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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 Read the rest of this entry →