Snowden says NSA spying on civil rights organizations [World Socialist Website]

By Thomas Gaist
11 April 2014

National Security Agency (NSA) whistle-blower Edward Snowden testified before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg this week via video link from Moscow, giving extended remarks on the subject of the US government’s surveillance operations.

In his testimony, Snowden said the NSA has “specifically targeted the communications of either leaders or staff members in a number of purely civil or purely human rights organizations…including domestically, within the borders of the US.” Snowden said that the NSA has been targeting “peaceful groups, unrelated to any terrorist threat,” citing surveillance operations against the United Nations Children’s Fund. The NSA engages in indiscriminate spying based on a “de facto policy of guilt by association,” Snowden said.

Snowden’s remarks come as yet another refutation of the US government’s claims that the surveillance operations are directed exclusively against terrorist plotters. Instead, the spying apparatus targets billions of telephone and Internet users worldwide, with special attention going to critics of, and rivals to, US imperialism.

“Mass surveillance is used by the NSA for purposes of economic espionage,” Snowden said, noting that the NSA has even been revealed as “spying on American lawyers negotiating trade deals.”

While Snowden did not give a list of human rights groups that have been targeted, one can assume that major NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are among them. Insofar as they provide the public with genuine information about the crimes of US imperialism, they are obvious candidates for surveillance…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/04/11/snow-a11.html

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