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. Born in Brazil, he's been a foreign correspondent since 1985, and has lived in London, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles, Washington, Bangkok and Hong Kong. Even before 9/11 he specialized in covering the arc from the Middle East to Central and East Asia, with an emphasis on Big Power geopolitics and energy wars. He is the author of 'Globalistan' (Nimble Books, 2007), 'Red Zone Blues' (Nimble Books, 2007), 'Obama does Globalistan' (Nimble Books, 2009) and a contributing editor for a number of other books, including the upcoming 'Crossroads of Leadership: Globalization and the New American Century in the Obama Presidency' (Routledge). When not on the road, he alternates between Sao Paulo, New York, London, Bangkok and Hong Kong.
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'
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.
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.
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
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".
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
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.