Spying, counter-spying, claims of industrial espionage and nonsense about plausible deniability
By PAULINE EASTON*
THE recent exposure of the U.S. National Security Agency’s (NSA) PRISM surveillance program has met with all sorts of justifications and denials by U.S. ruling circles. Chief amongst these is that the U.S. government fully upholds the Constitution and does not spy on its citizens. Related exposures about the extent of spying carried out by Canadian agencies and the amount of resources expended are presented as infringements on privacy rights and the need to protect them or, conversely, which amounts to the same thing, the alleged need to infringe on them to protect national security and the greater good.
Meanwhile, the cynicism of the ruling circles is beyond belief. Not only has it been revealed that the largest security consortiums themselves hack into the security systems of rival states, they then blame the rival states’ security services for hacking, all for purposes of having businesses and governments trust them to protect them against counter-spying. Within this, the governments forming the imperialist system of states criminalize the people who dare to become “whistleblowers,” blaming them for endangering national security. This is not only true in the case of the United States, which is turning the world upside down to grab hold of its former CIA agent Edward Snowden, but also in Canada where the Harper government has declared that any employee who takes a problem outside their organization and not to their own boss is guilty of a possible breach of national security. It does not become more self-serving than that. In a similar vein, the United States makes threats and takes vindictive measures against countries that do not abide by its dictate, in the current case against Ecuador for even contemplating whether to harbour the latest whistleblower and those responsible for “leaks.”
What is taking place is far more serious than sophistic attempts to fool the gullible. Such massive exercises in disinformation have become par for the course making the world a truly irrational place. Issues become so confused and overwhelming that no known frame of reference renders them comprehensible or actionable. People are not supposed to see the forest for the trees and therefore become paralyzed and incapable of doing anything about the unfolding events.
To detract attention from the need to draw warranted conclusions about the unfolding events, it is said that much of what is taking place concerns industrial espionage. But this is not simple inter-monopoly competition where one monopoly steals secrets from another. The world has descended into a state of anarchy — no authority at all is accepted and everyone goes above everyone else’s head to gain an advantage for their own private interests within their own imperialist bloc or system of states. No power is capable of limiting the private interests that are in competition with one another.
Attributing what is happening in the world to claims about spying, counter-spying, breaches of the U.S. Constitution, privacy rights or putting corporations under the rule of law are quite useless given a rule of law no longer exists. These claims of spying, etc., are at best statements of fact. The claims do not draw warranted conclusions on the state of the world so that the working people of all countries can act in a manner to put a check on this unfettered power unleashed against them.
Radar installation, thought to be part of the ECHELON network, at a U.S. base in Bad Aibling, Germany.
The fact that everyone is spying on everyone else indicates what? The NSA runs not only the PRISM program but also the U.S.-led ECHELON global surveillance network, in which Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada are junior partners. The system permits one country to spy on the citizens of another and then pass along the information to those citizens’ government. In this way, information obtained through the supra-national spy network can be “laundered” to give “plausible deniability” to the governments of any of the five countries to say, “No, we do no spy on our own citizens.”
Furthermore, while information about the ECHELON network is limited — the U.S. still denies its existence — its main purpose is said to be industrial espionage, i.e., it is a tool used in service of the biggest monopolies against their rivals or other threats to their private interests. This, however, covers up its counter-insurgency role. To make the matter still more complicated, agencies within the U.S. operate against one another and the integrity of the chain of command is in doubt from top to bottom and bottom to top.
Consider the example of Hong Kong-based internet file sharing and storage service Megaupload, which was taken down by U.S. authorities ostensibly because of copyright infringement. A September 24, 2012 item by Investigate Magazine reported that the New Zealand government, “ordered an urgent inquiry after discovering its most secretive intelligence agency was eavesdropping on the communications of targets in the controversial FBI sting against Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (aka Schmitz)….
“The Government Communications Security Bureau is part of the ECHELON international surveillance system used by the U.S., Australia, NZ, Britain and Canada to intercept global communications traffic, and intelligence sources say the GCSB’s involvement is a sure sign the United States was using the Kiwis to listen in, given that the entire operation was driven by the U.S.
“Under U.S. law the NSA and other agencies are forbidden from intercepting the communications of U.S. citizens domestically, but the ECHELON system provides a work-around of ‘plausible deniability,’ whereby the intercept is done by foreign agencies outside the U.S. and the information then ‘shared’ with American intelligence officials.”
All calls to end the violations of the U.S. Constitution are meaningless when the state powers have been usurped by monopoly interests that clearly have the power to make an end run around rights enshrined in the Constitution. To argue the necessity to uphold the Constitution begs the question that the Constitution is no longer an effective instrument to uphold public right. New definitions and new arrangements are required. Irrationalism has taken over and a new enlightenment movement is needed to establish a new equilibrium. No rational argument can justify what has become irrational. To attempt to do so, one becomes irrational oneself.
This old world in which the bourgeoisie constituted itself the nation some 400 years ago and acted in the name of the people has passed away. It has given rise to a state of anarchy and violence worldwide. Anarchy has risen to the position of authority and runs rampant uncontrolled and uncontrollable. Even as old authorities in the form of presidents and prime ministers with arbitrary powers try to keep their factions in power and rival factions in check using the state power, another authority always finds a way to de facto come out on top.
Clearly, a new world in which the working class must constitute itself the nation and vest sovereignty in the people is crying out to be brought into being. It cannot be done by arguing or acting within the domain of anarchy and violence in which the ruling circles are operating and want to drag us into and under. It can only be done by activating the human factor social consciousness and creating a new world, a vibrant world where all human and natural resources are used so that societies permit the human personalities to flourish and create more of the same. This can be done and must be done by building new forms of organization based on self-reliance and the independent thinking and voice of those who produce the wealth, not those who rob it in a never ending cycle of greed and destruction.
All out to reject the current state of anarchy and violence! All out to bring into being new anti-imperialist nation states that vest sovereignty in the people and do not permit hooliganism at home and abroad!
• Concerns Raised by Privacy Commissioner and in the Parliament
• Secrecy Imposed on Government Employees Under Threat of Imprisonment
• Civil Liberties, Pro-Democracy, Privacy Rights and
Open Internet Groups Call for Answers
• Surveillance and the Law