September 18, 2014 could either ensure that the United Kingdom remains a virtual U.S. intelligence «Trojan horse» inside the European Union or could herald a radical shakeup of America’s «Five Eyes» signals intelligence alliance. On a Thursday in September, Scottish citizens will go to the polls to vote «Yes» or «No» on a simple referendum question: «Should Scotland be an Independent Country?» The referendum was worked out in an agreement between Scotland’s Scottish Nationalist Party First Minister Alexander Salmond and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The United Kingdom intelligence and national security establishment, aided and abetted by the virtually indistinguishable three major British political parties, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, and Labor, have all weighed in to urge Scots to vote «No» and remain a part of the United Kingdom.
Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May has issued another in a series of ultimatums to a Scotland that would consider breaking free of English rule: Scotland would find itself severed from the British intelligence agencies of MI6 (foreign intelligence), MI5 (domestic intelligence), and the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ). The latter is the British component of the «Five Eyes» alliance of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. May stated that Scotland would be at risk because the Five Eyes alliance would cut Scotland off from receiving critical intelligence, including counterterrorism information.
May said, «An independent Scottish state may not have the capabilities equivalent to those enjoyed by the UK, leaving the Scottish people exposed to greater risks from these national security threats.»
May is talking rubbish. An independent Scotland with access to all of its North Sea oil revenue could easily afford and establish its own streamlined, innovative, and cost-effective national security and intelligence establishment, putting to shame the stodgy and bloated MI5, MI6, and GCHQ, not to mention the British defense establishment. In fact, a Scottish intelligence establishment could be the envy of other European nations wishing to free themselves of the Anglo-American intelligence yoke, especially the Dutch, Belgians, Icelanders, Norwegians, and Danes who have been shocked at the extent of their own government’s cooperation with the reach of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and GCHQ into their domestic communications.
A majority of MI6 officers are Scottish. It is not a coincidence that Ian Fleming’s fictional MI6 agent, James Bond, is Scottish. Moreover, the first actor to play Bond in the movies, Sean Connery, is an ardent supporter of an independent Scotland. Although many older Scottish personnel in MI6 who are near retirement age would opt to stay within MI6 and declare fealty to the English crown, younger officers, for reasons of rapid promotion and loyalty to their country, could be expected to volunteer for duty in a Scottish intelligence service.
British government officials, along with their Labor Party opposition colleagues and European Union and NATO friends, have warned that an independent Scotland would have to reapply for membership in the EU, NATO, and organizations like INTERPOL and EUROPOL and that such membership would not be automatic. It is inconceivable that a democratic and independent Scotland, with Queen Elizabeth II remaining as the Head of State, would be rejected for membership in such international organizations. However, if England decides to punish Scotland, there would be a greater need for a Scottish intelligence and security establishment to hit the ground running to counter English threats and diplomatic and intelligence chicanery.
A Scottish version of MI6 would be required to concentrate first and foremost on British Isle affairs, perhaps having a separate branch to handle such matters. Celtic Scotland would find natural allies within all the Celtic countries of the region and Scottish intelligence could establishment close links with Ireland’s Garda Siochana intelligence unit. Ireland would also be a powerful ally to help Scotland join INTERPOL and EUROPOL. Such overt relations with Ireland could be supplemented by covert Scottish intelligence contacts with Celtic nationalists within the independence-minded Plaid Cymru party of Wales, Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Protestants who have spoken of union with Scotland, MebyonKernow party of Cornwall, and MecVannin party of the Isle of Man. Having England worry about Welsh, Northern Irish, Cornish, and Manx nationalism would require English intelligence services to divert their resources away from trying to hobble Scotland’s restored independence and concentrate on keeping Wales and the other Celtic nations within the United Kingdom.
A Scottish version of MI5 would find itself required to immediately conduct counter-intelligence operations to root out pro-English spies from Scottish intelligence and other national security agencies, as well as from sensitive civilian government positions. Personnel security vetting in a post-independence Scotland would be a high priority.
Scotland’s new diplomatic corps would also be in a position to establish contact with people of Scottish descent around the world to promote Scotland’s independence and seek allies to counter English propaganda operations. A Scottish version of England’s «British Councils,» found in many world capitals to promote the UK, would be a valuable use of resources.This effort could be supplemented by a special branch within Scottish foreign intelligence to seek out agents-of-influence within the intelligence, military, and law enforcement services of England, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries, including Argentina, South Africa, and Kenya, where Scots have settled and maintain their traditions to the present day.
Israel’s Mossad and the Vatican’s intelligence service have long depended on the assistance of loyal Jews and Roman Catholics, respectively, to provide useful intelligence from countries around the world. In addition to those of Scottish descent, an independent Scotland also has another source for intelligence: the secretive and global Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
Opposition to Scotland’s independence from NATO and EU nations would require another specialized unit within Scottish intelligence. A free and independent Scotland would be the envy of regions within the EU and NATO seeking their own independence. Scottish intelligence would find able and willing allies in the independence movements of Catalonia, Flanders, Faroe Islands, and the fraternal Celtic separatist movements of Brittany and Galicia. Attempts by Spain, Belgium, Denmark, and France to veto Scotland’s membership in the EU and NATO could result in Scotland asking its nationalist-inclined allies to turn up the heat on these countries by staging strikes in publicand covertly providing classified materials on Spanish, Belgian, Danish, and French intentions and motives to Scotland’s intelligence service.
As far as Scotland’s national security is concerned, there already exists a Scottish police force. A number of Scottish personnel of the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Royal Army could be expected to from the corps of the Scottish defense force. An independent Scotland under SNP will be nuclear-free as per the party’s platform. England and the United States would have to move their nuclear weapons and nuclear submarines, including the Royal Navy’s Trident nuclear warheads for its Vanguard nuclear submarines, from the bases at Coulport and Faslane. Such a move would likely remove Scotland from the nuclear weapon targeting list for Russia and, in the future, possibly China.
If the United States prevented Scotland from joining NATO, U.S. military basing rights in Scotland could be terminated by the government in Edinburgh.
In order to safeguard its many islands and lochs from incursions by foreign submarines and other intruders, Scotland could look to Norway to assist in the creation of a network of passive acoustic hydrophone arrays and other maritime surveillance activities. Norway has the technical knowledge on how to build such a system owing to the hydro-acoustic arrays that currently comprise a modernized integrated undersea surveillance system off the Norwegian coast. The system was originally installed by the United States Navy as part of its classified Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) during the Cold War. The U.S. Navy would dearly crave Scottish acoustic intelligence and be a potential ally to champion Scottish military membership and access to the NATO and Five Eyes «club.»
Home Secretary May and her allies in London, Brussels, and Washington are in no position to threaten an independent Scotland. A future Prime Minister Salmond in Edinburgh, with vast reserves of oil and strategic military bases at his disposal, would hold all the aces.