UK spies were terrified that the willing cooperation of telcos would get out; understood they were breaking the law


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I’ve stopped being surprised at these revelations. Does that mean they’ve won?

Upon reflection, no. They’ve only won when we stop getting angry.

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I like how you can replace UK with US and GCHQ with NSA in every single sentence, and it’s the same thing over in the US.


Not exactly. I doubt anybody at NSA was the least bit surprised at Verizon’s eager willingness to fling wide the gates of totalitarianism. Is that a weird metaphor, or does it work?

Ima start calling this ‘gate-gate’.

Or perhaps after the infamous and frustrating Buddhist concept; ‘no-gate’ or ‘gateless-gate’.

Watergate pales in comparison to this ‘mightly-and-insufferably-difficult-to pin-down-gate’.

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Were the telcos as a whole keen to cooperate? I suspect it was only a few senior executives hoping for a place in the New Year’s Honour’s list for being “patriotic” ™, and a few of the rank and file who were trusted with the cloak-and-dagger stuff, and perhaps saw it as their way to a senior post.

I am not sure there is an easy way to stop the cosy negotiations in gentlemen’s clubs that lead to this sort of thing, but were Her Majesty to award Edward Snowden a knighthood, it might balance the scales for the whistleblowers a bit. Just sayin’…

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In the photo, is that a nail in the shoe, by the mouthpiece?

You’ve never watched an episode of Get Smart, eh?

What looks like a nail is actually the disk-shaped microphone, which also acts as a cover for the rotary dial. There’s a clearer, better-angled photo here. Bonus: it also features the lovely Barbara Feldon, who played Agent 99. Her shoe phone was touch-tone, Max’s was old-school.

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I really wish the Stargate from the TV series was real so that when it was finally revealed to exist, the media would call the story Stargate-gate.

Can’t be knighted, he’s not a subject of the queen.

Can so too. The honours system recognises service to the state and crown, and some of the more modern honours have political and geographical restrictions to the State, the Commonwealth, the Empire, and so forth, but knighthoods are too ancient for that sort of thing.

Okay, I am on shaky ground as the Monarch may have technical rights that are not exercised, and may not work any longer. She may dissolve parliament, but she is unlikely to get away with it unless they have been really, really unconstitutional and naughty. But she could probably make someone a knight wherever they were, and if they accepted, then a knight they would be for most of us. You could try telling the Lady in the Shiny Hat that she can’t do that. She can’t order beheadings either, but no point in pushing your luck, and some of her knights still carry spiky stuff.

Ain’t gonna happen anyhow, but one can dream…

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Must be some sort of gong we can dole out to Johny Foreigner though, what?

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Oh thanks. It looked so sharp and dangerous in the first pic.

According to

Foreign citizens occasionally receive honorary knighthoods; they are
not dubbed, and they do not use the style ‘Sir’.

‘Dubbing’ is being tapped on the shoulder by the Queen’s sword. So I guess they get a certificate, or something?

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A gift certificate from Wimpy’s?

/Quorn burger, anyone?

Wonder how it works for us Commonwealth folks - still ‘subjects’, so probably able to get a knighthood.

Non-Brits can get knighted, sort of. They just get called KBE, but can’t style themselves Sir.

Bob Geldof has one, for example.

Yes, I think so. Those Australian paragons dignified by a knighthood Sir Les Patterson and Dame Edna Everage come to mind.

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If we had another scandal involving the Watergate hotel, would it now be called Watergate-gate?

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