The Associated Press reported on Dec. 17th that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has released an “open letter to the people of Brazil.”
Since spring, Snowden has been releasing thousands of documents on the NSA program through journalists Barton Gellman at the Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian, and U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras.
In his newest letter, he made a bombshell declaration. “These programs were never about terrorism; they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.”
This is the smoking gun to previous allegations by political pundits. Several pundits have alleged that the program was set up to arm the largest and most powerful U.S. corporations with patent information; competitor information including materials, financials, scientific research, and market data to help them maintain or gain control over markets.
Snowden’s statement also brings into sharp question the millions of dollars, lives lost, and intrusion of programs like TSA searches, the PATRIOT Act, the Afghan & Iraq wars, drone strikes, and all other actions taken by the U.S. government to fight “terrorism.”
In Snowden’s letter he made it clear to Brazil that it was the prime target of surveillance in South America. Brazil is part of the formidable economic coalition entitled “BRICS” for member nations: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
German newspaper Spiegel reported that the NSA spying includes total surveillance of international financial flows. The program is called “FTM” for “Follow the Money.” The program collected 180 million records in 2011 alone. 84% of the data is credit card transactions. http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/spiegel-exclusive-nsa-spies-on-international-bank-transactions-a-922276.html
In a more stunning revelation, the Dec. 12 “Report and Recommendations of The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology” stated the government is changing the amount in (presumably foreign) bank accounts.
Recommendations from page 221 of the report;
(1) Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry;
(2) Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts –or- manipulate the financial systems.
The entire report to the President is here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/2013-12-12_rg_final_report.pdf
A 2008 paper by Arindrajit Dube, Ethan Kaplan, and Suresh Naidu found evidence that the CIA and/or members of the Executive branch either disclosed or acted on information about top-secret authorizations of coups. Stocks in “highly-exposed” firms rose more in the pre-coup authorization phase than they did when the coup was actually launched. Basically they were saying the gathered intelligence is used to “front-run” markets. http://econweb.umd.edu/~kaplan/coups.pdf
Here’s how their dataset was developed:
“We selected our sample of coups on the following basis: (1.) a CIA timeline of events or a secondary timeline based on an original CIA document existed,
(2.) the coup contained secret planning events including at least one covert authorization of a coup attempt by a national intelligence agency and/or head of state, and
(3.) the coup authorization was against a government which nationalized property of at least one (1) sufficiently exposed multinational firm with publicly traded shares.”
Now that Mr. Snowden has released his latest statement, the objectives of “economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation” will possibly be thwarted to some degree. Reaction from diplomatic partners is still forthcoming, as no Embassy or Ambassador has released a public statement in response to this latest Snowden revelation.