It’s about your friend — you know, the one who has been paranoid about the government spying on her eco-activism for years? She uses Tor and only chats OTR, which is really inconvenient for you! And still she can’t shake the sneaking suspicion that the National Security Agency might be hoovering up all her emails and phone calls, with a special interest in her tree-hugging.
Turns out she’s (probably) not nuts after all.
Unless you’ve been holed up in a tree-sit somewhere, you’re likely intimately familiar with the NSA’s mammoth Prism internet dragnet ops. Well now, The Guardian‘s Earth Insight blogger, Nafeez Ahmed, presents this epic connect-the-dots game detailing how paranoid the feds are about how climate change and its attendant calamities could disrupt the national political equilibrium — paranoia that could easily drive them to use their sweet spy gadgets to keep a watchful eye on green groups.
The Pentagon knows that environmental, economic and other crises could provoke widespread public anger toward government and corporations in coming years. The revelations on the NSA’s global surveillance programmes are just the latest indication that as business as usual creates instability at home and abroad, and as disillusionment with the status quo escalates, Western publics are being increasingly viewed as potential enemies that must be policed by the state.
This is so not what we meant when we said these issues were urgent, people!
Ahmed points to piles of documents that suggest that federal agencies are growing ever-more nervous about the havoc climate change might wreak on national security, while at the same time also growing ever-more suspicious of citizens who are working to stop environmental destruction. We already kind of knew this: Activists from Tim DeChristopher to the Keystone XL blockaders have been locked up, smeared as terrorists, and even barred from participating in activism. But Ahmed makes a pretty convincing case that this may well be the tip of the iceberg.
FBI documents confirmed “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector” designed to produce intelligence on behalf of “the corporate security community.” A [Partnership for Civil Justice Fund] spokesperson remarked that the documents show “federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”
In particular, domestic surveillance has systematically targeted peaceful environment activists including anti-fracking activists across the US, such as the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition, Rising Tide North America, the People’s Oil & Gas Collaborative, and Greenpeace.
Sound a little implausible? Well it’s not to 350.org, Greenpeace USA, and CREDO Action, all of which have joined the StopWatchingUs coalition in protesting the NSA’s indiscriminate collection of Facebook protest selfies and G-chats.
To add ecological insult to creepy surveillance injury, that massive churning NSA dragnet “spy center” south of Salt Lake City where the government plans to store all this information? The one that will require a colossal and constant stream of 65 megawatts of electricity? It will be mostly coal-powered, natch.
The good news: At least your friend’s tinfoil hat is recyclable.
Oh, and this.
a cool thing about ecological collapse will be how the NSA data centers will melt and the birds will poo upon the remains.
— kade (@onekade) June 8, 2013