Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

God bless the 'United Stasi of America'

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.

Published time: July 04, 2013 10:52
Fireworks light up the sky over the United States Capitol dome and the Washington Monument as the U.S. celebrates its 235th Independence Day in Washington July 4, 2011 (Reuters)

This Fourth of July has been brought to you by the 'United Stasi of America'. Forget the 4th Amendment. Yes, we are watching you. All of you. All over the world. All the time. But it’s for your own good.

Those were the days when assorted latitudes were glued to the platitudes of an up and coming “Yes We Can” cipher on the virtues of teaching constitutional law. Wake up; in Pentagon speak, the NSA “does not do constitutional freedom.”

The "American-style Stasi methods," as Markus Ferber, a European Parliament member from Merkel's Bavarian sister party, put it, included revoking Edward Snowden’s passport, depriving him of citizenship and rendering him, in theory, stateless. But that does not prevent him from seeking asylum. Any sovereign country may offer him political asylum. It’s a matter of political will – as in calculating the costs of defying the 'United Stasi of America’s' might.

Self-described European champions of freedom of speech such as Austria, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Switzerland have tried to buy some wiggle room by saying Snowden would have to make his request on their soil. It’s not true; they could all give him safe passage if they really meant it.

President Obama said US courts will take care of the “29-year-old hacker”. This is pure deception. The Obama administration sees Snowden as the ultimate planetary threat to US security. Worse than bottom-of-the-Arabian-Sea Osama bin Laden. Snowden is worse than “terra”; he’s facilitating “terra”. 

And with Glenn Greenwald stressing that Snowden turned over his files to The Guardian, implying that from now on it’s The Guardian leaking (or Der Spiegel this week, and the South China Morning Post two weeks ago), the Obama administration is now severely tempted to criminalize investigative journalism in bulk.

Boundless spying 

Snowden’s revelations about metadata and cyber-spying were not exactly ground breaking. China and Russia knew – and complained – about it for years. But from Prism to the worldwide "Boundless Informant", what matters is the unveiling of the Empire’s cyberwar drive on a vast spectrum of global “targets” - including computers in the European Union and Japan (allies) and in China (strategic competitor). It should be repeated over and over again; this is the Pentagon’s Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine in action.
As an infrastructure analyst – his real job description at the privatized/subcontracting NSA - Snowden most of all has been able to reveal how the NSA cyber shadow war has nothing to do with “terra”; it’s about building a worldwide map of targets in future cyberwar scenarios, where a country can and will be easily wiped off the face of the (digital) map.

It gets curioser and curioser when the feigned outrage of all these “allied” governments spied on to death is directly proportional to their contempt of Snowden; after all he glaringly revealed their own impotence and servitude, a stack of governments duly kissing the hem of the superpower’s gown.

And make no mistake that the 'United Stasi of America' never lets down the pressure. Take the case of Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, who considered asylum for Snowden – in parallel to protecting Julian Assange in its London embassy. It took a “courteous” phone call from US Vice President Joe Biden for Correa to toe the line.

This file photo taken on June 13, 2013 shows protesters shouting slogans as they hold up a picture of former US spy Edward Snowden in front of the US consulate in Hong Kong. (AFP Photo)

So now it's up to Venezuela; the new President, Nicolas Maduro, has opened the door to consider an asylum bid. And then there’s the fascinating case of Bolivia.

Which brings us to the appalling spectacle of a presidential plane denied overflying rights, diverted from its route. Imagine the nuclear consequences if some government, allied or otherwise, dared to do the same to Air Force One, with Obama inside. Of course for Washington diplomatic obligations and the rule of international law apply only to “the rest”.

This was so predictable, after President Evo Morales, speaking to RT,  said, about Snowden, “If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea…I know that the empires have an espionage network and are against the so-called developing countries. And in particular, against those which are rich in natural resources.”

France, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Austria, in varying degrees, all wallowed in the netherworld of the Supremely Pathetic – in graphic contrast to public opinion all across Europe, which solidly supports Snowden. And European servitude once again was directly proportional to the Empire’s drive to replay Bush’s extraordinary rendition scam, now with Snowden as guest “terra” star. Obama might have said the US would not “scramble jets” to catch Snowden. No; just ground them.
Then there’s the added element of an indisputable, racist forced detention of the first indigenous president in Latin America. Bolivia’s Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, a first-class intellectual, nailed it when he said, "Just as they did 500 years ago, foreign powers have once again mistreated and assaulted the Bolivian people”. What else is new; US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier this year let it slip that Latin America was the US "backyard".

Boundless servitude

But as abject servitude goes, nothing equals that pathetic excuse for a UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who, in front of the foreign affairs committee of the Icelandic parliament in Reykjavik, said the opening up of digital communications should not be “misused in such a way as Snowden did”. This just hours after Snowden had applied for asylum in Iceland. Committee member Birgitta Jonsdottir remarked, “He seemed entirely unconcerned about the invasion of privacy by governments around the world.”

Not to mention he seemed to have entirely forgotten article 12 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights; “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Ban is irrelevant. But in the big picture, it’s as if the NSA, like a Mafia Medusa, had accumulated dirt and could blackmail virtually anyone – from “outraged” politicians in spied-to-death Germany and France to, arguably, even Russian President Vladimir Putin. The great thing about Evo Morales is that he is absolutely clean.

Unsurprisingly, a key node for US spying on its “allies” is NATO headquarters in Mons, outside Brussels. If Europe had a sliver of backbone, it would shut down all NATO bases for good; after all NATO is the Pentagon’s European arm, paid for by gullible Europeans themselves.

Yet NATO will keep on spying, as much as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper, will keep on lying. Clapper, in a letter, said, “I simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act” when he testified on Capitol Hill last March, referring to the legal provision for the NSA to collect phone records. First he said he had given the “least untruthful” answer. Now he apologizes for a “clearly erroneous” testimony. He lied. Under oath. And he will walk.
Tom Engelhardt, an American treasure, summed it all up; this is the Global War on You (GWOY).

God bless the 'United Stasi of America'. Now everyone is free to watch the fireworks, eat a bunch of hot dogs and get smashed.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.