Guilty by their own rules: Surveillance States
On Western Double Standards
New in the Website
Western authorities often attempt to ridicule a topic in order to discourage direct reference to it. "Wag the Dog" is a 1997 film starring Robert De Niro and Dustin Hoffman, which depicts a situation in which the “tail wags the dog.” An unnamed President of the United States is caught in with a young girl scout less than two weeks before the elections. A hired political gun (De Niro) is brought in to take public attention away from the scandal. He decides to construct a fake war with Albania, hoping the media will concentrate on this instead. He contacts a Hollywood producer (Hoffman), who helps construct a theme song, build up interest and fake some footage of an orphan in Albania. In the end, with the President re-elected, the producer is about to call the media to “set them straight,” when the President's aide has him killed to save his political boss. Reading this in 2011, we are reminded of the ongoing crimes and staged footage in Zionist Libya. One may ask why Hollywood would disclose the American government's most embarrassing secrets. Yet, the answer is simple and typical of Western thinking. Once the movie is popularized, everyone openly claiming something similar to the “Wag the Dog” scenario is occurring in Libya (or with the recent illegitimate assassination in Pakistan) can then be ridiculed by Western official media: “Hey, you fool, Wag the Dog is Hollywood, it is fiction; reality doesn’t work that way!” Non-Western countries have failed until now to publicly denounce and answer this Western hypocrisy on a large scale.
In the distant past I experienced something similar. Beginning in 2003, early drafts of chapters from The Cross of Bethlehem were circulated among friends and potential agents and publishers. One criticism I received concerned my disclosure in the book that cellular phones and computers could be used for listening even while turned off. I knew that for sure due to one friend that worked for a mobile phone company, another one that was in R&D for a company producing chips for phones (“Eli” in the book), and due to direct contacts with Shin Beth and Mossad people. “Drop that.” I was told in a variety of ways, despite the fact that similar applications used in landlines had been described by Peter Wright in Spycatcher and Philip Agee in INSIDE THE COMPANY: CIA DIARY. I left the text in the book; explaining certain events of my early persecution would have been impossible without that. Time passed, and people gained more exposure to new technologies. Today - September 19, 2011 - that same information was disclosed in a casual way by the largest Hebrew newspaper.
Yedihot Aharonot published a report that 22 private detectives have been detained by the Israeli police for having listened to phones with the help of computer software. One of the detainees disclosed that the office of Israel’s Prime Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu – uses the software and that police officers have “been interested in its uses” as well. The software allows remote control on a cellular phone even if it is turned off and the conduction of what is called “volume listening.” This last refers to a process in which the phone’s microphone is activated from far away, recording all what happens in a room (which is referred to as “volume” - meaning “amount of space” - as opposed to listening to a phone conversation). In such a mode, all that is said in a room can be heard from far away and discreetly. The software can be downloaded from the web and is capable of recording talks and later sending them via email. The use of the software is illegal in Israel, where phone tapping must be approved by court and reported to the Knesset.
Recently, similar events took place in the UK. In January 2007, the News of the World's (NoW) royalty editor Clive Goodman and private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were jailed for hacking into the mobile phones of royal aides. Then-editor Andy Coulson resigned but claimed he did not know about the practice. This was the result of a story about Prince William's knee injury published in November 2005; it indicated that voicemail messages were being intercepted. In July 2009, The Guardian newspaper reported that NoW journalists had been involved in the hacking of the phones of up to 3,000 celebrities, politicians and sports figures. A series of police inquiries and legal cases have shown the practice is widespread, with implications for the police, celebrities, politicians and even victims of crime and their families. On July 6, 2011, the Metropolitan Police chief vowed that officers who took payments from NoW publisher News International would be disciplined. That means the British police acknowledged their involvement on the hacking of citizens’ phones. This is a clear violation of article 12 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which defends our Right to Privacy. Later that year, NoW was closed.
Any number of similar events have been reported on the world media; including the systematic tapping of phones by the US government performed with the collaboration of all phone companies (though Qwest gave some resistance). All Western governments are infected with this violation of the very principles of law (since the recording assumes criminality) and display dishonesty by denying and hiding it until something goes wrong. Somehow, Western people are renouncing their right to privacy and let themselves be “wagged by the dog.”
This is disturbing. Desperate after a savage attack by Bolivians and Israelis, I approached everybody that could help. That included the American embassy in La Paz, where I asked for political refugee in the USA. In the interview room, I counted five listening and recording devices. One of them (a cellular phone operating on the local network) could clearly be listened in to by the criminal Bolivian authorities, from whom I was seeking protection; I was knowingly being put in danger by the American staff. I commented on that to the interviewer (who had identified herself by a false name, though later I found the real one - Stephanie - with the help of the embassy’s staff) but she shrugged with disinterest. She was more interested in finding out if I had any information about future attacks on America. Given these conditions, why should I have answered that question? And Americans wonder about the negative way they are perceived by most of the world!
In other embassies, I found a friendlier attitude. In other talks, phones were properly put on the table and their batteries taken out, so that they couldn’t be activated from far away. Laptops - and other computers – where absent. This is obvious, since nobody will check whether computers present in the room to be used for a private talk have had their internet chips and cards removed before the conversation. Moreover, computer microphones and cameras can be used for delayed transmission of such a conversation even if the internet connection is off during the talk, thus it is better to carry out sensitive talks in rooms without computers. We must insist on our rights and refuse the recording of our meetings with government officials. It is a no less disturbing and immoral practice than is the use of underground agents by political police forces worldwide, including the USA.
We must make clear to governments – be they Israeli, American, British or Zimbabwean - that at the very moment they violate the terms under which legitimacy was granted to them (be it by a constitution or international treaties like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), they lose their legitimacy. Governments do not have the authority to invent laws as per they wish or to deny rights, but they are subject to the people’s sovereignty and will. If Benjamin Netanyahu’s bureau eavesdrops on even so much as the conversations of an Israeli buying apples at the supermarket, then he has lost legitimacy and he must go.
My articles on the web are my main income these days; please recognize my efforts in writing them by donating or buying a copy of The Cross of Bethlehem, or Back in Bethlehem.