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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  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    And Snowden certainly didn’t miss Wikileaks posting the Afghan Log without making the necessary redactions – what led not only to Gareth Williams’ horrific murder but also Gudrun Loftus’s when she indicated that she was taking his place, and that of Steve Rawlings when he raised questions about how she had fallen down the stars at St. John’s College, Oxford, and who had found her body.

    As for any German protection plan for Snowden, remember, in the final analysis, Merkel is apparently badly damaged goods, having been it seems, the Stasi/KGB agent ANITA.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Of course, I meant the stairs at St. John’s, the ones right outside the Senior Common where she had planned a meeting with someone on that early October morning.

  • Lucas

    Manning, Assange and Snowden are our version of Glasnost. All power to them.

    The Wikipedia page on Wayne Madsen has changed since Flaming June posted her quote from it – specifically the bit about the source being “left field” but the information “largely true” was removed, but the relevant source footnote (24) remains and leads here:

    [quote]It looks like The Guardian/Observer has managed to get itself mightily stung over a revelation about PRISM and the NSA. Which is all very amusing given the paper’s part in the Glenn Greenwald/Edward Snowden revelations. But what turns it into an absolute joy is that, while the news originally came from someone with, hmm, rather “out there” views, the actual information itself seems to be roughly true. And yet they’ve still taken the piece down.[/quote]

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Looks like Stockholm passed the disinformation about Snowden being on the Bolivian President’s plane to London who got Spain to act on it – what Madrid now declines to discuss.

    The Spanish right wingers have been taking the word of Britain’s since before the 3/11 tragedy there.

    Little wonder now that Bildt has gotten Sweden and the UK to stonewall any discussion by the EU of the USA’s espionage on the continent.

    And then there is Merkel aka ANITA if more stonewalling is required.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Spain/Portugal doing this to the Bolivian President, especially with Evo Morales, also resurrects the colonial angle. It rightly will play very badly in South and Central America. It’s really shameful and makes Spain/Portugal look like colonial overseers for the USA, which is kind of what they’ve shown themselves to be in this situation. One imagines economic pressure may have been used; the two Iberian countries are in dire straits and it would be very easy for the USA/Wall St to pressure them. With this action, a Rubicon (another) has been crossed. Craig is right to express outrage. If the US President’s ‘plane had been grounded and a threat made to search it, the USA would have gone to war. Same with the UK and The Queen, or PM. This is an act of war.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Hypothetical non-denial denial…

    QUESTION: But if the – if a similar situation were to happen involving Air Force One, it would be an international incident.

    MS. PSAKI: I’m not getting into a hypothetical. That’s not something that is currently happening that we’re currently discussing.

    QUESTION: Well, the approach to this question may be better this way – I still don’t think you’re going to answer it, but I think it’s going to put you on the spot more – (laughter) – than that question was because it’s not a hypothetical: Does the United States or would the United States condone breaches in protocols of diplomatic protocols of the Vienna conventions?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, this wasn’t a case where this was our airspace or this was –

    QUESTION: I understand that. But when the British Embassy is attacked someplace, you come out and say this is horrible, this is bad. When any number of infringements of diplomatic immunities and other protocols specified in the Vienna Conventions, when those happen you have – this government has in the past condemned them. So would the United States –

    MS. PSAKI: But Matt, some of these cases, the countries have said they didn’t shut down the airspace. So –

    QUESTION: Well, I mean, I’m not even getting into – I’m not even – it’s not clear to me that shutting down an airspace or not allowing transit is a violation of the Vienna Convention. But I’m just wondering – I don’t know that. But I just want to know, in a general sense, would the United States condone breaches of the diplomatic – of international diplomatic protocols?

    MS. PSAKI: Well, why don’t you – no, but why don’t you delve into where you’re getting at here, Matt? What are you trying to get at?

    QUESTION: I’m trying to get an answer to Roz’s question.

    MS. PSAKI: Okay, the hypothetical about Air Force One being denied –

    QUESTION: So the answer – the answer – but this – no, no, no, no. Let me – because this is not a hypothetical. If you are – if you can stand up and say that you are willing – the government is willing to say that it would condemn any violations of diplomatic immunities or the protocols in the Vienna Conventions, then –

    MS. PSAKI: Matt, I’m not going to get into a broad hypothetical with you.

    QUESTION: It’s not a hypothetical. It’s not a hypothetical.

    QUESTION: But this did happen. The President of Bolivia had to spend – I mean, sorry, Ecuador – had to spend –

    QUESTION: No, Bolivia.

    MS. PSAKI: Bolivia.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Right, Suhayl Saadi, there are conspiracies all the time, and the more complicated they are, the more likely they will cause surprises, unexpected consequences, and the like, leading to difficult outcomes which researchers either accidentally or deliberately are apt to get wrong.

    Plotted assassinations of single individuals are much more apt to go according to plan, like those of Anna Lindh, MLK, RFK, Governor Wallace, Alexandr Litvinenko, etc., ad nauseam.

    When you mix them with something else, like getting rid of Castro’s Cuba, or the Soviet Union, they almost invariably go wrong.

    In the Bolivian President’s fiasco, conditions are already getting fuzzy by people talking about the denial of air space to the plane when the Spanish Foreign Minister said that it was diverted, apparently by threats of force, to go to Vienna.

    This was a massive cockup which ended up being a surprise act of war.

  • Dreoilin

    “At a rally before the meeting, Maduro claimed that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had ordered France, Portugal, Italy and Spain to deny access to Morales’s plane on Tuesday.

    “‘A minister of one of these European governments personally told us by telephone that they were going to apologise because they were surprised, and that those who gave the order to aviation authorities in this country … were the CIA,’ he said.”

    “Has someone got a copy of the US arrest warrant served on Ireland?”

    I’ll see about putting in an FOI request. They’ll have a month to respond. I can’t see any reason they could use to refuse it.

    I wonder if the U.S. has described him correctly in the arrest warrant. I’ve seen him referred to as ‘stateless’ now (I think by himself) but revoking a passport is not the same as revoking citizenship, surely.

  • Dreoilin

    “US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had ordered France, Portugal, Italy and Spain …”

    God, that just makes me incandescent!

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, me too, Dreolin. I think that we – I mean all of us – need independence, don’t you? Because what this episode most clearly has demonstrated is that we are not independent. We are a large US colony (and there is no hyperbole in that statement). I always knew that The UK had been craven to the USA since 1956, but it’s now become obvious to the world that the rest of Europe is too. This is a declaration of war against what used to be known as, ‘The Third World’. Well, no, actually we’ve been at war with the ‘Third World’ for at least two hundred-and-fifty years. I think henceforth we should refer to the CIA as our Government. We are ruled from Langley, Virginia and the Director of the CIA is our Colonial Governor. The gloves are off, the masks are off. The truth is revealed. Good.

    That there is little anger at all this from within our establishments is emblematic of the lobotomisation of our political culture.

  • Dreoilin

    Agree 100% Suhayl.

    I would have half-expected Europe to cave to the U.S., but the confirmation has left me angry.

    I do NOT live in the jurisdiction of the United States but I can repeat that till I’m blue in the face and it’ll change nothing, in reality.

  • Dreoilin

    From a link posted by Ben on the ‘Pandering to Racism’ thread

    MS. PSAKI “The public – many – the public – but decisions made over the course of the last week or so, whether they’re public comments about whether or not they’ll accept asylum – his asylum request, or whether it’s closing airspace, are decisions made by individual countries. And I would point you to them to describe why they made decisions if they made decisions, and I know there have already been a range of public comments out there.”

  • A Node

    Possibly disinformation … who knows?

    “The Austrian daily newspaper, Die Presse, has reported that the United States ambassador to Austria was responsible for making false claims that National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was on board Bolivian President Evo Morales’ plane.”

  • Brendan

    RT reporting that a pre-emptive arrest warrant has been issued to the Irish Government. In case Snowden stops over in Shannon airport. I am reminded of Zakalwe in Use of Weapons, bemoaning the fact The Culture had simply no idea about fair play.

    And, it has been noticeable how many Governments the world over just roll over to have their bellies tickled. By noticeable I meant ‘pathetic’. Every time Hague, or Bob Carr wibbles on, I just feel a profound embarrassment. They are clearly just bought and paid for, and Bob Carr in particular just isn’t especially bright. This is the quality of ‘leadership’ the US gives us, and it isn’t impressive.

  • Macky

    “Use of No Fly List to Pressure Americans Abroad to Become Informants

    The number of U.S. persons on the No Fly List has more than doubled since 2009, and people mistakenly on the list are denied their due process rights to meaningfully challenge their inclusion. In many cases Americans only find out they are on the list while they are traveling abroad, which all but forces them to interact with the U.S. government from a position of extreme vulnerability, and often without easy access to counsel. Many of those prevented from flying home have been subjected to FBI interviews while they sought assistance from U.S. Embassies to return. In those interviews, FBI agents sometimes offer to take people off the No Fly List if they agree to become an FBI informant. In 2010 the ACLU and its affiliates filed a lawsuit on behalf of 10 American citizens and permanent residents, including several U.S. military veterans, seven of whom were prevented from returning home until the suit was filed. We argue that barring them from flying without due process was unconstitutional. There are now 13 plaintiffs; none have been charged with a crime, told why they are barred from flying, or given an opportunity to challenge their inclusion on the No Fly List.”

  • Arbed

    Thanks for that link, Macky – that’s a handy checklist for most of the world’s population to keep in its back pocket. S’Funny, but I could swear that the jurisdiction of the FBI was meant to be internal to the US – certainly not the case anymore. Raided Bradley Manning’s mum in Wales (and she’s poorly, the bastards); conducted unauthorised interrogations of teenage informants in Iceland about Wikileaks; the list goes on…

    Unrelated, but I read a very good article about how Correa was between a rock and a hard place re Snowden:

    The desire to protect a human rights whistleblower was there – and still very much ‘live’ – but it was going to severely dent Ecuador’s efforts to attract foreign investment to keep the Amazon oil deposits underground (worth $6 bn, and Ecuador was looking for $3bn to fund this environmental effort to avoid the drilling) – the US would most certainly put the kibosh on any of that investment flow if Snowden ended up in Ecuador.

    Apparently, Correa has now gone off on the holiday he delayed last week to deal with the chaos Snowden’s asylum application created (instant MSM smear drives, hacking of government communications, etc). Perhaps the leaders of UNASUR had a quiet chat behind the scenes about what they could collectively come up with to help Snowden, so Correa knew it’d be safe to start that holiday last night. 😉

    In terms of resisting US pressure, Venezuela is by far the best option. Presumably, the rest of the Latam left bloc will rally behind Maturo now. The Morales plane incident gave them all the excuse they need (not that their outrage isn’t justified and totally sincere, of course – but it is convenient ;)). Looks like Julian Assange’s initial assessment when Snowden first appeared that Latam was the place to head was spot on.

    Well played, everyone! Well played.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The turf wars between the Bureau and the CIA continue to go on, Arbed, despite any laws, and assurances about cooperating in investigations.

    After the 9/11 cockups, the CIA embedded at least four agents within the New York Police Department to make sure that it did not discover that it had taken over surveillance of the 19 high jackers in the hope of catching them red-handed when all the planes landed at LA’s International Airport.

    Unfortunately, they proved to be suicide bombers, killing 15 unarmed CIA agents on the three last planes in the process = what the US government still keeps covered up by refusing to release the full passenger lists.

    Of course, the embedded agents made sure that the NYPD never got onto this, taking leaves of absence from the Agency and other subterfuge to engage in illegal domestic law enforcement and domestic spying.

    The Bureau’s engaging in foreign spying and law enforcement even helped trigger Snowden’s whistle blowing, the way I see it. The Bureau acted way too unilaterally in entrapping defense contractor Ben Bishop in a honey-trap operation in Hawaii. And when the CIA learned of Snowden’s growing disaffection, it tried to use the same Chinese national, known as Person 1 in the Bishop case, to snare Snowdev. When he learned, it seems, what was afoot, he fled to HK with all the secrets, the most telling of which remain to be revealed, he could lay his hands on.

    Interesting that the NYT cannot bring itself to face up to the full scope of the problems Snowden has raised, only alluding, for example, to the questions the embedding of the Agency agents in the NYPD after 9/11 raised in today’s issue.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    Oh I missed Suhayl’s entry. Ironic that Daniel Ortega, still alive, has offered sanctuary some 30 years after the Agency first sought his demise.

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “The desire to protect a human rights whistleblower was there – and still very much ‘live’ – but it was going to severely dent Ecuador’s efforts to attract foreign investment to keep the Amazon oil deposits underground (worth $6 bn, and Ecuador was looking for $3bn to fund this environmental effort to avoid the drilling) – the US would most certainly put the kibosh on any of that investment flow if Snowden ended up in Ecuador.”

    Carrot/stick diplomacy, Arbed.

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