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Technical Glitch Lets Reporters Eavesdrop On Obama, Sarkozy 411

Hugh Pickens writes "BBC reports that a technical glitch allowed reporters to listen in on a private conversation between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama, made in a backroom meeting at the G20 summit, treating listeners to a rare insight into the importance of personal relationships in international politics. 'I can't stand him any more,' said Mr. Sarkozy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 'He's a liar.' Mr. Obama replied: 'You're sick of him. I have to deal with him every day!' According to Reuters, the two presidents were apparently 'unaware that the microphones in their meeting room had been switched on, enabling reporters in a separate location to listen in to a simultaneous translation.' The reporters made 'a group decision... not to report the conversation as it was considered private and off-the-record,' but Arrets Sur Images, a French website that covers current affairs, got wind of the exchange and broke the story."
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Technical Glitch Lets Reporters Eavesdrop On Obama, Sarkozy

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  • by Servaas ( 1050156 ) <[captivayay] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:07PM (#37992458)
    2 people agree the another is an ass. What is the news?
    • by Servaas ( 1050156 ) <[captivayay] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:11PM (#37992492)
      Oh wait its the Israeli guy their complaining about? Oh shit that is news... Never had a -5 before...
      • fanboys suck. good luck with your visibility.

        • we're not talking about Steve Jobs here... i think GP will remain visible (though i can't vouch for this post)

      • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

        Oh wait its the Israeli guy their complaining about? Oh shit that is news... Never had a -5 before...

        Acknowledging Netanyahu is a two-faced, backstabber is the news - but do keep in mind, he's only doing what the people behind him want and that % of the population of Israel has been in the majority and more bent than ever upon just taking the whole of Palestine from the Palestinians - their book says it was their's and after hundered of years they've decided to come back and claim it. Quite unapologetic, too.

        • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @10:03PM (#37994296)


          "And this is why we can't have nice things."

          It's much, much more complicated than that. The "Palestinians" have had numerous opportunities for statehood from the early 1900's onwards. They've rejected peace option after peace option after peace option, beginning with several offerings from the British (who ruled the Manate of Palestine through 1947) and then launched an all-out war when the original UN partition plan was put into place.

          This was AFTER they were already given the nation of Transjordan, into which no Jews were allowed to emigrate.

          And of course, those who scream about "Palestinian refugees" ignore the fact that the stolen land intended to become the Nation of Palestine in 1948 was taken over, not by Israel, but by the nations of Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Iraq, and Egypt. The "Palestinians" were made "refugees" ON THEIR OWN LAND as a cynical political ploy by the Arab League and the Pan-Arabist factions, nothing more. And they still fail to acknowledge the number of Jews - at least twice the number of so-called "Palestinian refugees" - in Arab states in the years 1948-1955 who were kicked out, their houses and property confiscated, and forced to move "somewhere" (e.g. Israel) by those same Pan-Arabist forces and governments.

          But you probably never did the slightest research into the subject. Because to you, it's all about "one side good, other side bad." The Jews have been kicked around and harassed by just about everyone for the past 2000 years. The "Palestinians" of the region have been abused by their so-called "brethren" the Arab Muslims, turned into a group of impoverished and locked-up people in one of the worst and most inhumane cynical political ploys I've ever seen. Meanwhile, the terrorist forces running the "refugee" region have attacked everyone they could find - tried to assassinate the leaders of Transjordan/Jordan numerous times, attacked the Egyptian government so often that the Egyptians said "fuck this" and put up a wall between themselves and Gaza a long time before the Israelis finally caught on to the wisdom of the idea, and of course waging a bloody-ass civil war in the south of Lebanon for the past two decades.

          For my money? The Arabs - specifically, the Pan-Arabists, the fundamentalist Arab governments especially - are a bunch of fucking assholes. The leaders of the "Palestinian" movement? Likewise. The leaders of Israel? Probably assholes too, but they are tasked with an incredibly hard position, trying to keep a nation of a few million people safe from a group of hundreds of millions of assholes in nations like Iran who are told at Mosque once a week that the Jews will be "destroyed" in the apocalypse and that the Jews aren't even human. So I can cut them a little slack there.

          Oh, and the people stuck in the middle - the few civilians in the "Palestinian territories", the civilians in Israel? Sucks to be them, on both sides.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by rev0lt ( 1950662 )
            So, because they have been kicked around and harassed, they have the right to do as they please? And how convenient of you to omit the influx of jews to what now is Israel after they assisted Britain in taking control of the territory in 1917. But when the arabic population revolted against what could have been seen as an "invasion", and the brits imposed restrictions on jewish immigration, they turned on them. During the post-WWII era, the palestinian territories were flooded by holocaust survivors.
            Now t
            • Eh, if every other surrounding neighborhood had a culture similar to my own, and felt so strongly about it that they were willing to go to war to try to throw that new incoming nationality out of my neighborhood, only failing because they weren't strong enough to succeed militarily...

              I'd move to one of those surrounding neighborhoods.

              • by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @03:58AM (#37996442) Homepage

                "Similar culture"? Just because some of the people in the neighboring countries are of arabian descent too?
                Syria has additionally to the Arabs Kurds, Cherkessians and Armenians, the president of Syria is neither muslim nor christian (like a percentage of the Palestinians), but Nusairian. Lebanon is half christian, half muslim, and in Lebanon, first several christian militias killed between 1000 and 1500 people in Karantina and then the Kata'ib (drusian militia) with the help from the israeli military police killed between 500 and 3000 palestinians in the both camps Sabra and Shatila. Jordan, where most palestinian refugees live, had several conflicts with Israel about water resources, and wishes nothing more than to get finally rid of the state-within-state refugee camps on its territory. 50% of Jordan's population are descendants from palestinian refugees, with most of them living in the both towns Amman and Zarqa (where more than 90% of the population are palestinian), and in the 10 remaining refugee camps. Basicly this means that native Jordanians and Palestinians never mixed - the native Jordanians own the land, and the Palestinians live in the towns and refugee camps.
                The only place where palestinians are land owners and are also the majority are - tada! - the West Bank and Transjordan. And this is the territory Israel cuts through with its settlements, some of them legal (on "state owned" land), some of them illegal, but still protected by the Israelian army.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            It's much, much more complicated than that

            No this really isn't more complicated than that. If "God" hadn't awarded certain tract to a certain group of people this WOULD HAVE NEVER STARTED! Unfortunately "God" seemed to have awarded it to both and to each exclusivity. If religion wasn't fueling the difference between the sides it WOULD HAVE BEEN RESOLVED LONG AGO. Why doesn't this "God" take the time to end all this strife and suffering instead of dicking around superimposing himself on toast?

            The main problem is religion and always has been. Los

            • and suddenly humans become reasonable.

              You do realise this is humans we're talking about? We're never going to be reasonable!

            • by tempmpi ( 233132 )

              I guess that proves you don't have to be religious to fall for overly simplistic answers to complex problems. Religion is part of the problem, but not the main problem.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Protosotme ( 2503970 )
              It has nothing to do with god. As the guy from the earlier post said, you have no clue. The Israeli state and the Zionism are all entirely secular movements, started by Russian socialist jews in the 19th century. When my grandfather who was born in Germany in the 30s tried to get into College in Berlin, they told him they have already filled the capacity for jews , and if he still want to pursue an academic career he "should go to palestine, where he and his fellows jews belong". This phrase was common in E
            • by Empiric ( 675968 )
              Lose or even greatly diminish that force multiplier and suddenly humans become reasonable.

              Okay, done.

              Let's see...

              Mao Zedong: ~60,000,000 dead of own citizens via genocide

              Jozef Stalin: 23,000,000 dead of own citizens via genocide

              Perhaps you left out a factor?
    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:26PM (#37992698) Journal
      It suggests that even politicians loath politicians and find their company insufferable.
      • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @08:19PM (#37993240) Homepage Journal

        It suggests that even politicians loath politicians and find their company insufferable.

        When Country B is carved from the heart of Country A, and Country B is admitted to the UN, but Country A cannot because they can't learn to be civil with being deprived of their homes, property and liberty. Further, Country B builds settlements in the remaining occupied lands of Country A, despite it being viewed universally as an illegal act. So after a lot of tit for tat and really never getting anywhere with peace talks, Country A decides to press its case for recognition in the same forum which recognises Country B. Country B and its bigger mate, Country C, both get all excited and claim this would not be a good thing and not in the interests of peace talks (which haven't yielded anything in about 30 years.) Country A gets recognised by UNESCO, overwhelmingly and Country B is apoplectic, while its mate, Country C, claims this was a grave error and withdraws its tuppence of support for UNESCO. Country B strikes back by authorising even more settlements in occupied territories claimed by Country A.

        Honestly. Country B and its leader would normally be shunned and subject to many and various sanctions sponsored by Country C, but only if it were any other country in the world, or so it seems. The situation is preposterous and the logic is broken. Sarkozy identified the elephant in the room. Even Obama recognised how problematic it can be. When will there be a candid talke and recognition that Israel is more often the villain and things should be set right?

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by scot4875 ( 542869 )

          When will there be a candid talke and recognition that Israel is more often the villain and things should be set right?

          Probably never, because any acknowledgment of Israel's dirty deeds is equivalent to anti semitism and means you like Hitler.


    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

      Agreeing he's an ass is different than an unchallenged assertion a foreign leader is a liar. That's potentially very serious. What's he lying about? Was he lying when he said didn't like frog legs for dinner, or lying when he said he wouldn't build more settlements?

      Just because they think he's an ass doesn't mean their policy goals don't align. Charles De Gaul worked very hard to be a major PITA for the allies, but that was what he needed to do.

      This is bad from both sides of the political spectrum too,

      • by Blymie ( 231220 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:38PM (#37992824)

        I'm Canadian too, and I have no idea what you mean when you say "We really hate the French".

        Perhaps you shouldn't speak for a whole nation, when you're merely speaking for yourself, or your peer group?

        I grew up in Southern Ontario, in a small community without a single Quebecer or French person around for hundreds of miles. I now live in Quebec, and (clearly) have no problem with "the french". I moved here because I live in the Capital region, and I can get an acre of land, 20 minutes from downtown Ottawa, surrounded by farmland, for 1/2 the price of a home on the Ontario side!

        I do have issues with *some* french people, but I also have issues with *some* people from a broad spectrum of society.

        I think what you really hate are 1) mostly quebec politicians and 2) dumbasses that happen to be french.

        Suck it up buddy. #1 and #2 exist in every culture group, and language group, and genetic group, worldwide. ;)


        • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:53PM (#37992982)
          Hell I am French Canadian and even *I* hate French Canadians... which is why I live in Costa Rica.
        • by mirix ( 1649853 )

          This, I'm from western Canada and am seriously thinking about moving to Quebec. Better weather, cheaper real-estate, cuter girls, better food, nicer architecture.

          Of course, I'd have to learn better language than my current cereal-box grade french.

          Quite a few folks here have a fairly strong dislike for quebec... They have probably never been there, though, so it's hardly an informed decision.

          • Better weather? Where are you from, Yellowknife?

          • by Blymie ( 231220 )

            There are many areas of Quebec that are very unilingual friendly. I live in an area that has almost a 50%/50% split of english/french language, and it is very rare to go to a store where you can't get service in english.

            Of course, by some odd and strange course of events, this is also the poorest municipality in Quebec. :P

        • You're going against the flow. Quebec is the leach on the RoC (Rest of Canada). Albertans pay $4,000 per taxpayer per year into the equalization fund, and Quebec sucks out $1,200 per capita (not per taxpayer) from that same fund, because Quebec has spent a generation destroying their economic base.

          It's debt is much higher than any other province, and its tax rates are nuts - someone earning minimum wage pays more in provincial taxes than someone making $50k in Alberta.

          That's what happens when you pass

      • by 246o1 ( 914193 )

        Agreeing he's an ass is different than an unchallenged assertion a foreign leader is a liar. That's potentially very serious. What's he lying about? Was he lying when he said didn't like frog legs for dinner, or lying when he said he wouldn't build more settlements?

        The second one, if you have read any news.

    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:51PM (#37992958)
      The jews are involved so obviously this is an anti-semetic scandal tantamount to the Holocaust, and both Obama and Sarkozy will be immediately impeached. On the other hand, Helen Thomas must be chuckling to herself.
    • Apparently, everybody is supposed to love and support Israel. At least if you are a US politician.

    • The news is that the reporters are puppets for their respective governments and didn't report it. Notice the only part of the conversation to get made public is the tabloid naughty talk. There was probably all sorts of real news in there, but we're sure as hell not going to hear about that.
    • by Fri13 ( 963421 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @09:27PM (#37993862)

      That same thing happened on 1942 between Hitler and Mannerheim... in that case, it was national radio worker luck that the recorder was on same cabin where they were talking.

      It is only recording where Hitler is speaking in privat. Not even Hitlers bodyguard recognized Hitler on it by first as the voice is calm and rational.
      http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-24880.html [militaryphotos.net]
      http://www.ww2f.com/wwii-general/10807-conversation-between-mannerheim-hitler.html [ww2f.com]

    • by Walkingshark ( 711886 ) on Wednesday November 09, 2011 @01:03AM (#37995662) Homepage

      The real news that everyone seems to be missing is the part where Obama says, "I have to talk to him every day."

      Why is the President of a country as large and powerful as the US talking to the leader of Israel that often? (I'm sure he didn't mean literally every day, but obviously more than once or twice a week)

      • by Builder ( 103701 )

        I think he said deal with him, not talk to him. That doesn't necessarily involve personal contact on a daily basis, but might just mean having to consider his potential reaction when making decisions or dealing with fallout from his issues.

  • Well.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by theVarangian ( 1948970 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:08PM (#37992460)
    Fox News will have a fair and balanced field day with this.
  • by HockeyPuck ( 141947 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:11PM (#37992482)

    In the movie, he was on a panel of some press conference and after he spoke, he forgot to take off his wireless microphone and headed off the mensroom whereby the sounds of his visit were broadcast over the PA system.

    The scene [youtube.com]

    It's safe for work.

    • by Bo'Bob'O ( 95398 )

      I actually did exactly that to an actor once at my community college, opps.

      It's very easy to forget to mute a channel on an audio mixer when you often have dozens of them.

    • by ackthpt ( 218170 )

      In the movie, he was on a panel of some press conference and after he spoke, he forgot to take off his wireless microphone and headed off the mensroom whereby the sounds of his visit were broadcast over the PA system.

      The scene [youtube.com]

      It's safe for work.

      And you've never seen (or heard) anyone on a mobile phone in the bathroom? I'm quite stunned every time I hear someone on their phone in there, like in airports or even at work.

  • Glitch? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 )

    Was this a glitch or was this done on purpose, by the way?

    Also this shows the insanity - Obama says Netanyahu is a liar (as if Obama or Sarcozy are not liars), and all of these liars are up there, dealing the cards of nations.

    Do you trust any of these people? If you do - you are insane.

    Obama will start a war with Iran. Any other candidate will except for two: Ron Paul (and Gary Johnson probably wouldn't either).

    It's tiring that all these liars are on top and making all these decisions for nations and econom

    • Re:Glitch? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZeroSumHappiness ( 1710320 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:19PM (#37992626)
      The article isn't very clearly written, but it's Sarkozy accusing Netanyahu of being a liar. Edited for clarity:

      Mr. Sarkozy: 'I can't stand him any more. He's a liar.'

      Mr. Obama replied: 'You're sick of him. I have to deal with him every day!'
      • There was no 'glitch' either.
        The reporters were told, not to switch on their microphones until told so, but they obviously gave a fuck about that.

    • Re:Glitch? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:30PM (#37992750)

      Was this a glitch or was this done on purpose, by the way?

      It's politics - we'll never know!

      The BBC article suggests that reporters were told not to plug headsets into the translation reception devices and, of course, did so anyway.

      Another article (Dutch) suggests that reporters were given the devices and told that they would receive headsets later - some decided to plug in their own (didn't want to wait? didn't want to use other headphones? who knows).

      Regardless, it was apparent that all of the reporters were getting the French translation of the discussion that took place (according to the Dutch article).

      Which of course implies that not only were the microphones in that office open, but translators were active at that time to translate that which was discussed into French.

      What actually transpired? Well, who cares, really.

      At least two world leaders are now somewhat on the record as to their disdain of Netanyahu. On the other hand, that disdain doesn't matter. Berlusconi is still in office (for now, announced he's leaving in 2 weeks) despite having grossly insulted world leaders of pretty much every nation. If they can't even really deal with him, what hope would they have of dealing with the Israelis? If they even wanted to.

      • The difference is that nobody really gives a shit what an Italian PM thinks on international matters, but people weigh the words of the US President with great care, and France still has sufficient influence in the world that the opinions of its President are still quite important.

  • by microbee ( 682094 ) on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:14PM (#37992548)

    soon will lose its access to major credit cards right?

  • It's just not polite to say it. Just last night they did this bit on House where the guy goes through a litany of truths about the guys fantasizing about having sex with the hot female doctor. Everybody knows it. It's just not polite to say it. Blah, blah, blah.

  • Ha (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 08, 2011 @07:29PM (#37992722)

    President Obama should be fine with it, he does support warrantless wiretapping, that's essentially what heppend here.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"