25 Jun 2013

Edward Snowden’s Flying Circus: Quite the maddest show on Earth

By Richard Cottrell: If you have fallen for the Edward Snowden fantasia, now would be a good time to press the reality button.
We are watching perhaps the most cleverly devised psychological operations sting yet to appear from the great hall of illusions known as the security state.
The man with suddenly the loudest tin whistle on the planet has the world’s media running after him as though he were the Pied Piper, which in a sense he is.
For all the grim tut-tutting from politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom, Edward Snowden has told us absolutely nothing that is original. His ‘revelations’ are simply regurgitated materials which have been in the public domain for a very long time, as those who are active in the field of researching mass surveillance will readily confirm.
So the National Security Administration and the UK’s GCHQ are in cahoots. Did anybody with a half-way working brain think otherwise?
They routinely tap private, corporate and government communications worldwide. For what other purpose do they exist? Their activities are in the main illegal, unsupervised, intrusive and to a very large extent, pointless.
They are like huge vacuum cleaners: if you sift through enough dust you may just one day find the gold wedding ring you lost twenty years ago.
The investigative writer James Bamford starting spilling the NSA’s secrets with his first book “The Puzzle Palace” published no less than 31 years ago (reprised in 2001). His follow-ups, “Body of Secrets” (2002) and “The Shadow Factory” (2008) collectively form the bibles of secret state researchers.
Bamford’s ongoing flow of well-informed journalism makes him the Godfather of NSA exposés. If you want to unravel the secret world, fetch your Bamfords off the shelf.
He is in excellent company with the NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, who exposed the madness of the eventually cancelled Trailblazer Project, designed specifically to intercept telephone and internet traffic by private citizens in the US and elsewhere. Trailblazer cost billions and didn’t work, but that is hardly the point. Substitute arrangements were quickly in place.
The NSA’s partner has always been GCHQ, a huge rotunda located near the leafy English country town of Cheltenham, also renowned for its racecourse and an especially posh and hugely expensive ladies’ college.
In 2003 Katherine Gun, employed as a translator at the agency, leaked the news that GCHQ wiretapped communications of UN officials up to the moment of the Iraq invasion.
She was duly charged: but Her Majesty’s Government rapidly backed off when they realised she was going to say a good deal more concerning GCHQ’s dirty secrets in open court. The notion that GCHQ is deeply involved in illegal monitoring of communications traffic around the globe is so widely known in the UK, it is taken for granted.
Okay, so we take it as read that GCHQ and the NSA are Siamese twins, a law unto themselves. We know that only too well. So what then is Edward’s Snowden’s Flying Circus really all about? Just like any other circus, it is nothing more than a distraction, a well executed plan designed to drive the media giddy with excitement.
Having exclusively divulged his own body of secrets to the London Guardian (a newspaper rumored to hold strong connections to MI5 and MI6) Snowden makes a seemingly random flit to Hong Kong. There he holds court to the entranced local media in a down market rooming house. Tremulous, he declares that the men in black are on his tail. He seems to make a point of keeping them well informed of his whereabouts.
As for the Hong Kong authorities, they seem rather perplexed what to with their recently arrived VIP. They are told to expect a request for asylum. Instead, before you can say ‘spring roll with prawn butter sauce,’  the Snowden circus charges off to the airport , where America’s new Public Enemy Number One quietly books himself on a scheduled Aeroflot flight to Moscow, despite the fact that he has no Russian visa.
I have travelled to Russia sufficiently often to know only too well that you won’t get as much as a sneak peek at a boarding card without a visa. So by now, the Chinese menace and the Evil Empire are all hooked in the plot, a very neat twist in the story line.
There’s always room for a laugh. A massed contingent of journos were lured by false bait to an Aeroflot flight to Cuba, only to discover their man was not going to be in Havana after all. They spent the entire twelve hour flight without a drop to drink thanks to new Aeroflot rules, a fate worse than death to the average scribbler.
Another curiosity. Far from spitting with rage at the brazen escape of their prey, the American authorities in Hong Kong mumble something about getting their paperwork muddled up, so the local authorities had no choice but to let him go.
It seems that Snowden declined the alleged offer of a private jet owned by a wealthy Icelander to fly him to safety in the land of the snows. Just as well, given Iceland is a member of NATO and bristling with American military types.
Instead, the story is circulated that his final port of call is likely to be Ecuador, the country which is presently harboring none other than Wikileaks arch-leaker Julian Assange in its London embassy.
The right amount of whispering does the rounds that Assange and Snowden are arms-linked in the whole affair, that Assange in all likelihood put him up to it. Thus Assanges’ prospects of eventually living out his remaining years in peace and quiet in the Latin American paradise are similarly dimmed.
Can you hear that sound of a cracked bell? Any whistleblower worth his own salt would sensibly steer well clear of a continent utterly over-run with special forces holding loyalty to the CIA, the Pentagon (especially the Fort Bragg counter-intelligence hub) and scores more unsavory types busily involved in the gun for a hire game.
Remember Trotsky got the chop in Mexico with a spectacularly long distance aim by Stalin, thus giving a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘let’s bury the hatchet.’
And that’s without taking modern-day drones into account.
We are told that the Russians and the Chinese are rather peeved about all the industrial snooping on their affairs, originating at GCHQ and the NSA. Are they really that naive? Is the sudden arrival in town of a former low grade employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, corporate front desk of the CIA as that might be, such a big deal?
The Germans are described as ‘furious’ over eavesdropping on their affairs. It is as though BND, established with all the skills of the Gestapo after WWII, does not exist. The famous 192’s flapper foot-tapping hit ‘Everybody’s doing it, doing it, doing it’ springs to mind.
If I am right, and Snowden’s Flying Circus is no more than a clever charade, what then can be its purpose?
My instincts tell me this is a rehearsal, a trial run, to see what it is possible to get the public to believe.  It is a test run to gauge what the mainstream media will swallow and how easily it gets digested on the Internet.
The liberal left has swallowed the bait hook, line and sinker. True, there is some sniffing in a few quarters on the right, especially those who remember the Guardian’s less than spotless record concerning official propaganda and intelligence matters (‘the spies’ favorite parish magazine’). But otherwise, the plot seems to be sticking.
Let me add a little more flavoring. The recent gathering of the BilderBees in the United Kingdom was followed by ructions in Brazil and Turkey. Now we have the patently absurd spectacle of the whistleblower to end all whistleblowers on a world tour.
It is co-incidence that trailers for Brad Pitt’s scary new film World War Z (the Z apparently stands for zombies) are doing the rounds. The film looks like a big summer attraction in the movie houses. One snip has a girl asking her father, ‘What is martial law, daddy?’
The script line is a sudden and mass attempt to tip the world into utter confusion by prefabricating a Peasants’ Revolt, which then kicks in a global holocaust to cut the population down to a manageable half million or so. The elites are supposed to inherit the world as the meek fall by the wayside.
The CIA has been massaging Hollywood since it pinched Marshall Aid funds to make the cartoon of Orwell’s book Animal Farm. Psyop epics to culture the worship of endless war have been around for half a century, they are just getting more clever. ‘Z’ is a prep exercise, not a warning. I suspect it is in the same country as Mr. Snowden and his Flying Circus.
Edited by Madison Ruppert
Richard Cottrell is a writer, journalist and former European MP (Conservative).


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