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The nature of spying

Patrick Dele Cole

SPIES are not nice people. But they may or may not be depending on what their particular aim may be at the time. Spies almost never work within the realm of the law: they have a code that is over and above the normal rules of law and justice hence they even claim to have licence to kill. James Bond is a fictional character but the justification for what spying organisation does is almost entirely in their hands. Since their rules are different, methods differ, assignments would include assassinations, coups, corruption, fighting legitimate governments; always looking out for what to do, a friend today may become tomorrow’s enemy.

They pay heads of state and presidents of countries, government officials when necessary. They are trained to support or supplant governments, societies and organisations by whatever means necessary. They claim a higher national purpose than the ordinary citizen. Spies are paranoiac – they spy on friends and foes; they listen to allies as well as enemies. (The Snowden papers, the Wikileaks papers, the Pentagon papers, attest to this etc.). Today the scope is so wide that nothing is above them, yet the necessity of proper political correctness had led to more dissimilation and not less. The enormous destructive capacity of nuclear weapons has increased the necessity of everyone watching everyone else – hence the theory of mutual destructive capabilities. This requires second by second vigilance and has forced the world into a series of arrangements leading to the relative calm and peace when compared to the destruction that would follow a nuclear war.

Oil and the Arabs and the need of geo-political balance remain a consuming passion of USSR, China, Middle East, the West, and Latin America, etc. These people and their countries are all the playground of spies and spying. The relative peace in the world is the balance powerful nations feel about the geopolitical realities of these congenitally volatile areas. All nations spy on everybody and everything. No terrorist organisation started without the full and active support of spies. Conventional wisdom testifies that prostitution is the oldest profession. Spying predated prostitution which became one of the thousand tools of spy craft.

No social strata escapes spying – within governments, parties, trades unions, universities, families etc. Spies are everywhere. When people say that nations are paranoid – it is not the nation – it is the leaders, especially those with special skills of spying who infiltrate the power elite, telling them what they want to hear, and sometimes in doing so bring the elite’s down fall. But no nation has ever been able to completely do without a spy network. The foreign and domestic policies of many nations are nearly always an extension of the policies of its spy masters. The beauty of this relationship is that the elite think the policies are their own and that the spies have been working for them. The most recent example is the Iraqi war and how the spy masters of the United Kingdom and United States manipulated President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

Spectacular successes have been many especially in the field of oil, transparency in Government, even when its own methods remain opaque and inscrutable. New spying weapons now proliferate the business especially the ability to hack. Gathering personal information of millions of people – can one imagine what this can do if exploited by the unscrupulous? New spying instruments and weapons include drones and Nano weapons as small as ants or spiders which can be used to listen, photograph and even assassinate people.

Last year the Russians were reputed to have hacked into the Democratic Party computers in the US and obtained information which may well have affected the outcome of the US elections – by damaging the party and thus helping Donald Trump to win. It is now possible to hack into electrical installations and disrupt the service, as hackers can seize control of airplanes, air traffic control towers, etc. If this is true, what does the future hold for mankind? Obviously the Americans must be working frantically to stop this kind of dangerous activities by Russia just as Russians and Chinese are working to stop the US. But the question is if Russia is hacking into US systems, what is the US doing to Russia systems? The fear of biological warfare and Nano warfare are real and pressing. Taking over system through override of the enemy’s computers and turning instruments of wars against purported enemies are all within contemplation. It is true that this is the stuff of science fiction but can anyone seriously doubt  that there are no hold barring this nightmare vision.

Finally, although we can point at spying’s spectacular failures, the nature of the enterprise makes it difficult, if not impossible, to point at its successes: how many terrorist plots they have prevented, the early warnings given to prevent developments of devastating biological weapons etc. One of the follies of Mr. Trump’s attitude – America first, Mexican walls to stop rapists, criminals etc. populist sloganeering. Yet the intelligence experts in the US need to work with intelligence experts in Mexico and the rest of the World, especially in fighting drugs and terrorism. President Donald Trump’s antics would be answered by similar ban on US citizens going to these same countries he has listed. If the US intelligence agents are not there, they cannot target the leaders of terrorist cells and therefore cannot kill them. As for drugs, the US must be the biggest users of heroin and cocaine. It is impossible to seal their borders against infiltration of these drugs. If drugs become more difficult to get in the US, the prices will rise, so will crime to get money to get them in and to get money to use them.

In fact, the whole war in Columbia was caused by the US’  inability to curb drug use in their own country and therefore decided to go after the countries where cocaine is manufactured – Columbia, Bolivia, and perhaps Nicaraguan. Over 60% of the world’s heroin is from Afghanistan. President Trump no doubt would either destroy the Government there – bomb them to submission – destroying the crops.

Neither solution is available or viable: remember the carpet bombing of Vietnam, the use of Napalm, the firebombing of the tropical forest in the Vietnamese war. What changed? The Americans left in defeat. Mr. Trump will have to convince his own people not to take drugs – no more cocaine, heroin and a plethora of other  substances easily available in the streets of the United States, thus cutting of the user and the demand. Can he?


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