The ramifications of the leaks by Edward Snowden rumble on - with more momentum in the States than here. Our supinely inert elected representatives have so far failed to subject the executive to any hint of real scrutiny. The Intelligence and Security Select Committee is not chosen by MPs - they are all put in their places by the executive and are all ‘senior’ MPs, former Ministers etc - so all part of the system. Their chairman (Riffkind) works for an arms company...
Richard Norton-Taylor writing in the Guardian gave a helpful reminder:
“In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Katharine Gun was charged with leaking a secret email from the NSA requesting GCHQ for help in what amounted to a dirty tricks campaign: a plan for the bugging of offices and homes in New York belonging to UN diplomats from the six "swing states", countries whose support would be vital if Washington and London were to win a Security Council resolution authorising the invasion of Iraq.
We do not know how GCHQ responded to the request because the authorities, apparently afraid of what may emerge in a criminal trial, suddenly dropped the charges.
The past, Hague suggested in his blustering — and carefully worded — response to the NSA leaks in the Commons on Monday that everything about the way GCHQ gathers intelligence is tickety-boo.
It may be, but ministers have not explained how their assertions should be accepted on trust now.
Unanswered questions remain.
One we could call the Blunkett Question — after the former home secretary intervened in the Commons on Monday to ask Hague how ministers could control the way personal information offered by the NSA, opposed to having been sought, could be used by GCHQ.
In such cases, authorisation would be "extremely difficult", Blunkett said.” Guardian online 12/6/13
As citizens of the UK we are rightfully wary of our political leaders - and their motives.
“Whilst not strictly connected to the GCHQ or the security services I think the police undercover penetration of peaceful direct action groups demonstrates that the authorities have no moral compass. These were after all people who's most serious "criminal acts" were to lock themselves to things or have occupations. Most of these trivial acts were only made illegal by shifting the goal posts. It was completely disproportionate to have such long term operations, and for them to have relationships and even children using their aliases.
We can also see this pattern with legislation introduced to supposedly tackle terrorism being misused for trivial matters not in anyway related to terrorism.
Likewise when both CS gas/Pepper spay and Tazers were given to the police we were assured they would be only a last line of defence only used as protection against attacks with weapons. We were told they would not just be used to control or threaten people. As soon as they were introduced, all that was forgotten, and these weapons were widely used in a way, which the public were assured they would never be used.
So without knowing anything about GCHQ we can be pretty certain that Hague's justification is risible nonsense. We know very well there will be disproportionate use of these powers and abuses. It's as certain as night follows day. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Give secretive organizations great powers, and they will abuse them. There is not a single society on earth where this has not happened.” SteB1 Comment is Free Guardian
The visit to the Bilderberg secret meeting by so many of our senior politicians makes the point. Along with Balls, Osborne and Cameron there were such worthies as Ken Clarke, Shirley Williams and Mandelson.
“(Our PM spends time with the Bilderbergers) protected by the overwhelming security barrier thrown up by the British State, paid for by British taxpayers, and calls it a 'private meeting' which does not need to be witnessed or documented by civil servants, contrary to the usual ministerial rules. Not much of a protest from our 'elected representatives' or the wonderful press; one wonders why?” sarkany (ibid)
One wonders why indeed.
And as for Cameron’s claim to run the most transparent government ever? It was risible when he first said it - the claim is even more laughable today.