Signifying Nothing

by craig on January 18, 2014 8:44 am in Uncategorized



The image was the thing.  Those serried American flags beneath their burnished and distinctly imperial eagles.  Obama’s speech on the NSA was devoid of meaningful content.  The threats against Snowden and the references to America’s right to spy on its potential enemies – which seemed to mean everybody – were obviously heartfelt.  The “restrictions” on the NSA were devoid of intent, mumbled and hedged around.  Actually you don’t have to analyse what he said.  The picture says it all.

Reading the acres of media comment devoted to this exercise in changing nothing, it does seem that the task I face in explaining things is easier than I expected.  Nobody seems actually to be fooled.  You have the fascistic tendency – a majority – arguing that Obama is right, and the lesson of 9/11 is that safety can only lie in massive government intrusion into all human interaction all of the time.  Then you have the libertarian tendency, like me, who believe that nobody should be targeted until they have actually done something wrong, and the idea of continual surveillance of entirely innocent people just in case someone somewhere is contemplating doing something they shouldn’t, is terrifying.  What we don’t have much of is people pretending that Obama is actually doing something to curtail the surveillance state.

When Obama failed to close Guantanamo, failed to act against torture and extraordinary rendition, and sanctioned the killing of thousands through drone strikes, for a long time I kept meeting Americans who claimed he was not a neo-con really, but rather playing a subtle game for liberalism to win in the long term.  I don’t know anybody who believes that now, and nobody seems to be arguing it today. Obama is now an open vicious neo-con.  The picture says it all.

Some of it was almost amusing.  Obama plainly said that America would not spy on allied leaders, but reserved the right to spy on every other person in any foreign country.  I found the idea that every German may be spied on except Angela Merkel distinctly amusing.  Less amusing is the idea that the secret courts which are supposed to be a check on the NSA – with their entirely pro-government judges – would be “improved” by the appointment of a secret advocate to argue the case for privacy, without the subjects of the cases having any contact with their advocate or even being aware the case is going on.

Secret Courts are an increasing feature of life in the dog days of western world power.  In the UK we have already for many years had the situation where people may face criminal trials without being allowed to see the intelligence based “evidence” against them – often gained from torture of third parties abroad – and are “represented” by government appointed cleared – i.e. pro-security service – lawyers who are not allowed to tell their clients what the evidence is against them.  We recently have the institution of entirely secret criminal courts in which the entire proceedings are closed.  As Julian Assange pointed out on CNN, even the carefully selected secret court in the USA has found against the NSA on a number of occasions.  Obama’s extraordinary claim that their had been no abuse by the NSA was a straightforward example of the “Big lie” technique.  Again, that picture explains it all.

The suggestion that data be held not by the NSA but by a third party which will be another government institution is risible.  If they insist it is held, I vote Glenn Greenwald holds it.  After a crime has been committed, I have no difficulty with the authorities approaching the communications providers for targeted information which helps the investigation.  The deliberate conflation of that idea with permanent mass surveillance is dishonest – and the constant references to 9/11 to justify any intrusion are chilling.

Actually, what worried me most about the speech was the thought that the 9/11 excuse must be wearing thin, and that we are only seven years away from starting to have voters who weren’t even born at the time.  All those who make an extremely fat living from the security state, or who benefit in other ways economically from the docility of a population quiescent through the manipulation of fear, will start shortly to have need of a new and more urgent bogeyman.  That really will start to make the world a more dangerous place – and the danger comes from those claiming to protect us.

Look at the picture.

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  1. Brilliant post, Craig.

    Our Western Empire is at the zenith of its power and yet those who have their hands on its levers are the least amongst us, and will in their stupidity and hubris destroy even themselves.

    We truly are seeing History acted out before our eyes.

    We can no longer look back upon accounts of the fall of past empires with intellectual, superior and distained detachment.

    We are they!

    We done it again!!

  2. John Spencer-Davis

    18 Jan, 2014 - 9:43 am

    Good morning, Craig. Welcome back, indeed. I have sorely missed you, and wonder why you have been away so long – have you been all right?

    Please, if you are going to be away, would you mind just posting something to let us all know you are alive and well? You could have been at death’s door for all most people who visit here probably knew.

    We worry about you, you know.

    This blog is an invaluable resource and I am certain many hearts will be gladdened by your return.

    Great observations as usual.

    Warm regards.


  3. Well said Craig,great post.

    Its strange,i dont watch TV so most of my visual info is from online editions of various newspapers of a week.I immediately noticed this image too,it really caught my eye and is the first thing in weeks where an image has really lodged.

    The flags in particular seem ..hmmmm…imposing?

    Good to have you back posting Craig.

    Best wishes to you and your family in 2014.

  4. … it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

    Naughty Craig.

    Andrew Green, former UK Ambassador to Syria and supporter of Assad, current idiot, was on Radio 4 this morning stating that in his opinion and in others’ in the US, Assad should remain in power.

    I agree with Craig that the time for reading clever political games into the statements of world leaders is over. They want Assad in the same way they previously wanted Mursi in Egypt, and they will lose Assad to the gallows by popular demand if they try to impose him.

    They are foolish enough to think that the Muslim world will accept a leader who controls them by universal spying and oppression combined with slogans of liberalisation. No human being will ever accept it. Our leaders are as doomed as Macbeth for this type of witchful thinking.

  5. Resident Dissident

    18 Jan, 2014 - 10:52 am

    I don’t actually think that this or previous announcements signify nothing. I agree that there are many holes in what he says and doubtless everything that he says will not be delivered in full. Despite what some people may think the President of the US is not all powerful and is not free to deliver everything that he might want overnight – and although some of the forces frustrating him are pretty much on the dark side, democracy is about there being checks and balances to those in power and you cannot be too picky that those with whom you disagree want to fulfil such a role as well as those who are clearly arguing for what they believe is right

    What the announcement does signify is a direction of travel and as such it should be welcomed and encouraged – and there should be pushing and shoving to get it back on track when the inevitable diversions occur. Is there anyone who seriously want to argue that although Obama has failed to deliver on Guantanamo, Iraq, Afghanistan and stopping US involvement in Syria and Iran – that the direction of travel hasn’t been the right one when compared with that of his predecessor. Yes there needs to be continued pressure to make sure things go faster and stay on track – but I would argue that this is achieved by engagement in the democratic process, rather than the approach we see here of ritual denunciation from the start.

    Of course other approaches are possible – but as we see they tend to end up with farcical positions where organisations such as Wikileaks which profess press and individual freedom end up tying their flag to the regime of Vladimir Putin.

  6. “I vote Glenn Greenwald holds it.”

    Why? So he can maximise his personal gain whilst not releasing that much and, worse of all, setting an acceptable to the establishment standard for future whistleblowers?

  7. On the right track to Democracy!

    I thought Imperial America and Western society was a capitalist dictatorship.
    Corporate expansion – democratic?

  8. Exactly Jay. That is bang on the money.

    It looks like the NSA might be the fall guy here whilst the surveillance state is ever more privatised.

  9. But of course they were spying on Angela Merkel. One of Henry Kissinger’s classmates described his sincerity as being a millimetre thick. About the same as Obama’s. It will be business as usual. What they say and what they do are two different things.

    Cameron has written to the wife of Shaker Aamer. Hague has written to Shaker in Gunatanamo saying what they are doing for him. But behind closed doors neither the UK nor the US want him back because of the torture in which UK secret services were complicit.

    It is what is being done in this secretive world by secret services, secret organisations and secret societies without public knowledge which makes this world worse than it ever has been for the rest of us. That and the anti-terrorist acts which allow people to be imprisoned indefinitely. It does not matter whether you think Martin Corey is a criminal or not. Nobody should be imprisoned without even the judge being able to see the alleged evidence.

  10. Here’s a series of interesting anti-semitic maps that show stuff about the world and its peeps.

  11. Surveillance vs Democracy

    “We need to reduce the level of general surveillance, but how far? Where exactly is the maximum tolerable level of surveillance, which we must ensure is not exceeded? It is level beyond which surveillance starts to interfere with the functioning of democracy, in that whistleblowers (such as Snowden) are likely to be caught.”

  12. Information, Once Collected, Will Be Misused

    “When people recognize that the level of general surveillance is too high, the first response is to propose limits on access to the accumulated data. That sounds nice, but it won’t fix the problem, not even slightly, even supposing that the government obeys the rules.
    Total surveillance plus vague law provides an opening for a massive fishing expedition against any desired target. To make journalism and democracy safe, we must limit the accumulation of data that is easily accessible to the state.”

  13. Window dressing Kabuki taken to extremely new heights. Bujaka!

  14. Very well said Craig. Every word you wrote is true.

    Nullius rei= signifying nothing! A relic of ‘O’ Level Latin :)

  15. Julian Assange Responds To Obama’s Big NSA Reforms Speech: “I Think It’s Embarrassing” 17.1.14

  16. and Glenn Greenwald

    Both Obama and Guardian prettify the ugly
    18 January 2014
    Jonathan Cook from Nazareth

    Glenn Greenwald makes a brief return today to the Guardian in a column exposing the sham “reforms” President Obama has promised in the wake of worldwide outrage at the NSA’s data mining of its own citizens (and lots of foreigners too). Greenwald elegantly explains why he doesn’t buy a word of Obama’s speech, and then argues that the rationale of Obama’s presidency is about creating a veil of democratic accountability over a fundamentally corrupt political system:

    ‘That,in general, has long been Obama’s primary role in our political system and his premiere, defining value to the permanent power factions that run Washington. He prettifies the ugly; he drapes the banner of change over systematic status quo perpetuation; he makes Americans feel better about policies they find repellent without the need to change any of them in meaningful ways. He’s not an agent of change but the soothing branding packaging for it.’


  17. As an ex secret intelligence observer in the late 60’s – I still maintain that it is every country’s survival right to see what others are doing in case it adversely affects their citizens health, safety and economic well-being.

    NSA, CIA, FBI, MI6, KGB, STAZI, – it does not matter what you call them – if you have nothing to hide you cannot object to being listened to if you decide to use ‘alert’ words.

    No one person on Earth is any better than any other – we are all puppets.

    Just get a life and get on with it and be nice to your neighbours.

  18. doug scorgie

    18 Jan, 2014 - 1:05 pm

    Police officers lie in open court (and usually get away with it) and make their pocket notes up together to ensure they all have the same story to tell.

    How can any MP support secret courts where the police, MI5, MI6 and others give secret “evidence” which they have all conferred on prior to any trial in order to win the case?

    But the bill was passed by 174 peers of the realm and 297 MPs (50 of them LibDem) why on earth did so many vote for it?

    It was no surprise that Jack Straw (for obvious reasons) and Hazel Blears (former counter-terrorism minister, who now sits on the Intelligence and Security Committee) voted for the bill.

  19. If the flags look imposing it will be because the camera’s telephoto lens has created an optical illusion by foreshortening the image depth. Nothing sinister !!!

  20. This strikes me as a watershed moment in the history of the human race. Total mass surveillance of the whole planet. I’ve no doubt this is about controlling us in the new Matrix rather than protecting us. Amazing how most people don’t seem to care. Because it doesn’t affect them, or so they think. But that’s because ‘they’ haven’t started tightening the digital handcuffs yet. All those journalists who make it their job to find out about elite malfeasance and report it will be the first to feel the chill.

  21. If you google Obama NSA Images, there are dozens of similar photos.

    No foreshortening here. An image worthy of Edward Bernays, Lynton Crosby*, the Saatchis or Sir Martin Sorrell.

    *Lynton Crosby has been signed up to work full time on securing a Conservative general election victory in a £500,000 deal.

  22. Re photographic foreshortening – what size are the flags and what is the distance between Obama’s right elbow and the nearest flag?

  23. Tim, I agree that governments need to know what other governments are doing. There’s a lot I could argue with you about, too, and other ways in which I’d go much further. But in an ideal world, governments, voting populations and other entities would know what each other were doing through openness and transparency.

    This whole debate seems to beg for an international treaty, something like the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, whereby countries and other entities win legal protection from being spied upon by demonstrating openness and accountability.

  24. BrianFujisan

    18 Jan, 2014 - 2:11 pm

    Great Post Craig.

    “In the UK we have already for many years had the situation where people may face criminal trials without being allowed to see the intelligence based “evidence” against them – often gained from torture of third parties abroad”

    Here is a brave old dear… trying to do something about your words above…ans she is of course 100% correct about Shannon airport being used for war crimes… –
    Margaretta tried to make a citizen’s arrest of the judge for collaborating in war crimes

  25. Clark, how is that nuclear non-proliferation treaty stuff going? Not very well. Not very well at all. Why on earth would you call for more of such nonsense?

    The problem is not inter country. The real problem is the war between those with power and the rest of us.

  26. Here he is on video. There are actually SIX flags and they look pretty close to him. You can see his shadow on one to his left.

    Anyway as Craig says ‘The image is the thing’.

    Edward Bernays 1928 Propaganda

    The same flag wrapped the coffins of the bodies and body parts returned to the US from Iraq and now from Afghanistan. The image is a powerful weapon for wars and warmongers.

  27. Phil, I’m looking for an instrument. I can carp on all I like, but Obama etc. will make empty speeches and nothing will change. I’m looking for some way into the problem that can actually be used. At present, there’s no real debate, as Craig posted above. Some level of agreement has to be reached before a debate can begin about how to realise objectives.

    It’ll take an accountant to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the US/UK surveillance programme, but I bet that’ll be another strong argument against it. But there are probably all sorts of gains for companies already part of the surveillance system, and they’re going to resist losing their advantages.

  28. It’s clear that Snowden has forced the gangsters into a response. Obviously their response at this stage is more of the same bullshit.

    But, and this is the important point, everyone now knows what buttons to push in order to provoke a response.

    The key then is to continue pushing those buttons.

  29. Phil, openness, surveillance and whistle-blowing are all two-edged swords. We want to invade the privacy of the rich and powerful, in those areas that their communications affect others. We simultaneously want protection of “ordinary people’s” privacy from surveillance, commercial and governmental. But there’s no clear line between who is ordinary and who is rich and powerful. Who the hell was Werrity, for instance? No one, or so it seemed.

    Conversely, there’s the principle “you only get investigated if there’s reason to believe you’re doing something wrong”, but do we really want to apply this to the powerful?

    We need some sort of rational framework that establishes the degree to which each entity should have privacy or come under intrusive scrutiny, where “entity” covers individuals in their private, professional and public roles; groups, government departments, commercial organisations, etc. etc. etc.


    Those NSA ‘reforms’ in full: El Reg translates US Prez Obama’s pledges

    First, a history lesson from the President

    At the dawn of our Republic, a small, secret surveillance committee borne out of the “The Sons of Liberty” was established in Boston. And the group’s members included Paul Revere. At night, they would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.

    It’s fair to say that if the British had the capabilities of the NSA today, there wouldn’t have been an American revolution and the citizens of the North American continent would be sipping warm beer and spelling color with a ‘u’ along with the rest of British society.

    More at link

  31. It’d never happen here…

  32. doug scorgie

    18 Jan, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Greenwald details in his Guardian comment “…the most devoted and slavish loyalists of the National Security State were repeatedly installed as the committee’s heads, currently in the form of NSA cheerleaders Democrat Dianne Feinstein in the Senate and Republican Mike Rogers in the House.”

    He could just as easily be talking about Malcolm Rifkind and Hazel Blears on the Intelligence and Security Committee which is supposed to have oversight of British security services and hold them accountable. The committee is of course a joke.

  33. Comprehensive roundup of reaction to mob frontman Obama’s drivel:

    “Nine mentions of the false-flag 9/11 and not a single mention of the fourth amendment. Obama using fear and lies to deny us our basic rights.”

    Meanwhile, the NSA gangsters want Snowden dead:

  34. Here’s the Intelligence and Security Committee pretending to hold the spooks to account.

    This is such poor stuff that it’s been universally lambasted even by BBC spokespeople. You have to wonder at the mentality of these clowns that they think people will be fooled by this nonsense.

    If they really are this stupid then they’re obviously incapable of holding anyone to account, even had they the will.

  35. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    O/T, as Mary is wont to say, but never mind.

    The BBC informs us that Lord McAlpine has died at his home in Italy.

    As the dead cannot sue, I do hope that this event will not embolden some of the Eminences to repeat the scurrilous accusations they made on this blog about McAlpine some months ago – accusations which were shown to be unfounded.

    I do also hope that there will be now gloating on here, nor comments of the sort “hope he burns in hell”.

    Thank you kindly!

  36. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 5:06 pm

    “no” not “now” (was that a prophetic slip of the keyboard, I wonder?)

  37. That’s the funny thing about these hypocritical old scumbags. They turn Britain into a corporate wasteland and then they go off to live in France or Italy.

  38. Revealing rather than prophetic, I’d say.

  39. Habbabkuk, of course you hope they’re will be gloating, so that you can condemn it, and tar whoever you can with the same brush; it’s what you always do, try to start pointless rows. Look, I posted an on-topic constructive argument above. You seem to claim some familiarity with law, certainly more than my own; can’t you go anywhere with something like that? Doesn’t it even give you any ideas?

  40. ‘That’s the funny thing about these hypocritical old scumbags. They turn Britain into a corporate wasteland and then they go off to live in France or Italy’ @ Herbie

    or like the Maggot Scratcher,…… transfer your property assets to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands.

    Margaret Thatcher tax shock: £12m mansion where she saw out her days registered in TAX HAVEN

    or just like SamCam’s stepfather Viscount Astor….register your Scottish estate in a company in the Bahamas

    David Cameron, William Astor and the Bahamas

    or go the whole hog like Ashcroft…..

  41. How the NSA want to kill Edward Snowden. We are told they are just ‘fantasies’ so forget about all those other unnatural deaths we read about.

    NSA officials details their “kill Snowden” fantasies


    “We’ve mentioned things in the past like former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden “jokingly” talking about how he’d like to put Ed Snowden on a “kill list” while simultaneously suggesting that the NSA should be a part of determining who to target. While some would dismiss this as a tasteless “joke” it seems like he’s not the only one in the intelligence community with such thoughts. We just recently noted that reporter Steven Levy, who spent over two hours interviewing NSA officials, had said that they appear to have a real and passionate hatred towards Snowden.

    Now, Benny Johnson, over at Buzzfeed, has been able to get a bunch of intelligence community and military officials to comment anonymously, but on the record, about how much they want to kill Snowden, often including full descriptions of how they’d do it — and the fact that they don’t see any reason to support things like basic due process. The quotes are chilling.”

    Some joke! Chilling indeed.

  42. Scorecard: Will Obama Hit the Mark on Real NSA Reform?

    Squonk, thanks for The Register link; they seem a bit more optimistic than Craig. Does anyone know; will the actual presidential directives and other documents be published?

    But Obama’s speech being all about US agencies, I’m worried about something not mentioned, the US/UK Intelligence Sharing Agreement. I thought the loophole of each doing the other’s spying was one of the major issues.

  43. As a computer scientist, I have to differ with you here:

    “I have no difficulty with the authorities approaching the communications providers for targeted information which helps the investigation”.

    In practice, we have to choose – if we build a communications infrastructure that is proof against mass surveillance, it is also proof against court-ordered intercepts. On the other hand, if it is “wiretap-friendly”, then mass surveillance is inevitable.
    There’s no way to design the maths of encryption to be invulnerable to spying, but to yield to a valid democratic-state’s court-order!

    I go further – in principle, I think everyone should have an inalienable right to privacy of communications, and that our personal devices should be legally treated as the extension of our brains that they are – and thus not subject to examination.


    And the surprise is … that anyone is surprised.

    Your Fascist US Empire at work, with the UK a US Empire slave race – who knew?

    Ruled by Pontius Cameroon – US Empire guv’ner. (Enough already with the joakes! Ed.)


    William Binney, NSA whistleblower, already explained how Skippy was being fed a pack of lies and how the US Empire Fascists would fake ‘Change’ (you can’t believe in).

    (There was no, ER, Hope (of sane change? HeHe. ; ) )

    ‘The Gang of Eight: Hedges and Binney on Obama NSA Guidelines’, 11th January, 2014 – ICH –


    (Geddit? Ed.) – the puppet president of the Fascist US Empire. No Change There, Then! After Scipio Africanus.


    And anyone old enough to watch I Claudius in 1976 will have a very clear view of ‘Skippy’ Obama and his puppet presidency.

    “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” – Fascist Wome on the Potomac – the movie. Derek Jacobi plays the petrified puppet prez – I Claudius –



    Meanwhile Johan Galtung’s view of the world is daily revealed to be highly accurate. Latest –

    “The West tries to get the moral high ground by changing discourse to something they think they have and others not: democracy.  Running huge colonial-imperial system against their will?   Some democracy!”

    “Up comes a song based on a Russian folk tune By the Long Road (Those Were the Days):”

    “Those were the days, my friend 
We thought they’d never end
We’d live the life we’d choose
We’d fight and never lose
Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days.”

    HeHe! ; )

    “Yes, those were the days; now almost gone.  The road has been long.”

    – ‘2014: Ten Conflicts, Solutions, Conciliation’ by Johan Galtung, January 6th, 2014 – Transcend Peace Institute –



    “Fascism?  There is a domestic and a global variety and the latter is Obama’s foreign policy, with domestic elements.”

    “A disconnect between speech and action is Obama’s trade mark.  A key to his global fascism: instead of acknowledging wrongs of US foreign policy, he hides his extra-judicial killings with drones and JSOC’s (Joint Special Operations Command) in, maybe, 120 countries. Covert, CIA, less overt, Pentagon; with little Congress control.”

    “What happened to the fall of the US Empire?”

    “It is falling.  An empire uses local elites to transport value from the periphery to the center. Those elites are now shaky in many places, like in Latin America, frightened in Africa, doubting in Europe-Asia, counteracting the US in China-Russia.  Global fascism bypasses them.”

    The US Empire collapsing not with a whimper, but a bang. No change there, then! –

    Are things a tad strained when the ever temperate and diplomatic revered father of peace studies, Johan Galtung, finally calls a spade a bloody shovel?

    (ER. Does the US Empire use the methods of the Nazis? Is the Pope a Catholic? etc. Ed.)

    – 5th March 2012 – Transcend Peace Organization –

    Confused? Johan Galtung spells it out – “I love the US Republic, and I hate the US Empire.”

    – “I Love the US Republic, and I Hate the US Empire”: Johan Galtung on the War in Afghanistan and How to Get Out – June 15th, 2010 – Democracy Now –

    “Johan Galtung on “The Fall of the US Empire” – June 7th, 2010 – Democracy Now –


    Johan Galtung – the US empire has murdered 12m or 16m in forty years. “The difference is between overt murders and including covert murders by the US.” In illegal wars and genocides. –

    ‘How would we know that the Empire is dead?” – Johan Galtung –


    Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Maggie ! (ER, ‘Biggus Dickus’, for USans ??? ; ) Ed.)

    Maggie’s Desert Island Discs pick? – Comic Relief Special – The New Statesman –

  46. Sorry to be awkward. All the evils described above, and they were almost unimagined evils up until this new century, pivot on 9/11. That over 3000 died in this cinematographic horror, and that many have fallen sick and died subsequently is in our minds. So too are the million + lives lost in the ME since, plus millions of refugees.

    Principled, courageous and acute observers like Craig, Pilger and Galloway do not speak the unspeakable and so the vortex sucks for ever louder. Muslims were not the agents. Aside from the pile of evidence against the ‘official’ version regarding Cheney’s Pearl Harbour, pose ‘cui bono’ – not the Muslims of our sickly species. And explain Tower 7.

    Do not tackle this, then commentary must cease. That will be pissing in the wind.

    And we do have fascism. A small example – I remember the tricks the BBC and others played in Craig’s attempts in the Norfolk bye-election. Without them he might have joined the 10% of decent MPs in the Commons. Fascism might be 22 million watching Celebrity Come Dancing and not caring one whit about our killing abroad, or OUR NHS, or whatever.

    My definition of FASCISM – the subjugation of the individual’s will and freedom by an overweening state. Humanity withers, freedom of speech is stifled and the soul dies. Self preservation becomes a dominant drive.

    9/11 is ‘our’ Reichstag fire and all those other home grown pretexts for potential war. Forget the Gulf of Tonkin and the Bay of Pigs and forget also that maxim – those who do not learn lessons from mistakes in our histories, are bound to repeat them. I hope that the Dolphin class submarines patrolling in the Gulf with their nuclear armed Cruise missiles have Israeli commanders who are more competent than the 30 Yanks suspended the other day. You will recall the remark made by Netanyahu with 10 minutes of learning of 9/11. ‘Terrorist’ and ‘terrorist’ is his refrain, and from all his allies in the west.

    The hour is late. Speak out.

  47. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 8:29 pm

    Re Lord McAlpine

    @ Clark

    “Habbabkuk, of course you hope they’re will be gloating, so that you can condemn it”


    Incorrect, Clark. My hope was that following my comment people would refrain from gloating – not, of course, out of any sense of decency but rather to prove me wrong. Call it a pre-emptive move, if you wish. It seems to have worked so far, wouldn’t you say?

    “Revealing rather than prophetic, I’d say.”

    See above.

    “Look, I posted an on-topic constructive argument above. You seem to claim some familiarity with law, certainly more than my own; can’t you go anywhere with something like that? Doesn’t it even give you any ideas?”

    Your proposal appears to be the following: “We need some sort of rational framework that establishes the degree to which each entity should have privacy or come under intrusive scrutiny, where “entity” covers individuals in their private, professional and public roles; groups, government departments, commercial organisations, etc. etc. etc.”

    My idea of this is that this kind of attempt at prior schematisation/categorisation would be unworkable, inefficient and easy to get around (by both ‘sides’).

  48. Habbabkuk, so what’s your idea then?

  49. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 8:50 pm

    From Herbie

    “That’s the funny thing about these hypocritical old scumbags. They turn Britain into a corporate wasteland and then they go off to live in France or Italy.”

    I take it that the above is a reference to Lord McAlpine.

    I believe that Lord McAlpine’s (economic) field was property development, but I am not clear as to how that (or he himself) turned Britain into an “economic wasteland”.

    Apart from the fact that property development has a physical side to it (development implies demolition and building – which happens to involve real people working in a variety of trades), I would suggest that as economic activity in Britain (as in most of the developed world) is now predominantly service-based, it follows that the business of services brings about economic growth rather than creates an economic wasteland.

    Surely, for example, an attempt to continue large-scale coal-mining in the UK – ie, the production of something for which there is no longer a market either nationally or internationally – would be far more likely to create an economic wasteland?

    Finally, I believe he retired to Italy in his sixties. As do, especially to France, quite a few British people of that age or younger.

    The unpleasant implication of your comment – ie, that he plundered the country and then went abroad to enjoy his ill-gotten gains while the rest of you are left in the merde he created – is, anyway, logically unsound; Lord McAlpine was a rich man and could well have had a very comfortable life in Britain. Perhaps he was just after a better climate, with which only a curmudgeon would quarrel.

    Feel free not to respond!



    “The linchpin of an empire is the link between two elites, one in the imperial center and the other in the peripheries.  Symmetric alliances exist, but not with a superpower in the center.”

    “The periphery elites do jobs for the center: killing, say, in Libya, Syria, when so wanted; securing the center economic interests in return for a substantial cut, serving as a br

  51. David Halpin, good to see you. I finally decided that I didn’t know much about how buildings collapse, but something about 9/11 is very obvious. It stemmed essentially from Saudi Arabia, which is a prime UK/US/Israeli ally. Whichever way you look at it, this attack came from the West’s “own side”, similar to some of the people we’ve been supporting in Libya and Syria. Our leaders’ reaction to these attacks is always “send armed forces in somewhere“, where “somewhere” always just happens to be where they wanted to go anyway.



    Contd – interrupted. Funny how that works, eh? –

    “The linchpin of an empire is the link between two elites, one in the imperial center and the other in the peripheries.  Symmetric alliances exist, but not with a superpower in the center.”

    “The periphery elites do jobs for the center: killing, say, in Libya, Syria, when so wanted; securing the center economic interests in return for a substantial cut, serving as a bridgehead culturally–called americanization–delivering obedience against protection.”

    “For this to work the elites have to believe in the empire.  They put words up front–like democracy, human rights, rule of law–serving as human shields.  However, the costs may be heavy, the benefits decreasing; they may have difficulties with restless students, working classes, other countries.  Or worse: they may sense that the empire is not working, heading for decline and fall, and want to get out.”

    “And even if this is not the case, the US elites-the policy officials-may suspect it to be and spy on empire-alliance leaders:”

    “[Director of the NSA] General Keith Alexander: “NSA–was asked by /US/ policy officials to discover the “leadership intentions” of foreign countries. If you want to know leadership intentions, these were the issues” ( 01-11-13).”

    “Clear from the beginning, beyond “threats to privacy”, “they all do it”, “it was technically feasible”, and similar smoke screens.  Spying on intentions of enemy leaders–the “humint” (HUMan INTelligence) to complement capabilities–is an obvious part of the state system.  But on allies?

    “Even more so.  There are allies and allies; empires may decline. Foreign leaders may not offer full obedience in return for protection.  Or may not accept US views as accurate, but have their own.  They may even explore options.  Their real intentions are crucial, and nobody can spy and supervise better than their own secret agencies–coordinated by CIA-NSA–and in their own language.  Alexander said the obvious: “policy officials” (ambassadors, etc.) and alliance agencies spying together on policy-makers.  The real power elite inside the elite.”

    “Look at this through Angela Merkel’s eyes.  She hated the DDR-Deutsche Demokratische Republik Stasi surveillance.  But they were amateurs; these people are professionals. A decade went unnoticed, till Snowden.  Imagine her rage, comparing.”

    “And imagine the non-rage over the same in Spain: beyond Franco, yes, but Rajoy’s party (Partido Popular) is the–highly corrupt–successor to Franco.”

    “Yet, as there is an inner circle of self-appointed elites there is also an inner circle of allies that presumably can be trusted, the “Five Eyes”: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand; Anglo-America writ large.  Who are they?  A club of countries selected on a racist-culturalist basis. White and Anglo, killers of indigenous peoples all over: USA of Native Indians, Canada a little less of First Nations, Australia of Aborigines, New Zealand a little less of Māoris, UK all over–getting the others launched on that slippery slope of genocide and sociocide.  They know this. They know that the world’s majority is the kind of people they killed and feel strongly they have to keep together, distrusting non-members.  But the US spies on UK Labour and Parliament, USA-UK together on the other three.”

    “Germany wants to join the club for another 5+l, like with the UNSC-UN Security Council veto powers.  Race is no problem but culture is: they are not Anglo.”

    “The more the empire declines the more expectation of more spying to identify the enemy within.”

    – ‘NSA and the Fall of the US Empire’, by Johan Galtung, November 4, 2013 – Transcend Peace Institute –

    Perhaps even more important than this clear view of reality is to ask the question “_Why_ is this clear (and apparently accurate) view not reflected in the US or UK Muppet Stream Media?” and, if it is not, _What_ to do about it? (ER. Don’t rely on Muppets for information – MSM or otherwise? – perchance? ; ) Ed.) – Muppet news flash –

    The latest Johan Galtung Editorial –


    Just say “Up yours” to USUK Empire Neo-Con Nazi mass psychosis! –

    USUK Empire Neo-Con Nazism made mainstream by ‘Biggus Dickus,’ (of Wome on the Potomac) — Big Oil tool and US Torture promoter – brought to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Aden, Syria, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Poland, Lithuania and many, many more —

    – “You lucky bastard” – Monty Python – Life of Brian –

  53. Habbabkuk, Oh, I see, your ideas are all about Lord McAlpine, whom you didn’t want discussed.

    Sorry I’m so wrong about you.

  54. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 9:12 pm

    @ Clark

    I don’t need to have any “ideas” because I’m not persuaded there’s a problem for the solution of which “ideas” are required.

    I’m also not inclined to make an effort to set out my thinking – such as it is – for your benefit on various aspects of what is mistakenly called “surveillance”. But just to give you two hints :

    1/.Craig’s assertion that “nobody should be targeted until they have actually done something wrong,…” is both a misuse of words (“targetting” is incompatible with the idea of “mass surveillance”, which is what the authorities stand accused of) and remarkably complacent, in that the implication is that prevention is wrong and unnecessary;

    2/. I also contest the claim that 9/11 (or for that matter the London bombings, etc, was an “excuse” for greater surveillance of communication by electronic means; I would call it an understandable reaction and a rather sensible one.

  55. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    18 Jan, 2014 - 9:18 pm

    @ Clark (21h02)

    No, Clark, although the words “Lord McAlpine” appear in my posts I was of course really referring to the Grand Old Duke of York. Well spotted!

  56. Oh, you do have a gripe with Craig then? You think he’s misused words. Well you need to get in earlier, while he’s still on the thread. Though I note you rarely do that. And should you maybe prioritise? Like, comment about it before you start baiting about Lord McAlpine? “The dead can’t sue” indeed.

    I find you dishonest, Habbabkuk.

  57. Resident Dissident, ESLO, do you support this sort of thing by Habbabkuk?

  58. Excellent post, Craig.

    For those who missed it, here’s another we reminder of Neocon Target # 5: Syria, and the Ghouta gassing lie. Seymour Hersh was blanked by the corporate media in his own country; only the London Review of Books would touch his story over here. The parallels with the Iraq WMD lie – different salesmen, same shit – are chilling.

    “Fascism should rightly be called corporatism as it is the merger of state and corporate power” – Mussolini.

    And all in the name of security.

  59. Resident Dissident

    18 Jan, 2014 - 11:19 pm

    “Resident Dissident, ESLO, do you support this sort of thing by Habbabkuk?”

    I am not over impressed by anyone who seeks to attack the newly departed (or wishing death or torture on the living) – it strikes me as being cowardly in extreme as well as being in bad taste. On this blog we have seen nasty attacks on Sharan, Thatcher, Christopher Hitchens and now Lord McAlpine just after they have died (the Hitch is the only one for whom I have positive feelings btw) and the vast majority of contributors have just sat by and either said nothing or joined – only the small majority including Habba and myself have raised our voices in condemnation. The rule I exercise is that I cannot say anything good about the recently departed then I will not say anything at all – I would recommend others to follow suit.

    I don’t think it was wise of Habba to make a pre-emptive strike on behalf of Lord McAlpine – but given the past behaviour of some on this blog it is totally understandable. I also don’t think it very wise for you to jump to conclusions about someone’s honesty or otherwise on the basis of a few blog posts.

  60. Resident Dissident

    18 Jan, 2014 - 11:39 pm

    “You have the fascistic tendency – a majority – arguing that Obama is right”

    If anyone bothers to read the Guardian editorial today

    They will see that the paper that published most of the recent revelations about the NSA is now being labelled as part of the majority fascistic tendency (and I daresay I would also be deemed to belong there given my comment of earlier today).

    Perhaps it is time for Craig to realise that if progress is to be made it will occur by making coalitions with people who do not agree 100% with his analysis, rather than insulting them. I share his distaste for mass surveillance – but I have no problem in targeting surveillance on those who have undertaken activities that arouse suspicion (although I suspect there are widely different views as to what those may be).

  61. Clark: “I find you dishonest, Habbabkuk.”

    And I Clark, find you, this evening, without grace (one of the rarest ‘commodities’ in the World).

    You and others often accuse Habbabkuk for not stating his views. When he just did so, in an entirely civil manner, and at your request, you turn around and tell him “you need to get in earlier” (who in hell are you to instruct him or anyone else here what to do?), and accuse him of being dishonest. Forgive me, but you sound like you are bent on creating conflict. Just look at the way you behave, just because he disagrees with Craig here!?

    Its precisely because of these type of *reactions* that I would not trust ‘revolutionaries’ like you, even if I were to disagree philosophically with Habby.

    I agree with Richard above:

    “I go further – in principle, I think everyone should have an inalienable right to privacy of communications, and that our personal devices should be legally treated as the extension of our brains* that they are – and thus not subject to examination.”

    (* mischievous as they are)

    Mankind has taken a wrong turn and is using technology for destruction as much as it is using it for building convenience and comfort. Earth’s first global telephone system (the internet) need not become a global camera-recorder for all our communications. While our leaders claim they are creating security, they are actually doing the exact opposite and fanning man’s primal insecurity.

    For ‘modern’ man, we are actually quite medieval and unenlightened. Freedom is a psychological state. It is at the beginning, not something to be strived for as an end. And here’s something new for you: the word ‘free’ is entirely related to the word ‘friend’, etymologically speaking. And they are both related to the much misused word “L O V E”. Check this out:

    Lighten-up, while remaining serious about our Earth and the state of humanity, or be part of the wave of destruction. Which is also why I find Mary’s constant whining so utterly infantile and worthless. Unless she is deluded, she surely recognises her powerlessness deep down and therefore resorts to accusations of trolls. Other psychotics join in while Habbabkuk remains dignified, as do ESLO and RD. I’m sure they want to see change in the World but not by *revolutionaries* like you and Mary. Yes Craig IS as Habby said of a different calibre. As Craig said, there may not be justice in this World, but there is Truth.

    We are a Type Zero Global Civilisation–do you want to get to base one? There is no point in critiquing world events if you are unwilling to, in the same movement, observe yourself inwardly. And then respond “in the spirit of the *discussion*”, not with cries of trolls.

    And Craig, the image is not the thing. A picture of a pizza is not food, not a pizza. The ‘Thing’ is much deeper–its in our conscience and Human Consciousness and as you well know, its a messy one, very messy.

  62. Resident Dissident

    18 Jan, 2014 - 11:51 pm

    And meanwhile in the new land of the free

    Perhaps Assange and Snowden might wish to take this up with their new employers and start a campaign to free Evgeny Vitishko.

  63. Resident Dissident, Habbabkuk made a blatant attempt to wreck this thread, and has previously been banned for gross insults, repeatedly deleted by Craig for questioning whether someone was Jewish, and caught sock puppeteering anti-Jewish jokes to an Israeli. You can continue to support Habbabkuk, but you’ll lose some respect with me.

    I thought you’d share distaste for mass surveillance. I know you object to states that do or have done this. You respect Orwell.

  64. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 12:05 am


    I don’t recognise the offences you attribute to Habbakkuk – when and if I disagree with Habba (e.g I dislike many of the Tory politicians he supports) I am happy to say so) I am more than happy to say so – such things are only healthy features of the western democracies that we both favour)

    “I thought you’d share distaste for mass surveillance. ”

    That is exactly what I said “I share his distaste for mass surveillance – but I have no problem in targeting surveillance on those who have undertaken activities that arouse suspicion”. Please don’t twist my words.

    Do you really believe that the police should not be able to watch people where they have specific intelligence that they may become engaged in a criminal act? Waiting until they have actually done so would be rather too late to prevent the crime wouldn’t it?

  65. Resident Dissident, I see you’re blaming Snowden along with Assange now, rather than Russia and the US. What power do these individuals have in comparison with the world’s two greatest superpowers? Are you likely to start calling Craig a traitor?

  66. Resident Dissident, I do not mean to twist your words, nor do I see that I’ve done so. You, I, and Craig share distaste for mass surveillance. It’s the tool of totalitarianism. I expect that we all three agree about that.

  67. Resident Dissident, the offences I attribute to Habbabkuk are simply facts, recorded on the comment pages and in the server logs. I strongly suggest you rid yourself of this troll.




    Johan Galtung gave twenty five talks to East German churches on peace-by-peaceful-means. “At one the priest asked, ‘do you know that forty percent of the congregation tonight will be Stasis?’ If there is anybody who needs this knowledge it is Stasis. It would be highly un-Samaritan, un-Christian to keep it away from them,” said Galtung. HA!

    Soviet rule in Eastern Europe collapsed first in Poland. The protests spread to East Germany when a peaceful crowd of 50,000 gathered coming out of five churches in Leipzig on 9 October 1989.

    “The Russian military commander was asked what to do. ‘Shoot those who are being violent,’ was the answer. ‘There is nobody violent,’ came the reply. Ah-ha – starts getting serious!”

    AHEM ! – “If you use violence at someone very very clever at violence and much better equipped than you are it is not necessarily a sign of immorality. It could also be a sign of stupidity. Or both. These two categories don’t exclude each other.” @6.28

    “They woke up the Soviet ambassador that night. The Soviet ambassador woke Gorbachev. Who said ‘We will not interfere.'” NOT A WORD ABOUT THIS DRAMA IN THE WESTERN PRESS !!!

    “Not reported in the western media and I can give you one reason why. It looks suspiciously like the end of the Cold War was produced by the common people in the wrong town in the wrong country in the wrong block.”

    NOT the version you heard from the USUK MSM. What a surprise, etc. Not! –

    “It is produced by US. By Reagan. By being strong.” ER, No it wasn’t! “It was not Reagan’s strength that impressed them in the slightest.”

    – ‘Celebrating Peace on Johan Galtung’s 80th birthday at Voksenkollen’ – Part 5


    “Spreading the truth is the first task.” – Peter Dale Scott.

    Scott suggested that street protests, with a militarised police force and ‘kettling’, or even three day detention of protesters, would be to ‘fight the last war’.

    “The first step is to understand and to expose the ‘deep politics’ that have brought us here. The Kennedy assassination, Watergate, 911 were crimes that need to be understood and exposed. The truth is not a speedy weapon of retribution. But it is the strongest weapon we possess.”

    – Peter Dale Scott – City Lights bookstore, San Francisco, December 1, 2010

    ‘American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA’s Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan’, by Peter Dale Scott – _Lots_ of ‘deep politics’ exposed _and_ made clear – a far harder job! ; ) –


    ‘Downfall’ of a US fascist Empire apparatchik, delightfully hoist on his own security surveillance state petard.

    And it couldn’t happen to a nicer illegal war, murder, torture-to-death, genocide, death squad implementing war criminal.

    Hard luck pal. Let the door hit you on the way out!

    – ‘Downfall!’ – “I should have listened to Julian Assange” – ‘Cypherpunks’ ad video –

    More – Can the Wikileaks-aided ‘Downfall’ of the USUK Elite War Criminals be long now? – Iron cross – with oak leaf clusters – in taking the mickey out of Das Reich of Wome on the Potomac – and Thames! –

  69. Just nice little number about surveillance.

  70. Resident Dissident, I agree with investigation of suspected crime, with warrants issued by a judiciary who must be persuaded by evidence submitted. I thought this was the normal, generally accepted standard in a decent society.

    Habbabkuk sees no problem with this totalitarian tool, and would rather we discussed something else, too. I hope you can see that, whatever your differences with me, Habbabkuk is something else entirely.

  71. Resident Dissident, I think you don’t like the Right very much. Neither do I, but the thing I respect them for is that they do defend those rights that support personal autonomy; liberty, self-reliance, privacy, etc.

    When you get rightists who support massive state power over the individual, be warned.

  72. Q: The rule I exercise is that I cannot say anything good about the recently departed then I will not say anything at all – I would recommend others to follow suit.

    R: Plantation ancestry or was it the big boats, bwana? I, for one, say whatever I Want, when I want to say it and I sincerely hope everyone else says what’s on his/her heart, without the ff-ing KaPos running the show.

  73. Take note that I last posted at 6.07pm yesterday on the NSA fantasies to kill Edward Snowden.

    Exchanges continued between Clark and two of the trolls throughout the evening and then at 11.46pm the third returns out of the blue to leave some nasty slime* about me completely out of any context. It followed no previous exchange. The post did contain a defence of the other trolls.

    *‘Lighten-up, while remaining serious about our Earth and the state of humanity, or be part of the wave of destruction. Which is also why I find Mary’s constant whining so utterly infantile and worthless. Unless she is deluded, she surely recognises her powerlessness deep down and therefore resorts to accusations of trolls. Other psychotics join in while Habbabkuk remains dignified, as do ESLO and RD. I’m sure they want to see change in the World but not by *revolutionaries* like you and Mary. Yes Craig IS as Habby said of a different calibre. As Craig said, there may not be justice in this World, but there is Truth.’

    If that is not trolling, then what?

  74. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Jan, 2014 - 9:46 am

    @ Resident Dissident

    “I don’t think it was wise of Habba to make a pre-emptive strike on behalf of Lord McAlpine”

    Well, that may be right, but my post was not entirely redundant, in that

    1/. it certainly seems to have choked off possible post-mortem gloating and floods of abuse (as you correctly pointed out, previous ‘form’ and all that…)

    2/. it occasioned a number of ‘responses’ (in particular from Clark) which serve as a useful reminder of the mindset of a number of the ‘regulars’ here (eg, “made a blatant attempt to wreck this thread”, “troll(s)”, etc. It’s important to note that two of the most worrying features of that mindset are the sheer lack of proportion demonstrated in respect of people in the public sphere, policies and, for that matter, dissident posters here, and a rather (let us say) cavalier regard for the facts (“repeatedly deleted by Craig” as a very minor example…).

  75. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Jan, 2014 - 9:50 am

    Clark recommends to Resident Dissident :

    “I strongly suggest you rid yourself of this troll.”


    “Who will rid me of this troublesome priest?”

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    19 Jan, 2014 - 9:58 am

    Re surveillance (mass or otherwise):

    Any ideas on how the authorities should go about nipping terrorist and criminal intentions in the bud without resorting to surveillance?

    And if it is admitted that targeted surveillance is both admissible and necessary in the interests of public safety, how and on what practical basis should the authorities go about determining who is be targeted?

    Ideas welcome as always.

  77. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 10:07 am


    “R: Plantation ancestry or was it the big boats, bwana?”

    If this doesn’t convince anyone as to the true nature of DR I don’t suppose anything will.


    Read Habba more carefully he didn’t call for mass surveillance – he just said targeted surveillance was an appropriate response to 9/11 etc.

    I agree with what you say re surveillance being done based on warrants to investigate “suspected” crimes – the real question is what constitutes suspicion – does buying a large quantity of fertiliser constitute a suspected crime, does a visit to a terrorist training camp, does involvement in group which espouses terrorism or supports terrorist activitie, is conspiracy a suspected crime. The line has to be drawn somewhere – and I suspect changes in the world means that it changes with time and technology.

    Habba isn’t mine to get rid of – troll or otherwise. We are both individuals and it is just insulting to infer that neither of us can think for ourselves or are incapable of acting on our own behalf as so many here do.

    Re the Right – it is one of the strengths of democracy that we can listen and enter into a dialectic with people with whom we disagree

    What is going on in Russia is far worse than what is happening in the West – Snowden and Assange have taken that particular shilling and chose to remain silent.

  78. habby asks:

    “Any ideas on how the authorities should go about nipping terrorist and criminal intentions in the bud without resorting to surveillance?”

    Stop funding them in the first place.

  79. Deprive a fire of oxygen and it dies.

  80. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 10:53 am


    I, for one, say whatever I Want, when I want to say it and I sincerely hope everyone else says what’s on his/her heart, without the ff-ing KaPos running the show.

    and no one said you couldn’t – I am also assuming that you have the ability to show self restraint and good taste I would again recommend that you use it. If not you have my sympathies.

  81. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 10:59 am

    Why Americans must see ‘When I Saw You’.

    Why “must” rather than “should” – you do appear to have somewhat of a problem in distinguishing between the two.

  82. “The rule I exercise is that I cannot say anything good about the recently departed then I will not say anything at all – I would recommend others to follow suit.”

    Margaret Thatcher died and all I can say is “good”.

  83. Res Diss opines:

    “I, for one, say whatever I Want, when I want to say it”

    Others may observe that what you say chimes rather remarkably with the propaganda spewed by mainstream media.

    Perhaps you’re totally unaware that mainstream medis is a propaganda tool?

  84. I have deleted Rehmat’s unpleasant comment.

    resident Dissident – The Guardian only published a tiny proportion of the Snowden material. The large majority they destroyed – unread – or actually handed over to the security services. Rusbridger is an unrepentant Blairite.

  85. “NSA’s Fake War on Terror

    A New America Foundation report suggests it. More on this below.

    NSA spying is longstanding. It’s ongoing abroad and at home. It has nothing to do with national security. It’s unrelated to uncovering terrorist plots.

    Homegrown ones virtually don’t exist. Alleged ones are hatched. They’re fake. Claiming dozens were foiled in time is false.

    They’re Big Lies. Previous articles discussed dozens of innocent victims. They included:”

    “At issue is generating fear. Washington’s fake war on terror needs public support. FBI operatives are involved.”

  86. Disturbing article: “America’s Spies Want Edward Snowden Dead”

  87. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 12:45 pm


    It still doesn’t make Rusbridger or the Guardian a part of the majority with a fascistic tendency – without them publishing part of the NSA material I very much doubt the whole matter would have come to light and it should be acknowledged that they published in the face of no little pressure from the authorities.

  88. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 12:58 pm


    If you are unable to discern different stands within mainstream opinion then might I kindly suggest that it is you that has the problem.

    Your circular logic for avoiding engagement with the views of those who belong in the mainstream really is fundamentally flawed and undemocratic. You may consider us all to be brainwashed sheep – but you still have to convince a majority of us of the alternative if you really believe in democracy.

  89. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 1:02 pm


    BTW if was Daniel Rich who was opining not me – interesting that you wish to take on me rather than his clearly racist language he aimed at myself.

  90. Res Diss

    These different strands as you term them, in mainstream media, don’t amount to much more than a choice between latte or americano from the same corporate entity.

    So far as democracy is concerned, I’m quite happy that issues of national importance be put to direct democratic vote. It’s elites who ensure that they rarely are.

    People are waking up to what’s being done in their name and that’s thanks to new forms of communication, so the idea that your views are mainstream is risible.

  91. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 1:35 pm


    And what exactly are my views since you are so keen to pass judgement on them?

  92. doug scorgie

    19 Jan, 2014 - 1:41 pm

    All people or even organizations that hold power over others should be accountable to those they lord over; MPs, Peers, public servants; local councillors; judges, police etc.

    Also private; individuals and organizations that use their power (through wealth and “friends in high places”) to undermine the public interest. None of those above should be immune to public scrutiny; privacy has to take second place.

    MPs are supposed to hold those with powerful interests to account but they fail in their duty and sometimes, as with all the above, they are corrupt.

    It is not only the right of the media to hold the powerful to account, through investigative journalism and whistle-blowers, it is their duty. (Most of them fail on this). If this involves snooping on these individuals and organizations so be it, not for tittle tattle or gossip, but for uncovering serious misdeeds.

    On the other hand Joe and Jane public going about their day to day lives should be protected unless they are engaged in illegality.

    What the security services want is to gather personal data on everyone just in case someone becomes “a person of interest”. A person of interest could be a spy; a terrorist or a criminal but also of interest to the state is anyone who might try to change the status quo of the ruling elite.

    Those people could be MPs; political activists; union leaders or their members; republicans (anti-royals); protest campers or marchers or even the little old lady in my street who has just joined the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

    The purpose of spying on these people is to gather personal data that could be used to restrict or undermine their activities or to gather information embarrassing to them that could be used for blackmail by the state.

    At my local PSC a couple of years ago a police officer infiltrated the meetings by joining using false ID and eventually he even became chair of the group. He was eventually sussed and he disappeared never to be seen again.

    So if we are not already a police/security state we are fast becoming one and this massive data collection is key to that.

    But we still get the idiotic claim from the government and the stupid amongst us that “if you haven’t done anything wrong you’ve nothing to fear.”

  93. Res Diss

    “And what exactly are my views since you are so keen to pass judgement on them?”

    If you can’t remember what they are, I’d suggest you review your posting history.

    I’ve made a number of points above which directly challenge your recent claims. No surprise you’ve ignored them in favour of asking stupid questions about your own posting history.

  94. This is Abby Martin of RT’s Breaking the Set with Russell Tice, another NSA whistleblower.

    NSA Blackmailing Obama? | Interview with Whistleblower Russ Tice

    Published on 9 Jul 2013
    Abby Martin talks to Russell Tice, former intelligence analyst and original NSA whistleblower, about how the recent NSA scandal is only scratches the surface of a massive surveillance apparatus, citing specific targets the he saw spying orders for including former senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama.

  95. Echoing Phil 18 Jan 11:27am

    “If they insist it is held, I vote Glenn Greenwald holds it”

    Hmmm. Your faith in Mr Greenwald is touching but I fear misplaced – unless you would have him treat it like he is treating his current cache – selective revelation and lock the rest up tighter than the NSA – that is.

    Here are a few salutory articles, including Glenn’s mia-culpa and some good stuff from your colleague Sibel Edmonds. But perhaps the most thought-provvoking is “Saving Agent Snowden from his Handlers”

  96. Resident Dissident

    19 Jan, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    “I’ve made a number of points above which directly challenge your recent claims.”

    No you haven’t – you have just come back with very tired rhetoric which actually adds nothing to the debate whatsoever.

  97. Re Craig’s comment – “Obama is now an open vicious neo-con. The picture says it all.”

    Indeed the situation is far worse than just the “surveillance” State that Mr. Snowden has so courageously reported on. We are on the road to being a totalitarian State. As you yourself wrote, we now have secret legal proceedings where the defendant has no real rights. We also have individuals being persecuted on occassion by these secret agencies to serve an illegal agenda that has nothing whatsoever to do with national security as I know only too well.

    Your comment “those who make an extremely fat living from the security state” also hits the nail on the head since there are those in the establishment, and in the intelligence/security apparatus, who profit greatly from the illegal actions of our covert security services.

    I don’t think Obama is truly a NeoCon at heart, rather I think that politicians are too scared of their own secret/security services to sort them out, as they believe that these covert agencies (who are a law unto themselves) can ruin their careers …… or worse.

    Politicians (and the main stream media) avoid this issue like the plague. These covert agencies operate outside the law, and most politicians know it – which is why they prefer to keep their heads in the sand like ostriches, and pretend that nothing is happening. Occasionally the press does report on these matters when they relate to foreign affairs and foreign intelligence services, but are usually too scared to tackle these growing issues at home.


    On the one hand, Whistleblowing heroes who acted on their oaths to defend the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, with a US Republic of laws.

    On the other, a fascist US Empire, with every kind of vice and crime from illegal war to murder, torture-to-death, genocide and the wholesale theft of the treasury. With the US Republic overthrown, the Constitution torn up and a teleprompter-reading muppet president. (ER, Puppet? Ed.)


    The lives of Whistleblowing heroes – ready for anything! With the US Empire’s reptilian-brained Queen (ER, A hidden Rarl Kove reference?? Ed.) played by a crocodile.

    It all ends well for the Whistleblowing battlers. For the croc, not so much, he is, ER, stuffed – literally – and it couldn’t happen to a nicer US Empire Nazi, you may think. ; )

    Go Ed ! –

    Rarl Kove stuffed ? ‘Natural justice’ ? –


    Skippy, the, ER, Bush Kangaroo ?? –

    After Scipio Africanus – Skippy / Bush – Puppet A or Puppet B ?? Somebody – turn the teleprompter off. Let’s see him mumble his way out of that one! – ; )


    Anyone old enough to watch I, Claudius in 1976 will have a very clear view of ‘Skippy’ Obama and his puppet presidency of the falling US Empire.

    “Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out.” Fascist Wome on the Potomac – the movie – with Derek Jacobi as a better man than the pusillanimous prez.

    – I, Claudius –

  99. Yes, the picture certainly does paint a thousand words, doesn’t it. I can’t help wondering what sort of image Julius Caesar or the Mughal emperors projected back in the day.

    We are occasionally told that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. Well, I don’t suppose that too many people reading this blog buy that tripe, but for my part I have plenty to hide; my whole life, actually. I am a private person – not a criminal – who enjoys privacy as a life-style choice which reflects my introvert nature. If I am suspected of a crime (don’t laugh, the politicians and police have very little interest in pursuing classical crime as most people would understand it) I expect the police to have to show just cause to an authority who has my interests at heart (please, stop sniggering) and get a warrant before they start trawling through my house, mail and phone calls. What kind of person would object to that? It is, after all, the world I grew up in – or at least I imagined I did: perhaps I was more naïve than I thought!

    It’s good to see this blog up and running again, by the way.

  100. There was an item on the TV the other day about Suffolk police being kitted out with cameras installed on the front of their jackets. Ostensibly to make a record if something controversial happens but who knows. A vox pop was included. Middle aged people mostly thought it was an invasion of privacy. A young woman however saw nothing wrong and came out with that phrase – If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about. See how the brainwashing is working.

  101. “will start shortly to have need of a new and more urgent bogeyman.”

    Careful there Craig. We wouldn’t want you to suffer from an attack of 9/11 Truthiness.


  102. Further invasion of our privacy is being planned. This time, it’s the sale of information contained in our medical records.

    NHS patient data to be made available for sale to drug and insurance companies
    Privacy experts warn there will be no way for public to work out who has their medical records or how they are using it
    Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor
    Guardian, Sunday 19 January 2014

    NHS branding
    If an application is approved then firms will have to pay to extract NHS patient information, which will be scrubbed of some personal identifiers Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

    Drug and insurance companies will from later this year be able to buy information on patients including mental health conditions and diseases such as cancer, as well as smoking and drinking habits, once a single English database of medical data has been created.

    Harvested from GP and hospital records, medical data covering the entire population will be uploaded to the repository controlled by a new arms-length NHS information centre, starting in March. Never before has the entire medical history of the nation been digitalised and stored in one place.

    Advocates say that sharing data will make medical advances easier and ultimately save lives because it will allow researchers to investigate drug side effects or the performance of hospital surgical units by tracking the impact on patients.

    But privacy experts warn there will be no way for the public to work out who has their medical records or to what use their data will be put. The extracted information will contain NHS numbers, date of birth, postcode, ethnicity and gender.

    Once live, organisations such as university research departments – but also insurers and drug companies – will be able apply to the new Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) to gain access to the database, called


  103. Mary,

    The solution to this problem is to not go and see your doctor, except for the death certificate.

    In a detailed survey of hundreds of over 95 years olds (they were Ashkenazi’s Jews actually – but that is irrelevant)…they were asked about their smoking, drinking, eating and lifestyles..Why exactly are you still alive…???

    They said, we don’t go and see the doctor, and we do not take their drugs.


  104. Q: Why Americans must see ‘When I Saw You’. Why “must” rather than “should” – you do appear to have somewhat of a problem in distinguishing between the two.

    R: Trying to score a few cheap points without actually reading contributions makes you look rather foolish if not plain idiotic [darn, so judgmental!]

    Why Americans must see ‘When I Saw You’ – Philip Weiss on January 18, 2014 @

    The courtesy of no altering another man’s headline. Duh!

    Q: Herbie – And what exactly are my views since you are so keen to pass judgement on them?

    R: A classic case of projection.

    CM: “Sharon is a war criminal.”

    RD/RO: “You cannot say anything bad about the dead, but if you do want to, don’t, be silent.’

    You gotta be ff-ing kidding me [you don’t, I know, you kid yourself].


    A few links [for those of you who do appreciate their privacy being kept private]:

    Tor Browser: search @

    You and your browser: @

    Peerblock: @

    Dianne Feinstein thinks 1st Amendment [and Bill of Rights] is nothing but a ‘special privilege': @

    If this is how ‘justice’ works today, I don’t want to be part of it @

    This is how congress deals with the 1st Amendment @

    Yeah, the Apartheid’s vessel is sinking, so keep rowing.

  105. Welcome back to Craig. Don’t retire.

    I personally have begun to think that Obama is plain scared. Either of revelations which he’d prefer remained secret, or of getting the Kennedy treatment – indeed perhaps both. His defence of the NSA started with outright lies. He actually said it was just meta-data, and denied the larger problem. This was simply a blatant lie, which I note he hasn’t been called on. However, he has gone much further, and defended the entire principle. So, he seems to be arguing both that there is no larger problem, but also that the larger problem, if it exists, isn’t a problem at all, and is just a case of keeping the US safe. Classic double-speak.

    And yes, he is a vicious neocon. I think perhaps he always was, much like Bliar, which is a terrible shame. It’s also a sad reflection of the hollowed out US political process, which appears to be a corrupt farce from election cycle through election cycle. That Obama, of all candidates, is supposed to be a liberal is just amusing; he may sometimes speak liberal, but that trick has gotten old.

    I note, in passing, that his speech was praised in the Guardian leader article. I almost laughed.

  106. Daniel Rich @11.28pm

    I don’t think you are fully appreciating RD’s point. I very much doubt that he is wishing to curb your freedom of speech he is just suggesting that there is a better time and place to talk about the dead than when they have just died – he uses “should” and similar wording, this is not meant as a command or an instruction. If he wanted to use such wording then he would say “must” or “cannot” (as you have incorrectly placed in his mouth in your last posting). By all means say whatever you want – that is what freedom of speech is about – but just appreciate that others are free to criticise what you say and seek to use the English language with rather more subtlety than yourself.

  107. Obama wrecking online futures as Lord Rennard, is he a secret UKIP clone? is setting about tearing the lib dems apart ala Rumpelstiltzken.

    Today is Lib Dem demise day, when Lord rennard single handedly makes a twit out of a party of bendy straws. Single handedly he will write off the mainstay female membership of the Lib Dems and fel good about himself, sit down on that red leather and think of his next conquest.

    We shall see how many of them dare to resign over his gross and sexist misconduct.

  108. The initial smear against Snowden- that he put the lives of US diplomats and spooks in danger, is clearly losing traction, hence the latest smear from a sympathetic congressional source-

  109. This just came in on a Google alert which I had forgotten setting up when we were wondering how Craig was.

    20 January 2014, 06:22

    The Iraq invasion fatally damaged the UNSC – Craig Murray

    Download audio file

    The speech on intelligence reform and NSA spying by US president Barack Obama was one in which nothing was said but which was designed to create a strong psychological impact with its visuals. Former United Kingdom Ambassador and rendition death whistleblower Craig Murray stated: “it was like Hitler at a Nuremberg Rally. I have never seen so many national flags of one country behind a single speaker. It was a kind of an exercise in extreme nationalism, rather than an intellectual speech.” Mr. Murray stated that Obama merely continued the US insistence that they have the right to spy on everybody.

    With regard to the US expansion of the Magnitsky List Mr. Murray said the creation of the list reveals the mindset in the United States that still regards Russia as an enemy. The US continues to demonize Russia but does nothing against countries like Bahrain which shoots people dead for demonstrating, tortures women and children, gasses people and imprisons doctors and nurses. The Magnitsky List is a peculiar piece of exceptionalism which reveals a scary Cold War mentality from a country that does nothing to address far worse human rights abuses taking place around the world.

    Interview follows

  110. Nevermind. I replied to you on the wrong thread, the latest one on immigration. Sorry.

  111. Craig Murray stated: “it was like Hitler at a Nuremberg Rally. ………….

    Ridiculous comparison IMHO

  112. January 20, 2014

    Obama’s Lukewarm Recipe
    Taming the NSA?


    President Barack Obama offered it as a small olive to a public he had been lecturing for months. Ever since the disclosures by Edward Snowden of massive surveillance programs, the White House has had to play a form of political catch-up, its capacious tail dragging along in the process. Suggestions have been made about reforming aspects of the National Security Agency, most notably on its bulk collecting facility.

    The theme in these deliberations has been uncomplicated. Activities on the part of the NSA and the Foreign Intelligence Service Court (FISC) have been regarded, in the main, as necessary and noble ventures. They are legal. They are needed. The Obama administration’s August white paper was a true whitewashing of the bulk surveillance program. Congress endorsed it. It had been reviewed by the FISC. According to former NSA director Michael Hayden, it was created and reviewed by all three branches of government (New Yorker, Jan 17). Those questioning it might well be suffering mild bouts of paranoia.


  113. or how about this from the man behind the Voice of Russia,8599,2094817,00.html

  114. Foreign relations between the US and Germany might take a little vacation in the freezer over all this spying on ‘friends’, the outfall which will be felt at GCHQ.

    The lesson to the NSA is loud and clear, ‘if you spy on people and its coming out in a technically sophisticated world, then you will guarantee that your foreign relations will suffer irreparable timely damage, period.’

  115. Shame on the Court of Appeal
    20 January 2014

    US embarrassment “trumps British justice” in drone victim’s case

    Noor Khan and Kareem Khan Photo

    The Court of Appeal in London has today ruled that the case brought against the UK Government by a Pakistani victim of a drone strike cannot proceed as it might result in the “condemnation of the US by a court of this country.”

    Noor Khan (28) lost his father, a local elder, to a 2011 drone strike on a local council meeting in North Waziristan, which had gathered to resolve a chromite mining dispute. After evidence emerged that the British intelligence agency, GCHQ, was supporting the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan, Mr Khan brought a judicial review in the British courts against the UK Government.

    However, the Court of Appeal today ruled that, despite Mr Khan’s arguments being “persuasive,” they accepted the British Government’s claims that the case should not proceed as “a finding by our court that the notional UK operator of a drone bomb which caused a death was guilty of murder would inevitably be understood…by the US as a condemnation of the US.”

    The court also noted that it was “not clear that the defence of combat immunity would be available to a UK national” tried for “murder by drone strike.” The comment came in response to arguments put forward by Mr Khan’s lawyers that the programme of strikes in Pakistan is illegal and that UK involvement could lead to UK officials facing murder charges


  116. I have not heard anything about Michelle Obama’s 50th birthday. On the other hand, the New Zealanders have been subjected to news of the celebrations.

    Good Morning Madam Mao by Morrissey Breen

    I liked this description of the Clintons at the bash.

    ‘The celebration included Samuel L Jackson, Magic Johnson, Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, John Legend, and a gruesome-looking couple who might well have come straight off the set of a vampire movie. A closer look revealed that the two were not a part of some zombie-themed stunt, but were in fact the Clintons.’

  117. Well, well…on the eve of Geneva 2 we have “firm evidence” of what a nasty regime we are dealing with here. Very helpfully, they photograph, as a matter of routine, all the people they execute. How handy is that for any future war crimes trial?

    I hope we all remember Curveball — the liar who said Saddam was making mobile biological weapons labs. You know, the ones Colin Powell showed the UN…

    The single source for the latest PR blitz on Syria is codenamed Caesar. You can supply your own jokes about the birth of Imperial Rome.

  118. @Craig “I have deleted Rehmat’s unpleasant comment.

    resident Dissident – The Guardian only published a tiny proportion of the Snowden material. The large majority they destroyed – unread – or actually handed over to the security services. Rusbridger is an unrepentant Blairite.”

    What an interesting proposition!

    I remember there was an Independent article here:

    on Snowden leaks and there were questions asked at the time about how did they get access to such material and whether it was a genuine claim.

    Then in November the same story ( Cyprus: the home of British/American Internet surveillance in the Middle East) came out in Le Espresso (the official Snowden press collaborator for this story)

    So indeed the Independent article was based on Snowden origin material. So how did they get access? Did the Guardian tip off the Independent when they were too scared to publish themselves? or did the Guardian hand the material over to MI5/other agencies/government officials who then organised a controlled leak via the Independent for damage limitation?

  119. Live Q&A with Edward Snowden: Thursday 23rd January, 2014

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