All Law is Gone: Naked Power Remains 329

The forcing down of the Bolivian President’s jet was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention by Spain and Portugal, which closed their airspace to this Head of State while on a diplomatic mission.  It has never been thought necessary to write down in a Treaty that Heads of State enjoy diplomatic immunity while engaged in diplomacy, as their representatives only enjoy diplomatic immunity as cyphers for their Head of State.  But it is a hitherto unchallenged precept of customary international law, indeed arguably the oldest provision of international law.

To the US and its allies, international law is no longer of any consequence.  I can see no evidence that anyone in an official position has even noted the illegality of repeated Israeli air and missile strikes against Syria.  Snowden, Manning and Assange all exposed illegality on a massive scale, and no action whatsoever has been taken against any of the criminals they exposed.  Instead they are being hounded out of all meaningful life and ability to function in society.

I have repeatedly posted, and have been saying in public speeches for ten years, that under the UK/US intelligence sharing agreements the NSA spies on UK citizens and GCHQ spies on US citizens and they swap the information.  As they use a shared technological infrastructure, the division is simply a fiction to get round the law in each country restricting those agencies from spying on their own citizens.

I have also frequently remarked how extraordinary it is that the media keep this “secret”, which they have all known for years.

The Guardian published the truth on 29 June:

At least six European Union countries in addition to Britain have been colluding with the US over the mass harvesting of personal communications data, according to a former contractor to America’s National Security Agency, who said the public should not be “kept in the dark”. This article has been taken down pending an investigation.
Wayne Madsen, a former US navy lieutenant who first worked for the NSA in 1985 and over the next 12 years held several sensitive positions within the agency, names Denmark, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain and Italy as having secret deals with the US.
Madsen said the countries had “formal second and third party status” under signal intelligence (sigint) agreements that compels them to hand over data, including mobile phone and internet information to the NSA if requested.
Under international intelligence agreements, confirmed by declassified documents, nations are categorised by the US according to their trust level. The US is first party while the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy second party relationships. Germany and France have third party relationships.

The strange script which appears there happens when I try to copy and paste from this site which preserved the article before the Guardian censored all the material about the UK/US intelligence sharing agreement from it.

As you can see from the newssniffer site linked above, for many hours there was just a notice stating that the article was “taken down pending investigation”, and then it was replaced on the same URL by the Guardian with a different story which does not mention the whistleblower Wayne Madsen or the intelligence sharing agreements!!

I can give, and I would give on oath, an eye witness guarantee that from my direct personal experience of twenty years as a British diplomat the deleted information from Wayne Madsen was true.






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329 thoughts on “All Law is Gone: Naked Power Remains

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  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Bolivia now offering asylum

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Think I have finally figured out why the Bureau is so interested in making out that I may have been acting as one Stephen Nickerson, known him, or consulted with him.

    The FBI has been most eager to determine if the Chinese really have an American asset involved in naval research – i.e., what Person 1 in the Ben Bishop alleged spy case was constantly asking him about, and suspect that a Stephen Nickerson may be he, and I might be fitted up as he or able to shed light on it.

    The most likely suspect seems to be another one around the Denver area – like the photographer Steve Nickerson who died a few Saturdays ago.

    This one is a systems engineering senior MGR in research and development in the Lockheed Martin plant in the greater Denver area.

    Seems that the Bureau wanted to drag in this Stephen Nickerson, rightly or wrongly, into the honey-trap the Chinese national was trying to drag Snowden into, so that the Agency would have a more concrete spying case against him, and probably me.

    Lockheed Martin is, of course, deeply involved in military research and development. Just last year it signed a large contract from the Office of Naval Research to develop of all kinds of solid state electrical sources for strategic and tactical purposes.

    Just too bad that the Bureau is more interested in making spies rather than just dealing with the ones who just come along.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Trowbridge – “There is always something funny about you, Jemand.”

    I often try to be, but usually to no avail, alas. But thanks, Trowbridge. Nice to be appreciated.

    Can I invite you to comment on how current events might be connected with the Whitlam dismissal, if you see any connection?

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Sure, Jenand.

    Whitlam and Snowden were decent chaps, trying to do their jobs, only to find out that they were caught, as they say,, between a rock and a hard place.

    When Whitlam became Australia’s PM, he knew that a lot of things needed to be cleaned up, like shutting down what the Americans were doing at Pine Gap, and cleaning up their establishments on the Northwest Cape, only to learn that the country had been taken over by the Agency’s drug thugs, starting with Ted Shackley and DCI Pappy Bush.

    They got Governor General Sir James Kerr to dismiss him, and he was gone for good.

    Snowden was an accomplished hacker, most willing to keep secrets, and cut the balls off those who disclosed them, only to learn that his employers were quite willing to betray naive Americans who worked them aka the Manhattan 11, and kill those who seriously complained about it, like Gareth Williams, Gudrun Loftus and John Wheeler.

    The only reason that Snowden hasn’t yet been destroyed is that he saw what was coming, and took all the counter measures he could to save himself.

    in sum, he is becoming a hero rather than just another nobody.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    Speaking of Whitlam, I remember Christopher Boyce, who had a Manning-type meltdown and flew into a self-destructive life-path. It was the erroneous cable @TRW which sent him flying.

    It goes to show, that a lot of the recruitment for security clearance employment is the ‘good ole boy’ network, and is highly suspect to outbreaks of conscience and fury.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Right, Ben, Boyce is Snowden’s model, and probable hero.

    Snowden knows to deal with others directly, don’t trust anyone naively, and to never give up – what led to Boyce’s betrayal.

    And can anyone doubt that he did the right thing despite paying most heavily for it.

    Loved the CNN interview with Boyce when it acted as if the criminality of Bush et al. is still a matter of debate, and the fact that they were running the global drug cartel was simply ignored.

    Hope that Boyce proves wrong in stating that Snowden is doomed. Perhaps, it is just intended to give his enemies a false sense of confidence about it.

  • Anon

    NSA recruitment (“NSA Is Coming to Your Campus”) crashes and burns at University of Wisconsin.

    Some students and I had an exchange with NSA recruiters today. The audio and a rough transcript below.

    The NSA came to recruit at a language program at the University of Wisconsin where I am spending my summer learning a language. Two recruiters, a redhead who looked more like a middle-aged 2013 NSA flyer copymother (listed as “NSA_F” below) and a portly, balding man (“NSA_M”), began to go through slides explaining the NSA and its work.

    …Student A (female): I have a lifestyle question that you seem to be selling. It sounds more like a colonial expedition. You know the “globe is our playground” is the words you used, the phrasing that you used and you seem to be saying that you can do your work. You can analyze said documents for your so-called customers but then you can go and get drunk and dress up and have fun without thinking of the repercussions of the info you’re analyzing has on the rest of the world. I also want to know what are the qualifications that one needs to become a whistleblower because that sounds like a much more interesting job. And I think the Edward Snowdens and the Bradley Mannings and Julian Assanges of the world will prevail ultimately.

    Much more at link

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    The extradition order had the temerity to invoke the Ministry for popular power pg 7ública_Bolivariana_Venezuela_to_SG.English.pdf

    “At the time, it was very important for the countries of our region to ratify the American Convention on Human Rights and to institutionalize mechanisms that would help establish a framework for the promotion and protection of human rights in the region. Our country was one of the first to ratify the Pact of San José—it was the only one to have done so through a unilateral declaration—and it was the second to accept the Court’s jurisdiction.
    Later on, as of the promulgation of its Constitution in 1999, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela focused even more extensively on the human rights and fundamental freedoms and guarantees enjoyed by all residents of the country, while also legally recognizing and upholding the rights of indigenous communities and environmental”

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Craig,
    You said:-
    “Will EVERYBODY please tackle the arguments commenters make, and not refer to their motives for making them – which you cannot know – or that people are paid, or their personality traits, or somebody else.
    What interests me is the arguments people put. I think most of the imputations made on all sides are probably inaccurate, but even if they were accurate they are irrelevant. A man or woman may be a one-eyed former contract killer with a cocaine habit in the pay of the state of Israel, but may still make an argument that is absolutely correct. Please address the argument, not the person. Posts which fail to do this will be deleted when seen.”
    And President Barack Obama said:-
    “I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are.”
    So – the ones who post and debate are really caught between the motives and the cynical and manipulative political processes afoot. The challenge then, for the posters and debaters, is to distinguish between the initial appearance and the underlying reality.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “A man or woman may be a one-eyed former contract killer with a cocaine habit in the pay of the state of Israel…” Craig.

    I see Robert Newton as Bill Sykes, in the 1948 film version of ‘Oliver Twist’.

  • N_

    Michael Moore has tweeted (and Wikileaks has re-tweeted)

    Michael Moore ‏@MMFlint
    The most badass thing Morales could do is fly back to Moscow, NOW, pick up Snowden, & take him out of there — and dare Europe to stop him.

    While I agree totally with the sentiment, this statement seems to have been made without any knowledge of aicrafts’ ranges and refuelling.

    The government of Bolivia can’t just lay its hands on an aircraft able to fly non-stop from Moscow to Bolivia..

    The need to refuel is what the whole business about the Canary Islands and the Spanish ambassador was about. It’s also what the business about Ireland and Shannon was about. And the opponents are powerful – able to coerce some other governments into tearing up overflight permissions at the last moment. (Hello France.)

    Of course people can say just fly out of there and dare them not to allow you an emergency landing. But then you find you’re stuck at Schwechat in Austria. Next time, if this were tried, it could be an airport where the US would get whatever they wanted, such as Heathrow. In short, there are serious problems here.

    Maybe something like Moscow-Iceland-Cuba-Bolivia would work?

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Maybe something like Moscow-Iceland-Cuba-Bolivia would work?” N_

    We could ask The Lonely Planet guide?

    “What d’you do if you’re a whistleblower, stuck in Moscow and the CIA-FBI-NSA-MI6-MI5-GCHQ-USAF-Old-Uncle-Tom-Cobbly-And-all are after you?”

    Or he could go to Vladivostok and then catch a slow boat to Ecuador? Mind you, the US Navy would intercept in the Pacific. Iceland is dodgy. They are vulnerable in every way and don’t have the firepower to take on the USAF, which would have no hestitation about breaching the airspace of a sovereign nation. In short, they cannot bomb Washington, DC. China and Russia are too big to take on and doing so would risk WW3; that is why he has remained in those two countries.

    It is entirely possible, then, that Our Man in Moscow may have to remain in Moscow, in the summer to catch the sun and in the winter, to be snowed on. Well, it’s better than being stuck forever in the tiny Ecuadorean Embassy in a hostile London, surrounded by police and spooks and one-eyed assassins. And it’s most certainly better than being stuck in solitary confinement forever in a US ‘Supermax’.

    America is the ‘global policeman’. Unfortunately, the policeman is “a one-eyed contract killer”.

  • N_

    Just to clarify: there is a non-stop route between Moscow (SVO) and Havana (HAV).

    Maybe a ‘sealed cabin’ option might be playable? A ‘little piece of Bolivia’ (or Venezuela etc.) could be created on the plane?

    After all, if a little bit of Scotland could be created at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands, and a little piece of Russia was established on the train which took Lenin and his mates across Germany during WW1.

    I am told that the Bolivian presidential plane, which has nothing like this range, uses French pilots.

    As usual, both the press coverage and the chatter are nowhere near getting to grips with either the technical or the legal issues involved.

    The fact that the FSB (former internal part of the KGB) ‘holds the body’ gives them a very strong hand in this.

    Which may be related to the fact that Snowden has gone into silent mode.

    Russian state co-operation is necessary.

  • N_

    You may be right about Russia and China.

    But it’s hard to see what the US airforce could do over Iceland. There is no longer a US base or overt military presence in that country. (This has changed since Bobby Fischer flew there, when he made sure he didn’t fly to Keflavik.) If the plane carrying Snowden did not have sufficient fuel, the US airforce could not force it out to land in another country. They could take over an airport – Iceland is practically defenceless – and force it to land there, and get the media to ‘file under Entebbe’ and eschew the word ‘invasion’. Or they could shoot it down and tell the world there’d been an unfortunate accident, or blame the Russians, or whatever.

    A lot of Russian state co-operation would be necessary to any longer-haul option. I think perhaps a fair amount would be necessary even to an Icelandic option.

    Isn’t the Pacific a US lake? 🙂

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “Maybe a ‘sealed cabin’ option might be playable? A ‘little piece of Bolivia’ (or Venezuela etc.) could be created on the plane?” N_

    First, you’d need some pan-pipes…

  • N_

    @Suhayl – sorry, the pan-pipes reference went over my head! 🙂 You think the ‘sealed cabin’ idea is too fantastical? I’m guessing Russia don’t want to be seen to help too much. Great scope for creativity remains, in a context where even the ‘international status’ of international transit zones at airports is unclear – and some would say even fantastic, arguing that Snowden is in the Russian jurisdiction even if he hasn’t gone through immigration. (But then too many questions might get asked about the ease of transit for certain goods, not just at Sheremetevo, but at several major international airports around the world.)

    I’m still curious as to when Russia set up a consulate at its own airport. Back in the day, Sheremetevo used to under one Boris Berezovsky and pals.

    Even if money changes hands so that the Aeroflot flight skirts US airspace on its way to Havana, the US airforce could still mob it above the Atlantic somewhere, and force it to land in the US.

    That said, if Russia’s navy could chase the MV Arctic Sea all the way to Cape Verde, her airforce could provide an escort to Havana, although they probably wouldn’t want to, and we’re not at that stage yet.

  • Dreoilin

    “For now, the wave of protest by Germans at alleged NSA surveillance of their emails and phone calls appears to be contained online. This modern form of internet dissent is one for which Germans have adopted the anglicism ‘shitstorm’ – this week given a place of honour in the German language by entering the latest edition of the Duden dictionary.”

    Haha! brilliant. [Or Scheißesturm I suppose, if you’re fanatical about the purity of languages.]

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Don’t you mean ‘stoirm cac’, Dreoilin..

  • Dreoilin

    I do Ben, I do …

    Never heard it though. In Connemara and Gweedore they probably say shitstorm too. 😉

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)


    In 2005 Iceland was much (as most were) better economically. Now they are floundering, and this is part of the reluctance for full support. Also they need to meet UN protocols, (see my earlier comment) in order to proceed and the UN Sec Gen has already indicated he thinks Snowden violated the law. Venezuela seems to be the only option.

  • N_


    Agreed about the significance of Iceland’s economic position.

    But the UN protocols to which you refer do not bear on Snowden’s case. They are only about Iceland’s quota of UNHCR-nominated refugees. (“Quota” being a good Icelandic economic concept! [wink!]). They don’t stop Iceland from granting asylum or citizenship to whomever they want to.

    Nor is the UN Sec Gen’s opinion on Snowden of any legal importance. The UN has no jurisdiction enabling it to stop a country granting asylum or citizenship; or for that matter, any jurisdiction to decide that someone has broken US law.

    Even if for the sake of argument it were accepted that Snowden broke the law in the US, this would not prevent another country from granting asylum. Usually extradition laws contain the provision has to be an offence of at least a certain magnitude in the country which is being asked to extradite. A woman who has driven a car in Saudi Arabia in violation of Saudi law will not be extradited for the offence by an English court.

    Moreover, there is usually provision for political offences to be exempted.

    In the specific case of Iceland, as I understand it, the relevant treaty is between the US and Denmark, and as yet, no US authority has alleged that Snowden has committed any of the extraditable offences (murder, manslaughter, arson, robbery, forgert, counterfeiting, embezzlement, fraud, perjury, rape, abduction, piracy and certain other maritime crimes, slaving, procuring abortion).

  • Flaming June

    What bilge from this posh boy*.

    eg ‘Why do we find Snowden and Assange such fascinating figures? They are postmodern outlaws, frustrated nomads who have given up the comforts of an ordinarily rooted life. They are compelling because their predicament is both horrifying and seductive.’

    In depth: Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – enemies of the state take flight
    By seeking refuge in limbo while fleeing the most powerful nation on Earth, they exemplify the romance of the contemporary fugitive–enemies-of-the-state-take-flight-8692598.html

    * son of Sir Christopher Bland ex chairman BBC etc, See Early Life and Education – Winchester and Cambridge.

  • Dreoilin

    “The pilots of a passenger jet which crashed in the United States tried to abort their landing as stall warnings filled the cockpit moments before impact, according to safety officials.

    “Two people died and 182 were injured when the Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crashed late on Saturday at the San Francisco International Airport. The plane was carrying 307 people.

    “Asiana said on Monday that the pilot was “in training” and that it was his first flight into the city at the controls of a 777.”

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Weightloss, it is an immense, dare I say, an obese, pleasure! Do partake of this gustatory slice of site again, won’t you, there’s a good spammer? And don’t forget, spam is good for the figure!

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