by John Ward
Crimes solved by bots, naysayers framed by technology, police watching our pcs and deserting our streets, gullible citizens accepting flimsy narratives, and a corporate media consensus suppressing dissent. If this is what you want, then congratulations: the project is well under way…..and gathering speed.
When the British police élite asserted recently that, in future, they would only be recruiting from the graduate pool, I (along with many others) thought it was a hoot given the stage and satire stereotype of bobbies with big feet saying “Nar then, nar then, whassa goin’ on ‘ere, you’re nicked chummy”. But I quickly revised my view in the light of a long conversation with two recently retired senior cops.
The government class’s public rationale for Bright Bobbies is that they’re not going to be bobbies as such, but experts in techno, cyber and complex fraud, given that most crime is either virtual, treasonous or professional. Setting aside the fact that this isn’t true (there’s a big difference between recorded crime and reality) on the basis of this apparent attempt to stop ‘invisible’ crime, the Home Office approved decision has barely caused a ripple. But both circumstantial and official evidence is beginning to emerge that the entire role of “civil” policing is about to be not so much changed as abandoned.
The big winners in that change are going to be online social media, retail distributors, surveillance cameras and the brokers who variously collect, analyse and then market the data to those who want – equally variously – to sell, snoop, change and monitor. This is an excerpt from a rivetting US piece, written by a Private Eye skilled in modern detection:
‘I had a classic case that shows just how traceable we all now are. There was a dead body, a possible murder victim, but no direct evidence: no witnesses, no DNA, no fingerprints, and no murder weapon found. In San Francisco’s East Bay, however, as in most big American cities, there are so many surveillance cameras mounted on mom-and-pop stores, people’s houses, bars, cafes, hospitals, toll bridges, tunnels, even in parks, that the police can collect enough video, block by block, to effectively map a suspect driving around Oakland for hours before hitting the freeway and heading out to dump a body, just as the defendant in my case did……The particular suspect I have in mind drove his victim’s car across a bridge, where cameras videotaped the license plate but couldn’t see inside the car; nor, he must have assumed, could anyone record him on the deserted road he finally reached where he was undoubtedly confident that he was safe. What he didn’t notice was the CALFIRE video camera placed on that very road to monitor for brush fires. It caught a car’s headlights matching his on its way to the site he had chosen to dump the body.’
To the blindly gullible, this looks like total good news: every murderer will now be caught – hurrah! But there are three very malign elements in all this:
- Who needs cops on the beat when tech can do all this?
- What if you’re not a murderer, but the enemy of a controlling corporate State that uses hitech and graduate analysis to make usurpation of its totalitarian dictatorship virtually impossible?
- Hitech also makes mistakes, but juries believe in it 100% – despite all the mass of evidence that it is nowhere near infallible.
Our informant the Private Eye again:
‘In our world of the unforgotten, tech is seen as a wonder of wonders. Juries love tech. Many jurors think tech is simply science and so beyond disbelief. As a result, they tend to react badly when experts are called as defense witnesses to disabuse them of their belief in tech’s magic powers: that, for instance, cellphone calls don’t always pinpoint exactly where someone was when he or she made a call. If too many signals are coming in to the closest tower to a cell phone, a suspect’s calls may be rerouted to a more distant tower. Similarly, the FBI’s computerized fingerprint index often makes mistakes in its matches, as do police labs when it comes to DNA samples.’
This is worrying, but not the only reason to fear miscarriages of justice: there is another side to hitech, and that is its potential for the falsification of visual evidence in a deliberate attempt to frame someone. Digital film special effects can be inflicted upon a video record, and then copied back onto surveillance camera video before being “discovered” by investigators.
If there are no physical, civil policemen in cars or walking the beat, if wonky machines can find us guilty, if the rule of Law can be perverted so easily by political and corporate interests, then the cold, merciless and increasingly hidden face of the State will leave citizens not just worried about who elected officials work for: it will leave all of us except those in the tiny oligarchy defenceless against sociopathy in public life.
Look at how easily large portions of the British public have accepted minimal evidence of Russian involvement in the Skripal case as guilt established beyond a shadow of a doubt. At the moment, only a few higher-quality online commentators have a handle on the huge holes in Boris Johnson’s “case” against Russian agents (all unnamed), Vladimir Putin (a man with no credible motive) and Basshar Assad (a man with no need to drop chemical weapons on his own people). But a giant leap from the symptoms of two spies of dubious loyalty in Salisbury led to the bombing of Syrian ammo dumps and airfields – note absence of chemwarfare factories to hit – by three NATO countries without asking any constitutional authorities in the three aggressor States for permission so to do…least of all The People.
Now the new UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt not only has penultimate responsibility for getting a “deal” from the EU on Brexit, his feet are pounding heavily upon the track of anti-Russian sanctions pummeled by Johnson: Hunt is doing the rounds of EU capitals, calling for deeper economic penalties against “Russian plots” to wipe out double-agents.
The journalist with the best credentials to examine this case continues to point up how a dangerously small media club has been disgracefully complicit in the accusations. This week, Craig Murray turned his attention towards the BBC, which has recently deflected an FoI request about its “coverage” of the Skripal Case. Rightly pointing out that the Beeb’s refusal to comply with the request is utterly fraudulent, Murray’s has sent an email to the journalist most directly involved, Mark Urban, as follows:
As you may know, I am a journalist working in alternative media, a member of the NUJ, as well as a former British Ambassador. I am researching the Skripal case.
I wish to ask you the following questions.
1) When the Skripals were first poisoned, it was the largest news story in the entire World and you were uniquely positioned having held several meetings with Sergei Skripal the previous year. Yet faced with what should have been a massive career break, you withheld that unique information on a major story from the public for four months. Why?
2) You were an officer in the Royal Tank Regiment together with Skripal’s MI6 handler, Pablo Miller, who also lived in Salisbury. Have you maintained friendship with Miller over the years and how often do you communicate?
3) When you met Skripal in Salisbury, was Miller present all or part of the time, or did you meet Miller separately?
4) Was the BBC aware of your meetings with Miller and/or Skripal at the time?
5) When, four months later, you told the world about your meetings with Skripal after the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you said you had met him to research a book. Yet the only forthcoming book by you advertised is on the Skripal attack. What was the subject of your discussions with Skripal?
6) Pablo Miller worked for Orbis Intelligence. Do you know if Miller contributed to the Christopher Steele dossier on Trump/Russia?
7) Did you discuss the Trump dossier with Skripal and/or Miller?
8) Do you know whether Skripal contributed to the Trump dossier?
9) In your Newsnight piece following the Rowley/Sturgess incident, you stated that security service sources had told you that Yulia Skripal’s telephone may have been bugged. Since January 2017, how many security service briefings or discussions have you had on any of the matters above?
I look forward to hearing from you.’
Far be it from me to insert words into what’s written between the lines of this email, but it is very hard to read it and not conclude that Mr Murray is suggesting a link between MI6 and Urban, accusing Urban of censoring vital Skripal information, and questioning his objectivity as a BBC journalist. Underlying the message is a suspicion that, given his military track-record and intelligence connections, Mark Urban has perhaps forgotten who pays his salary.
Either way, ever since David Cameron’s quiet pro-HSBC coup against what the BBC used to stand for, bullying by both him, Blair, Campbell, Mandelson et al over the last fifteen years has brought the Beeb perilously close to being nothing more than a mouthpiece for the neocon foreign policy élite, and in turn (at a lower level) an uncritical promoter of the pc belief system affected by the British Establishment.
We arrive at the familiar prerequisites for citizen enslavement: an unrepresentative clique in power, an equally unrepresentative faction in opposition, the strengthening of the grip a technocentric surveillance State has upon well-meaning contrarians, a mass of under 30s laargely schooled in acceptance education, and a tiny cabal running a media consensus that favours a stagnant status quo in which little is allowed to change.
The only metamorphosis on the cards today is the transformation of an apolitical civil police force into a politicised State police entity that is shaping up to become a sort of Gestapo on steroids.
Laugh if you want. Throw scorn upon the very idea. But by so doing, you are an active catalyst for the realisation of an amoral, uncompassionate and violently repressive world.