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The Logic Behind Mass Spying: Empire and Cyber Imperialism

We're the NSA

We’re the NSA

By James Petras99GetSmart

Introduction

Revelations about the long-term global, intrusive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other allied intelligence apparatuses have provoked widespread protests and indignation and threatened ties between erstwhile imperial allies.

Allied regimes have uniformly condemned NSA espionage as a violation of trust and sovereignty, a threat to their national and economic security and to their citizens’ privacy.

In contrast, the Washington has responded in a contradictory manner: on the one hand, US officials and intelligence chiefs have acknowledged ‘some excesses and mistakes’, on the other hand, they defend the entire surveillance program as necessary for US national security.

Interpretations vary about the US global spy apparatus – how it was built and why it was launched against  hundreds of millions of people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ explanations abound, evoking psychological, social, economic, strategic and political considerations.

A multi-factorial explanation is required.

The Integrated Hypothesis of the Global Police State

One of the essential components of a police state is an all-pervasive spy apparatus operating independently of any legal or constitutional constraints.  Spy operations include: 1) massive surveillance over text, video and audio communications and 2) the capacity to secretly record, store and use information secretly collected.  This information strengthens political and economic leaders who, in turn, appoint and direct the spy chiefs.  The political and economic rulers control the spy-lords by setting the goals, means and targets of the surveillance state.  The US global spy apparatus is neither ‘self-starting nor self-perpetuating’.  It did not arise in a vacuum and it has virtually no strategic autonomy.  While there may be intra-bureaucratic conflicts and rivalries, the institutions and groups function within the overall ‘paradigm’ established and directed by the political and economic elite.

The Global Spy Structure

The growth and expansion of the US spy apparatus has deep roots in its history and is related to the colonial need to control subjugated native and enslaved peoples. However, the global operations emerged after the Second World War when the US replaced Europe as the center of world imperialism.  The US assumed the principal role in preventing the spread of revolutionary and anti-colonial movements from the Soviet Union, China, Korea, Vietnam and Cuba to war and crisis-burdened countries of Europe, North and Southeast Asia and Latin America.  When the collectivist states fell apart in the 1990’s the US became the sole superpower and a unipolar world emerged. [cont’d.]

CommunityMy FDL

The Logic Behind Mass Spying:  Empire and Cyber Imperialism

We're the NSA

We’re the NSA

By James Petras99GetSmart

Introduction

Revelations about the long-term global, intrusive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and other allied intelligence apparatuses have provoked widespread protests and indignation and threatened ties between erstwhile imperial allies.

Allied regimes have uniformly condemned NSA espionage as a violation of trust and sovereignty, a threat to their national and economic security and to their citizens’ privacy.

In contrast, the Washington has responded in a contradictory manner: on the one hand, US officials and intelligence chiefs have acknowledged ‘some excesses and mistakes’, on the other hand, they defend the entire surveillance program as necessary for US national security.

Interpretations vary about the US global spy apparatus – how it was built and why it was launched against  hundreds of millions of people. ‘Subjective’ and ‘objective’ explanations abound, evoking psychological, social, economic, strategic and political considerations.

A multi-factorial explanation is required.

The Integrated Hypothesis of the Global Police State

One of the essential components of a police state is an all-pervasive spy apparatus operating independently of any legal or constitutional constraints.  Spy operations include: 1) massive surveillance over text, video and audio communications and 2) the capacity to secretly record, store and use information secretly collected.  This information strengthens political and economic leaders who, in turn, appoint and direct the spy chiefs.  The political and economic rulers control the spy-lords by setting the goals, means and targets of the surveillance state.  The US global spy apparatus is neither ‘self-starting nor self-perpetuating’.  It did not arise in a vacuum and it has virtually no strategic autonomy.  While there may be intra-bureaucratic conflicts and rivalries, the institutions and groups function within the overall ‘paradigm’ established and directed by the political and economic elite.

The Global Spy Structure (more…)

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