Bilderburg and Aunty Beeb

The UK foreign secretary, William Hague, went on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show this morning and said that it was “fanciful” and “nonsense” to suggest that GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) had illegally worked with America’s NSA (National Security Agency) to spy on British citizens (here). Mr Hague is due to make a statement about it all tomorrow in Parliament. In the meantime, on Friday the Ministry of Defence issued a D Notice in an attempt to gag the British press (here). The reaction of the press to the NSA scandal has been, er, interesting. Most of the UK media have carried the story, although not prominently. The BBC even published a piece which trotted out a number of professors, all of whom said it was perfectly acceptable for mass surveillance to be carried out on the populations of the UK and USA (here); but, alas, the BBC has become yet another bloated and corrupt organisation. The Guardian, which was one of two newspapers to break the story, has continued to feature the NSA scandal at the top of its front page (what with D Notices knocking around, I’d love to be a fly on the wall of the office of the Guardian’s legal team).

The other newspaper to break the story brings us to the other side of the Pond, and of course it’s the Washington Post, a once revered home of journalism, and now, alas, a kind of schizoid nervous wreck. Last Thursday, the Post beat the Guardian by a matter of minutes in breaking the NSA PRISM story; but within 24 hours it had altered its copy, with no explanation to the readers, and backing down from its original sensational claims (here). At the time of writing, the Washington Post continues to feature the NSA story on its front page, yet it’s mixed in with what looks like government propaganda pieces. The same can be said of the New York Times. As for the rest of the US media, when they have reported the NSA scandal they’ve largely taken the line: “if you’ve got nothing to hide than there’s nothing to worry about”. Of course, none of these media organisations put this mass surveillance in the context of torture, extrajudicial killings and indefinite detention without trial; but that of course is because the US media are a large part of the problem.

This brings me back to the BBC, who featured Alex Jones on their Sunday Politics show this morning. It’s an entertaining clip, not least because of the contrast between a crazy Texan conspiracy theorist and some urbane, calm Brits. Extremists like Jones totally discredit those of us who try to write about all this stuff in a logical manner; and when you do write about it, and try to get to the bottom of things, it is easy to become paranoid. The following BBC clip starts off with a 3 minute piece about the Bilderburg conference in Watford this weekend, then it goes into a studio interview with Alex Jones, which is the really hilarious bit. Over the next few days the shit’s going to hit the fan with regard to British Government involvement in the NSA scandal. Now, if I was being paranoid I could say that the BBC wheeled-in Alex Jones this morning in an attempt to rubbish those of us who are speaking out against unlawful mass surveillance, portraying us as wearing tin foil hats. Remember, if you’ve got nothing to hide than there’s nothing to worry about…

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