The Servile State 115

I just watched a feature on BBC News about the call of Tim Berners Lee for a Bill of Rights to protect internet freedom, and astonishingly they managed not to mention NSA, GHCQ or government surveillance at any point.  They had an “expert” named Jenni Thomson who opined that “it is not as if anyone is looking over your shoulder all the time”, and went on to say the collection of data by facebook and google is the problem, and then was led by the BBC interviewer to the nice uncontroversial subject of education in schools for children on how to stay safe on the internet.

I had rather tended to think of the BBC’s rabid anti-independence propaganda in Scotland as an aberration, a legacy of the fact that so many in senior positions in public institutions throughout Scotland got there as Labour placemen.  Then a couple of months ago I was in Ghana watching coverage on BBC World TV and listening to BBC World Service radio, specifically relating to Egypt and the trial of President Morsi.  I suddenly noted that in all circumstances the BBC journalists and presenters were tangling themselves in knots not to refer to the military coup as a coup.  We had the “ousting”, “overthrow”, most often “removal from power following popular demonstrations”.   Occasionally BBC staff would mention it was a military “intervention”.  But they tied themselves up in knots not to say coup, even though that is precisely what happened and often was the most natural word.  Occasionally they would grind to a halt looking for an alternative.  I once heard “following the military ummm err ummm ouster of President Morsi.”

Now I understand the US government decided not to use the word “coup” because that would automatically bring in sanctions under existing legislation, so the Obama administration decided to pretend it was not a coup.  It is perhaps surprising there is no other get-out in the legislation for coups like the Egyptian military one achieved by the US and Israel, but that is a different question.  But that the BBC should follow so servilely this policy of distortion of truth ought to be shocking.

It seems few people care any longer.  There is actually rather more concern for liberty among the population at large in the US than in the UK.  Snowden’s revelations have brought almost no reaction against GCHQ’s actions in the UK, compared to some fairly strong outrage in the US.  Even the revelation here that 1.4 million people hade their webcam chats spied on by GCHQ, many of them involving sex, caused barely a ripple.  I am fairly confident that would have caused more concern in the US.  The notion of liberty appears to have been lost for now in the mental scheme of the citizenry of the UK.

There is now a great scandal in the States about the CIA spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee as that committee compiled its report into torture and extraordinary rendition.  Even the dreadful warmonger and fanatical Zionist Dianne Feinstein is outraged by this.  Predictably, Senators are much more concerned about having their computers hacked than about people being dispatched all round the world for terrible torture on a massive scale.  The CIA’s actions have probably made it more likely that a report will eventually be published which gives more of the truth about extraordinary rendition and American torture, though I suspect that the Obama administration will make sure most of it remains buried.  There is however a chance that more will be admitted, and particularly that there will be revelations of the collusion of other governments, including our own.

In the UK, this precise matter continues to be hushed up, and there seems very little concern about that.  The Gibson Inquiry was to establish the truth, and it was simply cancelled.  Our politicians even went so far as to institute secret courts, precisely so the guilt of Blair, Straw and a host of senior spies and civil servants over torture could be kept hidden.  It will be ironic if the truth comes out through revelations by US senators outraged at being spied upon.




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115 thoughts on “The Servile State

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  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    ““If by Zionist you mean that the Jews have the right to a homeland in Israel and the right to a country then I am a Zionist,” the Tory leader said”

    There is nothing outrageous about the above statement by David Cameron – unless, of course, you believe Israel has no right to exist.

    Unfortunately, as I demonstrated a few threads back, there are some Eminences on this blog who think precisely that (Mary, Mr Scorgie, Nevermind…and probably others who kept their heads well down when challenged)


    Fight intolerance, bigotry and hate.

  • mike

    “Fight intolerance, bigotry and hate.”

    Preferably with cluster munitions, white phosphorus, and Tomahawks. And if you can starve ’em into submission (watch those calories, now) so much the better!

  • technicolour

    What’s missing, of course, from Cameron’s input, is any appreciation – one hopes, knowledge – of what is being done and what has been done to the people of Gaza/Palestine. It’s quite possible that he’s kept himself in deliberate ignorance, and also quite possible that he knows but doesn’t understand it. Or that he knows, understands, and just doesn’t care. He is quite young and ignorant of life outside a bubble, so any of these are possible. But then, dear Habbakuk, you’ve also decided to keep yourself in ignorance, I seem to remember?

    I agree with Doug S – his ancestry, and his pride in it, is completely irrelevant.

  • Macky

    “Six or five, Macky? Make your mind up, or alternatively, learn to count!”

    I would have thought that with your self-acclaimed “intellectual firepower” you would have worked-out that when I wrote my comment the number of your off topic was indeed five, but just as I was submitting I noticed you had just posted yet another off topic post, so I had just enough time to edit the first part before the comment posted; not rocket science really.

    Anyhow as you are up to nine off topic posts now, why don’t you prove that you are not being hypocritical in berating others for being off topic, by doing Clark the courtesy of replying to his considered Post addressed to you @ 13 Mar, 2014 – 3:57 am

  • Herbie

    There is something a bit creepy about it though.

    I mean, what is with all these western leaders so ingratiating themselves with the Israelis and their lobby in Washington.

    They all do it, even that leftist NY mayor was caught at it recently with AIPAC, and what you saw at Chuck Hagel’s Senate confirmation is par for the course with these people.

    And it’s all so embarrassingly over the top.

    What is so special about Israel that they bow down and scrape before it at every opportunity?

  • Herbie

    And why is it that the three main British parties, Conservative, Neo Labour and Lib Dem, all decided they had to have prominent “Friends of Israel” groups within their parties, almost to the exclusion and/or elimination of previous groups supporting Palestinians or pro-Arabist etc.

    These changes are quite significant in British politics.

    I think it’s fair to say that neo Labour jumped first into the Israel fealty schtick, then the Tories somewhat begrudgingly followed and the poor old Lib Dems only finally jumped when they were called upon to exercise power in the land.

    I’d identify that shift in British politics as the Atlanticist shift, which is pro American and pro EU, which seemed to triumph over, let’s call them the Commonwealthists, the dog, pony and pirate club of olde england to whom Mary has rightly drawn attention above.

    None of this deep, penetrating and incisive analysis however, explains why everyone is now kissing Israeli arse, and seemingly on command.

  • Mary

    The comment made about me @ 4.34pm and the preceding one are gratuitous and ad hominem.

  • Mary

    Israel’s ultra orthodox population are compelled to do military service in the IDF as from tomorrow. BBC website

  • Ben

    Hasidim were exempt. mary? I guess they fancy themselves as of higher calling (Solomon’s peaceful reign as contrasted with the bloody trail David left). Let them eat manna.

  • Clark

    Habbabkuk, would I be right in assuming that you are in favour of secret surveillance of the entire population, but that you’d rather not discuss the matter?

    Cameron’s “Jewish heritage” presumably became relevant when he used it to curry the favour of supporters of Israel. Obviously Cameron considered it relevant or he wouldn’t have mentioned it.

  • Clark

    Herbie, 13 Mar, 8:53 pm:

    “What is so special about Israel that they bow down and scrape before it at every opportunity?”

    Well the thing that seems most usually to influence politicians is large quantities of money.

  • Herbie


    “Well the thing that seems most usually to influence politicians is large quantities of money.”

    So far as I can see, Israel is a net recipient of monies, in yearly grants from the US. Its largest, I believe.

    But yes, it’s true, there’s quite a lot of pro-Israel money sloshing around through Congress, Senate and Presidency, and other opinion formers.

    It seems our politicians take gifts from the Israelis, but funnel payments back to Israel using taxpayers money.

    Good trick, but even better because Israel still gets the better of the influence, over the poor old US taxpayer.

    Make no mistake. This is becoming an issue in the US.

    Reminds me of how the NSA tapped US citizens using GCHQ. It’s illegal for the NSA to tap US citizens, but not illegal for the NSA to receive info on US citizens tapped by GCHQ.

    So anyway, why is Israel now so important to every western leader, bar none, whilst they day and daily inflict such evil crimes against the Palestinian people?

  • Clark

    Herbie, 12:57 am; isn’t what you describe just another manifestation of imperialism; charge the costs to the public taxpayers, and privatise the profits?

    So for instance the US government gives billions to Israel, which spends it on armaments bought from private companies in the Israel-supporting Western countries, and also gives away gratis holidays with guided tours in the warm and sunny “Holy Lands” to loads of “Friends of Israel” politicians.

    Follow the money. It looks pretty simple to me. The billions from taxpayers translate to just millions in profits for arms manufacturers, and mere thousands for politicians’ holidays, but hell, the ones who gain weren’t paying for it in the first place, so they don’t care about this gross inefficiency.

  • Ba'al Zevul (O Tempora! O Mores!)

    That said, entirely truthfully, Clark, Cameron’s desperate to get something real moving in the UK economy before the housing/funny money bubble goes pop again. Even the Tories seem to dimly recognise that we need a manufacturing and physical trade base now, although, happy globalists that they are, they’re not too bothered about the UK actually having ownership.

    It’s a pity that Dave has to lick Israeli butt, but to be fair, he’s been licking Indian butt, Chinese butt and even generic Islamic butt (1) in his quest for investment. The resulting nasty taste in the mouth is something Etonians are trained to ignore.


  • Daniel

    Have any journalists or commentators – including Craig Murray – described the coup in Kiev as a coup?

  • Ben

    Has anyone considered the possibility the Malaysian matter is misdirection?

    Fewer global eyes on the Ukraine.

  • Mary

    The hard boy is putting on his bovver boots.

    Commenting on the US-Russia talks in London today, Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

    “It is deeply disappointing that today’s talks did not produce the diplomatic breakthrough which Secretary Kerry worked tirelessly to achieve and which it was in Russia’s power to ensure. I regret the fact that Russia has refused to take this opportunity to change course, and is pressing ahead with plans to support an illegal, unconstitutional and illegitimate referendum in Crimea on Sunday.

    The United Kingdom is strongly of the view that there must be a firm and united response from the European Union at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council on Monday, and that the time has come for tougher restrictive measures to be adopted as previously agreed by EU nations. The door remains open for diplomacy and dialogue and we urge the Russian government to take action to lower tensions and enter into direct talks with the Ukrainian government. But we are clear that the flagrant violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine cannot go unchallenged, and we stand with the Ukrainian people in their right to choose their future free of intimidation and interference.”

    EU foreign ministers will meet on Monday in Brussels to discuss the next steps, including the case for further sanctions.

  • Phil

    BBC Radio 4 Question Time covered the Berners Lee suggestion for a Bill of Rights in about 10 seconds and also totally ignored USA and UK government spying on citizens. The panel spent more time on discussing the use of the word “bossy” when referring to women. Interestingly, it is not GCHQ doing the spying. It is not some anonymous organization. It is the UK government. That means David Cameron is doing the spying. Let’s get personal. He made it personal when he spied on people through their computer webcams and decided to collect videos of people semi and full naked. I can’t remember any prior discussion in the Commons on these laws which allegedly sanction total surveillance of the population. Can anyone else? If Cameron’s got nothing to hide, I demand to see pics of him and his missus through a laptop in their bedroom.

  • Phil

    I demand to see these videos of the Camerons in a state of undress just to make sure that they are not getting up to any bedroom terrorism capers.

  • Mary

    Annie Machon is here.

    ‘An Oxford debate in late February posed the question: Is Edward Snowden a hero? In an impassioned defense of a patriotism that courageously stands against the abuse of state power, Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges said yes, and by a vote of the those present, won the contest.

    Seven others also answered. In the order in which they appear below, the speakers are: Chris Hedges; St. John’s College Standing Committee member Charlie Vaughan; former MI5 intelligence officer and whistle-blower Annie Machon; lawyer and legal analyst for CNN and The New Yorker Jeffrey Toobin; former NSA officer and whistle-blower William Binney; George W. Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary Stewart Baker; former Liberal Democrat MP and British Secretary of State Chris Huhne; and former Obama administration Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Philip Crowley.’

    8 videos of the speeches

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