“I killed 61 this time, but I am coming back next year! Beware, America! I am saying this: [I am] Jaws!”*
If Joey “Jaws” Chestnut had said these sentences over the phone, the world champion hot dog eater would possibly be explaining the meaning of his statement in a cell in Guantanamo.
And let’s face it: He would not be in a good situation. Although eating hot dogs became a competitive sport 99 years ago, the increased terrorist threat overrides everything. And try to explain to an impatient CIA agent that the victims of a 61-fold murder were hot dogs, and the promise concerning 2015 is not a death threat but a defense plan of the world champion’s title. Finally, Jaws is not a terrorist alias, just a nickname inspired by a predator.
Jaws’ battle cry would have knocked out the surveillance agents of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) in the virtual world because it contained several keywords that signified a threat to national security. Jaws is, of course, not a terrorist; he is only a threat to hot dogs — according to rumors, he would never participate in a kebab eating competition — but similarly to other Americans, he is observed by Big Brother.
According to the recently uncovered information of the Washington Post about surveillance and eavesdropping, the NSA monitors the wrong person in nine out of 10 cases. Edward Snowden, a former NSA agent, gave these files to the Washington Post. They not only contain names and email addresses of U.S. citizens, but information on their love affairs, mental health problems, political and religious conversations, financial quirks and concerns that were thought to be useless by Intelligence. The material investigated by the newspaper contains the recorded and cataloged daily life of more than 10,000 account holders.
Why is this interesting to us? According to Snowden’s data, the NSA did not only watch their own citizens and not only in their own country. The recipes of the local sausage festival are not in danger, and we do not need to worry about the uncovering of the secret ingredient of grandma’s cookies either. But at the same time, we should not be fake-naive: Surveillance has always existed and always will. The United States however, seem to have crossed a line.
The scandal of the weekend is that the CIA recruited one of the members of the German Federal Intelligence Service. So it looks like nothing has changed since Angela Merkel’s wiretap scandal — they have not settled things discreetly. Berlin is understandably angry now: a federal partnership does not work like this. And do not forget, if here we are talking about one of the dominant allies, what can be happening to the others? … A sarcastic “I am sorry” might not be enough to the politicians and citizens of the smaller European countries who have been monitored.
Barack Obama was greeted as a messiah after the younger Bush’s made-up reasons for going to war. The “great opening” and “era of decency” has somehow not arrived yet. We do not have fewer wars, and in addition, states had been formed by perhaps the world’s most dangerous extremist Islamic movements in Syria and Iraq. Brussels is suspiciously watching the “great friend,” especially now that the U.S. wants to westernize the Ukraine — on the account of the European Union. Obama’s Ukrainian and Russian policy has been criticized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.
There are problems at home concerning other issues as well: According to the U.S. Supreme Court, Obama breached the Constitution when in 2012 he appointed the leaders of a federal labor inspection service without the approval of the Senate. Think about it: If anything like this happens around here, the peacekeepers would have already knocked on our doors to restore democracy.
In his speech on July 4, Obama announced proudly: The whole world envies them, the [citizens of the] United States, the perfect model of democracy and society. This may be good to hear on holidays, but on weekdays it is not enough at all.
*Editor’s note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.