Leading article

This time, on surveillance, the Americans have it right

Plus: Another sign of how overblown the phone-hacking saga was

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

6 June 2015

9:00 AM

Britain and America, as George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have said, are two countries divided by their common language. As of this week they are divided by something else, too: their common interest in the fight against terrorism. While David Cameron’s government has announced an Investigatory Powers Bill to beef up surveillance powers, the US Senate voted to allow the surveillance powers in the Patriot Act to expire. American spies will have replacement powers soon, but ones that do not enable the routine surveillance of citizens.

There is a good reason why senators, led by the Republican Rand Paul, voted as they did. Although the motives of whistleblower Edward Snowden may be suspect, his revelations have caused deep unease. Few Americans are willing to accept the idea that their telephone calls and emails must be monitored for their own protection. As Paul argued, at no point has the US public or its representatives given their consent. The mass collection of personal data is a result of mission creep on the part of officials who, thanks to the secret nature of their work, have been able to expand their empires without the public scrutiny which bears down on other arms of government.

In Britain, the story is different. The less responsible elements of our media have tried to whip up outrage about the activities of MI5 but, by and large, the public assume that our spies have the power to spy when necessary — and would be alarmed if this were not the case. This is, in part, because we have been living under a terrorist threat longer than America. And because MI5 and MI6 have used their powers sparingly. The problem now is that anti-terror legislation is being used by police to hack journalists’ records. Or by councils to tackle dog-fouling, parking in disabled bays, and other minor offences.

All we have been told about the new Investigatory Powers Bill is that it will provide security services ‘with the tools to keep you and your family safe’. Such language smacks of propaganda — the words are intended to prepare us for something we might not want to hear. Over the past three years, according to freedom of information requests submitted by the privacy organisation Big Brother Watch, police have accessed such private data an astonishing 679,000 times. Unless we have hugely under-estimated the threat, this is way beyond the level required to monitor potential terrorists.

Ten years ago, the Blair government played the ‘national security’ card as it sought to lock people up for up to 90 days without charge. Opponents, including most Conservatives, defeated that proposal, leading Tony Blair to warn darkly that the naysayers might ‘rue the day’ they rejected his plans. Ten years on, no one is rueing anything because no one has presented a single case of a plot which would have been thwarted had the police had such powers.

David Cameron and his ministers should remember that they were once on the liberal side of the argument and deal far more sceptically with those who insist they need greater rights to snoop on the population.

Hacking hysteria

When not hacking into journalists’ telephone records, the police have been busy prosecuting them. Juries don’t seem impressed: so far, 13 journalists have been cleared for paying public officials for information and just one has been convicted. Rebekah Brooks, a former editor of the News of the World, was cleared of all charges in her phone-hacking trial. This week Andy Coulson, her successor, walked free from a perjury trial with ‘no case to answer’.

Coulson was driven, rather than flown, to Scotland so a police escort could meet him at the border. This pointless drama betrayed certain excitement at the idea of capturing David Cameron’s chief spin doctor — so much so that a basic problem was overlooked. His newspaper had published a story about the depraved antics of Tommy Sheridan, a former MSP, who denied the allegations made by the newspaper in court. Hacking had no relevance to this fact, the judge ruled, so Coulsen did not perjure himself when he denied knowing about hacking. On this basis, the case collapsed.

Hacking is a crime, one for which Coulson has served time. But it was not the crime of the century — in spite of being treated as such by sections of the media allied with the Labour party. The police, to their shame, were swept up in the hysteria. They now join the long list of those who emerge from this imbroglio with no credit at all.

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  • Hippograd

    As Paul argued, at no point has the US public or its representatives given their consent.

    Consent? You don’t ask for consent when you’re defending Western civilization against the bad guys. Just ask Douglas Murray or that tireless guardian of liberty Tony Blair:

    In the joint article with Moshe Kantor, the president of the council and of the European Jewish Congress, Blair warns that Europe is entering a dangerous era as it is experiencing the slow rate of economic growth last seen on the eve of the first and second world wars.


    You’re either with Tony and Moshe or you’re with the bad guys.

  • “This time, on surveillance, the Americans have it right”

    Oh boy, yet another Marxist talking points article from The Spectator, just in time to sink the Marxist co-opted United States further into isolation, which is the plan…

    How did Edward Snowden fly directly from Hawaii International Airport to COMMUNIST Hong Kong without his passport being flagged by TSA computers, and TSA computers then failing to notify FBI Counterintelligence computers? Those holding Top Secret clearance can’t travel to a Communist location UNLESS given permission to, and Snowden’s arrival in Russia helped to increase Russia’s prominence in the world (how did that happen!), while decreasing the prominence of the United States. Just what the Marxist political parties in the West wanted,* meaning we were snowed by the Snowden operation!

    Notice how the Marxist-co-opted media and fake “alternative” media failed to direct your attention to this proof that Snowden was sent to Hong Kong so he could end up in Russia.

    The fraudulent “collapse” of the USSR (and East Bloc) couldn’t have been pulled off until both political parties in the United States (and political parties elsewhere in the West) were co-opted by Marxists, which explains why verification of the “collapse” was never undertaken by the West, such verification being (1) a natural administrative procedure (since the USSR wasn’t occupied by Western military forces); and (2) necessary for the survival of the West. Recall President Reagan’s favorite phrase, “Trust, but verify”.

    Notice that not one political party in the West requested verification of the collapse of the USSR, and the media failed to alert your attention to this fact, including the “alternative” media. When determining whether the “former” USSR is complying with arms control treaties, what does the United States do to confirm compliance? Right, the United States sends into the “former” USSR investigative teams to VERIFY compliance, yet when it’s the fate of the West that’s at stake should the collapse of the USSR be a ruse, what does the United States do to confirm the collapse? Nothing!

    It gets worse–the “freed” Soviets and West also never (1) de-Communized the Soviet Armed Forces of its Communist Party officer corps, which was 90% officered by Communist Party members; and (2) arrested/de-mobilized the 6-million vigilantes that assisted the Soviet Union’s Ministry of the Interior and police control the populations of the larger cities during the period of “Perestroika” (1986-1991)!

    There can be no collapse of the USSR (or East Bloc nations) without…

    Verification, De-Communization and De-mobilization.

    The West never verified the collapse of the USSR because no collapse occurred, since if a real collapse had occurred the West would have verified it, since the survival of the West depends on verification. Conversely, this proves that the political parties of the West were co-opted by Marxists long before the fraudulent collapse of the USSR, since the survival of the West depends on verification.

    The above means that the so-called “War on Terror” is an operation being carried out by the Marxist co-opted governments of the West in alliance with the USSR and other Communist nations, the purpose being to (1) destroy the prominence of the West in the eyes of the world, where the West is seen (i) invading nations without cause; (ii) causing chaos around the globe; and (iii) killing over one-million civilians and boasting of torture; (2) close off non-Russian supplies of oil for export, thereby increasing the price of oil, the higher price allowing oil exporting Russia to maintain economic stability while she modernizes and increases her military forces; (3) destroy the United States Armed Forces via the never-ending “War on Terror”; the ultimate purpose of the aforementioned to (4) bring about the demise of the United States in the world, opening up a political void to be filled by a new pan-national entity composed of Europe and Russia (replacing the European Union), a union “From the Atlantic to Vladivostok”; which will (5) see the end of NATO.

    Now you know how Bolshevik Russia survived in 1917; how the West “lost” China to the Communists in 1949; why the Eisenhower administration turned a deaf ear to the anti-Communist Hungarian uprising in 1956; why the Eisenhower administration in 1959 was indifferent to the Castro brothers’ Communist fidelity, actually used the CIA to overthrow the Batista government; why the Nixon administration abandoned Taiwan for Communist China, and signed treaties/provided economic aid to the USSR; why the Nixon administration refused to tell the American People that over 50% of North Vietnamese NVA regiments were actually Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers (attired in NVA uniforms, and proving that the Sino/Soviet Split was a ruse, as KGB defector Major Anatoliy Golitsyn told the West back in 1962), thereby (1) ensuring the Vietnam War would be lost; (2) destroying the prominence of the United States abroad and at home; (3) breeding distrust between the American people and their government; and (4) securing Communist victories in Southeast Asia. Working in the background within the political parties of the United States and Great Britain were Marxist agents doing their best to (1) ensure the survival of Communist nations when they popped up; and (2) sabotage any policies that would bring down a Communist nation. That’s why after the fake collapses of the East Bloc nations and USSR there was no mandatory Western verification process to ensure the Communists weren’t still in control.

    The following is a discovery I made only last month regarding the fake collapse of the USSR…

    When Soviet citizens were liberated from 74 years of Marxist oppression on December 26, 1991 there were ZERO celebrations throughout the USSR, proving (1) the “collapse” of the USSR was a strategic ruse; and (2) the political parties of the West were already co-opted by Marxists,* otherwise the USSR (and East Bloc nations) couldn’t have gotten away with the ruse.

    ZERO celebrations, as the The Atlantic article inadvertently informs us…


    For more on this discovery see my blog…



    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.


    The failed socialist inspired and controlled pan-European revolutions that swept the continent in 1848(1) thought Marxists and socialists a powerful lesson, that lesson being they couldn’t win overtly,(2) so they adopted the tactic of infiltration of the West’s political parties/institutions. In the case of the United States…(continue reading at DNotice)…


  • Tom M

    “…..The police…….. now emerge from this imbroglio with no credit at
    And, unfortunately I don’t think it will bother them in the slightest.

  • mikewaller

    Journalists have always had a public interest defence when breaking the rules. The hopefully undying contempt they have earned themselves in recent years has arisen from their widespread use of means both legal and illegal to obtain information about the lives of people famous or not with no other purpose than upping the circulation of the rags for which they work, no matter what hurt it causes their victims. Disingenuous attempts such as this to rewrite history only serves to increase the contempt within which I hold the breed. I pray that this is also true for millions of others.