BBC Scotland and the Staff Political Vetting Scandal and they said there was no anti – Scot bias – Dream On

 

 

 

 

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August 2018: BBC Scotland – counter subversion vetting of staff

Unionist politicians of the Labour Tory and Lib/Dem party’s cast scorn on anyone raising the spectre of state control of the BBC in Scotland but finally the evidence is in the public domain.

It is a tale of secret agents and surveillance that could have come straight out the BBC Scotland’s classic spy drama “Whisky Galore”. But the difference is that genuine spies are involved and they are operating behind the scenes at BBC Scotland.

Confidential papers, obtained and released by the whistle-blower “Jock Tamson” reveal that BBC Scotland allowed MI5 to investigate the backgrounds and political affiliations of around 400 of its employees, including newsreaders, reporters, continuity announcers, television producers, directors, sound engineers, secretaries and researchers.

The files, shed light on the BBC Scotland’s hitherto secret links with the Security Service and show that it is responsible for vetting 450 different BBC Scotland posts.

They also confirm that the corporation in Scotland holds a list of “subversive organizations” and that evidence of certain kinds of political activity are a bar to appointment or promotion.

BBC Scotland’s reliance on MI5 reached a peak between 2010 and 2018 just when the “Outlander” series, was denied to the Scottish viewing public, at the time of the 2014 “Independence Referendum” by arrangement with the Tory government and the Sony corporation.

The papers show that senior BBC Scotland figures covered up these links in the face of awkward questions from trade unions and the press. The documents refer to a “defensive strategy” based on “categorical denial”. One file note, dated 1 March 2013, states: “Keep head down and stonewall all questions.”

BBC Scotland, has always refused to be drawn on the extent of its collaboration with the secret services. It is only now, after the information was gathered and distributed by “Jock Tamson” that it has finally been willing to release details of the vetting operation.

Another internal BBC Scotland document, dated 2011, confirmed: “We supply personal details to the Security Service. If there is any adverse information known, we receive this information also, where necessary, an assessment based upon the involvement of the individual. This is presented to us as advice; line management then make the decision as to action.”

The documents do not name any of the individuals subjected to vetting, but it is accepted that many of BBC Scotland’s best known news presenters and other high profile figures are included.

Many employees, including senior officials, and their support staff have been checked because of their access to confidential government information in relation to their jobs as have those involved in live broadcasts since BBC Scotland is worried about the possibility of on-air favoritism of the SNP or other bias damaging to the Westminster state.

The details of freelance television and radio staff are also routinely passed on to the security services and even the posts of editor and deputy editor of Radio Scotland are subject to background checks by MI5.

In many cases, the spouses of applicants are also subject to scrutiny. Positively vetted (PV) staff have the “union Jack” are tattooed inside their bottom lip for identification purposes, resulting in some news readers and presenters delivering their speil from the side of their mouth. A dead giveaway.    BBC Scotland declined to-comment.

 

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The foregoing was “fake news” or was it ???? The article reprinted in full was published in the Telegraph

 

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2 July 2006: Revealed: how the BBC used MI5 to vet thousands of staff

It is a tale of secret agents and surveillance that could have come straight out the BBC’s classic spy drama Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

But the difference is that genuine spies were involved and they were operating behind the scenes at Broadcasting House rather than on the small screen.

Confidential papers, obtained by The Sunday Telegraph, have revealed that the BBC allowed MI5 to investigate the backgrounds and political affiliations of -thousands of its employees, including newsreaders, reporters and continuity announcers.

The files, which shed light on the BBC’s hitherto secret links with the Security Service, show that at one stage it was responsible for vetting 6,300 different BBC posts – almost a third of the total workforce.

They also confirm that the corporation held a list of “subversive organizations” and that evidence of certain kinds of political activity could be a bar to appointment or promotion.

The BBC’s reliance on MI5 reached a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s at exactly the same time as millions of viewers were tuning into the fictional adventures of George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and -Smiley’s People.

David Dimbleby, John Humphrys and Anna Ford all began their careers with the broadcaster when the system was still in place.

The papers show that senior BBC figures covered up these links in the face of awkward questions from trade unions and the press. The documents refer to a “defensive strategy” based on “categorical denial”. One file note, dated March 1 1985, states: “Keep head down and stonewall all questions.”

The BBC, however, has always refused to be drawn on the extent of its collaboration with the secret services.

It is only now, after a request by this newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act, that it has finally been willing to release details of the vetting operation.

Another internal BBC document, dated 1983, confirms: “We supply personal details to the Security Service. If there is any adverse information known, we receive this information and also, where necessary, an assessment based upon the involvement of the individual. This is presented to us as advice; line management then make the decision as to action.”

The documents do not name any of the individuals subjected to vetting, but it is possible that some of the BBC’s biggest names were scrutinized.

Different posts were vetted for different reasons. Senior officials, including the director-general, and their support staff were checked because they had access to confidential government information in relation to their jobs. But thousands of employees were vetted because they were involved in live broadcasts and the BBC was worried about the possibility of on-air bias or disruption.

In 1983, 5,728 BBC jobs were subjected to this second kind of scrutiny known as “counter-subversion vetting”.

The vetting system, which was phased out in the late 1980s, also applied to dozens of other employees, including television producers, directors, sound engineers, secretaries and researchers.

The details of freelance television and radio staff were also routinely passed on to the security services and even the posts of editor and deputy editor of Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour were subject to background checks by MI5. In many cases, the spouses of applicants were also subjected to scrutiny.

The BBC tried on several occasions to be more open about the system, but was blocked by the Security Service. A memo, dated March 7 1985, states: “Secrecy of the complete vetting operation is imposed upon us by the Security Service – it is not of our making.”

For their part, the security services were increasingly concerned about the number of people being referred to them by the BBC. During the first four months of 1983, they were asked to investigate 619 different individuals.

In the early 1980s, the BBC had a list of “major subversive organizations”, which included the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party, the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, Militant Tendency, the National Front and the British National Party.

In contrast, CND, which was very popular at the time, was not regarded as a “subversive organization”. Youthful attachments to extreme causes did not necessarily mean an automatic ban on employment.

The papers show that, in 1968, Sir Hugh Greene, the BBC’s then director-general, and John Arkell, the head of administration, successfully evaded questions on the issue during an interview with a journalist.

A memo from Mr Arkell, dated March 1 1968, to another senior colleague states: “You might like to get a bit of credit for the BBC next time you talk to MI5 by telling them that I stuck resolutely to the brief which you prepared for me in spite of very pointed and penetrating questions. “I still denied that we had any vetting procedures.” The BBC declined to -comment.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1522875/Revealed-how-the-BBC-used-MI5-to-vet-thousands-of-staff.html

 

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7 thoughts on “BBC Scotland and the Staff Political Vetting Scandal and they said there was no anti – Scot bias – Dream On”

      1. Alert , alert, alert. Paranoia: applicable only when fears or suspicions are exaggerated and not based on fact. Subjecting employees to investigation by the secret services and controlling their careers in BBC Scotland is a suspicion based on fact. As proved by the second article.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “The BBC’s reliance on MI5 reached a peak in the late 1970s and early 1980s at exactly the same time as millions of viewers were tuning into the fictional adventures of George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and -Smiley’s People.”

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    1. Hiya Geacher (@samspoons)
      With whom do you spoon? 😉

      #Benj and #geacher: I actually went through this vetting process in 1976 after finishing up at Glasgow.

      Had lunch with some compadres then on staff in the Beeb QM canteen after a delightful wee blether with a very polite chappie at the famous wee room upon those premises – had not a notion as to what the devil was going on having been previously ‘feted’ in my application as a bright wee thingymajig who had even been permitted to ask Sir Alex Douglas Hume a question on air on an edition of a pre-rampant BritNat courant early QT at QM Drive by the bold Davie Dimbelby himself (the spelling of his surname continues to defy me though I continue to admire the work of his father and, to some extent, his brother).

      Over lunch, a nod and a wink with then serving BBC friends as to the outcome of the day’s process being self-evident, we quietly adjourned to the BBC Club across the road to quaff and blether in a most hospitable atmosphere with nods and winks, it seemed to me, proferred silently with a quiet pint paid for me by an unknown member of the gathered congregation dedicated to a dream, a dram, freedom of thought, all-round liberty, but with the understandable caveat of self-survival options non-negotiable. We are all human. And many have left or been culled or died, but, perhaps, a remnant few still occupy what are regarded by the British Nationalist establishment as irrelevant insterstices and, soon, to be brought out of hiding when the BBC, as it stands and continues to comport itself, is dismantled in a re-independent Scotland and they, the propagandist tools, are at least allowed to fcuk off with some measure of tolerance into the void created by their naked opportunism/unspoken sympathies ‘ye ken hoo it was, mon?’ shimmies. Doubt many of them will be honest to god Maquis who walk out of the PQ Bunker with their hands up. Still, Scots justice compliant with UN/European courts/international courts should, I believe, be rigorous in the exercise of not only justice, but reconciliation sounds to be in tune, at least for me, given I want no part of a mutant Britannia perspective infecting our Scots democratic project and constitution incoming and updated from the Declaration of Arbroath, the pre-dating Declaration of the Clergy (another revolutionary Scottish democratic document), plus other documents produced by sundry other sovereign Scots citizens produced over the generations since then.

      Halcyon days? Nope. But , perhaps, more superficially gentle when the dirk was being subtly rendered by an AngloBritNat chibperson of his or her JockBrit/NI proxy status compared to the outright thuggishness yaboo-ya of today (at least on air if not in the printed scandal sheets broadsheeted or tabloid tits variations): One faints from this faux chivalry? Not at all. One embraces and counter-punches the post-Thatcherite-Blairite bootboy theology of the AngloBritNat state’s imperialist orthodoxy? Not at all unless using their momentum to defeat them in the fog of their paranoia gusting like a heavy glaur or haar all over their rampaging half-fcuk witted, random striking out (and they seem to be very closely approximately being gubbed in this self-mutilating respect).

      Does “the leopard change its spots”? Wot’s with this AngloBritNat mob of cheetahs cross-hybridized with neo- fascists? Still running after after all these years and now peching severely? Nope, again. And, no, they won’t because they can’t despite the fancy dan attempt at camouflage and jiggling with the basic constitutional elements of the Union Treaty foisted upon the Scots by co-opted, Queen Anne, stacked against the Jocks and voomed voomed by her intra/inter Commissioners in separate negotiation rooms from the get go: Unintended consequences still reverberating post massing of English troops on the Border as muscle back-up during ‘negotiations’? Jock’ troops moved 10 years ago into Engerlund ‘ just in case?

      Scottish troops confined to barracks by EWA troops and their tame auxiliaries post WW1? On the record despite attempts to bury this info (plus tons more – British marines sent into the Islands, for example?).

      Contemporaneously, Scots well fcuked unless for the Scottish government @ScotGov.

      Like

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