'The US Is Not Going to Stop Spying; It Will Be Sure There Are No More Snowdens'

Revelations that the U.S. has been spying on ally countries and foreign companies, including the conversations of Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff, have created a diplomatic crisis and a series of criticisms against the U.S. But Colombian reporter Hernando Calvo Ospina, author of the book “El equipo de choque de la CIA” (The Strike Team of the CIA), shows with Snowden’s revelations that the volume and extent of U.S. intelligence aren’t anything new.

In his book, Ospina outlines a detailed historical overview of how a profile of espionage and intelligence acts has been building up, since the acts in Nicaragua, through successive attempts to destabilize the Cuban government and interventions in Chile, Vietnam and Angola. He explains that the process of interference with a foreign nation carried out by the CIA functions as “a great diplomatic, economic and propaganda machinery.”

Currently isolated in France, Ospina is collaborating with Le Monde Diplomatique, author of several books on the drug trafficking and resistance groups in Latin America. In 2009, he was prohibited from entering U.S. airspace because his name was on the “no-fly list,” a document created during the Bush administration with names of people who posed a danger to the U.S. His flight, which was bound for Mexico, was forced to divert its route.

Paulo Pastor Monteiro: Were you surprised by the revelations made by Edward Snowden? Is it possible to measure the level of CIA surveillance?

Hernando Calvo Ospina: I acknowledge that those revelations have created some public backlash, but I was surprised that they were so surprising. It was no secret, not anything new. For example, not long ago Brazil and France were spied on by U.S. security agencies during the negotiations of a large commercial contract. Their companies managed to find out the details prior to the agreement, but they also knew that the French were distributing money under the table in order to be selected. Years before that, French security should have known that President Chirac’s helicopter had microphones, and that their conversations were heard in a powerful ally’s embassy. In the late ‘70s, the U.S. reportedly organized a vast network of global espionage called “Echelon” to intercept and analyze electronic communications. Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are also involved with Echelon, although the U.S. decided what it shared with its partners. It was a highly perfected spying network. Although the European Union investigated and protested, absolutely nothing changed.

With Snowden’s revelations, what probably angered Washington’s allies, mainly European, is realizing that U.S. surveillance had no limits, and economic espionage was one of its priorities.

Now, the electronic espionage is not as effective in the “war on terror.” The CIA itself had to admit this to the Senate a few weeks ago. For example, the CIA and other security services had to ask for help from their colleagues in France and England in order to follow and understand the political organizations in the Arabic countries and the Middle East. The Europeans have a lot of experience in such places because of their historical colonial presence, and because they have favored human relations to get information.

PPM: The Brazilian president, Dilma Rouseff, said in her speech to the U.N. that the acts of espionage violate human rights and civil liberties. Obama responded that they would look into other ways of obtaining information. Do you think that the U.S. should stop spying on other countries? Is there a possibility for change?

HCO: President Obama never said, nor will he say, that the U.S. will stop spying. It will simply try to make sure that there are no more information leaks and no more Snowdens. But one of these days, others will emerge to tell us what we already knew or imagined. And for a few days, the press will say they were shocked, while some governments will protest again as a mere formality, starting with the Europeans. It’s that, so far, there is nothing that can be done since Washington has the power to act however it wants and whenever it sees fit to its interests, which is all that matters. For the powerful U.S., altruism and respect for the sovereignty of other nations only matters when reaps in profits.

PPM: How would you define “state terrorism”? What is the difference between the terrorism carried out by the CIA and that by so-called “friendly countries”?

HCO: When the institutions of a country work together, including the courts, to suppress the “enemy within,” or any other political opposition, this is state terrorism. This is usually practiced in dictatorships, but there are countries that are considered democratic where it can be worse, as in the case of Colombia. “Official” terrorism also exists when a country is created with the right to kill innocent people in other countries, whether in so-called “selective” operations, or through “humanitarian” invasions. The United States, Israel, France and Great Britain have all done it very regularly. In one case or another, it is almost always done under the pretense of saving or promoting democracy. And it is certain that many actions that the CIA, the Israeli Mossad and other groups of state repression have done or promoted have caused many deaths and terror among innocent civilians who many dictators and other organizations called “terrorists.”

PPM: Was it difficult to gather all the evidence and documents for your book? Was that information enough to convict the former members of the CIA and the U.S. government that you mentioned?

HCO: The CIA and 15 other U.S. security agencies are not just a threat to the sovereignty of other nations, but also a danger to world peace and the future of the planet. And it is because they serve the interests of an empire that is trying to take control all of the world’s strategic resources. These agencies are part of an army designed for conquest through blackmail, domination, murder and terrorism.

The CIA’s information is out there, on the Internet, in books, in many documents prepared by its own specialists. One only has to look for it, to do a little investigation. They feel so powerful that they do not mind showing so much of what they have already done.

Now, my book contains only a drop of information. Even so, in it lies a basis upon which to start the trial for those whom I have already mentioned, beginning with the presidents of the United States. As many investigators have already said, since Eisenhower, all the presidents of the U.S. have been true criminals and terrorists, all with the peculiarity of going to church before ordering the troops to kill innocent people and loot their communities — under the pretense of saving democracy, Western civilization and Christianity.

PPM: Could you give us an example of interference and abuse of the CIA, who have shocked and surprised us the most, and why?

HCO: What I have come to know about the CIA and other security agencies has angered me as a human. But what doesn’t stop to surprise me is that when they launch their poisonous media campaigns, paving the way to bring down a particular government or for other criminal acts, many intellectuals and leftist political leaders end up believing it. That’s why I believe very few of them when they give moving speeches about media manipulation, as when the New York Times, O Globo from Brazil, or El País from Spain start up with their campaigns that were designed at the Pentagon or CIA, they begin to repeat those campaigns or to doubt their own analyses.

That’s why, for me, the most dramatic consequence from the CIA and other secret agencies of repression is not the espionage or even the military actions: It is the capacity that they have to manipulate reality — to manipulate us, make us believe we are wrong, and that we are the bad guys.

*Spanish edition of Hernando Calvo Ospina’s book: “El Equipo de Choque de la CIA. Cuba, Vietnam, Angola, Chile, Nicaragua…” El Viejo Topo Edition. Barcelona, 2010.

Source: http://operamundi.uol.com.br

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