Enter your email address to subscribe to Irregular Times and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 387 other subscribers

Irregular Times Newsletters

Click here to subscribe to any or all of our six topical e-mail newsletters:
  1. Social Movement Actions,
  2. Credulity and Faith,
  3. Election News,
  4. This Week in Congress,
  5. Tech Dispatch and
  6. our latest Political Stickers and Such

Contact Us

We can be contacted via retorts@irregulartimes.com

What Is The Great Brazilian Menace?

As Americans rest on this Fourth of July weekend, blitzed out on beer and barbeque, the rest of the world seethes with anger at revelations of yet more excessive U.S. government spying. This time, the Guardian is reporting that “the NSA has, for years, systematically tapped into the Brazilian telecommunication network and indiscriminately intercepted, collected and stored the email and telephone records of millions of Brazilians.”

evil brazilThe typical Democratic Party response to the news has been that it’s no big deal, because the U.S. government is supposed to be spying on other nations, just to make sure that their governments aren’t preparing to attack Americans. The idea that the country of Brazil is a great enemy doesn’t seem plausible, though. Brazil isn’t known for virulent anti-American activities.

The Democratic Party excuses ignore that surveillance is an aggressive act that, when discovered, harms international relations and makes friends into enemies. What makes the recently revealed American programs of electronic surveillance even worse is that they aren’t aimed against the governments of foreign governments, but against the citizens of these nations, seeking to accumulate huge databases of cross-referenced records of their private, personal communications. These foreign citizens, from Europe, from China or from Brazil, aren’t suspected of terrorism. They’re being spied upon merely because the U.S. government wants as much information about as many people as it can grab.

The revelation of anti-Brazilian spying should remind us that, both within the United States and across the larger world, the U.S. government is using the concept of a great terrorist threat to create a gigantic surveillance system that is almost always targeted against people that are not related to terrorism at all. The global electronic surveillance dragnet has little to do with terrorism, and very much to do with the creation of a totalitarian network of power.

Or, am I wrong? Is there a Brazilian terrorist menace? When you dance the Bossa Nova, do you dance with Osama Bin Laden’s ghost?

3 comments to What Is The Great Brazilian Menace?

  • jackofshadows

    Whether there is something looming on the horizon [e. g. Antarctica] or something completely out of the blue, you always have some set of plans in the drawer in case of conflict. And since War is a come as you are event, it really helps if you have enough intelligence to pull off whatever strategies enter you (little, political) mind. If you have one. Much of what the NSA does is actually for the US military, which explains all the military personnel seconded to the agency, or even seconded out in the field. [That happened to me on several occasions where they needed someone with the right clearance who could fix their equipment. Very dull stuff, I'm afraid.]

    So, it should be no surprise that the NSA is Hoovering (pun intended) up any and all information they can get (and get away with) on Brazil. Just as they do with everyone else. I don’t consider it morally correct, although in the realm of ethics it’d be your duty. BTW, of all the countries that have staked claims, prior to the Antarctic Treaty, Argentina is going to be the trigger, just as with China and her claims in the China Seas.

    Lastly (I’m nearly done!), of all the targets that they trot out in support of this proctoscope-style level of spying, you’ll need this hunt down the terrorists (or whomever else qualifies) as they don’t hide in plain-sight, out in countries totally hostile to us. Hiding in Brazil would be a net plus in oh so many ways.

  • J Clifford

    Seriously? We need to spy on the private email of citizens of Brazil because we’re going to wage war over Antarctica?

    It’s an imaginative answer, I’ll say that.

  • jackofshadows

    Were already seeing movement by several nations to claim as much of the Arctic seabed. Hell, Russia has a new naval battle-group specifically tailored and tasked for operations in the polar sea. Resource wars are definitely on the agenda for the rest of this century, at the very least. Witness China moving forward claims to pretty much everything in the China seas, clashing with Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, even Brunei. And looking at the geological history of the Antarctic, the fact that it is almost certainly equivalent to Australia in terms of resources, and it is untouched, well you have another candidate for confrontation.

    This scenario actually rates pretty damn high, although Brazil would be rather low on my list of nations to get into a resource war over the Antarctic. Argentina? Chile? Russia? Much more likely.

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>