US President Joe Biden’s administration is in serious trouble. Just last month (March), a cache of secret documents was leaked showing the US spied on
In early January this year, through the first week of February, the US charged China was conducting surveillance in its airspace. On February 4, the US Air force shot down the ‘spy balloon’ upon a direct order of President Biden.
The US umbrage was so great that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken indefinitely postponed a proposed trip to China later that month (February), citing the Chinese reconnaissance balloon moving east across the United States that posed a threat to national security. Blinken had been scheduled to depart for Beijing, on a trip that was intended to reinforce communication and co-operation between the two countries. He told China’s Director of Central Foreign Affairs Office, Wang Yi, through a phone call that the balloon was an “irresponsible act and a clear violation of US sovereignty and international law that undermined the purpose of the trip”.
Anita Anand, Canada’s Federal Defence Minister said Canada ‘unequivocally supported’ the US government’s decision to shoot down a high-altitude surveillance balloon. She even went to the extent of thanking the US for its close collaboration. Just when the US appeared to have one-upped China, a large batch of leaked classified US government information, including top-secret briefings, were discovered over the past week online, and that included surveillance not only on China, but on US allies as well.
The leaked documents showed US as spying even on the Secretary General of the United Nations. The Pentagon leak showed the US believed the UN Secretary General’s stance on a key grain deal was undermining attempts to hold Russia accountable for the war in Ukraine. The leak showed Washington had been closely monitoring the Secretary General in the belief that Antonio Guterres was willing to accommodate Russian interests! Another set of documents based on intelligence from late February provides details of discussions among senior Jordanian officials over whether or not to shut the Chinese firm Huawei out of its 5G rollout plans.
Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein, in charge of the rollout, is said in the document to be worried about the retaliation from China if they keep Huawei out. Another batch of documents suggest that Russian officials are at loggerheads over the reporting of casualties in Ukraine. A document, dated March 23, refers to the presence of Western special forces operating inside Ukraine.
According to the ‘Washington Post’, one document from February expresses misgivings about Ukraine’s chances of success in its forthcoming counteroffensive. The Washington Post obtained access to another document from mid-February, where they found that Egypt had plans to produce 40,000 rockets for Russia in secret. The Post said President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi told officials to keep production and shipment secret “to avoid problems with the West”. A classified document, seen by the BBC reveals that South Korea was uncertain about selling weapons for use in Ukraine. The report, details a sensitive conversation between national security advisers torn between US pressure to send ammunition to Ukraine and their policy not to arm countries at war.
The Post also found that Beijing tested one of its experimental missiles – the DF-27 hypersonic glide vehicle – on February 25. The missile flew for 12 minutes over a distance of 2,100km (1,300 miles), according to the documents. (573) To cut a long story short, the leaked Pentagon files reveal that America is involved not only on eavesdropping on those whom it identifies as foes, but on its friends and allies alike.
However, illegal spying is a brazen violation of national sovereignty. No leader can afford to accept this without suffering domestic political ramifications. In order to repair the public opinion damage and survive future elections, the victims of US spying might be forced to reduce their level of support to the US in response to the surveillance campaign. It is also becoming clear that most countries supporting the US role in Ukraine and joining sanctions against Russia are under the US nuclear umbrella and they all have US troops stationed within their borders. Today, the US is keen to push our country into signing a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The agreement (SOFA) is between a host country and a foreign nation for stationing military forces in that country. According to Dr. Palitha Kahona, agreements such as ACSA, SOFA, MCC etc. – once concluded there is no walking away from the treaties.
Overcoming our present financial crisis should not force rulers to blindly accept such treaties in exchange for a mess of pottage in the form of IMF help.