This article was last updated on June 28, 2022
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China and the Five Eyes Alliance
While many people are unaware of its existence, an intelligence alliance formed in 1946, was created between five anglophone nations and their security agencies. The partnership includes:
1.) the United States and the National Security Administration (NSA)
2.) the United Kingdom and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)
3.) Canada and Communications Security Establishment (CSEC)
4.) Australia and Australian Signals Directorate (ASD)
5.) New Zealand and Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB)
Through a lengthy series of intricate and secret bilateral agreements, the Five Eyes partners conduct the interception, collection, acquisition, analysis and decryption activities, sharing the intelligence data obtained with their partner nations by default. The secretive arrangements allow for unlawful intrusions on the right to privacy of the citizens of these five nations. Here is a quote about Five Eyes’ data sharing from Privacy International:
“It has been believed for some time that much of the intelligence produced by the Five Eyes can be accessed by any of the partner states at any time. As early as the 1980’s, ECHELON, a “global Internet-like communication network,” allowed Five Eyes analysts to “task computers at each collection site, and receive the results” on civil satellite communications.
It is likely that the Five Eyes agencies have adopted common approaches to collection and similar interfaces as means of making intelligence co-operation and sharing more expedient. Yet agencies in different member states operate under disparate systems of laws and practice, making some effort to harmonize such standards beneficial given the functional integration and co-operation across the Five Eyes.”
Thanks to revelations by Edward Snowden, we now know that Five Eyes have integrated programs, staff, bases and analysis and that the information that they glean is shared with all partners.
In March 2020, Five Eyes member states agreed to expand its role away from security and intelligence to a stance that weighed in on human rights and democracy, focussing on online child sexual exploitation and abuse as shown on this statement from March 2022:
According to a press release from the United States Department of Defense regarding a Five Eyes meeting held in October 2020, we find that the Five Eyes is focussing on security challenges, most particularly those in the Indo-Pacific region (i.e. China, particularly given its strained relationship with Five Eyes’ member Australia):
Now, let’s see how China fits into the Five Eyes agenda. China has been following Five Eyes and its newly expanded role as shown in this quote from the Global Times dated December 22, 2020 with bolds throughout this posting being mine:
“Amid strained China-Australia relations, Five Eyes nations are reportedly in preliminary discussions on how to respond to China’s actions with one source describing cooperation within the alliance as “off the charts at the moment”, NewsCorp reported. That means they may coordinate to impose restrictions on China. As a matter of fact, due to the hegemonic status and great influence of the US in world affairs, the Five Eyes alliance has become a tool for the US to maintain its dominant position. The US has long viewed China as a major strategic threat, and it is not surprising that it would lead the Five Eyes alliance to take collective actions against China for a variety of reasons.
Take ideological differences, for example. The US and other Five Eyes countries are typical Western countries with democratic political systems, and they harbor widespread bias against Chinese socialist ideological values. The Five Eyes countries subconsciously view China with a Cold War and zero-sum game mentality. On the basis of ideology, these countries highlight their identity as democratic and free countries by cooperating to counter “Communist China.
The idea to build the Five Eyes alliance into a new anti-China axis is a wishful thinking. It will only encounter harsh realities. “
Recent opinion pieces and news items in Global Times continue to convey China’s views on Five Eyes as shown here:
…and quoted here:
“The alliance has been behind issues including the origins-tracing of COVID-19, issues related to China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong, and the South China Sea. The Five Eyes has moved from a secret espionage and intelligence organization in the past to a coalition that becomes more and more China-phobic, and resorts to more and more abominable methods….
In recent years, in order to meet Washington’s strategic needs to suppress China, the Five Eyes alliance has once again used the so-called China threat to prolong its existence, and has gradually transformed from an intelligence-sharing mechanism to an “information command” dedicated to anti-China policy coordination….
An organization that should have hidden only in the dark and used disgraceful means to “contain its opponents” suddenly began to act ostentatiously by simply relying on anti-China propaganda. For example, intelligence agencies in Australia and other countries frequently approach and harass the Chinese communities in those countries, coercing them to become informants for the Five Eyes. The consulates of the Five Eyes member countries stationed in Hong Kong have almost become the “commander-in-chief of interference and subversion.” The alliance, in the name of “protecting national security,” also smears and attacks high-tech companies in other countries, especially China, without any evidence…. (think Huawei)
As a matter of fact, the Five Eyes has become a “gangster group” with obvious racism. Its hostility and anxiety toward China come from its deep-rooted values of white supremacy and racial discrimination, and it is unwilling to see Chinese people’s lives getting increasingly better.
Nominally, the five countries share intelligence, but the truth is that the four eyes rely on and take orders from the “one eye” – the US. Even Western media have to admit that most of the intelligence shared within the Five Eyes alliance comes from Washington….
Being good at creating “imaginary enemies” has always been an inherent feature of the US’ strategy, but the US’ decision-making and intelligence departments have become increasingly paranoid in implementing the strategy of “creating enemies.” The way the US government has been conducting diplomacy in recent years is more and more like the way an intelligent agency or the CIA does. US intelligence departments provide decision-making departments with analysis that distorts the truth and meets specific political needs, and decision-making departments follow these highly hostile playbooks to handle related diplomatic issues.”
…and quoted here
“When asked about the Global Times’ exclusive report on the Five Eyes Alliance which is fabricating evidence that intends to show China is “infiltrating politically into Western countries,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Tuesday that China demands an explanation from relevant countries.
In terms of political infiltration, Western countries such as the US have considerable expertise in practicing it, Wang noted.
In the name of “freedom and democracy,” the US instigated “color revolutions” in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and other places to create regional turbulence to achieve its own geopolitical goals, Wang said…
Politicians in the US, the UK, and other countries are in collusion with secessionists in China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Acting as a pawn and white glove of the US government, the National Endowment for Democracy has repeatedly interfered in Hong Kong’s affairs, attempting to turn the city into a bridgehead for subversion and infiltration, Wang added.
The fact that the US and the UK are interfering and infiltrating into China, while distorting facts and blaming China instead, reveals their deep-rooted Cold War mentality and ideological bias, Wang said.
In the name of “anti-infiltration,” relevant countries have carried out political persecution against persons engaged in normal exchanges and cooperation with China, to create a chilling effect and to bring McCarthyism back to life, which has not only seriously damaged the bilateral relations between these countries and China, but also encouraged racial discrimination and hateful words and deeds in these countries, Wang noted.”
As you can see from China’s views on Five Eyes, China looks at the world through its own cultural filter which is far different from Western culture. In large part, China’s current role as a global superpower was created by the Clinton Administration which insisted that the future health of global trade relied on China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in December 2001. This move eventually resulted in a China that has the world by the “short and curlies” with the deindustrialized West being very heavily reliant on Chinese goods just as Europe is very heavily reliant on Russia’s hydrocarbon reserves and the remainder of the West is reliant on Russia’s massive inventory of non-hydrocarbon natural resources. Both China and Russia play the long game; they can be patient and wait as the West slowly but surely loses its place of global prominence. Such is not the case for the West and their waning influence on global geopolitics.
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