U.K. blamed Facebook to cover up the incompetence of its own intelligence services

Seumas Milne writes: It takes some mastery of spin to turn the litany of intelligence failures over last year’s butchery of the off-duty soldier Lee Rigby into a campaign against Facebook. But that’s exactly how David Cameron’s government and a pliant media have disposed of the report by Westminster’s committee of intelligence trusties.

You might have expected Whitehall’s security machine to be in the frame for its spectacular incompetence in spying on the two killers: from filling out surveillance applications wrongly and losing one suspect’s house number, to closing down the surveillance of another – just as the pair were preparing the Woolwich attack.

Centre stage might have been the admission that British intelligence could have been “complicit” in Michael Adebolajo’s torture in Kenya, and tried to cover that up. There is evidence that MI5’s attempts to recruit the Muslim convert on his return to Britain played a part in triggering the killing – though the trusties thought better than to inquire too closely into the matter.

Instead it was the US internet giant, Britain’s prime minister insisted, that was really to blame. Facebook had “blood on their hands”, the Sun declared, as the Daily Mail denounced the Mark Zuckerberg corporation’s “twisted libertarian ideology”.

It’s nonsense, of course, but it gets the authorities off the hook. [Continue reading…]

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