Snowden Gives the Big PictureEdward Snowden wrote yesterday about mass surveillance by the NSA:
These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.He’s right.
These Programs Were Never About TerrorismThe NSA started mass spying on Americans before 9/11 … and various excuses have been used over the years.
The NSA was already spying on American Senators and prominent Americans who spoke out against the Vietnam War more than 40 years ago.
The NSA has also been conducting industrial espionage for many decades.
There is no evidence that mass surveillance has prevented a single terrorist attack. And see thisconfirming opinion by a federal judge. On the contrary, top counter-terror experts say that mass spyingactually hurts U.S. counter-terror efforts (more here and here).
If NSA spying were really focused on terrorism, our allies and companies wouldn’t be fighting back so hard against it.
Economic SpyingThe NSA conducts widespread industrial espionage on our allies, such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, United Nations, the Vatican and the Pope, France, the leaders of Germany, Brazil andMexico, the European Union, the European Parliament, the G20 summit, and at least 35 world leaders.
That has nothing to do with terrorism. Indeed, a confidential government memo admits that the spying didn’t help prevent terrorism:
The memo acknowledges that eavesdropping on the numbers had produced “little reportable intelligence”.The NSA is also spying on the biggest financial payments systems such as VISA and Swift.
In a slide leaked by Edward Snowden, “economic” was one of the main justifications for spying.
The top U.S. spy’s justification for such financial spying is:
“We collect this information for many important reasons: for one, it could provide the United States and our allies early warning of international financial crises which could negatively impact the global economy. It also could provide insight into other countries’ economic policy or behavior which could affect global markets.”(Top financial experts say that the NSA and other intelligence agencies are also using the information toprofit from this inside information. And the NSA wants to ramp up its spying on Wall Street … to “protect” it.)
Diplomatic ManipulationSpying on allies such as the United Nations, European Union, the European Parliament, the G20 summit, the Vatican and the Pope, and at least 35 world leaders is obviously at least partially aimed at gaining advantage in diplomatic negotiations.
Indeed, the United States Trade Representative is one of the “customers” of NSA data.
Social ControlHistory shows that mass spying is always focused on crushing dissent… not on keeping us safe.
High-level American government officials have warned for 40 years that mass surveillance would lead to tyranny. They’ve warned that the government is using information gained through mass surveillance in order to go after anyone they take a dislike to.
A lieutenant colonel for the Stasi East German’s – based upon his experience – agrees. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel – who grew up in Stasi Germany – says the NSA is exactly the same. Indeed, top American constitutional experts say that the Obama and Bush administration are not only worse than Nixon … but worse than the Stasi East Germans. They also say that NSA spying is exactly the type of oppression that the Founding Fathers launched the Revolutionary War to stop. And see this.
The NSA tracks users’ porn … to discredit them … just like J. Edgar Hoover did in the bad old days of the FBI. The NSA shares this information with a host of other agencies, such as the Departments of Justice and Commerce and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
(Indeed – as previously reported – all of the information gained by the NSA through spying is shared with federal, state and local agencies, and they are using that information to prosecute petty crimes such as drugs and taxes. The agencies are instructed to intentionally “launder” the information gained through spying, i.e. to pretend that they got the information in a more legitimate way … and to hide that from defense attorneys and judges.)
TechDirt points out:
It’s important to note here that the “targets” in this case are not US persons, and they all do appear to dislike the US, and some appear to have advocated for jihad against the US. However, as the report notes, most of them are not terrorists or even connected to any terrorist organization. They’re just activists and advocates who have spoken out criticizing the US. In one case, a guy was targeted for claiming that “the U.S. brought the 9/11 attacks upon itself” — an argument that plenty of respectable people have made.The lack of any terrorist connection is actually, stunningly, used againstthese individuals, as one NSA document notes that since they don’t communicate with terrorists it’s worse because it suggests “that the target audience includes individuals who do not yet hold extremist views but who are susceptible to the extremist message.”<>br>