Letter: Syria coverage and US accusations of internet spying in China

Proletarian writers

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Proletarian writers

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I enjoyed very much your article on Syria. It was good to hear the truth, which the capitalist bourgeois media obviously doesn’t produce. This article was also very informative on the economics in Syria, which I found very interesting.

I am hoping to read in the next issue of Proletarian what you think of the US accusing China of targeting Google email accounts of top US officials.

Long live anti-imperialist movements and countries around the world!

JH, Bury

Editor’s reply:

Thank you very much for your kind words about our article on Syria. Such feedback is always very encouraging to us.

With regard to the other issue you raise, the first point that should be made is the monumental hypocrisy of the United States in levelling such accusations against China, when its own National Security Agency (NSA) exists precisely to eavesdrop on emails, telephone calls and other forms of electronic communication throughout the world. The NSA’s own website states:

Our Signals Intelligence mission collects, processes, and disseminates intelligence information from foreign signals for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes and to support military operations.”

The Wikipedia entry for the NSA states:

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) is a cryptologic intelligence agency of the United States Department of Defence responsible for the collection and analysis of foreign communications … NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organisations and individuals, the internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications. It has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians and the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers, but it has tried to keep a low profile. For many years, its existence was not acknowledged by the US government, earning it the nickname ‘No Such Agency’.”

In Britain, the same role is played by GCHQ, based at Cheltenham. According to an article in The Telegraph, it is “an organisation whose task is to listen in on the maelstrom of global communications, checking for vital nuggets of intelligence … Where MI6 gathers ‘human intelligence’ by recruiting agents with secrets to impart, GCHQ intercepts communications, whether they are on phone, fax or email or sent via other electronic signals.” (‘GCHQ: Spooks behind closed doors’, 29 March 2010)

In 2003, Katharine Gun, a Chinese-language specialist working at GCHQ, was arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act after she revealed details of British espionage against fellow members of the UN Security Council during the run-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, when the US and British governments were desperately, but unsuccessfully, seeking a second UN resolution to provide a legal fig-leaf for their murderous plans. The charges against Gun were dropped in 2004 when the prosecution offered no evidence, doubtless to avoid further embarrassing revelations.

One reason for the massive and provocative US naval presence off the south coast of China is precisely to collect such signals intelligence. (For some background, see ‘Spyplane incident – a catastrophe for US imperialism’, Lalkar, May 2001)

Faced with such massive and blatant espionage on the part of US imperialism, directed not just at China, but at all countries that take any sort of stand against US imperialism, and indeed even at its own close allies, it is both natural and just that the People’s Republic will take firm action to defend its sovereignty, security and economic progress, by any means necessary.