“When it comes to terrorism and the like, Jack Straw*, Alan Johnson and David Blunkett* share a common expertise. Each has worked closely with the security services and can presumably claim to understand a thing or two. But each also has a knack for the "if only you knew" gambit.
They have a counterpart in General Keith Alexander, head not only of the United States' National Security Agency but of what is called - no melodrama, you understand - Cyber Command. This week, with the Obama administration besieged by accusations that it has presided over the mass surveillance of innocent citizens, the general stepped up to tell Congress that "dozens" of terrorist plots have been thwarted thanks to spying by the state. He didn't bother to name a couple, of course, for the sake of public enlightenment.
Messrs Straw, Johnson and Blunkett, like most British ministers past and present, are guilty of the same sort of reticence. Dozens of plots, hundreds of plots, even thousands: the vague numbers alter, but the claims are substantiated only when cases come to trial. Trials happen rarely.
It may be that all these people are telling the absolute truth. It's entirely possible that the things they have seen and heard would make your hair stand on end. But all they ever offer publicly is the equivalent of "trust us". After The Guardian's revelations over the US's Prism programme, and the confirmation that Britain's GCHQ is little better than an NSA franchise, this isn't quite good enough.” Ian Bell Herald 15/6/13
Thanks to Edward Snowden leaking more stuff tonight - we do know. Despite the best/worst efforts of former Ministers who are now whoring their way round the media - putting the case for increased surveillance - to mainly compliant and uncritical churnalists - all the time trousering thousands of tainted cash - or blood money?
The revelations are that GCHQ - the organisation that does no wrong according to little Billy Hague - has been listening in with its US counterparts at Menwith Hill, to emails and phone calls during the G20 summit in London 2009. They were monitoring our allies. Who may not be allies for much longer as these revelations continue to emerge from the security swamp.
It seems the reason for the push towards a surveillance bill is not to increase powers but to retrospectively legitimise what has been going on for years.
In the present circumstances the implied plea to 'trust us' is laughable.
*David Blunkett: Murdoch whore - one of the wealthiest MPs - represents one of the poorest constituencies in the UK.
*Jack Straw: Alleged to have colluded with the rendition of a Libyan opposition spokesman back to the tender mercies of Gadaffi’s secret police - thanks to correspondence found in an office formerly run by Libyan secret police. Has colluded with others to prevent the Chagos islanders from returning to their homeland. Disgracefully kept the shenanigans and official moves secret and out of the scrutiny of Parliament. They were kicked off back in the 60’s when the then Labour Government let the yanks establish a massive airbase there. It is called Diego Garcia and it has been implicated in the black prison and rendition programme. In return the Labour Government obtained cheaper nuclear weapons. It is one of the more shaming episodes in our recent history. Straw is also closely linked to the arms company BAE.