NSA spies at home and abroad. Anything goes is policy. Obama exceeds what his predecessors began. NSA’s pre-9/11 incarnation was a shadow of today’s monster.
Privacy no longer exists. Advanced technology lets NSA go where no spy agency anywhere went before. It spies globally. It does so lawlessly.
It does whatever it wants. It does so because it can. Out-of-control spying and freedom can’t co-exist. Continuing it assures its extinction. It’s already on life support. Full-blown tyranny threatens to replace it.
Such programs are not only a threat to privacy, they also threaten freedom of speech and open societies.
The existence of spy technology should not determine policy. We have a moral duty to ensure that our laws and values limit monitoring programs and protect human rights.
(S)ome governments initiated an unprecedented campaign of persecution. They intimidated journalists and criminalized publishing the truth.
Citizens have to fight suppression of information on matters of vital public importance. To tell the truth is not a crime.
Snowden remains America’s public enemy number one. Telling millions what they need to know made him a wanted man.
According to Senate Intelligence Committee chair Diane Feinstein:
“He’s done (an) enormous disservice to our country.” Clemency is out of the question.
Dan Pfeiffer is Senior Advisor to the President for Strategy and Communications. Snowden faces espionage charges, he said. Clemency won’t be granted.
On November 2, London’s Observer headlined “Portrait of the NSA: no detail too small in quest for total surveillance.”
NSA claims spying protects America. Leaked documents prove otherwise.
Before Obama discussed issues with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last April in Washington, he “knew what (he) was going to talk about.”
He knew “courtesy of the world’s biggest eavesdropping organization, the National Security Agency.”
One leaked Snowden document boasts about gaining “access to (Ban’s) talking points prior to meeting with POTUS.”
“The White House declined to comment on whether Obama had read the talking points in advance of the meeting.” NSA automatically sends information he needs to know.
It’s “incongruously” included with dissimilar covert spying operations. Communications relating to chemical weapons use in Syria and Mexico’s Los Zetas drug cartel are listed in the same section.
Doing so “points to a spy agency that has lost its sense of proportion,” said the Observer.
It’s consistent with thousands of other Snowden released documents. They reveal NSA’s dark side. It spies “indiscriminate(ly).”
Nothing too small is neglected. Get it all reflects policy. “Rivals, enemies, allies and friends – US citizens and ‘non-Americans’ – are all scooped up.”
NSA’s aim is total global surveillance. It calls planet earth the “digital battleground.”
It’s generously funded. Post-9/11, its budget at least doubled. Published figures may conceal much greater amounts provided.
It’s headquartered in Fort Meade, MD. Other facilities operate in Georgia, Texas, Colorado, Hawaii and Utah. It employs around 35,000 staff at all levels.
“Its antennae can be found on the rooftops of 80 American embassies around the world.” It has outposts in Britain, Australia and Japan.
It operates elsewhere covertly. In one unnamed country, doing so breaches a treaty signed with its host.
Agency staff conceal their identities. They pose as contractors. They carry fake business cards.
NSA’s remit is all-embracing. During the Cold War, mostly state institutions and officials connected to them were targeted.
Now it’s virtually everyone everywhere. NSA spies globally. It monitors friends and foes. It’s about control.
It’s for political and economic advantage. It’s to be one up on foreign competitors. It’s for information used advantageously in trade, geopolitical, and military relations.
Domestic spying is longstanding. It’s got nothing to do with protecting national security. It’s institutionalized. It’s unconstitutional. It doesn’t matter. Nothing is done to stop it.
Obama lied claiming NSA’s remit is purely counterterrorism. “We do not have an interests in doing anything other than that,” he said.
NSA documents say around 35% of its resources go for so-called war on terror operations. It’s a sweeping, ill-defined characterization. It can include anyone for any reason or none at all.
All NSA resources aim to further America’s global dominance agenda.
It boasts about collecting information from “virtually every country.” Claims about foiling terrorist plots don’t wash.
So-called bad guys committed no crimes. They were framed. They’re mostly victims of America’s war on Islam. Some are animal and environmental rights activists. Others oppose America’s imperial agenda.
NSA invents whatever plots it wishes, true or false. It does so to claim successes. It boasts despite no verifiable ones. It gets media scoundrels to claim otherwise.
It operates with virtually no oversight. It does whatever it wants, where and when. It spies domestically the same as overseas. It does so with or without required warrants.
It violates international, constitutional and US statute laws. Congress and federal courts turn a blind eye.
Despite public anger over Snowden released documents and demands for reform, it’s likely to be too little at best to matter.
NSA isn’t likely to stop spying virtually everywhere. It won’t divert from going where no earlier incarnation or counterpart went before.
It spies on dozens of foreign leaders, the Pope and other Vatican officials. It spies on friends and foes alike.
One NSA document says “(t)he constant chance in the world provides fertile ground for discovering new targets, technologies and networks” able to intercept, monitor, store and analyze electronic communications.
It’s “(l)ucky for us,” said an agency official. NSA’s technological capabilities thrive in this type environment.
On November 1, London’s Guardian headlined “GCHQ and European spy agencies worked together on mass surveillance.”
NSA and GCHQ are especially close. Washington provides millions of dollars in secret funding. It expects plenty back in return. According to a strategy briefing, “GDHQ must pull its weight and must be seen to pull its weight.”
German, French, Spanish, Swedish and other European intelligence services work cooperatively with both agencies.
They’ve done so for years. Most likely longer than admitted. Bulk monitoring involves intercepting fiber optic cable communications. Major telecom and Internet companies cooperate.
GCHQ played a leading role in advising its European counterparts how to work around national laws intended to restrict the surveillance power of intelligence agencies.
Director of National Intelligence (DNI) head James Clapper told Congress that European intelligence agencies work cooperatively with NSA.
Expressed outrage is hypocritical, he said. “Some of this reminds me of the classic movie Casablanca: ‘My God, there’s gambling going on here.’ “
German outrage was hypercritically over-the-top about monitoring Angela Merkel’s cell phone conversations.
GCHQ’s Tempora system intercepts and stores all optic fiber cable data passing through Britain.
According to Snowden, its “full take” system is vast. “It snarfs everything in a rolling buffer to allow retroactive investigation without missing a single bit.”
“As a general rule, so long as you have any choice at all, you should never route through or peer with the UK under any circumstances,” he stressed.
German Internet experts said doing so is nearly impossible. Merkel had to know her cell phone and most other electronic communications were intercepted.
NSA and GCHQ have access to whatever they want. Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) uses its own state-of-the-art technology. According to GCHQ:
BND has “huge technological potential and good access to the heart of the internet – they are already seeing some bearers running at 40Gbps (gigabits per second) and 100Gbps.”
In 2012, GCHQ’s capability was only 10Gbps. It sought ways to match BND’s capability. It helped its counterpart bypass restrictive German laws. Documents revealed state:
We have been assisting the BND (along with SIS – Secret Intelligence Service – and Security Service) in making the case for reform or reinterpretation of the very restrictive interception legislation in Germany.
France’s General Directorate for External Security (DGSE) gets high marks. It’s “a highly motivated, technologically competent partner,” said GCHQ.
It “show(s) great willingness to engage on IP (Internet protocol) issues, and to work with GCHQ on a ‘cooperate and share’ basis.”
It helps break encryption. It’s “very keen to provide presentations on their work which included cipher detection in high-speed bearers.”
GCHQ’s “challenge is to ensure that we have enough UK capability to support a longer term crypt relationship.”
Spain’s intelligence agency CNI (National Intelligence Center) provides “fresh opportunities” for cooperation.
GCHQ has “a very capable counterpart in CNI, particularly in the field of Covert Internet Ops.”
Britain’s agency was delighted when Swedish legislation let its National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA) conduct Tempora-like operations.
GCHQ expects FRA expertise to develop rapidly. It provided advise and guidance. It stands ready to help further.
GCHQ maintains strong relations with two Dutch partners. They include external security service MIVD and internal AIVD.
By UK standards, they’re small. They’re technically competent. They’re motivated to advance their expertise.
They have legislative issues to resolve. GCHQ provides legal advice on how to circumvent Dutch law or get its parliament to change it.
Italy comes off worst. Inter-agency friction and legal limits constrict activities.
“GCHQ has had some CT (counter-terrorism) and internet-focused discussions with both the foreign intelligence agency (AISE) and the security service (AISI), but has found the Italian intelligence community to be fractured and unable/unwilling to cooperate with one another,” documents say.
Snowden documents show GCHQ is “Europe’s intelligence hub.” Its capabilities are state-of-the-art. It operates in a “legally permissive environment.”
It’s Europe’s fiber optic cable “gateway.” It’s closely linked to NSA. It’s “an indispensable bridge between America and Europe’s spies.”
London’s Mirror calls GCHQ Big Brother. NSA is called Big Daddy. Their combined capabilities and freedom to operate unrestrained leave no place to hide.
Privacy no longer exists. Freedom is an endangered species. It’s a hair’s breadth from disappearing altogether.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/