THE ‘WICKED LEAKS’ AND THE WICKED WAYS OF US DIPLOMACY
By CAMERON DUODU
The exchanges between high Ghana government officials — including President John Mills himself — and the US embassy on the drugs problem are very revealing. The cables lay bare the weaknesses of the Ghana drug enforcement system, and give us a touching account of how our authorities, despite lack of resources, have tried to plug the holes in narcotics smuggling through our international airport, in particular.
Sometimes they have sacrificed their “sovereign” right to police their own borders and allowed British customs officers to operate at Kotoka International Airport to try and catch smugglers. Would the British ever extend the same co-operation to our authorities if the boot was on the other foot? Could there ever be an “Operation Westbridge” in reverse, wjereby Ghanaian officials were stationed at Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to monitor dodgy businessmen coming to Ghana to flog shady enterprises?
That is a moot question. However, save from asking Britain to learn a thing or two from Africans sometimes, and not regard them as merely malleable, I shall let it go. An even more pertinent question, however, arises : if the US and Britain are so concerned about drugs — and the cables show clearly that they are very concerned; so much so that they do not scruple to tackle our head of state himself directly about it — what are they doing about the reverse side of the coin?
They want to stop the drugs at the source of supply. Fine, but what about erasing the US/UK markets that sustain the trade? Isn’t it axiomatic that there cannot be a supply without a demand and that it is demand that usually pushes an increase in supply?
The US is waging an actual military campaign in Colombia, in collaboration with the Colombian armed forces, to eliminate drug production in Colombia and subsequent exportation to the US. Yet the tenacity of the drug producers suggests that the market in the US itself is either well-nigh impenetrable, or isn‘t being tackled with the same military zeal as the supply bases in Colombia are being hunted down.
t is only fair to ask why it is that the US, with all its satellite and radar equipment, its murderous drones which have proved so effective in Pakistan and Afghanistan and can take out terror suspects in the desert sand-dunes of Yemen, plus its highly-trained human intelligence officers who can capture the biometItric details of foreign heads of state, is unable to track all the aircraft and oceangoing vessels that enter the US, and in so failing, cannot prevent the drugs from entering the US and getting into the hands of the slick, untouchable drug barons and their dealers in the US.
Ok, so maybe the complex US federal/state responsibility system, as it affects drug enforcement, and the sporadic changes — not all them unconnected with politics — that finally brought about the birth of the Drug Enforcement Agency, may have made the drug scene in the US very difficult to police effectively. But if the US can’t fix the drug scene at home, why is it so unconcerned with foreign supply sources, when that is only half the job done? Or is it possible that US anti-drug militancy abroad is calculated to mask relative debility in the US?
It is an open secret that the richer users of narcotics in the US do not get caught as often as the smalltime users and pushers — quite often, African-Americans and Latin Americans — who fill the jails of the US to bursting point and who constitute a viral system of getting innocents addicted to drugs.
Why are the bankers, stock-brokers and other highflying “elite users” so seldom caught? Money talks, of course, and these people have tons of money, thanks to the enormous bonuses some of them are paid. So they hold exclusive parties for drug-sniffing at which an invitation is like a key to the gates of heaven. African governments must demand that the US should tackle the narcotics market in the US, with the same zealousness as it wants the Africans to tackle what passes through their countries, and makes them the source of drugs. Isn’t it surprising that our Narcotics Board can afford to deploy hundreds of people to try to stop drug smuggling? What is the proportion of the US crime prevention agencies dedicated to busting the drugs market, relative to, or compared to ours?
We don’t have enough policemen to prevent armed robbery, or to remove dangerously-parked vehicles from our arterial roads so as to prevent the trucks from slaughtering drivers and passengers, left right and centre. Yet we gladly spend a lot of money and resources to try to prevent drugs from reaching other people’s countries. Those we are trying to help should show evidence that they deserve to be helped.
As President Mills made clear to the Americans, we do appreciate the need to stop the trade, inasmuch as we know that the number of local users will continues to rise if drugs become easily obtainable here. But definitely, a one-way campaign is of absolutely no use. So we ought to pressurise the countries whose affluent citizens create the market for drug, to also pull their weight. I mean: just imagine the lengths our President has gone to prevent his entourage from being able to smuggle drugs outside. How many countries would humiliate their own top personnel like that? If it was even suggested to them, they would say that the suggestion showed a lack of respect to them, wouldn‘t it! Yet we know that corruption is a universal disease of mankind. (If you don’t believe that, go to www.Google.com and type “Cheney+Halliburton+Nigeria+charges” in the “Search” box!)
Now, to an equally serious subject brought up by Wikileaks — the revelation that the US does not exactly respect the treaty that makes the United Nations Organisation and its employees immune from wiretapping and other US local surveillance measures. A cable that went from the office of the Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, to US intelligence agencies worldwide, is a complete charter to spy on America’s friends and foes alike who go to, or work at, UN offices. It reads (in part):
“Friday, 31 July 2009, 20:24
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 24 STATE 080163
SUBJECT: (S) REPORTING AND COLLECTION NEEDS: THE UNITED
Classified By: MICHAEL OWENS, ACTING DIR, INR/OPS. .
The state department asks US diplomats around the world and at UN headquarters to provide detailed technical information, including passwords and personal encryption keys for communications networks used by UN officials. It also wants to know about potential links between UN organisations and terrorists, and any corruption in the UN
1. (S/NF) This cable provides the full text of the new National HUMINT Collection Directive (NHCD) on the United Nations (paragraph 3-end) as well as a request for continued DOS reporting of biographic information relating to the United Nations (paragraph 2)….
C. (S/NF) Important information often is available to non-State members of the Country Team whose agencies participated in the review of this National HUMINT Collection Directive. CMs, DCMs, and State reporting officers can assist by coordinating with other Country Team members to encourage relevant reporting through their own or State Department channels.
2. (S/NF) State biographic reporting:
A. (S/NF) The intelligence community relies on State reporting officers for much of the biographical information collected worldwide. Informal biographic reporting via email and other means is vital to the community’s collection efforts and can be sent to the INR/B (Biographic) office for dissemination to the IC.
B. (S/NF) Reporting officers should include as much of the following information as possible when they have information relating to persons linked to : office and organizational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cell phones, pagers and faxes; compendia of contact information, such as telephone directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and e-mail listings; internet and intranet “handles”, internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent flyer account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information.
” Telecommunications Infrastructure and Information Systems (INFR-5H). — Current technical specifications, physical layout, and planned upgrades to telecommunications infrastructure and information systems, networks, and technologies used by top officials and their support staffs. — Details on commercial and private VIP networks used for official communications, to include upgrades, security measures, passwords, personal encryption keys, and types of V P N versions used.
“– Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of key officials, as well as limited distribution telephone numbers/directories and public switched networks (PSTN) telephone directories; dialing numbers for voice, datalink, video teleconferencing, wireless communications systems, cellular systems, personal communications systems, and wireless facsimiles. — Information on hacking or other security incidents involving UN networks. — Key personnel and functions of UN entity that maintains UN communications and computer networks. — Indications of IO”>IO”>IO/IW operations directed against the UN. — Information about current and future use of communications systems and technologies by officials or organizations, including cellular phone networks, mobile satellite phones, very small aperture terminals (VSAT), trunked and mobile radios, pagers, prepaid calling cards, firewalls, encryption, international connectivity, use of electronic data interchange, Voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP), Worldwide interoperability for microwave access (Wi-Max), and cable and fiber networks.
Countries: Austria, Burkina Faso, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, France, Japan, Libya, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Uganda, Vietnam International Organizations: UN CLINTON”