The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

by craig on February 19, 2014 9:29 am in Uncategorized

The disgraceful judges of Britain’s High Court – who have gone along with torture, extraordinary rendition, every single argument for mass surveillance and hiding information from the public, and even secret courts – have ruled that it was lawful for the Home Office to detain David Miranda, a journalist as information he was carrying might in some undefined way, and if communicated to them, aid “terrorists”.

Despite the entire industry, both private and governmental, devoted to whipping up fear, it is plain to pretty well everyone by now that terrorism is about the most unlikely way for you to die.  A car accident is many hundreds of times more likely.  Even drowning in your own bath is more likely.  Where is the massive industry of suppression against baths?

I had dinner inside the Ecuadorian Embassy on Sunday with Julian Assange, who I am happy to say is as fit and well as possible in circumstances of confinement.  Amongst those present was Jesselyn Radack, attorney for, among others, Edward Snowden.  Last week on entering the UK she was pulled over by immigration and interrogated about her clients.  The supposed “immigration officer” already knew who are Jesselyn Radack’s clients.  He insisted aggressively on referring repeatedly to Chelsea Manning as a criminal, to which Jesselyn quietly replied that he was a political prisoner.  But even were we to accept the “immigration officer’s” assertion, the fact that an attorney defends those facing criminal charges is neither new nor until now considered reprehensible and illegitimate.

As various states slide towards totalitarianism, a defining factor is that their populations really don’t notice.  Well, I have noticed.  Have you?

 

 

 

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496 Comments

  1. Ba’al I meant the link numbered 4 on your Wiki link against the line –

    ‘The report also said that in some cases the fusion centers violated civil liberties or privacy.[4]’

  2. @ glenn_uk 21 Feb, 2014 – 12:41 am
    “Let’s take it a step further – would you be happy with a government camera in every room of your house, and if not, why not?”

    I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. I have nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

    My portrait of Our Dear Leader never hangs askew and I always genuflect when near.

    I never engage in funny walks, excepting those specifically prescribed by the Ministry of Funny Walks.

    I never assemble unauthorized devices in the kitchen using common household supplies. My fridge contains no sugary drinks, salty snacks or transfats.

    Before flushing, I allow the camera a clear view of the toilet bowl so worthy Government Turd Inspectors can certify my fibrous diet, and not dispatch the feared Celery Squad to force-feed with a funnel, like a Strasbourg goose.

  3. Some people commenting here seem alarmed that their comments have been interfered with. Rest assured that we have complete records of all that has happened, nothing of great value has gone missing, and please be confident that we won’t tell any member of the public a damn thing. Our NSA colleagues say to ‘have a nice day’.

    [Shit, is that Snowden? Quick, put the bland denial literature on the desk and hide underneath!]

  4. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 9:25 am

    Further to the ineffectiveness and possible unproductivity of counterterrorism measures-

    http://www.rutgerscps.org/publications/Lum_Terrorism_Review.pdf

    ‘There is almost a complete absence of high quality
    scientific evaluation evidence on counter-terrorism strategies;

    What evidence there is does not indicate consistently
    positive results – some counter terrorism interventions
    show no evidence of reducing terrorism and may even increase
    the likelihood of terrorism and terrorism-related harm….’

  5. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 9:26 am

    Yes, Mary. That’s Wiki’s fault, not mine. They should have linked to the source.

  6. “Dreoilin, you responded to Phil, agreeing with him”

    No John. I quoted one sentence from Phil (“Hanging around here endlessly bickering with a handful of people for 13 pages of comments is probably not any way to challenge the powers that be”) which I took to be a reference to the previous thread. And I agreed with that.

    Since I was well aware that KingofWelshNoir had played no part in those 13 pages, I couldn’t have been commenting on him.

    “Phil’s comment suggested that KingofWelshNoir should spend less time here and more time in active protest.”

    More inaccuracy. Phil quoted KingofWelshNoir (“I have no idea what to do about it”) and Phil said “I recommend agitating in your community and on the streets.” He did not berate KingofWelshNoir about spending less time here, and neither did I. If there was a misunderstanding, John, it was only because you are not reading carefully enough. And you are then misquoting people.

    —————————————————————————

    Habbabkuk says, “I’d be reluctant to believe that CM would intervene – or at least, that he would intervene without notification”

    Clearly someone is intervening, without notifying us, and I doubt very much if it’s Jon or Clark.

    I doubt if this comment of mine will be allowed to stand. Anyway, one way or another, I’m out of it until the situation is clarified.

    [Your lengthy self-justification remains. Thank you for its valuable political content. What’s the problem? Do all the moderators at the Guardian etc. reveal their identities? Rhetorical – please don’t answer.]

  7. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 9:34 am

    RT (CAVEAT: its remit is to illuminate the less attractive aspects of Western government while remaining opaque on Russia’s many problems) went into some depth on that report. Here –

    http://rt.com/usa/intelligence-fusion-dhs-report-598/

  8. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 9:53 am

    Download the .pdf from here –

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1766790

    if you thought drone strikes on alleged terrorists did anything more than make more people dead.

    ‘If the goal of counterterrorism policy is to reduce casualties, then the
    tactic of targeted removal is at the least inconsistent in its effectiveness. At worst, it puts innocent civilians in danger.’

    This is a pretty rigorous paper, and its conclusions are cautious. But it wouldn’t encourage me to buy some drones and start shooting up someone else’s countryside.

  9. Edit: Most horrible gaffe above. It should, of course, have been The Ministry of Silly Walks. Entirely unintentional. Hope the Ministry doesn’t send me to a re-eduction camp.

  10. Thanks for adding a big fat smile to my face this sunny morn, NR and how right you are.

    @ Brendan. I fully agree that CCTV has been rolled out too far and too wide, only some hollow voices these days still argue that it is used for criminal detection.
    Norwich has got some 70 cameras of the best CCTV system money can buy. It has been trialled and tested in Palestine by those best not mentioned before page five.

    http://www.norwichadvertiser24.co.uk/news/the_4_8m_cost_of_norfolk_s_cctv_cameras_1_767403

    CCtv can also be seen on private housing, advertising that they are either a victim of crime, scared to become one, have something valuable to protect and/or hide. CCTV is not a deterent but it raises questions as to why its there on a suburban semi, when the rest of the housing has none?

    Thanks for the link Pan. and Dreolin, there is no situation here, except that moderation has been resumed. I welcome it, thank you.

    As for phil’s point you and I supported. It most likely was raised at us all, a reasonale point, imho, because the action for change will not happen on the internet alone, it will have various active forms and its people like us who should get involved and dare I say this, we will.

    My ‘Dreolin’ outside is busy building nests, I have two in the hedge and they do not like each other, or is it the other way round…. like each other too much.

  11. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 10:02 am

    Nevermind

    “Thanks for the link Pan. and Dreolin, there is no situation here, except that moderation has been resumed. I welcome it, thank you.”
    _______________

    If that is the case, Nevermind, then it has been resumed without notification and without any guidelines having been set out – which I find rather difficult to believe.

  12. The drones are targeting terrorist (sic) cell-phones, which are not necessarily accompanied by a terrorist.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/10/us-government-reportedly-ordering-drone-strikes-based-on-cell-phone-location/

  13. ‘As various states slide towards totalitarianism, a defining factor is that their populations really don’t notice. Well, I have noticed. Have you?’

    A 98 year old Jewish friend who died this month noticed the totalitarianism coming and wriggled out of Austria to this country.

    As a Muslim I am excited by the Arab Spring, removing dictators , but I am cautious about one type of dictatorship and puppet-persecution being replaced by another type of thought crime.

    The alliance between Tories and Al Qaida freaks out my brain. Like ultra-sound over-exciting mice instead of frightening them away. Too much is happening politically to not-notice at this particular time.

  14. Dreoilin, what it read like you and what it appeared like to readers were two different things and I did try to support you and Phil in this. Even KingofWelshNoir was a bit taken aback.

    “Yes, I did note with a certain exasperation I was being berated for wasting my time on a comment board by people who were clearly guilty of the same sin.”

    He did not mean you Dreoilin, and we have all had comments deleted. You can think what you want about my understanding. Peace.

  15. Sorry for responding off topic

    “If that is the case, Nevermind, then it has been resumed without notification and without any guidelines having been set out – which I find rather difficult to believe.”

    Don’t think it has anything to do with our believe systems, Habbakuk. Its not our blog, tough up as Tone would say. I accept moderation of my own/others comments, especially for when the blood curdles and words hurt.

  16. Let me link again, for those who missed it, the presentation to Chelsea Manning (in absentia) of the Sam Adams award first linked by Brian Fujisan.

    http://www.privatemanning.org/featured/chelsea-manning-acceptance-statement-of-sam-adams-award-for-integrity-in-intelligence

  17. “People stripped of benefits could be charged for challenging decision”

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/feb/20/people-stripped-benefits-charged-decision

  18. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 11:37 am

    Someone – that’s neat.

    I can see the cabinet discussion as if I were in the room;

    Osborne: We haven’t got any money. What can you raise, chaps?
    IDS: My people had this whizzo idea. Let’s charge people who haven’t got any money for having their income taken away.
    All: That makes sense. Good lad. Fancy lunch now? (etc)

  19. “Why Is The Obama Administration Putting Government Monitors In Newsrooms?”

    http://newswatch.us/why-is-the-obama-administration-putting-government-monitors-in-newsrooms/

    I thought they already had them!.

  20. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 11:55 am

    Coincidence department –

    ‘Between December 2013 and January 2014 the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance fell by 27,600 to reach 1.22 million, the lowest figure since December 2008. Between January 2013 and January 2014 the number of claimants fell by 327,600, the largest annual fall since March 1998.’

    http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-kingdom/unemployment-rate

    (before going further: the usual definition of unemployment:

    ‘ In the United Kingdom, the unemployment rate measures the number of people actively looking for a job as a percentage of the labour force.’)

    Someone’s Guardian link says –

    ‘Earlier this week figures showed that in the past year nearly 900,000 people have had their benefits stopped, the highest figure for any 12-month period since jobseeker’s allowance was introduced in 1996.’

    Which makes it entirely credible that a third or so were kicked off JSA completely. They would then have had no statutory requirement to actively look for work (see definition) and would have miraculously become employed. Hence the amazing unemployment stats. And the proliferation of food banks.

    Genuinely informed comment (not silly questions) welcomed.

  21. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    Thanks for that very depressing read, Someone. While it’s good to know that thousands of people care enough to supply and run food banks, it’s shameful that the government doesn’t care at all. And continues to slander the poor – as countered by this excellent report –

    http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/files/truth_and_lies_report_final.pdf

  22. Chris Floyd is right. Sinister is the word for Obama.

    Sinister Illusions: Masking Tragedy in Ukraine

    Chris Floyd
    February 20, 2014 “Information Clearing House

    It is no secret that Barack Obama is one of the supreme illusionists of modern times. The disconnect between his words and his deeds is so profound as to be almost sublime, far surpassing the crude obfuscations of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Their projections of unreality were more transparent, and in any case were merely designed to put a little lipstick on the pig of policies they were openly pushing. For example, they openly wanted to conquer Iraq and expand the militarist state, they openly wanted to redistribute national wealth to the elite, so they just gussied up this unhidden agenda with some fantasies about WMD and the occult magic of “tax cuts,” whereby enriching the rich and degrading all notion of the common good would somehow create a utopia of prosperity (for deserving white folk, at least).

    There was a disconnect between their rhetoric and reality, to be sure, but it was easily seen through (except, of course, by the highly-paid credulous cretins of our national media). Indeed, the Bushists seemed unconcerned by how threadbare their lies were; they delivered their lines like bored performers at the end of a long stage run, not caring whether they were believed or not — just as long as they got to do what they wanted.

    But Obama has taken all this to another level. He is a consummate performer, and strives to “inhabit” the role and mouth his lines as if they make sense and convey some sort of emotional truth. Also, most of the time his rhetoric, his role, his emotional stance are in stark opposition to his actual policies. He is not just gilding his open agenda with some slap-dash lies; he is masking a hidden agenda with a vast array of artifice, expending enormous effort not to prettify an ugly reality but to create an entire counter-reality, an alternate world that does not exist. Again, no one one was in any doubt about the Bushists’ militarism, their dedication to the financial elite or their disdain for anyone who was not, in their view, a “normal American” (white, traditionalist, bellicose, greedy). In fact, that’s exactly why millions of “normal Americans” voted for them. But Obama’s image — cool, compassionate, progressive, peace-seeking, non-traditionalist, anti-elitist — is so far at odds with his actual policies, and with the world as it actually exists, that you can get severe whiplash turning from his rhetoric to reality.

    Take his astonishing attack on Vladimir Putin for “interfering” in Ukraine. That Obama could make this charge with a straight face — days after his own agents had been exposed (in the infamous “#### the EU” tape) nakedly interfering in Ukraine, trying to overthrow a democratically elected government and place their own favorites in charge — was brazen enough. But in charging Putin with doing exactly what the Americans have been doing in Ukraine, Obama also fabricated yet another alternate world, turning reality on its head.

    /..

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37710.htm

  23. RT (CAVEAT: its remit is to illuminate the less attractive aspects of Western government while remaining opaque on Russia’s many problems) went into some depth on that report.

    For “opaque” substitute “downright dishonest”

  24. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 12:54 pm

    You are notably “opaque” on facts you don’t like, too, ESLO.

  25. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    To the mystery Censor/(?) Moderator

    “Do all the moderators at the Guardian etc. reveal their identities? Rhetorical – please don’t answer.]”

    _________________

    No, but at least contributors are made aware that there is moderation.

    And The Guardian’s moderation criteria are public.

  26. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 12:58 pm

    What a whiner.

  27. My objection to CCTV is the “CC”; Closed Circuit. No one seems to object to public web-cams. CCTV takes information about the public and places it exclusively in private hands. If these cameras could be controlled from and viewed via the Internet they’d become a valuable public resource. There would also be far more people watching (and probably recording) what was being captured, rather like “Linus’ Law”:

    “With enough eyes on the code, all bugs become shallow.”

    Regarding moderation, when I was moderating here I was repeatedly insulted, came under psychological attack, and was later subjected to attempted blackmail which another contributor supported. Jon came under intolerable criticism and pressure. Consequently I think it’s quite sensible for moderators conceal their identies, especially if they wish to continue participating in the debate. Why shouldn’t they? Plenty of contributors, often the most troublesome, don’t even submit a valid e-mail address with their comments; when you see the “dark glasses” avatar, they’ve submitted “anon@anon.com”. Maybe some contributors just have a problem with authority, though I see that quite a few have welcomed the new arrangement despite their own comments having been deleted.

    A friend who’s coming to visit me for a few days texted to say that she’s chatting with a young Uzbek woman on the train, so hopefully I’ll have something interesting to report when I’m not so busy.

  28. Noticed and warned about this for a very long time, shame it will have to take people dragged literally through barbed wire and family members tortured, for any one to realise that this has been going on all around them, all the time, and people never realising or even when told, believing it.

  29. “Consequently I think it’s quite sensible for moderators conceal their identies, especially if they wish to continue participating in the debate.”

    Moderators should not participate in debates – bound to lead to a conflict of interest on their part.

  30. This American Army veteran gets hassled when returning to the US.

    Harassed by the Empire
    They Do It Because They Can

    By Anonymous

    February 20, 2014 “Information Clearing House – I’m a WASP, in my late 60s and retired after spending most of my working life in finance. I’m a US Army veteran. And I get harassed by Customs and Border Protection each time I return to my home in the USA.

    /..
    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37712.htm

  31. “UK economy faces Lehman-type crisis, says leading economist”

    http://www.scottishtimes.com/uk_economy_faces_lehman_type_crisis_says_leading_economist

  32. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    ‘Moderators should not participate in debates – bound to lead to a conflict of interest on their part.’

    BS. Mods ‘volunteer’ from the poster pool, where else? So what’s their interest in moderating if they can’t debate?

    Still, feel free to start your own blog, where the rules you make up won’t be ignored. Or moderate here, and STFU?

  33. ESLO, you’ve enjoyed plenty of freedom of speech here; maybe you should reflect upon what you have gained rather than what you may possibly have failed to gain – I was going to write “lost”, but you’ve lost nothing, comparing with the blog not existing or not accepting comments at all.

    This is one individual’s blog; “conflicts of interest” don’t really apply. Craig can check the deleted items for any “censorship” and can post a moderation policy if he wishes. Moderation has only just restarted; if its nature eventually reveals itself as unacceptable for you, there are plenty of other places on the ‘net you can comment at.

    That’s enough of this from me; it’s irrelevant to anything outside this comments section, and I have a visitor to prepare for.

  34. This thread is about the abuse of human rights and freedoms in the UK, while this clearly does not suit some comment-makers it is an important issue that really needs to be addressed before it is too late. Arresting and detaining David Miranda because he was carrying important document about the NSA spying on everybody is just one such example of UK bending over backwards to serve US interests. Likewise the interrogation of Jesselyn Radack just because she is Edward Snowden’s lawyer is another such breach of trust in the British public. We did not elect our parliamentarians to make decisions to our disadvantage without our consent.

    The US telephone, telecommunications and electronic communications-tapping station at Menwith Hill, near Harrogate, was built and expanded without parliamentary debate. It may also be providing co-ordinates for extra-judicial drone strikes as GCHQ is almost certainly. All this has been done without my consent. Do not vote for anybody who does not pledge to make these military bodies answerable to parliament, and yourself.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/jan/28/gchq-mass-surveillance-spying-law-lawyer

  35. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 1:39 pm

    Someone – you have a knack of finding chilling and I am afraid horribly accurate pieces.

    ‘He added that the UK has the largest “hot money” economy in the world and sounded the alarm that when the “game of asset price inflation is over all the regulation that let England accumulate financial wealth in the last 20 years will go into reverse because it will be so easy to pull the money out of the economy”.

    Explaining why the UK economy faces a Lehman-sized crunch and will experience a contraction far worse than the US has already experienced, Mr Keen said that it is “because you are a far more speculative economy than the Americans were and you’ve got a far bigger debt overhang and you’ve got far hotter hot money than even the Americans had.”‘

    Even Carney admits (and has produced the voice tape for the clockwork Osborne) the ‘recovery’ is unsustainable.
    As anyone who knows of the Gods of the Copybook Headings has known for a long time.

  36. “Magistrates should sit in police stations, report says”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26277087

  37. I beat you to it on that one Someone. 5.13am earlier today. Could not sleep last night!

  38. “Even Carney admits (and has produced the voice tape for the clockwork Osborne) the ‘recovery’ is unsustainable”

    I think they know that

    3 May 2012

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-17925477

  39. “I beat you to it on that one Someone.”

    Mary,

    You have done that before, lol.

  40. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    (from ESLO)

    ““Consequently I think it’s quite sensible for moderators conceal their identies, especially if they wish to continue participating in the debate.”

    Moderators should not participate in debates – bound to lead to a conflict of interest on their part.”
    ________________

    Exactly.

    The Guardian has been cited – do its moderators participate in debates?

  41. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 3:01 pm

    “This thread is about the abuse of human rights and freedoms in the UK, while this clearly does not suit some comment-makers it is an important issue that really needs to be addressed before it is too late.”
    ________________

    That’s right, Mr Goss, and the four posts of mine which were deleted were all on-topic (and measured) responses to equally on-topic posts from Mr Scorgie (x2), Nevermind and Mary.

    It may of course be that posters who seek to challenge the pensée unique on here are not welcome. Whether that’s consistent or not with the “open policy” I thought guided this blog, I think whoever is doing the moderation should have the honesty to say so.

  42. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 3:31 pm

    Privacy International has noticed….

    https://www.privacyinternational.org/sites/privacyinternational.org/files/file-downloads/privacy_international_isc_evidence.pdf

    ‘…not only are the public unable to access and scrutinise the agreements that regulate the actions of the Five Eyes, but even the intelligence services themselves do not have a complete picture of the extent of intelligence sharing activities…’

  43. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    Right on topic….

    Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000 is a law intended to fight terrorism, and was not drafted to target people like David Miranda. In this instance however the government used it to seize the devices of journalists to intimidate and obstruct the reporting of mass and unlawful surveillance practices of the British government. To equate journalism with espionage, as the government has, is truly shameful.

    What this case has shown is that the Government will work to bend the confines of the law to suit their purposes, but alarmingly they will bend logic to do so as well. They have included remarkable claims about the nature of the Snowden disclosures, developed theories of a Russian conspiracy, and made unverifiable claims that the disclosures threaten national security. We are disappointed that the court did not check these wild allegations, and instead questioned the ability of journalists to understand the ramifications of their stories.

    We are concerned about the surveillance powers of Government at borders. As a democratic society, we must tightly constrain the power to detain and collect information on individuals and to interfere with their devices. Parliament needs to introduce safeguards over Schedule 7 powers, especially when it comes to the seizing of devices. It is an arbitrary use of power when anyone passing through the border, Briton or not, can be subjected to a search and their devices seized as the government develops theories to justify it in the name of national security. Already tens of thousands of people are stopped under Schedule 7 every year.

    In the end, this is all about holding the state to account for its incredible powers of surveillance. Journalists writing stories that identify unchecked surveillance are instead subjected to unjust scrutiny; the use of wide discretionary powers of device seizure at borders are left intact; and government officials making unverifiable claims regarding national security have their arguments supported by the court. This case is another example of how the UK’s legal framework needs much urgent repair.

    https://www.privacyinternational.org/press-releases/privacy-international-statement-on-ruling-of-david-miranda-detention

  44. Ba'al Zevul (etc)

    21 Feb, 2014 - 3:55 pm

    Charles Falconer (1), even, may have noticed-

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/21/terrorism-act-david-miranda-detention

    (1) Blair’s mate, once on a day

  45. Scyptonite daily has also noticed. This just a reminder of the rights lost since 1984, that wretched year when the police raged against Hippies in the beanfield and helped to drive Thatchers ghastly war with the miners forward.

    http://www.scriptonitedaily.com/2013/03/19/police-state-uk-the-rights-you-didnt-know-youd-lost/

  46. Habba – be grateful. Guardian moderators delete everything. There are no other blogs out there which allow drop-by comments without registration. The CM blog has an international reputation for serious, political, free comment. Pluralism rules OK, not endless repetition of the same points.

  47. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    Guano

    “There are no other blogs out there which allow drop-by comments without registration.”
    ____________________

    Which was, I was led to believe, one of the reasons why this blog was superior to others.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “Pluralism rules OK, not endless repetition of the same points.”
    ___________________

    Coming from you, that is rather rich.

    Which of the regulars do you have in mind?

  48. Ba’al Zevul (etc) 21 Feb, 2014 – 3:31 pm

    A very useful .pdf but one likely to be ignored. It raises important questions about how the security-services of the five eyes are protected but there is little legislation behind the exchanges and it is not known just who exactly from individual countries can see what. The world’s in a mess and it is clear from the wrongful imprisonments and tortures in various institutions round the world is due to inaccurate information being circulated that was gathered by 5 eyes intelligence. It seems like one hand does not know what the other is doing. “If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out.”

  49. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 4:12 pm

    “If you don’t like aspects of life in Britain, why don’t you bugger off abroad?”

    That could come from any saloon bar loudmouth or UKIP supporter.

    COMPARE AND CONTRAST, as the expression goes, with the following from Clark:

    “Moderation has only just restarted; if its nature eventually reveals itself as unacceptable for you, there are plenty of other places on the ‘net you can comment at.”

  50. the blog and its moderation is not the thread, so please, feel free to delete this reminder and those wanting to make it a topic.

  51. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 4:27 pm

    Anyway, now something substantive on the subject of this thread “The security state crushes ever tighter”.

    Nevermind, at 09h58, writes:

    “CCtv can also be seen on private housing, advertising that they are either a victim of crime, scared to become one, have something valuable to protect and/or hide. CCTV is not a deterent but it raises questions as to why its there on a suburban semi, when the rest of the housing has none?”

    Given the subject of this thread – the “security state” – are we to infer from the above that Nevermind considers the use of CCTV on or in private dwellings to be yet another manifestation of the security state and, in consequence, a further step in creeping totalitarianism?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    As to the questions Nevermind raises (“..it raises questions..” , I think he has supplied the answers himself in the first part of the very same sentence. To which I would add that if the semi he refers is the only house on the street with CCTV then that would seem to be not a manifestation of the security state but, rather, a prudent homeowner.

    Finally, since we’re on, about CCTV and cameras : Nevermind will be aware of the increasingly popularity of devices known as “dash cams” (these are carried on board motor vehicles). What is Mevermind’s position on those devices?

  52. This will get you moving in the morning..NSA slow jam….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkojjUahxAk

  53. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    “…and we have all had comments deleted.”
    __________________

    What’s with the “all”, Mr Goss? I can’t quite recall any comments of yours having been deleted on this thread (or the previous one).

  54. For the record some of my comments were deleted on page 1. I am happy with the moderation. It has been long overdue.

    For heaven’s sake stop whingeing and note what Guano said. Be thankful and as Michael Winner used to say in that ad ‘Calm down dear(s)….’.

    I have been outside. It’s been a wonderful day, the crocus have opened to the sun, some bumblebees are in flight and there was some warmth at last to do some gardening without getting soaked or chilled.

  55. No, Habbakuk, I regard CCTV systems on private housing a sign of the times, the fact that fear mongering and the use of, creation of terrorism to spread fear, has the required effect on people, fear sells, in this case cctv systems.

    A CCTV on a house is an indicator that this person is scared to loose something, scared witless by relelntless media focus on crime and benefit scroungers, no do wells with time on their hands to scout out CCTV systems.

    I’m not aware of any increasingly popular use of dash cams, but I’m sure that they will be stolen as much as other valuable items people leave in their cars. CCTV is a costly traditional pet issue of party politicians an epedemic of known proportion and a tool that is being used to manipulate laws as well as life’s.

    There is one for you as well

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/10172298/One-surveillance-camera-for-every-11-people-in-Britain-says-CCTV-survey.html

  56. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 5:20 pm

    Also on-topic.

    The statement from Privacy International which Ba’al Zebub reproduces at 15h43 is heavy with polemic and ex cathedra assumptions but light on reasoned argument.

    The last sentence of the first para is a good example:

    ” To equate journalism with espionage, as the government has, is truly shameful.”

    I do not accept that this is what the govt did or does.

    As a further point : are journalists – or the friends of journalists – to be exempt from the constraints of law? If, let us say, I was the journalist friend of a known counterfeiter and was believed to be carrying some samples of the counterfeiter’s output in my briefcase should I be able to refuse the authorities access to my briefcase? And if the authorities obliged me to open it, would I then be justified in claiming that the authorities were equating journalism with counterfeiting?

    The article refers several times to the “seizure” of a device and of “interference” with it. . If the device was finally restored to Mr Miranda then the article is just playing with words – or it should have said “temporarily seized”. As to “interference” : this gives the impression that the files were removed from the device, as opposed to being examined, and, possibly, copied and then restore to Mr Miranda. Was this the case?

    Finally (I say finally in the interests of brevity) the article is firm on holding authorities to account for their actions. Many people might assume that the ability to challenge those actions in the High Court – followed by the possibility of two further appeals in higher UK courts – fulfills that very necessary requirement.

  57. Tap It: The NSA Slow Jam (featuring @goremy)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkojjUahxAk

    That was very good Dave Lawton. Thanks. Surprising it has had so few viewings.

    PS I thought it was supposed to be prunes or senna pods! Sorry to be so crude.

  58. @Mary 5:23
    Mary yes I was suprised at the number of viewings ,I was only made aware of it a few hours ago. This has a nice barb,as we are having comments about CCTV.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIbx8dO4ZcU&list=UU1Cbp8Fjy7iMfjp0jzGY3rQ&feature=c4-overview

  59. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 5:38 pm

    Nevermind

    “No, Habbakuk, I regard CCTV systems on private housing a sign of the times, the fact that fear mongering and the use of, creation of terrorism to spread fear, has the required effect on people, fear sells, in this case cctv systems.”
    _________________

    I’ll give you credit for a cunning answer: unable to say “yes, the use by individuals of CCTV in or outside their own houses is an indicator of an increasingly repressive state”, you deftly switch to talking about ” a sign of the times”. Yes, burglaries and personal assaults are a sign of the times, but they are also fact, not mere fear-mongering. BTW, what has terrorism got to do with burglaries?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “A CCTV on a house is an indicator that this person is scared to loose something, scared witless by relelntless media focus on crime and benefit scroungers, no do wells with time on their hands to scout out CCTV systems.”
    ___________________

    Is it wrong, or perverse, to wish not to lose your possessions in a burglary? And are you suggesting that people’s fear of being burgled is completely irrational and arises out of media scare-mongering rather than out of fact?
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “I’m not aware of any increasingly popular use of dash cams, but I’m sure that they will be stolen as much as other valuable items people leave in their cars.”
    _____________________

    You haven’t answered my question, but thank you for recognising that things get stolen out of cars (a form of burglary, I believe you’d agree). Secondly, rest assured that they are getting more popular, primarily as a way providing factual visual proof of exactly what happened in a motor accident. Thirdly, most sensible people would not leave them in open view in their cars in the same way as they would not leave a briefcase on the back seat.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    “CCTV is…. a tool that is being used to manipulate laws as well as life’s.”
    __________________________

    That’s an interesting thought. Could you flesh it out a little?

  60. Habbabkuk, 5:20 pm, regarding interference with computing equipment; you can’t trust any computing device that has been out of your possession – this includes ‘phones. Software or even hardware could have been added to it (a keylogger to monitor and transmit keystrokes for instance – this is a favourite according to Snowden’s documents), or existing software or settings could have been modified to enable remote control, remote deletion, corruption or modification of files, complete surveillance including remote activation of camera and microphone and recording and transmission thereof, basically anything the device is capable of. Software modification can be performed in under one minute.

    So even if the equipment is returned, it really ought to be replaced. The cost in time easily exceeds the cost in money.

  61. New on Counterpunch. Weekend Edition February 21-23, 2014

    Targeting the Muckrakers
    The Surveillance of WikiLeaks

    by BINOY KAMPMARK

    It was the worst kept secret in the novella of espionage delights, but the discussion in Glenn Greewald’s the Intercept was anticipated. The article suggested its imminent newsworthiness: “Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert intelligence to prosecution” (Feb 18).

    If only we could say it was the first time. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have become the bread and butter of a good many staff in the National Security Agency and their British equivalent, GCQH. The outfit is also providing rich fare for a range of agencies keen to mark out WikiLeaks in some capacity as an illegal organisation. The effort has so far failed because the implications – at least for now – are simply too terrifying, especially for those with even a shade of interest in publishing and reporting. Criminalise WikiLeaks, and you criminalise us all.

    /..
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/21/the-surveillance-of-wikileaks/

  62. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 6:04 pm

    Clark

    Thanks for that and I’m sure you’re right. But these are only possibilities, aren’t they; the existence of these possibilities does not prove that the device which was temporarily seized was actually interfered with as claimed by the article reproduced.

    (and I should have thought that the authorities wouldn’t bother because they must assume that Messrs Greenwald and Miranda are fully aware of those possibilities..)

  63. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 6:06 pm

    Clark

    Sorry, I forgot to ask : is anyone claiming that the files were removed from the device before Mr Miranda got it back, or was he allowed to leave with both device and files?

  64. Not secure even at home. No surprise.

    21 February 2014
    Security failings in home routers exposed
    Security flaws are being actively exploited but malicious attacks are currently rare

    Related Stories
    EE rushes to fix broadband box risk
    Backdoor found in D-Link routers
    Fridge sends spam emails ???

    Serious security failings in home routers are getting more attention from both attackers and researchers.

    In recent weeks, attacks have been mounted on Linksys and Asus routers via loopholes that thieves could exploit.

    In Poland, reports suggest one gang has successfully adjusted router settings in a bid to steal cash.

    A separate study found many of the routers sold online have bugs that attackers could easily exploit.

    This week the Internet Storm Center (ISC) warned about a continuing attempt to exploit a vulnerability in 23 separate models of Linksys routers.

    /..
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26287517

  65. “Yes, burglaries and personal assaults are a sign of the times, but they are also fact, not mere fear-mongering. BTW, what has terrorism got to do with burglaries?”

    I leave the comparrisson to you, I’m sure that will find some weaselworded argument that the high level of crime and punishment rep[orting, the slow course to criminalise those who have little, with sanctions, with withdrawl of benefits, whilst bemoaning that the discourse to withdraw from human rights legislation which was to a gtreat extend drafted by British lawyers in the first place, is misplaced.

    There is a tendency to stamp on journalism in this country, the moment one tries to find out and interview anyone about the legalities of Menwith Hill and Fylingdale operations.

    Just in case you had not realised, Habbakuk. Crime is down by ten percent.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25858421

    and another one from aft

    http://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/news/local/lincolnshire-crime-down-by-10-per-cent-1-6404542

  66. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    21 Feb, 2014 - 7:19 pm

    “I’m sure that will find some weaselworded argument that the high level of crime and punishment rep[orting, the slow course to criminalise those who have little, with sanctions, with withdrawl of benefits, whilst bemoaning that the discourse to…”

    ___________________________

    Is that meant to be a reasoned reply to my points? You know perfectly well that I was talking about people such as burglars when discussing home CCTV and not “criminalising those who have little”. For Heaven’s sake, if that’s the best you can come up with as I reply you’d do better to follow the advice of some of your friends and just ignore me.

  67. Intriguing, this obsessive focus on CCTV, considering the original post was about the US and its satellite states’ increasingly overt contempt for the entire edifice of human rights and jus cogens.

    What, did Bibi rev up the armored bulldozer and plow under some more little girls?

    Did Brennan splat another blushing bride?

    Did GCHQ plant more homegrown kiddy porn on SPD computers?

  68. Who is leopoldo Lopez? Maduro seems to be acting like another tinpot dictator, but is lopez another CIA recruit?

    http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/02/20/who-is-jailed-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez

  69. “12 Banker Suicides Linked to JP Morgan Investigation for Forex Manipulation”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyUiXgtHR8E

  70. If we’re not supporting al Qaida in Syria, we’re fans of neofascists in Ukraine:

    http://rt.com/news/kiev-clashes-rioters-police-571/

    This is on the same subject:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jan/29/ukraine-fascists-oligarchs-eu-nato-expansion

    Obviously the liberal Western media aren’t bothered by either affiliation.

    The BBC had a very interesting live feed on Wednesday: 235 protesters admitted to hospital with gunshot wounds, and 342 police officers with the same. Who are the aggressors here?

    We ignore massacres in Egypt, and of course in Andijan, but the bloodshed in Kiev gets Hague and Fabius et al hot under the collar.

    Eastern Ukraine might form closer ties with Russia, which will be able to secure the Crimea (Black Sea access) forever. Silly Western “democrats”!

  71. Yes, Mike I agree with that analysis regarding Silly Western “democrats” and that closer ties not only might be formed with Russia, but will be formed. Hague has to stick to the script he’s given. There was an occasion when Israel massacred nearly a thousand Lebanese in retaliation for the killing of I think six Israeli soldiers and Hague called it “disproportionate”. As Peter Oborne noted on Despatches the Israeli lobby withdrew funding to the Conservative Party. That’s how it works.

  72. Nextus, if you’re reading, you might like to come and trash some wild speculation of mine, here:

    https://squonk.tk/blog/2014/01/20/the-general-discussion-thread/comment-page-4/#comment-3720

    Mary, 21 Feb, 6:12 pm: yes, there are security holes in routers, or the manufacturer may have deliberately included a ‘back door’. The answer is, of course, Free (GPL) Software – the freedom is our protection. Re-flashing new software into a router is a fairly technical task, but at least routers are cheap/throw-away; you can find plenty down the dump. The software is called LibreWRT; available here:

    http://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html

    http://librewrt.org/

    Habbabkuk, sorry, I’m out of time; I’ll have to get back to you later.

  73. Yes I have noticed. I am afraid and sad :(

  74. BrianFujisan

    22 Feb, 2014 - 1:35 am

    As Craig mentions… some states are sliding towards totalitarianism…. yep…and some of it scary stuff, like this from last summer –

    The United States government claims 100% ownership over all your DNA and reproductive rights. This astonishing revelation has emerged from the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office claims the power to assign ownership of your DNA to private companies and universities who apply for patents on your genes.

    http://www.naturalnews.com/040400_gene_patents_genetic_slavery_human_DNA.html#ixzz2u0e7ZPPc

    And Police abuse of power is never ending in the u.s on Thursday
    four cops arrest an innocent student as she was out jogging with her headphones on…apparently for jay walking… big n brave aint they….some guy caught it on video… nothing much to see really… but the story is a shocking abuse of power

  75. Security State – I have noticed something. My web-page security tells me I am connected to a site[wanbee.org] via ‘CloudFlare’ -Matthew Prince, CEO.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/09/12/cloudflare-ceo-says-insane-nsa-gag-order-is-costing-u-s-tech-firms-customers/

    Can any gracious sleuths and bloodhounds here rubber stamp this outfit? .

  76. An excellent infographic with startling details.

    The only addition I would have made is to the media section, where there is no mention of the state broadcasters like the British Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, etc.

    Which Corporations Control the World?
    By Global Research News

    February 21, 2014
    Hannah Williams

    A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares.

    Banks and Finance, Media, Big Oil, The Global Food Conglomerates,

    The World’s largest banks hold a total of $25.1 trillion in assets

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/which-corporations-control-the-world/5369928

  77. ‘Give us five minutes and we’ll supercharge your website’

    There are a lot of them feeding off Cloudfare Mark.

    http://www.cloudflare.com/people

    I think the four ‘investors’ at the bottom are the ones to study.

  78. “Researchers working on social media ‘lie detector’”

    http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/britain-university.tzk

  79. Mark:

    No need to worry about Cloudflare, essentially they create multiple mirrors of a website in different regions, and then is a user from the EU visits the website, the user will be served a copy of the site from the EU mirror. It’s just a way to increase performance and reduce demands on the main web server. As for the people running the company, no idea, but I would be more worried about Google Analytics on every site if I were you.

  80. “This astonishing revelation has emerged from the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office claims the power to assign ownership of your DNA to private companies and universities who apply for patents on your genes.”

    Perhaps unsurprisingly the Supreme Court ruled against the concept later in the year.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/13/politics/scotus-genes/

    Jaywalking is an offence in most parts of the US and the cops can be as heavy handed as the thugs in London.

  81. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Feb, 2014 - 10:16 am

    Re the repressive security state:

    Interesting video footage just available (from RT!) showing how rasPutin’s state deals with protest in Russia (Sochi) – check it out (just google “Pussy Riot”

    To quote from the RT footage:

    “The footage shows Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, who both served prison sentences for their Moscow church performance, being attacked along with other band members.

    A Cossack appears to spray a substance in the face of one of the band members, who were wearing ski-masks.

    An officer with a whip then proceeds to attack the band members along with a man with a camera.

    Other Cossacks then jump in, punching the band members and throwing them to the floor. ”

    I bet Pussy Riot and the guy with the camera wish they’d had to deal with the evil, fascist, racist British police rather than rasPutin’s nice Cossack police!

  82. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Feb, 2014 - 10:25 am

    Kempe (10h04)

    Thank you for debunking another bit of tendentious nonsense.

  83. Habbabkuk, and Kempe, I advise against complacency in the ongoing struggle about “intellectual property” – which itself is a misleading term. It is remarkable and very worrying that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ever made that original decision. I strongly suspect that the Supreme Court only decided in the people’s favour due to intense campaigning.

    Habbabkuk, please read this short story. It’s fictional, but check the notes at the end; it is based upon very real contemporary developments.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

  84. Habbabkuk, 21 Feb, 6:06 pm: I haven’t read up on the incident (pressure of time) but it doesn’t really matter whether files were “removed”, and it doesn’t work like that with files anyway. Files may be copied, and they may be deleted; “removal” would be copying followed by deletion of the original.

    The authorities will assume that back-up copies probably already exist in a different location, so deletion would be an attempt with some small hope of disadvantaging the target. Copying of files would be an attempt to gain information, for instance, to discover a journalist’s sources, or a lawyer’s defence material.

  85. Kempe 22 Feb, 2014 – 10:04 am

    Wake up!, they will find away around anything to get what they want!, its only a matter of time!. Like this

    http://medconfidential.org/how-to-opt-out/

    “The question many potential voters may well ask is will the real Labour please stand up!”

    http://socialinvestigations.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/newly-appointed-labour-donor-opens.html

  86. Sorry if this has already been posted, but I just noticed a new ‘Rap News’ has been released. Probably the best one yet.

    ‘The News’ feat Sage Francis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VD33jRpeMM

    If you like the Sage Francis verse, I recommend you check out his track ‘Makeshift Patriot’, a great track in response to 911. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3spSAvJkm8

  87. Ben
    21 Feb, 2014 – 8:58 pm

    “…Maduro seems to be acting like another tinpot dictator, but is Lopez another CIA recruit?”

    I’m surprised at you Ben. Maduro a tin-pot dictator?

    Only in the western media.

    His predecessor Chaves was treated the same:

    “Such is the state of misrepresentation of Venezuela – it is probably the most lied-about country in the world – that a journalist can say almost anything about Chávez or his government and it is unlikely to be challenged, so long as it is negative.

    Even worse, Rather referred to Chávez as “the dictator” – a term that few, if any, political scientists familiar with the country would countenance.”

    “Here is what Jimmy Carter said about Venezuela’s “dictatorship” a few weeks ago:

    “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

    Read more:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/03/why-us-dcemonises-venezuelas-democracy

    As for Lopez, is he a CIA recruit?

    Well he went to a private school in Princeton New Jersey USA, then Kenyon College, Ohio, USA and then Harvard University. He is an economist of the neo-liberal type so will be loved by the regime in Washington.

    What do you think?

  88. An interesting insight into the world of Julian Assange.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/2014/02/21/andrew-ohagan/ghosting

  89. Habbabkuk, 6.06pm

    Sorry, I forgot to ask : is anyone claiming that the files were removed from the device before Mr Miranda got it back, or was he allowed to leave with both device and files?

    I believe all items seized from Miranda are still being ‘worked on’ by GCHQ so therefore, no, they’ve not been returned. The difficulty was that they are unable to crack the encryption and seem to have only been able to some sort of outer layer (perhaps some top-level file tree) enabling them to estimate there were 58,000 files on Miranda’s drive, and partially decrypt 75 of those. Go here if you want to read the full set of legal documents in which the UK police explain to the High Court what GCHQ is doing:

    http://freesnowden.is/category/legal-documents/index.html

  90. Alan campbell

    22 Feb, 2014 - 2:06 pm

    The last thing you have to read about Assange. What a f*cking nutter.

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/2014/02/21/andrew-ohagan/ghosting

  91. Be warned, Fred – there is a whole world of contextual detail missing from that “inside” account by Assange’s ghostwriter, such as the existence of the banking blockade against Wikileaks, ditto the existence of the US Whole-of-Government task force against the organisation, the recently revealed “Manhunting Timeline” of the NSA’s, the proven misconduct by the Swedish prosecutor, etc etc. As an insider, Andrew O’Hagan would be very aware of all this and how much of Assange’s statements and behaviour could be explained in light of it. The fact that O’Hagan has nevertheless omitted it all allows the reader to see his ‘lecture’ for what it is.

    I read it all carefully last night and spotted quite a few outright lies (by O’Hagan, I mean) so I can only assume that this lecture was intended as a ‘sales pitch’ for a book deal. The point about having “all the tapes, which are really shocking” is a bit too laboured.

    His career as a ghostwriter commissioned to deal with anything vaguely confidential is over – who’d touch him now? So, the only question that remains is Bought And Paid For, but by whom? The angry and superior tone of the whole thing implies that he more or less hated Assange from the get-go, and yet it’s clear that until about a month ago Assange saw him as a ‘friend’. I can’t help feeling, therefore, that O’Hagan was basically so pissed off he didn’t get what he wanted out of the imploded autobiography that he’s subsequently used the access afforded to him as a (pretend-)friend to gather more material for his own purposes.

  92. Any chance of Craig commenting on the situation in Ukraine?

    This thread on Medialens raises some questions on who or what fills the power vacuum.

    ‘Ukranian President is awol; palace abandoned; Nuland feted in Whitehouse presumably
    Kiev handed over to an armed, neo-nazi mob: well done Catherine Ashton
    Ukraine could split in two.
    etc etc’

    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/thread/1393067848.html

    The largest country in Europe. Population 46 million.

    The BBC appear to very satisfied with the current situation.

  93. “The last thing you have to read about Assange. What a f*cking nutter.”

    I just read it and that wasn’t the impression I got.

    He struck me as someone who the younger generations would probably identify themselves with and let’s face it, they are the future. We got this world into one hell of a mess, we let the wrong people get too much power and our only hope is that future generations are not like us.

  94. Trying to link to pictures from Aangirfan:
    http://aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-war-in-ukraine.html

  95. @Arbed

    I don’t know what your problem is with the piece unless maybe it didn’t build Assange into something you want him to be.

    For me it removed much of the mystery, which I’m sure was the intent rather than to be a comprehensive timeline of Wikileaks events.

  96. Nadhim Zahawi took the opportunity of being on Any Questions to insult Islam gratuitously by saying that he enjoyed Red wine. How to climb the slippery poles of power in UK 2014.

  97. Hi Fred,

    Well, we may be coming to it from different bases but I’m glad to hear you thought it helped your understanding.

    My problem with it is the outright lies it contains, such as saying that Julian Assange and Wikileaks hacked and reversed the Mubarak shut-down of the internet during the early days of the Arab Spring. In fact, it was an organisation called Telecomix who did that. Telecomix are closely connected to Wikileaks, and sympathetic to their cause, but they are nevertheless a different organisation. And giving his readers the false impression that Wikileaks themselves did this hack, instead of merely knowing about it as it was happening, plays right into the hands of the US Department of Justice who are eager to find *any* charges on which to hoick Assange over there – whether founded in fact, nor not.

    Another substantial lie it contains is the part about Al-Jazeera allegedly offering Assange/Wikileaks $1.3 million dollars for exclusive access to Cablegate. O’Hagan is, of course, careful not to say whether such an offer was accepted or indeed whether negotiations proceeded beyond the point of this ‘offer’. You see, Al-Jazeera became one of the official media partners (meaning the cables relating to their region were shared with them free of charge, as with all the other media partners) pretty early in 2011 just as the Arab Spring was kicking off. See the excellent little film Mediastan – can be downloaded here: http://mediastan.net/ – to see that all media partners got the cables for free. But, again, this type of allegation – “Wikileaks sold the cables” – gives the US Department of Justice the opportunity to drum up all sorts of false charges against the organisation. Damn dangerous stuff.

    So, that’s my reasons for having a problem with this O’Hagan piece – not the character assassination of Assange it contains (which, I guess, he must be used to by now – struck me as very old hat, anyway).

  98. @Arbed

    Can’t say that I noticed any character assassinations, maybe we have different opinions on what good qualities in a person are.

  99. Doug; I am still looking for any media outlet telling a different story on Maduro. He could just be a victim of covert ops, but his behavior plays into their hands.

    http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/02/20/who-is-jailed-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez

  100. @Fred,

    Actually, I agree with you. What I meant was that Assange comes across in it as more human and likeable than O’Hagan does. I always hate it when a writer attempts to paint themselves whiter-than-white, while at the same time doing their best to blacken their subject’s character – hence, I call it character assassination but really I should add the word ‘attempted’ because I don’t think the piece really succeeds in that objective.

    I’d also be curious to know how this piece squares with the ethics of being a ghostwriter. I know that the ghostwriter/subject confidentiality relationship is not legally formalized in the same way that attorney/client or doctor/patient is, but there must be some sort of professional ethics subscribed to by ghostwriters. As far as I’m aware, a ghostwriter doing something like this to a living subject he’s contracted with is unprecedented.

  101. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    22 Feb, 2014 - 4:48 pm

    Ben

    I see from that link of yours on Venezuela (http://www.ticotimes.net/2014/02/20/who-is-jailed-venezuelan-opposition-leader-leopoldo-lopez) that President Nicolas Maduro Moros (to give him his full name!) has taken to calling his opponents “right wing fascists”. Typical for a left wing wannabe demagogue.

  102. “The largest country in Europe. Population 46 million.

    The BBC appear to very satisfied with the current situation.”

    Germany no longer in Europe then?

    As the Ukraine appears to have halted its descent into civil war we might be excused a small sigh of relief. Of course it may be short lived and a lot will hinge on the forthcoming elections.

  103. Guano Nadim Zahawi is the trougher who was claiming on expenses for the heating of his horse stables!

    Child benefits cuts call from Tory MP who claims expenses to heat stables at his mansion
    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/child-benefits-cuts-call-tory-2931012

    I switched him off Guano.

  104. “The Security State crushes ever tighter”

    While some of the previous comments are interesting and thought-provoking in their own rights some do not exactly fit in with the topic. Have you noticed, asked Craig Murray, that states, he means like the UK and US, are moving ever closer to totalitarianism. Since 9/11 new laws have been introduced called anti-terrorism laws. They have enabled the imprisonment of people like Talha Ahsan and Babar Ahmed without trial for years on end. In this short video Hamja Ahsan, brother of Talha, speaks about why he has become a human rights’ activist. The way the police entered the Ahsan household and took away personal possessions that could not in any way be connected with terrorism, and imprisonment without trial demonstrates how things we took for granted are gone. Think about this carefully. One day it is going to you and your family.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVa7dPOKLXM

  105. Mary

    I’m cynical enough to believe that they say and do these things deliberately to get themselves onto the BBC panels and further up the UK political pole and one day when they get to the top… chop… suddenly they call for Shari’ah.
    I want shari’ah, but not racially-tinted shari’ah.
    I like democracy in Ukraine, but not US=flavour, Chewyer’ear.

  106. On Canadian politics and Stephen Harper.

    Speak Now or Forever Renounce Peace
    February 9, 2014

    Antoni Wysocki argues that having to decide amongst the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Conservatives is like being asked if it would be preferable to drink hemlock from a red, orange or blue cup.

    ‘Stephen Harper is odious; this much is obvious. His foreign policy is about running interference for Washington in internationals affairs; his economic policy is to export whatever can be extruded from the tar sands; his domestic policy is building prisons. Harper’s determination to obstruct, divert or distort all streams of information that do not flow directly from his office suggests a man at war with the idea of independent thought as such. Harper’s very countenance and manner are vaguely horrifying, giving the impression of some failed simulacrum of a human being — a creepily imperfect copy whose uncanny presence is wont to induce horripilation. In short, Central Casting could scarcely have selected someone better suited to the role of bogeyman in the nightmares of Canada’s left and liberals. No wonder editorial cartoonist Michael de Adder likes to depict Harper in the guise of Darth Vader.’

    [..]

    ‘What changes took place in 2013 to so radically overthrow standard conceptions of the global political order? One was the release of an avalanche of top secret documents by Edward Snowden, who obtained them while working for the National Security Agency of the United States.

    That the capitalist system is safeguarded the world over by a universal policing establishment under the direction of the United States was not news to those who had been paying attention, but it was only with Snowden’s revelations that the regime’s true dimensions finally hove into view. Thanks to Snowden we now know that the United States government commands a global spying operation that is invasive and ubiquitous beyond the most fervid longings of a Hitler or a Stalin; a totalitarian surveillance apparatus so monstrous as to have no parallels outside the realm of science fiction.

    Nor — and here we come to the other great thunderbolt of 2013 — are the masters of the universe satisfied with merely being omniscient. One of God’s attributes is that nothing is hidden from Him; another is that He alone decides who will live and who must die. Naturally then this is a regime that, in the person of the president of the United States, openly and explicitly reserves to itself the right to exterminate by fiat whomsoever it pleases, anywhere on the planet. In February of last year a white paper released by the administration of US President Barack Obama put the world on formal notice of this autotelic licence to kill.

    There could be no more obscene insult to the most basic notions of justice, freedom and democracy than this world-spanning system of surveillance and repression. Yet the parliamentary opposition has neither denounced this unbounded tyranny nor called for Canada to cease its direct participation in it as a member of the “Five Eyes” network with the US, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.’

    http://halifax.mediacoop.ca/blog/antoni-wysocki/21347

  107. I agree, John. I think of the Pastor Bonhoeffer poem when considering this creeping totalitarianism. Maybe the West thinks that as China can have capitalism without democracy, “we” should go the same way.

    To answer Craig’s question, if you pay attention, you’ll notice. But for as long as there is cheap food and screen-based distractions, most people, it seems to me, don’t really care.

    If UK capitalism can’t be revived – growth and jobs – that might change, I guess; there could be enough disenfranchised young people to become politicised and active – and angry.

  108. “If UK capitalism can’t be revived – growth and jobs – that might change, I guess; there could be enough disenfranchised young people to become politicised and active – and angry.”

    There were a lot of angry young men in my day as well as playwright John Osborne. But then our forefathers had fought to get a national health service and other rights (like amendments to working hours, overtime pay and good safety practices). Many of these have gone and the Tories are currently chipping away at the NHS, siphoning off the more lucrative parts to their private sponsors, and making the rest top-heavy with management (who all have to be paid) instead of doctors and nurses. It is a world gone mad.

  109. Can the UK’s official unemployment figures be trusted (sorry for O/T)?

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/money/jobs/unemployment-figures-iain-duncan-smiths-3152770

    There was also a snippet (tucked away) in the Guardian, but not a peep from the state broadcaster.

  110. I agree John Goss.

    When I was at school in the ’60s, we were all politically aware, and mostly ‘left’ in the sense of caring about inequality and injustice. I went to the Garden House demo in Cambridge against the Greek military junta. Melford Stephenson would be at home in today’s world I think.

  111. Johno, Judge Stevenson defended the last woman to be hanged, Ruth Ellis. At the Nuremberg trials he “served as Judge Advocate at the “Peleus” Trial, swiftly despatching Commander Eck and two other officers of the German submarine U852 to death by firing squad.” He fought for the reintroduction of the death penalty after its abolition. He stood as a Tory. There is not much more to say about him except for the harsh sentences he handed out especially as concerned the Cambridge protesters.

    http://copperknob.wordpress.com/extra-notes-melford-stevenson/

  112. An interesting and quite scary article here about the use of panoptical surveillance and its uses within the corporate world:

    https://medium.com/matter/76d9913c6011

  113. @ Mary 22 Feb, 2014 – 6:37 pm
    Quote from the Antoni Wysocki article you referred to above: “One of God’s attributes is that nothing is hidden from Him…”

    It isn’t necessary for God to exist, only for a large number of people to believe that nothing is hidden from Him and He will exact vengeance.

    This from a reader’s comment on a Washington Post blog some months ago, discussing the ObamaCare website fiasco:

    “Snowden’s real threat is that he reveals the NSA doesn’t have any clothes.”

    “This is a rare glimpse of what kind of computer systems are being built by and for Government. The vast majority of them are like that. Both in cost and quality. Defense or civilian. It is even worse in the Defense/Intelligence sector because of the secrecy. And the price tag is at least double because of that.”

    “The only difference is that this garbage got exposed to general public to see it. We have a cottage industry of both Gov contractors and Gov employees who are in one business only: to milk the taxpayers cow as much as they can. And try entering that circle. They will eat you alive.”

    This from the British playwright Sir David Hare:

    “The security services are running the country. The American security services have been ripped off for such huge sums of money, a lot of them for phantom projects that don’t even exist. They’ve been taken to the cleaners. Apart from anything else, the war on terror has been the biggest criminal racket for the last 10 years.”

    http://
    aangirfan.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/the-spooks-run-country-sir-david-hare.html?m=1

  114. doug scorgie

    23 Feb, 2014 - 9:13 am

    Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!
    22 Feb, 2014 – 10:16 am

    “Re the repressive security state:”

    “Interesting video footage just available (from RT!) showing how rasPutin’s state deals with protest in Russia (Sochi)…”

    Yes Habbabkuk it is disturbing but not surprising; power corrupts.

    A link to the video here:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26263141

    British police are not immune to the corrupting effects of power.

    How the British state deal with protest:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8597217.stm

    There are many other example of police brutality in Britain and of course the USA and most go unpunished.

    Perhaps you can’t see the wood for the trees Habbabkuk

  115. Last October’s speech given by Andrew Parker, head of MI5, at the HQ of RUSI.

    Director of Security Service on MI5 and the Evolving Threat
    http://www.rusi.org/events/past/ref:E5254359BB8F44#.UlRy-RZsfld

    I had been looking at this profile of David Abrahams, the Labour Party donor involved in a donations scandal in 2007. He is now a vice president of RUSI!
    He obviously seeks and obtains associations with the powerful as he views them. He is still a Labour supporter.

    Political Lives: David Abrahams
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25869867

    Petraeus is the Senior Vice President.
    http://www.rusi.org/about/council/

    McChrystal is speaking there on March 3rd
    A lecture by General (Ret) Stanley A. McChrystal, former Commander of US and NATO International Security Assistance Forces, Afghanistan.General Ret Stanley A McChrystal

    In his lecture, General McChrystal will reflect on the enduring lessons of leadership and the complex security challenges of Iraq and Afghanistan. He will also make observations on the emerging requirements of the ‘post-Afghan’ security environment.

    LOL

  116. I have just referred to Petraeus speaking at RUSI.

    I saw this quote about him in the Bill Moyers’ article that Someone posted.
    http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/21/anatomy-of-the-deep-state/

    ‘In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy.

    Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican.’

  117. Sorry. It was McChrystal who is speaking at RUSI. Petraeus is the Senior Vice President there. Lots of flights across the Atlantic then?

  118. doug scorgie

    23 Feb, 2014 - 9:51 am

    Ben
    22 Feb, 2014 – 3:40 pm

    “Doug; I am still looking for any media outlet telling a different story on Maduro. He could just be a victim of covert ops, but his behaviour plays into their hands.”

    I don’t know what you mean by his “behaviour” Ben.

    If you want to know more about the situation in Venezuela you could try this:

    http://venezuelanalysis.com/

  119. Thanks for the link to O Hagans piece of ‘ghosting, at Ellingham and the intersting discussion you had with Arbed.

    The problem with taking other peoples assumptions or near truth, is the exclusion of the subject from real life.
    If Julian Assange was free to speak and act, without the pressures that eminates from the hegemonial power structures of this world, then we could make our own mind up, won’t have to rely on this or that morsel to pre judge a character.
    It still was a good reflection of his time at Ellingham Hall, some 20 miles from here. I desisted from visiting Vaughan during that time, but ensured that his plight was raised on local radio and in the press.

    Mayb e the omissions of OHagan were due to lax research, or feeding from too many troughs out there, all pushing one or other false speculations, maybe its due to some editor asking for embllishments, we do not know.

    I do not need to see Julian in the flesh to support his plight for freedom, justice and acceptance of his vital work within Wikileaks, but it would slightly change my perception of him should it happen in future.

    Which brings me back to the ‘against crushing us with security garden party’…….

  120. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 1:17 pm

    re President Nicolas Maduro Morors

    “I don’t know what you mean by his “behaviour” Ben.”
    ___________________

    I think, Mr Scorgie, that if you look at the links Ben supplied, you will get some idea of what he meant.

    I know it’s heresy to even whisper a word of criticism about El Presidente and so I would like to thank Ben for those links.

    I shall of course also peruse the link you kindly supplied, Mr Scorgie, and then compare what’s there with comment and analysis available from other sources.

  121. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 1:23 pm

    “There are many other example of police brutality in Britain and of course the USA and most go unpunished.”
    ________________________

    I’m sure you’re right, Mr Scorgie, but if I were a protester, dissident or otherwise disaffected with the the state, I think I’d rather take my chances in the UK than in the land of President rasPutin.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Actually, you may have (inadvertently) put your digit on it when you wrote

    “…it is disturbing but not surprising; power corrupts.”

    I would tend to agree with that and therefore draw the conclusion that many of the woes and travails of humanity have their roots in the nature of the human being himself and are not unique to the UK, the USA and the West.

  122. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 1:36 pm

    “Judge Stevenson defended the last woman to be hanged, Ruth Ellis. At the Nuremberg trials he “served as Judge Advocate at the “Peleus” Trial, swiftly despatching Commander Eck and two other officers of the German submarine U852 to death by firing squad.””

    ________________

    Thanks for the above, Mr Goss, it was very interesting. I looked up the case just now and also learnt that the three Germans were tried, convicted and executed (firing squad) for having shot the survivors of a Greek merchant ship clinging to wreckage in the water.

    I didn’t find anything about “swiftly dispatching” anyone, though; the impression I got was that the trial was a perfectly normal war crimes trail, neither faster or slower than any other. But if you dispose of any information to the contrary, I’d be interested to hear it.

    BTW, did you know that the house in Brighton to which Judge Stevenson retired was named “Truncheons”? I think that was rather witty.

  123. doug scorgie

    23 Feb, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    Can I suggest that Craig or his IT helpers set up an “off-Topic” thread?

    It would help to remove the temptation to post off-topic material on specific threads.

    I’d like to post about the ongoing situation in Venezuela for example.

  124. Mary,

    “Why the US media ignored Murdoch’s brazen bid to hijack the presidency”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/20/bernstein-murdoch-ailes-petreaus-presidency

  125. Well done Russia for Sochi and for winning. US fourth!

    1 Russian Federation 13 11 9 33 Gold silver and bronze. 
    2 Norway 11 5 10 26 ditto 
    3 Canada 10 10 5 25 ditto 
    4 United States 9 7 12 28 ditto

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/winter-olympics/2014/medals/countries

  126. Yes, Mary, shame about the US. The UK too, but then again, we did better than expected. The Times says that £34 billion was spent by the Russians and asks if it was worth it. I think the answer is it is much better spending that kind of money in international competitive sport than in killing people to steal their resources. I mention no names but we all know who they are and Russia is not among them.

  127. Doug; Thanks. I’ve been distracted with personal matters for some time now and haven’t had time to separate the chaff from the wheat. It’s been several days and Craig seems to have interest in the topic for a day or two, so I shouldn’t worry about breaking this up with Venezuela. In fact I think it would be instructive.

    “Bloodworth says that he supported the Chavista movement when a US backed coup violently ousted Hugo Chavez in 2002. “I have no trouble remembering which side I was on” he claims – very dubiously as I’ll explain.

    Bloodworth doesn’t remember that Leopoldo Lopez was among the leaders of that coup. This video shows Leopoldo Lopez and Henrique Capriles (a state governor who ran against Maduro in April of 2013) supervising the illegal “arrest” of a Chavez government minister during the 2002 coup. Bloodworth objects to Lopez’s arrest for leading protests over the past few weeks that are clearly aimed at repeating what happened in 2002, but Bloodworth never considers an incredibly obvious point. Lopez would have been locked up for decades (if he were lucky) had he participated in the violent overthrow of the UK or US governments. If not for the Venezuelan government’s unusually high tolerance for dissent, Lopez and Capriles (his “moderate” ally) would never have been around to lead protests, much less hold public office as Capriles now does. One can only shudder at what their fate would have been in the USA after participating in a briefly successful coup. Chelsea Manning has been locked up for years and openly tortured simply for exposing human rights abuses and embarrassing the US government. Manning will not be leading violent protests or holding public office (even if she wanted to) any time soon.

    Bloodworth also forgets (or more likely doesn’t know or care) that Human Rights Watch (HRW) utterly disgraced itself during the 2002 coup. He takes HRW assessments of Venezuela at face value but does not recall that during the 2002 coup HRW failed to denounce the coup, failed to call on other countries not to recognize the Carmona dictatorship, failed to invoke the OAS charter, and did not call for an investigation of US involvement. Thankfully, most governments in the region denounced the 2002 coup at once, exactly as HRW would have done had it not been penetrated by US State Department officials and other elites as Keane Bhatt recently noted.

  128. “This Week in Internet Censorship: Opaque Censorship in Turkey, Russia, and Britain”

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/week-internet-censorship-opaque-censorship-turkey-russia-and-britain

  129. Bloodworth has resorted to smearing Joe Emersberger of Venezuela Analysis in exactly the same way that Oliver Kamm of the Times who smeared the Medialens Editors as ‘holocaust deniers’ on Srebrenica. Remarkable.

    https://twitter.com/J_Bloodworth/status/437533750100897792

    Who is this person with the unfortunate sounding surname? He seems to have/have had a foot in several doors.

    http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/james-bloodworth/38/486/274

  130. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    @John Goss
    “I think the answer is it is much better spending that kind of money in international competitive sport than in killing people to steal their resources.”

    And of course the Russian Government wouldn’t kill anyone or steal their resources. Why do you think the Sochi games cost more than all the previous Winter Olympics put together – don’t you think that there is the slightest possibility that some of the spending was diverted elsewhere? Why do you think that most of Russia’s natural resources are now in the hands of Putin and the oligarchs – when they all used to be state owned? Why do you think Putin has spent rather more on his palace than the now deposed Ukrainian president? Why do you think Putin and his cronies are such great admirers of the General Pinochet? Why do you think that they introduced a flat rate income tax system with a tax rate of 13% and for those oligarchs who thought that was a little on the high side allowed them to avoid tax through a rather helpful tax treaty with Cyprus. And if you don’t believe that the Russian kleptocracy woun’t kill people in order to steal their own resources from them – perhaps you should look at what they spend on pensions, health and housing for their own people.

  131. I thought that Joe Emersberger was part of Venezuela Analysis. Not so.

    http://venezuelanalysis.com/about

    But he does contribute.
    http://venezuelanalysis.com/search/node/emersberger

  132. What next for Prosor and Sacks? International Friends of Israel? International Friends of BICOM?

    Prosor and Sacks to launch American friends of BICOM
    February 19, 2014

    Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor will address a New York event marking the launch of American Friends of BICOM next week.

    The new group will support the work of the London-based organisation, which aims to create a more supportive environment for Israel including by taking journalists and opinion-formers to the Jewish state and Palestinian territories.

    The launch of the first Friends of BICOM group in America recognises the growing impact of British media in the US.

    The BBC is among the world’s most widely-consumed broadcasters, the Daily Mail’s website recently overtook the New York Times as the most visited newspaper site and the Guardian’s site last year saw 12.5m visitors from the States.

    Bicom Dinner 13037http://jewishnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/007-Bicom-Dinner-13037-2.jpg?ce4b75

    BICOM CEO Dermot Kehoe said: “The launch of American Friends of BICOM gives a great opportunity for further transatlantic cooperation. The global reach of British media means BICOM’s work matters worldwide.”

    Prosor is to join former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks during the launch event, where around 100 guests will hear about the importance of engaging with UK media. It will be hosted by BICOM founder Poju Zabludowicz, chairman Edward Misrahi and the new American Friends of BICOM board.

    The launch was announced as the organisation unveiled a new 60-page BICOM publication called ‘The Apartheid Smear,’ which addresses the intellectual foundation of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) movement.

    The document will be circulated by Israel’s foreign ministry with pro-Israel groups worldwide. In the UK, the Union of Jewish Students (UJS) has been working with BICOM to distribute the leaflet on campus.

    http://jewishnews.co.uk/prosor-sacks-launch-american-friends-bicom/

  133. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    Mary

    Of course it was not just Oliver Kamm who got it spot on about Media Lens and Srebenica but George Monbiot who Media Lens, of taking “the unwarranted step of belittling the acts of genocide committed by opponents of the western powers”.

    And where exactly do you stand on what happened at Srebenica, Mary?

  134. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 3:47 pm

    I should add that what we are seeing with the response to O’Hagan and Bloodworth is of course further examples of how political and religious cults save their greatest venom for their apostates. And the more the “true” believers protest the more that we know that this is the case.

  135. Mary: “Well done Russia for Sochi and for winning. US fourth!”

    Isn’t it funny. Mary couldn’t stick the London Olympics, or “Limp Ics” as she called them. Far too much money spent at the expense of ordinary people, if I remember correctly. And yet here we have the most expensive Games in history, Summer or Winter, and not only is Mary completely silent on the grotesque expenditure that pales into insignificance that of the London Games, but she actually has the gall to gloat about the number of Russian medals won.

    If you don’t like her principles, she has others!

  136. “The government also suspects that “paramilitaries and criminal gangs” are involved in the actions, with the complicity of the local opposition mayor, Daniel Ceballos.”

    http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/10386

    Translation-CIA

  137. For information – the Medialens Editors wrote:

    DANCING ON A MASS GRAVE – OLIVER KAMM OF THE TIMES SMEARS MEDIA LENS
    25 November 2009
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2009/585-dancing-on-a-mass-grave-oliver-kamm-of-the-times-smears-media-lens.html

    A ‘Malign Intellectual Subculture’ – George Monbiot Smears Chomsky, Herman, Peterson, Pilger And Media Lens
    02 August 2011
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2011/637-a-malign-intellectual-subculture-george-monbiot-smears-chomsky-herman-peterson-pilger-and-media-lens-sp-1119850121.html

    ‘Sworn Enemies’? A Response To George Monbiot
    6 November 2012
    http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2012/704-sworn-enemies-a-response-to-george-monbiot.html

  138. Ref smearing of Sochi by Western media.

    The media’s ‘crusade’ against Sochi: where does the whistle blow from?
    Wed, Feb 5, 2014

    ‘Jon HELLEVIG (Finland)

    The Western press is once again brimming with a fresh wave of anti-Sochi slander. The new round is dedicated to the supposedly “skyrocketing” costs of the games, or the “bacchanalia of waste and corruption” as Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times so poetically expresses it.*’

    *
    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/27/world/europe/russians-debate-sticker-price-of-sochi-games.html?_r=1

    http://orientalreview.org/2014/02/05/the-medias-crusade-against-sochi-where-does-the-whistle-blow-from/

  139. “Venezuela Beyond the Protests: The Revolution is Here to Stay”

    http://www.chavezcode.com/2014/02/venezuela-beyond-protests-revolution-is.html

  140. Protestors still wearing masks. Why? Is there a chance Moscow might throw some weight around in the Ukraine?

  141. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    Why? Is there a chance Moscow might throw some weight around in the Ukraine?

    Yes – or they might try to freeze by turning off the gas, or starve them – all of which has been tried in the past. It is quite comical how some point to US/EU interference in the current dispute and ignore both the current and past interference of Russia in the affairs of the Ukraine.

  142. Ach. The threat already made; http://www.eutimes.net/2014/02/russian-threat-of-war-over-ukraine-stuns-obama-regime/

    “A new report by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) relating to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine says that United States President Barack Obama was “stunned” yesterday after President Putin warned him in a telephone dialogue between these two leaders that Russia was prepared to send over 250,000 heavily armed troops into Crimea to protect the sovereignty of its citizens against further US-EU aggression.”

  143. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Mary

    Is this another smear of Sochi or is it just a raid on pension funds so as to plug a gap in the state pension fund that might otherwise have been funded by a cheaper Winter Olympics

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/03/us-russia-pension-idUSBRE9920UT20131003

    What would have been your reaction if such a thing had been tried by the UK Government?

  144. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 5:00 pm

    Mary and John

    Is your problem with the Tories and their NHS cuts that they are not being as ambitious as your friends in Moscow? Do you really believe that the spending on the Sochi games was justified against such a background?

    http://rbth.co.uk/articles/2013/01/12/russian_authorities_plan_to_cut_health_spending_in_2013_21817.html

  145. 23rd June 2007

    “Sentient world: war games on the grandest scale”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/06/23/sentient_worlds/

  146. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 6:01 pm

    Nick Cohen gets it spot on in today’s Observer:

    “You complain about ‘western imperialism’,” we should say. “Allow us to show you what modern imperialism will do to you if you even think of sending snipers to shoot peaceful demonstrators. We will change the locks of your apartments on Fifth Avenue, the Avenue Montaigne and Kensington Palace Gardens. We will shutter your villas of Cap Ferrat. Then we will empty your bank accounts so completely you will realise that all your thieving has been for nothing.”

    The Putin’s, Karimov’s and Yanukovych’s of this world should note.

  147. Great closing ceremony to the Sochi Olympics, with a bit of humour referencing the the ring that failed to open. And of course Misha the bear and the single tear. Very moving. A pity there are those who comment here who can only see the bad in Russia. Incredible organisation said the English commentators.

    Thanks Mary for the Bicom links. I do not know about you but I suspect the moderator(s) is having the weekend off. They do such sterling work. I am expecting a few comments to be gone tomorrow. Responding would be futile. Even this might go because it is off topic.

  148. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    John Goss

    I can see plenty of good in Russia – it just isn’t represented by Putin and the oligarchs or their show projects – the good lies with their many many victims.

  149. Nick Cohen the shill for BLiar’s war on Iraq, like Aaronovitch and Rent(a)tool.
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/mar/03/10-years-right-invaded-iraq

    ~~

    Yes John. We are ALL God’s children. I watched some of the closing ceremony although I have not watched any of the events. I do not like snow or ice! I thought the ceremony was more tasteful than London’s and much more creative. Not as jingoistic either. No dummy queens jumping from helicopters and not the constant wrapping everything in the national flag, the butcher’s apron in our case.

    ~~

    The mods will be busy with the delete button as you say. I just complimented the Russians for leading the medal table and saying well done for Sochi and suddenly there was a mass arrival here. No response is best.

  150. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:09 pm

    John and Mary

    If you understood the first thing about Russia you would understand that the Sochi Olympics and the despots in charge would be the last place to go looking for all that is good about Russia. Might I suggest that I know rather more about Russia and Russians than you are ever likely to – I shall be kind and assume that you are just Putin’s useful idiots rather than his fellow travellers for the present.

  151. Mary I second your remark. A great games.

    Getting back to the topic Binoy Kampmark argues: “The material Snowden supplied, the subject matter in Miranda’s possession when he found himself being detained at Heathrow, was vital. It served a fundamental purpose: to expose massive, unaccounted surveillance by supposedly free states against their own citizens and those of allied countries.”

    See more at: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/02/23/freedom-of-the-press-government-does-not-know-best/#sthash.tj5KxD91.dpuf

  152. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:12 pm

    Mary

    Does the stance of Nick Cohen et al on the Iraq War just mean that they are non people (and hence not God’s children) and that all views on any other subjects can just be dismissed? Do you apply a similar principle to all who disagree with you on this blog?

  153. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:28 pm

    Mary

    I have read the Media Lens links you provided very carefully and no where can I see a clear and definitive statement from the writers that they believed that that there was a massacre at Srebenica that amounted to genocide. Without seeing Kamm’s and Monbiot’s original articles and the pieces they were complaining about it is not possible to conclude whether their charges of “genocide denial” are supportable – you seem only to want to present one side of the case, presumably with the view of encouraging others to support that side.

    Perhaps you could confirm whether or not you believe that there was a massacre at Srebenica that amounted to genocide? I most definitely do.

  154. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:34 pm

    John

    Since you are an expert on all thinks Russian perhaps you might wish to elucidate on whether or not the charge of “massive, unaccounted surveillance by supposedly free states against their own citizens and those of allied countries” might also applies to Russia – or would that amount to not seeing the good side about Russia?

    PS Do you think Left Unity would be in favour of a 13% flat income tax rate and pension and NHS cuts here in the UK just like in Russia?

  155. Res
    I am reading War and Peace. How will my knowledge of Russia be through the book.

  156. “Does the stance of Nick Cohen et al on the Iraq War just mean that they are non people (and hence not God’s children) and that all views on any other subjects can just be dismissed?”

    I just read his piece and I must say in my opinion he is a most repugnant man with no good qualities whatsoever.

    His first line: “Ten years on, the case for invading Iraq is still valid” is a lie in itself. Which case is he talking about? The yellowcake from Niger? The links to Bin Laden? The WMDs? That was the case put to us, they weren’t valid then and they certainly aren’t valid now.

    He helped murder a hell of a lot more Iraqis than Saddam did and still counting, war is still waging in Fallujah ten years on with no end in sight.

    Bloody psychopaths, no shame, still got the brass neck to pretend the did nothing wrong.

  157. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:54 pm

    Jay

    You’ll get nearer to the soul of Russians through Tolstoy than any of Putin’s productions. Anyone who knows Russians will know that “soul” is very important – its obe of the few things the despots cannot touch.

  158. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 7:58 pm

    Fred

    You didn’t read the piece he wrote today that I referred to – what is objectionable about that and why is the Iraq war of relevance.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/22/stop-state-terrorists-seize-assets

    You may of course want to indulge in the statutory five minutes hate.

  159. “You didn’t read the piece he wrote today that I referred to – what is objectionable about that and why is the Iraq war of relevance. ”

    Everything is objectionable about that. Is he going to seize the assets of Bush and Blair?

    I suppose the terrorists trained at Fort Benning aren’t really terrorists as far as he’s concerned.

    Why did you mention the Iraq war if you don’t think it’s relevant? You asked a question, I answered it, the man is a liar, he has no conscience and no remorse for the hundreds of thousands he helped murder. They should seize every penny he as made from peddling his war mongering lies. It’s people like him the world wants rid off.

  160. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 8:28 pm

    Why did you mention the Iraq war if you don’t think it’s relevant?

    I didn’t

  161. Getting back to the topic of the blog Binoy Kampmark argues: “The material Snowden supplied, the subject matter in Miranda’s possession when he found himself being detained at Heathrow, was vital. It served a fundamental purpose: to expose massive, unaccounted surveillance by supposedly free states against their own citizens and those of allied countries.”

    See more at: http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/02/23/freedom-of-the-press-government-does-not-know-best/#sthash.tj5KxD91.dpuf

  162. “I didn’t”

    So who wrote: “Does the stance of Nick Cohen et al on the Iraq War just mean that they are non people (and hence not God’s children) and that all views on any other subjects can just be dismissed?”?

    Don’t keep trying to deny it, anyone can look back and see for themselves.

    I answered your question as far as I’m concerned, yes, most definitely, the man has shown himself to be a heartless liar. I wouldn’t believe a word he said about anything.

  163. I think the author is thinking of Venezuela primarily. Then Ukraine and then any other country which the USUKIsNato axis alights upon.

    The White Army Still Marches
    by Paul Lojeski / February 22nd, 2014

    Dark vipers
    slink through
    the shadows
    of Democracy,
    reactionary
    forces waving
    bloody hands
    in the night.
    Under diplomatic
    cover they slip
    into countries
    whose elected
    leaders Wall
    Street doesn’t
    abide, leaders
    who resist the
    slavery of capital,
    who steer a course,
    instead, towards
    decency. Once
    there, they plot
    and scheme,
    instigating violent
    unrest, turning
    the streets
    a sea of red
    and a smiling
    assassin puts
    a bullet
    in the leader’s
    heart and the
    United States
    of Counter-
    Democracy
    declares another
    victory for freedom,
    while the invisible
    killers quietly
    move on to
    another target.
    Are you next?

    From Dissident Voice

  164. KingofWelshNoir: “I also know in my heart why no one does anything against the State oppression: life’s too comfortable. Instead of making Molotov cocktails we’re busy making ones with mini parasols and pineapple chunks on them”

    Indeed, not only too comfortable, and kept in passive inaction by numerous “bread & circuses” factors, but also by the fear to oneself & to your family & friends, if you dare raise your head high enough to draw the attention.

    Which is why the bravery shown by recent whistleblowers simply defies description; the US deliberately made a show of the long drawn-out torturing of Manning, in order to terrorise other potential whistlebowers, and the same with its hidden hand directing the persecution of Assange, yet despite these terrifying deterrents, Edward Snowden still chose to put his conscience before his comfortable lifestyle, and before his fear of the likely danger to his own life & liberty, and possibly to that of his love-ones also.

    These are very, very rare individuals, as most of us simply don’t have the required bravery of our convictions, coupled with the almost suicidal concern for the well-being & dignity of unknown others; I think that no matter how terrible the penalty yet still may become, there will always be whistleblowers, willing & prepared to martyr themselves because of their conscience. We lesser mortals who profess to share the same values as these people, are just fit enough to shake their hands; as for their detractors & critics, they are worth less to mankind than any dirt between the toes of such whistleblowers.

  165. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:10 pm

    Fred

    Mary first raised the issue of Nick Cohen’s stance on Iraq AFTER I had made the reference to his article in today’s Observer that made no reference whatsoever to Iraq. I then made the point that what Nick Cohen’s stance was of no relevance to what he was saying today – the evidence is there if you bother to check properly.

    Please go and try your dissembling techniques somewhere else.

  166. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:11 pm

    Mr Goss

    “I suspect the moderator(s) is having the weekend off. They do such sterling work. I am expecting a few comments to be gone tomorrow. ”

    ___________________

    That comment reminds me a little of those old Soviet doctored photos (where’s Yezhov gone?) and how the Soviet authorities used to ask subscribers to the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia to cut out certain articles with a razor blade and stick in something else (article on Beria replaced by an article on the Bering Sea).

    Those who know something about the USSR will know what I’m talking about.7

  167. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:19 pm

    John Goss

    Everyone of my comments today has been made in response to comments already raised by others. Do you really think that any of the comments to which I replied had the right to go unanswered? Perhaps you should criticise the original posters, such as yourself, for taking the discussion off topic.

  168. So for those who missed it Resident Dissident here it is again. Discuss.

    http://newsjunkiepost.com/2014/02/23/freedom-of-the-press-government-does-not-know-best/#sthash.tj5KxD91.dpuf

  169. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:25 pm

    Habba

    And President Putin likes to keep the tradition of rewriting history going

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-18/russian-schools-to-teach-putin-s-version-of-history.html

    Just imagine if Michael Gove were to try and go so far!

  170. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:31 pm

    John Goss

    I totally agree that the Government does not know best when it comes to freedom of the press – perhaps we might also wish to talk about regime on which you shower such praise deals with freedom of the press. Or we could talk about how Wikileaks effectively handed Snowden over to said regime

    http://www.businessinsider.com/did-wikileaks-sell-out-snowden-to-the-russians-2013-9

  171. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:40 pm

    Mary

    could you please explain on what basis you consider Yanukovych’s election and subsequent behaviour to be democratic (the one thing that almost all Ukrainians East and West are agreed on are that he should go), and why are you silent when Russia interferes in the affairs of the Ukraine?

  172. Resident Dissident

    23 Feb, 2014 - 10:43 pm

    Macky

    So what is the majority view on the behaviour of Putin and the oligarchs? Do you support really brave whistleblowers like Politskaya and Navalny?

  173. John with regards to Commander Eck and two other officers of the German submarine U852 to death by firing squad.” There was a case of a British T class submarine committing a war crime.
    But there was no charge. Maybe it was because we won the war ! Also there have been the outrages which were hushed up on which I could not possibly comment as a ex Submariner

  174. If Cohen and the others who supported the war criminals’ invasion of Iraq in 2003 want to know how things are going there, then read this. Absolutely horrific. But of course the US and the UK have moved on from the scene of their crimes.

    Iraq’s Prime Minister Offers Financial Bounty to Extrajudicial Killers
    February 23rd, 2014 by Felicity Arbuthnot
    http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/02/iraqs-prime-minister-offers-financial-bounty-to-extrajudicial-killers/

    and a very nasty snake here crawls out from under the hay. Amongst other things he fails to mention that his nephew is in charge of de-Baathification.

    Chalabi: Anbar crisis sign of ‘political failure’ in Iraq
    BAGHDAD — Ahmed Chalabi, leader of the Iraq National Congress, says that Iraq is in a “very difficult situation.”

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/iraq-opposition-ahmed-chalabi-interview-elections-iran.html

  175. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 11:17 pm

    I too share Mary’s pride in Russia’s achievements at the Sub-tropical Olympics, just ended. It was a splendid performance, made all the more splendid when you consider it was achieved by the only major nation whose population is steadily declining year on year owing to decreasing life expectancy.

  176. Resident Dissident, we’re British, we celebrate when we’ve had our best medal clutch since the 1920s. It’s nearly 100 years. I can understand that. I cannot understand people wanting to try and turn the blog into an anti-Russian site. We are all guilty of commenting off-topic. As to “we could talk about how Wikileaks effectively handed Snowden over to said regime” that is so provocative from someone who would rather, I suspect, have him handed over to the US (the worst human rights’ abuser in the world). But the topic is still the erosion of journalistic rights and the Binoy Kampark article, hot off the press today, has not been challenged.

    Thanks Dave Lawton. What you say is true. But for me it is not about who is right or wrong in war, because war is horrific. It is about those who delight in things like capital punishment and torture, who seem to be the same people. They obviously have had no love in their lives. People without a heart are not worthy of my time. Not yours either I suspect.

  177. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 11:28 pm

    “I just complimented the Russians for leading the medal table and saying well done for Sochi ”

    _______________________

    No you didn’t ‘just’. Here’s what you wrote :

    “Well done Russia for Sochi and for winning. US fourth!”

    I hereby award you the John Goss Order of Socialist Fibbing (2nd class).

  178. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 11:35 pm

    “Resident Dissident, we’re British,…..”
    _________________

    That’s what it might say on your passport, Mr Goss, but judging by the stream of vilification you pour out against Britain almost daily, you’re anything but.

    NB to Moderator — feel free to delete, I know Mr Goss is a protected species on here.

  179. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    23 Feb, 2014 - 11:38 pm

    Mr Lawton

    “There was a case of a British T class submarine committing a war crime.”
    ________________

    Nothing would surprise me! But could you just be a tad more specific, so we can look up the case, etc? Ta.

  180. ResDes: “no where can I see a clear and definitive statement from the writers that they believed that that there was a massacre at Srebenica that amounted to genocide”

    Despite claiming to have read their responses to the disgusting & loaded smears of “genocide-denial” & “genocide-belittlers”, what they have written seems to have clearly gone over your head, because although they specifically state that they acknowledge that a massacre occurred, they reject the demand that some events in preference to others, be labelled “genocide” for purely politically expedient reasons.

    ResDes: “So what is the majority view on the behaviour of Putin and the oligarchs? Do you support really brave whistleblowers like Politskaya and Navalny?”

    I believe most people are inherently decent, so are naturally opposed to injustices, cruelty, etc, and will therefore automatically support all whistleblowers of conscience; but as to why I’ve never heard of these people, I refer you to this;

    http://noam-chomsky.tumblr.com/post/17547861328/my-own-concern-is-primarily-the-terror-and

    (BTW, re the high cost of the Sochi games, I should imagine that a fair porportion was for highten security, especially in view of the terrorist threats made by that US favourite, Prince Bander.)

    [Several insults deleted. Don’t waste my time or I’ll ban you.]

  181. Nick Cohen is yet another shameless Blair toady and NeoCon shill.

    Wretched purveyor of grotesque bullshit.

  182. I’m told in bold that my comment is awaiting moderation. Could you pass it through dear Mod/Jon, or otherwise point out what’s wrong with it?

    [Q: What’s wrong with it? A: Zero political content. A similar comment from John Goss was stopped by automatic filters and then manually deleted.]

  183. craigmurray.org.uk

    24 Feb, 2014 - 12:02 am

    [James Mason and Anon have been banned for attempting to pick fight against moderation. If others continue in same way, comments will be closed temporarily.]

  184. There is no edit on comments and Binoy Kampmark is the correct spelling, so apologies for that.

  185. Ben, you were interested in informed comment regarding President Maduro. Andre Vltchek has earned the right to speak with authority on Venezuala. He believes Maduro is a worthy successor to Chavez.
    From “Open Letter to President of Venezuela, Soon, the Battle for Venezuela

    ……
    I am not a Venezuelan citizen. I wish I could be, but I am not. But I have fought for Venezuela, in my own way, through my reports and speeches, through films and in my books. I fought ever since Hugo Chavez became the President, ‘my President’.
    And I am proud that I fought. And now, when Venezuela is once again under vicious attack, I want to stand firmly by her side, by the side of her Revolution, by the side of El Processo, and of her great Presidents – both Chavez and Maduro!”
    …….

    Here’s the full article ……
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/02/21/soon-the-battle-for-venezuela/
    ….and here’s why I think you should trust Vltchek’s opinion:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Vltchek

  186. Habbabkuk @11:38 pm
    It`s submarine warfare ,Miers was reprimanded,and as I said we won the war.
    If you have ever served on a old T boat you would know it pretty Ruff Tuff.

    “The next war patrol in the Mediterranean began on 27 June 1941 and again led in the Aegean Sea. Two command-soldiers of the recently newly formed Special Boat Section were on board. On 2 July Torbay discovered a small Italian convoy and sank a freighter. Two days later, a caique and a schooner were sunk with on-board artillery. Both ships went sailing under the German flag and loaded with troops. After the artillery attack Commander Miers did shoot with the two Lewis machine guns on the survivors floating in the water until he was sure that no one lives. Commander Miers noted in the logbook: “Everyone and everything was destroyed by the one or Type of gunfire.””

    http://archive.is/30cGO

    And while we are on the subject of T boats the Israelis bought the Submarine Totem.
    The totem was carved by a First Nation Shaman to protect the boat and all who sailed in her.
    The first thing the Israelis did was to remove the totem .On passage to Israel it sank with all hands.
    You don’t disregard Totems.

  187. Doug Scorgie writes: “Can I suggest that Craig or his IT helpers set up an “off-Topic” thread? / It would help to remove the temptation to post off-topic material on specific threads.

    No it won’t. Nearly anyone posting anything believes it deserves everyone’s attention, immediately, and should be given maximum prominence.

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