A lot of the recent proclamations of government officials (and some servile journalists) would be better understood if, in our minds, we did some internal translation. Namely every time we hear someone say “National Security” we should really be translating it into “Government Power”.
For example, recently UK government decided to intimidate journalists via their personal relations, and it decided to go into press offices and destroy computer material. They might claim that they do so in the name of “National Security”, but we should know better – there are precedents. One such precedent is the Iraq war.
The head of MI5 (the british Security Service) recently said:
“Our involvement in Iraq, for want of a better word, radicalised a whole generation of young people, some of them British citizens who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam.”
“What Iraq did was produce fresh impetus on people prepared to engage in terrorism”
“The Iraq war heightened the extremist view that the West was trying to bring down Islam. We gave Bin Laden his jihad.”
In other words: the war, sold to the public as a matter of National Security, in fact reduced security. This is simply because our security is not a priority for the government. The priority is power. You and I don’t matter. In fact, the people who actually endangered our security by “producing fresh impetus on people prepared to engage in terrorism”, such as Tony Blair, still walk freely (and openly support violence and military coups).
That is why Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are violently attacked. On the very account of US military officials Manning’s revelation of (among other things) war crimes in Iraq, were “embarrassing but not damaging“. They endangered no one, but they did undermined power and influence (i.e. “national security”). And that is the real crime – for which Manning can now expect to spend the rest of his life in jail.
So when we hear “National Security” being mentioned, we should not forget to translate into what it really means. And then maybe we should ask ourselves: does increased, massively secretive, unchecked, unaccountable government military power, serve our interests… or someone else’s?