Once again, cables leaked by Edward Snowden have shown the activities of the US’s NSA and the UK’s GCHQ . This time, they have revealed that the agency was both monitoring and putting covert pressure tactics on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, the staff of Wikileaks and their supporters in an attempt to destabilize the whistleblowing site.
The report was part of a wider published memo about online data threats, including not only Wikileaks, but also those who hack and attack under the banner of Anonymous, and file sharing websites, most notably the controversial and ever-living Pirate Bay.
Most surveillance came from the GCHQ, as they monitored all visitors to Wikileaks and collected data such as IP addresses, Google search terms and other private information on citizens around the world. That information was then shared with allies, in particular the US.
The Obama administration also used foreign aid to file criminal charges against Assange specifically, damaging his credibility and potentially landing him in prison for his part in the leaking of footage of the Afghan war.
One more document discussed the possibility of naming Wikileaks a “malicious threat” that would allow an almost complete electronics surveillance campaign that would include US citizens within the scope of search and data collection. It would also have serious implications for any arrests made in the implementation of that cause.
Assange spoke out about the memos, saying:
News that the NSA planned these operations at the level of its Office of the General Counsel is especially troubling. Today, we call on the White House to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the extent of the NSA’s criminal activity against the media, including WikiLeaks, its staff, its associates and its supporters.
Every new bit of information leaked about the (still continuing) activities of the NSA, GCHQ, and – whether they want to admit to their complicity or not – other global spy agencies is sickening. It has also clearly been authorized all the way up the chain of command, even if the White House and Senate are claiming innocence. It seems unlikely that they weren’t at least somewhat aware, especially with the president’s office taking advantage.
The very fact that decisive action has not been taken in spite of public outrage and the blatantly criminal activities of such organizations says a lot about where we stand. Knowing where to go from here in the face of such overwhelming power is hard to say.
Source: First Look