The US President provides the public no transparency at all. He boldly lied in a press conference on Friday, saying that no one is spying on the American people.
Despite the avalanche of proof that the National Security Agency is indeed spying on all communications – in the US and abroad – using a computer-based surveillance system, US president, Barack Obama, once again assured the public that no one is spying on their telephone calls, emails, text messages or online interactions. Obama’s press conference is not a step forward into opening the American espionage program to be reviewed, as he implied.
His press conference was a poor attempt to calm down public mistrust after Edward Snowden unveiled how the American spying grid works in favor of the shadow government that is in control of the United States and the other members of the G-8 nations.
Obama’s press conference showed the US president’s weak handle of the position he holds. He refused to call Snowden a whistleblower and much less a patriot, but did not have the guts to say he was a traitor, a label that his own government has engraved on the former intelligence contractor, by charging him with espionage. He couldn’t even lay out definite points of action that the US will follow regarding Russian-American bilateral relations.
Obama is an ambiguous leader, a man who transmits zero confidence or who has “moral clarity” towards his supporters and those who oppose him. Obama does not live in a world of black and white, good and evil, because to be US president, a man needs to be as ambiguous as possible to be able to get off his wrongdoings all the time.
This character trait of the president of the United States was again demonstrated last Friday in the first solo press conference in more than three months and the last before leaving on vacation to the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where he will spend around 7.6 million dollars on his family vacation. That is something Obama and his family do well, use everyone else’s money as if it was their own.
Obama presented a series of measures to calm the suspicions of the Americans and the rest of the world about the methods used by the National Security Agency (NSA). The succession of revelations about U.S. spy has forced Obama, as the designated front man, to react and to promise greater transparency and control to electronic surveillance by U.S. Government. It is unlikely, though, that Obama or his mafia of spying thugs will reform or yield anything on their effort to learn everything about everyone, which they claim is for the purposes of keeping the world safe.
Why didn’t Mr. Obama take this step to supposedly show transparency on the NSA worldwide spying before Snowden came out with the details? Because he never intended to be transparent. Obama was forced by Snowden to speak publicly about it and to set up a fake review process that will not change anything about the surveillance program.
The paradox with Obama is that as a senator and political candidate he questioned the same illegal spying programs that he now defends as a president. Why? Because Obama, just as most Congress people and other politicians are blackmailed with information collected precisely by way of the NSA program. The surveillance of Washington’s biggest shots was confirmed by the first NSA whistleblower, Russ Tice, who revealed that he himself used advanced technology to obtain information on anyone he wanted.
Snowden is now far away from the American unjust and highly controlled court system. He is accused, among other charges, of violating the Espionage Act, adopted in 1917, during the First World War. The political establishment, with exceptions, consider him a traitor. He is a persecuted man, who has forced Obama to talk about a spying program that is as massive as it is illegal. He has also set American-Russian relations further apart after applying for political asylum in Russia.
“Given the history of abuse by governments, it is correct to question the surveillance by governments, particularly in a time when technology reshapes all aspects of our lives,” Obama said. Some truth here? Sure. The problem is that despite this truth, Obama defended the legality of the NSA program and denied that abuses that have been committed.
Although Snowden denounced the abuses that he himself committed while working as a contractor, Obama refused to call him a patriot, because according to Obama his leaks have “jeopardized our national security and some vital ways we have to collect the information we need to keep our country safe.” This means that Obama is cowardly by not openly recognizing that the abuses have taken place, but also that he supports the implementation of those illegal actions.
The debate, Obama said, would have occurred anyway, without Snowden, but in a more “legal and orderly” manner. Really? Because I can’t remember Mr. Obama starting that debate at any point before Edward Snowden appeared in the picture denouncing the abuses. There is no evidence, however, that the Obama administration and its intelligence agencies were open to talk about the illegal spying program before The Guardian and other media outlets revealed details about PRISM or XKeyscore.
“There is no doubt that Mr. Snowden leaks have caused a more rapid and passionate” admitted Obama. That statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Mr. Snowden’s and Mr. Tice’s revelations are the only reasons why we know about the illegal spying. As mentioned before, Obama’s proposals for transparency are just window-dressing. After abusing the powers they have abused and after misusing technology to spy on everyone, suddenly Obama wants to introduce “additional safeguards” for the program that tracks all communications while it is sponsored by a kangaroo courts that have approved 99.9 percent of all spying requests.
But Obama wants more of the same and he wants to call it CHANGE. He says he wants to reform court procedures to modify the way secret electronic eavesdropping is done. He was to have more lawyers who can question the arguments of the spies. He says he wants to improve public information on the tasks of the NSA, conduct a review of intelligence technologies to preserve the balance between freedom and security, and the declassification of documents from the NSA.
The question is, since Obama himself opposed the secret spying programs as a senator and political candidate, why didn’t he propose everything he is proposing now? Because he doesn’t really want to do that and because even if he wanted to, he couldn’t do it. The makeup sessions and measures he is talking about will in no way change the way that the NSA or any other shadow government organization abuses its power. Surveillance practices just as many other ones performed by a too big to shut down government, will not end.
There cannot be a so-called balance between freedom and security when the people in charge of protecting freedom work for those who want to build a surveillance police state apparatus.
“What sets us apart from other countries is not only our capacity to maintain the security of our nation,” said the lying President, “it’s how we do it with an open and democratic process.” Spying on your own citizens illegally as supposed to holding them accountable — should they commit a crime — through the established legal system is not democratic, open or safe.
The intent to mask a growing police state with under the premise that only illegal mass surveillance can keep us all safe is an aberration to the legal, moral and ethical principles that have kept the world from seeing a repetition of Nazi Germany. Ironically, that is exactly where the world is headed for if no challenge is placed before the forces that seek to concentrate all power in their own hands.
Luis R. Miranda is the Founder and Editor of The Real Agenda. His 16 years of experience in Journalism include television, radio, print and Internet news. Luis obtained his Journalism degree from Universidad Latina de Costa Rica, where he graduated in Mass Media Communication in 1998. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcasting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Among his most distinguished interviews are: Costa Rican President Jose Maria Figueres and James Hansen from NASA Space Goddard Institute. Read more about Luis.