We Are All Aztecs Now 6

Neil Mackay was one of the best reporters internationally on extraordinary rendition. He has now broken a story that is important for everyone in Scotland and beyond.


I am a supporter of Scotland’s SNP government, but they have made a terrible blunder in handing Scotland’s census to US mercenary group CACI, whose well-paid torturers were famously involved at Abu Ghraib but are also contracted to carry out interrogations throughout Iraq. CACI has used libel lawyers to try to limit knowledge of its connection with torture, but lost its landmark case against Air America. CACI’s own description of its main activties is

1) National Security

2) Intelligence

3) Homeland Security

CACI has its headquarters in Arlington Virginia – home of the CIA.

I am stunned by this. These people’s main business is providing intelligence services to the US government. Do the Scottish government really want to hand over data on every household in Scotland, including their ethnic and religious background, to the CIA? Does anybody believe that a firm whose primary source of income is the War on Terror and which has wholeheartedly bought into Bush’s “The gloves are off” philosophy – and made a fortune from it – will respect internal firewalls and not give that information to the CIA?

This appointment is an abomination and Alex Salmond must rescind it immediately, or lose much of the ethical high ground which the SNP has so painstakingly won.

There are those who oppose the census per se. I do not take that view, regarding it as useful – but that utility would be vastly outweighed by the danger of giving the individual confidential data to CACI. If the government persists with this appointment, I must with great reluctance join the ranks of those calling for a boycott of the census. Or even better, mess it up with stupid returns. I think, for example, that everyone should declare themselves to be Aztecs working as golf course owners with an improbable number of children, living in a mansion with seventeen cars and regularly worshipping Kon-Tiki. I wonder how much the CIA will give CACI for all that info on Scotland’s billionaire native Americans?

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6 thoughts on “We Are All Aztecs Now

  • Strategist

    Shocking and awful!

    I hadn't realised Scotland had a separate census. Here in England, it is proposed to give the work to Lockheed Martin of the US military-industrial complex. Sian Berry, erstwhile Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, is part of the campaign to stop this, at http://censusalert.org.uk/index.html

    "The process of running the 2011 Census will be contracted out by the Office of National Statistics to a private company. One of the two contractors in the final round of selection is the arms company Lockheed Martin, 80% of whose business is with the US Department of Defense and other Federal Government agencies.

    This might concern you because:

    * The Census rules mean that every household will be legally obliged to provide a wide range of personal information that will be handled by the chosen contractor.

    * Lockheed Martin produces missiles and land mines which are being used in Afghanistan and Iraq and which are illegal in many countries.

    * They also focus on intelligence and surveillance work and boast of their ability to provide 'integrated threat information' that combines information from many different sources.

    * New questions in the 2011 Census will include information about income and place of birth, as well as existing questions about languages spoken in the household and many other personal details.

    * This information would be very useful to Lockheed Martin's intelligence work, and fears that the data might not be safe could lead to many people not filling in their Census forms.

  • Strategist

    The more I think about this, the more angry I get! Grrrrrr!!!

    Just think about (say) the Muslim community in places like Blackburn. Who there is going to fill this form in knowing it will all go directly to paranoid psychopathic American "integrated threat information" merchants (with a sideline in extraordinary rendition)?

    So the lack of returns, and thus apparent low population will then justify starving the area of public funding and shrinking the electoral representation.

    In 1991 no-one filled in the census because they didn't believe it wouldn't be used to collect the poll tax. In fact, the guarantees that it wouldn't were genuine. However, it buggered up understanding of who lived in our poorer areas for years. 1991 seems like the golden age of innocence compared to this privatised security state nightmare!

  • Vervet

    Craig: I wasn't aware of the potential for Lockheed Martin to conduct the English census until I read the first post above.

    Can you do anything more to publicize this more widely ?

  • Amir

    On top of what you have described in Scotland, in the USA, the decision has been implemented to regularly screen physicians through use of "simulated patients". Under guise of "safety" and "quality control". Although at first glance this is innocent, the continuation of this policy will lead to the very opposite of individual medicine in the form of corporate healthcare thus reducing yet another pillar of civil society and creating a culture of dependency that can potentially be misused to silence dissidents by withholding medical care (as is currently the case in Gaza) or selecting for promotion in the good old Soviet style.

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