Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Glenn Greenwald: Spying on Ordinary Muslims in the US

"... This government spying on the perfectly innocent activities of innocent Americans and other legal residents is just a tiny though illustrative fraction of the dossiers being regularly compiled by government agencies. The Surveillance State compiles a massive amount of data about even the most innocuous activities of Americans – recall that the Washington Post‘s “Top Secret America” 2010 series reported that ”every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications” – and the scope of what it gathers always expands and never constricts. But there are two odious aspects of the Surveillance State specifically highlighted by the NYPD’s program here.

First, Muslims generally — and, increasingly, American Muslims — are branded with virtually official non-person status under the law. On Monday, I wrote about the way in which core tyrannical powers — arbitrary detention, limitless spying, due-process-free assassinations — have become normalized in the U.S., Israel and its Western allies, but it is almost always Muslims who are the target of these abuses. Every serious episode of civil liberties assaults in American history was driven by the full-scale demonization of one specific group. There are still plenty of groups who perform that function, but there is no question that Muslims are the prime target now.

Second, this perfectly illustrates what I have often described as the one-way mirror dynamic of the American Surveillance State: it isn’t merely that the State knows more and more about the private activities of citizens, but worse, that happens at exactly the same time that citizens know less and less about the activities of the State. At exactly the same time that the Surveillance State has exploded into a sprawling, ubiquitous, unaccountable apparatus, the U.S. Government and its various agencies have erected an increasingly impenetrable wall of secrecy behind which it operates. This imbalance grows inexorably. Note how the NYPD report — which collects all sorts of information about Newark Muslims suspected of no wrongdoing — contains these designations and warnings on its cover ..."
 Read the rest of "NYPD spying program aimed at Muslims" here.

Comment: No-one should be surprised that the US is spying on ordinary people who just happen to be Muslim. 

The US is after all at war with Muslims everywhere.  Just start counting the dead bodies if you are still in two minds.

And we are not free.


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