Published On: Sat, May 29th, 2021

Lessons from Nineteen Eighty Four: Military intelligence government, and corporate-media as Mi7

There was a process through the 19th century into the 20th to turn Britain into a country under technocratic rule of an order most ancient, which involved impoverishing people, collectivising them, and  having them know their place, and to know that their “betters” also had their own duty in the system to perform: i.e., to rule. Consider, then, the great problem for those looking to consolidate their failing grip on power (meaning, the “king and church” Victorian aristocracy), in the form of a liberal republican middle class that had political clout through its own wealth, enabled to attain it through a freak in civic circumstances where action and thought was free only until government made it forbidden (as opposed to the situation everywhere else in the world where liberty was denied until it was permitted).

It’s not for this article to discuss the process at length by which people were brought back, from an age of reason where polite trade and general affluence was the circumstance conducive for social good order, into a state of superstition where there must be belief that societal stability, actually, is related to order in the cosmos which can only be sustained by enslavement under a technocratic managing class†. It suffices to say that, by creating conditions where the population was made to collectivise as a matter of survival (or so it was told), the Second World War was an event in the process, and it may even be self-evidential, without knowing too much about the history of the period, that it served as a catalyst whereby, even after the conflict ended, Government could centralise further (extensive nationalisation, the welfare state, etc).

However, what might not be readily understood is that the Second World War was a deliberately engineered crisis by which the transformation could take place҂. Thus, it was the case that UK Government was at war with the British people primarily before being at war with its German counterpart – and a great sense of the truth of this is conveyed to us by George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four. This book was not a warning of a dystopia in the future, but a thinly disguised record of wartime and post-war reality, but because it was set in the future, it indicated Orwell’s appreciation of the motivating principle whereby the new order was never going to be revoked after the emergency by which it had been created had ended.

So, to know how things are – because the UK is still governed in the same way as it was during the Second World War –  one should know Nineteen Eighty Four. Even so, it’s easy to forget the fact that in Air Strip One (the province in the super-state where the story is set), just as in the genuine article,  there is some slack so that the entire population is not fully under overt totalitarianism. Indeed, the common knowledge of this is institutionalised in an IngSoc (ruling) party slogan: “proles and animals are free”; the “proles”, of course, are the proletariat – people other than the party membership, or the people who operate government.

It is for the party membership alone for whom an intense climate of paranoia and fear exists; it is the party membership, the apparatchiks of a totalitarian government, that must be surveilled, and spied upon, and denounced, and killed or disappeared as a necessity for “the mechanics of government”. To be exact, to what extent this treatment is limited to Outer Party (the second class citizenry) is cause for closer examination, because O’Brien, the elite Inner Party member the reader knows most about, appears to feel comfortable and confident and untouched by any prospect of being displaced from his position of privilege. The Inner Party lead lives of comparative luxury in gated communities that are off limits to Outer Party membership. They can avoid the surveillance grid, thus they must be above being distrusted.  And although there are stories about Inner Party membership being purged (accused and show-trialled) or vaporised (disappeared), one should ask if there is any reason to believe them to be true. Moreover, the apparent rule that Inner Party membership is not driven by blood lines is not to be believed either, given the fact that the reader’s knowledge of this information comes from a book by the figure head for rebellion, Goldstein, which is a work of fiction by the Inner Party.

So, the sinister control of every aspect of life, and the surveillance to detect divergence from it, happens to the administrative bureaucracy – the Outer Party – almost certainly exclusively. It definitely is not concerned with the proletariat, and probably not concerned with the oligarchy that rules. Thus, the model is perhaps wartime UK military intelligence and central UK government civil service – and being able to envisage this helps enormously in understanding how Nineteen Eighty Four has indeed been a statement of how things have been since the 1940s. The government of Air Strip One is the wartime government of the UK, and in fact, UK Government ever since.

As an outsider (and the author definitely is that) one must find it hard to appreciate that there has been this continuity, but when one does something as simple as watch the 1979 BBC production of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, for instance, one can understand that one is being told about a climate of paranoia, and suspicion, and an environment where there exists a threat of danger for those who are caught performing acts of individual initiative, let alone anything treasonable, within military intelligence, and then into, through the direct connection between them, offices of central government (fascinatingly, and pertinent to this discussion, the work also features an active spy in a post at a newspaper). If this is too frivolous to be taken seriously, then consider that GCHQ has historically collected and stored data on private individuals, whether it has been illegal or not‡. Moreover, only the naïve would believe that the UK intelligence agencies were actually interested in 99% of the proletariat. [In the book: “A few agents of the Thought Police moved always among… [the proles],” reports Orwell, “spreading false rumours and marking down and eliminating the few individuals who were judged capable of becoming dangerous”. (One can imagine that the rumour spreading in a modern context would be a role for alternative media)].

The whole game of spying between ideologically opposed powers during the Cold War – which is when Nineteen Eighty Four was written after all – might have relied on a tendency in individuals (who could access sensitive information) to betray their own country, or how else would a double agent or a turncoat ever be credible for the side that wanted to recruit him to counter spy? But how much of this motivation would have come from a belief in the ideology of the other side, or an understanding that one’s own side needed to be overthrown, and that there was no hope of doing it without the intervention of the muscle of an enemy state? This presents the interesting possibility that the governments on each side in the Cold War used the tension as an excuse to surveil their own people, in the name of defending against infiltration, but actually for the sake of safeguarding their selves against their own personnel, especially when one considers the real possibility that there was sharing of technology so as to maintain a military equivalence between the sides – a state of affairs which would have been so advantageous for the public fear required in domestic rule. It would have been through the very channels set up to prevent theft of information from happening that this would have been done. That two sides spied on one another, then, would provide the plausible deniability.

The nature of four ministries that administer everything in Nineteen Eighty Four reinforces the appraisal of government by military intelligence. The Ministry of Plenty, which indicates a centrally planned economy, must actually be for devising forced scarcity if such a thing doesn’t happen as a ramification of war. The Ministry of Peace might well be dealing with a real global conflict that, again, primarily serves as a pretext for deprivation on the domestic front, and for state terrorism against its own people (a subject that is going to be dealt with in a future separate article). However, there doesn’t have to be a hot war for military intelligence to be the prime mover of government, as the Cold War demonstrates. The Ministry of Love is nominally responsible for law and order, but as there is no urgency or interest in policing the proletariat in the circumstances under which they are conditioned, this branch of government is actually concerned with purging and vaporising outer party personnel – and perhaps inner membership too. The Ministry of Love, then, is an intelligence agency for the surveillance and policing of the Party.

The Ministry of Truth, so if the pattern is discerned, is a place that concerns itself with lies, and is the one that the reader of the book will know most about because of Winston Smith’s occupation as a rewriter of history in the records department. The aspect of the Ministry of Truth crucial to an understanding of the whole system is that it controls all culture and discourse so that in the end, whatever are the results of the administration by the Ministry of Plenty and the Ministry of Peace, and to some extent even the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Truth can create an alternative reality, and it will be the truth.

And the Records Department, after all, was itself only a single branch of the Ministry of Truth, whose primary job was not to reconstruct the past but to supply the citizens of Oceania with newspapers, films, textbooks, telescreen programmes, plays, novels—with every conceivable kind of information, instruction, or entertainment, from a statue to a slogan, from a lyric poem to a biological treatise, and from a child’s spelling-book to a Newspeak dictionary. And the Ministry had not only to supply the multifarious needs of the party, but also to repeat the whole operation at a lower level for the benefit of the proletariat. There was a whole chain of separate departments dealing with proletarian literature, music, drama, and entertainment generally. Here were produced rubbishy newspapers containing almost nothing except sport, crime and astrology, sensational five-cent novelettes, films oozing with sex, and sentimental songs which were composed entirely by mechanical means on a special kind of kaleidoscope known as a versificator. There was even a whole sub-section—Pornosec, it was called in Newspeak—engaged in producing the lowest kind of pornography, which was sent out in sealed packets and which no Party member, other than those who worked on it, was permitted to look at.

In war time in the UK, propagandising media output was the task of a branch of military intelligence – Mi7. Reportedly less extensive in the Second World War than it had been in the First (where it appears to have been directly involved in domestic propaganda), Mi7 was reputedly a liaison facility between the War Office – the branch of Government responsible for the administration of the British Army – and something called the Ministry of Information (responsible for publicity and propaganda), and also something called  the Political Warfare Executive, which was an arm of the Foreign Office and involved in propaganda to be disseminated abroad. Whatever the exact relationships between offices, the fact is that the junta that ruled the UK was in charge of political programming in media, and an actual branch of military intelligence looks like it administered the whole.

People make the mistake of thinking that modern corporate-media and its diversity makes continual central control impossible, but the fact of the matter is that corporate-media isn’t in competition with each other, but complimentary so that blanket coverage across the fake political spectrum can be achieved. Then after that, of course, provocation of one group of people against another through the output of this media creates whatever situation of tension those who are planning their military strategies for dominance want to bring about. In truth, then, the media of modern Britain is the same megalithic one of Oceania, with the very same ability to create a false reality, only that it has departments distributed across various private company fronts, and is organised so that it can perform the more sophisticated tasks required of it to create the illusion of representative government.

 

† Please read the following, and other articles linked from them:

Prohibition And Covid-19; Part Four: An Historical Context; Social Engineering For Grabbing Power (link)

The First World War And The March Of Socialism (link)

 

҂ In Which We Observe H G Wells Agitating For A New World Order In 1940 (link)

 

‡ From The Independent: “UK surveillance agencies illegally kept data on British citizens’ communications, spying court finds” (link)

 

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