In an exclusive interview with The Guardian former US government contractor turned heroic whistleblower Edward Snowden has commented on British leader David Cameron’s new emergency surveillance bill to be rammed through parliament this week much like the USAPATRIOT Act was in the aftermath of 9/11. During the interview, conducted in Moscow to and be made available in its entirety later this week Snowden states that the law is comparable to the 2007 Protect America Act which the Bush administration similarly rushed into law.
According to a The Guardian story entitled “Edward Snowden condemns Britain’s emergency surveillance bill”:
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian in Moscow, Snowden said it was very unusual for a public body to pass an emergency law such as this in circumstances other than a time of total war. “I mean we don’t have bombs falling. We don’t have U-boats in the harbour.”
Suddenly it is a priority, he said, after the government had ignored it for an entire year. “It defies belief.”
He found the urgency with which the British government was moving extraordinary and said it mirrored a similar move in the US in 2007 when the Bush administration was forced to introduce legislation, the Protect America Act, citing the same concerns about terrorist threats and the NSA losing cooperation from telecom and internet companies.
“I mean the NSA could have written this draft,” he said. “They passed it under the same sort of emergency justification. They said we would be at risk. They said companies will no longer cooperate with us. We’re losing valuable intelligence that puts the nation at risk.”
During the interview, Snowden was taken aback on learning about the speed at which the British government is moving on new legislation and described it as “a significant change”. He questioned why it was doing so now, more than a year after his initial revelations about the scale of government surveillance in the US, the UK and elsewhere around the world, a year in which the government had been largely silent.
He also questioned why there had been a move in the aftermath of a ruling by the European court of justice in April that declared some of the existing surveillance measures were invalid.
He said the government was asking for these “new authorities immediately without any debate, just taking their word for it, despite the fact that these exact same authorities were just declared unlawful by the European court of justice”.
He added: “Is it really going to be so costly for us to take a few days to debate where the line should be drawn about the authority and what really serves the public interest?
“If these surveillance authorities are so interested, so invasive, the courts are actually saying they violate fundamental rights, do we really want to authorise them on a new, increased and more intrusive scale without any public debate?”
He said there had been government silence for the last year since he had exposed the scale of surveillance by the NSA and its British partner GCHQ. “And yet suddenly we’re told there’s a brand new bill that looks like it was written by the National Security Agency that has to be passed in the same manner that a surveillance bill in the United States was passed in 2007, and it has to happen now. And we don’t have time to debate it, despite the fact that this was not a priority, this was not an issue that needed to be discussed at all, for an entire year. It defies belief.”
Cameron of course is invoking as justification for the latest shoring up of the surveillance system of control the big, bad Muslim bogeyman and the impending risk of “terrorist” attacks on jolly old England – Hermann Goering once remarked “it works the same in any country”and at least in terms of using fear to bypass any sort of legitimate legislative process the former Nazi was spot on. While the authorities in The Homeland must tread a bit more carefully the British regime which is rapidly morphing into something that resembles theNorsefire government in the movie V For Vendetta and let’s face it, the British people are spineless given their status as subjects of the Queen an the illicit royal family whose only qualification for power is to simply be born. The government there is obviously expecting some sort of uprising as it has been recently revealed that water cannons are being brought in for crowd control although since the word got out the decision has been temporarily delayed.
The US-UK surveillance colossus will not be constrained by anything as quaint as a constitution or the legitimate political process and will continue to consolidate power and increase snooping capabilities on political dissenters, journalists, bloggers, activists and any who threaten their illicit system of control. All of this was made possible when the authoritarian elements hit the jackpot with the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Pandora’s Box of scare tactics was thrown open – it will never be closed without a mass uprising but the time for that grows short as the lists of those who would challenge the bastards grows longer.