Who is Watching Who? 57

It is interesting that those who have no qualms at all about extreme surveillance of citizens by the state, are outraged at the idea that citizens may monitor the state in the conduct of its election.

Severin Carrell is of course under instructions to come up with a “crazed violent Scottish nationalists threaten Scotalypse” story. But the best he can come up with is the story that a very small group are planning peacefully and legally to try to follow, so far as they can, their own ballot paper within the process to ensure it is counted fairly.

But really instructive in that Guardian article are the howls from Labour supporters that dominate the comments section. They are absolutely frothing at the mouth with rage at the idea that citizens may wish peacefully to check on the activity of the state. But these Labour supporters are perfectly OK with the fact that GCHQ collects millions of communications of ordinary citizens, including a database of tens of thousands of perfectly law-abiding individuals taking part in online sex chats with their partners. They had no problem at all at lengthy detention without charge, or the murder of Jean Charles De Menezes for looking a bit Middle Eastern . They had no problem with bombing children to pieces in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. They have no problem with CCTV continually monitoring them as they go about their daily lives.

But a Scotsman with a mobile phone following a ballot box? That is an outrageous threat to society.

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57 thoughts on “Who is Watching Who?

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  • fool

    What happened to the posts made between 6.30 and 7.35 this evening – they have disappeared?

  • Mark Golding

    National security is regrettably a justification for confidential MI5/6 actions procured from an essentially equivocal intelligence account.

    Without doubt an SIS department/back-room exists to ring-fence the Mutual Defence Agreement (MDA). The MDA does not have to be debated or voted on in parliament, as I have remarked before; though the agreement is incorporated in US law, it has no legal status in Britain.

    The ring fencing I believe has been funded by the US Government since the early sixties and in part was used for (and still is) to eaves-drop (HUMINT, OSINT and SIGINT) CND communications.

    Newly or rahter after English stooge Salmond stepped down both wings of the SNP and doubtless the Scottish assembly as well have been covered by this intelligence gathering remit.

    That information forms the basis of my concerns or Who is Watching Who? as Craig warns during and after polling in Scotland.

    Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) said, “It is appalling that David Cameron is signing secretive nuclear deals behind Parliament’s back. In no other area of government would such a sinister sidestepping of democratic process be tolerated.”

    Craig and Kate have very important points.

  • lysias

    What happened to the posts made between 6.30 and 7.35 this evening – they have disappeared?

    I think Craig may disapprove of discussions of 9/11 on his site.

    Probably just as well, as our troll will make gleeful use of things people say on that matter.

  • RobG

    Following the Snowden revelations, in America there was at least some sort of debate about mass surveillance (and a number of lawsuits from civil liberties groups against the US Government are still going on). In the UK there was practically zilch, nada debate.

    The 2015 general election has highlighted just how hand in glove the government and corporations now are (I’m sure most here have seen today’s bile from the right wing press – without this bile the tories wouldn’t stand a hope in hell of people voting for them). It’s called fascism. A corporate coup d’état has taken place.

    The general election 2015 will probably be the most historic since 1945. The fate of the United Kingdom lays in the balance, and (quite ironically) it will hinge on whether the SNP can win 50 plus seats. The polls are saying anywhere between 46 and 56 seats, but who knows.

    Scotland the brave.

    Mr Cooper (who has Scottish ancestory) did this song more than 40 years ago, and here’s the original…


  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    “Probably just as well, as our troll will make gleeful use of things people say on that matter.”


    I feel glee and like to share it with readers whenever I see garbage being put forward in all seriousness.

    PS – you are copying Mary with your use of “troll”, aren’t you. Are you a plagiarist as well as a fantasist?

  • Mary

    I do not like having a minder Dreoilin. What is your problem? You have also left this other comment on the previous thread when I had a little dig at the resident troll.

    6 May, 2015 – 6:54 pm

    Habbabkuk is trying……

    ….very hard!

    6 May, 2015 – 7:14 pm

    and you haven’t replied to Robert yet. So not trying at all.


    Get off my back.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)


    Perhaps she went out on a pro-Palestinian demonstration and hasn’t got back yet? You must be charitable and put aside your doubts – I’m sure Mary will deliver the promised response within the next hour or so.

  • Habbabkuk (la vita è bella)

    If Craig has deleted the 9/11 posts then he has done well.

    And saved some Eminent Commenters from making even bigger fools of themselves.

  • lysias

    Craig has indeed done well in deleting the 9/11 posts, as he has thwarted the efforts of the person who was insisting that other people give their views on 9/11. That person was trying hard, but in this case it didn’t work.

  • DoNNyDaRKo

    Voting in the referendum reminded me of that scene from the Godfather when Carmine Corleone was in hospital and Michael arrived to visit and found that the Police had been stood down from guarding.
    I walked into my local voting station ,there was an SNP guy there giving out badges and talking to people… He’d been there for a few hours and had said that it was all looking really good….
    I went into the church hall and told them my name but gave an old address and was sent to the wrong place for my voting slip… I corrected myself and was then sent to the right table where without asking for id they gave me a badly guillotined voting slip which I’m sure had nothing on the back.That feel good feeling drained away to be confirmed later that evening.Orkney Shetlands and the Western Isles would not be counted until the next day because of the bad weather and then it turned out that they were first to be returned.The silent majority had spoken.Postal votes were 20 times what they normally were in in General elections.There’s Gordon Browns silent majority.
    No wonder they don’t want their processes followed.
    The jiggery pokery may not have made a difference but there was jiggery pokery.

  • Mary

    The Morning Star have published two good articlea on the NHS.

    This by Allyson Pollock

    Radical new Bill is now the only chance to save our service – so get behind it
    6th May 2015

    Prof Allyson Pollock argues voters need to know before going to the polls which of the parties would restore the NHS

    THE destructive effects of Health and Social Care Act 2012 are being felt all across the country as NHS hospitals and GP services are being closed and clinical services are put out to tender.

    /..Only legislation can reinstate the NHS. The general election could well see a hung parliament where minority parties such as the SNP determine the balance of power.

    On March 11 an NHS Bill to reinstate the NHS in England was tabled with cross-party support.

    This Bill will abolish market and NHS contracting and the expensive market bureaucracy, make the Treasury responsible for resolving the high cost of private finance and restore the duty of the Health Secretary to provide universal listed health services to meet the needs of people throughout England. It would protect the NHS from challenges from investors under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and other trade treaties.

    Voters should ask all parliamentary candidates to declare their support for this Bill before the election.

    The Green Party and SNP support the Bill. Labour’s manifesto promises to restore the duty to provide care but hasn’t yet committed to abolishing the internal market and external market and centralising PFI.

    Voters need to know before they go to the polls tomorrow which of their local candidates and which parties will reinstate the NHS. For details of how to do this, they should go to http://www.nhsbill2015.org/ and go to the “take action” tab.

    Allyson M Pollock is professor of public health research and policy at Queen Mary University of London.


    and this by John Lister

    The NHS is in terminal decline. Who is brave enough to act?
    6th May 2015

    On the eve of the election, JOHN LISTER points out the people killing our health service — a sinister cast of inept yet greedy privateer bosses and ideologue MPs

    IN THE countdown to polling day, many of us will be mighty tired of being lied to, as parties compete to show themselves even less trustworthy than we thought.

    The biggest lie underpinning both the Tory-led coalition’s offensive against welfare and public services and Labour’s feeble and hesitant response has been that austerity policies have been and remain “necessary” to tackle a disastrous financial mess.

    If we value the NHS we need to vote out the Tories on May 7, but we must also prepare for a new round of campaigning to break Labour from its Blairite policies on health and the economy, and press it to reinstate the NHS as a public service.

    John Lister is director of Health Emergency.


  • Dreoilin

    “previous thread when I had a little dig at the resident troll.”

    This would be the “resident troll” that you said a few weeks ago you wanted as little to do with as possible?? And about which you “thought that would have been obvious”?? (or words to that effect)

    Actually, I wrote you quite a long reply about your hypocrisy and inconsistency, but now I can’t be arsed.


  • fred

    “I walked into my local voting station ,there was an SNP guy there giving out badges and talking to people… He’d been there for a few hours and had said that it was all looking really good….”

    I thought campaigning in a polling station was against the rules.

  • Mary

    Dreoilin who always likes the last word is sounding like one of those old 78s when the needle got stuck. 🙂

  • Dreoilin

    Why don’t you go and write a reply to Robert like you said you would? I was looking forward to reading something intelligent from you for a change.

    Obviously I was expecting too much.

  • Miss Castello

    Fool @ 6:48 pm;
    “Perhaps a year without a government”…..

    We’ve just had FIVE years without a ‘government’- in the true sense of the word. Unless a bunch of Bullingdon Club Posers who’ve destroyed every worthwhile thing previous generations fought and died for (bringing the country to its knees in the process) can be considered ‘politicians’. I think not.

  • YouKnowMyName

    according to Deutsche Welle “the German intelligence service BND ended internet monitoring for the US National Security Agency at the start of {this} week” . . .
    “in consultation with the chancellor’s office, the BND had asked the US to give precise reasons why it required the monitoring of any person or institution. The request was a reaction to reports of alleged misuse of the station for the monitoring of European politicians and government leaders as well as EU institutions. The NSA had apparently replied that a shortage of time prevented the agency from providing justifications for requested internet searches.

    Internet search terms accounted for the bulk of the most recent, 4.6 million searches carried out by the BND. The “Süddeutscher Zeitung” said it was not yet known if the US agency would continue to decline to provide justifications for internet searches.”

    I think Who is watching who just became too close to a threat to the German grand coalition, and now the BND/NSA collection agreement will be re-negotiated, following at least some aspects of proportionality & targeting.

  • YouKnowMyName

    the avant-garde American audio artist Holly Herndon responds to the question ‘who is watching who’


    following the realisation that her laptop leaked data to the N.S.A., she created a music piece; if you’ve nothing else to do today, why not watch the official video for her single “Home”, with graphics from the National Security Agency


    she says Home: “It is a love song for prying eyes (an agent / a critic), and also a break up song with the devices with which I shared a naive relationship. There is something dramatic, teenage and vulnerable to this sensation – our relationships with these interconnected devices are still so young, so naive.”

  • YouKnowMyName

    Slow news day, is something happening today?

    Meanwhile, couple of points. . .


    US | Thu May 7, 2015 9:42am EDT NSA phone surveillance not authorized: U.S. appeals court

    (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Thursday said a National Security Agency program that collected the records of millions of Americans’ phone calls was not authorized by Congress.

    The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said a lower court judge erred in dismissing a lawsuit challenging the program’s constitutionality, and returned the case to the judge for further proceedings. It also upheld the denial of a preliminary injunction to block the collection of phone records under the program.

    elsewhere on the same “Watching” issue

    The program “exceeds the scope” of what Congress intended when it was first passed into law in 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks in New York.

    “The text of [section 215] cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program,” wrote judge Gerard E. Lynch.

    The appeals court adds to a lower court’s decision from December 2013, which said the program was likely unconstitutional. . .

    On the subject of exposure of Torture, disappearing history! , at least according to this journal (published since 1967)


    Destroy/Deny/Degrade/Disrupt faster, pussycats

  • lysias

    Does that mean that the NSA’s illegal collections were criminal violations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)?

  • lysias

    On torture by the U.S., I am just now reading Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Guantanamo Diary. The torture it describes is grotesque. I am reminded of The Count of Monte Cristo, only Guantanamo is worse.

    And, even though a U.S. court has authorized his release, Slahi is still being held in Guantanamo.

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