“Our principle is clear: if you have interests in how the Internet works, you get to play a role in how it’s governed!”
That’s a line from the sermon about online freedom that Secretary of State John Kerry delivered yesterday, remotely, to a meeting of the Freedom Online Coalition Conference.
By the very fact that you’re visiting Irregular Times, we can tell that you have an interest in how the Internet works. Do you get to play a role in how it’s governed?
We certainly haven’t under the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who did not even admit that they have been engaged in massive spying against the private use of the Internet by practically everyone in the world – Americans included – until whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked facts about what has really been going on. The National Security Agency has thoroughly re-engineered the Internet to enable its spies to search and seize personal communications without any search warrant. Supposedly secure systems were made vulnerable to hackers just so that the Big Brother spying could continue. No one really knew how insecurely the Internet had been designed, because Bush and Obama kept the real architecture of the Internet a secret. There’s no way that we can play a role in how the Internet is governed when we aren’t even allowed to know what the Internet truly is.
How can John Kerry, who serves Barack Obama, who conducted more unauthorized electronic spying against more people around the world than any other national leader at any time in human history, keep a straight face while delivering a speech about the importance of maintaining Internet freedom?
Perhaps Secretary Kerry simply has no shame. That would explain how Kerry could assert to the conference that Barack Obama has “announced a set of concrete and meaningful reforms, including on electronic surveillance,” when Kerry knows very well that no reforms of the NSA program have been enacted by Obama.
The doublespeak of Kerry’s speech reached its zenith when Kerry chided other governments for persecuting critics of Internet policy. “While I expect you to hold the United States to the standards that I’ve outlined,” Kerry said, “I also hope that you won’t let the world forget the places where those who hold their government to standards go to jail rather than win prizes.” For almost an entire year now, the Obama Administration has been attempting to seize Edward Snowden and place him in prison as punishment for telling the truth about the U.S. federal government’s unconstitutional, abusive electronic espionage programs.
Kerry had the audacity to praise the government of Estonia for its supposed Internet security, saying, “Estonia has set the gold standard, really, the global gold standard in cyber security, in e-governance, and in technological innovation. In many ways, Estonia is defining the future for advances in management of the internet.”
In fact, the President of Estonia has acknowledged that the NSA Internet spying program was able to compromise Estonian online networks, saying that, “it can be concluded that the privacy of Estonian and other European Union citizens has been invaded.”
It’s telling that John Kerry didn’t show up at the meeting of the Freedom Online Coalition Conference in person. It seems that he wasn’t willing to expose himself to questions from conference attendees whose citizens have suffered the surveillance of the NSA.
Hypocrisy and dishonesty is more damaging than silence. It would have been better for Secretary Kerry to avoid any contribution to the conference at all. It isn’t as if Kerry needed to participate in the meeting in order to know what happened at the event. From the past record of the Obama Administration, we see that Kerry’s boss is quite adept at bugging the private communications of American allies.