Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/769/16867
From The Socialist newspaper, 12 June 2013
Big brother is watching you
When Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague says law abiding citizens have nothing to fear from government intelligence gathering, then be very afraid!
Hague's less than reassuring comments were prompted by revelations that information on individuals, including British citizens, using a secretive US electronic data gathering system called 'Prism' - operated by the Obama government's National Security Agency (NSA) - has been shared by UK government spooks at the GCHQ spy centre in Cheltenham. In the 1980s the Thatcher government banned trade unionists - who she described as the "enemy within" - from working at GCHQ.
The NSA has, for several years now, been gathering detailed information from people's emails and other digital data, acquired from internet companies, on an industrial scale. It makes Home Secretary Theresa May's recently announced intention to enact a 'snooper's charter' seem prosaic.
Electronic eavesdropping and surveillance on millions of Americans and others was ramped up by the Bush administration after 9/11 using the scope of the Patriot Act.
However, when the warmongering, scheming and skulduggery of US imperialism was revealed in 2010 after WikiLeaks released 250,000 classified diplomatic emails, state retribution quickly followed. Some US politicians demanded the prosecution (and even assassination!) of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as a 'terrorist' and 'enemy combatant'. And Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of forwarding the emails, is now undergoing a court martial. If found guilty, he faces a life in prison.
Secretive gathering of intelligence on citizens by governments is not new. Nonetheless, the vast scale and sophistication of Prism and its offshoots must serve as a warning to socialists, trade unionists and community campaigners that within every capitalist democracy there lurks a 'big brother'.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
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In The Socialist 12 June 2013:
G8 Summit protest
No to G8 austerity
Big brother is watching you
National Shop Stewards Network
Build for mass anti-cuts action
Socialist Party editorial
Labour crosses the Rubicon - again
Socialist Party news and analysis
How students beat unfair attendance policy
Far-right EDL march in Sheffield: class-based response needed
After Woolwich killing: Time for unions to lead anti-racist fight
Them & Us
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Falkirk West: Labour bureaucracy blocks left Unite union candidate
Brighton: Green council continues to carry out Con-Dem cuts
Southamption byelection: On the TUSC Against Cuts campaign trail
Historic event as Tamils and trade unions forge vital links
Socialist Party workplace news
Mid Yorks health workers win important concessions
College lecturers strike against redundancies
MoJ privatisation victory + rolling strikes across civil service
Scotland: Council workers strike ballot
Teachers vote for action on workload and pensions
Workplace news in brief
International socialist news and analysis
Syria threatens sectarian middle east war
Fightback continues in Turkey
Unison conference - time to reclaim the union
Unison NEC elections - Socialist Party position strengthened
Socialist Party review
Panorama: Blacklist Britain
The Socialist 12 June 2013 |
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