The Servile State

by craig on March 12, 2014 12:33 pm in Uncategorized

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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  1. While I agree with most of what you say, Craig, I suspect that the flareup between Feinstein and DCI Brennan is a pretext for getting rid of him for more unexpected but even more alarming worries, like the coup in Kiev, and the crash of that Malaysia airliner wherever.

  2. Interesting use of words by the BBC. To conceal. The same is true when Carl Bildt’s foreign office in Sweden pronounce on world events. They have invented something called a “language rule”. The language rule is communicated by the foreign office to its civil servants and to embassies etc. It is is simply a phrase or brief description of how to phrase a certain event. Often you will find exactly that phrase in newspapers and TV reports.

  3. FACT.

    ITV is the same.

  4. I’m not sure if we need Tim Berners Lee’s internet ‘Magna Carta’. The people of the UK seem to have given tacit consent to the industrial scale snooping through their deafening silence. I wonder if they will live to regret it?

  5. Kingofwelshnoir

    I fear the answer is that a battery hen doesn’t miss the fields, having never seen them

  6. More about the use of “language rules” by the Swedish Foreign Office. As Assange was waiting in the Ecuadorian embassy to find out if he was given asylum or not a memo with a “language rule” was sent out to all relevant embassies. It is not known exactly what the memo said, but it is believed to have stressed that he was simply trying to escape Swedish justice and that Sweden had not yet received any request from US to extradite him. No more comments. It was an efficient method to quieten a lot of the media.

  7. Craig

    Wow that’s a chilling take on it, and I suspect you are probably right.

    But there is another way of looking at it. If some animals are playing gaily in the jungle and you erect an electric fence around them, it will be a while before they notice it. Until they do, they will still think they are free.

  8. The fact that Feinstein only squealed when the spooks black games affected her directly is an act of great moral cowardice and hypocrisy.

  9. I’m sure there’s something in a battery hen’s genes that tells it there is somewhere a lot better than this prison. But yes, a good point.

  10. Several things I’d mention – the first is that the US constitution explicitly prohibits unwarranted search and seizure. And Snowden has basically convinced all but the most fanatical Americans that NSA is violating this prohibition. So there’s a clear point of reference around which Americans can coalesce.

    Secondly, the US dissent is increasingly bipartisan. The liberal wing of the Democratic party has generally been strong on the right to privacy, as has the now more influential libertarian wing of the Republican party. Last week, in the huge CPAC freakshow, there was a very telling seminar where it became clear that a strongly conservative audience was unmistakeably pro-Snowden.

    Third point, on the Senate-CIA spying, I’m not sure that the Senate is necessarily more concerned about spying than torture. I would say they seem more concerned about spying on them than spying on the general public, which is itself not excuseable, but there’s a good number of senators, Feinstein included, who are very determined to know the truth about the CIA’s torture/rendition programs.

    FirstLook, the new media home for Glenn Greenwald, credits Feinstein specifically on this point in the article below:

  11. Ba'al Zevul(aka Gordon Bennett)

    12 Mar, 2014 - 1:49 pm

    Lazy, commercial journalism must bear part of the blame. Press handouts pasted into the programme or paper without any attempt to check them or chase them up. No-one has time to read them anyway, too busy writing amusing little thinkpieces. And the unarmed, disorganised citizenry is probably right in thinking, vaguely, that there’s nothing it can do about it anyway.

    I’m sorry to say things will have to get a lot worse before a majority realises what it has lost, and will go on losing.

  12. The public has long known about the CIA’s rendering and torture of suspects after 9/11.

    I even had an article posted about the rendering and torture of Abu Omar from Italy on cryptome in 2005, and I have written about the same happening in Sweden to two Muslim suspects right after the disasters – what helped set up Sweden’s Foreign Minister Anna Lindh for assassination.

    Making a big deal about the CIA being really heated up now by their official disclosure is just a pretext for the mess elsewhere, especially in Ukraine where the Agency’s coup can only help drag the USA into the growing civil war there.

    Brennan has to go now, like his predecessor General David Petraeus who tried to derail Obama’s re-election over trouble in Libya.

  13. “It seems few people care any longer.” The low information voter or LIV in the US is typical especially when the issue is muddied between ‘safety’ and liberty, then the default is to safety.

    When folks are fortunate enough to have a job to support a family, they are often expected to effectively perform the duties of two workers. If you are paid hourly, you may have to commute from one job to another, working well in excess of 40 hours to make ends meet. That leaves little time for examining the frogswamp of news, which has already been neutered by a daisy-chain of handlers, special interests and editors.

    Yes, there is some laziness going on with public apathy, but much of this is due to plain old exhaustion and cynicism.

  14. Re: Craig’s and KingofWelshNoir’s comments on why people accept the decline in democracy. Most people won’t see, or will chose not to see, the ring fence unless it is reported on.

    As a whistleblower once said about MI6: they are “running a spy in every newsroom.” The mainstream media is the key thing here, it is the vehicle that allows the political status quo to continue. If the big papers and TV stations deliver the same key messages, then the bulk of people will believe them. Not just those who would have fit George Orwell’s description of a “Prole”, but a fair few supposedly intelligent people as well. Control of the mainstream media really is crucial for those who want to remove our freedom.

  15. It is still my humble opinion that the average man in the street has more to fear from the likes of facebook and google than he has from the security services. The NSA only has an interest in a small sector of society, the corporations are interested in it all. They are building huge databases listing everything about everybody in the world.

  16. I will disagree that the fall of Morsi was a ‘coup’. If we are to dwell on semantics, the full french phrase ‘coup d’etat’ literally refers to a sudden blow to the state. This has grown to be interpreted as a sudden deposition of a government,usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to depose the incumbent government and replace it with another body, civil or military. Now, the removal of Morsi if we are to dwell on the word ‘coup’ was not sudden, nor was it conducted by a small military body. Rather it was a long-term process which had popular support as the masses filled Tahir Square in the final days of Morsi’s presidency almost on a similar scale to the removal of Mubarak. You may argue that it was anarchic due to Morsi having being elected, or you may consider it as odious as other oustings from power which are undebatedly ‘coup d’etats’ but Morsi’s removal was far from a back room change of guard, rather it was a continuation of the 2011 revolution. Was it wrong, divisive? That’s a grey area for me, but I wouldn’t easily put it into the classification of a ‘coup d’etat’.

    And by the way I recognise the hypocrisy and the illegality of the actions of the ‘snooper state’ but personally I think its a more than sufficient price to pay to stop terrorism, which I consider an extremely bigger threat to personal freedom.

  17. @OEM

    People interested in paying the price to stop terrorism were also interested in stopping legitimate dissent and government accountability.

  18. When is a coup not a coup?

    Hmm, well, given the comments on this blog over the last couple of weeks, perhaps we’d better draw a veil over that one…

    Encryption is the answer, said Snowden the other day. The more data we encrypt, the more expensive it is for “them” to steal it.

  19. @OEM – Afraid I’d have to differ. I don’t disagree that events are to an extent a continuation of the overthrow of the Mubarak regime, but a military installing itself in place of an elected leader, however unpopular they are, smacks of a military coup.

    And a military coup with significant popular support, since the days of Julius Caesar at least, I believe is still a coup.

  20. Is there a hierarchy of descriptions for coup d’etat type events, with the more negative at the top:

    Military invasion
    Coup d’état
    Military ouster
    Popular uprising / revolution
    Palace Revolution

    Not sure where or how unmonitored / bent elections, parliamentary votes under duress or emergence of deep states would slot in.

  21. Off Topic, but I’m sure you wont mind…

    Switzerland probes Uzbek leader’s daughter Gulnara Karimova

  22. Craig,

    In the BBC clip showing the interview with Tim Berners-Lee, they never once mentioned Edwards Snowden nor specifically asked him about the NSA/surveillances leaks.

    Actually, Jeni Tennison happens to work with Tim Berners-Lee in the Open Data Institute. All the more worrying that she could not bring herself to speak the truth.

  23. Interesting point. I’m 64 and i can’t think of a time when the BBC has been so servile, perhaps not at least since the mid sixties when they dropped TW3 because an election was coming up. In my mind the Hutton report and the BBC’s abject capitulation over Gilligan was a major turning point in British life. Blair changed the cultural climate in this country.

    it is interesting that for many years now there has been absolutely nothing on British television worth watching apart from sport. Whereas loads of brilliant series are being produced in the States, the opposite of the situation in the seventies and eighties.

  24. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    12 Mar, 2014 - 5:12 pm

    “It will be ironic if the truth comes out through revelations by US senators outraged at being spied upon.”

    Perhaps ironic, but there theree are numerous examples of classified info about bodies/events/etc in the UK having been obtained and revealed not in the UK but by using the provisions of the American Freedom of Information Act.

  25. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    12 Mar, 2014 - 5:18 pm


    “The fact that Feinstein only squealed when the spooks black games affected her directly is an act of great moral cowardice and hypocrisy.”

    Over-egging the pudding: hypocrisy very likely, but in which was is it “moral cowardice”? In logic, a “moral coward” would have stayed silent also when her own Committee was being spied on.

  26. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    12 Mar, 2014 - 5:22 pm

    “It is still my humble opinion that the average man in the street has more to fear from the likes of facebook and google than he has from the security services.”

    Intuitively, would tend to agree with that.

  27. Especially when the security services USE google and facebook to spy on us!

  28. The old one-two, right enough:

    A strange alliance indeed ! Israel, Saudi and the US: the true axis of evil.

    Syria WILL be served up to the corporate hegemons.

  29. “CALL OUT: Help Netpol’s legal challenge of secret police databases”

  30. “It is still my humble opinion that the average man in the street has more to fear from the likes of facebook and google than he has from the security services.”

    What if you are an average person but one day fate selects you to do something distinctly non-average such as exposing the criminality of powerful and dangerous people? Perhaps revealing their collusion in the rendition and torture of innocent people. Whom do you have most to fear from then? Facebook or the Security Services?

    Clue: Facebook doesn’t have any prisons.

  31. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    12 Mar, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    “What if you are an average person but one day fate selects you to do something distinctly non-average such as exposing the criminality of powerful and dangerous people?”

    Or planning to plant a deadly object in an Underground train?

  32. “What if you are an average person but one day fate selects you to do something distinctly non-average such as exposing the criminality of powerful and dangerous people? Perhaps revealing their collusion in the rendition and torture of innocent people. Whom do you have most to fear from then? Facebook or the Security Services?”

    Then you would certainly cease to be a normal person.

    “Clue: Facebook doesn’t have any prisons.”

    Someone in America was sent to prison because google sent his ex an invite to join google+ from his gmail account. There was a court order he must not contact her.

  33. Habbabkuk,

    There’s many degrees of moral cowardice.

    Id hardly look for logic either when you’re dealing with such a bitter institutional power struggle.

  34. I still find it weird that so many make a distinction between Facebook,Google etc and the security services as though they are somehow seperate entities.

  35. Still wondering whether someone might have a clue where I can get hold of the Scotland Act 1978 online. Weird that it’s not at the usual places.

  36. Habbabkuk 6.38pm,

    Now thats a really weak point straight out of the Minstry Of Fear handbook Page 1.

    Craig,in a recent post,outlined how infinitessimally small the chances of a terrorist related death are yet we are still daily bombarded by hysterical media and politicians as though we are all imminently doomed by a terrorist event.

    Utter bollocks it all is.

  37. Craig

    Please can you investigate who posted a comment under my name about Baroness Amos, mid ‘Stating the Obvious’. You may be aware of other sock-puppeting I have not had time to view in the last few days. Thanks.

  38. One of the charges against Mr Mursi is that he spied on innocent citizens, checking for Islamic misdemeanors that the state had previously not been interested in. Popular revulsion against Islamic thought-crime was just as important as incompetence in the coup.

    I have plenty of evidence that Islamic thought-crime is selectively used against UK Muslims. One thing the UK powers that be are very keen not to happen is that the logic, decency and humanity of Islam become recognised by the majority in the UK.

    People of Muslim extraction will continue in that faith, but those of us who are blessed with the light of Islam after recognising its correspondence with Jewish and Christian scriptures, present a conundrum to the status quo. If we can join the dots, others might also see the joins.

  39. Thanks (mods) Vieurobs for annotating the sock-puppet comments posted in my name on the Stating the Obvious’ thread.
    I am afraid that this piece of sock-puppetry was an example of someone trying to get me into trouble. Normal bullying by the thought-crime brigades. They don’t like it up ’em, do they?

  40. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    12 Mar, 2014 - 8:15 pm


    “Now thats a really weak point straight out of the Minstry Of Fear handbook Page 1.”

    I’m not conversant with that handbook : ) but my point certainly wasn’t intended to spread fear.

    “Craig,in a recent post,outlined how infinitessimally small the chances of a terrorist related death are yet we are still daily bombarded by hysterical media and politicians as though we are all imminently doomed by a terrorist event”

    And of course he was right, statistically seen, but I don’t think you can deny the existence of the phenomenon/threat. Surely that is shown by the fact of the London bombings. Many terminal phenomena are extremely small – eg, death by airplane crash – but that doesn’t mean that preventive measures should not be in place; reacting only after the terminal event doesn’t help the victims very much, does it. The question of proportionality is key to this discussion, I think.

  41. As usual, hitting the spot. In this case, several sensitive spots. And, supported or extended by the many good comments (about 40, when I wrote this).

    As for your opening comments on the BBC [a] missing the point re Internet freedom (and surveillance) and [b] its use of PC language: I was proud to work for the BBC (in Wales) for much of the 22-year period I spent there. I can attest to huge and continued discussion – and argument- about precise use of language in programmes. It all changed when the BBC was invaded by ‘efficiency suits’ who kew nothing about broadcasting, nor the subtle use of the English and Welsh languages to convey an intended, direct meaning to viewers/listeners. It seems, sadly, the BBC has never really recovered, as you have amply demonstrated in condemning its continuing coverage of the Scottish referendum.

    Shifting perspective, it’s difficult to disagree with your (final paragraph) conclusion. Again, sadly –no, not a sadly, but angrily.

  42. I think people in the UK bottle things up, they wait. The comments on articles about NSA/Snowden in the Guardian and Independent come in fast and furious and invariably show absolute disgust. It may well be that, failing MI5 manipulation, UKIP will be the winner in next year’s elections

  43. Habbabkuk 8.15pm,

    “The question of proportionality is key to this discussion, I think.”


    I’m sure,Habbabkuk,a certain number of people die each year from bee stings or eating peanuts yet it hardly drives a 12 year plus concerted media/military/political response costing trillions-and millions of human lives-such as we have all witnessed in the largely bogus War On Terror,Inc this last hysterical decade or so.

    So yes,some proportionality and less shrill scaremongering would be very welcome.

  44. dictator tripos

    13 Mar, 2014 - 12:54 am

    Who needs media? You can get the big picture from the Human Rights Committee: how the US measures up against the minimal civil standards of the civilized world,

    Brennan’s just-war bullshit will not fly. There will be no one holding still for Clapper’s lies. No one wants to hear lip service to the US toilet-paper constitution. This is the supreme law of the land, the law that Brennan can’t revoke. No media arse-kissing.

    US disgrace goes live on
    Thursday, March 13th, at 3PM in Geneva (10AM EDT, 7AM PDT)
    Friday, March 14th, at 10AM in Geneva (5AM EDT, 2AM PDT)

    Privacy rights are included, of course,
    but we also get to see how the US complies with the law on torture, disappearance, repression, and other state predation.

  45. OT;

    “I think the size of the pieces … everything we’ve heard… gives good cause to believe that we’ve now (refocused) the area,” former Federal Aviation Administration official Michael Goldfarb told CNN. “And that’s a huge relief to everybody … I think it’s a high chance that they’re going to confirm that these (are) pieces of the wreckage.”

  46. Habbabkuk, 6:38pm and 8:15pm; you argue in favour of surveillance of the entire population, the complete elimination of privacy. Your first pro-surveillance argument seems deliberately misleading:

    “…reacting only after the terminal event doesn’t help the victims very much, does it.”

    Traditional policing and intelligence was never “only after the terminal event”, as you certainly ought to know. A simple examination of 9/11 reveals that all the information necessary to prevent that atrocity had already been discovered by traditional policing and intelligence methods, but the authorities failed to act upon it:

    Please explain to me (and yes, I’m requesting an answer) how irrelevant information on two hundred and fifty million innocent people would have done anything other than muddy the water further?

    “The question of proportionality is key to this discussion, I think.”

    Proportionality! Monitoring the communication of the entire population as a supposed precaution against the smallest minority of criminals; how can you regard this as rational? It has to be the least cost effective way of detecting terrorist plots, an utterly scatter-gun approach. Can you offer me any evidence that mass surveillance has prevented any such crime? Even in theory you cannot, as the entire programme is secret! So let us turn to someone who will inform the electorate and taxpayers such that they can make an informed choice; Edward Snowden’s testimony to the European Parliament:

    Snowden refutes claims by US spy chiefs who “once claimed that 54 terrorist attacks had been stopped by mass surveillance.” He notes that such claims have never been verified, adding that even the “White House’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, determined that the mass surveillance program investigated was not only ineffective — they found it had never stopped even a single imminent terrorist attack — but that it had no basis in law.”

    The “greatest success the program had ever produced was discovering a taxi driver in the United States transferring $8,500 dollars to Somalia in 2007,” writes Snowden.

    While the whole population was under surveillance, this did not prevent the Boston Marathon bombers from carrying out their operation. Snowden wrote, “Despite the Russians specifically warning us about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the FBI couldn’t do more than a cursory investigation — although they did plenty of worthless computer-based searching — and failed to discover the plot. 264 people were injured, and 3 died. The resources that could have paid for a real investigation had been spent on monitoring the call records of everyone in America.” [my emphasis]

    Habbabkuk, if I remember correctly, you have claimed to be, along with Resident Dissident and ELSO, one of the few true supporters of democracy who frequents this comments section. Please answer these questions as well: since when has surveillance of the entire population been considered any part of democracy? And have the electorates of the UK and the US been given a democratic choice about becoming the subjects of their governments’ surveillance?

  47. KingofWelshNoir, 12 Mar, 6:06 pm; you have made the most important point here; comprehensive surveillance is oppression.

    The Upper Limit on Surveillance in a Democracy

    If whistleblowers don’t dare reveal crimes and lies, we lose the last shred of effective control over our government and institutions. That’s why surveillance that enables the state to find out who has talked with a reporter is too much surveillance—too much for democracy to endure.

  48. ‘Take arms firms out of the Big Bang Fair
    The Guardian, Wednesday 12 March 2014 21.00 GMT

    BAE Systems and EADS in talks about merger
    Big Bang Fair sponsor BAE Systems’ stand at another event, the Farnborough International Airshow in 2012. Photograph: BAE Systems (photo)

    As engineers, health professionals, educationists and others who believe in the power of science and engineering as a force for good, we are writing to condemn the continued sponsorship of today’s Big Bang Fair by BAE Systems and other arms companies such as Thales, Selex ES, Doosan, Rolls-Royce and Airbus. It might seem like a joke: the UK’s largest youth science and engineering education event, named the Big Bang Fair, is sponsored by companies who make very big bangs indeed. Except the arms trade isn’t funny. All of these companies have a track record of supplying countries with appalling human rights records. Doosan is involved in cluster bomb manufacture.

    The casual and unquestioned way these companies are allowed public relations space at educational events reflects a serious problem at the heart of modern British science. We need programmes which offer young people unbiased spaces to learn about science and engineering as it is currently constituted – including environmental and human rights concerns – and what it could look like.

    If the government is serious in its support of science and engineering – not just a few choice companies associated with them – it must invest more fully in education so the Big Bang Fair 2015 need not be reliant on sponsorship which so narrows its scope. We were pleased to learn that several (though not all) of the fossil fuel companies associated with previous fairs have disappeared from the list of sponsors.

    Big Bang 2014 is a slightly less dystopian vision of engineering than it has been in the past. Let’s drop the arms trade and do something truly inspirational in the future.’


    Heartening to see the many signatories to this letter.

  49. O/T Still here Brian! Bad back, then a cold and then a u/s laptop! Regards.

  50. Welcome back Mary, you were missed.

  51. Also O/T. Levita/Cameron (he was speaking proudly of his Jewish heritage yesterday) is meeting BLiar today before seeing Abbas for yet another stitch up on the settlement building.

    Nice picky of him at Yad Vashem here.

    He managed to put the boot in to Iran yesterday. Always the warmongering.

  52. O/T
    My latest article on what you’re not being told by mainstream media.

  53. There are three uses of the word ‘militant’ in this BBC report on the rocket attacks from Gaza and the Israeli reprisals. Last night in a previous report, there were seven such uses. The word is always used to describe Palestinians. The IDF have ‘soldiers’.

    Israeli planes hit Gaza in response to rocket strikes

    There was no mention in the news broadcasts last night of the fact that Israel killed three people in Gaza earlier in the week in air strikes.

    Nor any mention of this killing of a 38 year old Jordanian judge by the IDF at the Allenby bridge on Monday.

    Jordan: IDF lying about Allenby incident, dead judge did not try to seize soldier’s gun

    And Cameron talks of two states.

  54. Welcome back Mary. There was quite a bit of speculation as to what had happened to you. Thanks for clearing that up.

  55. Ba'al Zevul (Quantum Sense)

    13 Mar, 2014 - 8:53 am

    “I don’t think you can deny the existence of the phenomenon/threat. Surely that is shown by the fact of the London bombings.” (Hab)

    Which were not picked up, let alone prevented, by surveillance. The reason being there was nothing to distinguish these lads from anyone walking past the numerous CCTV cameras en route without bombs. In any imaginable case, there is far too much irrelevant data on a CCTV record to be of any use before the event, and CCTV can only be useful in identifying perpetrators long after the victims have died. Scrub CCTV, then. It’s not for our protection, and as far as suicide bombers are concerned, it’s pretty pointless when it comes to bringing them to justice. Humint failed completely to flag up the bombers: and any self-respecting terrorist must surely know how not to leave a humint footprint by now. The rationale seems to be that as “our” quarry behaves exactly like any other citizen, all citizens are now suspects. Twisted logic. And bang goes our liberal democracy. Terrorists 1, democrats 0.

  56. Ba'al Zevul (Quantum Sense)

    13 Mar, 2014 - 8:59 am

    “There was no mention in the news broadcasts last night of the fact that Israel killed three people in Gaza earlier in the week in air strikes.”

    There was this morning. However,I recall no mention of the earlier attacks when they actually happened. Perhaps last week’s celebrity [insert name here] was getting an award for being fairly well known?

  57. A PS – the reality for the Palestinian people.

    10 March. Origin – Palestine Monitoring Group.

    Israeli Army shoots dead Palestinian bus passenger
    West Bank villager shot dead by Israeli Army
    Israeli Navy opens fire on Palestinian fishing boats
    Gaza incursion: shelling and live fire as Israeli Army destroys crops
    Israeli Army home invasion and occupation – beating – hospitalisation
    Occupation settlers annex Palestinian farmland and uproot olive trees
    Zionist fanatics annex Palestinian farmland and bulldoze crops
    Israeli Army destroys part of West Bank village public park
    Israeli soldiers abduct 4 Palestinian minors aged 16 to 17
    Night peace disruption and/or home invasions in 14 towns and villages

    4 attacks – 22 raids including home invasions
    1 beaten – 2 dead – 4 injured
    4 acts of agricultural/economic sabotage
    11 taken prisoner – 10 detained – 108 restrictions of movement

  58. One reason for the silence in Britain is that the main opposition party, Labour, was as involved in creating the surveillance state as the current government is in continuing it.

    Things become political issues when they are taken up by political parties.

  59. How about Grieve going to the Supreme Court on this decision? Rather too much doffing of the forelock Dominic I would say.

    Prince Charles letters: attorney general acted unlawfully, say senior judges
    Ruling in the court of appeal backs Guardian campaign to have letters to ministers released under freedom of information law

    Yet he saw no injustice in Dr David Kelly having had no inquest when an appeal was made to him in the High Court in December 2011.


    Meanwhile the ugly royal camp followers were at Cheltenham yesterday in their ugly hats and ugly clothes put on their backs by us, the serf taxpayers.

    Camilla likes the colour of money by the look on her face as she counts her winnings. Hard to tell the horses from the humans.

    Horrible in close up.

    Some of the other riff raff.

    Only three horses have been killed so far. So that’s alright then.

  60. Ba'al Zevul (Who You Lookin At?)

    13 Mar, 2014 - 11:24 am

    I’m horrible in closeup, too, Mary. Lay off. Uglyist.

  61. Rather late in the day from the PSC when he is already there with his 19 strong business leaders delegation.

    PSC update: David Cameron visits Israel
    March 12, 2014

    In a week when 6 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops within 24 hours David Cameron is flying off to Israel saying “I’ve got a planeload of innovative British companies coming with me and we’ll be linking them up with Israeli businesses so they can forge new partnerships.”

    Tell David Cameron whilst occupation, apartheid and killing are business as usual for Israel, there should be no business with Israel.

    Call for David Cameron to:
    •Recognise Palestinian rights and the urgent need to end Israel’s violations of international law
    •Demand an immediate and final lifting of the blockade on Gaza: David Cameron himself referred to Gaza as a ‘prison camp’. Due to the blockade, Gaza is due to suffer a massive power shortage, leaving millions in the dark, without heating. Millions are living in limbo because of the consequences of the blockade which prevents normal life like work, study and travel.
    •Exclude settlement goods from UK markets. The UK policy is in line with international law, clearly stating that Israel’s settlements on occupied Palestinian land are illegal – so why then are their goods imported and sold in British shops?
    •Ban all military sales and imports to and from Israel

    You can email David Cameron from his website (maximum message – 1,000 characters)

    – See more at:

  62. Mary, 7:46 am, thanks for posting this. Back in the early ’80s I abandoned my physics degree course after one year; it was probably one of the worst decisions I ever made. Towards the end of the academic year, a notice was posted in the Physics department foyer detailing that year’s graduates and which companies had already signed them up for employment. Over three quarters of the graduates were going to companies best known for manufacturing weapons or other military hardware. I decided that the world really didn’t need another physicist.

    Good to see you posting again Mary; I hope you’re feeling fully recovered.

  63. “Hard to tell the horses from the humans” – presumably that’s a compliment to the humans. Odd, in the middle of such bile.

  64. Hi Craig,

    The BBC were served a D-notice in 2013 gagging there coverage of the Snowden revelations:

    Their response has been total capitulation.


  65. technicolour, 12:51 pm; the more I come to understand that the Royal Family’s utility to British politics is as high-profile advertising for UK arms manufacturers, the more I come to appreciate Mary’s ongoing tirade against them.

  66. technicolour

    13 Mar, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    Clark, fair point, but hate the crime not the criminal always seemed to me to be quite good advice.

  67. Technicolour, 1:22 pm; I agree, in general, but this is rather a special case, as the crime of promotion of the death and violence is ongoing, ancient, and hopelessly entangled into the whole of Royal pageantry, pomp-and-circumstance, general ‘patriotic’ glorification of war, the Royal social whirlwind, and corporate media promotion of all of these.

    I remember seeing British Royals doing the Sword Dance with the Saudi Royals since I was a young child. For decades, I never noticed its metaphorical significance.

  68. …at least, not consciously.

  69. technicolour

    13 Mar, 2014 - 2:12 pm

    Clark, fascinating! And true, but sadly, when we last got rid of our ‘royalty’ the Puritanical replacement wasn’t much better – not surprising, when it came about through death and war and hatred. Look at what Cromwell did to the Levellers and the Diggers. Today I think that at least some of the people depicted in the Mail are also unconscious of the realities, and are, either consciously or unconsciously, trapped in their situation. Generalised hatred directed at a ‘them’ always reminds me of the Russian revolution too, which didn’t turn out well, either. I’m not saying I’m not capable of hate, I’d add hastily, just that it somehow feels to easy – and too much like the abyss?

  70. YouKnowMyName

    13 Mar, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    I have no comment on the UK being a ‘Servile State’ as I trust the current government completely, and I respect the professionalism of my friends in Cheltenham. I have studied ‘online freedom’ for a while, discovering many things pre-Snowden, I can often find news that MSM seem somehow to miss. I’m sure most of the correspondents *here* will already be aware of this news however!

    I’ll post this opinion just to encourage the debate, as although I trust my current government, the security system that is built might be very (shall we say ) “Karimovian” with a hypothetical near-future UK government of ‘bad intent’, e.g. imagine the worst combination of Shirley Porter, Tony Blair and whatever Gladio elements we still have lying around the UK?

    So my relevant news item is that the Netherlands signals intelligence agencies have been found guilty of “over-collecting” by their regulator.

    “The Dutch security services have broken the law in intercepting telephone and internet traffic…,” “The security services regulator CTIVD said security service agents do sometimes set taps without permission from the minister as required by law. They also hack into accounts without asking for permission….” “For example, website forums have been hacked and the privacy of visitors has been invaded, the CTIVD said”[1]

    This news page in English links to the full 89 page report (in Dutch) and another Question/Answer summary document, also in Dutch. [1]

  71. Technicolour, Mary’s hardly a revolution, is she? Just one voice, here, raised against the constant media glorification. But I do see your point.

  72. On Goons and Rhizomes
    A Tale of the Internet Age

    by Matt Reichel / March 12th, 2014

    In one of a series of significant talks over the weekend by the world’s foremost Internet freedom activists, Julian Assange spoke on MSNBC about the central “battle” of the Information Age:

    On the one hand, we are in many ways heading towards a transnational dystopian total surveillance society the likes of which the world has never seen . . . and on the other, people are coming together. Whenever people can communicate, they develop new values and a new consensus and a new polity. That is something that all young people are exposed to.

    In other words, the Internet is the new central terrain of human discourse and conflict, encompassing the full range of human personalities, from the authoritarian to the radical to the entirely banal. That these tendencies have endured the development of new communication technologies is not particularly noteworthy. What is quite interesting is that this new terrain does not generally conform to rigid geographical, social or cultural structures.


  73. “The issue before the Pulitzer Prize Board: Does it honor reporting by The Washington Post and The Guardian based on stolen government documents that are arguably detrimental to the national security of the United States, and which were provided by a man who many see as a traitor? Or, does it pass over what is widely viewed as the single most significant story of the year — if not the decade — for the sake of playing it safe?”

    Read more:

  74. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    “Also O/T. Levita/Cameron (he was speaking proudly of his Jewish heritage yesterday)…”


    OH NO! Third post from Mary after a welcome but too short absence and we’re already off on the Jewish track!

    IF he does have what you call a “Jewish heritage” (sounds much nicer than “grandson of a Jew”, doesn’t it…), is there any reason why he should not be “proud” of it?

    You should really consider posting on Stor*****nt.

    But I agree that your post was O/T. But why can’t you stay in topic for a change?


    La vita è bella, loife is good!

  75. technicolour

    13 Mar, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Sam: thanks for that important piece.

  76. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    From Mr Goss

    “Welcome back Mary. There was quite a bit of speculation as to what had happened to you.”

    Yes, quite a bit – all of three people, one of whom was Mr Goss himself.

  77. Someone is running out of petrol. :)

  78. Oh yes Stormfront, a site I never visit, where one of the trolls left a post in my name. Sock puppeting I think it is called.

    No reference to the latest Israeli atrocities I note.


    HP: Complicit in Jerusalem’s Ethnic Cleansing

    Israel maintains a stratified ID system – designating Palestinians holding West Bank residence with green ID cards, those in Gaza with red ID cards, and permanent residents of occupied Jerusalem with blue IDs (distinguished from the IDs of Israeli citizens). This structure works to further divide the Palestinian population from both the occupiers and each other, limit freedom of movement, and institutionalize inequality and discrimination. Additionally, Israeli ID cards serve to differentiate Palestinian citizens of Israel from Jewish citizens, and are commonly used for segregation purposes and other discriminatory practices. Palestinians with permanent residency status in Jerusalem face unique hardships as a result of such division.

    Though subject to Israeli law, permanent residents are not afforded comprehensive rights. Instead, despite having been born in the city, their status equates them to immigrants with limited entitlements. Blue Jerusalem IDs also serve as the sole means for proving their right to remain in the city, as Israel imposes numerous tactics to forcibly expel the Arab population and Judaize Jerusalem. Among these is the Center of Life policy, which compels Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to prove to the Ministry of Interior that the city remains his or her main place of living through an exhaustive (at times, impossible to attain) list of documents. Since its illegal and de-facto annexation by Israel in 1967, over 14,000 IDs have been revoked, forcing Palestinians to either leave the city or reside within it illegally.

    The “Aviv” population registration system, operated by Israel’s Ministry of the Interior, is a comprehensive population registry, managing information on age, race, address, country of origin, and religion for Israeli citizens and residents. According to the Israeli Interior Ministry, « To be a resident of Jerusalem, a person must prove that Israel is their main place of residence. Otherwise the population register must be altered. » Maintenance of this population registry system is hence integral to Israel’s continued repression of the Palestinian people. Hewlett-Packard manages the “Aviv” registry, following its acquisition of Compaq Computers in 2002.

    In 2008, HP was additionally awarded a $74 million contract by the Israeli Ministry of Interior to manufacture five million biometric ID cards, which contain advanced technology that allows the Israeli Population Authority to track and monitor all citizens and residents of Israel – including Palestinian Jerusalemites.



    Topical enough?

  79. “But I agree that your post was O/T. But why can’t you stay in topic for a change?”

    If you really so keen to stay on topic, you would have answered Clark’s long Post, which he took the trouble to address to you @ 13 Mar, 2014 – 3:57 am

  80. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 4:31 pm

    Having now read to the end of the comments, I think one could have guessed that that arbiter of human and equine beauty – I refer of course to Mary – has been away a few days and is now making up for it with especially large dollops of irrelevance spiced with the usual bile.

    Mary – the humans, clothes and horses at Cheltenham may or may not have been ugly, but it is sure that you have a very ugly soul.

    I think I’ll think of you as the Hilde Benjamin of Craig’s blog.

    Well done Technicolour and even BaBaZevulbo for taking hzr to rtask (far too mildly though) and shame on you, Clark, for your lickspittle “defence” (“..but this is rather a special case,…).


    “Shoot them and throw them down a mine shaft” (V. Lenin, ca 1918)

  81. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 4:34 pm


    “Oh yes Stormfront, a site I never visit,”

    but to which you belong spiritually.

  82. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 4:37 pm

    “Someone is running out of petrol. :)”

    You got a bit of a pasting recently, didn’t you Ben (including from Craig). Good to see you’re back on your feet again!

  83. BBC, today: “Ukraine’s parliament unanimously backed the creation of a National Guard, which will be made up of 60,000 volunteers taken mainly from activists involved in the recent pro-western protests as well as from military academies.

    They will “ensure state security, defend borders and eliminate terrorist groups,” Mr Parubiy said.”


    And so the Ukrainian version of the Sturmabteilung is born. And like Ernst Rohm’s brownshirts, soon to be the de facto power on the street, if they aren’t already.

    Parubiy was one of the Euromaidan commandants, is now the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, and formed the Social-National Party of Ukraine along with Oleh Tyahnybok, now leader of Svoboda.

  84. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 4:59 pm

    Mary (16h14)

    A long spiel, followed by the question “Topical enough?3

    No, not topical at all. Craig’s subject was the servile state, not Jerusalem.

    Please note that this is not your blog; therefore please respect it.

  85. Six posts from Habbabkuk this afternoon, not one on topic, and all five just taking snipes at other Posters.

  86. Lord Palmerston

    13 Mar, 2014 - 5:30 pm

    “The notion of liberty appears to have been lost for now in the mental scheme of the citizenry of the UK.”

    Indeed; except that you can lose “for now”. It isn’t coming back and it isn’t going to get any better. The only real question now is what is at the bottom of our long, long downward slope.

    It’s over a century since the UK turned its back on aristocratic rule and embraced the cult of the People, a cult in which most thinking people are still hopelessly imprisoned. This has proven a catastrophe and there is no going back.

  87. doug scorgie

    13 Mar, 2014 - 7:21 pm

    13 Mar, 2014 – 8:20 am

    “Levita/Cameron (he was speaking proudly of his Jewish heritage yesterday…”

    David Cameron’s Jewish heritage is not of consequence but his support of the Zionist project is:

    “The leader of Britain’s Conservative party, David Cameron, called himself a “Zionist” Tuesday as he slammed a British initiative for an academic boycott against Israel.”

    “Cameron, responding to questions at the annual luncheon of Conservative Friends of Israel, said the academic boycott was completely uncalled for, and that attacks against Israel often slid into anti-Semitism.”

    “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, adding that support for Israel [Zionism] is “in the DNA” of members of his party.”

    “He also justified construction of the separation fence, but expressed concern that it might torpedo a two-state solution.”

  88. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 7:43 pm

    Mr Scorgie

    ““Levita/Cameron (he was speaking proudly of his Jewish heritage yesterday…”

    David Cameron’s Jewish heritage is not of consequence but his support of the Zionist project is:..”

    “Is not of consequence” – perhaps you should address that comment to Mary, who made the reference? And ask her to desist.

  89. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 7:48 pm


    “Six posts from Habbabkuk this afternoon, not one on topic, and all five just taking snipes..”

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

    (Dreoilin used to say you were fairly dim, I seem to remember).

  90. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    13 Mar, 2014 - 7:56 pm

    ““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.

  91. Oh, it was just gas…….

  92. “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!

  93. technicolour

    13 Mar, 2014 - 8:17 pm

    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.

  94. “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

  95. 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?

  96. technicolour

    13 Mar, 2014 - 9:11 pm

    And also, let us not forget Saudi Arabia.

  97. 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.

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

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

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