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NSA Bugs UN Headquarters

by Stephen Lendman Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 at 6:49 AM


NSA Bugs UN Headquarters

by Stephen Lendman

Spying is official US policy. It's conducted at home and abroad. It's lawless. Big Brother watches everyone. Even UN headquarters is vulnerable. More on that below.

Spying on the world body is illegal. Doing so violates the 1946 UN convention. It states:

"The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable."

"The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action."

The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations states "the official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable."

It doesn't matter. America breaches international law repeatedly. It does so with impunity. It's not new. Foreign diplomats and UN officials assume they're spied on. They've got good reason to believe it.

On November 28, 2010, London's Guardian headlined "US diplomats spied on UN leadership," saying:

Washington's "running a secret intelligence campaign." It targets UN officials. It spies on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It does so on China, Russia and other permanent Security Council members.

"A classified directive which appears to blur the line between diplomacy and spying was issued to US diplomats under Hillary Clinton's name in July 2009."

It "demand(ed) forensic technical details about the communications systems used by top UN officials, including passwords and personal encryption keys used in private and commercial networks for official communications."

"It called for detailed biometric information." It collects credit card numbers, other financial information, email addresses, phone, fax and pager numbers, fingerprints, DNA and lots more.

Targeted UN officials include " 'undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG (secretary general) aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders,' as well as intelligence on Ban's 'management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat.' "

Washington's secret "national human intelligence collection directive" went to UN missions in New York, Vienna and Rome. Thirty-three US embassies got it. They included London, Paris and Moscow.

NSA, CIA, FBI, and other US spy agencies were involved. Targets include foreign governments. Before information on NSA spying made headlines, State Department cables to US embassies revealed at least nine directives.

They listed "priorities intended to guide participating US government agencies as they allocate resources and update plans to collect information."

Intrusively invading privacy was ordered. Even fingerprints and DNA were sought.

On August 25, Der Spiegel headlined "Neue NSA-Dokumente: US-Geheimdienst horte Zentrale der Vereinten Nationen ab (New NSA intelligence Document: US heard from the United Nations headquarters."

Washington spies on its European allies. It targets UN headquarters. Der Spiegel obtained secret NSA documents. Edward Snowden revealed them.

In summer 2012, they show the agency "penetrate(d) the internal video conference system of the international community."

It did so using encryption technology. It permitted "dramatic improvement of the data from video teleconferencing and the ability to decrypt this traffic."

"The traffic gives us the internal video teleconferences of the United Nations (yay!)."

Within three weeks, the number of decrypted communications rose from 12 to 458. Documents show NSA spied on the EU's New York legation.

It bugs more than 80 embassies and consulates worldwide. "Surveillance is intensive and well organized," said Der Spiegel.

It "has little or nothing to do with warding off terrorists." Claims otherwise are false. Washington maintains it operates lawfully. Evidence proves fundamental laws are breached.

Spying on the world body's illegal. America pledged not to do so. It's word isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Spying is standard US practice. It's longstanding. It's sweeping. It's all-embracing. Der Spiegal said EU nations were targeted. So was the IAEA.

In mid-August, Obama lied claiming NSA operations are legal. They're limited, he said. They don't target Americans. He formed a commission to investigate NSA. He called it independent.

He appointed his spy chief to head it. You can't make this stuff up. Commissions notoriously lack credibility. They reflect damage control. They spurn truth and full disclosure. They prioritize whitewash.

On August 26, Der Spiegel headlined "Codename 'Apalachee:' How America Spies on Europe and the UN."

Last September, new EU offices opened. NSA was "technical(ly) challenged." New facilities meant "freshly painted walls, untouched wiring and newly installed computer networks - in other words, loads of work for the agents."

While EU nations were settling in, "NSA staff had already acquired the building's floor plans."

Snowden's documents revealed them. Der Spiegel obtained them. Obama has another issue to explain.

On August 9, he lied saying:

"The main thing I want to emphasize is that I don't have an interest, and the people at the NSA don't have an interest in doing anything other than making sure that we can prevent a terrorist attack."

False! Spying on EU nations, UN headquarters, and other world agencies is for economic advantage.

It's to be one up on foreign competitors. It's for information used advantageously in trade, political and military relations.

It's for control, espionage and intimidation. It has little or nothing to do with terrorism. Obama lied claiming otherwise. He's a serial liar.

Der Spiegel obtained documents showing how systematically America targets other countries and world agencies. It does so lawlessly.

It's "intensive and well-organized," said Der Spiegel. It "has little or nothing to do with counter-terrorism."

NSA calls its mission "information superiority." It furthers America's imperium. Its goal is global dominance. It's "frighteningly ambitious," said Der Spiegel.

It's traditional espionage. Modern technology makes it easier. Programs are codenamed. Blarney's main targets are diplomatic, political and economic.

Rampart-T penetrates hard targets up to leadership levels. Heads of state and close aides are prioritized. China, Russia, Iran, North Korea and other countries draw special attention. EU nations are included.

Washington "drew up a secret chart," said Der Spiegel. It "maps out what aspects of which countries require intelligence."

According to a secret September 2010 "operational review," NSA targets EU missions three ways:

Washington and New York embassies are bugged. Hard drives are copied. Internal computer networks are tapped into. Continuous access is gotten.

"NSA has its own team stationed at the UN." They masquerade as diplomats. Others from Washington supplement them. They do so before each General Assembly session.

Spying's a round-the-clock operation. It never stops. It's sweeping. It's all-embracing. It's lawless. It gives America an information advantage.

NSA spies on other nations' spies. Doing so resembles a Jean le Carre thriller.

In July 2009, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a report called "Reporting and Collection Needs: The United Nations."

US diplomats were ordered to spy on key UN officials. Doing so on allies, the world body and other global agencies reflects standard US practice.

The golden rule is "Thou Shalt Not Get Caught."

Snowden's revelations foiled their best laid plans. Expect more to follow. Obama has lots more questions to answer.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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