Britain as a vassal state of the USA

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by Bergen, Dec 2, 2007.

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  1. An old article but sobering reading when read with the latest US moves against British citizens. My bolding in the article:-

    We are now a client state

    Britain has lost its sovereignty to the United States

    David Leigh and Richard Norton-Taylor
    Thursday July 17, 2003
    The Guardian

    Britain has by now lost its sovereignty to the United States and has become a client state. As Tony Blair flies in to Washington today to be patted on the head by the US Congress, this is the sad truth behind his visit. No surprise, therefore, that the planned award to him of a congressional medal of honour for backing the US invasion of Iraq has been postponed. To be openly patronised in that way, under the circumstances, would be just too embarrassing.

    Is it fair to accuse the US of destroying our national sovereignty? The issue is so little discussed that even to make the claim has parallels with the ravings of the europhobes that Brussels plans to make Britons eat square sausages. Yet consider the following seven facts, none of which depends directly on the way the US dragged Britain into Iraq, nor on the current MI6-CIA intelligence blame game about the war.
    Firstly, we cannot fire cruise missiles without US permission. The British nuclear-powered submarine fleet is being converted wholesale so that it is dependent on Tomahawks, the stubby-winged wonder-weapons of the 21st century. They transform warfare because of their awesome video-guided precision. But Britain can't make, maintain or target Tomahawks. The US agreed to sell us 95 cruise missiles before the Iraq war, the first "ally" to be thus favoured. They are kept in working order by Raytheon, the US manufacturer in Arizona. Tomahawks find targets via Tercom, the American terrain-mapping radar, and GPS, its ever-more sophisticated satellite positioning system. The Pentagon, meanwhile, is trying to block Galileo, a European rival to GPS, which the French think will rescue their country from becoming a "vassal state".

    Sir Rodric Braithwaite, former head of the joint intelligence committee and former ambassador to Moscow, published earlier this year a little-noticed but devastating analysis in a small highbrow magazine, Prospect, of the price we are now paying to the US in loss of sovereignty. Of the Tomahawks purchase, he wrote: "The systems which guide them and the intelligence on which their targeting depends are all American. We could sink the Belgrano on our own. But we cannot fire a cruise missile except as part of an American operation."

    The second in this list of sad facts is better known. Britain cannot use its nuclear weapons without US permission. The 58 Trident submarine missiles on which it depends were also sold us by the US. Just as Raytheon technicians control the Tomahawk, so Lockheed engineers control Trident from inside a Scottish mountain at Coulport, and from the US navy's Kings Bay servicing depot in Georgia, where the missiles must return periodically. "Cooperation with the Americans has robbed the British of much of their independence," Braithwaite observed. "Our ballistic missile submarines operate by kind permission of the Americans, and would rapidly become useless if we fell out with them. Since it is no longer clear why we need a nuclear deterrent, that probably does not matter. But it makes our admirals very nervous about irritating their US counterparts."

    The third awkward fact is that Britain cannot expel the US from its bases on British territory, or control what it does there. Some, such as RAF Fairford, are well known - surrounded by armed guards as the huge B52s roared off nightly to bomb Baghdad. Others are remote, particularly Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, where any British citizen who attempts a landing will rapidly find himself arrested. The bases are given bogus British names - such as RAF Fairford or RAF Croughton - because Britain is ashamed of all this. "The British have never questioned the purposes for which the Americans use these bases," Braithwaite wrote. "The agreements which govern them leave us little scope to do so. It is yet another derogation from British sovereignty."

    The fourth fact is about intelligence. The row over scraps of British material used for public propaganda purposes - alleged uranium from Niger, alleged 45-minute Iraqi missile firing times - shows, if nothing else, that MI6 does still run independent spying operations. But it obscures the big truth: the policy-determining, war-fighting intelligence on which Britain depends is all American. The US has the spy satellites and the gigantic computers at Fort Meade in Maryland which eavesdrop on the world's communications. Britain gets access to some of these because GCHQ in Cheltenham contributes to the pool and collects intercepts which the US wants for its own purposes. This is cripplingly expensive: Britain has just invested a wildly over-budget £1.25bn in rebuilding Cheltenham. Yet it brings us no independence.

    Braithwaite again: "The US could get on perfectly well without GCHQ's input. GCHQ, on the other hand, is heavily reliant on US input and would be of little value without it."

    Robin Cook, the former foreign secretary, recently - and somewhat drily - let it slip to the foreign affairs committee how the US wears the trousers in the intelligence marriage. America receives all the intelligence that Britain gathers, he said. "On our side, we have full transparency." Britain, on the other hand, merely "strives to secure" transparency from its supposed partners.

    These points lead inexorably to the fifth fact about our loss of sovereignty. Britain can no longer fight a war without US permission. Geoff Hoon, Britain's defence secretary, said humbly last month that "the US is likely to remain the pre-eminent political, economic and military power". Britain would concentrate, therefore, on being able to cooperate with it. "It is highly unlikely that the UK would be engaged in large-scale combat operations without the US," he said. As Rumsfeld brutally pointed out, however, the US could easily have fought the Iraq war without Britain.

    The sixth fact is that Britain cannot protect its citizens from US power. Blair faces an outcry as he flies into America because the US refuses to return two British prisoners for a fair trial; rather, they have to face a Kafkaesque court martial at Guantanamo Bay.

    And the seventh and final fact is that Britain is reduced to signing what the resentful Chinese used, in colonialist days, to call "unequal treaties". At the height of the Iraq fighting, David Blunkett went to Washington to be praised by John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, for what he termed Blunkett's "superb cooperation".

    Blunkett agreed that the UK would extradite Britons to the US in future, without any need to produce prima facie evidence that they are guilty of anything. But the US refused to do the same with their own citizens. The Home Office press release concealed this fact - out of shame, presumably. Why did the US refuse? According to the Home Office, the fourth amendment of the US constitution says citizens of US states cannot be arrested without "probable cause". The irony appears to have been lost on David Blunkett, as he gave away yet more of Britain's sovereignty.
    If we really were the 51st state, as anti-Americans imply, we would probably have more protection against Washington than we do today.

  2. As bad as this may seem, we HAVE to accept the fact that we are no longer a world class nation of power, and haven't been for quite some years.

    Personally I would much rather be a part of the US than the EU.

    Lets finalise the deal before the end of the year please, as I leave my last ship at the end of May and would quite like to spend my final bit of shore time somewhere warm and relaxed instead of working for effing DM bloody L!

  3. A sovereign nation doesn't HAVE to do anything :bball:

  4. Rather be part of the US than the EU?
    I'd honestly be interested to know why. But, declare my interest as a fervent supporter of EU integration, and a rabid republican to boot.
    All clean and cuddly but I'd just like to know why.
  5. Lets just say because I would Sussex.
    I'm NOT going to kick off the usual waste of time bickering that this site seems to be so good at these days ;)
  6. I agree. We surrendered our sovereignty to an ally when we fell in so readily in a highly contentious war, or, as some see it, a blatant act of agreesion by our 'ally'.
    This does not on my part indicate any reluctance to support our men and women doing the job. Unlike the government I support our service people wholeheartedly.
    This island state has to decide where it stands in the world. With our history which is totally intertwined with europe, or, with a renegade nation three thousand miles away, which occasionally and when it suits its' purpose, speaks the same language.
  7. I agree. We surrendered our sovereignty to an ally when we fell in so readily in a highly contentious war, or, as some see it, a blatant act of agreesion by our 'ally'.
    This does not on my part indicate any reluctance to support our men and women doing the job. Unlike the government I support our service people wholeheartedly.
    This island state has to decide where it stands in the world. With our history which is totally intertwined with europe, or, with a renegade nation three thousand miles away, which occasionally and when it suits its' purpose, speaks the same language.[/quote]


    Sussex2 - you are correct - Renegade nation just about sums up the USA and my fear is what further havoc Bubble Boy will wreak in the closing months of his disastrous presidency; and what further problems he will bequeath on Britain.

  8. Renegade Nation or Renegade President?
    I think the latter, not unlike Bliar proved to be an Broon already is.
  9. The topos of Sovereignty is highly problematic. The power to make our own laws free from any non-Parliamentary constraint has never really existed in strictu sensu. Before Henry 8th founding his own church, our laws and independence of action were constrained by our obligations to the Mother Church, first in France then Italy. International law in the form of treaties also constrains our sovereign action. However the most crucial influence since we became a mercantalistic nation, relying on trade and capitalism to attain the bulk of our country's enormous wealth (and with wealth comes influence & power) we are subject to legal constraints we have consented to in order to extend or retain mercantalism.

    It is also worth remembering that when WE had OUR Empire, our colonies were subject to Westminster rule, and of course America was one of our colonies. It seems odd then that we should raise objections to the way we are allegedly treated by America when we behaved, subject to the technological limits of the time, in a remarkable similar manner. In fact we do not have to pay taxes to subsidise the US President in the way Americans had, prior to the War of Independence, to subsidise the King, George 3rd and his predecessors.

    The extent to which external obligations govern our behaviour is however overplayed. The best example of this is one of the principles which underpins the moral claims to legitimacy of the United Nations, which Britain had always subscribed to in principle but rarely in practice, unless it serves our needs. That is the binding, and non-negotiable obligatio erga omnes. This supposedly universal, binding principle obliges all member nations of the UN to intervene to prevent or curtail genocide. As Darfur demonstrates however, this legal obligation is ignored through the mechanism of linguistic gymnastics whereby an action X is redefined as a lesser action, Y, when it is expedient to do so. Genocide represents action X. Action Y is a lesser crime subjecting nations to no compulsory obligation to act to prevent X. Thus whilst the black Muslims of Sudan are subject to a deliberate policy of genocide, the West chooses to pretend that nothing of the sort is taking place.

  10. Exactly 58, eh? Good to see that Sir Woderwick is well informed and totally acquainted with the Polaris Sales Agreement with Trident amendment and the King's Bay Agreement.

    That secret cave in the mountain is really impressive. It also provides employment for trustworthy dwarves from all over Britain to keep it fully functional; and secret. we don't have the Wibbly Wobbly Road there without good cause. The man is also keeping our dependence very one sided. He failed to mention that before we use Trident, permission is also needed from the Italians because they supplied the secret juggernauts that may need to move big secret bits of missile kit around inside the secret Depot.

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