The Omniscient State

by craig on June 10, 2013 9:10 am in Uncategorized

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 Comments

  1. Very good post. The violation of civil liberties is shameful. It seems that the parameters of what is acceptable to say are shrinking all the time, and as has been mentioned before, the choice at elections very nominal.

  2. True enough. But isn’t it embarrassing that Hague wheels out the old “Nothing wrong, nothing to fear” chestnut that has been – and is so easily – discredited? He might at least attempt to present an actual argument in favour.

    “Give me six lines written by the most honest man in the world, and I will find enough in them to hang him” attributed to Cardinal Richelieu

  3. Ah, they can’t spy on their own citizens, so they spy on each other’s and then exchange reports under the agreement. How clever! :)

    Seriously, we are talking about Western democracies, not Uzbekistan. Citizens are free to set up parties like Put An Honest Leftie into Parliament, get elected (if they can) and then change official policy.

  4. If Hague is so blasé about privacy I look forward to him publishing all the UK Government’s secrets. After all, they can’t have done anything wrong, right?

    The Cabinet papers relating to devolution in the 1990s would be a good place to start.

  5. Sick bags at the ready – for those who missed it, here’s the Winston Churchill de nos jours and world statesyorkie in full bluster.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2013/jun/09/data-snooping-law-abiding-citizens-nothing-fear-hague-video

  6. “Hague claims all intelligence gathering done by the UK is governed by a stong legal framework.”

    As in, “if it comes to trial, the defendant is routinely not allowed to know what the evidence (if any) is against him.”

  7. @Abe Rene

    “Seriously, we are talking about Western democracies, not Uzbekistan. Citizens are free to set up parties like Put An Honest Leftie into Parliament, get elected (if they can) and then change official policy”.

    Seriously?

    Do you really believe that MPs have any control at all over ‘national security’ matters?

  8. It’s a terrible irony that the internet which is such a wonderful development may turn out to be the means of our own ultimate ensnarement. It gives the spooks undreamed of possibilities for control and it seems we are being slowly bound round and round with digital spider silk. If you complain about the spider you are mocked as a conspiracy theorist. I suspect the reason for the public’s acceptance that you allude to is one of choice. They choose not too look, to reassure themselves that everything is still all right, because to contemplate the alternative is too disturbing.

  9. If staff in these offices are not shuffled regularly, this cockiness of officers/civil servants employed by the state to such agencies can result in clique’s forming along political/military industrial/intelligence lines, working against what is considered private.

    If we have created states which now want to disallow doubt, want to proceed on this one sided economic wrecking increasingly fleecing the taxpayers wherever possible, and proceed to manipulate and girate around an electoral system just to produce establishment friendly regimes, then we now have to find ways of ending this theatre macabre.

    Do not ask me how, I might be tempted to answer.

  10. Craig, you’ve hit on the touchstone of UK policy — the US-UK tie-up. We — meaning the UK govt.– will do anything up to and including squandering British lives in terror-exacerbating illegal wars, to keep in with the Yanks. So how about a UK Independence Party which declares us free of Yankee subservience?

    Oh I see we’ve already got a UKIP and all they want is out of cuddly Europe, and carry on brown-nosing the Yanks!!

  11. Media eavesdropping on UK citizens => Courts + Leveson
    Media eavesdropping on MP’s (done nothing wrong, nothing to worry) => Blackmail
    Government eavesdropping on UK citizens => Fuck all

  12. Well written Craig, is this an issue that will blow over fast?
    I expect Clark would say ‘I told you to get encryption’
    Had my enigmail installed some time ago, but only the coffee mornings get encrypted, all important material is only diverted in conversation.

    My advice is, talk less electronically, even letters are safer and modern adhesives make for a comprehensive barrier to a letter opener.

    My other advice is, pick a festival and organise there, it used to happen at the Big Green Gathering, now a shadow of its former self, after being harassed into shut down by the last Labour administration.

    Talk to people face to face, or encrypt, in most cases its much better because you can see responses and body signs, even if that person is not responding in words.

    I have encryption so have others here, lets use it more and enable others to try installing it. I’m running it on Linux installed by Clark, works well.

  13. But by now most sane people should be aware that the internet is not a really a secure medium and you should not be putting anything in an email or blogg or Facebook page that you’d be embarrassed for anyone else to know. I have my doubts even if you encrypt the messages.

    It is astounding what people will reveal about themselves on a public forum that they wouldn’t tell their next door neighbours. Following the litigation brought against public figures, who really should know better, it shows that this technology is more dangerous than it seems and should carry a health warning. If you use Facebook or Twitter unwisely, you only have yourself to blame if there are unexpected consequences.

  14. @Indigo “Do you really believe that MPs have any control at all over ‘national security’ matters?”

    I can think of a number of possible ways: being on commons select committees, being on party policy committees, and being cabinet ministers.

  15. Still on the subject of state snooping, I wonder why Edward Snowden didn’t take connecting flights all the way to Rejkjavik and then ask for asylum, instead of flying into Hong Kong, given both its past cooperation with US authorities in law enforcement (see some past episodes of Hawaii Five-O for fictional illustrations), and now being under the ultimate authority of Red China?

  16. ….and now being under the ultimate authority of Red China?

    You mean that place with the monolithic surveillance apparatus and a press which flatters the rich guys?

    Oh, that>/i> place with the monolithic surveillance apparatus and a press which flatters the rich guys. I get it now.

  17. See what I did there? Again:
    Oh, that place with the monolithic surveillance apparatus and a press which flatters the rich guys. I get it now.

  18. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    Conallboyle: “So how about a UK Independence Party which declares us free of Yankee subservience?”

    Yes, I’ve thought that’s strange for a while. Why are UKIP so anti-Europe but never say anything about the US?
    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.11 (GNU/Linux)

    iEYEARECAAYFAlG1qbEACgkQ5EfOQv4V189atACdEikKn7AIkFQtz/dHR4qgaJ8G
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  19. @Komodo “See what I did there?”
    Well, there’s a number of possibilities. Uzbekistan, wealthy Arab states, Russia (for tycoons who support Putin)…

  20. I’d never heard of this book, by a longtime favourite author – The Servile State, by Hilaire Belloc. He predates Orwell.

    Here ’tis:

    http://archive.org/stream/servilestate00belluoft#page/2/mode/2up

  21. @abe rene

    @Indigo “Do you really believe that MPs have any control at all over ‘national security’ matters?”

    “I can think of a number of possible ways: being on commons select committees, being on party policy committees, and being cabinet ministers”.

    Well, I have no confidence in any of these, I’m sorry to say, although I think even the MPs or cabinet ministers concerned may be as naive as their electors.

    The first has become window dressing for a gullible public … as for the others … any real influence on decisions/policy in such matters is largely illusory.

    It’s called a democratic deficit.

  22. I was referring to the typo, Abe. Obviously he could go anywhere he liked. He could even stay in his own country – a place with a monolithic surveillance apparatus and a press which flatters the rich guys.
    See what I did there?

  23. Of course. Snowden might not be in HK at all! (Lightly slaps his forehead). Where he might be is anyone’s guess. South America, maybe.

  24. @Abe Good point, the guy is obviously not daft and maybe he’s led them on a false trail, false passports travel tickets, he could be anywhere and it sounds like he’s been planning this for a long time, however I doubt that his efforts in the long term will stop the spooks long term plans for global domination of the electronic ether.

  25. The facts have always pointed to the oppressive, regressive state surveillance apparatus, that is running a deep state separate and different from the dog and pony kabuki set in place for the benefit of the hamburger munchers.

    Peter Wright in “spy catcher” without any shame or sense of irony recants his trolling through the Rote Kapelle (Red Orchestra) files captured from the infamous German SS secret police. The fact that Wright’s outlook was similar to the SS Secret Police somehow is lost in the excitement of his hunt for the “communist menace”.

    Those engaged in the circle jerk of “democracy”, “freedom”, “ballots” are in fact kidding themselves and shutting their eyes to an all intrusive state that has lost its tenuous grip on reality and is steaming ahead to compensate for the current crisis of bankruptcy of: ideas, thought, financial tenets, and moral principles.

  26. willyrobinson

    10 Jun, 2013 - 12:12 pm

    I was quite surprised to read Snowden distancing himself from Bradley Manning, claiming that at least he had read all that he disclosed, and verified that noone would be harmed.

    It seemed a bit mean. Manning is on trial and likely to be treated even more harshly now.

  27. This is old news, and something I protested to my MP at the time about prior to the passing of RIPA in 2000. It provides the legal framework that Hague is using. For example the justification around getting communications data (that’s the fact that a communication has taken place including timings and other metadata) are:

    “In the interests of national security, for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime or of preventing disorder, in the interests of the economic well-being of the United Kingdom, in the interests of public safety, for the purpose of protecting public health, for the purpose of assessing or collecting any tax, duty, levy or other imposition, contribution or charge payable to a government department and for the purpose, in an emergency, of preventing death or injury or any damage to a person’s physical or mental health, or of mitigating any injury or damage to a person’s physical or mental health.”

    Authorisation is provided by a senior member of the organisation making the request. In practice this data will be collected continually with the authorisation being requested in order to search it for specific individuals.

    The response from my MP (Marsha Singh) when I protested against the act were along the lines of Hague.,”If you’ve done nothing wrong then you’ve nothing to worry about.”.

    What has changed between then and now? The technology has caught up with the intentions. Expect more defence of the position from all sides of the house, the opposition can hardly object as they brought powers in. Also look for positive leaks, about how the data has been used to thwart terrorist groups or paedophile rings. Just think of the children!

  28. Neatly summarising Catch-22:

    All this crap is done in our name, as if it were for us, as if we agreed to it and want it and authorize it. But we never did and never can because we can’t see it or know it.

    (thatvisionthing on June 10, 2013 at 1:02 am, on
    http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/06/09/are-guardians-sources-responding-to-a-new-use-of-surveillance-post-boston/#comment-561759

  29. Talk about omniscient state.

    Now I cannot post my complaints about it because I allegedly get the CAPTCHA value wrong.

  30. The Guardian live coverage is making me laugh. Example quotes:

    “Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the authors of the original USA PATRIOT Act, calls the newly exposed NSA program to harvest Americans’ phone records an “abuse” of the law.”

    Alss, in relation to Clapper’s blatant perjury:

    “Feinstein responds that James Clapper is a model of honesty and says perhaps the question –or the answer– has been misunderstood.”

    And McCain has been wheeled out to talk about ‘overreach’ in the Patriot act.

    It’s all a sham. Senselessbrenner and McCain were warned that the Patriot act was likely to result in exactly what we’ve got. They were warned by numerous people, repeatedly – including Greenwald. So either they didn’t know, which makes them idiots, or they did know, which makes them liars. And Feinstein’s reply was just a joke. A more straight-forward example of lying to Congress you’ll be hard-pressed to find, and her defense is embarassing. I’ve no doubt, though, that everyone has had their marching orders, including the risible fake known as Obama.

    As to Hague, well I think we all know about Hague. He’s lying. His other, ah, issues are his own, but his routine dishonesty is our problem. How this failed leader became Forn Sec is beyond me, unless it’s related to these, uhm, other issues about which we may only speculate.

  31. “This is old news, and something I protested to my MP at the time about prior to the passing of RIPA in 2000. It provides the legal framework that Hague is using. For example the justification around getting communications data (that’s the fact that a communication has taken place including timings and other metadata) are:”

    This is what I don’t understand, why anyone is surprised, I thought it had been common knowledge for over a decade.

    I remember when they first started putting the black boxes in at the ISPs we all used to put as many key words in our posts as we could to overload the system.

  32. Booz Allen works for Satan, of course, but paradoxically, the firm may be more than ordinarily vulnerable to the worm of conscience. Booz Allen doesn’t do a lot of McKinsey-style indoctrination (we’re the best, we’re the best, Are you good enough? Are you good enough?) It’s too big and protean to hold together as a a cult. The firm has traditionally allowed corporate culture to be imposed at the practice level, resulting in considerable diversity among a lot of petty satraps. Most are totalitarian, of course, especially in military bailywicks. But some fail to circumscribe thought. And their top echelon still includes some deep thinkers – tormented, of course, but not yet entirely insane. There are more and bigger Snowdens in their pipeline.

  33. It is perhaps one of the most pernicious and insidious deviations from the natural order, requirement and purpose of the British Government to harvest, catalogue and disseminate to any damn fool who happens to have security clearance of all information that is either deemed necessary or just mildly interesting.

    I guess we all own some complicity in that we use the media as our own separate tools, that we express opinions in a digital age that can give rise to a fuller pictrure of an individual’s traits, ideas and pecadillos than would ever have been the case 20 years ago or something – that we invite and declare our positions in clear, unedited formats for all the world to see – that we trust google, vodafone or some other such piece of shit as to our innermost thoughts. However, if they want it – then they should frikkin well legislate for it.

    What next? Just allow governments to traduce all liberty, to render, to incarcerate, to intern, to own the bloody individual as a commodity, an ingredient or factor in a nebulous process of deterministic benevolent prevention. Well, if Billy wants to act like every other little authoritarian twat thne bully for him. If Cameron wants to adorn the vestiges of totalitarian bureucrat then super, smashing, great.

    Meet the new boss – same as the old boss. Screw ’em, and screw ’em hard.

    Cheers Craig, as always.

  34. When I attempt to post a detailed account of my complaints about the misuse of data mined from me, it is somehow deleted in the process, showing that NSA, FRA, and GCHQ are reading my mind as it works.

    Pretty soon I shall be hearing words, telling me to do something criminal?

  35. It’s sad that the concept of ‘Big Brother’ is widely known and has been for some time, yet knowledge of it has achieved absolutely nothing. Therefore I can see any usefulness of an awareness campaign. I think the unpalatable truth is that its time for civil disobedience. That is likely to meet a predicted wall of denial based resistance too. Civil disobedience? – Good heavens man, were British. We are great at talking, but crap at acting.

    I urge a tax revolt. There is no more effective time.

    “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.” – Again, I expect to hear the throng: Steady on old boy, that’s just not cricket.

    (forgive the English-isms)

  36. Fear not… for these slimeballs will be voted in again at the next election.

  37. Craig, do you have a view as to whether the explicit denials from Facebook, Microsoft and Google are barefaced lies, or that the security services have managed to get into large server farms without large corporations knowing about it?

  38. You gotta admire Snowden’s taste and prep tho,
    I mean. HK as opposed to pokey little London flat…
    Julian, ya slapper!

  39. Pretty soon I shall be hearing words, telling me to do something criminal?

    That technology is far too old now. It was all the vogue in seventies, and eighties. What do they have in their arsenal, now?

    Well they cant tell us that because it is a secret and if they do they will have to kill us all.

  40. Flaming June

    10 Jun, 2013 - 1:34 pm

    Snowden’s biography according to the BBC
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22837100

    They are already on the case for his extradition to the US! Charged, convicted and found guilty in other words.

    They have consulted a Hong Kong barrister called Grossman and another person called Regina Ip, a legislator and Hong Kong’s former Secretary for Security.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-22837599

  41. If Snowden is in South America (I was thinking of the bloke who fled into the Ecuadorean embassy), he would best avoid the jungle. From what I’ve read, no-one and nothing messes with either warrior ants or piranha. American jailers would be benevolent by comparison.

  42. explicit denials from Facebook, Microsoft and Google are barefaced lies

    There are other age old questions too;

    Is Pope a catholic?
    Do the bears shit in the woods?
    …..

    the security services have managed to get into large server farms without large corporations knowing about it?

    Who these guys work for?

    The history of SIS is intertwined with the rich, OSS, and the rest of the organisations following thereafter have all been manned and directed by the “philanthropic” rich.

    Peter Wright keept regular contacts with certain ultra rich individual (cannot name for the fear of tropes) and through him he was introduced to another bunch of rich bastards who were off their fucking rockers and intent on instigating a coup and setting up Mountbatten of Burma as the prime minister. Although Wright at the same time was also in discussions with the same rich patron about gaining employment as the head of security for an outfit the rich chap owned.

    Where do spies go to after they retire? There are those who drown in their pools! Then there are others who serve their masters by safeguarding their interest even more closer by working for them directly.

    Anyone remember Howard Hughes?

  43. KoWN-It’s a terrible irony that the internet which is such a wonderful development may turn out to be the means of our own ultimate ensnarement. It gives the spooks undreamed of possibilities for control and it seems we are being slowly bound round and round with digital spider silk. If you complain about the spider you are mocked as a conspiracy theorist. I suspect the reason for the public’s acceptance that you allude to is one of choice. They choose not too look, to reassure themselves that everything is still all right, because to contemplate the alternative is too disturbing.

    Good points, but, completely nullified by humanity’s primal desire for the latest flashing box on which to ramble endlessly to anyone who cares to listen, take photographs of where it’s been and locate it with pinpoint precision for the benefit of its paranoid and self-appointed keepers. We deplore the chaining of prisoners, but we eagerly reach for the fetters themselves.

  44. People are moved to act when:
    – either it is within their power to effect change,
    – or, they believe they have no alternative,
    – (or both).
    The priority is always breeding (sorry family). We re a life-form, of sorts .

    Political apathy in the UK is the result of a simple sum – a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Things will have to get a lot worse before the majority take their eyes off the entertainment media. The owners know it.

  45. Surely the UK is already America’s 51st state. And I find that incredibly depressing.

  46. Passerby, you overlooked what happened to Anna Lindh, and underestimated Wright, the KGB’s leading spy.

  47. McGee continued,
    “I am outraged that our government is attempting to censor the information from our military that every citizen in this country is potentially being targeted by our government in a massive overreach of their constitutional powers by unconstitutional surveillance of all Americans and storage of that data.”

    ‘Military told not to read Obama-scandal news’

    http://www.wnd.com/2013/06/military-told-not-to-read-obama-scandal-news/

  48. You’ll find google has been buying up the most common CAPTCHA providers ‘recaptcha.com’ is the most common ‘apture.com’ is another, few exist now which aren’t google owned and hosted, competition are driven out or shut down; they are finding their way onto sites with no conceivable need or reason to implement a captcha, to block use of the sites core functionality, and without allowing these inexplicable further connections to google a wide range of sites have become unusable. Google is the most insidious infiltrator of privacy, you cannot keep them out, it is like playing whack-a-mole.

    Encryption alone is only a part of the solution as metadata isn’t part of the payload and is the same and taken/stored whether packet payloads/content are encrypted or not.

    This has set back, rolled back every gain in civil and personal rights made in the last half-century, everything from freedom of expression to gay rights all suffer. The great potentiality of the internet to connect people with people and with services, to facilitate online communties or e-commerce has been stifled and snuffed out.

  49. Do you believe the ‘war on terrorism’ is hyped up to take away the freedoms of citizens and distract citizens from economic problems?

    What do Scots really think of these issues?

    Answer here: http://bit.ly/10PBjbi

  50. sorry… Therefore I can notsee any.. [lwtc247, 10 Jun, 2013 – 1:07 pm]

  51. The really important point now is where has Edward Snowden gone.

    Sounds to me like some enemy state, given his saying he won’t be going home, and Peter King calling it a defection.

    Don’t recall Philby, Mclain, Burgess and Blake ever went home either.

    Would really be funny if he showed up in Russia, cavorting around, say, with Anna Chapman.

    Would be the first good news that Gareth Williams has heard since his horrible murder.

  52. Article from the Gruniad in 2010 when the content of the agreement was published for the first time.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/25/intelligence-deal-uk-us-released

    None of this should’ve come as a shock, even if you didn’t know about it it was something any intelligent person could’ve worked out for themselves. I mean what do you think these guys (and girls) do all day? Play Snap?

  53. “Craig, do you have a view as to whether the explicit denials from Facebook, Microsoft and Google are barefaced lies, or that the security services have managed to get into large server farms without large corporations knowing about it?”

    They probably don’t have much choice about denying it, for them to confirm it would be illegal.

  54. Glenn Greenwald tweets

    “Courage is contagious.”

    I sure hope so. And I hope poor Bradley Manning’s heart has been lifted by Snowden.

  55. Hardly think that Snowden’s alleged defection could do Manning any good.

    Would make it seem that his conduct has helped produce real spies aka feeding America’s paranoia.

  56. Where does the “alleged defection” arise?

  57. Flaming June

    10 Jun, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    Annie Machon was on Sky’s Boulton. She had praise for Snowden.

    Douglas Murray, shill for the NWO, was in the studio. In his usual rather petulant style he said Snowden should be arrested and tried (for treason I assume he meant).

    ~~~

    HMG has refused to confirm or deny that GCHQ has access to US spy programme. Hague’s statement is awaited very shortly. Agent Cameron says that the security services operate within the law and with proper scrutiny. Of course they do Dave.

  58. “Whats the big deal? – these guys need ability and secrecy to protect us.”

    “And the months ahead (*?), the years ahead it’s only going to get worse until eventually there will be a time where policies will change because the only thing that restricts the activities of the surveillance state are policy. Even our agreements with other sovereign governments, we consider that to be a stipulation of policy rather then a stipulation of law. And because of that a new leader will be elected, they’ll find the switch, say that ‘Because of the crisis, because of the dangers we face in the world, some new and unpredicted threat, we need more authority, we need more power.’ And there will be nothing the people can do at that point to oppose it. And it will be turnkey tyranny.”

  59. @Innes (2:28pm) Whilst I might find have found something with which I might agree, on the site which you linked to, that was a pretty spammy comment, as are others from you on other threads here on this site. I can’t help noticing too that it (the site) demonstrates the very google-isation of web content which is part of the alarming phenomenon being discussed here.

  60. “You gotta admire Snowden’s taste and prep tho,
    I mean. HK as opposed to pokey little London flat…
    Julian, ya slapper!”

    Maybe the fact that the likes of Snowden earn^W are paid $200,000 a year whereas Assange seems to have relied on handouts has something to do with that.

    I, for one, am greatly relieved that our All-Seeing Overlords are generously remunerated for their noble sacrifice, selling their soul to keep the state safe from us, its enemy.

  61. Another CAPTCHA post block.

    Peter King called it a defection.

    And no second thoughts about Snowden who would be killing for the Special Forces if he had not broken both of his legs while overdoing training before 9/11?.

  62. Flaming June

    10 Jun, 2013 - 4:14 pm

    Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America

    Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution

    Daniel Ellsberg

    guardian.co.uk, Monday 10 June 2013 11.30 BST

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/10/edward-snowden-united-stasi-america

  63. This from The Guardian:

    @2013-06-10 09:40:04 UTC

    But he indicated that GCHQ might have also fallen foul of the law if it accepted information from the NSA on British citizens. “One of the big questions that is being asked is if British intelligence agencies want to seek to know the content of emails can they get round the normal law in the UK by simply asking an American agency to provide that information?” he said.

    @2013-06-10 13:40:38 UTC (about 4 hours later)

    But he indicated that GCHQ might have also fallen foul of the law if it requested information from the NSA on British citizens. “One of the big questions that is being asked is if British intelligence agencies want to seek to know the content of emails can they get round the normal law in the UK by simply asking an American agency to provide that information?” he said.

    Did anybody see what they did there?

  64. Does this mean a redefinition of the word paranoid? In future this word could be used only for the mentally weak who refuse to believe that the state is spying on them and remain in blind denial, like HabbaChooChoo.

    Anyone one who refuses to threaten state security online by video or voice medium will to have a state-threatening video made up by MI5 from voice and video clips stored on the master computer.

    My insurance company Liverpool Victoria recently modified/ manufactured a false telephone conversation to exonerate themselves from paying out for my stolen car.

    Our legal defence against the state will be that if they had the technology to spy on us, they also had the technology to make stuff up. Problem solved.

  65. No, Jake, but it says a lot about this growing set-up, especially when you read most dubious Daniel Ellsberg, another gung-ho operative who apparently turned leaker – thanks to the Plumbers’ paranoia – when he says that Snowden has withheld much of what he knows – what makes him a ticking bomb when he shows up somewhere as a defector.

  66. Julian Assange on ABC’s Lateline program talking about Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and the NSA leaks, Bob Carr, Wikileaks Party and Jemima Khan. Video about 20min.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-10/assanges-political-ambition/4744972

  67. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    10 Jun, 2013 - 4:45 pm

    @ Jake (16h17)

    Yes, Jake – one little verb and you’re in the clear…..

  68. Douglas Murray, shill .,…. his usual rather petulant style ……

    Does petulant means useless qunt?

    If not! Then best describe that weasely, wanky, gobshite, with his correct designation; an utterly useless qunt. Why on Earth the corporate Media get his kind of a wanker to appear on the telly? Every time he appears on my telly, I have to wash the fucking slime oozing off the screen, and although as yet there are no smellovisions (thank fuck for that ) yet there is an odour of sulphur/fart that hangs around my telly for days.

    =========

    In the latest the US has approached one Regina Ip (the one on the left, looks like a ladyboy) Whom in turn has issued an edict:

    “It’s actually in his best interest to leave Hong Kong”

    Fact that Snowden is aware of his fate, and that of his friends and family:

    “My family does not know what is happening. My primary fear is that they will come after my family, my friends, my partner. Anyone I have a relationship with.

    “I will have to live with that for the rest of my life. I am not going to be able to communicate with them. [The authorities] will act aggressively against anyone who has known me. That keeps me up at night.”

    However what is Regina Ip driving at? Why on Earth should the US have approached her? And why such a speedy response from her?

    Is Snowden a working CIA agent, who is injected into Hong Kong, which Chinese do not want to be involved with?

    Is Regina IP despite her “pro Beijing” credentials a Yankophile at heart and hence engaged in harassing Snowden?

    Fact is he has blown the cover of the corporate and intelligence services collusion in spying the shit out of anyone and everyone on the internet. Could this revelation (long suspected and now confirmed) result in countries taking the matters into their own hands and start separating their traffic from the reach of the NSA, and GCHQ?

    If the above scenario should hold, does this mean oodles of money for the technology providers as these countries start setting up their relevant infrastructures?

  69. Reminds me of another CIA/NSA cipher, David Hemler, who allegedly defected to Sweden so he could help set up Pale in an non-nucleary showdown with the USSR in the 1980s, and ended up staying there ever since when it didn’t occur.

  70. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    10 Jun, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    Apparently he approached the Washington Post and they did not respond to his inquiry to his satisfaction.

    WaPo eventually published just 4 of the files; exactly what Guardian published. What of the other 37 files?

  71. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    10 Jun, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    files should be ‘slides’ from PowerPoint presentation.

  72. Perhaps the WP remembered what happened when Wikileaks posted all the unredacted Afghan File. from Gareth Williams.

  73. Lord Palmerston

    10 Jun, 2013 - 6:03 pm

    There is a certain bitter satisfaction in all this for us Democracy-sceptics. Democracy, this hideous system, continues on its true course; and most of the commentators miss the point, as usual.

    Picking on a cabinet minister is silly; they are essentially interchangeable, as are the main parties. The public won’t much care either, any more than they cared over the wars of aggression, abductions, torture, etc etc. This ‘scandal’ will not be an election issue.

    The noise here is from a minority whose thinking is still in the 19th century (and, yes, I’m aware of the delicious irony). They still think in terms of the rule of law, of public spiritedness, of certain kinds of thing being beyond the pale. But Democracy has swept away those old fashioned inhibitions.

    As for Edward Snowden, while his motives are admirable one has to wonder whether he is not something of a fool; why should he risk so much for the sake of a public that holds its own rights and liberties in utter contempt?

  74. Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    10 Jun, 2013 - 6:09 pm

    ” why should he risk so much for the sake of a public that holds its own rights and liberties in utter contempt?”

    Personal redemption perhaps. Manning and Ellsberg were contrite over their participation and wanted some way out. Plus, they may recognize public apathy, but see this as a potential means of awakening in them their own sense of survival.

  75. No irony, Pam, just ask Brougham’s ghost!

    And Snowden takes severe risks, it seems, in the hope of ending up as a real hero for Anglo-American covert government.

    For example, the Russians or the Chinese might well see to his execution if he drops in on them.

  76. Is it possible that the Snowden and the spooks are in on this together?

    Maybe the spooks want not so much a debate but the public to know how surveilled and subjugated they really are.

    They will dress it up as a necessary tool against global cyber espionage,but really it’s about total control of their citizens.

    I could be very wrong of course-i hope i am-but the timing is rather interesting.The leaks coming thick and fast as Obama heads to China for discussions about cyber warfare.It’s almost choreographed,with Greenwald seemingly able to push out leaks at will.

    Snowden apparently being in Hong Kong adds a further curious synchronicity.

    Just a thought…

  77. Excellent post. Bob Cryer raised this in the Commons 17 days before he (allegedly) fell asleep at the wheel of his car.

    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1994/mar/25/menwith-hill-station-north-yorkshire#S6CV0240P0_19940325_HOC_157

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that he was poisoned, like Tony Benn may have been too. Although nobody likes to think of their state as a murderer it is becoming increasingly evident that the US kills its own citizens (illegally at the moment) and we have Dr Kelly’s Death on our conscience.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2507&dat=19840928&id=vctAAAAAIBAJ&sjid=zKUMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3446,5747459

  78. Keith Crosby

    10 Jun, 2013 - 6:42 pm

    “Is Britain becoming a police state?” was a staple on Any Questions in the 1970s but not any more, since it would be purely rhetorical.

  79. Jives, i also had a anti-advocates thought; that privacy is a weak issue compared to complicity in war mongering and cultural and political and economic repression. To put it mildy, it seems that secret services are either not protecting us against these things, or that they are nominally doing so by perpetuating their own preferred sides in these things.

    Manning leaked about inhumane behaviour and diplomatic strategy. If all Snowdon talks about is privacy it could be a loosing message. However i think that if he is insincere and faking it – we are so far gone in the deception and perception control stakes, that there is no hope for anything except whats fated to us. Things seem pretty far gone, but not that far gone.

    The information from Edward I think has seriously damaged Googles reputation at least, since Larry baldly denied it in the statement just days ago.

  80. Hague says the snooping claims are “baseless” but he refuses to confirm whether or not “we” use Prism. Surely even a neocon gauleiter can see the questionable logic of that statement!

    If Edward Snowden and Bradley Manning don’t win a joint Nobel Peace Prize (is it too late to nominate Snowden?) then the committee could always give it to the Drone King again, or maybe Clegg for staying silent while “we” armed the heart-eating animals in Syria?

    It’s great to see the wheels coming off the War Machine. Everywhere you look people are waking up and the truth is coming out.

    Hopefully the Guardian will keep up the pressure on Prism/GCHQ. Unless of course it implicates Israel…

  81. Willyrobinson, 12.12pm

    I was quite surprised to read Snowden distancing himself from Bradley Manning, claiming that at least he had read all that he disclosed, and verified that noone would be harmed.

    Yes, bit unfortunate that, but he did also say he admired Manning and called him a “classic whistleblower” so, who knows, quote not contextualised properly by the Guardian? Snowden has absorbed a lot of the misreporting of Manning’s actions there’s been in the US press (specifically about this particular issue)?

    Here’s a good detailed piece on exactly why Snowden was wrong about it:

    Confronting Edward Snowden’s Remarks on Bradley Manning:
    http://ohtarzie.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/confronting-edward-snowdens-remarks-on-bradley-manning/

  82. Darkernet are usually good on this sort of stuff. They’ve produced a page on the PRISM programme, GCHQ’s involvement and the possible involvement of Palantir. Lots of resource links at the bottom:

    NSA new surveillance centre | social media partners’ spying specs | Prism coding (and more):
    http://darkernet.in/nsa-new-surveillance-centre-social-media-partners-spying-specs-and-more/

  83. Karla, 12.42pm

    Booz Allen works for Satan, of course, but paradoxically, the firm may be more than ordinarily vulnerable to the worm of conscience. Booz Allen doesn’t do a lot of McKinsey-style indoctrination (we’re the best, we’re the best, Are you good enough? Are you good enough?) It’s too big and protean to hold together as a a cult. The firm has traditionally allowed corporate culture to be imposed at the practice level, resulting in considerable diversity among a lot of petty satraps. Most are totalitarian, of course, especially in military bailywicks. But some fail to circumscribe thought. And their top echelon still includes some deep thinkers – tormented, of course, but not yet entirely insane. There are more and bigger Snowdens in their pipeline

    I had to laugh seeing those words together in the same paragraph.

    http://wiki.echelon2.org/wiki/Booz_Allen_Hamilton

    This is one of the things Barrett Brown and his Project PM were working on before he got stitched up on ridiculous charges for sharing a link on the internetz and is facing a possible 100-year jail sentence (probably whyhe got stitched up on ridiculous charges and is facing a 100-year jail sentence, come to think of it).

  84. Among other women mentioned by Bob Cryer in his last major speech on the subject, Lindis Percy is still protesting about Menwith Hill 20 years after first breaking in. “More power to their elbow” said Mr Cryer. I hope you will all do what you can in the face of these intrusions into personal liberty. There will be another annual “Independence from America” on July 4th this year at Menwith Hill. The food (vegan) is delicious and very reasonably-priced. You’ll wonder why you ever ate meat if you taste these earthly, or should that be heavenly, wares.

    At the Bilderberg Fringe 2,000 people, encouraged by Alex Jones of Infowars, were chanting “The answer to 1984 is 1776” and it was heartening to hear. It is time we returned to old values and civil liberties.

    I’m doing my bit. Today I raised a freedom of information request on the FCO about 5 British based Muslims who were extradited to US supermax torture-chambers. In brief I want to know why their hearings have been put off for a further five to six months (should have been October, now March) when there must have been a cast-iron case surely to send our citizens to a country with one of the worst human rights’ records in the world.

    I have also written to the new prosecution lawyer employed by Sofia Wilen, Ms Elisabeth Massi Fritz, to try and find out if she helped Sofia Wilen change her statement to try and make it more convincing or whether it was all Sofia’s own work. I asked a few other pertinent questions too.

    We must keep fighting for freedom. We must protect our whistle-blowers. They are the best way forward to removing the diabolic state espionage on its own people.

  85. Ben Franklin, 5.18pm

    WaPo eventually published just 4 of the files; exactly what Guardian published. What of the other 37 files?

    I don’t know, but I’ve gone all a-flutter about it, because of something Julian Assange said in that Lateline interview Jemand posted. Assange confirmed he’d had “indirect communication” with “his [Snowden’s] people” (whoever that may be…). As Guy Snowden’s original negotiations with WaPo were that all 41 slides be published “within 72 hours” and both WaPo and the Guardian have welched on the deal, I’m kinda hoping that Snowden’s next stop might be the world’s favourite “publisher of last resort” – WikiLeaks.

    Transcript of the Lateline interview:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-06-10/assanges-political-ambition/4744972

    On Snowden’s precarious position at the moment, there’s this NYT piece stating he’s very likely to be extradited from Hong Kong:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/world/asia/edward-snowden-hong-kong-extradition.html?hp&_r=0&pagewanted=all

    and WikiLeaks’ twitter has been pumping out lots of advice for Edward Snowden. Really going the distance to support him:

    https://twitter.com/wikileaks

  86. @Guano ‘Does this mean a redefinition of the word paranoid?’

    ‘A paranoid is someone who has just found out what is going on’. — William S. Burroughs (or someone like him)

  87. John Goss, 7.18pm

    I have also written to the new prosecution lawyer employed by Sofia Wilen, Ms Elisabeth Massi Fritz, to try and find out if she helped Sofia Wilen change her statement to try and make it more convincing or whether it was all Sofia’s own work. I asked a few other pertinent questions too.

    Good for you! I doubt you’ll get a sensible answer, though. Massi Fritz is a new appointment, only one month old, so she wasn’t in any way involved in any of the 7 or 8 discussions with police Sofia Wilen has had. Probably the only thing you’ll succeed in doing is drawing the attention of a host of angry Swedish trolls (possibly Swedish intelligence ones) to Craig’s blog – they seem to follow Sofia around like a rash.

  88. “Britons never will be slaves!” so the ditty goes.

    Whilst at uni one of the lecturers (with a madly left wing reputation)… pointed out that actually through most of history they have been. Bollockz! I thought at the time – with all the independence of thought that the British Brainwashing Corporation bestows.

    And yet… now… a confirmed anarchist, I see the truth of that. Serfs through history. Pike fodder for the laird. Canon fodder for the trenches. From the vagrancy act to today’s bedroom penalty. From every inch of land being claimed as already owned to a politician deciding what is history.

    We are, they think, property of the state. But thought can free you.

  89. Ironic rainbow alert!

    Edward Snowden’s NSA workplace in Hawaii:

    http://www.nsa.gov/public_info/press_room/2012/a4_hawaii_final.shtml

  90. Anybody else having problems connecting to Arbed’s darkernet link? It was working only minutes ago.

  91. Yes Jemand – I get a database error when I try to connect. You can find it in Google’s cache though. If you (ahem!) trust Google at https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ral4bGK40rMJ:darkernet.in/nsa-new-surveillance-centre-social-media-partners-spying-specs-and-more/

  92. doug scorgie

    10 Jun, 2013 - 8:41 pm

    Abe Rene
    (1) “Seriously, we are talking about Western democracies, not Uzbekistan. Citizens are free to set up parties like Put An Honest Leftie into Parliament, get elected (if they can) and then change official policy.”

    (2) “@Indigo Do you really believe that MPs have any control at all over ‘national security’ matters? “I can think of a number of possible ways: being on commons select committees, being on party policy committees, and being cabinet ministers.”

    (3) “I wonder why Edward Snowden didn’t take connecting flights all the way to Rejkjavik and then ask for asylum, instead of flying into Hong Kong…”

    Abe, are you thick, naive or a card carrying statist?

  93. KingofWelshNoir

    Spot on.

  94. doug scorgie

    10 Jun, 2013 - 9:00 pm

    Abe Rene
    10 Jun, 2013 – 11:45 am

    “Of course. Snowden might not be in HK at all! (Lightly slaps his forehead). Where he might be is anyone’s guess. South America, maybe.”

    The Guardian interviewed him in Hong Kong.

  95. KingofWelshNoir 10 Jun, 2013 – 10:16 am

    “It’s a terrible irony that the internet which is such a wonderful development may turn out to be the means of our own ultimate ensnarement. It gives the spooks undreamed of possibilities for control and it seems we are being slowly bound round and round with digital spider silk.”

    Is that what’s happening in the comments on this blog. Quickly the comments are o/t going round in circles, just what’s required.

  96. doug scorgie

    10 Jun, 2013 - 9:56 pm

    Brendan
    10 Jun, 2013 – 12:32 pm

    “As to Hague, well I think we all know about Hague. He’s lying. His other, ah, issues are his own, but his routine dishonesty is our problem. How this failed leader became Forn Sec is beyond me, unless it’s related to these, uhm, other issues about which we may only speculate.”

    In August 2010, Hague set out a values based foreign policy. He said:

    “We cannot have a foreign policy without a conscience. Foreign policy is domestic policy written large. The values we live by at home do not stop at our shores. Human rights are not the only issue that informs the making of foreign policy, but they are indivisible from it, not least because the consequences of foreign policy failure are human”.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/7972463/Human-rights-are-key-to-our-foreign-policy.html

    Just one month later, after press speculation, William Hague admitted that he shared a hotel room on a number of occasions with Christopher Myers, a young man with little, if any, foreign affairs experience.

    Who tipped off the press? MI5?

    Soon after, Hague abandoned his human rights values-based foreign policy and has since toed the establishment line.

    State blackmail?

    Picture of “twin beds”:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/william-hagues-twin-bedded-hotel-room-245504

  97. Fred
    10 Jun, 2013 – 12:38 pm

    “This is what I don’t understand, why anyone is surprised, I thought it had been common knowledge for over a decade.”

    Yes it has, as you say, but people who pointed this out have been labelled as paranoid conspiracy theorists.

    Now that it is officially out in the open (and the “conspiracy theorists” have been vindicated – but not acknowledged) we are told it was/is for our own protection.

  98. Doug Scorbie

    You are very cynical about Hague, but I think in the wrong direction. William Hague is not capable of thinking up words like:

    “The values we live by at home do not stop at our shores. Human rights are not the only issue that informs the making of foreign policy, but they are indivisible from it, not least because the consequences of foreign policy failure are human.”

    He is not a decent man capable of being compromised. The Bankers “fixed it” for Cameron by lying to Gordon Brown and busting the economy, allowing a group of Thatcherite savages back into power that would never have seen the light of day again after the fall of Mrs Insane.

    These people have an agenda against the former Soviet Union, the bogeyman outsider of the Cold War, and they start civil wars in order prise ex-Soviet assets from their hands, killing millions of people. I am more worried about Hague’s relationship with Israel than with another man.

    Last week Israel shipped in Iranian mercenaries to AlQusayr, no doubt tipping off rebel fighters beforehand, in order to secure control over their Northern border with Syria/Lebanon. Netanyahu and Hague, Osborne and Cameron have horrible bedroom habits for sure, same as Maggie and the Savile man.

    But I will never forget Maggie publicly announcing her sponsorship of Saddam Hussein. The Tories have form.

  99. Bruce Schneier has weighed in with a couple of interesting posts.

    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/the_security_ri_3.html#comments

    I wonder at the possible google connections Private Eye has revealed about NewLab & Tories?

    http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=news

    “GOOGLE TANGLE
    The many links between the internet giant and UK political leaders.”

    Anyone got the most recent copy? Sod buying it, it’s nothing like as good as it was when this place was all glaciers.

    Also this bang up to date post
    http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/06/government_secr.html#comments

    related links:

    http://earlywarn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/brainstorming-few-hypotheses-about-prism.html

    http://unhandled.com/2013/06/07/a-taxonomy-of-prism-possibilities/

  100. Lwtc247
    10 Jun, 2013 – 1:13 pm

    “Fear not… for these slime balls will be voted in again at the next election.”

    Yes and it doesn’t matter which party the slime balls represent; they are all under the control of the puppet-masters, the state elite.

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