Saturday, June 22, 2013

Through a PRISM darkly: the worthlessness of political "science"

“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.”
- Spinoza
The ongoing scandal surrounding the extent of our "intelligence" "services" domestic spying  proclivities continues to rumble on and yet going by the general news coverage and discussion on social media, including amongst the libertarian blogosphere one could be forgiven for thinking this issue had barely registered and no one really gives a shit.
The fact is that this is the biggest scandal of our age and with each day new revelations come to light and more claims by our worthless political class and senior civil "service" are revealed to be outright lies. Yet barely a whimper.  It seems Huxley was closer to the truth than Orwell. We really are numbed with distractions.
The extent of this spying capability combined with the promise of Big Data means our dear spooks have an unprecedented insight into our souls and concerns. They have probably already realised the D notice was redundant - not because of technology and media plurality making it redundant - but because even a modest analysis of social media interactions will demonstrate that they can rely on lethargy and apathy to do the job for them.  Hague has been running notably silent given that most of what he said at the beginning of the month and in particular on June 10th has been shown to be a pack of lies
This not only affects all of us, it is not only cross partisan and it not only shows up the British establishment to be the enemies of the people. No. It also highlights the pointlessness of many of our political and philosophical differences. There is no real debate to be had when there is a secret state at work beneath the surface of the puppet show that we all like to talk about. Degrees in "political science" (and I say this as the unproud owner of one) are worthless when faced with the spook joker in the pack, especially an game changing (and ending) oversized card like ours that clearly eclipses all other institutions. Control of accurate information is like the control of the Spice in Dune. All of the supposed "insights" gained by "intelligence studies" scholars such as Richard Aldrich are little more than crumbs from the table delivered by a handmaiden, not a critic, of our unaccountable secret state. He and his peers have no choice to be anything other than handmaidens - they are after all funded by our Dear Leaders.

Dark times indeed. 


Saturday, June 08, 2013


Via Guido

Private and Confidential: Not for publication, broadcast or use on social media.
Defence Advisory Notice
There have been a number of articles recently in connection with some of the ways in which the UK Intelligence Services obtain information from foreign sources.
Although none of these recent articles has contravened any of the guidelines contained within the Defence Advisory Notice System, the intelligence services are concerned that further developments of this same theme may begin to jeopardize both national security and possibly UK personnel…

Friday, June 07, 2013

Semi official confirmation of the secret surveillance state

It doesn't matter whether you identify as "left", or "right" or whatever political-philosophical conjugation suits you, we should all be outraged and concerned by this.

The Telegraph reports that the Guardian and Washington Times have obtained a secret slide show detailing nine companies who are willing participants in a programme called PRISM - which is, literally, the ever feared 'back door' into the databases of these companies. They are: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.

It's only semi-official confirmation of what many of us have suspected, however it is nevertheless galling to see it in black and white.

Such swathes of data really can provide roadmaps - and predictive ones at that - to our lives and inner workings; the capabilities of Big Data in this respect has already been well proven in the last few years. The nature of privacy has also fundamentally changed in a way that neither the law or popular conceptions (and hence, popular narratives) have caught up with.

These applications will not be particularly useful for "fighting terrorism". It is abundantly clear that our "intelligence" services already know who the terrorists are. And the terrorists certainly aren't shy about hiding it. Some of them even get invited for regular tea and biscuits on Newsnight. No, these applications are on the contrary extremely useful for monitoring, corralling, anticipating and controlling the general population. The only major ray of hope in this regard is that our respective governments are so fucking stupid and incompetent that they will continually fuck this up and there will always be ways to run rings around them with enough determination. There's still capacity for great harm however if you fall into one of the currently designated 'social-other' groups (smokers, climate sceptics, EDL, "offensive" tweeters etc etc) - and anyone congratulating themselves on not being on that illustrative list of examples, go bang your head off the wall until you remember that it could - and probably will -  be you next.

Several of the named companies are claiming ignorance, for example:

"Google said in a statement: "From time to time, people allege that we have created a government ‘back door’ into our systems, but Google does not have a ‘back door’ for the government to access private user data.”

I don't buy it. The problem is that no one's official statements can be trusted in this area, least of all with anything touched by the rancid dogcock finger of the "intelligence" agencies, metastasizing great brown clouds of bullshit wherever they go. And of course our respective governments can compel such companies to remain entirely silent or otherwise coerce them into making misleading statements such as the above, especially given the official rationale of the U.S. invasion of privacy is because "most electronic data passing through the US at some point and therefore accessible to PRISM's net.".
Meanwhile, in reaction to the other recent revelation that the NSA is routinely collecting phone data en masse, it appears to have rattled someone in the "intelligence" community enough to break cover.
'it could cause "long-lasting and irreversible harm" to counter-terrorism efforts.' Oh do, just fuck off already. It's just the usual weasel worded bollocks.