The much hyped The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom - Security in an interdependent world (.pdf 64 pages) is now available online on the Cabinet Office website.
Is anyone really clear about exactly how the current plans and policies of the Government actually fit with this National Security Strategy, except in the vague, generalised, non-specific, hand waving political management consultant speak terms ?
A flavour of the various biases and omissions in this National Security Strategy document can be gleaned from a simple word count of some keywords and phrases:
- 2 mentions of "liberty"
- 4 mentions of "freedom"
- 5 mentions of "surveillance"
- 6 mentions of "horizon scanning"
- 15 mentions of "police"
- 86 mentions of "national security"
- 41 mentions of "risks"
- 34 mentions of "risk"
- 8 mentions of the "internet"
- 5 mentions of "cyber attack"
- 2 mentions of "cyber crime"
- 2 mentions of "money laundering"
- 24 mentions of "organised crime"
- 9 mention of "crime"
- 51 mentions of "terrorist"
- 53 mentions of "terrorism"
- 4 mentions of "flood"
- 11 mentions of "flooding"
- 11 mentions of "pandemic"
- 36 mentions of "climate"
- 4 mentions of "biological weapons"
- 37 mentions of "nuclear"
- 19 mentions of "proliferation"
- 32 mentions of "energy"
- 14 mentions of "Middle East"
- 14 mentions of "Iraq"
- 14 mentions of "Iraq"
- 26 mentions of "Afghanistan"
- 4 mentions of "Pakistan"
- 4 mentions of "Iran"
- 5 mentions of "India"
- 10 mentions of "China"
- 7 mentions of "Russia"
- 10 mentions of "United States"
- 1 mention of "Lebanon"
- 1 mention of "Irish"
- 1 mention of "Islam"
- 1 mention of "Islamic"
- Zero mentions of "genetics"
- Zero mentions of "genetic engineering"
- Zero mentions of "biotechnology"
- Zero mentions of "Israel"
- Zero mentions of "Palestine"
- Zero mentions of "Ireland"
These are serious omissions, given the potential and actual threats which they pose.
The document is full of the usual NuLabour weasel words
See Political Lexicon 2008 - list of mostly NuLabour Orwellian Newspeak:
- 10 mentions of "serious" (apart from SOCA)
- 20 mentions of "tackle"
- 19 mentions of "engagement"
- 14 mentions of "public"
- 19 mentions of "strengthen"
- 19 mentions of "strengthening"
- 22 mentions of "early"
The idea of a US style National Security Council seems to have been watered down:
5.6 The Government is committed to a dialogue with experts, stakeholders, and the public, to build a shared understanding of the security challenges we face, and what we are doing and need to do to tackle them. We will encourage interested parties to contribute to the debate on the strategy, and will seek to encourage the participation of a much wider circle of expertise in addressing national security issues.
This is typical lip service by Gordon Brown - he has commissioned dozens of Reviews and Consultations etc., but their conclusions have been delayed, suppressed and ignored.
We will establish a national security forum, including people from central and local government, politics, academia, the private and third sectors, and other bodies, as well as people with relevant security experience We will also look for opportunities to seek views from members of the public. This strategy marks the next step in a process of engagement designed to ensure that government thinking on national security constantly keeps pace with the rapidly evolving global security environment.
The Conservative leader of the Opposition David Cameron, who also noticed this "national security forum" and described it as a "talking shop", just as we did.
See the National Security Strategy statement ad the subsequent exchanges House of Commons Hansard 19 Mar 2008 : Column 925:
David Cameron: [...] Let me take each of those in turn. Can the Prime Minister explain why the Government have decided to set up a national security forum -- another talking shop--instead of a proper national security council? Surely, a proper national security council would have dedicated staff--[Interruption.] Perhaps the Prime Minister will sit and wait, then he can answer the questions at the end. A proper national security council would have dedicated staff and decision-making powers. It would be at the heart of Government, with all the relevant Ministers, and it would be chaired by the Prime Minister. We do not have that; we should have it.Can he explain how a forum and an existing Cabinet committee can drive the implementation of a national security strategy across all Departments? Are we not in danger of having a talking shop and confusion?
Gordon Brown claimed that somehow his latest mutation of version of a Cabinet Office Committee already fulfilled such a role.
The Prime Minister: I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his support for the standby facility and for the co-ordination of our efforts in Helmand. I am grateful, too, for his support for our armed forces and security services generally. I am afraid, however, that only he can trivialise a national security statement. If he had done his research, he would know that there is a National Security Committee, which includes the Chief of the Defence Staff, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, the heads of all the intelligence agencies--MI5, MI6 and GCHQ--the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, and the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who attend the meetings. The terms of reference are to consider issues relating to national security and the Government's international and European policies, as well as their international development policies. What the right hon. Gentleman is asking for we have already. It is chaired by the Prime Minister, and it met only last week. It meets regularly to look at the relationship between domestic and international issues, and it has been in existence for several months, apparently without his knowing about it.
What exactly is new about this ? Surely all the previous similar Cabinet Office Committees, throughout history, claimed to do this central policy coordination role as well ?
The Counter-terrorism Strategy still appears to be an unmodified re-hash of CONTEST
4.4 CONTEST is an integrated approach based on four main workstreams each with a clear objective:
-- Pursue: stopping terrorist attacks
-- Protect: strengthening our protection
-- Prepare: mitigating the impact of attacks
-- Prevent: stopping people becoming
terrorists or supporting violent extremism
These are not equal "workstreams" are they ? There are orders of magnitude more human, and financial and technical resources being poured into the "Pursue" strategy, funding the securocrat empires, compared with , say, the "Prevent" part of the strategy, which seems to have a token amount of money thrown at uLabour apparatchiki in various quangos and NDPBs:
What exactly has "climate change" got to do directly with "national security" ?
Is Gordon Brown really planning, say, to try to threaten China or Russia militarily or economically over Energy supplies of fossil fuels ? We doubt it somehow. Effective Energy Supply Security is not dealt with in this National Security Strategy document.
Where do all the "Great Firewall of Europe" and other plans for trying to censor the internet fit in to this vague National Security Strategy ?
Where, in the is Strategy document, is there any explanation or justification of the "War on Tourism" and the "Climate of Fear" propaganda ?
Where is the open, honest and transparent debate with the public on the lessons to be learned from the the inevitable failings of the Government and security authorities ? Where is the independent inquiry into the terrorist attacks and failed attacks during July 2005 in London ?
What have Gordon Brown and his Labour colleagues ever done to earn our trust over matters of National Security, freedom and liberty ?