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(Photo: Abayomi Azikiwe/Pan-African News Wire File/Creative Commons)

Chomsky: Spying Does Not Protect You

'If we had anything like a free press, there would be headlines saying this is a bad joke'

Sarah Lazare

Noam Chomsky called foul on the Obama Administration's recent claims that the NSA's secret spying programs have kept the U.S. people safe, declaring in public statements Tuesday and Wednesday that the scandal is tantamount to an attack on the U.S. people.

The linguistics professor, activist, and public intellectual proclaimed that, in the darkest irony, the very government snooping in the name of security is making the world less safe through the open-ended War on Terror.

Chomsky's statements come as Obama Administration officials and NSA heads scramble to defend the program to congress, international governments, and the U.S. people in the face of widespread outrage.

In response to Obama's claims that spying is crucial for protection against terrorists, Chomsky scoffed, "If we had anything like a free press, there would be headlines saying this is a bad joke," in an interview with Laura Flanders of GRITtv.

Chomsky told the Guardian—the publication that initially broke the NSA secret spying story—that the snooping itself constitutes a wrongdoing on a wide scale:

Governments should not have this capacity. But governments will use whatever technology is available to them to combat their primary enemy – which is their own population.

Chomsky insisted to the Guardian that the close partnership between the U.S. government and corporations that specialize in spying technologies exposes a political structure that does not represent the interests of the U.S. people:

They [governments and corporations] take whatever is available, and in no time it is being used against us, the population. Governments are not representative. They have their own power, serving segments of the population that are dominant and rich.

Chomsky declared to Flanders that, in addition to the harm done against those spied upon, the Obama Administration embraces foreign policies that ricochet violence across the world:

The Obama Administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact it is doing it all over the world. Obama is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists maybe in history. The drone assassination campaign, special forces operations, all of these operations are terror operations.

When pressed by Flanders to elaborate on what he meant by Obama Administration acts of terror, he delivered a chilling account:

Suppose you are walking down the street and you don't know whether two minutes from now the guy across the street and everything around him is going to be blown away by a sudden explosion run by somebody a couple thousand miles away. You're terrorized. And in fact villages, regions, countries are terrorized by these operations.


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