Wednesday, 9 October 2013

GCHQ, MI5 and the Media

Earlier this week, disgraced politician and self-confessed liar, Chris Huhne, revealed in the Guardian that the Cabinet were unaware of the extent of GCHQ’s activities. He said the National Security Committee, of which he had been a member, had not discussed the Prism and Tempora programmes. These are run by GCHQ and NSA to hoover up all personal internet communication. Admittedly the source for this revelation does not carry a great deal of credibility but the story has legs. 

Snowden’s leaks exposed the vast operation taking place in our name and paid for by our taxes to ‘monitor’ (spy on) all of us in the name of ‘national security.’ What would the Stasi or the KGB have done with this technology? The absence of comment in the British media has been odd. Author John Lanchester writing in the Guardian thought that our lack of a written constitution was a factor. In the US and Brazil by contrast, there is a culture of ‘rights’ which are enshrined in law. Public outrage and concern has been massive in those countries as it has been across most of Europe, with Germany especially sensitive to the issue. Lanchester argued that we British see issues as ‘wrongs’ and we tend to react to perceived injustices only when we are slapped in the face by them. 

Thanks to the silence, lack of accountability, supine or tainted politicians, and general ignorance, our spooks go blithely on. 

Three months after the revelations emerged, said spooks are fighting back. Using tame journalists and editors of the right-wing press to help, for example this in the Daily Heil.

“A massive cache of  stolen top-secret documents published in The Guardian has handed a ‘gift’ to terrorists, the head of MI5 warned last night.
In a blistering attack, Andrew Parker said the publication of confidential files leaked by US fugitive Edward Snowden had caused huge ‘harm’ to the capability of Britain’s intelligence services.
Security officials say the exposé amounts to a ‘guide book’, advising terrorists on the best way to avoid detection when plotting an atrocity. 
In Whitehall, it is considered to have caused the greatest damage to the Western security apparatus in history. In his first public speech since taking the job earlier this year, Mr Parker said the leaks handed the ‘advantage’ to terrorists and were a ‘gift they need to evade us and strike at will’.Daily Heil 9/10/13

Re-assuringly, not all Dacre’s readers are as barmy as he is. Neither are they as disposed to swallow government guff. 

A well-supported comment in the Heil’s online edition had this to say: 

“Let's be clear. In this country, the Government has become completely detached from the people that it is supposed to represent. The intelligence service has evolved and morphed into a clandestine agency that is concerned and obsessed with fueling a desperate fight with a shadowy "enemy" that it created. It has become an out of control monster in its own right which fuels the paranoia and fears of the hapless citizens in order to maintain its own survival. If the government focused on domestic policy, the issues that really mattered to the average person in the streets, and stopped trying to extend its reach into every nook and cranny of the globe, then I guarantee there would be no "National Security issue" to speak of. Edward Snowden and the Guardian newspaper are not the creators of this scenario, they merely exposed it. Politicians are the real menace to our society. Stop war mongering in our name and get this country back on track at grass roots.” Craig30

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