Link to a British Broadcasting Company article. Their country is one of the ones that got the information about the spying once it was passed around—so it’s like they should talk?
Julian Assange is letting people know that our NSA was out there spying on Japan. So it’s not just our government spying on our own citizens (which they no doubt do here in Japan as well), but they have even larger targets.
What surprises me, though, is the kind of information the NSA sought out. They want to know stuff like how strict Japan intends to be about carbon emissions. They want to know if cherry shipments are going be accepted or rejected. In short, business intelligence for key industries back home. Nothing that would particularly pertain to “we the people” or might be useful to the average American. Sensibly, if the US government is going to be doing any spying at all, it really ought to be finding out stuff that would benefit the average American. Not oil and gas industry executives. Not agribusiness.
Even our spying, carried out by the federal government, is geared toward a lords-and-serfs model, where the corporate lords want to know something about what is going on in Japan, and the taxpayer-serfs foot the bill to do this.
Assange makes the spying seem dirty, and maybe it is. But it’s not like Japan doesn’t try to manipulate things back in America. Last fall, there was the New York Times article where some Japanese dignitary in Washington was bragging about how Japan spends money to influence think tanks in Washington, who in turn are supposed to see things Japan’s way when they talk to our government about Japan policy.
“We have to respect their academic and intellectual independence,” . . . [a] Japanese Embassy spokesman, said in a separate interview. But one Japanese diplomat, who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the country expected favorable treatment in return for donations to think tanks.
“If we put actual money in, we want to have a good result for that money — as it is an investment,” he said.
(BTW, I would really like to nail that diplomat, career-wise, but I am just a guy commenting out in cyberspace.)
The latest Assange-o-gram does show, however, how virtually powerless the average American is against what both governments decide to do. Apparently, America spies on Japan for business interest benefits, and Japan bribes US think tanks to get the US government to do what Japan wants. Assange seems to think that the latest Wikileak is going to influence the Japanese people to think less of the independence of their own government. But what about this money spent by Japan through American think tanks? What about Tom Daschle on the J-payroll? What about Hogan Lovells as lawyer/lobbyists? How much is the American government a subsidiary of a bureaucrat’s wing in Kasumigaseki—at least when it comes to US-Japan policy?
We live in a country where money (i.e. property) has been redefined as “speech”. Don’t you think the Asian people haven’t that figured out?
All Assange really revealed that is “new” is that the defense sector of the American federal government does the bidding of big business when it comes to Asia. So Japan buys off State, and key Congressional connections; and the big, US-based “global” firms own the Department of Defense.
I’d really like to know what the Japanese government officials talk about when it comes to immigration policy, and the number of Japanese who go to America versus the number of Americans who are allowed to stay in Japan. That would be an interesting phone call. If NSA could get better data on that! How many Americans get screwed by Japanese labor standards enforcement? Do the Japanese keep track of it?
Who was the unnamed diplomat who said about “investment” in the New York Times article?
If we’re paying for the NSA, it really should be put to good use.