The US regime has turned into a monster. Its surveillance programs are so intrusive that they spare no one, even close allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has found this out as have the Spaniards. They are not amused but the issue has gone beyond amusement. They are furious at such betrayal. There will be consequences. The whistleblower, Edward Snowden, has meanwhile warned of the dangers in such a policy.
October 29, 2013, 17:58 EDT
With leaders in Europe appalled at US listening in on their conversations including tapping into their cell phones, US mass surveillance highlighted by Edward Snowden is gradually dawning on people worldwide. Even Westerners have started to realize that Snowden has done everyone a big favour.
Over the weekend, there was a huge rally in Washington DC, attended by thousands that demanded an end to such surveillance. From across the Atlantic, the Germans and Spaniards were equally offended when it was revealed that Americans had been listening in, together with the Israelis, on Angela Merkel’s cell phone since 2002. At least 56 billion phone calls have been monitored in Spain.
Merkel sent her spy chiefs to Washington to demand some explanations from the Americans. There is also talk that President Barack Obama was aware of tapping into Merkel’s cell phone as early as 2010 and let it happen. With friends like these who needs enemies?
To emphasize this criminal enterprise, Snowden recently spoke out on video against “NSA Dragnet Mass Surveillance,” warning about "dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything even when it’s not needed." The remarks were made after he was presented with an award by four US intelligence whistleblowers who traveled all the way to Russia to do so.
Snowden’s remarks were instructive. “These programs don’t make us more safe. They hurt our economy. They hurt our country. They limit our ability to speak and think and to live and be creative, to have relationships, to associate freely. And they’re going—this doesn’t make us more safe; it makes us less safe, puts us at risk of coming into conflict with our own government.”
Continuing his remarks, Snowden: “There’s a far cry between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement, where it’s targeted, it’s based on reasonable suspicion and individualized suspicion and warranted action, and sort of dragnet mass surveillance that puts entire populations under sort of an eye that sees everything, even when it’s not needed.”
Snowden also pointed out the double standards implicit in the surveillance: how top-level officials in the military industrial complex committed huge crimes but still managed to get off scot-free, compared to common people who are under close monitoring and claustrophobic surveillance.
“This is about a trend in the relationship between the governing and the governed in America that is coming increasingly into conflict with what we expect as a free and democratic people,” Snowden said. “As someone very clever said recently, we don’t have an oversight problem, we have an undersight problem. And it’s led us to a point in our relationship with the government where we have an executive, a Department of Justice, that’s unwilling to prosecute high officials who lied to Congress and the country on camera, but they’ll stop at nothing to persecute someone who told them the truth.”
Snowden was recently presented an award from the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, former FBI agent Coleen Rowley, former National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake and his lawyer, former US Justice Department ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack.