Environmentalists Against War
Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are

 

 

NSA Spying Was Never About Terrorism, It Is About Economic Spying


December 23, 2013
Edward Snowden / Folha de S Paulo & Sonya Sandage / Ben Swann.com

The Associated Press reported on Dec. 17th that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has released an "open letter to the people of Brazil." In his newest letter, he made a bombshell declaration. "These programs were never about terrorism; they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power." Read Edward Snowden's complete "Letter to the People of Brazil" below.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/17/edward-snowden-letter-brazilian-people

Edward Snowden's 'Open Letter to the Brazilian People'
Edward Snowden / Folha de S Paulo & The Guardian of London

(December 17, 2013) -- Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government's National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist's camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.

I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those.

At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own "safety" -- for Dilma's "safety," for Petrobras' "safety" -- they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.

When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more. They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation.

American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not "surveillance," it's "data collection." They say it is done to keep you safe. They're wrong. There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement -- where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion -- and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever.

These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power.

Many Brazilian senators agree, and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so -- going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from travelling to Latin America! Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.

Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn't like what it's hearing. The culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing.

Only three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.

The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization, and American officials should never decide the freedoms of Brazilian citizens.

Even the defenders of mass surveillance, those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls, now agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public.

My act of conscience began with a statement: "I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That's not something I'm willing to support, it's not something I'm willing to build, and it's not something I'm willing to live under."

Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.

If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems."



NSA Spying Was Never About Terrorism, It Is About Economic Spying
Sonya Sandage / Ben Swann.com

(December 22, 2013) -- The Associated Press reported on Dec. 17th that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has released an "open letter to the people of Brazil."

Since spring, Snowden has been releasing thousands of documents on the NSA program through journalists Barton Gellman at the Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian, and US filmmaker Laura Poitras.

In his newest letter, he made a bombshell declaration. "These programs were never about terrorism; they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power."

This is the smoking gun to previous allegations by political pundits. Several pundits have alleged that the program was set up to arm the largest and most powerful US corporations with patent information; competitor information including materials, financials, scientific research, and market data to help them maintain or gain control over markets.

Snowden's statement also brings into sharp question the millions of dollars, lives lost, and intrusion of programs like TSA searches, the PATRIOT Act, the Afghan & Iraq wars, drone strikes, and all other actions taken by the US government to fight "terrorism."

In Snowden's letter he made it clear to Brazil that it was the prime target of surveillance in South America. Brazil is part of the formidable economic coalition entitled "BRICS" for member nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

German newspaper Spiegel reported that the NSA spying includes total surveillance of international financial flows. The program is called "FTM" for "Follow the Money." The program collected 180 million records in 2011 alone -- 84% of the data is credit card transactions.

In a more stunning revelation, the Dec. 12 "Report and Recommendations of The President's Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology" stated the government is changing the amount in (presumably foreign) bank accounts.

Recommendations from page 221 of the report:

(1) Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry;

(2) Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts –or manipulate the financial systems.


The entire report to the President is here.

A
2008 paper by Arindrajit Dube, Ethan Kaplan, and Suresh Naidu found evidence that the CIA and/or members of the Executive branch either disclosed or acted on information about top-secret authorizations of coups.

Stocks in "highly-exposed" firms rose more in the pre-coup authorization phase than they did when the coup was actually launched. Basically they were saying the gathered intelligence is used to "front-run" markets.

Here's how their dataset was developed:

"We selected our sample of coups on the following basis:
(1.) a CIA timeline of events or a secondary timeline based on an original CIA document existed,

(2.) the coup contained secret planning events including at least one covert authorization of a coup attempt by a national intelligence agency and/or head of state, and

(3.) the coup authorization was against a government which nationalized property of at least one (1) sufficiently exposed multinational firm with publicly traded shares."


Now that Mr. Snowden has released his latest statement, the objectives of "economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation" will possibly be thwarted to some degree. Reaction from diplomatic partners is still forthcoming, as no Embassy or Ambassador has released a public statement in response to this latest Snowden revelation.

Sonya Sandage is a financial industry professional, and has worked for the nation's largest banks and investment wirehouses for 12 years as Private Wealth Manager. Originally from Florida, and a graduate of UF, she now resides in Washington, DC. Her goal is to get more Americans interested and engaged in their nation's governance.


Edward Snowden's 'Open Letter to the Brazilian People'
Edward Snowden / Folha de S Paulo & The Guardian of London

(December 17, 2013) -- Six months ago, I stepped out from the shadows of the United States Government's National Security Agency to stand in front of a journalist's camera. I shared with the world evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.

I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.

My greatest fear was that no one would listen to my warning. Never have I been so glad to have been so wrong. The reaction in certain countries has been particularly inspiring to me, and Brazil is certainly one of those.

At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time.

The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own "safety" -- for Dilma's "safety," for Petrobras' "safety" -- they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.

Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paolo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.

When someone in Florianopolis visits a website, the NSA keeps a record of when it happened and what you did there. If a mother in Porto Alegre calls her son to wish him luck on his university exam, NSA can keep that call log for five years or more. They even keep track of who is having an affair or looking at pornography, in case they need to damage their target's reputation.

American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not "surveillance," it's "data collection." They say it is done to keep you safe. They're wrong. There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement -- where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion -- and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever.

These programs were never about terrorism: they're about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They're about power.

Many Brazilian senators agree, and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens. I have expressed my willingness to assist wherever appropriate and lawful, but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so -- going so far as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from travelling to Latin America! Until a country grants permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.

Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn't like what it's hearing. The culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing.

Only three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.

The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization, and American officials should never decide the freedoms of Brazilian citizens.

Even the defenders of mass surveillance, those who may not be persuaded that our surveillance technologies have dangerously outpaced democratic controls, now agree that in democracies, surveillance of the public must be debated by the public.

My act of conscience began with a statement: "I don't want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That's not something I'm willing to support, it's not something I'm willing to build, and it's not something I'm willing to live under."

Days later, I was told my government had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.

If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems."

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

back

 

 

Stay Connected
Sign up to receive our weekly updates. We promise not to sell, trade or give away your email address.
Email Address:
Full Name:
 

 

Search Environmentalists Against War website

 

Home | Say NO! To War | Action! | Information | Media Center | Who We Are