And it's not just the spying, it's the drone attacks on soil with countries we are not at war with. Recently we blew up a wedding party in Yemen, killing over 13 which I'm sure included women and children. But oh no, we're not evil. We're the good guys. Uh huh.

    Little by little, we are making enemies of the world, and until we change our ways, less and les of the world is going to want to do business with us because we have shown we're not trustworthy.

    And to the poster who blames a 4.5 billion dollar loss on the economy to Ed Snowden, screw you. All Snowden did was CONFIRM what everyone knew already, but just couldn't prove. He will be shown to be a hero, this decade's Cindy Sheehan.

    We are in the wrong, but people who wrap themselves in the flag are unwilling to admit it. And until we learn to act a little more humble, we're going to see more of this. We're making the typical over-exaggerated gestures of a failed empire. And as things get worse here, we're trying to take the rest of the world down with us.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:03AM (#45736033)

    This is not just a response to the NSA leaks. Everyone spies, we all know that.

    The problem is American exceptionalism. No, not because we think that (every nation does), but because we can't shut up about it. The image we project is of spoiled kids, arrogant and rotten to the core. We shove our defensiveness in everyone's faces, and that makes America a very bad salesperson. We are the tight-ass at Macy's who thinks his feces doesn't stink, and won't even pay you any attention because you have the wrong shoes. No on wants to deal with that.

    This isn't about who has the best warplanes. This is diplomacy. This is business. This is about saving face and national egos. It's about time we learned a little finesse in this area. It's something the Chinese do exceptionally well.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:04AM (#45736047) Homepage Journal

    gripen isn't shit and it has the cheapest TOC of jets of it's class apparently.

    the engine is general electric and it can use weapons from all providers. it also has the modern radar now that usa stopped playing games with it as well.

    it might fit their use profile better than the super hornets anyways... probably better for shitty airstrips and improvised runways too(assumption in nordic countries is that in case of conflict all the airbase runways are bombed within half an hour or so.. that's why finland and sweden is littered with suitable road straights).

    it is a bit of a vendetta, in the sense that they had been in talks and considerations to buy the jets for almost a decade. maybe they just couldn't make up their mind who to buy from - now the decision was put on their lap. it's also likely that a sizeable chunk of the spying was targeted exactly to make the boeing deal happen!

    mind you, usa has bought plenty of weapons from sweden as well. perhaps the swedes were more willing to share firmware to the planes too(basically a country is stupid to buy jets if not, finnish non-super hornets have had considerable firmware modifications in finland too..).

  • Re:About time (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:05AM (#45736053)

    > and neither party will dare to defend the status quo

    During the campaign? Maybe. Once one of them has won? The new administration will find a "balanced compromise" that'll give spies even more powers and put them under even less oversight.

  • Re:About time (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:08AM (#45736091)

    BRIC isn't the threat. The threat is multinational corporations aiming for short-term profit. And that's not only a US threat, that's what is going to collapse the world economy.

  • Re:Yay! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcdr (178250) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:08AM (#45736101)

    No even need of a hidden software. A government can force to reduce the maintenance from the manufacturer. This is why the Brazil want a full technology transfer.

  • Re:About time (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:09AM (#45736113)

    At this point, I think it's inevitable that spying will be a central issue in the 2016 Presidential election, and neither party will dare to defend the status quo.

    Until elected. As usual.

  • by Sir_Eptishous (873977) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:12AM (#45736157) Homepage

    "The NSA problem ruined it for the Americans," a Brazilian government source said on condition of anonymity.

    A U.S. source close to the negotiations said that whatever intelligence the spying had delivered for the American government was unlikely to outweigh the commercial cost of the revelations.

    "Was that worth 4 billion dollars?" the source asked.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nemesisghost (1720424) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:27AM (#45736367)

    But the US people will pay again for the arrogance of the government.

    I, like the vast majority of the US, am neither a shareholder nor employee of Boeing. Explain to me how this costs me a lot of money.

    You pay in a couple of ways. This hurts our entire economy. So any stocks you own(of which most retirement accounts are made up of) will lose value. There's the entire supply line that is now impacted, so further damage has been done(why else did so many support the auto bailout). You lose in that this lack of trust in one company means that the world might not trust another in which you are directly involved with, which will cost you. Don't think that a major country's petty BS that leads to them cancelling negotiations with a US company won't hurt you just because you have no vested interest in that company. The ripples are far bigger than you might think.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by q.kontinuum (676242) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:33AM (#45736435)
    Just imagine, USA would be a democracy, and people would elect their leaders. Then it would be fair again, right?

    For some reason I have the feeling that most Americans didn't see much of a problem in the spying on other countries. From what I read in the news, the main perceived problem was not the spying, but that they didn't filter the domestic data out. Maybe decisions like this will change the perception, and consequently maybe the foreign policy as well.

  • by Luckyo (1726890) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:37AM (#45736507)

    The main source of despots in Latin America has been US, which used despots to keep countries in severe poverty while it's multinationals shipped profits to US.

    "Bolivarian socialism" has evolved to prevent this exploitation, and succeeded in increasing quality of life in the region significantly. Obviously at the cost of profits for multinationals.

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:44AM (#45736589)

    A "First world" country is a country that was allied with either the U.S. or the U.S.S.R. during the cold world. You were "one of the 2" on one side or the other. The term "third world" came about as a way to refer to those countries unaligned in the conflict. They tended to be poor with little strategic influence and were ignored by the 2 super powers.

    Being 3rd world is not a bad thing. It just means you didn't take sides in a war that never happened and has been over for decades. Rousseff has every right to be angry with the US. What the NSA is doing is criminal. We're currently the most powerful country the world has ever known. We have a military that could kill every human being with the flip of the switch. There is not threat to our sovereignty and there's no need for this ridiculous invasion of every person on earths right to privacy.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by houstonbofh (602064) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:49AM (#45736663)
    So when Boeing and it's suppliers lay thousands of people off, those unemployment benefits came from magic pixie faeries? And the money they no longer spend with your business has no effect on you? Just look to Michigan to see what happens in a state when major factories close. (Or Trenton, for that matter.)
  • Re:Boohoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:49AM (#45736665) Homepage Journal

    A fighter jet is made of:
          a hull
          wings
          engines
          electronics
          rubber
          wires
          antennas
          computers
    which are made of:
        metal
        more metal
        semiconductors
        oil
    which are made of
          ore
          sand
    and are all made by companies, people etc.

    $5B as end price likely tickle through the economy as somethign like $30B total gross product. The tax on that alone is surely beyond $5B.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @11:54AM (#45736731)

    For some reason I have the feeling that most Americans didn't see much of a problem in the spying on other countries.

    Nope. Not a bit. Any more than anyone else sees a problem with their country spying on other countries.

    Or are you silly enough to believe that YOUR country doesn't spy on other countries?

    the main perceived problem was not the spying, but that they didn't filter the domestic data out.

    The NSA has a mandate to do FOREIGN signals intelligence gathering. Note that word "foreign", it's important. They do NOT have a legal mandate to violate the Fourth Amendment (it's actually impossible to have such a legal mandate) by doing signals intelligence gathering against American citizens.

    And no, foreigners are not protected by the US Constitution when they're outside the USA. If you believe that you should be, I suggest you invoke the US Fourth Amendment (just to see how far it gets you) next time you are arrested in wherever you are.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Thursday December 19, 2013 @12:06PM (#45736861)

    They always have friends. And an armada of satellite wannabe bullies.

    On the contrary, my point is that everyone the bully thinks is in the former group is actually in the latter. Once the bully weakens, his former "friends" will inevitably betray him.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @12:33PM (#45737147)

    I, like the vast majority of the US, am neither a shareholder nor employee of Boeing. Explain to me how this costs me a lot of money.

    Do you have a pension or a 401K invested in a mutual fund? If so, you are almost certainly a shareholder of Boeing.

    Beyond that, Boeing is a part of the military industrial good-old-boy club. Much more so after they were taken over by McDonnell-Douglas. In that club, rule #1 is: You will not lose money. If you lose an important sale, Congress will see to it that the Pentagon buys as many $500 hammers and $2000 toilet seats as it takes to make up the difference. Guess who pays for that?

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by q.kontinuum (676242) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @12:35PM (#45737161)
    Good luck... I have the same dream for us here in Europe. Imagine a democratic elected parliament with some real power instead of the EU commission doing the decision... Imagine ministries, where the ministers and staff design new laws rather than "Advisers" being officially employed e.g. by the pharma industry...
  • Re:Boohoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Thursday December 19, 2013 @12:46PM (#45737295) Journal

    Yeah, good luck with that popular revolution when the powers-that-be own their own army of Terminators. Don't think it's coming? Ten years ago I wouldn't have thought local police would have TANKS either.

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cbhacking (979169) <<moc.oohay> <ta> ... isiurc_tuo_neeb>> on Thursday December 19, 2013 @02:36PM (#45738443) Homepage Journal

    Aside from the fact that Japan was already at war with much of the western world, including a bunch of countries that had been our allies in that big war we'd fought just a couple decades earlier, that's a perfectly reasonable analogy. After all, there's really no difference between the Japanese government, military, and international policy of 70-odd years ago and Brazil's of today... </sarcasm>

  • Re:Boohoo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cheater512 (783349) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Thursday December 19, 2013 @05:07PM (#45740131) Homepage

    Penn and Teller's Bullshit did a really nice petition basically saying that the USA is #1 at everything.

    A depressing number of people signed it instantly without hesitation.
    *THAT* is where the problem is.

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