MI5 Needs Disbanding ...

Mick Hall demands that time be called on MI5. Mick Hall is a Marxist blogger @ Organized Rage.

MI5 needs disbanding and replacing with an organisation which is democratically accountable to the British people not the elites and crown.

Philby and Blake two of the most successful British spooks ever, which just about sums SIS up.

The British security and intelligence services (SIS) have a long history of over inflating their own importance and competence to gain ever larger sums of money from central government.The overall budget for SIS today is over £2 billion and rising. This covers MI6, MI5 and GCHQ. It's run more like a private fiefdom rather than the government department it actually is. Unanswerable to all and everyone bar an ineffective parliamentary oversight committee stuffed with the most pliable members of the establishment, most of whom have done SIS's bidding when they were government ministers and senior civil servants.

For example before his appointment to the committee, Lord Butler chaired the review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction set up by the then PM Tony Blair. Widely known as the Butler Review it turned out to be a total whitewash which failed to even inquire into the role of senior government ministers. Its whole purpose was to throw a lifeline to Tony Blair and SIS to save them from the gathering storm over WMDs and the Dodgy Dossier.

Those who have high hopes of Chilcot's enquiry should note he served on and put his name to the Butler whitewash.

It's not an exaggeration to say SIS is more answerable to the US National Security Agency than it is to the British people. And even here people in the know increasingly believe far from having a special relationship with the USA it's one of client and favoured contractor.

The internal section of SIS, MI5, which deals with alleged subversion and threats within the UK, has a long history of targeting British citizens for often no better reason than they belonged to a trade union, political party or NGO which the ruling elites regard as being beyond the pale.

Environmentalists, socialists, trade unionists, republicans, journalists, bloggers, political activists, including some MPs who refuse to accept the status quo, come under this organisation's politically warped eye. It will be interesting to know if Jeremy Corbyn gets to see his MI5 file if he becomes LP leader.

In these troubled times if ordinary folk are members of an ethnic or religious minority in the UK like the Islamic faith, woe betide if they speak out on contentious issues. For if they do they will almost certainly come within the remit of Mi5 under the targeting of subversive organisations and individuals header. The unanswered question is who gets to decide which organisation and individual is subversive?

Some gullible folk might say if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear from the security services. But given much of the info they accumulate is based on title tattle and subjective information often gleaned from second hand fragments of conversation and emails, there is little doubt if you come under MI5's microscope it may well ruin your life.

Although unless they have approached you directly, you would never know for certain why it had taken a downward spiral, as there is no way you can find out if the spooks were involved.

The SIS has a long history of working with disreputable regimes and individuals. Since 9/11 it has acted as a paid subcontractor for the US national security agency. Ed Snowden's disclosure of the global surveillance programs operated by the US National Security Agency, (NSA) with the UK’s GCHQ acting as a junior partner, demonstrates the intensity of this collaboration.

NSA and its partners have the capability to intercept a momentous quantity of telecommunications data through a global interception system known as ECHELON, which it's suggested is able to intercept any telephone, fax, Internet or e-mail message sent by any individual and thus is able to inspect its contents.

In other words as far as MI5 is concerned every British citizen is a potential terrorist threat or possible traitor, thus must be spied upon and to hang with the consequences for personal freedom, democracy, and an individuals liberty.

How many files it keep on British citizens is any ones guess, how long is a piece of string? Way back in 1998, the recently ennobled Lord Straw, then the oh so pliable New Labour Home Secretary, claimed it kept approximately half a million files on UK nationals, and boasted about having read his own. Although given Straw was a proven and pathological liar over Rendition, we must take what he says with a large dollop of salt.

Since 1998 we have seen the rise of armed militant Islam, which MI6 helped groom, having played an important role in arming the Afghan Mujahideen, which included elements of what became Al Qaeda and the head choppers now known as Islamic State.

I'm not suggesting it is unnecessary to target the aforementioned organisations, but the problem with the remit of British intelligence is it's to far reaching and open ended. It targets without sanction individuals and organisations which are involved in perfectly legal democratic, political, and environmental activities.

The MI5 file on the author and activist Doris Lessing was recently released, and it's very revealing as there is no reason to believe MI5 is not giving radical leftist and political activists the same priority today as they did in her day. They spied on Doris for over 20 years, listening to her phone conversations, opening her mail and closely monitoring her movements. (Today much of this type of State sanctioned surveillance can and is being done by computer programs like ECHELON, but the end process still needs human analysis).

Her only crime was she was a prominent and well known author and activist who had radical leftwing views, and was a fierce opponent of British imperialism and supporter of freedom fighters across the world, especially those like the ANC in Africa. Although a member of the CP she was an anti Stalinist who left the party over Hungary, although this did not still MI5's interest.

They continued to monitor her movements, speeches and writing, and passed this information on to the South African apartheid regime and it's secret police, who subsequently banned her from entering the country.

What I find interesting about the surveillance of Doris is its sheer pointlessness. She was not some covert activist but a very public person, all they had to do if they wished to understand what made her tick was read her books, and the countless article written by her and by others about her, or even ask her about her hopes and dreams for the future.

What is almost surreal about this situation at the very time they were wasting human and financial resources on Lessing, they failed to even notice let alone detect a swarm of KGB spies within their own organisations and within the heart of the British Establishment.

There is no reason to believe much has changed within MI5 since those days. One can ignore TV programs like Spooks and the Guardian M5 recruitment adds, mere PR and window dressing. The same reactionary mentality exists today as it did in the 1950s and 60s.They and their police gofers, the Special Branch, still spy on trade unionists, environmentalists and left-wing politicians and activists and recruit touts in those organisations. They still spy on ordinary decent citizens who pose absolutely no threat to the UK and I have no doubt they still ruin innocent peoples lives.

The whole raison d'être of MI5 is to maintain the status quo. In the UK that consists of the monarchy, neo liberal capitalism, and keeping the current ruling class in power. For example they spied on Doris Lessing because she vehemently opposed British imperialism. True, her CP membership was taken into account but if that was the only reason they spied on her they would have ceased when she not only left the party but became an opponent of Soviet policy in places like Hungary.

It is high time we asked what useful purpose does MI5 serve. ePrhaps it needs to be disbanded and replaced with an organisation which is truly democratically accountable to a fully elected parliament and the British people. It's grown like Topsy into a State within a State alongside the growth of neo liberal globalisation. Today SIS which includes MI5, has more employees than it did during WW2.

I would conclude with these two questions.

  • If blanket spying on the citizenry has a positive impact for society how come Mi5 failed to notify the judicial authorities about the Westminster Paedophile ring? We know it knew about it as one of its intelligence hubs was situated within the Kincora Boys Home and one of it's touts provided the teenage boys which members of this ring abused?
  • How come SIS did not tell the British people Saddam had no WMDs worthy of the name and Blair was misinforming the British people?
The answer is self explanatory. In times like these they are not there to serve the British people but institutions like the Monarchy and the political and business elites, most of whom have prospered since they took the momentous and infantile decision to invade Iraq.
Like so many British institutions today which have outlived their usefulness it's time we the citizenry said to MI5 you have sat here to long for any good you have been, depart we say, and let us have done with you. Britain needs a democratically accountable security service which answers to the British people, not the ruling elites and crown.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

1 comment to ''MI5 Needs Disbanding ..."

  1. If blanket spying on the citizenry has a positive impact for society how come Mi5 failed to notify the judicial authorities about the Westminster Paedophile ring?

    "For anyone with any sense, who was in trouble, would come to the whips and tell them the truth, and say now, I’m in a jam, can you help? It might be debt, it might be… a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal in which, erm er, a member seemed likely to be mixed up in, they’d come and ask if we could help and if we could, we did. And we would do everything we can because we would store up brownie points… and if I mean, that sounds a pretty, pretty nasty reason, but it’s one of the reasons because if we could get a chap out of trouble then, he will do as we ask forever more."

    Tim Fortescue

    How much more proof do people need about child abuse cover ups by the elite and spooks?


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