Under Electronic Surveillance of US Special Services By Nil NIKANDROV

24 June 2013 — Strategic Culture Foundation

The CIA and the NSA (the US National Security Agency) whistleblower Edward Snowden (who temporarily had found refuge in Hong Kong and now [is someplace else]) has demonstrated once more the global reach of US electronic surveillance which, no doubt, is a kind of criminal activity. He looked really deep into what the NSA does and was terrified by the things he found out. So the man is on his way looking for a safe shelter to continue the revelations… 

He made public the information about the PRISM secret electronic surveillance program which covers European Internet companies and social networks users. The agency disseminates the received data among the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other related bodies. Snowden has not revealed everything he knows as yet, but what has become the public knowledge so far has evoked high alarm, at least in Latin America. If the empire is watching the NATO closest allies, then how far can it go to the south of Rio Grande, the region it considers to be its own «backyard»?

There is a huge building without windows in the heart of Miami that belongs to Terremark Company. Three big Global Crossing white domes with electronic equipment are located on the roof. It is used for keeping tabs on phone conversations and Internet messages in Latin America and the Caribbean. Global Crossing has close ties with the US National Security Agency and provides it with unlimited access to the information to enhance national security, including fight against international terrorism, organized crime, drug trafficking and spy networks. 

That’s what all US-based communication structures do while providing services to the south of Rio Grande. Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, has recently said during a video conference held by Uruguay University that Latin Americans should know that many servers are located in California. The well-known internationally Google, Facebook, Yahoo and many others are under US control and are open to the US National Security Agency, the empire’s «big ear». According to Assange, the united States intercept 99% of Latin American communications with other parts of the world. 

The agency needs additional information to systemize and decode the data on other countries telecommunications, networks. Technologies used by governments, armed forces, intelligence and security agencies. Wireless communications, Internet – providers, cell phones, operational systems, satellite communications, including broad band Internet access, corporate networks – all are subjects of special interests. 

Brazil’s minister for communications Paulo Bernardo has said the government will ask the United States for explanations about the Internet spying and the role of the American companies. According to him, Google and other majors were to provide explanations to their clients in Brazil and other countries concerning their relationship with US security services. According to him, the media reports pose a great problem related to guaranteeing privacy of Brazilians granted to them by the country’s Constitution. 

The Brazilian government expresses legitimate concern. The United States started to pay special attention on Brazilian leaders’ private lives, the country’s internal and external policies during the tenure of Bush Jr. Brazil is viewed by the United States as a «South America giant», the major geopolitical rival in the Western Hemisphere, the leading nation of Latin American integration and a loyal partner of Cuba and other «populist regimes». The US embassy in Brazil has been involved in intelligence activities. The US operatives never shied away from recruiting Brazilians on US soil. The first US special services failures took place in 1999-2004 in the days when Rubens Barbosa served as Brazil’s ambassador to the United States. The communications of Brazil’s offices, cell phones of diplomats and auxiliary personnel were intercepted. There have been cases when the bags of Brazilian diplomats were open. According to Brazilian competent sources, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency hunted for decoders. Protests against eavesdropping and bags checking have been sent to the State Department, but there has never been a clear response. 

The Panama’s Democratic Revolutionary Party asked State Secretary John Kerry to explain the details related to the use of surveillance equipment transferred to Panamanian security services. The devices allowed to conduct eavesdropping operations, Internet monitoring and intercept of text messages. The local analysts say the activities are timed with general elections on May 2014 and the desire of the Martinelli’s government to discredit the opposition by using «tarnishing» information. There are also other reasons provided to explain the fact of sharing the top secret equipment, it’s all done in order to deploy the PRISM elements in the Western Hemisphere. 

Another row has taken place in Argentina. The national police database was under control of US embassy in Buenos Aires. In 2005 Proyecto X 4.1 was acquired from Microsoft to systemize the data related to public activists, political and trade union leaders. According to the contract, Argentinian experts had no right to make changes to the program. This could only be done by special staff in the United States embassy or, in other words, by those who work for the CIA. There are other reasons to believe the Agency used the police computers in order to collect data on other Brazilian law enforcement agencies according to PRISM program. 

Regional media puts the issue of US eavesdropping high on agenda. On June 6 Gaceta Mercantil.com published an interview with Henoch Aguiar, former Argentinian communications minister, who told how they tried to make him work for the United States. He was invited to meet an American by an Argentine entrepreneur who had close ties with US partners. Having a chat in a restaurant the American he was «recommended to meet» suddenly said he was a high standing CIA official. He put it straight and asked Aguiar to lend him a helping hand in eavesdropping efforts in Argentina. When refused he hurried away. 

Fiber-optic Venezuela-Cuba communications cable at the bottom of the Caribbean became effective in 2013. It increased the Venezuela’s communications capability by a few thousand times. The Cubans saw it as a counteraction against the US attempts to organize the island’s communications blockade. Technically, the best solution was laying the cable between Florida and Cuba, but the United States hindered the process. Now the paramount mission for Cuba and Venezuela is to protect the cable from the US National Security Agency. The Agency sees the independent communications in the region as a threat to US national security. Cuba is seen as a state which «supports terrorism». This stance justifies the preservation of sanctions against the island, as well as the need for wide scale spying activities. 

And the last. The President Obama’s and the NSA’s affirmations that the US special services only monitor but don’t read the intercepted messages make the horse laugh. It is said against the backdrop of world-wide recruiting efforts. Collecting discrediting information is a must. It cannot be done without reading and eavesdropping. Creating total HUMINT net and electronic surveillance are the intertwined missions to be accomplished by the United States.

The NSA and other US services trying to create global networks to achieve on-line transparency of mankind made Snowden act, «I’m willing to sacrifice all of that because I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building».

 Tags: NATO NSA PRISM Argentina Brazil Latin America US

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