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The nature of spying

By Patrick Dele Cole   |   07 February 2017   |   3:49 am

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Spies are not nice people. Spies almost never work within the realm of 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 organisations do is almost entirely in their hands. Because their rules are different, methods differ and include assassinations, coup, corruption, fighting legitimate governments; always looking out as to what to do, a friend today may become tomorrow’s enemy.

They pay Heads of States and Presidents of other countries, government officials when necessary. The Presidents of Pakistan, Afghanistan and several other Asian, African and Latin American countries were on the pay-roll of the spy organisation of some countries. 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 paranod – they spy on friends and foes; they listen to what allies say as much as what enemies say. (The Snowden papers, the Wikileaks papers, the Pentagon papers, attest to this). Today, the scope is so wide that nothing is above them, yet the necessity of proper political correctness has 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 for geo-political balance remain a consuming passion of USSR, China, Middle East, the West, and Latin America and others. 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 to prostitution as the oldest profession. Spying predated prostitution which became one of the thousand tools of spy craft.

No social stratum escapes spying – within governments, parties, trades unions, universities, families etc. spies are everywhere. When people say that nations are paranod – it is not the nation – it is the leaders, especially those with special skills of spying who infiltrate the power elite, telling then what they want to hear, and sometimes in doing so bring the elite’s downfall. 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 George Bush and Prime Minister Tony 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 abilities in hacking. Gathering personal information of millions of people – can one imagine what this can do if exploited by the unscrupulous? New spying instruments and weapons included rones and Nanoweapons 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 U.S. and obtained information which may well have affected the outcome of the U.S. 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, and so on.

If this is true, what does the future hold for mankind? Obviously the Americans must be working furiously to stop this kind of dangerous activities by Russia just as Russians and Chinese are working to stop the U.S. But the question is if Russia is hacking into U.S. systems, what is the U.S. doing to Russian systems? The fear of Biological warfare and Nano warfare is real and pressing.


Finally, although we can point at spying 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 and many others. Follies of Trumps’ attitude include – America first, Mexican walls to stop rapists, criminals etc populist sloganeering. Yet the intelligence experts in the U.S. need to work with intelligence experts in Mexico and the rest of the world, especially in fighting drugs and terrorism. Trump’s antics would be answered by similar ban on U.S. citizens going to these same countries he has listed. If the U.S. intelligence agents are not there, they cannot target the leaders of terrorist cells and therefore cannot kill them. As for drugs, the U.S. 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 U.S., 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 U.S. authorities’ inability to curb drug use in their own country and they therefore decided to go after the countries where cocaine is manufactured – Columbia, Bolivia, and perhaps Nicaraguan. Over 60 per cent of the world’s heroin is from Afghanistan. President Trump no doubt would either destroy the government there – bomb them to submission – or destroy the crops.

Neither solution is available nor 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. Can he?




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