A few days ago, someone posted a link to a story in The Atlantic, referring to a leaked NSA document that showed that the agency had lied. The particular article is weak and irrelevant – one of a stream of similar articles that follow on the heels of each new Snowdon revelation.
Well, yes. They lied. They have always lied. Always. As long as any secret service has existed, it has always lied. Lies are their stock in trade. A lie is the default position for any operational member of such a service, and for the service itself.
What has changed a little is that now it is not merely known that they lie, in the sense of common knowledge or common understanding. It is known in the sense that there is documentary proof of the lies, at least in one or two matters. But because of the nature of those matters, because of the sheer scale of them, we also know that these now-proven lies are snowflakes in an avalanche of deceit.
The avalanche is engulfing not only the Americans, with their quaint concern only for American citizens – as if it were ever acceptable to perform wholesale surveillance on citizens of any country! The avalanche is engulfing others by association. Who believes any statement from the British GCHQ? From the Australian secret services? From the NZ secret services? No-one, no-one at all.
And it eats upwards – who believes anything these Governments say about anything? No-one – no-one at all. People treat even the most prosaic announcement with scepticism, and anything less prosaic with open contempt; the assumption is that it, too, is a lie.
Yet it’s the oddest thing – no-one ever really did believe them. But many chose to deceive themselves, to believe the lies because it was more comfortable to do so. That too is something that has changed. Now, no educated citizen of any country can deceive themselves any more; the gash in the façade is too long, the opening of the maw is too wide, the mass of evidence tumbling out is too vast. Only one willing to believe regardless of the cost to their intellectual dignity can any longer profess to believe the lies.
The question is, what are we going to do about it? Sadly I think the answer is clear – we aren’t going to do anything about it at all.
Here in Australia, neither the lies of our “allies”, the lies of our own secret services, nor their constant, self-serving calls for ever greater budgets and ever more fantastic powers of coercion, arrest, seizure and surveillance, have caused much noticeable outrage.
Nor have the lies about our treatment of refugees. Somehow we have silently and apparently without meaningful opposition to it, become a country that runs actual, real concentration camps. No noticeable outrage.
The lies our Government tells, daily, about the most brutal budget in living memory, aimed squarely at demolishing environmental programs, crushing the weak and shifting even more power and wealth to the already powerful and wealthy, have caused only minor bursts of outrage, and usually only from those directly affected, so they are easily dismissed and rarely analysed.
Perhaps we are too scared. Perhaps we don’t care. But we cannot now say we didn’t know. Remember Gustav Niemöller’s, “First they came for…”?
I hope that one day people now in Government and from earlier Governments are called to answer for their crimes. The crimes of designing such systems, of permitting those systems that already existed to continue, of lying about the function, form and even the existence of such systems, of obfuscating and keeping secret the true nature and true purposes of those systems, and (in the case of refugees) of persecuting, incarcerating, torturing and killing innocent people on Australian soil, and many more in other countries, through pitiless execution of “policy”. As if policy had no human authors!
My lexicon of invective has no words strong enough to express my total, frustrated, abject disgust at the depravity of the current Government, their inhumane and IMHO illegal and certainly unethical activities, and their continuous, unending, chanting lies.
And if you voted for these utter, utter, utter bastards, you should hang your head in shame.