The world we live in today is so different from what it was 40 years ago that the Watergate scandal seems like remote history. Yet here we are face to face with another surveillance and espionage drama created by the former CIA agent and US National Security Agency operative Edward Snowden's expose. It's a drama with a difference, though, because it is being played out by the western media.

Perhaps contrary to the common perception, the NSA's surveillance program is (is, because it has not been terminated) aimed at getting a stranglehold on people and organizations not only to strengthen the US government's hands, it is also aimed at helping US corporations consolidate their hold on the global markets and thus make more profits.

Let's get the facts from the other side, the United States, first. Snowden initially violated his oath to safeguard the US national security secrets, entrusted to him by revealing NSA’ programs, which could affect the “privacy of the US citizens” this is what a Western newspaper said.

Well, every other thing that happens in the US has to do with China, be it the cheap goods, jobs and workers or the trade imbalance that the US claims is the result of China's ‘skewed’ currency policy.

That he chose Hong Kong to reveal the dirty secrets of the NSA has been used by some to also allege that Snowden is a spy working for China. The Snowden episode elaborates much of a growing disconnect between the inherent qualities of US citizens and the actions of their government.

To this day, many Americans believe that Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gadhafi supported al-Qaida leaders. The reality is, Saddam and Gadhafi both were targets of al-Qaida assassination plots for a long time because, whatever their other faults might have been, both subscribed to moderate theologies rather than the extreme version of Islam.

If the real purpose of such theft had been collecting data to prevent terrorist acts, as is being claimed by the Obama administration, the world would not have been as angered by Snowden's revelations as it is now. It's clear the US has used Osama bin Laden and his fanatic band of followers as a pretext to snoop around the world. Since politicians in the US and other NATO member states can pretend to be acting against potential terrorist funds to hack the accounts of individuals and companies in other countries for the benefit of their local enterprises, it would be naive to think that they have not used this information to also promote their political interests.

Therefore, the use of NSA as fishing net, designed to get information from hundreds of millions of individuals and companies wholly unrelated to terrorism, need not merely be condemned, but also subjected to penalties. But who is going to act as ‘Big Brother’ to the US that has been leading the chase for last one decade?

KHURRAM ALI KHAN,

Lahore, September 6.

Karachi, September 10.