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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  • Mary

    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:

  • Clark

    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.

  • technicolour

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

  • Clark

    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.

  • technicolour

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

  • Clark

    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.

  • technicolour

    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?

  • YouKnowMyName

    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]

  • Clark

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

  • Mary

    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.


  • Ben

    “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:

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “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!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    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.

  • Mary

    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?

  • Macky

    “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

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    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)

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


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

    but to which you belong spiritually.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    “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!

  • mike

    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.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    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.

  • Macky

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

  • Lord Palmerston

    “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.

  • doug scorgie

    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.”

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!

    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.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!


    “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).

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