Surveillance is not for our own safety

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

In 1964, scientists from the government’s chemical and biological warfare research centre at Porton Down carried out a covert biological warfare field trial in London’s underground system (Independent, July 8, 2015).

Apparently there were 750 similar covert operations carried out in the UK using the British public as unknowing guinea pigs.

The FBI’s Cointelpro (1956-1970s) included the illegal surveillance, infiltration, discrediting, disrupting, and black-mailing of legitimate political organisations in the US – methods which culminated in the murder of several prominent political leaders including the then leader of the Black Panthers, Fred Hampton. In 2014, Seymour Hersh revealed the existence of a joint CIA/MI6 operation which was funnelling arms from Libya via southern Turkey into Syria and into the possession of al-Qaeda jihadists.

Does anyone still believe that all the surveillance we are seeing now (and only aware of through the work of organisations like Wikileaks and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden) is being conducted for our own safety, to prevent crime, and to prevent terrorist attacks?

Louis Shawcross, Hillsborough