#1 By: Cory Doctorow, October 20th, 2013 11:52
#2 By: Inquiry, October 20th, 2013 13:53
I wonder if the NSA has any cogent INSERTs into their relational tables of digital discourse with regards to the ATF's Operation Fast and Furious.
#3 By: rocketpj, October 20th, 2013 14:29
Somehow I suspect the worst is yet to come.
Here we have the NSA doing more than any other agency to end the moronic and stupid war on drugs - something which is particularly brutal in Mexico, involving such things as killer clowns at birthday parties and mass beheadings. By hacking the communications of those who were thinking about ending it, then getting caught, they have handed those people plenty of ammunition for their cause.
How is the NSA anything other than a cancer on US interests at this point? They are simultaneously managing to sabotage the US tech sector - to the point that the US will lose its dominance within a decade now that nobody trusts anything US made at all. They have pissed off the leadership in Europe by spying on trade delegations that have nothing to do with terrorism, and managed to alienate almost all major allies - including Germany and France. They have seriously undermined their closest allies in the UK. They have now personally attacked and offended the president of Mexico, ensuring that any decisions he makes will put the US last in his consideration.
All rooted in the stunning and ahistorical hubris of an imperial power. 'We have been on top for a long time, therefore we will always be on top. Therefore there is nothing we can do that will undermine our ability to stay on top. Therefore we can operate with impunity." The NSA has managed, through sheer arrogance mixed with blatant institutional stupidity, to utterly sabotage any vestiges of the myth that the US is a force for good, and not just a big, powerful, highly militarized state with its own interests always in mind and fuck anyone who gets in the way. As if there has never been an Empire that collapsed through a combination of hubris, incompetence, complacency and overreach before (protip - every empire in history).
It will take awhile, but right now governments and businesses around the world are shifting their focus away from the US towards creating or adopting systems they can actually trust not to fuck them over. The NSA has made sure the next decades will be a long, painful decline for US power and influence in the world. And it is never going to take off the blinkers or admit wrongdoing, ever.
#4 By: Snagglepuss 62629, October 20th, 2013 14:41
A US agency, illegally breaking into political rivals' accounts, to glean info to be used as ammo for the US agency's political tactics ? G. Gordon Liddy will be riding to their rescue any second now....
#5 By: rigs, October 20th, 2013 15:02
How is this "whistleblowing" rather than "espionage"? There's nothing inherently illegal in the US spying on Mexico. You might be opposed to it on political/ideological grounds, but that's not usually a defense for giving up secrets, now is it?
#6 By: Melted_Crayons, October 20th, 2013 15:25
rigs, please expand on the points you made:
- "How is this "whistleblowing" rather than "espionage"?
- "There's nothing inherently illegal in the US spying on Mexico.
- "You might be opposed to it on political/ideological grounds
- "...but that's not usually a defense for giving up secrets,"
#7 By: heckblazer, October 20th, 2013 15:46
This is the NSA doing the job it was chartered to do. In the case of Mexico in particular the country is a neighbor with endemic drug violence and rampant corruption (34 out of 100 in Transparency International's survey). That's a situation I expect American intelligence agencies to monitor. The linked article gives some more context for the questions the NSA would have asked and why:
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?
#8 By: Rob, October 20th, 2013 15:50
Let's see. They use the drug war as an excuse to push totalitarian policies here at home, and an unelected and unaccountable secret police agency is pushing a specific domestic political agenda (continuation of the drug war), which is opposed by anyone in the US with the slightest desire not to live in a totalitarian state, via meddling in the domestic policies of a neighboring country. If you somehow don't think the American people have a compelling reason to know that, the sheer number of bootlicking quislings like you is exactly the problem.
#9 By: Alice Weir, October 20th, 2013 16:18
You know, I have been absolutely outraged ever since the initial Snowden reveal. I've known since the late 90's that this was all possible, but until then, did not know that the NSA had gone so far as to actually undermine our own civil rights, just because they could. Losing your fantasy of a principled government is a painful ordeal, to say the least. I worked inside for too damned long, saw way too much. Until just now, the scariest thing, to me, was the incredible naivete of the American people in believing that it was still anything more than corporate pimps and their duly-elected third-rate, lowlife disease-mongering whores! They're an insult to real whores everywhere.
But now? I'm past the point of mere outrage. These jackasses are within an inch of bringing this entire government down, and us with it. I was up for some serious, fundamental changes. But not like this. Not this way. I wanted so badly to see change, but from within - from US taking care of business. at long last
But now, it will come from others. And this won't be the end of the reveals. Not even close. Think about who knowingly used this information. Think about who authorized all of this. Think about who profited. Think of every bit of business on this planet they have their greedy paws in. You know their names. You voted for some of them. You've argued the merits of others. You KNOW them. And now you know how hard they sold us all out - not this side or that, not me instead of you, not him instead of her, not legal and regulatory definitions instead of plainspoken truth. They sold us out. ALL.OF.US. Fucking traitors!
#10 By: IMB, October 20th, 2013 16:23
A million freaking times, agreed.
#11 By: rigs, October 20th, 2013 17:03
Yes, I understand you are ideologically opposed to the drug war (as am I, btw). You did not address a single one of my points, though. It's not illegal for the NSA to spy on Mexico according to US law. Exposing legal spying activity is not whistleblowing.
#12 By: Rob, October 20th, 2013 17:13
You must have missed the part where they're doing the spying in service of a domestic political agenda, which is illlegal for the NSA or CIA to do.
#13 By: Ygret, October 20th, 2013 22:58
And how does the US fare on Transparency International's survey (Don't you just love the way the US media has anesthetized the people into thinking we don't have a terribly corrupt government)?
The flawed premises underlying your response are many. Here are a few:
a) the "drug war" is being "fought" by the US government for the reasons it states;
b) the drug war is a rational response to the use of certain classes of drugs by certain classes of people, and not a way to control and dominate certain classes of people who use certain classes of drugs (or who can have certain classes of drugs planted on them to imprison them for other, more political offenses);
c) there is any honesty at all in regard to who is targeted and who isn't in the "war on drugs"
d) the methods used by the CIA, Homeland Security, FBI, ATF, etc. in Mexico are 1) ethical, 2) effective, 3) designed to win
e) that the US doesn't rig Mexican presidential elections
There are many more I'm sure. Please feel free to add to the list anyone...
In closing, just answer one simple question that shows the utterly phony nature of the drug war:
Why, if the US govt is so determined to win the war on drugs, has it refused to prosecute the PRIME ENABLERS of the success and power of the Mexican drug cartels -- specifically the banks like HSBC, JP Morgan, Citibank, etc. who have engaged in the laundering of at least HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS (probably trillions) of drug cartel money over the past decade alone, without said money being laundered said drug cartels would quickly collapse from their inability to utilize their billions to maintain their power, including the financing of their massive international operations, personnel, boats, weapons, logistics, and worldwide domination of various drug routes and trades?
If the "war on drugs" were anything other than a way for the state to dominate its neighbors, dominate its lower classes, enable a police state, and finance its ultra-clandestine covert operations and power plays it would've been "won" years ago either through shutting down the money pipelines, strategic legalization of certain classes of drugs to eliminate the profits of the violent cartels and gangs, or any other of a number of sensible policies that are not even discussed let alone implemented within the US state apparatus. If you can show how the above premises are not hollow, and answer the question posed at the end, I will begin to believe your incredibly naive and simple view of the drug war and the NSA's efforts therewith.
#14 By: Ygret, October 20th, 2013 23:05
Ahh, the old "legal" chestnut. I am not interested in what our thoroughly corrupt government has deigned to call "legal". That you are speaks to your toadying nature. Exposing "legal" spying activity that furthers the totalitarian power of the US government over its long-suffering southern neighbors under the guise of a "war on drugs" that is really a war on the politically disenfranchised and powerless being fought by and on behalf of the powerful multinationals that control the US government and want Mexico to exist as a plantation and factory state, with an impoverished and docile populace is NOT espionage, it is freedom fighting and liberation theology on a grand scale. The idea that exposing the spying of the US government (a/k/a international neoliberal global predatory capitalist class) is the same as espionage is akin to a child's view of "I want to be a policeman when I grow up to save people" is to the actual work of policing in America in the 21st century.
Good luck with that worldview, little Petey.
#15 By: kmoser, October 20th, 2013 23:07
"Flatliquid?" "Whitetamale?" Are these NSA programs or the newest hipster food craze from Williamsburg? I might just have to whip up a website: nsaprogramorhipsterfood.com?
#16 By: rigs, October 20th, 2013 23:23
Your use of "freedom fighting and liberation theology" made my day. Almost as good as "toadying", as if I have any interaction with the US government that I could toady to them. Anyway, good use of buzzwords. You should try to calm down.
#17 By: heckblazer, October 21st, 2013 01:06
And how does the US fare on Transparency International's survey (Don't
you just love the way the US media has anesthetized the people into
thinking we don't have a terribly corrupt government)?
For 2012 we score 73 out of 100, putting us just behind Japan and the UK and just ahead of Chile. That's not remotely as good as I'd like, but rank 19 is still much better than Mexico's rank 105.
The flawed premises underlying your response are many. Here are a few:
We disagree less than you might think. The "War on Drugs" is a clusterfuck, and the ultimate solution involves domestic drug reforms moving away from punitive methods and towards de-criminalization and rehabilitation so as to cut down on demand. Where we disagree is that you seem to see a clever plan to dominate our neighbors while I see a dog's breakfast of a policy that requires any changes to have the approval of the likes of John Boehner and Ted Cruz. In the meantime we can't just walk away from the problem of violent cartels running around, and in some areas running, Mexico, and I fail to see how shutting down our NSA eyes and ears will un-fuck the cluster-fuck.
I'd add that the US has other major interests in Mexico, such as the economic stability of the main nation of origin for immigration to the US and the level of corruption in the state-owned company that's the fourth largest source of American oil imports.
#18 By: Ygret, October 21st, 2013 02:33
Apparently you have no historical knowledge of US dollar diplomacy in Central and South America going back over a hundred years. The sort of history that doesn't get written up because megacorps like United Fruit don't want schoolchildren to know they have starved and pushed native peoples off their lands for 75 years in order to plant bananas so the US market could get them for 25 cents per pound. You know, the same mestizo people who often get flooded into the sea when massive rains reach the high mountainsides they were forced onto by United Fruit. You apparently don't know about the death squads and fascist movements promoted by Ronald Reagan and every president thereafter that force neoliberal corporate fascism on indigent peoples across our southern neighbors. Liberation theology is premised on defending and enabling these poor peoples to regain what was stolen from them. The drug war in Mexico, Columbia, etc. are all part of the US corporate dominance scheme to keep the people poor and the corporations rich.
If you do not know this history, then you are massively ignorant and should be ashamed to post on subjects you know nothing about. If you do know about these things and still choose to post your trite, simplistic notions well, what can I say... good job defending the dark side! We're all so proud.
#19 By: Ygret, October 21st, 2013 02:42
And one more thing. Picking out a couple of words you think that, on their own, can be mocked in the trite fashion you seem to favor is not argument, its trolling. Next time try to respond to at least one of the points I make.
On top of that you claim to be against the drug war, but you are in favor of the NSA's part in the drug war, at least as regards Mexico. That is a contradiction. Its not a tenable position to be against something but for one of its more egregious manifestations.
If you care about drug cartel violence ask yourself how the NSA spying on Mexico's top leaders has done anything to mitigate that violence. Or has it in fact helped to stop drug war reformists like Nieto who might at least make an attempt to legalize drugs in Mexico, thereby staunching the violence and pressuring the US to do the same?
#20 By: retepslluerb, October 21st, 2013 05:52
Sure. Also, they were only following orders.
However, the NSA was so diligent that Pres. Hollande asked to see the American ambassador to France to explain his country's actions. As far as I remember stuff like that doesn't happen very often between fully developed democratic nations.
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