Why the West is spying and why Africa should be worried By Tsungai Chipato NR
According to Daniel J Flynn: “From an early age, smart people are reminded of their intelligence, separated from their peers in gifted classes, and presented with opportunities unavailable to others. For those and other reasons intellectuals tend to have an inflated sense of their own wisdom”.
When the whistleblower Edward Snowden first blew the lid on the spying that the Western world was involved in, shrieks of indignation could be heard from within North America, on how a computer analyst who had only attended a community college would dare question and leak anything about the complexities and nuances of American intelligence.
As the pitchforks were sharpened and as Edward Snowden’s name was eviscerated by “intelligence experts and intellectuals”, all this could not stop the truth from coming out. North America was economically at war with the world; and intelligence gathering was the frontline of this war.
Fast forward to 2014, and we now wait to be affected by the reverberations of whatever changes to the American surveillance programs, President Obama addresses’ on January the 17th.
With Edward Snowden having shone a light on how “economic intelligence” is actively being gathered, many developing nations can at least find solace in finally understanding why it is always difficult for their diplomats to wrangle effective trade agreements with western powers.
To understand this evolution let us go back to when President Barack Obama was first elected to the office of President in 2008, the biggest security threat facing the United States of America at that time contrary to popular belief was the state of the American economy instead of the “War on terror”.
Therefore while we all marveled at the handling of the Somali pirates and the made for Hollywood ending of Osama bin laden, all the while tripping over each other to hand President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize. Very few paid attention to the sovereign economic espionage that was going on behind the scenes within the global world.
The Western world was in a recession and the Asian tiger was rising, a flagging economy posed a huge security risk to all Western powers, Obama true to his word decided to fight this threat head on.
Under the pretext of fighting terrorism, five developed nations pooled their intelligence services into a cooperative of 24 hour spying on the whole world.
The United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom in intelligence circles known as “the five eyes” have simply turned the whole world into a huge listening post.
Paralyzing local politicians with the fear of being castigated as unpatriotic we now have intelligence agencies that ever since the aftermath of September 9-11, have been actively expanding the manner in which they gather intelligence on nations and people.
For Zimbabwe and many other developing nations this directly affects their public and foreign policy agendas, information for the western world is power.
President Obama and his fellow Western leaders were taught by the recession; that an unforeseen negative effect of globalization, was that new technologies and practices were being transferred to developing nations, who in turn brought very little net profit or benefit back to the western world.
What made this effect worse for these leaders was that the interests of western-world companies were no longer aligned necessarily with those of their home nations. Consequently companies really did not mind where the technology or talent went within the world, just as long as they made a profit for their shareholders.
President Obama began to openly give remarks and speeches relating to policies of beginning, to realign the interests of the corporate world with that of America and its allies. Using buzz words such as “bringing jobs back home to America” or “the threat of cyber-war” these became examples of code; for the economic espionage war that was taking place, away from the glare of the media.
Any economist worth his or her salt would have told you that cutting corporate taxes or subsidizing industries was no longer going to be effective or enough to stop the rise of the BRIC nations at the demise of the Western world, other drastic measures had to be taken “nothing was off the table”.
Edward Snowden revealed how intelligence played an important role when it came to Western powers screwing other nations at the negotiation table, better leverage for trade agreements or treaties.
Stories of diplomats being blindsided or negotiating with one arm tied behind their backs should no longer reside within the realms of conspiracy theories.
Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSEC), was recently revealed to have been eavesdropping on the Brazilian Mining Ministry along with the United States National Security Agency (NSA).
According to former Director of the Center for Security and Defense studies at Carleton University Martin Rudner: “CSEC operations in economic intelligence have gone rather beyond the strictly defensive to also promote Canadian economic competitiveness and commercial objectives in world markets”, this was a report written in 2000 before Canada had a pro-trade Prime Minister imagine now in 2014 under Stephen Harper.
Jamie Kneen from MiningWatch Canada is quoted as saying, “we’ve already seen how Canadian embassies around the world essentially act as agents for Canadian companies-even when they’re implicated in serious human rights abuses”, with Martin Rudner further stating that the “Canadian government supplies firms with commercial intelligence in support of business ventures without revealing their sources” and presumably their tradecraft as well.
If allies such as South Korea were spied on while the Canadian government was attempting to sell Canadian nuclear reactors for $6 billion what would possibly stop them from infiltrating every nook and cranny of Zimbabwean classified policies.
In their bid to mold globalization their way, western powers are eager to gain any type of advantage at trade agreements and purchases whilst at the negotiation table.
The Australian Security Intelligence agency also part of the “five eyes” is currently in arbitration with East Timor after it was discovered that the Australian government had been spying on them during the treaty negotiations for oil and gas rights worth $40 billion in 2004.
Zimbabwe’s indigenization Act although small compared to the grander strategy of the western worlds geopolitics, is still seen fundamentally and philosophically as an economic security threat to western hegemony, a cancer that could spread.
Having slept at the wheel when it came to garnering influence within Africa, President Obama has switched gears and used a gradually rising military presence within Africa in order to curtail China’s inroads.
Although legitimately fighting terrorism, one can easily observe how the scope of America within Africa has expanded to include the containment of China just as in East Asia and the Pacific. All this has been at the expense of African issues.
While we rail against the injustices of President Obama’s drone strikes and having a “Kill list” on his desk that is updated frequently.
We are often left unaware of the sleight of hand that is occurring, with the “five eyes” intelligence agencies vacuuming information in order to leverage and use it against us as weapons.
For those having read thus far please remember that having intellect does not require an education but just the capacity to grasp and manipulate complex concepts and ideas.
With Africa constantly being hustled by intellectuals who are really just certified “dealers in ideas”, take note that a community college computer analyst single handedly started a debate that at every turn continues to hammer home the point that the world’s elite few, are actually really out to get us and that, we are actually not paranoid.
Africans please take note that the Western world no longer hides information and knowledge in books, in our era they simply encrypt it.
Tsungai Chipato is a Journalist and blogger within Toronto Canada. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org