Cameron and Miranda: this doesn’t have to go all the way to the top

Andrew Sullivan says that David Cameron is proving Greenwald right. I don’t know why people always presume the authoritarianism of the state are the fault of the guy at the top. That’s the fundamental attribution bias again.

The security state needs no official clearance to harass and torment people. We’ve already given them that power through acts of parliament. It’s more likely that Cameron heard about Miranda’s detention and thought “well this is a PR clusterfuck” as he thought “let’s detain and intimidate this foreign national on a Guardian funded trip to Berlin.” He’s a shit PR man, but he’s not an idiot. Okay, I’m being charitable, but you get what I mean.

This reminds me of the crackdowns on Occupy last year. Some people were incredulous that the US drive to break the movement wasn’t centralised. Local governments and police forces were quite capable of targeting Occupy protests without central direction. They were local villains with human faces. But they were part of a security bureaucracy and had internalised and exercised its will. Systems determine outcomes, not individuals.

We’ve created a massive, rich, powerful bureaucracy of security forces with legally enforceable secrecy and immunity from prosecution. A PR man in Westminster is nominally in charge, but given he is the one who’ll take the heat first, I think they’re quite capable of intimidating their enemies without his say so. It’s kinda sweet that anyone thinks the spooks care what Cameron thinks.

And another thing. The people who thought the unions were up to no good in the 70s are worrying silent about an actual enemy within.