The Press reports that the SIS has released files on individuals whom they no longer monitor. They should be commended for such openness – this seems an initiative of new Director Warren Tucker who is well regarded.
Obviously various current or former Marxists, communists and Maoists are upset about the fact their files reveal the SIS were monitoring them.
But the reality is the world today is very different to the 1970s and 1980s. The western world was, to be blunt, engaged in a massive struggle with the Soviet Union for global control. They communist states were enemies of freedom and the West, and posed a huge threat to our way of life.
And these people who were monitored were active in groups that were on the side of the communist totalitarian states, not our side. They won’t put it like that, but that was the reality. They never ever condemned the communist states – in fact they did friendship visits there and extolled how good they are.
Luckily the Soviet empire collapsed in 1990. We now have the wonderful luxury of having mainly put that threat between us. Today a communist is just a hardline economic socialist. The only threat they pose is to good economic policy, and that is not a matter of national security. It is appropriate the SIS no longer regards people active in communist groups as people who should be monitored.
But again it was different before the collapse of the Soviet Union. It wasn’t just about disagreeing on economic policy.
Now this is not to give carte blanch to everything the SIS did. Some of the revelations don’t put them in a good light and they themselves today probably don’t defend certain things. Again it is to their credit they they are releasing it. But just to make the case that the context in the 70s and 80s was vastly different to today. Unless you lived through it, you can’t no how much the world changed after that glorious summer where totalitarian communist states fell one after another until they were almost all gone.