NSA chief says government must declare war on the media
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sun Oct 27 13:27:19 GMT 2013
As Europe erupts over US spying, NSA chief says government must stop media
See also Michael Hastings' shocking 'Pentagon
declared war on the press' report
US Investigative Journalist Michael Hastings
assassinated? Did Mercedes have a role in his death?
With General Alexander calling for NSA reporting
to be halted, US and UK credibility as guardians of press freedom is crushed
Follow Glenn Greenwald On Security And Liberty by email
Friday 25 October 2013 20.22 BST
to comments (1441)
The most under-discussed aspect of the
story has long been its international scope. That
all changed this week as both
with anger over new revelations about pervasive
on their population and democratically elected leaders.
As was true for
previously, reports about surveillance aimed at
leaders are receiving most of the media
attention, but what really originally drove the
story there were revelations that the NSA is
on millions and millions of
of those nations. The favorite cry of US
government apologists -everyone spies! falls
impotent in the face of this sort of ubiquitous,
suspicionless spying that is the sole province of
the US and its four English-speaking surveillance
allies (the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand).
There are three points worth making about these latest developments.
First, note how leaders such as Chancellor
Merkel reacted with basic indifference when it
was revealed months ago that the NSA was
bulk-spying on all German citizens, but suddenly
found her indignation only when it turned out
that she personally was also targeted. That
reaction gives potent insight into the true mindset of many western leaders.
Second, all of these governments keep saying
how newsworthy these revelations are, how
profound are the violations they expose, how
happy they are to learn of all this, how devoted
they are to reform. If that's true, why are they
allowing the person who enabled all these
Snowden to be targeted for persecution by the
US government for the "crime" of blowing the whistle on all of this?
If the German and French governments and the
German and French people are so pleased to
learn of how their
is being systematically assaulted by a foreign
power over which they exert no influence,
shouldn't they be offering asylum to the person
who exposed it all, rather than ignoring or
rejecting his pleas to have his basic political
rights protected, and thus leaving him vulnerable
to being imprisoned for decades by the US government?
Aside from the treaty obligations these nations
have to protect the basic political rights of
human beings from persecution, how can they
simultaneously express outrage over these exposed
invasions while turning their back on the person
who risked his liberty and even life to bring them to light?
Third, is there any doubt at all that the US
government repeatedly tried to mislead the world
when insisting that this system of suspicionless
surveillance was motivated by an attempt to
protect Americans from The Terrorists? Our
reporting has revealed spying on
designed to negotiate economic agreements, the
Organization of American States,
companies, ministries that
mines and energy resources, the democratically
elected leaders of allied states, and entire populations in those states.
Can even President Obama and his most devoted
loyalists continue to maintain, with a straight
face, that this is all about Terrorism? That is
superb new Foreign Affairs essay by Henry Farrell
and Martha Finnemore means when it argues that
the Manning and Snowden leaks are putting an end
to the ability of the US to use hypocrisy as a key weapon in its soft power.
Speaking of an inability to maintain claims with
a straight face, how are American and British
officials, in light of their conduct in all of
this, going to maintain the pretense that they
are defenders of press freedoms and are in a
position to lecture and condemn others for
violations? In what might be the most explicit
hostility to such freedoms yet as well as the
most unmistakable evidence of rampant panic the
NSA's director, General Keith Alexander,
demanded Thursday that the reporting being done
by newspapers around the world on this secret
surveillance system be halted (Techdirt
the full video here):
The head of the embattled National Security
Agency, Gen Keith Alexander, is accusing
journalists of "selling" his agency's documents
and is calling for an end to the steady stream of
public disclosures of secrets snatched by former contractor Edward Snowden.
"I think it's wrong that that newspaper reporters
have all these documents, the 50,000 whatever
they have and are selling them and giving them
out as if these you know it just doesn't make
sense," Alexander said in an interview with the
Defense Department's "Armed With Science" blog.
"We ought to come up with a way of stopping it. I
don't know how to do that. That's more of the
courts and the policy-makers but, from my
perspective, it's wrong to allow this to go on,"
the NSA director declared. [My italics]
There are 25,000 employees of the NSA (and many
tens of thousands more who work for private
contracts assigned to the agency). Maybe one of
them can tell The General about
thing called "the first amendment".
I'd love to know what ways, specifically, General
Alexander has in mind for empowering the US
government to "come up with a way of stopping"
the journalism on this story. Whatever ways those
might be, they are deeply hostile to the US
constitution obviously. What kind of person
wants the government to forcibly shut down reporting by the press?
Whatever kind of person that is, he is not
someone to be trusted in instituting and
developing a massive bulk-spying system that
operates in the dark. For that matter, nobody is.
As many of you likely know, it was announced last
week that I am leaving the Guardian. My last day
here will be 31 October, and I will write my last column on that date.
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