14 June 2013

EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden's employer, NSA Prism contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, ran Pentagon war games on civil unrest due to climate, energy, economic shocks

Photo taken by U.S. Airforce Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, North Carolina National Guard at Vigilant Guard training exercise Ft. Richardson, Alaska — April 2010

As questions are being asked about the NSA's global surveillance programmes exposed by whistleblower and former CIA IT analyst Edward Snowden, new evidence has emerged that the NSA's Prism and other domestic spying operations are linked to decades of Pentagon planning for the eruption of domestic dissent against government authority triggered by a range of potential environmental, energy or economic disasters.

In my exclusive article for the Guardian today, I report on how Snowden's employer, giant US defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton - where Snowden accessed the NSA's IT systems including the Prism surveillance programme - has for more than a decade run US Army war games on extraordinary emergencies that might afflict the US, both at home and abroad, but particularly at home. Since 2010, these war games have focused increasingly on the potential for massive disruptive shocks in the US homeland, and their potential to galvanise widespread dissent, if not "insurgency" against US authorities.

This revelation fits into a trendline of Pentagon planning over the last decade which has highlighted the danger of extraordinary emergencies which might provoke political dissent and civil unrest - as well as an escalating targeting of peaceful protest groups and environmental activists by the intelligence community on behalf of corporate interests.

Booz Allen Hamilton's involvement in both administering the NSA domestic spying operations against US citizens as well running the Pentagon's Unified Quest programme of war games designed to help US military leaders "envision the future" - consisting of heightened complex threats to domestic order - raises urgent questions about the unconstitutional shift toward the militarisation of the US state.

This also, of course, provides hard evidence that the NSA surveillance programmes are less about terrorism, than they are about tracking and pre-empting, to quote one US Army document, the rise of "anti-government ideologies." The chorus of punditry that has attempted to defend the surveillance programmes ignores such evidence.

Please help counter such disinformation by spreading the word on this exclusive.

Excerpt:

Also in 2010, the Pentagon ran war games to explore the implications of "large scale economic breakdown" in the US impacting on food supplies and other essential services, as well as how to maintain "domestic order amid civil unrest."
Speaking about the group's conclusions at giant US defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton's conference facility in Virginia, Lt Col. Mark Elfendahl - then chief of the Joint and Army Concepts Division - highlighted homeland operations as a way to legitimise the US military budget:
"An increased focus on domestic activities might be a way of justifying whatever Army force structure the country can still afford."
Two months earlier, Elfendahl explained in a DoD roundtable that future planning was needed:
"Because technology is changing so rapidly, because there's so much uncertainty in the world, both economically and politically, and because the threats are so adaptive and networked, because they live within the populations in many cases."
The 2010 exercises were part of the US Army's annual Unified Questprogramme which more recently, based on expert input from across the Pentagon, has explored the prospect that "ecological disasters and a weak economy" (as the "recovery won't take root until 2020") will fuel migration to urban areas, ramping up social tensions in the US homeland as well as within and between "resource-starved nations."
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was a computer systems administrator for Booz Allen Hamilton, where he directly handled the NSA's IT systems, including the Prism surveillance system. According toBooz Allen's 2011 Annual Report, the corporation has overseen Unified Quest "for more than a decade" to help "military and civilian leaders envision the future."
The latest war games, the report reveals, focused on "detailed, realistic scenarios with hypothetical 'roads to crisis'", including "homeland operations" resulting from "a high-magnitude natural disaster" among other scenarios, in the context of:
"... converging global trends [which] may change the current security landscape and future operating environment... At the end of the two-day event, senior leaders were better prepared to understand new required capabilities and force design requirements to make homeland operations more effective."

Read the full article at the Guardian here.

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