NOTHING is being allowed to halt or even get in the way of the all-powerful GCHQ spy machine that has been long established as the UK branch of the US National Security Agency that has been so brilliantly exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that MPs are powerless when faced with these state spies and that they have no protection at all from having their communications being trawled and read by the secret state.
Green Party politicians Caroline Lucas MP and Baroness Jenny Jones have argued that a long-standing doctrine established by ex-Labour PM Harold Wilson protected MPs’ communications from state surveillance and was now being illegally breached.
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal would have none of this and ruled that the so-called ‘Wilson Doctrine’ was no bar to the secret state’s trawling of and collecting data, including that of MPs. Lucas called this decision that the secret state was above the law as a ‘body blow’ for democracy.
The Wilson Doctrine dates from 1966 when Wilson, who afterwards resigned on March 16th 1976, when he became the victim of secret state attacks himself, gave assurances to MPs that their phone calls would not be intercepted without him knowing – and that he would tell Parliament of any change in that policy.
Wilson then ‘shocked the nation’ by presenting his resignation on March 16th 1976, out of the blue, as a complete surprise, making way for James Callaghan, who then made way for a regime change in 1979, when Margaret Thatcher and the Tories took office.
Wilson was never forgiven by the state for the fact that he had allowed the working class to force the complete repeal of the Heath government’s anti-union laws, when sections of the military were threatening to intervene to stop it.
His ‘doctrine’ however has been repeatedly reaffirmed, including by Prime Minister David Cameron.
Lucas, Baroness Jones and former MP George Galloway argued that GCHQ was acting outside the long-standing doctrine by bulk collecting communications data from the internet, which would inevitably include correspondence between parliamentarians and their constituents.
The landmark challenge largely focused on the so-called Tempora programme – the mass harvesting of communications data from the internet first revealed by Edward Snowden. The Investigative Powers Tribunal does not dare to mention the Tempora programme by name but says that ‘incidental’ collection of MPs’ data would not constitute a breach of the Wilson Doctrine, which was largely a political statement that could not be relied upon in expectation of special treatment.
The IPT established that the state was in charge and ‘democratic’ parliamentary procedure came a very poor second to it. It pronounced: ‘We are satisfied that the Wilson Doctrine is not enforceable in English law by the claimants or other MPs or peers by way of legitimate expectation.’ The Wilson Doctrine, after all, was just a whim of the one-time PM! The IPT gave a big V-sign to both houses of parliament.
It added that ‘The Wilson Doctrine has no legal effect, but in practice the agencies must comply with … their own guidance. The regime for the interception of parliamentarians’ communications is in accordance with the law.’
Lucas has meanwhile called for new legislation to protect constituents’ communications. ‘This judgement is a body blow for parliamentary democracy,’ she said. ‘My constituents have a right to know that their communications with me aren’t subject to blanket surveillance – yet this ruling suggests that they have no such protection.’
The message has been spelt out loud and clear: parliament is just a second or third tier of the state whose function is to fool the masses into thinking that it holds the power, and could even get rid of capitalism if it was minded to do so.
The IPT has established that the secret state, ie the spies and the bodies of armed men, is the force that holds the power for the capitalists. There is only one way that this power can be smashed and that is through organising and carrying out a socialist revolution.