NSA: ‘full spectrum dominance’

Written By: - Date published: 9:39 am, October 28th, 2013 - 23 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, democracy under attack, internet, john key, national, slippery, Spying, telecommunications, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags:

Over the last week or so, further revelations of the extent of the NSA’s surveillance reach, in conjunction with at least one of its 5 Eyes’ partners (UK’s GCHQ) are breath taking in scope.  As Seumas Milne wrote last week in The Guardian, its

about global power, not protecting its citizens

The cumulative information leaked via Edward Snowden provides a picture of NSA-dominated international and intra-national surveillance in areas of armed conflict, aerial bombardment, politics and business.  This is looking like an updated version of the US government’s military-based, imperialistic strategy of “full spectrum dominance“.  The Wikipedia link explains this as a US military doctrine using “land,air, maritime, space, and cyber based assets“, and provides this definition of “full spectrum superiority”, quoted from a US Department of Defence dictionary,

The cumulative effect of dominance in the air, land, maritime, and space domains and information environment that permits the conduct of joint operations without effective opposition or prohibitive interference.[1]

What we are seeing with the extensive NSA-led surveillance is the extension of that kind of approach beyond the battlefield, into business and politics.

Back to the Seumas Milne article linked above.  He argues that the UK spying agencies have moved on from the seedy days of seedy counter-subversion operations of the past, with propaganda that now paints them as the “good guys”:

MI5 has well over doubled in size in the past 10 years. Glamorised beyond parody in TV dramas such as Spooks, the spying agencies’ uncheckable pronouncements about their exploits and supposed triumphs are routinely relayed by the media as fact. The same has been true in the US, but on a far larger canvas.

So faced with the avalanche of leaks from the National Security Agency and GCHQ about the epic scale of their blanket electronic surveillance, both at home and abroad, the masters of Anglo-American espionage have played the “national security” card for all it’s worth.

Milne argues that this propaganda, using counter-terrorism as a cover, masks the true agenda of,

the exercise of naked state power to gain political and economic advantage.

The extent of the surveillance, not only includes monitoring the private communications of relatively powerless citizens in countries like France, but the recording of phone calls, texts and emails of foreign heads of government in the likes of France, Germany, Brazil and Mexico.  But while the French government protests against such surveillance, it has also colluded with the US in its attempts to capture Snowden, and no doubt also in surveillance of its own citizens.

But it is the scale and reach of the NSA-GCHQ operation – and the effective global empire it is used to police – that sets it apart. And when it comes to terrorism, the evidence is that the US and British intelligence agencies are fuelling it as much as fighting it.

The use of cyber and surveillance capabilities within the military arena includes drone attacks, renditions, and land-based conflicts.  However, New Zealand’s role via the GCSB, now becoming linked with the SIS and criminal justice systems as indicated by the Dotcom saga, is most likely more connected with politics and business than with armed conflict.

This is indicated by the role that the GCSB played in testing out some of the NSA’s mass surveillance systems.  And this connects with the way NSA systems have been used to monitor communications of foreign heads of government and business entities.

The use of the NSA capabilities is indicated in the revelations of spying on Angela Merkle and the French President.  On Tuesday, the NZ Herald reported that, in relation to the French revelations, the use of specific phone numbers triggered the recording of conversations, as well as collecting text messages that used specified key words.

In Brazil, Snowden’s leaked data indicates,

 President Dilma Rousseff’s communications with aides were intercepted, the computer network of state-run oil company Petrobras was hacked,…

The latest revelations allegedly show that,

The United States has allegedly bugged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone since 2002, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Saturday, citing a secret National Security Agency document from 2010.

The GCSB as part of the 5 Eyes network, draws NZ’s surveillance systems into US dominated cyber-surveillance systems.  Such systems are being used by the US and UK governments for economic and political power games.  This reinforces the need to continue to oppose the changes by the current NZ government to the NZ surveillance agencies furrther enable the US-UK power games.

This means a need for a review of the GCSB law and reversal of the most recent changes; and continued opposition to the Telecommunications Interception Capability and Security Bill (TICS) currently before parliament. According to an NBR article, as well as requiring Internet providers to spy on its customers’ communications it will “impose increased costs on the IT sector.

Tech Liberty NZ argues:

There is no evidence that the revelations about the extent of government spying in our intelligence allies, the USA and UK, have had any impact on the TICS Bill which is still mainly concerned about making sure that all electronic communications in New Zealand can be exposed to government scrutiny.

This indicates that the NZ government is colluding with the US agencies in its latest strategies for full political, economic and military “spectrum dominance”.  The last word in this post goes to Tech Liberty NZ:

We believe that changes in technology mean we need to rethink surveillance, search warrants and interception. We also fear that the cold war heritage of our security services unreasonably influences their thinking and their operations.

We support the idea of an inquiry into our intelligence services to ensure that what they do and how they do it are in the best interests of New Zealanders. We also support the idea that just because something is technically possible, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we should do it. There needs to be limits on surveillance to protect important rights, such as freedom of expression and freedom of association.

 

 

 

23 comments on “NSA: ‘full spectrum dominance’”

  1. Tat Loo (CV) 2

    Looks like Angela Merkel has been on a US surveillance target list for over 10 years, and that the White House under Obama re-approved surveillance on her. She’s not happy, to say the least. Funny how these leaders only get steamed up when they realise it’s not just their citizens who have been targeted, but themselves personally.

    As Glen Greenwald and others are pointing out, the old US line of we’re only doing this ‘to fight the terrorists’ is looking pretty weak – as it did from the start.

    • Populuxe1 2.1

      Mind you – look what happened the last time a German leader was left to their own devices lol. But seriously, it’s a bit hypocritical when Germany was a core part of the NSA spy network keeping tabs on other European leaders.

  2. Anne 3

    Funny how these leaders only get steamed up when they realise it’s not just their citizens who have been targeted, but themselves personally.

    My reaction too Tat. As someone on the receiving end of unjustifiable surveillance years ago, I find it deeply ironic when persons of stature discover they have been spied on. Suddenly it becomes a very serious matter.

  3. Draco T Bastard 4

    Such systems are being used by the US and UK governments for economic and political power games.

    The correct term is warfare.

  4. fender 7

    Bet the yanks have had trouble finding a translator to decipher the intercepted Key phone calls…

  5. JO 8

    Let’s think about ‘the Five Eyes Network’ a bit more. Surely no one at NSA suggested that a softer name would send people back to sleep with ‘Bright Eyes’ burbling in their docile brains. Did they?

    ‘Five Eyes’ is the UKUSA Agreement (1946), between the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and NZ. Slightly less cosy? Of course. That’s why this powerful NATO side-arm needed a silencer. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s tentacles circle the planet now like a nightmare’s Kraken.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UKUSA_Agreement (according to this, it wasn’t revealed to the public until the early 2000s. Peace groups knew of it in the 1980s.)

    ‘… Orwell would have recognised these as classic examples of disguising hard reality—giving sweeping powers of surveillance to the security services—behind soft words.’
    From:
    http://www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/magazine/david-marsh-guardian-book-for-who-the-bell-tolls/#.UmrMv1_29aF

  6. Tracey 9

    I wonder if key has called merkel and told her if she has nothing to hide she has nothing to fear.

  7. Lloyd 10

    If Merkel is really annoyed and really wants to wake the US up, all she has to do is offer Snowden full residency in Germany with guarantee of non-extradition for his whistle-blowing activities.

  8. Tracey 11

    Of course the usa will be sharing its spy info with its corporates “negotiating” the tppa.

    confidentiality clause makes it an even playing field according to wayne mapp but he surely hasnt factored in phone taps etc…

  9. Chooky 12

    +1…. very interesting post thanks Karol

  10. Papa Tuanuku 13

    Umm, National politicians saying they haven’t been spied on (as opposed to large powerful nations like Germany, Spain and France) look incredibly naive, dumb, and like seasoned bullshitters. Don’t you just feel you’re being majorly let down with Key saying exactly what the PMs of England and Aussie are saying?

    • Tat Loo (CV) 13.1

      It also happens that UK and Aussie are two countries which along with NZ are also part of the Five Eyes network. These are countries that are classed as highly privileged “first party” intelligence partners to the USA.

  11. Rogue Trooper 14

    Casablanca “My God, there’s gambling going on here!”

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Kids bear the brunt of Budget
    Future generations are the ones bearing the brunt of National’s failure to provide education services the funding they need to make ends meet, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “For nine years in a row the Government has told our ...
    38 mins ago
  • The real costs of National’s election bribe
    The cost of National’s poorly-targeted election year budget bribe is that there’s nothing to fix the housing crisis, health funding is cut, and funding for schools is cut, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “As the dust begins to settle ...
    2 hours ago
  • Health running on empty
    Get ready for more cuts to health at a local level, affecting all New Zealanders, after a Budget that failed to deliver even enough for health services to stand still, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “District Health Boards this ...
    3 hours ago
  • Nats’ budget a double-crewed ambulance parked at the bottom of the cliff
    National’s election year Budget shows that there’s no coincidence Finance Minister Steven Joyce doubles as National’s campaign manager, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The 2017 Budget reveals a lack of vision, and is simply an election year budget with ...
    19 hours ago
  • After nine years, it’s the One Dollar Bill Budget
    National’s Budget 2017 is an irresponsible election bribe which after nine years exposes a government that’s run out of energy and ideas to tackle the big issues facing New Zealand,” says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “This is simply cynical electioneering ...
    23 hours ago
  • Alfred Ngaro might be sorry – but to whom?
    The fact that the number of people classified as homeless on the Social Housing Register has doubled over the past year alone should be the real reason for Alfred Ngaro’s recent apologies, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “As ...
    2 days ago
  • Government’s data-for-funding backdown embarrassing
    The Government’s U-turn on their shambolic attempt to collect private client data from social services is an embarrassment for a senior Minister, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “After months of criticism and mismanagement, the Government has finally cut ...
    2 days ago
  • Overloaded hospitals reach crisis point
      The country’s hospitals have reached breaking point with some hospitals discharging patients to free up bed space and patients with serious injuries having to wait hours to be seen by a doctor, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    2 days ago
  • National fails on critical school building needs
    Students are paying the price of the Government’s failure to invest fast enough in school buildings to keep pace with Auckland’s increasing population, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Parents should lay the blame for their children having to put up ...
    2 days ago
  • Tipping culture is not welcome in NZ
    Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett’s comments about tipping have been in the news and have sparked off a series of furious discussions about tipping in Aotearoa. From our point of view, tipping every time you’re provided a service is a ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Mental Health a huge cost for Police
      The cost of dealing with mental health incidents for our police was a staggering $36.7 million which shows just why we need Labour’s fresh approach on Mental Health, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “Police now ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson: Speech to Otago-Southland Employers Association
    Thanks to the Otago Southland Employers Association and Virginia for hosting me this evening.  It is always a pleasure to come back to the city and region that shaped who I am as a person. I believe that growing up ...
    4 days ago
  • Renting a home in the Wild West
    It can be tough renting a place to live, and it could be about to get tougher. Radio NZ is reporting that the American Rentberry app wants to start operating in New Zealand. Rentberry allows landlords to play perspective tenants ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    4 days ago
  • Free West Papua leader in Aotearoa
    Last week I hosted Free West Papua leader Benny Wenda at Parliament and travelled with him to a number of important events. Benny is spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement for West Papua and lives in exile in England. 14 ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Nats unprepared for record immigration
    National’s under-investment in housing, public services, and infrastructure means New Zealand is literally running out of beds for the record number of new migrants, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour opposes Ports of Auckland sale
    Labour would strongly oppose the sell-off of the Ports of Auckland to fix a short term cash crisis caused by the Government blocking the city’s requests for new ways to fund infrastructure, says Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford. “National ...
    1 week ago
  • Workers pay the price of Silver Fern’s Fairton closure
    The threatened closure of Silver Fern Farms’ Fairton Plant in Ashburton raises serious questions about the Government’s support of the sale of half of the company to a foreign company, when it appears this outcome may have been inevitable, says ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s answer to the housing crisis: One new affordable house per 100 new Aucklanders
    National’s fudge of a housing plan will make Auckland even more of a speculators’ paradise, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    1 week ago
  • Government can’t be trusted with private data
    The independent review of the Ministry of Social Development’s data breach in April has shown, once again, that the Ministry cannot be trusted with private client information, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “The investigation by former Deloitte chairman ...
    1 week ago
  • Another crisis, another half-baked National plan
    The National Party may have finally woken up to the teacher supply crisis facing our schools but their latest half-baked, rushed announcement falls well short of the mark in terms of what’s required, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you
    Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments have exposed the Government’s ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ approach, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    1 week ago
  • Breaking news – National admits there’s a housing crisis
    National finally admits there’s a housing crisis, but today’s belated announcement is simply not a credible response to the problem it’s been in denial about for so long, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National can’t now credibly claim ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats lay the ground for housing bust
    Goldman Sachs’ warning that New Zealand has the developed world’s most over-priced housing market, with a 40 per cent chance of a bust within two years, shows the consequences of National’s nine years of housing neglect, says Labour Housing spokesperson ...
    1 week ago
  • Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?
    Property investors’ lobby groups have been up in arms this week about Labour and Green parties’ plans to close tax loopholes and fix the housing market. That’s probably a good thing. Like an investor in any other sector, they expect ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    1 week ago
  • Alfred Ngaro reflects National’s culture of silencing debate
    Image from Getty Images Community groups must be free to advocate for the people they serve. It’s these people who see first-hand if ideas dreamt up in Wellington actually work on the ground. It’s essential that they can speak freely ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Bill English must reassure community organisations
    The Prime Minister must do more to reassure community organisations after Cabinet Minister Alfred Ngaro's apparent threats to their funding if they criticise government policy which has left a born-to-rule perception amongst many, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Alfred Ngaro ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extremism and its discontents
    Another scar on global democracy appeared recently, this time in Germany.It seems that the number of soldiers on duty with extremist political leanings has become a concern to the military leadership in that country. Soldiers were found openly possessing ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s suicide approach disappoints
    Mike King’s sudden departure from the Government’s suicide prevention panel, amid claims the Government’s approach is ‘deeply flawed’, is further evidence National is failing on mental health, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. “Mental health is reaching crisis point in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National backs speculators, fails first home buyers
    National is showing its true colours and backing speculators who are driving first home buyers out of the market, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “By defending a $150m a year hand-out to property speculators, Bill English is turning his back ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More oversight by Children’s Commissioner needed
    More funding and more independence is required for the Children’s Commissioner to function more effectively in the best interests of Kiwi kids in State care, says Labour’s spokesperson for children Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to end tax breaks for speculators; invest in warm, healthy homes
    Labour will shut down tax breaks for speculators and use the savings to help make 600,000 homes warmer and healthier over the next ten years, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “It’s time for fresh thinking to tackle the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Health of young people a priority for Labour
    Labour will ensure all young people have access to a range of health care services on-site at their local secondary school, says Labour’s deputy leader Jacinda Ardern. “Our policy will see School Based Health Services extended to all public secondary ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratifying the TPPA makes no sense
    The recent high-fiving between the government and agricultural exporters over ratification of the TPPA (Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement) is empty gesture politics in an election year. Ratification by New Zealand means nothing. New Zealand law changes are not implemented unless the ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    2 weeks ago
  • NIWA report proves National’s trickery re swimmable rivers
    National have a slacker standard for swimmable rivers than was the case prior to their recent so-called Clean Water amendment to the National Policy Statement (NPS), says Labour’s Water spokesperson David Parker. “The table 11 on page 25 of the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • MPS shows new approach needed on housing
    The Reserve Bank’s latest Monetary Policy Statement provides further evidence that only a change in government will start to fix the housing crisis, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is more evident than ever that only a Labour-led government ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fresh approach on mental health
    Labour will introduce a pilot scheme of specialist mental health teams across the country in government to ensure swifter and more effective treatment for those who need urgent help, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little. “Mental health is in crisis. It ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Sallies back Labour’s plan for affordable homes
    The country’s most respected social agency has endorsed Labour’s KiwiBuild plan to build homes that families can afford to buy, and delivered a withering assessment of the National Government’s housing record, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Education is for everyone, not just the elite
    Proposals by the National Party to ration access to higher education will once again make it a privilege only available to the elite, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Speaking at the Education Select Committee, Maurice Williamson let the National ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer support changes far too little, certainly late
    Anne Tolley’s belated backtrack to finally allow Jobseeker clients suffering from cancer to submit only one medical certificate to prove their illness fails to adequately provide temporary support for people too sick to work, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kids must come first in enrolment debate
    The best interests of children should be the major driver of any change to policies around initial school enrolments, not cost cutting or administrative simplicity, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.   “The introduction of school cohort entry is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Feed the Kids
    While in Whangarei last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Buddhi Manta from the Hare Krishna movement whose cafe is making lunch for some schools in Whangarei. His group have been feeding up to 1,000 primary school kids at local ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 weeks ago
  • DHBs’ big budget blowout
    New Zealand’s District Health Boards are now facing a budget deficit of nearly $90 million dollars, a significant blowout on what was forecast, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark.   Labour believes health funding must grow to avoid further cuts ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Govt plays catch up on drug funding
    The Government's backdown on Pharmac is welcomed because previous rhetoric around the agency being adequately funded was just nonsense, says Labour's Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    3 weeks ago