No, Edward Snowden didn’t cause the worldwide furor over America’s invasive NSA surveillance operations. The authoritarians inside the U.S. establishment did by overstepping the bounds of civilized society.
From: Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Spying on Allies Shows “Institutional Obsession” With Surveillance
The spat over U.S. spying on Germany grew over the weekend following reports the National Security Agency has monitored the phone calls of Chancellor Angela Merkel since as early as 2002, before she even came to office. The NSA also spied on Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, after he refused to support the Iraq war. NSA staffers working out of the U.S. embassy in Berlin reportedly sent their findings directly to the White House. The German tabloid Bild also reports President Obama was made aware of Merkel’s phone tap in 2010, contradicting his apparent claim to her last week that he would have stopped the spying had he known. In another new disclosure, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports today the NSA tracked some 60 million calls in Spain over the course of a month last year. A delegation of German and French lawmakers are now in Washington to press for answers on the allegations of U.S. spying in their home countries. We discuss the latest revelations with Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who first reported Edward Snowden’s leaks.
From: “Stop Watching Us”: As Diplomatic Fallout Grows, Thousands Protest NSA Surveillance in D.C.
As new revelations of National Security Agency spying stoke the ire of Germany, France and Spain, thousands of people marched in Washington, D.C., on Saturday in a rally against government surveillance. Organizers say the protest was the largest to date against NSA monitoring since Edward Snowden’s disclosures became public in June. We hear from Jesselyn Radack, a former Justice Department lawyer who now works for the Government Accountability Project, reading a message from Edward Snowden; NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who was charged with espionage after he was suspected of revealing information about the agency’s warrantless wiretapping program; and New Mexico’s former Republican governor, Gary Johnson.
Is NSA going to stop this poking into people’s lives?
I doubt it, Mak. As the world becomes more technologically complex and more contested over dwindling resources, authoritarian measures will expand in order to maintain societal control.
This doesn’t paint a very rosy picture of the future and I don’t want to be a doomsayer, but the trends all point towards that conclusion. Democracy and civil liberties are in big trouble. Orwell was right.
Orwell would have said I told you so!
No the future doesn’t look good at all.
One wonders if perception may be out of focus with the reality. Perhaps the majority of NSA focus is about industrial/commercial espionage with some focus on terrorism and individual communications. People’s perceptions seem to discount or ignore the industrial/geopolitical fraction of NSA work in this regard (finding out governments’ next major legislation, multinational corporate business moves, strategy, contracts between nations, planned protests, etc.).
There’s a huge difference in scope and targeting between the intelligence operations before the Patriot Act and afterwards. What’s happening now is not only unprecedented in those regards, but is also a dangerous affront to democracy and civil liberties. It is authoritarianism marching towards totalitarianism.
Adding insult to injury, the U.S. is still trying to portray itself as morally superior to other nations. The hypocrisy is astonishing, but no one is buying that crap anymore. The cat’s now out of the bag.