Sunday, 11 August 2013

Bugging Democracy

Two months after the Snowden revelations, where are we at? In the UK, it has all gone very quiet. The Guardian have issued periodic updates to the massive indifference (or ‘D’ Noticed silenced?) of the vast majority of the media. In Germany the updates receive massive coverage. In the USA there is a shift in opinion taking place. So much so that Obama announced yesterday that he will institute a review of the bugging processes and introduce ‘reforms.’ This has not appeased his critics.

“The masters send out their charismatic spokesman to charm the public and promise vague "reforms". First they told us "yes we spy on you, but there's very strict oversight", next we heard "okay, maybe we weren't being completely truthful; we need to police ourselves better", and next we'll hear "okay everyone, the reforms are done, everything is fine, carry on!" jjtree Comment is Free, Guardian Online

Each leak has followed a similar pattern. Each claim being initially rubbished by the security services. Snowden’s character (and those who have helped him) are traduced using sycophantic media. Attention is paid to the human interest angle of Snowden’s location. The meat and potatoes of the leak being conveniently ignored. Meanwhile the more intelligent have questioned the response to the leak and found it wanting, devious or a downright pack of lies. This is then reinforced by the following leak which establishes without question that the security industry lied. 

In America the penny has dropped for many, some of whom have always regarded ‘big government’ as the enemy. Others are expressing real concern for the nature and state of their democracy. They quote relevant articles to back up their feelings, such as this one.

Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media's reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic.” Sheldon Wolin The Nation

It is time for similar articles, debate and discussion in the UK. Will the right- wing media and apprehensive BBC oblige? 

No comments:

Post a Comment