The Omniscient State 164

It is not whether the individual had done anything wrong: it is whether the state has done anything wrong. Hague’s plea for the omniscient state is chilling: if you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. So it is alright for the state to eavesdrop all our social interactions, to follow our every move? Is there to be no privacy from the prying eye of the state, which can watch me on the toilet, and if I have done nothing wrong I have nothing to hide?

The terribly sad thing is that, by a media campaign which has raised public fear of terrorism beyond any rational analysis of the risk (depending which year you take as the base line, you have between 40 and 300 times more risk of drowning in your own bath than being killed by a terrorist) there is great public acceptance of the intrusive state. This of course depends on the notion that the state is not only omniscient but benevolent. I do urge anyone infected by this way of thinking to read Murder in Samarkand for a practical demonstration of just how malevolent, indeed evil, the state can be.

GCHQ and NSA share all intelligence reports, as do the CIA and MI6, under US/UK intelligence sharing agreements first put in place by Roosevelt and Churchill. That is one of the most widely known of all official secrets – there are probably fifty thousand current or retired civil servants like me who know that, and many academics, journalists etc – but even in the light of the Snowden revelations, you probably won’t see it much in print, and you won’t hear it in Parliament, because it is still a criminal offence to say it. Let me say it again:

GCHQ and NSA share all intelligence, as do the CIA and MI6, under US/UK intelligence sharing agreements first put in place by Roosevelt and Churchill. NSA and GCHQ do the large bulk of communication interception. Now both NSA and GCHQ are banned from spying on their own citizens without some motive of suspicion – though as Edward Snowden has been explaining, that motive of suspicion can be terribly slight, like you have someone as a facebook friend who has a facebook friend whose sister once knew someone connected with an animal liberation group. But in any event, the safeguards are meaningless as NSA and GCHQ can intercept communications of each other’s citizens and they share all information. I have been explaining this in public talks these last ten years – I am happy it is finally hitting the headlines.

We need Edward Snowden and we need Bradley Manning. I had hoped that the barefaced lies of Bush and Blair, leading to a war that killed hundreds of thousands, would make people see that politicians, and the corporate interests that stand so close behind them, simply cannot be trusted.

The world needs whistleblowers. Now more than ever.

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164 thoughts on “The Omniscient State

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  • Suhayl Saadi

    And yet…

    Another view, from rightwing libertarian, Lila Rajiva. One senses she dosn’t trust Snowden. Lila’s work is definitely worth a read.

    “… manufactured “dissent” and intelligence-funded “revelations” that everyone already knows endorsed by that lovable mouthpiece, Glenn Greenwald…whose general point of view I otherwise endorse.” Lila Rajiva.

  • Cryptonym

    A good read there Suhayl, thank you.

    One interesting piece linked from that, an old article (from 2004) in Counterpunch by one Stephen Green:

    “Many individuals with strong attachments to foreign countries have served the U.S. Government with honor and distinction, and will certainly do so in the future. The highest officials in our executive and legislative branches should, however, take great care when appointments are made to posts involving sensitive national security matters. Appointees should be rejected who have demonstrated, in their previous government service, a willingness to sacrifice U.S. national security interests for those of another country, or an inability to distinguish one from the other.”

    Traitors such as Perle, Feith, Wolfowitz and the rest of the PNAC mob, this article shows had been betraying American interests blatantly, right from the beginning of their careers in which they can only have been given a leg-up by already well-placed Israeli assets.

    One can only be concerned too at the preponderance of Israel-firsters in front rank British politics and the incalculable number in unelected unseen lesser roles in critical areas who’ve wormed their way in from the outset, with the express purpose of betrayal.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Seems like the Agency and Bureau have been involved in the usual turf wars in Hawaii, and I have been brought into the battle because of the FBI’s failures in handling the Boston bombing.

    The Bureau knew so much about the Boston bombers that it should have had them, like the 9/11 bombers, under the tightest surveillance – what should have prevented both tragedies. Instead, though, the Boston Resident in Charge, Richard DesLauriers, compounded the recent disaster by having two agents, helped by ones from the Massachusetts State Police assassinate Ibragim Todashev when he threatened to tell all while under their harsh interrogation.

    For these excesses, DesLauriers has been forced to retire from the Bureau, and Director Robert Mueller has tried to deflect the damage by telling Congress that the 9/11 suicide bombings could have been prevented if proper surveillances had been conducted = a dig at George Twnet’s CIA for not sharing crucial info about them.

    In Hawaii, the shoe seems to have been on the other foot when the Bureau didn’t inform the Agency about the spying for China’s Ministry of State Security by defense contractor Ben Bishop. Bishop was caught in a honey-trap by a 27-year-old sex beauty aka Person 1. Bishop met her at a military conference, and during their liaisons told her all about the new missiles and weapons for dealing with Beijing on the Pacific rim.

    It was only late in that game that the Agency learned that she was also servicing the much younger Edward Snowden when Bishop could keep up. When the Agency learned what Snowden was telling her, it forced him to tell the media, and now he is on his way to a life in prison.

    And I was brought into the picture when photographer Steven Nickerson learned of his case, so much like Gareth Williams’s, and got the Denver Post interested in the similarity – what the Bureau’s repeated calls to me were hoping would prove that I am working for the Chinese too.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Changed my mind about the last bit above – i.e., handlers forced him to reveal what he did.

    He did it to get back at them, figuring if he just disappeared, he would be forced to remain there for the rest of his like – like what happened to similar spy David Hemler when he defected to Sweden just before the Palme shooting. Hemler has been there ever since – 29 years in all.

    This makes Snowden both a spy and a whistleblower.

  • amanfromMars

    No specific mention of MI5 sharing everything or even anything there, Craig. Do they play a closed executive action planned game which can lead everyone else?

    Bravo, the MOD. Chiefs with more intelligence than muscle is long overdue in leading ruling and reigning positions.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    On a lighter note, the name ‘Edward Snowden’ sounds like a slightly disreputable member of the British Royal Family, the protagonist from a romantic novel set in a manor house (“Oh, Edward, I think of you all the time, she breathed, as the top button of her blouse came undone…”), or a butler, perhaps.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I see that Maria I. LaGanga of The Los Angeles Times has an article, connecting the spying apparently by defense contractor Ben Bishop with that of Edward Snowden. They both worked out of the same facility in Hawaii, and it seems that Snowden improved upon that of Bishop – i.e. relying upon technical means to obtain all the information that he intended to leakThe Washington Post and The Guardian rather than Person 1 who might have sent it along to China’s Ministry of State Security, thanks to the apparent honey-trap she had developed with Bishop.

    The puzzling problems with LaGanga’s claims are these:

    (1) Why has not Bishop been indited for his alleged crimes?

    (2) Why has not the alleged honey.trapper even been arrested?

    (3) And why is LaGanga so sure that Snowden has acted alone?

    Looks to me like an ongoing mission to catch more spies while both the Agency and the Bureau are most ecomonical with the truth.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    ‘Snowden told him to go to a specific location on the third floor of the hotel and ask loudly for directions to a restaurant. Greenwald assumed Snowden was lurking in the background, listening in.

    They went to a room that, Greenwald recalled, contained a large fake alligator. Snowden made himself known. He had told Greenwald that “I would know it was him because he would be carrying a Rubik’s Cube”.’ The Guardian.

    Were they all wearing beige-coloured trench coats? It all sounds a bit cheesy. But no doubt this is tradecraft. Dead-drops, brush-pasts, men pausing at a specific point, removing their trilbies and wiping their brows with pink silk handkerchiefs. On which note,





  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Just lost another long post about the Snowden case being another example of the Bureau and Agency competing with one another over who should be the spycatchers and who the coppers = what caused the 9/11 tragedy – from my screen because of some network interruption, thanks apparently to our good friends at NSA/GCHQ, and I shall not risk more time by repeating it in detail.

  • Macky

    “Intelligence officials have insisted agents do not listen in on Americans’ telephone conversations. And they maintain the internet communications surveillance programme, reportedly code-named Prism, targeted only non-Americans located outside of the US.”

    Who are worst, those telling the lies, or the BBC reporting it as it was the gospel truth ?

    From way back;

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Found Edward Snowden telling the WP’s Barton Gelman in an interview that whistleblowers before him “….had been destroyed by the experience” most revealing.

    While Gelman considered the claim just a bit of hyperbole, Snowden was obviously most serious about it, and researchers should at least show him the courtesy of trying to determine who he was alluding to.

    The most obvious examples are similar whistleblowers MI6/GCHQ agent Gareth Williams and his associate at GCHQ Gudrun Loftus.
    He was poisoned by something like death cap mushrooms when he went on the rampage over the set-up of the Manhattan 11 as Russian agents, and she was pushed down the stairs outside the Senior Common Room at St. John’s College, Oxford after she decided to carry on his whistleblowing activities.

    Snowden obviously knew about their fate, even likely having been engaged from NSA in hacking the lap tops, especially that of pin-up girl Anna Chapman, which so infuriated Williams.

    Little wonder if that is the case, the Bureau is so eager to connect me to MoSS through the activities of deceased photographer Steven Nickerson. He must have gone wild over the photographic possibilities of where and how they died.

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