On Thursday, May 25, 2017 the United Kingdom announced that they will cease sharing intelligence information as a result of the latest leak by the United States in the investigation into the Manchester bombing incident on Monday, May 22nd. Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, stated that investigation has been “compromised by the leaks and we can’t afford anymore, so we’ve taken a temporary decision to say let’s clear it out and draw a line.”
Now this “temporary halt” only applies to this investigation and incident, and not the overall intelligence sharing network between the United States and Great Britain, but it certainly sends a message to the U.S. as the entire world is listening: The U.S. has a big problem with keeping its mouth shut.
The U.S. is part of a larger intelligence network referred to as the Five Eyes or FVEY which is an alliance among Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States. Evolved out of the original Atlantic Charter post-World War II, the Five Eyes was originally established to monitor the activities of the Soviet Union and the Iron Curtain of Eastern Bloc countries. After September 11th, their activities expanded and extended as the Global War on Terror raged on.
In 2013, the Five Eyes were under some intense scrutiny after Edward Snowden’s leak which included information on a program called Echelon. This surveillance program allowed FVEY members to spy on billions of private communications for one another, while circumventing the legalities surrounding the prohibitions on domestic spying.
In an article by Nick Perry and Paisley Dodds of the Associated Press, they state that “American information is so valuable, experts say, that no amount of global outrage over secret U.S. surveillance powers would cause Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to ditch the Five Eyes relationship.” Despite the information Snowden leaked which told of secret spying on world leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the French Foreign Ministry, information is currency and America’s surveillance powers are too good to pass up.
That held true for years and even after all the Snowden revelations and the continued drips through WikiLeaks over the years, the alliance of the Five Eyes continued. Trump just may have prevailed where Snowden failed.
The recent statements by the UK should be taken to heart, and Trump should tread very lightly and work harder than ever to mend what has quickly become a frayed “special relationship.” Now is not the time for infighting among the world’s greatest allies, we need each other more than ever.
These long-standing relationships are at risk as our President seems incapable of attending the English-speaking “family reunion” without agitating all the “siblings.” Harken back to the Reagan/Thatcher bond that only further solidified the “special relationship,” now it seems we can do nothing right.
Meanwhile, Russia remains in the background, their plans becoming clearer than ever, divide and conquer and turn the English-speaking “besties” against each other and ride the chaotic wave to global domination.
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