No 804 Posted by fw, July 8, 2013
“The reason that Edward Snowden came forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a purely accurate description—the NSA is in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no electronic communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is beyond the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the planet.” —Glenn Greenwald
In today’s appearance on Democracy Now, Glenn Greenwald blasts the US with his latest allegations about NSA surveillance. Also included in this episode are offers of asylum to Snowden from the presidents of Bolivia and Venezuela.
To view the interview with Greenwald, including clips from related breaking news, click on the following linked title. A complete transcript of this segment of the broadcast is also available. Alternatively, scroll down to view a 10:21 minute embedded video of the interview and, below that, to read a greatly abridged version of the transcript.
Amy Goodman — We end our show by looking at the international saga unfolding around Edward Snowden, the former U.S. intelligence contractor who leaked documents about the U.S. secret domestic and global surveillance programs. Bolivia is the latest country to join Venezuela and Nicaragua in offering Snowden asylum. The decision came shortly after a plane carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales was forced to land in Austria after France and Portugal barred it from their airspace over false suspicions Snowden was on board.
Defiant Bolivian President Evo Morales castigates US, offers Snowden asylum
President Evo Morales — [translated] As a justified protest, I would like to tell you, my brothers and sisters, that we will now give him asylum if he asks for it. He is being persecuted by his compatriots. We are not afraid. I was being accused of transporting that agent, the former CIA agent, who discovered and informed how the United States government illegally controlled us. I only knew about the ex-CIA agent named Edward Snowden through the media. I want to tell you that, as a justified protest, if he legally requests it, we will give him asylum, so that we may get information on exactly how the United States government controlled us. Let the world know that the politically persecuted, to those who are persecuted for denouncing espionage carried out by the United States—I want the United States government and some European countries to know that we will give him asylum.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro offers Snowden asylum, protection from Imperialist US persecution
President Nicolás Maduro — [translated] I announce to the governments of the friendly nations in the world that we have decided to offer the international humanitarian right to asylum to protect this young Snowden from the persecution that has been unleashed from the most powerful imperialist in the world against a young man who only spoke the truth.
[GLENN GREENWALD’S COMMENTS ON RECENT DEVELOPMENTS]
US interference with plane carrying President Morales “smacks of rogue nation status”
I think that the United States government has been its own worst enemy in this entire episode. The idea that they would pressure their European allies to block the plane carrying a president of a sovereign state from flying over their countries and force it to land, rather dangerously, in a country it had no intention of landing in, simply because they wanted to deny Edward Snowden the international well-established right to seek asylum, is a really radical and extreme act. It just smacks of rogue nation status and of the kind of imperialism and colonialism that Latin America has long chafed at. And I think that’s the reason you’re seeing so much support for Snowden in Latin American governments and among the populations, as well.
Brazilian government demands US respond to reports of NSA spying in Brazil
I partnered with the Brazilian daily newspaper, O Globo, one of the largest in Brazil, the largest in Rio de Janeiro, to report that the NSA is systematically tapping into the telecommunication systems of Brazil and intercepting, storing and monitoring millions upon millions of telephone calls and emails of ordinary Brazilians, the kind of bulk discriminatory—nondiscriminatory collection of communications that we reported was taking place in the United States, as well. The largest Brazilian television show last night, Fantástico, did a long segment on this, as well. It’s become really quite a political controversy in this country. The Brazilian government is “indignant”. That was the word they used to describe the president of Brazil’s reaction, Dilma Rousseff. And they’re now demanding responses from the United States government. And there are several more stories to come, both today and tomorrow, about NSA spying in Brazil and, more broadly, in Latin America.
NSA’s goal is the “elimination of privacy worldwide”
The reason that Edward Snowden came forward, the reason that we’re reporting on this so aggressively, is because—and this is not hyperbole in any way; it’s a purely accurate description—the NSA is in the process, in total secrecy, with no accountability, of constructing a global, ubiquitous surveillance system that has as its goal the elimination of privacy worldwide, so that there can be no electronic communications—by telephone, Internet, email, chat—that is beyond the reach of the United States government. They are attempting to collect and store and monitor all of it, and that they can invade it at any time they want, no matter who you are or where you are on the planet. This has very profound implications for the kind of world in which we live, for the kind of relationship the United States has to the rest of the world, the way in which individuals feel free to communicate with one another, use the Internet. And that, I think, is why the story is resonating as much as it is.
Actions of EU leaders’, who took part in blocking Morales plane at behest of US, was “disgraceful”
The EU leaders have been completely disgraceful, pretending to be angry and then blocking the planes at the behest of the U.S. government, the government spying on them, to prevent the person who revealed this all from getting asylum. But as I said, this is a worldwide, ubiquitous, global surveillance net. They are sweeping up all electronic communications that they can, not just in Brazil, but in Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico. Pretty much every country in Latin America is targeted by this bulk, indiscriminate collection, so that people in those countries have virtually no privacy. And I think the indignation in Latin America, unlike on the part of the European leaders, is very real and will have genuine and serious repercussions.
New York Times article confirms FISA court “is a completely warped and undemocratic institution…that meets in complete secrecy, where only the government is allowed to attend.”
Well, it [New York Times article] shows what a complete joke the argument has been from NSA defenders in the Democratic Party that there is robust oversight on this surveillance. What you actually have is a completely warped and undemocratic institution, this court that meets in complete secrecy, where only the government is allowed to attend. And unlike previously, when it really was confined to just issuing individual warrants about particular targets of terrorism, it is now issuing sweeping, broad opinions defining the contours of our constitutional liberties, of the Fourth Amendment, of the government’s power to spy on us—and it’s all being done in secret. What kind of a country has a court that defines the Constitution in total secrecy and forces us to live under truly secret law in which the government can do all sorts of things to us that we’re not even aware of, that it’s claiming the right to do and being given the power to do it? So I think the New York Times article highlighted what has long been known about the joke called the FISA court, but it’s good to see The New York Times doing some reporting on these stories and hopefully bringing some more attention to this.