British spy agencies GCHQ, MI5 & MI6, like to spread propaganda about their prowess but Manchester exposes their incompetence.
— Netía Shiundu™ (@NetiaShiundu) May 23, 2017
UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed that the suicide bomber who killed over twenty people in Manchester by exploding a nail bomb on Monday recently returned from Libya, where he learned how to make sophisticated explosives.
GCHQ have significant ongoing operations in Libya alongside US counterparts, which include monitoring all communications across the nation in a bid to assist troops fighting against Da’esh. There is a shortage of human sources on the ground in Libya, so agencies that collect signals intelligence are given greater prominence in the region.
In spite of the focus that GCHQ – who operate on a budget of £1.6 billion a year – have placed on the North African nation that is ruled by an interim government, Salman Abedi was able to travel to the country and return with the skills and support that enabled him to carry-out such a devastating attack.
GCHQ have several times been ruled as in violation of the European Convention of Human Rights for illegally intercepting civilian communications without sufficient legal oversight. We are repeatedly told that this is for our protection; no doubt, like the Westminster attack, this latest tragedy will be used as an excuse to curtail basic civil liberties. But no matter how much money we throw at them, and how little we diminish their legal responsibilities, UK intelligence agencies are repeatedly failing.
Salman Abedi was a 22-year-old University drop-out, a cricket fan, and a resident of a Manchester council estate. He possessed no significant technical skills that allowed him to bypass the all-seeing eye of GCHQ and NSA – but regardless, he managed to travel to a war zone in another continent, and return to the UK to perpetrate the most damaging attack on British soil in over a decade.
Military and security agencies jump into a new lease of life after terrorist atrocities. After 9/11, George Bush caved in to Deep State pressure to sign the PATRIOT Act, which was rushed through a Senate that mostly did not bother to read it, killed the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, and gave birth to the modern surveillance state. Nearly 20 years later, the Paris attacks provoked the UK government to issue a 15% increase into the size of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
From the CIA to GCHQ, Western intelligence agencies treat the raw emotions of a violent attack as a free-for-all in order to grab onto more power and capital, and a terrified populace always oblige. But this tactic cannot be used forever; ultimately there has to be some kind of evidence that we are sacrificing privacy in order to make the world a safer place.
Obviously, this isn’t the case. The Orwellian security apparatus that Edward Snowden described, an agency able to indiscriminately sift through 20 gigabytes of civilian data a second (21 petabytes a day), is not succeeding in stopping British-born students from slaughtering young children.
These occasions should be an opportunity to review the operations of the deep state, not mindlessly give in to their demands for more resources and influence. We’ve tried the latter for almost 20 years now, and it is not working.
Leak of Nations | Manchester Attack