17 August 2006

Openness, "Terror" and 1984

One of my earliest posts on this blog was about Craig Murray and how he was using his blog to get out into the open ideas and information uncomfortable to the British Government. Well, he's at it again, dealing with issues that the mainstream media once again seems strangely loth to discuss.

This time, he's offering a rather different interpretation of the alleged UK plot to blow up planes. The basic idea is simple: that the revelation of this plot took place when it did because it was politically expedient to do so, not because of any inner necessity based on the state of the preparations. As well as the obviously convenient disappearance of the war in Lebanon from the front pages for a while, it also provided ammunition for Dick Cheney in his attacks on a particular strand of thought in the Democratic Party (read the post for the details).

More generally, the dramatic "thwarting" of the alleged plot provides yet another "justification" for draconian security measures, on the basis that it is better to lose a bit of liberty than all of your life. But of course, this convenient equation only works if the perceived threat is great enough, which requires, in its turn, a steady supply of reminders about the potential horrors of terrorism (which are real enough). The fact that few alleged terrorists have actually been convicted, even among the people that have been arrested, suggests that things are not what they seem.

Similarly, the strange "error" of releasing the names of most of the people held in the current "emergency" - which means that there is no hope whatsoever of convicting them, given UK laws - can be seen as a convenient way to have your terrorist cake and eat it: in a blaze of publicity you get to arrest people that are later quietly released because of some terrible "blunder" by some Bank of England functionary.

The only difference between this situation and the one painted by George Orwell in 1984 is that, today, squaring up to Big Brother we have the Big Blogosphere.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think that he may be right.We seem to be in danger from exploding laptops and ginger beer.