May 16, 2014 by History in a Hurry
Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists
Posted on May 15, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog
The Big Secret Behind the Spying Program
While many Americans understand why the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of U.S. citizens, some are still confused about what’s really going on.
In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald writes:
The perception that invasive surveillance is confined only to a marginalised and deserving group of those “doing wrong” – the bad people – ensures that the majority acquiesces to the abuse of power or even cheers it on. But that view radically misunderstands what goals drive all institutions of authority. “Doing something wrong” in the eyes of such institutions encompasses far more than illegal acts, violent behaviour and terrorist plots. It typically extends to meaningful dissent and any genuine challenge. It is the nature of authority to equate dissent with wrongdoing, or at least with a threat.
The record is suffused with examples of groups and individuals being placed under government surveillance by virtue of their dissenting views and activism – Martin Luther King, the civil rights movement, anti-war activists, environmentalists. In the eyes of the government and J Edgar Hoover’s FBI, they were all “doing something wrong”: political activity that threatened the prevailing order.