Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Citizens' Dispatch: "Why Spy?"
Here's a question for those who want to shutter the NSA: Objectively, in the "REAL WORLD" of Nuclear politics and Big Money, why WOULDN'T ANYBODY bug everything and everyone they could? Especially when knowing that EVERYBODY is trying to bug YOU?
That's pretty much how ALL intel gathering works: scoop up everything and hope there's something useful. Back in my day, we used antennae which were pointed where we wanted to listen, and that's what we heard. Today, satellites only point DOWN, and down there, everything is available
"Real-politik" is all about power. It's a bitch if you're on the business end of it, and there is this bit of "real politik/Intel"to consider: Knowledge really is power, especially in state-craft. Information is the raw material of knowledge. You wouldn't want YOUR 'State' to have an information deficit in its dealings with other 'States," would you? You wouldn't want the Govt. NOT TO KNOW what the Russkis are doing, what the Iranians are up to, or whom the Israelis are screwing. NOT KNOWING would be foolishness, where the fate of the world/'civilization' is, often quite literally, in the balance. Ignorance is right on the brink of irresponsibility because, in fact, the world really IS a pretty dangerous place.
So: Everybody spies on everybody else. How could it be otherwise? Johnson knew, via "illegal" phone taps, that Nixon and Kissinger were sabotaging the Paris Peace talks in '68, but "couldn't" reveal it cuz it was "illegally" obtained information, or so it is often alleged. So, too, I imagine that Carter, via the same expedients--"illegal surveillance"-- probably knew that William Casey and GHW Bush were engaged in illegal negotiations with the Iranian mullahs to pre-empt an October Surprise, but "couldn't/wouldn't" blow the whistle on the Raygooners treason.
So: Nobody's really unhappy when the Govt spies on "enemies," "antagonists," etc. No worries. It just gets "tetchy" when you begin to feel like you're the object of the power.
And, NSA spied and spies on EVERYBODY! That's its job, mission, and purpose. In the super-power world of "real-politik," it's just not possible to run an Empire without nearly total supervision and surveillance, domestically and abroad. And it won't stop, despite all the lawz, regulationz, and rulez Congress can make--there'll STILL be room for plenty of "exceptions." The "law/rule/reg-makers" themselves will see to that.
Remember "Total Information Awareness," from the bad, old days? It "went away" after being exposed, right? Only it was just renamed something more innocuous. http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2013/06/07/u-s-never-really-ended-creepy-total-information-awareness-program/ The Govt just completed a multi-billion-dollar/multi-million square foot 'information processing' facility in the Utah desert. What does anyone suppose they're going to do there? Have rodeos? Soccer matches?
Technically, I suppose, "spying" on your own people is ethically questionable. But states/Governments do NOT have "morals." The US Govt has been spying on its own citizens since the Gilded Age, in the 19th Century. Mostly, the targets have been on the margins of society: Wobblies, Communists, Anarchists, labor movements, civil rights activists, etc. Until recently, nobody much complained. Now some (but not all) "every-day" citizens are feeling the pinch of marginality, and are uncomfortable...
Welllll: Pay-back's a bitch, innit, hippies?