Sunday, 1 September 2013

secret intelligence

is hardly a new thing. Today's Sunday Times, not usually a stupid paper, has the following in what is otherwise a mostly factual report on the political developments around action of Syria:

Britain’s role in providing intelligence to the Americans is likely to be met with disquiet by MPs who voted against military action. GCHQ’s role is understood to have the tacit approval of Cameron.
Really? If those MPs do in fact respond with "disquiet" then they are more ignorant than the average MP is, in my experience. The UK has been providing intelligence to the US for at least 200 years, and formally under the UKUSA AGreement of 1948 - which was approved by Parliament at that time, and on which the House of Commons Library can provide great swathes of information, including the text of the agreement, to any MP who is interested. And if they are not they should be. And as for GCHQ's role having the "tacit approval of Cameron" - that's just daft. GCHQ is a Government department. Cameron is responsible for its actions. Part of its role has always been to share and provide intelligence, not just to the British Government, but to others too, not just the US but to Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Others too, depending on circumstances. My first job was as a translator in Government service at GCHQ, first from Russian and then from Japanese. I was there for seven years, including a period of langauge training in Japanese, both in the UK and in Japan itself. None of this is a secret. So can we have a little engaging of brain before nonsense like the above is written in otherwise reputable publications?

In related news, I see a comment from a friend on Facebook (who is not based in the UK) expressing dismay that newspapers take a polemical view and attempt to tell people what to think. What happened to the press being unbiased and presenting the facts so people can make up their own minds? that person writes, dismayed. Well, that has never been the case. Never. And probably never will be, as long as newspapers continue to exist.

I still read newspapers, mainly The Times and Le Monde, but not on paper any more. I'll probably continue to do so as long as there still are newspapers, but I suspect younger people do not. The fact that I don't read them on paper any more causes me some difficulty when it comes to lining my rat cage these days.


Anonymous said...

Delighted to know that the rats have returned.

Details please; colours, genders, ages and names?

Jane Griffiths said...

Two boys, now four months old and almost full grown, huskies (dark grey and white markings), named Hitchcock and Tarantino.

Anonymous said...

Excellent. If they were female (which they are not) you could have called them Scott and Bailey - after my favourite female cop show, starring Lesley Sharp as DS
Janet Scott and Suranne Jones as DC Rachel Bailey. Check it out. One of my cats is called Hillary afetr Hillary Clinton and she has grown up in the image of her namesake. Which means, if we reurn to H and T - that T will be a lean,mean sexy animal and H will have a weight problem and some unfortunate predilections.