A leaked Scotland Yard report disclosed in The Indepedent documents the near-total corruption of the British government and justice system by organised criminals. The report documents "Operation Tiberius," which dates to 2003, and contains a series of explosive allegations about corruption, including the sale of £50,000 "get out of jail free cards," the buying off of juries, and the "at will" infiltration of Scotland Yard by gangs.

The report quotes a Senior Investigating Officer who said, "I feel that at the current time I cannot carry out an ethical murder investigation without the fear of it being compromised." It claims that a Metropolitan Police detective's son was employed as a torturer for one gang, and that the detective impeded any investigations into the gang his son worked for and the crimes he committed.

There's no reason to suspect that the crimes documented in Tiberius stopped there, nor that they couldn't take place today. And yet today, the political establishment sees nothing wrong with total surveillance of every person in the country, from ubiquitous CCTVs to illegal harvesting of Internet data and mobile phone logs.

The thing that corruption stories -- even astounding ones like this -- teach us is that our systems need to account for the possibility that the authorities are corrupt, or sloppy, or duped. Creating laws that give police and magistrates the power to declare anything anyone does illegal, storing massive DNA databases, allowing for secret courts and warrantless surveillance, creating unaccountable systems of censorship, and letting spies run wild are all examples of systems designed on the presumption that the establishment is both uncorrupted and perpetually uncorrectable.

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