Published by Eric Margolis Common Dreams October 27, 2013
“Gentlemen do not read other gentlemen’s mail” sniffed US Secretary of State Henry Stimson in 1929 when told that American cryptographers had broken Japan’s naval and diplomatic codes. Alas, there are not any old-school gentlemen left in Washington these days. Revelations of US electronic spying by whistleblower Edward Snowden have ignited a furor across Latin America and now Europe.
This week’s uproar was intensified by claims that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had tapped into the cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe’s most important and influential leader. Further outrage erupted in France after reports that its leaders and diplomats had been tapped by NSA’s big ears.
Back in the day, French Interior Ministers – notably Nicholas Sarkozy – used to stay up late poring over wire taps of fellow officials’ peccadillos. That was good fun. Today, by contrast, the NSA and CIA are sweeping up all communications of supposed allies as part of the runaway US national security state. Call it the Stasi meets Apple’s late Steve Jobs.
Last month alone, NSA reportedly sifted through 70 million French phone calls, text and email under the lame pretext of fighting terrorism. What NSA was really finding were the phone numbers of prominent Frenchmen’s mistresses or boyfriends – very useful for CIA blackmail ops – and important commercial information. Terrorism is a red herring. NSA’s run amok spying, allegedly to combat “terrorism,” is making a lot of Americans wonder again about the events of 9/11 that triggered the explosion of America’s spy state, restrictive laws, and foreign wars.
America’s mammoth, ever-growing spy state built by President George W. Bush costs over $80 billion per annum. Some 4.8 million Americans now have secret security clearance and work for the octopod national security state.
US Elint (electronic spying) has humiliated European and Latin leaders and made them and NATO look like American vassals to be dismissed or disdained. How can Europe’s leaders face their own voters after this shameful episode? Revelations by Snowdon and Army private Bradley Manning show that Washington treats its NATO allies in the same imperious manner the old Soviet Union bossed around the Warsaw Pact.
Europe’s leaders are under mounting pressure to demonstrate their independence of Uncle Sam by taking some stern retaliatory action against US interests. starting point would be building a brand-new electronic communications architecture for Western Europe that resists US penetration, and creating a truly independent Europe military capability. Time for Europe to stop being foot soldiers to America’s nuclear knights.
US reputation in Europe and Latin America is now at an all-time low. The next NSA spying scandals will likely come from the Mideast, India and Pakistan, Canada, South Korea and Japan. Obama may be remembered as having gotten the world even angrier at the US than predecessor George W. Bush – quite an accomplishment.
Washington claims “everyone does spying.” True enough, but no one is anywhere close to NSA’s giant vacuum cleaner and all-hearing bugs. What the US has been doing is far more than information gathering against a handful of anti-American militants. It’s heavy-duty intimidation. A reminder that Big Brother is watching and listening. The deeply corrupt US Congress won’t do much to curtail NSA’s information theft. Too many of its members profit from market trades made on the basis of NSA snooping. [Abridged] http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/10/27-2
© 2013 Eric S. Margolis