By Johan Galtung
There is a simple way of judging the adequacy of media: the focus is on Snowden’s revelations – PRISM, TEMPORA etc. – or on Snowden himself? He is but one in a great chain of revealers driven by conscience rather than money or oaths; there will be more revelations given the enormity of the US spying machine on the world. But, what does it do?
The issue is not the “freedom of expression” of the revealers, the “whistle-blowers”. If they reveal the systematic subversion – and “superversion” from above – of all civil-political and socio-economic human rights, then the denial of the freedom of expression to machine operators is an obvious and rather small part. The focus is naive.
Nor is the intrusion into the privacy of potentially any human being on earth the issue. Recording all traces, verbal and otherwise, left behind by all of us, putting them together for a more holistic image and filing it for its predictive and interventionist value is certainly an “intrusion”. But the basic problem is, for what?
Not for law enforcement, to apprehend, arraign in court, punish crimes; not ex post but ex ante, to intimidate categories, “profiles” and individuals that might commit anti-USA acts. Before, not after.
We may not be against health ministries having enough data and medical histories to issue warnings to categories like “65 and above”. France does that when heat or flu threaten the population; before, not after. That is benevolent. This US spying machine, an industry, is not benevolent to targeted categories. It claims to protect the US majority against potentially violent minority categories at home and abroad.
Preventing violence, like disease, sounds legitimate. Both the US and the UK are not only vulnerable to violence; they have offensive military hitting the enemy wherever it is before it hits them. They have enemies all over due to the traumas caused by their colonialism-imperialism. But this machine has a much broader objective.
To understand the machine better – full understanding is beyond even the operators’ capacity – put the new revelations in contrast with the old. There is COINTELPRO, FBI’s 1956 Counterintelligence Program – see Pakistan Today – to destroy the US Communist Party, and then targeting socialists, labor unionists, African Americans, American Indians, Latino Americans, Arab Americans, environmentalists, peace groups, and now Muslim Americans. To liquidate any challenge.
Five are racial and ethnic categories protected by human rights against discrimination; the other five are social groups protected by the human right to freedom of speech and assembly. The US and imitating allies break the human rights that protect minorities; a backbone of democracy.
Then the methods:
1. Using mainstream media and academia to isolate, harass, intimidate and marginalize,
2. Disrupt internal unity,
3. Handpick the leadership,
4. Undermine anything legitimate,
5. Deny it respect, stigmatize its values,
6. Prevent access to mainstream media and government agencies,
7. Bleed it economically,
8. Delegitimize by distributing dis-misinformation,
9. Infiltrate, intimidate, harass, entrap, bribe, blackmail, cheat, deceive and lie to subvert and neutralize,
10. Control their agenda from the inside.
It works; through fear, killing any mobilization, even thinking. Some violence may be prevented, some other stimulated. And the USA is stuck with a 19th century stale political discourse, without renewal.
William Blum’s Anti-Empire Report focuses on ECHELON, launched in the 1970s with UK-Canada-Australia-New Zealand to spy on any Internet communication, also on embassies and businesses. Commercial espionage became a major Echelon activity, for instance, conveying an innovation in wind energy by the German firm Enercon to the US rival Kenetech, which patented the stolen innovation. An NSA employee, in silhouette on German TV, revealed how he had wiretapped the lines between Enercon’s research lab and factory to pass on the innovation to Kenetech.
Blum draws the attention to the Swiss company Crypto AG that sold encryption technology to 120 countries – including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia – for communication with embassies, military missions, trade offices – and to the NSA. Switching to another Swiss firm, Gretag Data System AG, did not help; NSA was there too. And before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 the US listened in on the UN Secretary-General, the UN weapons inspectors and all the members of the UN Security Council – a fact well-known at the time. Imagine Russia or China doing the same: their UN membership might have been suspended; but not USA-UK.
Philip Agee reveals in Inside the Company: CIA Diary that the CIA wrote editorials and fake news for Latin American media without revealing the source; then picking it up as genuine, broadcasting all over through the CIA media channels; eventually picked up in the USA.
Kate Epstein estimates the US “intelligence community” budget in 2010 at US$ 80 billion; 70 percent for private contractors, many with clear commercial interests. The “oversight” is done by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court; in the last three years accepting 4,976 requests, denying none. Infiltrating, collecting information on Occupy is a major activity.
“The 2006 Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA) labels anyone a terrorist who causes a “loss of profits” to an animal enterprise. For the first time, in this law, the use of force or violence was removed from the list of criteria of terrorism. “Loss of profits”, a true “US value”, was in, like for the many anti-fracking environmental groups.
What is new about PRISM-TEMPORA, by USA-UK?
Der Spiegel (July 7, 2013) points to the domain–spying on the whole world, the scope–huge internet operators involved, and the clear front-line: Anglo-America against the Rest, including fellow EU members. If done by smaller states, bilateral relations might be suspended, downgraded, and their EU membership revoked.
How long will the USA-UK get away with impunity?
First published at Transcend Media Service here.