GCHQ and the NSA between them employ tens of thousands of people. I am bemused by the shock at the “revelation” they have been spying. What on Earth did journalists think that spies do all day? That includes electronics spies.
Since Katherine Gun revealed that we spy on other delegations – and the secretariat – within the UN building, it is hardly a shock that we spy on other governments at summits in the UK. For once, the government cannot pretend that the object is to save us all from terrorism, which is the usual catch all excuse. Nor in the real world is any of the G20 nations a military threat to the UK. The real truth of the matter is that our spies – GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 – are themselves a large and highly influential interest block within the state. Lots of people make a great deal of money out of the security state, and this kind of activity is actually simply an excuse for taking money from taxpayers – which is from everyone who has ever bought anything – and giving that money to the “security industry”.
I do not view spying on other governments as quite as despicable as spying on ordinary citizens, which is an unspeakable betrayal of the purpose of government. Spying on other governments is a game they all play to extort money each to their own security elites. But I will say that spying on the South African government seems pretty low. Why?
Interception of diplomatic communications is plainly a gross breach of the Vienna Conventions, even if the forms of communication have changed since they were drafted. I have never studied the particulars of international law as they relate to spying, but it seems to me an area that in the modern world needs regulation. There must be room here for the UN to be involved in preparing a Convention to outlaw the interception of international communications, with recourse to the International Court of Justice for those victim of it.
There is more work for the UN on Syria. We should all be grateful that Russia is holding out against the very dubious western claims that the Syrian government has deployed chemical weapons. But while Obama can declare all the red lines he wishes, they do not give any country a right to take action on Syrian soil without UN authority. That needs to be restated, strongly. There is no basis at all for the continued and massive Israeli attacks on Syria – they are absolutely illegal. Israeli strikes have definitely killed more people than the alleged deaths from chemical weapons. Can someone explain to me why that is not a red line?
The UN Secretary General should be speaking out, and the UN Security Council should be meeting, to discuss the Israeli attacks on Syria. The system of international law has broken down irretrievably.