HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Katharine Gun on "Bush’s ...

Sun Jun 23, 2013, 04:09 PM

Katharine Gun on "Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme," Snowden and current events


In early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog throw into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.


DB: Can you explain the document you released and the significance of the timing?

KG: It was released at the end of January 2003, just before the invasion of Iraq. I saw an email that had been sent from the NSA to GCHQ. It was a request for GCHQ to help the NSA intercept the communications of six nations that sat on the Security Council at that time. It was to intercept their domestic and office telecoms in order to obtain all the information we could about the delegates, which the U.S. could then use to achieve goals favorable to U.S. interests. They called for the whole gamut of information, which made me think they would potentially use the information to blackmail or bribe the U.N. delegates.


DB: We are now seeing extraordinary NSA leaks from Edward Snowden in the British Guardian. What are your thoughts on this?

KG: I think Snowden is probably is a lot more clued-up than I was at the time. My leak was a single issue. Snowden has had a long period of time working within the U.S. intelligence services. He’s obviously a very technically savvy professional. I admire him for taking this tremendous step, which he thought out very carefully and methodically. He has made some very good points. These kinds of issues should be in the public domain because it involves innocent members of the public. We, the public, should be able to have a measure of a say in these matters.

More here about Gun:


Ten years ago, a young Mandarin specialist at GCHQ, the government's surveillance centre in Cheltenham, did something extraordinary. Katharine Gun, a shy and studious 28-year-old who spent her days listening in to obscure Chinese intercepts, decided to tell the world about a secret plan by the US government to spy on the United Nations.

She had received an email in her inbox asking her and her colleagues to help in a vast intelligence "surge" designed to secure a UN resolution to send troops into Iraq. She was horrified and leaked the email to the Observer. As a result of the story the paper published 10 years ago this weekend, she was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act.

The memo from Frank Koza, chief of staff at the "regional targets" section of the National Security Agency, GCHQ's sister organisation in the US, remains shocking in its implications for British sovereignty. Koza was in effect issuing a direct order to the employees of a UK security agency 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 surprises". This included a particular focus on the "swing nations" on the security council, Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, "as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters".


As for her own story, she recognises that 10 years on it scarcely registers with the public. I sensed a slight flash of anger as she said: "It's not even a footnote in the history of Iraq." But she said she would still be prepared to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. "There seems to be this blasé attitude – the spying goes on, everyone does it and so it's nothing to get all hot under the collar about. But this specific instance is the ugly truth of what goes on."

Many more articles here:


The text of the memo:

To: [Recipients withheld]
From: FRANK KOZA, Def Chief of Staff (Regional Targets)
Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16
Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential for Related Contributions
Importance: HIGH
Top Secret//COMINT//X1

As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters.

We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN-related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source.

We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak (at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following the SecState's presentation to the UNSC.

Thanks for your help

6 replies, 1337 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Katharine Gun on "Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme," Snowden and current events (Original post)
suffragette Jun 2013 OP
liberal_at_heart Jun 2013 #1
suffragette Jun 2013 #4
Th1onein Jun 2013 #2
suffragette Jun 2013 #3
Th1onein Jun 2013 #5
suffragette Jun 2013 #6

Response to suffragette (Original post)

Sun Jun 23, 2013, 04:14 PM

1. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 23, 2013, 10:23 PM

4. Thanks. It's sad that her revelation was not enough to stop the drumbeat for that war.

But as she notes, there are still unanswered questions about the scope of this type of action and the relationship between UK and US in doing this. Also, in what they are doing now.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to suffragette (Original post)

Sun Jun 23, 2013, 04:17 PM

2. Gosh, this is just to keep us safe from Al-Queda types, though, right?

Fucking assholes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to Th1onein (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 23, 2013, 05:28 PM

3. This shows clearly how the info can be used to apply political pressure

For political gain.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to suffragette (Reply #3)

Mon Jun 24, 2013, 12:20 AM

5. Absolutely.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to suffragette (Original post)

Mon Jun 24, 2013, 08:02 PM

6. Relevant International Conventions Covering Privacy of UN Communications

Found this on EPIC's webpage.


After the case against Gun was dropped, former British International Development Minister Clare Short revealed that she was shown a transcript of a confidential conversation of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. It was reported that Annan's telephone communications and private conversations were bugged by NSA and GCHQ. Since Short's revelations, several other former UN officials have come forward to describe similar eavesdropping by the British and Americans, which share a decades-old signals intelligence relationship known as the UK-USA Agreement, along with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Former UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali, UN weapons inspectors Hans Blix, Rolf Ekeus, and Richard Butler, UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, former Mexican UN ambassador Aguilar Zinser, current Mexican UN ambassador Enrique Berruga, Chilean Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear, Chilean ambassador to Britain Mariano Fernandez, and former Chilean UN ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes, have all spoken about eavesdropping against them and their countries by the Americans and British.
Relevant International Conventions Covering Privacy of UN Communications

The issue of eavesdropping on the diplomatic communications of the UN and its member nations' missions is covered by three international conventions:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations

Article 27

1. The receiving State shall permit and protect free communication on the part of the mission for all official purposes. In communicating with the Government and the other missions and consulates of the sending State, wherever situated, the mission may employ all appropriate means, including diplomatic couriers and messages in code or cipher. However, the mission may install and use a wireless transmitter only with the consent of the receiving State.

2. The official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable. Official correspondence means all correspondence relating to the mission and its functions.

1947 Headquarters Agreement between the UN and the United States

Section 9

The headquarters district shall be inviolable.

1946 Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the UN

Article 2

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.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread