Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Yes We Scan- EVERYONE


Mounting reports on the massive invasive NSA surveillance programs are continuing to damage U.S. credibility in the civilized world as well as right here on Homeland soil. Were the architects of the epic embarrassment of the Obamacare website only one tenth as competent at their jobs as our legions of government employed and subcontracted electronic voyeurs shameless GOP opportunists wouldn’t be able to successfully shift attention from their own inner corruption (Kentucky kickback) into criticism of the botched rollout of the corporate gift of an insurance swindle. The difference is astonishing and places an emphasis on where our values as a society are, nothing is more precious to those with the ability to control the data than the ability to spy with impunity upon critics, reporters, ordinary citizens and foreign leaders. If you don’t see the coming train wreck of the American Stasi being caught red handed engaging in industrial espionage to ensure big banks and corporations a competitive advantage that money can’t buy you still have far too much faith in this putrid system.

The trickle revelations has become a torrent, the NSA has been snooping on allies relentlessly for years and now the rogue administration of Barack H. Obama is being called on it. While Secretary of Skull and Bones John Kerry is over palling around with terrorists with his whirlwind Saudi suckling tour, leaders in France have summoned the U.S. envoy to explain why the phone conversations of millions of law abiding French citizens were collected. Then there is Mexico where it has been revealed that Obama's Stasi hacked into the email account of President Felipe Calderon sparking cries of outrage so intense that Barry himself has reportedly promised an investigation into the "Tailored Access Operations" .  The story that broke the Mexican email hacking was published in the German magazine Der Spiegel and journalist Laura Poitras who had accompanied former Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald to Hong Kong to meet former Booz Allen contractor Edward Snowden who is now actually being defended by at least some of the corrupt U.S. media elite, so unsuccessful that the Obama regime has been in terminating the heroic whistleblower with the usual policy of extreme prejudice. The piece also brings up the specter of industrial espionage by referencing Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff who after it was revealed that the NSA was spying on oil company Petrobas cancelled a visit to Washington and later denounced the surveillance at the UN in a blistering speech.  I excerpt the following from Der Spiegel:

Rousseff believes Washington's reasons for employing such unfriendly methods are partly economic, an accusation that the NSA and its director, General Keith Alexander, have denied. Yet according to the leaked NSA documents, the US also monitored email and telephone communications at Petrobras, the oil corporation in which the Brazilian government holds a majority stake. Brazil possesses enormous offshore oil reserves.

Just how intensively the US spies on its neighbors can be seen in another, previously unknown operation in Mexico, dubbed "Whitetamale" by the NSA. In August 2009, according to internal documents, the agency gained access to the emails of various high-ranking officials in Mexico's Public Security Secretariat that combats the drug trade and human trafficking. This hacking operation allowed the NSA not only to obtain information on several drug cartels, but also to gain access to "diplomatic talking-points." In the space of a single year, according to the internal documents, this operation produced 260 classified reports that allowed US politicians to conduct successful talks on political issues and to plan international investments.

The tone of the document that lists the NSA's "tremendous success" in monitoring Mexican targets shows how aggressively the US intelligence agency monitors its southern neighbor. "These TAO accesses into several Mexican government agencies are just the beginning -- we intend to go much further against this important target," the document reads. It goes on to state that the divisions responsible for this surveillance are "poised for future successes."

While these operations were overseen from the NSA's branch in San Antonio, Texas, secret listening stations in the US Embassies in Mexico City and Brasília also played a key role. The program, known as the "Special Collection Service," is conducted in cooperation with the CIA. The teams have at their disposal a wide array of methods and high-tech equipment that allow them to intercept all forms of electronic communication. The NSA conducts its surveillance of telephone conversations and text messages transmitted through Mexico's cell phone network under the internal code name "Eveningeasel." In Brasília, the agency also operates one of its most important operational bases for monitoring satellite communications.

This summer, the NSA took its activities to new heights as elections took place in Mexico. Despite having access to the presidential computer network, the US knew little about Enrique Peña Nieto, designated successor to Felipe Calderón.

Spying on Peña Nieto

In his campaign appearances, Peña Nieto would make his way to the podium through a sea of supporters, ascending to the stage like a rock star. He is married to an actress, and also had the support of several influential elder statesmen within his party, the PRI. He promised to reform the party and fight pervasive corruption in the country. But those familiar with the PRI, which is itself regarded by many as corrupt, saw this pledge as little more than a maneuver made for show.

 First and foremost, though, Peña Nieto promised voters he would change Mexico's strategy in the war on drugs, announcing he would withdraw the military from the fight against the drug cartels as soon as possible and invest more money in social programs instead. Yet at the same time, he assured Washington there would be no U-turn in Mexico's strategy regarding the cartels. So what were Peña Nieto's true thoughts at the time? What were his advisers telling him?

Industrial espionage and monitoring drug enforcement policies? Could the NSA be providing intelligence to the big banks that make it easier to evade detection in order to launder drug money?  The BCCI model of banking black networks seems to potentially be applicable to all of this stuff. And there is also the Jeremy Scahill-Glenn Greenwald joint venture on NSA involvement in assassinations - BCCI allegedly ran such ops back in the day. Blackmail? Political manipulation? Watch lists, enemies lists, hit lists - this thing is a snakepit without a bottom. Perhaps General Alexander is getting out of town ahead of the posse because it looks like the really serious stuff is yet to come. Late breaking news today has the NSA being nabbed spying on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone and she is seriously pissed off, demanding an explanation from Barry himself. We live in very strange times indeed when the Germans are able to express justifiable outrage against snooping, with our advances in technology perhaps Himmler can soon be cloned to eventually replace Alexander at the NSA Stasi HQ. 

Obama is normally as slippery as a greased hamster at Bohemian Grove but the Teflon coated bullshit salesman, now facing enormous criticism both at home and abroad for his dishonesty, fecklessness and narcissism and fooling fewer people every day is coming closer to his accountability moment. When his policies are defended by pathological liars such as James Clapper who denied the surveillance of French phone calls and who has to this point gotten off of the hook completely for perjuring himself in front of congress it exemplifies the terminal degradation of our government. Lying is the first resort and if it doesn't work, then lie again and again.