Work for the UN 1072


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.


1,072 thoughts on “Work for the UN

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  • Kempe

    Over 93,000 dead in Syria so far but the UN should concentrate on Israel’s incursions…

  • craig Post author

    Phil

    International law is a wonderful thing. The alternative, which is to what we are now degenerating, is that the Americans and Israelis kill anyone they want and seize anything they want, because they can.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Looks like the Guardian interview with Snowdem won’t get very far as he side stepped the question of the US government destroying whistleblowers, preferring to state that Washington had destroyed his chances of getting a fair trial, only to conclude GG’s question by stating his disclourses will get out even if it kills him.

    My question to him is: How does he know that previous whistleblowers have suffered this fate, and who does he have in mind and why?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Craig; Is there some reason for your lack of interest in Snowden? I know you had one post on it, but then….

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ John Goss :

    “…having been the very last of those on this blog to recognise the identity of a certain individual comment-maker.”
    _______

    You’ve lost me. Can you expand, please?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ John Goss :

    “Stay on topic. This blog is not for insulting individuals but for expressing topical views”

    ___________

    Leaving aside the apparent contradiction between the injunction to “stay on topic” (ie, the topic of this thread) and the assertion that this blog (including this thread, presumably)is for “expressing topical views” (ie, any topical views on anything), could you tell me why you did not issue the same reproof to Flaming June, who posted an off-topic, irrelevant and implicitly insulting comment about a former UK ambassador called Charles Crawford?

    I hope you’re not applying different standards to different people? If you’d like to prove that you are not, I invite you to explain how Flaming June’s comment was relevant to the theme of this thread.

    Thank you.

  • Ruth

    ‘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.’ I agree.

    But I think they go much, much further. A fire walled elite is involved in massive illegal economic activity much of which is put down to criminal gangs or Russian mafia etc.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Ruth

    re your para 1 – I would agree that they are an interest block (as are any groups of professionals or corporations) but I’m less convinced of their high influence.

    re your para 2 – a serious and disturbing allegation. Would you like to be more specific and also point to what you consider to be concrete examples?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Conflict

    On Sunday Agent Cameron spoke to British journalists saying, “The Syrian opposition have committed to a democratic, pluralistic Syria that will respect minorities, including Christians.”

    As I expected when Cameron abruptly aborted ‘WebCameron’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RU0QtvWKgx0 – a ‘family show’ fashioned to bring Prime minister Cameron nearer/closer to the British people he represents/embodies, yet heavily criticized for a complete lack of commitment to queries on hegemony, torture, extraordinary rendition and state control, referring instead to issue worthless scripted political statements.

    This man and his cohorts clearly lack empathy and thus zero consideration for the plight of those peoples stricken in the post-invasion aftermaths by the rampant Western powers hell bent on coveting world resources; Libya and Iraq are clearly blood-soaked examples.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/g8-summit-begins-vladimir-putin-accuses-david-cameron-of-betraying-humanitarian-values-by-supporting-syrian-rebels-8661048.html

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    It turns out being destroyed by the government is what happened to Thomas Drake, William Binney, and John Kirakou who was even tried for leaking secrets, and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

    Still, according to Snowden, the country is somehow worth dying for.

    Count me out!

  • Flaming June

    I do not tweet nor do I have a blog for the troll’s information.

    Charles Crawford is a recurring subject on this blog over the years but the troll, having joined as late as last November, probably does not know that.

    Amazing how he makes what he considers something off topic even more off topic by giving it emphasis by repetition.

  • Chris2

    “Habbakuk” is a perfect illustration of the enormous amounts of spare time and arrogance that the Establishment’s security services have. The appointment of this rather dim but dogged character to bully one of our commentators ought to give “June” some satisfaction: her frequent, eloquent and wise interventions clearly rattle the tax scoffing scoundrels whom Habbakuk so admires.

    The troll himself should, however, be sent to Coventry. Do not feed him, tempting though it is to find fault with his nonsense. And spitting at him doesn’t work, as the screen on my computer, unfortunately, shows.

  • N_

    International spying can’t be regulated.

    And that’s true a fortiori, if, as you say, the system of international law has broken down irretrievably.

    Which is not meant to imply that I know when you think the said system was working hunkydorily. Nobody thinks it was doing so when Italy invaded Abyssinia, or during WW2. During the Korean war maybe? Or the Malayan emergency? Kenya? Algeria? Vietnam? The Falklands? Has it ever done anything close to ‘working’ where Zionist crimes have been concerned, or crimes committed by officers of the US state?

    Even just keeping to the topic of electronic spying, let’s recall that one of the functions of the very fabric of the UK microwave network, since the early 1960s, has been to allow the NSA to get on with its job. That was after a short post-Suez blip followed the period after the UKUSA treaty, which itself was long kept secret.

    CIA and US military capability have been built similarly firmly into the British polity (to take an important example, the head of the CIA’s London station attends the weekly meetings of the Joint Intelligence Committee), as has Zionist capability into Britain’s parliamentary democracy, education system, media, and culture.

    But I share your view of those idiot hacks who are so shocked that NSA and GCHQ do their jobs.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The Edward Snowden case sounds more and more like i said – i.e., he was caught by surprise by an FBI honeytrap – what entrapped defense contractor Ben Bishop in Hawaii – and when he learned that he was to pay a big price which only got back at the independently-minded Bureau, he threatened to go all out to expose the free-wheeling spooks, once he made his way to HK.

    His Guardian interview clearly showed that he is willing to settle for a process which bothered leakers like William Binney, Thomas Drake, and even John Kirakou, provided Washington drops the claims that he has contacted China’s Ministry of State Security, and stops connecting him to the Bishop case.

    If not, he is willing to take new steps as both a spy and whistleblower.

    Conisider the case essentially closed.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Trowbridge; very interesting idea wrt motivation. any links for your connectivity of thought?

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Chris2 :

    ““Habbakuk” is a perfect illustration of the enormous amounts of spare time and arrogance that the Establishment’s security services have. The appointment of this rather dim but dogged character to bully one of our commentators ought to give “June” some satisfaction: her frequent, eloquent and wise interventions clearly rattle the tax scoffing scoundrels whom Habbakuk so admires.”
    ____________

    I was tempted to let this piece of nonsense stand unanswered and will in fact do so, except only to point out the apparent contradiction between
    (1) claiming that I work for the security services (“the appointment”)
    and
    (2) suggesting that I’m on the outside looking in (“the scoundrels whom Habbabkuk so admires”).

    I take the opportunity of agreeing with Chris2 when he characterizes Mary’s interventions as frequent. Eloquent – well, sometimes (except it’s usually quotations); wise – rarely.

    **********

    La vita è bella, life is good! (greetings to all my fans)

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Thanks, Ben, you’re generally quite constructive.

    Well, I would certainly read about the on-going turf war between the Bureau and the CIA – what led directly to the 9/11 fiasco, and Director Robert Mueller in the midst of this crisis saying it could have bee prevented by proper surveillance.

    The biggest reason why it didn’t happened is because of the Palme assassination fiasco, and the belated spying it ultimately uncovered, first that by CIA’s Rick Ames, and then that by Robert Hanssen just before Mueller took over and 9/11 occurred.

    I am only able to offer my own work because all other researchers are either asleep or corrupted.

    See my double article in Issue Eight of Eye Spy magazine, my articles on the spying and belated capture of Ames and Hanssen on codshit.blogspot.com, and the continuing wars on it, Veterans Today, and Flying Cuttlefish Picayune.

    Then read that article about the Ben Bishop and Snowden cases by LAT’s reporter Maria I LaGonga.

    Then go through the Guardian interview with Snowden.

    And if I think of anything else, I shall add it.

  • Johnno

    Edward Snowden’s revelations come as no surprise having read L.Fletcher Prouty’s book The Secret Team, written back in 1972.

  • GF

    What is worse is that these so-called ‘intelligence’ agencies are not only spying – they also make use of the information collected.
    Maybe one day we shall all hear the more horrifying story about how these intercepted communications can be used and manipulated.

  • Gawain

    ‘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.’

    I do regard it as despicable. I think it is absolutely abhorrent. Call me naive if you must, but the key to providing a free and open society — a ‘liberal society’, if you will — is frank and open disclosure about the inner workings of government; and that includes the machinations of the security services. I understand that certain aspects of government must be kept secret: nuclear launch codes, the location of military facilities, important financial assets, etc. But I think, if we want to live in a less paranoid planet, if we want to live in a society of equals, then we need to take the first step in renouncing the overuse of surveillance against citizens and foreign governments. Let other bankrupt states play the game if they wish. Let them tap into the emails, phone records, and encrypted messages of state leaders. Let them engage in high risk espionage and low intensity operations. We, however, should have none of it. Liberty should never be traded for security unless it is absolutely necessary (the definition of which should remain for the public to decide). For the simple truth is that states, and the intelligence agencies attached to them, generally try to safeguard an immoral and sadistically twisted elite. They thrive in the dark, as you well know.

  • Gawain

    ‘The system of international law has broken down irretrievably.’

    The system of international law was never entirely fit for purpose. Multiple violations have taken place since its ad hoc construction over the years, and millions of lives have lost under the sustained gaze of the legal community. This points to the fact that international law is nothing more than a tool in the arsenal of imperial power. When it secures are interests, we follow it. When it does not, we quibble about its wording or infer it proceeds from a corrupted source. If that fails, we violate it root and branch and then create amendments in our interest. The law cannot stop war, cannot sustain the system. Only a well educated, compassionate, and critically minded public can do that.

  • Villager

    “Only a well educated, compassionate, and critically minded public can do that.”

    Gawain, now thats about the wisest thing thats been said on this blog for a long time and thank you for raising the level of the conversation here.

    Educated in my view, as Einstein put it, all you know once you’ve forgotten everything you’ve learned at school. Then one can be critially-minded, as in creative and fresh. Real compassion can then flow from such a state of mind.

    Agree with the rest of your comments too and we need to start with the reality of where we are, as you say, “The system of international law was never entirely fit for purpose.”

  • Villager

    “Flaming June
    17 Jun, 2013 – 5:46 pm
    I do not tweet nor do I have a blog for the troll’s information.

    Charles Crawford is a recurring subject on this blog over the years but the troll, having joined as late as last November, probably does not know that.

    Amazing how he makes what he considers something off topic even more off topic by giving it emphasis by repetition.”

    I thought Flaming June only arrived this month!?

    Anyway, no matter how long you have patronised this blog, it doesn’t absolve your responsibility to provide context. Or, stay on topic at least for a few hours, as a matter of courtesy to others.

  • Phil

    Craig 17 Jun, 2013 – 4:36 pm
    “International law is a wonderful thing.”

    Tell that to a palestinian with a straight face. Or a Sudanese, Iraqi…etc, etc, etc.

    International law is just more law – by the few for the few. Power is never restrained by law. Empire writes, changes and ignores the law. It is an illusion of some justice to keep good people on board.

  • Villager

    Phil, eloquent observation. You point out quite rightly the difficulty/impracticality of accessing ‘international justice’. Thanks for helping put one’s finger on it. A total illusion indeed.

  • Flaming June

    Thanks Chris 2. I changed from my real name to attempt an escape from the troll’s unpleasantness. Failed. Anyway this blog is not about me,as I have said before, and the troll’s attention has been unwanted throughout.

    As June has not been very ‘flaming’, at least where I live, I will return to my real name in July.

    :::::

    Villager May I say that what you said about me was not very Krishmamurthy of you. 😉

  • Flaming June

    Julian Assange prepared for five more years in embassy, says Ecuador
    Foreign minister Ricardo Patiño says situation is ‘totally unjust’, as talks arranged between British and Ecuadorean legal experts

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2013/jun/17/julian-assange-five-more-years-ecuador

    AND

    Julian Assange: Ecuador will continue to grant asylum
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22940650

    Julian Assange is to stay in the Embassy. Poor man. He is imprisoned. All the news channels could say on the matter this afternoon was about the high cost of the policing and who should pay for it. The answer is obvious. Let him go.

  • doug scorgie

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)
    17 Jun, 2013 – 5:40 pm

    You reply to Ruth:

    “I would agree that they [GCHQ, MI5, and MI6] are an interest block (as are any groups of professionals or corporations) but I’m less convinced of their high influence.”

    Surely you’re not implying that GCHQ, MI5 and MI6 are mere lobbyists that have no more influence than other “groups of professionals or corporations”?

    They are an integral part of the state whose job is to spy on unsuspecting individuals and organisations.

    Their power and influence lies with the nature of information (intelligence) directly or indirectly collected which can be used by the state for various good or nefarious purposes.

    The “right kind” of information can be used to threaten, bribe, blackmail or entrap powerful figures in the justice system, the police, the government, MPs, political parties, high profile activists; the opportunities are endless both at home and abroad.

    Information is power.

    “Do not seek for information of which you cannot make use.”
    (Anna C. Brackett 1892)

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