Monday, October 14, 2013

what if you're more afraid of the all-seeing eye?

medialens | In our May 13 media alert we highlighted how the state, and a compliant media, relentlessly raise fears of the 'shadows and threats' that supposedly assail us. We make no apology for again citing the American writer H. L. Mencken:

'The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.'

In that alert, we pointed to an edition of BBC Newsnight that was devoted to UK 'defence' spending and policy. The BBC's Gavin Esler introduced and presented the programme from the perspective of government; namely, that:

'National security is the first duty of government. We will remain a first-rate military power.'
Reflecting, and indeed boosting, state priorities is the default mode of BBC News. Last Tuesday, the flagship News at Ten on BBC1 demonstrated this perfectly when celebrity news presenter Fiona Bruce, who also has The Queen's Palaces and The Antiques Roadshow on her CV,  began with the ominous words:

'A warning from MI5: Britain's security is threatened on more fronts, in more ways than ever before.'

Bruce continued:

'recent leaks about the extent of Briton's global surveillance is damaging efforts to stop attacks on the UK. Despite MI5's warnings, some critics say the public has a right to know if it's being spied on.' 

Bruce then introduced BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera who was standing besuited outside MI5 headquarters, ready to repeat the secret service's key messages in a simulacrum of journalistic authority. He began on the approved note:

'Yes, the job of people here at MI5 is to keep the country safe from national security threats, particularly terrorist attacks.'

As ever, the professed upholding of BBC 'impartiality' translates in practice to providing the propaganda version of reality. After all, as Mencken observed, a major state function is to convince the public that the government is protecting it from threats. It would not be responsible BBC journalism to recognise that government policies put British people at risk by, for instance, launching illegal wars of aggression likely to lead to blowback – a genuine risk well understood by the state and, indeed, with the kind of horrific consequences seen in the London 7/7 bombings in 2005. As John Pilger noted recently:

'British governments are repeatedly warned, not least by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, that foreign adventures beckon retaliation at home.' 

Corera then went on to convey the propaganda message from Andrew Parker, director-general of MI5, the UK's domestic counterintelligence and security agency. Parker had given a Whitehall speech to a 'closed audience' on how the '[security] threats had changed and how the organisation was trying to cope with them.' While neither Edward Snowden nor WikiLeaks were mentioned by name, they were implicitly the target of Parker's criticisms that revelations about surveillance were 'potentially a gift to terrorists allowing it to make it easier for them to strike at Britain.' No responsible journalist would let this pass without challenge.


makheru bradley said...

NSA having a few problems in Utah.

[The National Security Agency's $2 billion mega spy center is going up in flames. Technical glitches have sparked fiery explosions within the NSA's newest and largest data storage facility in Utah, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, and delaying the facility's opening by one year. And no one seems to know how to fix it. Within the last 13 months, at least 10 electric surges have each cost about $100,000 in damages, according to documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal. Experts agree that the system, which requires about 64 megawatts of electricity—that's about a $1 million a month energy bill--isn't able to run all of its computers and servers while keeping them cool, which is likely triggering the meltdowns.] -
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CNu said...

The comment thread undergirding this article at thefiscaltimes is priceless..., puts me in mind of some of the afterlife material hereabouts.

Do What I Do - ENJOY THE CHASE - And Stay Amused....,

  "Many years ago I was convinced the Heisenberg uncertainty principle was incomplete, and people shouldn't just believe it becaus...