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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  • NR

    Putin’s good. He said this in one take without breaking up. No teleprompter either. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: He must stop his work aimed at harming our US partners – no matter how strange this may sound coming from me… ”

    It can’t get much better. I doubt Snowden is struck in transit at the Moscow airport, but now the Bolivian President, his Defense Minister and their air crew are trapped in the transit area of the Vienna airport. No evidence of Sacher Tortes and coffee on silver trays either. All hail Obama and Kerry. Takes Ivy League smarts to pull this off. The diplomatic cables should be real-time available to us for real-time laughs.

    It’s the new Library at Alexandria. The sum wisdom and stupidity of the human race. They also need store the billions of spams per day. Who knows what messages Enemies of the State might embed in those.

    We’re reminded we have nothing to fear if we have nothing to hide, and nobody is snooping aunt Maude’s recipe for rhubarb pie. Based on all gubmints’ record for truth-telling, they surely are reading recipes, testing and selling the tastiest to food conglomerates. 🙂

  • Mick S

    The media has long been under the sway of the government. Look on the BBC website for the new stories about the dangers of dark nets and the impact they are having on Internet child abuse. This information has been put out there so as to build up public acceptance that anyone not communicating in plain text is up to no good. It also has the subliminal effect of reinforcing why its good for GCHQ to monitor all Internet traffic.

  • Abe Rene

    The censoring of the story of Wayne Madsen reminds me of the story of Radio Moscow’s news reader Vladimir Danchev who called Soviet troops in Afghanistan “invaders” and “occupiers”, and was quickly taken off air and treated as a mental patient.

  • Tech Savage

    Seems to me the BRICS have become very suspicious of Snowdon’s motives, which seem primarily to be about creating a rift between the US and the EU. What is without doubt is that no one is actually really shocked about PRISM, we’ve known about Echelon for decades, where’s the outrage? All this bluster from Germany and Belgium is to placate the media instilled ‘anger’ of their populations.

    When you strip away the media hype you are actually left with very little that wasn’t already known; the US spies on it’s allies and is collecting data on people, FFS they have been doing that since day one, as have the UK, Russia, China. etc. etc. What do you think those secret services spend all their time doing, just watching each other?

    Wikileaks is a psyop – you can support Assange all you like, the fact is the Wikileaks cables were highly vetted (not one cable regarding the US’s ‘greatest’ ally in the M.E.?) before they fell into the hands of Assange, who then treated them as his personal property for financial gain, for which his controllers duly deployed the sexual allegations to bring him back in – and why he now prefers to live like a parasite off the Ecuadorian people rather than face the music that he partly orchestrated.

  • Tech Savage

    “The media has long been under the sway of the government.”

    Yes, just ask Rupert Murdoch.

  • Richard Silverstein

    While your hunch may be correct (nothing surprises me about this story anymore), Wayne Madsen is a true nutcase. I don’t know how the Guardian was snookered into including anything by or about him in a story.

  • Right-Wing Hippy

    The strange script which appears there happens when I try to copy and paste from this site

    Paste it into Notepad, then copy from there and paste into WordPress. This will clear the formatting.

  • NR

    Austria said the president of Bolivia was cleared to leave through Spain’s airspace, now story is that’s not true; Spain still blocking.

    Craig, you think the Europeans are having some passive-aggressive fun, having been bullied into forcing Morales’ plane down in Vienna, they’re now messing around and allowing US stew for a few more hours in world outrage?

  • conjunction

    What is interesting is the arrogance of this act. Obama often speaks as if he were lord of the universe, or more specificaly as if it were/should be a given that the USA is the benefactor of and main holder of wisdom amongst mankind. His earlier remarks about Snowden were slightly dismissive which made me think it was his playmates who were getting their knickers in a twist. But he must have authorised this.

  • Flaming June

    I was coming back here from your previous post Craig to wish you (and your heel) well and to ask if you could comment on this outrage given your expertise in international law.

    We know that Israel knows no law and now the US acts likewise. Completely out of control and their ‘president’ is a hypocritical and implausible one dimensional chimera fit only for photo opportunities visiting slave houses and prison cells.

  • John Goss

    It is true. There is no longer any international law.

    This report produced by Yorkshire CND is well-researched history of what goes on at Menwith Hill (and elsewhere).

    The US has at least five major stations in the UK. Parliament never gave permission for these bases but the US in its arrogant bullying manner has done what it does regularly, stolen it from right under our noses.

    Don’t forget that tomorrow there is an Independence from America demonstration outside Menwith Hill, a US communications interception station, near Harrogate. The time has come to speak out and make your presence felt. Salma Yaqoob is one of the speakers. There is excellent food available.

  • Flaming June

    Meanwhile the Evil Empire is lost and going down. Crumbling back to ashes and dust.

    ‘Soon enough, your neighborhood will resemble mine, for the United States is becoming ever more Third World economically and socially, but this, the Italian Market, is hardly a benchmark. We’ll go further, much further. Outside its richest, gated enclaves protected by armed guards and, surely, combat robots and drones, the US will devolve into a society of rooming houses, day laborers and peddlers, not to mention street urchins and part-time prostitutes.’

    Linh Dhin the author keeps a photoblog – The State of the Union -where he closely observes his environment and his fellow citizens

  • Brendan

    Well, the US doesn’t recognize international law, and neither does the UK. And they fail to recognize international law whilst, amusingly, warning others that they should obey international law, and they use this tactic repeatedly. It’s quite a trick, worthy of Goebells.

    I was intrigued by the Wayne Madsen story. Like everyone else on these boards, I have stumbled upon Mr Madsen, usually during a late night intergoogle. I kind of have him down as a bit of a crank, to be honest, from the outlandish conspiracy breed of crank. I say ‘kind of’ advisedly: so called conspiracy theorists are, of course, being proven correct on the NSA revelations, and I do so hate how often ‘conspiracy’ is bandied about, as a kind of gun-silencer, a smear, by dim-wits liks Oliver Kamm.

    However, even the wildest conspiracy crank, if that’s what he is, can get it right sometimes. I’m glad Craig – who doubtless is aware of Mr Madsen’s reputation – has given us his eye-witness account. The story itself, regardless of its source, didn’t seem all that implausible. I suspect more to come, too.

    And Mr Madsen is far more plausible, now, than the increasingly weird and creepy Obama, bluntly.

  • Flaming June

    For information to those quick off the mark to smear Madsen. The usual CT stuff is hurled in the manner of Kamm, Rentoul and Aaronovitch. It sticks of course like the stuff you tread in on the pavement sometimes.

    On June 30, 2013, The Observer, which is owned by The Guardian, in London published a story sourced from an interview with Madsen that it had found in a blog, alleging connections between the National Security Agency and several European governments. [20] International journalists and security experts pointed out that Madsen was wholly unbelievable. Several called him an “online conspiracy theorist.” [21][22] John Schindler, a professor at the Naval War College and intelligence expert, commented on Twitter that Madsen was “batsh*t crazy, to use the technical term.”[23] The Telegraph, a U.K. competitor, and Forbes both revelled in the controversy with a Telegraph newsblog saying that The Guardian had relied on a “fruitloop who thinks Obama is gay”. [24][25] The article was quickly removed from the parent (Guardian) newspaper’s website pending an investigation, but not before the print edition had gone to press.[26] According to Forbes, The Observer likely took the story down as it was concerned with the reliability of the source rather than the content as no matter how “left field” the source was, the story seems to be largely true and has been a matter of public record for some years.[24]

  • Flaming June

    I used to be jeered at for speaking of the rise of fascism. It is creeping in, invisible to many.

    ‘Understanding the latest leaks is understanding the rise of a new fascism

    20 June 2013

    In his book, ‘Propaganda’, published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

    The American nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays invented the term “public relations” as a euphemism for state propaganda. He warned that an enduring threat to the invisible government was the truth-teller and an enlightened public.

    The power of truth-tellers like Bradley Manning, Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden is that they dispel a whole mythology carefully constructed by the corporate cinema, the corporate academy and the corporate media. WikiLeaks is especially dangerous because it provides truth-tellers with a means to get the truth out. This was achieved by ‘Collatoral Murder’, the cockpit video of an US Apache helicopter allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning. The impact of this one video marked Manning and Assange for state vengeance. Here were US airmen murdering journalists and maiming children in a Baghdad street, clearly enjoying it, and describing their atrocity as “nice”. Yet, in one vital sense, they did not get away with it; we are witnesses now, and the rest is up to us.’

  • Kempe

    Madsen as conspiracy theorist.

    Of course I realise that will make him a hero and a highly credible source to many people around here. Just excuse the rest of us if we have a good laugh.

    Sorry if I have this wrong but I thought Diplomatic Immunity guaranteed free passage and immunity from prosecution to particular individuals. Snowden is not an acredited diplomat so does not have immunity from arrest. Neither does freedom from prosecution mean freedom to commit an offence. There’s nothing in the Vienna Convention that prevents anyone from intervening to stop an offence being committed by a diplomat. (I am fully aware that reference to an offence is going to be controversial but I’m looking at events from “their” point of view.)

    I’m also mystified as to why Snowden has applied for asylum in so many countries which are NATO members. Would they not be treaty bound to arrest and extradite him? If not wouldn’t they be inclined to allow his rendition?

  • John Goss

    I’ve just tried to raise an Epetition on Telecommunications Interception to the Ministry of Defence which if I recall correctly went something like this.

    “Following the revelations by Edward Snowden and others, we, the British public, call for closure of US bases at Menwith Hill, Alconbury, Croughton, Lakenheath, Mildenhall and elsewhere which are intercepting emails, monitoring social networking sites, listening to telephone conversations and providing coordinates for US drone attacks abroad . . .”

    When I clicked on the link in the confirmation email I got a message saying that it confirmed the email address was correct and it could take up to 7 days before I would know whether it had been approved. I never had this with the last Epetition I raised.

  • N_

    Obama is a liar when he says US forces won’t grab Snowden if he flies over US territory on his way to Cuba.

    Huge US pressure is being put on a number of countries’ governments.

    These include not just Russia but also France, Portugal, and Ecuador.

    Snowden was stitched up into flying to Moscow. He was given an Ecuadorean safe passage (laissez passer), which was then withdrawn!

    The western media churns out the bullshit that Ecuadorean diplomats in London are taking orders from Julian Assange rather than from Quito. What I think happened is that the US exerted pressure on both the foreign ministry in Quito and the Wikilinks hierarchy. Don’t forget that the Ecuadorean currency is the US dollar. The Russian government, through Russia Today, helped Julian Assange, and so did the Ecuadorean government. Now they’re both too chickenshit to follow through. I hope the Ecuadorean government changes its position.

    Snowden will be absolutely nuts if he flies anywhere near US or British airspace, or sails anywhere near their waters.

    Kim Philby avoided going through the English Channel en route to Cuba.

    Bobby Fischer avoided flying to Keflavik airport in Iceland, but chose to fly to a smaller airport less susceptible to US military action.

    With reference to Snowden, Bobby Fischer is the example people should be talking about.

    The list of governments that may help is now very small, and includes Bolivia, Venezuela, and Cuba, possibly in that order, and followed by Ecuador.

    The Bolivian government has been an example to the whole world in not kowtowing to the US and Israel.

    It is very significant that the aircraft carrying president Evo Morales, who was in Russia, was refused permission to enter Portuguese or French airspace. That must surely have been as a result of US pressure.

    In the end, the plane had to refuel in Spain and land in Austria.

    Morales has denied that Snowden was on board the plane.

    I do not know whether Snowden was ever in any area which can be considered to be under Bolivian jurisdiction (e.g. in the presidential car at Sheremetevo airport), but if he was, then I hope he was granted asylum when he was.

    The US government is pulling out all the stops.

    As I understand it, Morales is stuck at Vienna airport.

    I hope he is very careful about what he eats and drinks. Otherwise he may end up like a number of other Latin American leaders.

    I dearly hope that Bolivia has granted Snowden asylum, or if it hasn’t already, that a way will be found for it to do so.

    Morales: “We say and advocate that someone in the world should stand with this young man and protect him. The revelations he has made with courage serve to change the world.

    No doubt we will soon be hearing from all the barrack room lawyers.

  • N_

    The BBC quote Austrian officials as saying Morales’s plane was searched at Vienna airport!

    Meanwhile, let us hope Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa’s U-turn was only temporary.

  • Komodo

    Wayne Madsen may or may not be a swivel-eyed conspiracist nutjob. But what he said, and what was pulled by the Grauniad, was true. It didn’t even need security sources to back it. It was already in the public domain. A lot of messengers seem to be getting shot these days…

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Good post Craig.

    International law is mostly obviated by pro-US sympathies, including shameless cooperation by Australian politicians and political staff, some of whom have been exposed as US informants. On Obama’s reluctant visit to Oz, our current leader of the opposition referred to him in a speech as “.. the President of the world.” – – – I kid you not. You will not find evidence of this gaffe so easily. Not even on the intergoogle. The link below was a very tough find, confirmed by a nobody in the comments section of a completely unrelated article. Too embarrassing? Absolutely.

    “President of the World” in the comments section.

  • US military and spy bases in Britain

    Snowden is only saying what everyone interested already knows.

    Meanwhile, things can go into the public domain and then back out. One example is that the US used to pay the UK a lot of money (10 figures, I seem to recall) for the ‘rental’ of its military and spy bases in the UK. The payments were officially published by British government statisticians as a component of invisible exports. (For several years, if it hadn’t been for foreign military and spy bases and Lloyd’s insurance market, British trade would never have been in the black.)

    Nowadays, even the people who run campaigns against the US military presence in Britain know little or nothing about whether payments are still made, let alone how big they are.

  • N_

    @Komodo. It’s everything.

    Which includes:

    ● domestic electrical circuits
    ● face recognition
    ● anything remote-readable or that remote-reads, e.g. in cars and mobile phones

    Capability is far far ahead of what’s admitted.

    When someone at GCHQ or NSA or even poor old MI5 gets your file out, they can call up far more than your emails, internet activity and what numbers you’ve connected to on your phone.

  • Jemand - Censorship Improves History

    Don’t for a minute believe that the forced landing of Bolivia’s President’s plane was brought about by a genuine belief of the US that Snowden was on board. It just might have been a dry-run test of EU cooperation with US plans to arrest Snowden for this likely contingency.

    Then again, Wikileaks might have tested the waters first by arranging a false report of Snowden’s attempted flight from Moscow. With sufficient false reports making multiple forced landings embarrassingly problematic, they might be able to clear the way for Snowden’s eventual departure.

  • Dreoilin

    Live blogging here

    “So, after a stopover of more than 12 hours at Vienna airport, Morales is on his way. But the diplomatic row is set to run.

    “Bolivia’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York said the refusal to let his president’s plane cross over European airspace was an act of aggression that should have consequences, AP reports …

    “French and Spanish officials have reportedly denied that they refused access to their airspace. Bolivia said Spain agreed to allow the plane to refuel in the Canary Islands but only if Bolivian authorities agreed to allow it to be inspected.”

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