The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter 496


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

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

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

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

 

 

 


496 thoughts on “The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

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  • Dreoilin

    “Hanging around here endlessly bickering with a handful of people for 13 pages of comments is probably not any way to challenge the powers that be.”

    + 1

  • Mary

    If true, abandon all hope for truth and justice. They are laughing in our faces, again.

    Ambassador Prosor becomes first Israeli to chair elections to UN Human Rights Committee

    Israeli ambassador to UN unanimously nominated by representatives of 170 countries to chair significant elections, says ‘central role Israel plays to advance human rights is the real answer to anyone calling for boycotts against us’.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4489889,00.html

    Prosor was in Kensington Green from 2007 – 2011. I was outside his gate a few times over that period!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Prosor

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “Hanging around here endlessly bickering with a handful of people for 13 pages of comments is probably not any way to challenge the powers that be.”
    _____________________

    I would certainly agree with that. And allow myself to add that posting ad nauseam on the usual themes is unlikely to influence the powers that be either; at most it is the mutual “feeding” of a small group of commenters who – to judge by their reaction to anyone who attempts to challenge – are on the same page anyway and therefore have little if any need of nourishment.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “Israeli ambassador to UN unanimously nominated by representatives of 170 countries to chair significant elections,..”
    ______________-

    That’s interesting (especially the unanimity). What conclusions do people here draw from this?

  • mark golding

    ‘Cringe’ Mary is appropriate speaking of the Saudi collective. Grovel kneel and quiver are components of fear.

    Prince Bandar lead the field in revulsion, abhorrence and despair when he implied an arranged terrorist attack could snuff the flame and spirit of the Olympic games.

    That to me is inhuman.

  • guano

    Is the UK state not conducting a terrorist action in Syria using proxies, similar to its operation in Yugoslavia and not dissimilar to its murderous operations in Northern Ireland. So this is once again a terrorist organisation, the UK government, spreading calumny against all and sundry and in many dirty trick methods in order to obscure their own violence.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, please follow your own advice by reposting your 2:13 pm comment on the previous thread which is already on that topic, and requesting that any replies be directed there rather than here.

    I know it was Mary who introduced this topic here; I was trying to comment less, but a discussion really would divert this thread.

  • mike

    People often say: “How could an intelligent, cultured race — the Germans — allow Nazism to exert such a grip on the life of the nation?”

    How? Like this — a bit at a time, while most ordinary people get on with their lives. Unless you actually come up against the state, you tend not to realise how oppressive it’s becoming until it’s too late.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Clark

    “Habbabkuk, please follow your own advice by reposting your 2:13 pm comment on the previous thread which is already on that topic, and requesting that any replies be directed there rather than here.

    I know it was Mary who introduced this topic here;..”
    ______________

    You are right, it probably does more properly belong there. Having said that, I shan’t repeat it there because that thread has, I fear, already reached the end of its useful life. Happy to stay on-topic provided that others do.

  • Clark

    Reminder: the topic of this thread is

    The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

    The previous thread is still open and can be used for off-topic comments.

    Habbabkuk, sorry I singled you out; further off-topic comments arrived while I was writing to you.

  • Ed

    I can think of one good use this can be put to: satire.

    As an idea, there was a brilliant Goodness Gracious Me character, whose answer to anyone or anything great in the world was that the person/thing was Indian or made in India. I can easily picture a buffoonish state apparatchik whose answer to any question is “terrorism”. It is the catch-all justification for everything these people want to do, and it needs to be ridiculed.

    And yes, while the state’s abuses needs be fought and exposed, it is also important to mock them. Because the very last thing the abusers deserve is respect.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “Unless you actually come up against the state, you tend not to realise how oppressive it’s becoming until it’s too late.”
    ____________________

    The above has two sides to it though, doesn’t it? The institutions and laws of a state at the same time provide (or should provide) a framework for fostering the greatest happiness of the greatest number (eg, the personal positive development of the individual)and a framework for “oppressing” individual actions which it is judged work or are likely to work against that greatest happiness. So “oppression” is an integral and inevitable feature of any state. Much depends, furthermore, on how you would define it and the balance struck between it and the parallel “liberating” framework.

    Are compulsory schooling, compulsory vaccinations, compulsory motor vehicle insurance, anti-discrimination and anti-hate laws, even taxation – the list is endless – oppressive? In one sense yes, but no one would seriously argue against them, I think.

    Furthermore, it seems to me that a good deal of the arguments goes back to the use of certain technologies. Take speed cameras, for instance: if you accept the need for speed limits, and believe that they should be effective rather than just pious wishes, then you surely have to accept the use of such cameras rather than seeing their use as some sinister manifestation of a looming totalitarian state. Idem CCTV, idem vehicle number plate recognition technology, idem a certain policing of the internet, etc, etc.

    As for the point that one only becomes aware of state “oppression” when you come against it yourself, well, that’s obviously true but it is so evident that it hardly needs saying. It is irrelevant as an argument in evaluating the extent to which a state might overstep its normal and justified oppressive aspect and even more irrelevant in determining whether or not a state is sliding into totalitarianism.

  • Ba’al Zevul (La Vita è Finita)

    Good point, Ed. Ridicule, intelligently deployed, is probably a better weapon than terror, IMO, although rebellion by the upcoming generation has a way of upsetting a norm so established. What’s regrettable is that we have nothing of the calibre of Spitting Image or early Bremner to get the mockery seen. It’s all very comfortable, and tjhe rising generation of comedians aren’t nearly sharp enough. Exceptions: Martin Rowson, the Guardian cartoonist, an unashamed fan of Hogarth and Gilray. Who were extremely rude people…

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Pykrete

    “Imagine the msm if Vlad had done this!”
    _________________

    We don’t have to imagine it, Pykrete, as we have a concrete example to throw light on your imaginings.

    I read very recently that a Russian opposition figure who also happens to be an environmental campaigner but not a nun or monk either – has just been convicted of various offences arising out of him breaching a perimeter fence somewhere – I think it was at Sochi, actually. Some damage to the fence (obviously) but no damage to anything or anybody else. He got 8 years.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “Habbabkuk, sorry I singled you out; further off-topic comments arrived while I was writing to you.”
    _______________

    No apology necessary, Clark. Peace!

  • nevermind

    yes, I have noticed as its gone beyond what can be hidden.

    “Hanging around here endlessly bickering with a handful of people for 13 pages of comments is probably not any way to challenge the powers that be.”

    Thanks Phill you can be so down to earth, I just hope that the next time rage governs our actions and we are up for taking our much challenged bodies to another kettling, that we will stop and think locally, not all bunch together in London to suit the Met’s logistics.

    BTW. Anybody seen Dietrich Wagner, the OAP who had his eyes nearly blown out of his sockets by a water canon, I wish him well and hope his mission had the desired effect.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-dangers-of-water-cannon-blinded-german-man-tells-britain-dont-make-the-same-mistakes-as-other-countries-9134670.html

    Such treatment will happen here, its almost inevitable as the police will have no time to distinguish between agitators, out to damage and loot, and principled activists wanting to make a democratic point.

    GCHQ and the NSA have a lot to answer for and they are refusing to do so, hence the German move to turn the table on them. Those who are challenged at airports need bringing together as a group, their arguments would make for a powerful manifestation.

  • Jay

    Habba is realistic applying simple sensible thought to the extensive subject of social issues that concern us all I hope.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utilitarianism

    Education and reasonable indoctrination should be realised and morals and values promoted.
    We have a msm that promotes anything that seems entertaining in a desperate attempt at avoiding boredom.

    Lawful state and citizens= boring. Great…..

  • Ba’al Zevul (La Vita è Finita)

    ‘As for the point that one only becomes aware of state “oppression” when you come against it yourself, well, that’s obviously true but it is so evident that it hardly needs saying. It is irrelevant as an argument in evaluating the extent to which a state might overstep its normal and justified oppressive aspect and even more irrelevant in determining whether or not a state is sliding into totalitarianism.’

    Not at all. When the oppression extends to people going about their formerly completely legitimate daily business, it’s extremely relevant. Totalitarianism, if it means anything, means the absence of democratic input into the laws and workings of the State. In terms of whose voices are actually heard by this or any feasibly electable government, totalitarianism has arrived. Only it’s a bit difficult for the financial markets to collectively address a Nuremberg rally. That stuff comes just a little later, when the entrenched power changes hands.

  • Pykrete

    ” … Russian opposition figure … got 8 years” …

    Actually he got 3 years and as he was already serving a 3-year suspended sentence he violated the conditions of his parole.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    re the subject of this thread:

    I must say that it is going somewhat overboard to take the Miranda case to come to the conclusion that certain states – presumably including the UK – are “sliding into totalitarianism”.

    Let us note firstly that although there are differences of opinion as to whether the powers contained in Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 1970 are excessive, no case has yet been made – convincingly or otherwise – that those powers are totalitarian.

    Secondly, let us note that totalitarian UK allows the legality of actions undertaken by immigration officers to be challenged in the courts.

    Thirdly, let it be noted that the three High Court judges found that those powers were used lawfully and proportionately.

    And finally, let us note that the law provides for the possibility of appeal against that High Court decision – a possibility of which Mr Miranda apparently intends to avail himself.

    Now, are these the hallmarks of a state sliding towards totalitarianism?

  • mike

    Mr H, I guess the desire to keep us all safe unfortunately means the end of certain freedoms and personal privacy. Leviathan can always decide what is in our best interests, even if that includes minority groups who threaten the health of the nation. Sounds suspiciously like Nazi ideology to me. Seems we’ve learned a lot from the herrenvolk — and I don’t just mean the American space programme !

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Pyrete

    Well, I read 8 years. Perhaps it was a typo. But even if you are correct, it would seem to show that Russia and the US treat such actions with equal severity. But it is interesting – given that human rights are supposed to be universal (this is often claimed by various frequent posters here) – that someone – presumably a Brit – saw fit to post on the American case but no one seemed to be similarly exercised about the Russian one.

  • guano

    “agitating in your community and on the streets” is not the same as organised public protest.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Mike

    “Mr H, I guess the desire to keep us all safe unfortunately means the end of certain freedoms and personal privacy. Leviathan can always decide what is in our best interests, even if that includes minority groups who threaten the health of the nation. Sounds suspiciously like Nazi ideology to me”
    ______________________

    That’s not really a very serious or substantial response, is it?

    Now I hope we’re going to try and discuss various aspects of the British state – as reflected in the structures and laws of the British state – on their own merits instead of immediately making comparisons with the Nazi, Soviet or other epochs. But I must respond to your reference to minority groups: if this is intended to be a reference to UK groups such as those responsible for the London bombings and various other bomb plots (if it is not, you will correct me), then I would point out that as far as I’m aware there were no minority groups of Jews planting bombs in Germany in the 1930s.

  • Dreoilin

    Antoine Héry of campaign group Reporters Without Borders said his group was appalled by the ruling.

    “Once again, press freedom in the UK suffers from a confusion between journalism and terrorism by the authorities.
    It is a practice very well known and used in countries where authoritarian regimes are in power. It is a shame to say, but the United Kingdom has several times descended to that level in the past six months.
    The UK dropped 3 places in the 2014 edition of the World Press Freedom Index, and if nothing happens to protect the Guardian and its collaborators in the future, we are afraid that press freedom will be more and more seriously challenged in the country.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/19/high-court-ruling-on-david-miranda-heathrow-detention-live-coverage

    Vincent Peyrègne of the World Association of Newspaper and News Publishers has said today’s ruling deals a “serious blow” to public interest journalism in the UK:

    “With this ruling we’re even less likely to see the vital public debate – that has so far been lacking in the UK – into the nature of the Guardian’s revelations and what they mean for our society.
    The future of serious public interest journalism in the UK has been dealt a serious blow by the court’s refusal to recognise that journalists also have a vital role in defending democracy.”

    Michelle Stanistreet of the National Union of Journalists said Miranda was stopped as part of a “fishing expedition which had nothing to do with the prevention of terrorism”. She added:

    “It is clear from the evidence presented to the court of appeal that even the Metropolitan police had doubts about the propriety of stopping and searching Miranda.
    Today’s judgment represents a serious attack on press freedom and the protection of journalists’ sources. That can only limit the public’s right to know what is done in its name, and is a real threat to democracy.
    We believe there must be an urgent public inquiry into the use of anti-terrorism legislation as a battering ram against press freedom.”

    Mr Nick Pickles of campaign group Big Brother Watch said:

    “What is bizarre is that the security services twice declined to tell the police David Miranda was involved in terrorism, and then changed their mind after being told by the police that they could not use schedule 7 if he was not. This looks like making the facts up to fit the law, rather than using the appropriate power to do what was the ultimately goal, namely seizing the material in David Miranda’s possession.
    This is exactly why independent judicial oversight of terrorism powers is needed and parliament should revisit the legal framework. It is clearly remarkable for a British court to equate journalism with an act of terrorism and if the law is so vague as for that to be reasonable then it should be abundantly clear how badly in need of reform the law is.”

    (all from the same link, above)

  • Mary

    Homeland Security seeking to develop massive license plate database

    February 19, 2014

    The US Department of Homeland Security is hoping to find a private company that is technologically capable of providing a system that will track license plates across the nation, according to a new report.

    A government proposal noticed by various media outlets including The Washington Post on Tuesday shows that DHS is trying to gain the ability to sift through large amounts of data collected from roadside surveillance cameras and law enforcement license plate readers.

    The justification given on the document in question is that the database will be able to identify and track immigrants who entered the United States illegally and are on the run from authorities. The method could easily create such a vast network of information, though, that American citizens suspected of no wrongdoing could easily be snagged in the dragnet and unknowingly have their information shared between police agencies.

    A spokeswoman for the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), which falls under DHS authority, said the information would only be used in a way that it would not put civil liberties at risk.

    /..
    http://rt.com/usa/license-plate-database-tracking-immigrants-643/

    My reaction to the sentence in bold… Oh yeah?

    Coming to the UK soon. Have you noticed the cameras that exist already? We have ANPR and extensive CCTV surveillance.

    Surveillance cameras in Birmingham track Muslims’ every move
    About 150 car numberplate recognition cameras installed in two Muslim areas, paid for by government anti-terrorism fund
    http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jun/04/surveillance-cameras-birmingham-muslims

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    Komodo (15h36)

    I disagree with everything you write at 15h36 but shall only commennt on the follow excerpt:

    “Totalitarianism, if it means anything, means the absence of democratic input into the laws and workings of the State. In terms of whose voices are actually heard by this or any feasibly electable government, totalitarianism has arrived.”

    1/. I’d dispute that there is no democratic imput into the laws and workings of the state. Let me leave aside the rôle of Parliament and local authorities and ask me how you would characterize, for example, judicial reviews?

    2/. You seem to be saying that Parliamentary democracy is a sham. Now, most of the world’s nations have some sort of parliamentary system. Is it your contention that totalitarianism has arrived for most of the world (in addition of course to those states that follow non-parliamentary forms of government and are therefore, a fortiori, totalitarian)?

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