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[infowar.de] Observer: GCHQ spioniert in UNO China für die NSA aus
Die gute Katherine Gun hat Nerven....
Dass die NSA in NY die Unterstützung des GCHQ braucht, dürfte wohl kaum
fachliche Gründe haben, oder?
Britain spied on UN allies over war vote
Security Council members 'illegally targeted' by GCHQ after plea from US
Martin Bright and Peter Beaumont
Sunday February 8, 2004
Britain helped America to conduct a secret and potentially illegal spying
operation at the United Nations in the run-up to the Iraq war, The
Observer can reveal.
The operation, which targeted at least one permanent member of the UN
Security Council, was almost certainly in breach of the Vienna conventions
on diplomatic relations, which strictly outlaw espionage at the UN
missions in New York.
Translators and analysts at the Government's top-secret surveillance
centre GCHQ were ordered to co-operate with an American espionage 'surge'
on Security Council delegations after a request from the US National
Security Agency at the end of January 2003. This was designed to help
smooth the way for a second UN resolution authorising war in Iraq.
The information was intended for US Secretary of State Colin Powell before
his presentation on weapons of mass destruction to the Security Council on
Sources close to the intelligence services have now confirmed that the
request from the security agency was 'acted on' by the British
authorities. It is also known that the operation caused significant
disquiet in the intelligence community on both sides of the Atlantic.
An operation of this kind would almost certainly have been authorised by
the director-general of GCHQ, David Pepper. But the revelation also raises
serious questions for Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, who has overall
responsibility for GCHQ.
Details of the operation were first revealed in The Observer on the eve of
war last year, after the leaking of a top-secret memo from the NSA
requesting British help.
But until today it was not known whether British spy chiefs had agreed to
participate. The operation was ordered before deliberations over a second
UN resolution and targeted the so-called 'swing nations' on the Security
Council - Chile, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Angola, Guinea and Pakistan - whose
votes were needed to proceed to war.
The first evidence has also emerged that China, a perma nentmember of the
Security Council, was a likely target of the operation.
The Observer has discovered that a GCHQ translator, Katherine Gun, 29, who
faces trial after leaking details of the US request, was hired by the
surveillance centre as a Chinese language specialist. Documents of this
level of secrecy are circulated on a strict 'need-to-know' basis. Security
experts have said that it is highly unlikely that someone as junior as Gun
would have seen the memo had she not been expected to use her language
expertise in the operation.
She is thought to be an expert translator of Mandarin, the language of
The memo, dated 31 January, 2003, stated that the security agency wanted
to gather 'the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers
an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off
It was sent out four days after the UN's chief weapons inspector, Hans
Blix, produced his interim response on Iraqi compliance with UN
In the wake of the Hutton report and the establishment of inquiries into
intelligence failures on both sides of the Atlantic, the Gun case
represents a further risk to government credibility over the Iraq war,
showing how far the US and Britain were prepared to go in their ultimately
unsuccessful attempts to persuade the world of the case for UN support for
war against Iraq.
The Gun trial will reopen embarrassing questions for the Government over
the conflicting views on the legality of war which were debated in the
run-up to the conflict. At the time when the memo was received at GCHQ,
officials at the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and in the
intelligence services - including senior legal advisers - were expressing
serious doubts over the legality of any invasion.
At the time, The Observer was told by Foreign Office officials of serious
doubts that the war was legal.
When the GCHQ revelations were first published in The Observer last March,
the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, had still not publicly announced his
final advice to Downing Street.
At the time, it was expected that he would agree with most experts in
international law that intervention would be unlawful without a second
The legality of the war was a highly sensitive issue for senior military
officers on the eve of war, who were wary of being accused of war crimes
in the aftermath of the conflict.
The former assistant chief of defence staff Sir Timothy Garden said that
the legal basis of the war is all the more important now that Britain has
signed up to the International Criminal Court.
'We did it on the best advice that was available in a democratic country.
But following an order is not an excuse in the end.'
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