Wood Green "Ricin Plot" - no evidence of ricin, no UK press coverage

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The UK media has been noticably silent about the terrorist trial which apparently led to not guilty verdicts last week on the "Wood Green Ricin Plotters".

It gives one a creepy feeling when important trials are simply not reported at all.

Thanks to a correspondent for alerting us to this:

George Smith is well respected for his work in debunking the hype surrounding, computer viruses, hoaxes and spyware for Vmyths and the Crypt newsletter, and seems to have been called as an expert witness for the defence.

"UK TERROR TRIAL FINDS NO TERROR: Not guilty of conspiracy to poison London with ricin by George Smith, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, GlobalSecurity.Org

One of the last claims in Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003 blew away like dust in the wind late last week in the Old Bailey, London's central criminal court.

The trial of the infamous "UK poison cell," a group portrayed by Secretary of State Powell as al Qaida-associated operatives plotting to launch ricin attacks in the United Kingdom and in league with Muhamad al Zarqawi in Iraq, found nothing of the sort. The jury did find "the UK poison cell," known as Kamel Bourgas and others (Sidali Faddag, Samir Asli, Mouloud Bouhrama, Mustapha Taleb, Mouloud Sihali, Aissa Kalef), not guilty of conspiracy to murder by plotting ricin attacks and, generally speaking, not guilty of conspiracy to do anything. Kamel Bourgas had been previously convicted of murder of a British policeman in an unpublicized trial."

It is well worth reading the rest of this article (mirrored below).

"Months earlier and behind the scenes, the British government had seen its claims, that the group had the capability to produce ricin and that materials on a ricin recipe found in their belongings could be linked to al Qaida, rupture. And equally startling, it was confirmed that a preliminary positive finding of the poison in a residue tested in a raid on their apartment in Wood Green in January of 2003 was false but that through bureaucratic bungling, just the opposite news was presented to British authorities.

Two days after the January 5th search of the Wood Green "poison cell" flat, and well before the outbreak of war with Iraq, the chief scientist advising British anti-terrorism authorities, Martin Pearce -- leader of the Biological Weapon Identification Group at Porton Down, had finished lab tests which indicated the ricin finding was a false positive. "Subsequent confirmatory tests on the material from the pestle and mortar did not detect the presence of ricin. It is my opinion therefore that toxins are not detectable in the pestle and mortar," wrote Pearce in one document.

But in an astonishing example of sheer incompetence, another employee at Porton Down charged with passing on to British authorities the information that the preliminary finding of ricin was in error, turned around and did the opposite, informing that ricin had indeed been detected.

An example of just how stupid some of the Home Office's "catch all" anti-terrorism legislation, which was not properly scrutinised by Parliament is the section of the notoriois Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 section 114
"Hoaxes involving noxious substances or things":

"(2) A person is guilty of an offence if he communicates any information which he knows or believes to be false with the intention of inducing in a person anywhere in the world a belief that a noxious substance or other noxious thing is likely to be present (whether at the time the information is communicated or later) in any place and thereby endanger human life or create a serious risk to human health."

Which could lead to

"(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding seven years or a fine (or both)."

and , equally astonishingly, under section 115,

" (1) For the purposes of sections 113 and 114 "substance" includes any biological agent and any other natural or artificial substance (whatever its form, origin or method of production)."

which seems to cover all known and unknown natural or artifical substances in the entire universe !

Was the false report of the presence of ricin toxin a genuine mistake, or a deliberate "sexing up" of the "Al Queada threat" post the war on the Taleban in Afghanistan and before the war on Saddam Hussein in Iraq ?

At the time of Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, expert sources in this matter within the UK government surely knew that no ricin had been recovered from the Wood Green group of alleged terrorists, men included by the Secretary of State as part of the US government's rationale for going to war with Iraq. Whether Powell, the Bush administration or U.S. intelligence also knew is unknown. Whatever the case, it was another example of the United States' horrendous intelligence on weapons of mass destruction.

The Wood Green Raid

British anti-terrorist branch men swooped down on suspected terrorists in the north and east of London in September of 2002 and January of 2003. In one operations on January 5, the plant poison ricin was claimed to have been found in an apartment above a pharmacy in a place called Wood Green. The news flashed around the world.

Looking back, tension was high and TIME International wrote in a story entitled "Poisonous Plot:" "Watching the police officers come and go, some of them in protective white suits and masks, and seeing the long hours they spent in the top-floor apartment above a local pharmacy, neighbors in North London's multiracial Wood Green section knew that something big was up."

Several suspected terrorists were arrested. One at Wood Green, others connected to a raid at the Finsbury Park mosque and one, Kamel Bourgas, a week later, in Manchester. Bourgas stabbed and killed a police officer in the Manchester raid. At the apartment in Wood Green -- a "residue of ricin" was said to have been found. "A presumed al-Qaeda terror lab had been shut down."

"... [but] police feared that some of the deadly product was [gone] too. Had terrorists got away with enough of the toxin to launch a strike?" the article continued. There was much speculation and other police interviewed by the BBC weren't so sure, conceding that ricin could have been removed from the apartment prior to the raid but that this was "highly unlikely."

The alleged existence of ricin and "the UK poison cell" in January 2003 would subsequently play a part of Colin Powell's presentation as rationale for war against Iraq. In his speech to the UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, Powell purported to show how a web of terrorists including the UK cell, was interconnected with Muhamad al Zarqawi, who was said to be directing terrorist plots from the safe refuge of Iraq.

There was a theory and allegedly intelligence on the UK cell and the Wood Green ricin within the US government.

On February 12, for example, CNN reported that Colin Powell had contended the British ricin had actually come from Iraq in a story entitled "Europe skeptical of Iraq-ricin link."

"The ricin that is bouncing around Europe now originated in Iraq -- not in the part of Iraq that is under Saddam Hussein's control, but his security forces know all about it," Colin Powell was alleged to have said.

An anonymous source in the UK disagreed: "... British authorities 'are clear' that the [ricin] was 'home-made.'"

Hundreds of news articles appeared in the coming months on the Wood Green terrorists and their toxin. Perhaps some of these men had been connected with terrorists training in the Pankisi gorge. Maybe the ricin was going to be used in a subway attack.

As GlobalSecurity has learned, none of this was true. There was no ricin. And no other poisons were detected. No capability was exhibited to be in the hands of the defendants. Kamel Bourgas was convicted of a murder that was not an act of terrorism but a tragic consequence of the collision of a police raid and one bad man. All the rest were nobodies, now presumably to be free men after extended stays in an English high security prison for terrorists.

And although a scientist at Porton Down had determined that the ricin finding was in error, this news was not generally conveyed to the world. In fact, the exact opposite transpired. The story of alleged ricin discovery at Wood Green had made, and would continue to make, a very big noise.

The findings at Wood Green

GlobalSecurity.Org was appraised of the findings and materials secured at the Wood Green apartment.

These included:

A coffee grinder which was assayed for biological poisons. None were found. It did contain a bit of brown powder. The defendants apparently drank coffee.

In fact, no traces of biological or chemical weapons were detected in the apartment.

Martin Pearce, the Porton Down scientist who accompanied the anti-terrorism team on the Wood Green raid noted items of potential interest to include, toiletries, a common funnel, two scales, bottles of acetone and some rubber gloves.

Twenty-two intact castor seeds were recovered. Twenty-one were found in a jewelry case along with one other in an unspecified location within the Wood Green apartment. Castor seeds, as has been written many times, contain ricin and are easy to secure. A large number of "pips," apple seeds, were found in cups and a weighing pan. Spice was also seized, a jar of kalonji black onion seed.

However, widespread declarations in January of 2003 and continuing to the present -- official as well as unofficial -- that the Wood Green apartment was a working ricin laboratory were hasty and poorly informed.

The notes on alleged weapons of mass destruction at Wood Green
Also seized at Wood Green were notes purporting to show how to purify ricin. These notes, according to a witness statement to the raid, were written in a "foreign script," Arabic. The words "ricin," "DMSO," "H2O2" and "SODIUM FERROCYANIDE" were written in English in these notes.

Notes addressing the poison ricin were translated and contained reference to grinding 5 grams of castor seeds. A mixture of four parts acetone to one part seed was suggested to set for three days before filtering. The result could be dissolved in 20 ml of DMSO, the solvent dimethyl sulfoxide.

Other notes addressed solanine, nicotine, botulinum, cyanide and a list of common chemicals that can be used to make improvised explosives.

America "invents" the ricin recipe and prosecution claims fail to persuade

One key point to understanding why the "UK poison cell" was not a UK poison cell and why it was not connected to al Qaida can be found in the nature of the ricin recipe recovered at Wood Green.

Originally, the British prosecution claimed that between January 2002 and January 2003, Bourgas and others plotted to commit acts of terrorism. This group, charged the prosecution, planned to use poisons and explosives to cause death and mayhem in furthering an extreme Islamic cause. To do this, the prosecution would have to link its ricin recipe to al Qaida.

However, the distinguishing characteristic of the recipe for ricin, including the one cited in the terror trial, is the ratio of acetone used to wash the weight of castor seeds. It is -four to one-, a marking characteristic of its origin in American sources. Kurt Saxon, originally published it in a pamphlet called "The Weaponeer" in 1984. (Currently it can be found in Saxon's "The Poor Man's James Bond," Vol. 3," 1988.) "Put the hulled [castor] beans in a ... blender with four ounces of acetone to each ounce of beans."

The second major source for ricin recipes of this nature is Maxwell Hutchkinson's "The Poisoner's Handbook," a non-expert unscientific tome published by Loompanics in 1988. Hutchkinson's recipe for ricin is a derivative of Saxon's "method."

"Place the hulled [castor] beans in a blender with four times their weight of acetone. Pour into a covered jar and let stand for 72 hours. Then pour into another container through a coffee filter," writes Hutchkinson on page nine of his book. These instructions, like those delivered by Kurt Saxon and contrary to popular mythology, do not purify ricin. What they do is result in castor beans being reduced to a mash which is rinsed with the organic solvent acetone. Hutchkinson's foolish recipes for plant poisons in the same chapter on ricin also suggests using DMSO, dimethyl sulfoxide, to dissolve the material,

It is in this way that GlobalSecurity became aware of the trial of Bourgas and others as it proceeded. Senior Fellow George Smith, Ph.D., was consulted by an expert witness and scientist for the defense lawyers on the nature and provenance of ricin and other allegedly poisonous recipes seized for the case. Relevant materials from Saxon and Hutchkinson originals were also furnished.

It was the British prosecution's aim to link the "UK poison cell" to al Qaida by associating its ricin and poisons recipes with documents of Afghan -- read al Qaida -- origin. It cited three documents of interest: the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" seized in an information gathering raid in Manchester in 2000, notes found in English and Russian in Kabul in 2001 and notes found in Kabul, written in Arabic, also in 2001.

In a mini-trial within the trial, the prosecution's claims became unconvincing for a number of reasons. The "Manual of Afghan Jihad" was obtained in Manchester in April 2000 by British anti-terrorism agents and subsequently turned over to the FBI's Nanette Schumaker later that month and contains sections on poisons. Its ricin recipe is clearly taken from Hutchkinson and Saxon and although it is of similar nature to the recipe in the Bourgas trial, it is not identical.

In the manner of details, the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" calls for the use of lye in the treatment of castor seeds. The use of lye was subsequently dropped for many methods found in terrorist literature and it also does not appear in the Bourgas recipe. Other portions of the "Jihad" recipe straighforwardly descend from Hutchkinson, including the reference to DMSO. And still other fine details separate it from the Bourgas formulation.

A further knock on the "Manual of Afghan Jihad" as an al Qaida source comes from its apparent origin in the first jihad against the Communist occupation of Afghanistan, prior to al Qaida. The "Manual of Afghan Jihad" was the property of Nazib al Raghie, also known as Anas Al Liby to the US government. At the time the manual was taken off al Raghie in Britain, UK authorities were not interested in him. Neither, apparently, was the FBI and he was not arrested. These days, al Raghie, as Al Liby, is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

The "Manual of Afghan Jihad's" ricin recipe was fairly obviously not the same as the one presented as evidence in the trial and a representative of the defense added that its appellation as an "al Qaida manual" was and is an invention of the United States government. More to the point, it was the work of the Department of Justice because nowhere in the manual is the word "al Qaida" mentioned although one could find it entitled as such on the DoJ website copy.

The prosecution could also not link the Bourgas poisons recipes to the notes found in Kabul in 2001 in Arabic, English and Russian. The ricin recipe in the Bourgas case is not finely identical to any of them.

This was a development that contributed to the British government's failure to convince on claims as to the origins of the alleged ricin plot. Ultimately, the two base sources for ricin recipes of this nature are Saxon and Hutchkinson. And since the publication of those two in the United States in the Eighties, the recipe has been copied to other pamphlets and the Internet, some of them created by jihadists. Along the way, the ricin recipe -- and other poison purification methods associated with it -- have picked up trivial modifications. These changes do not separate the ricin recipe from its common origins in hardcopy by Saxon and Hutchkinson. But they do distinguish the subsequent recreations of it from each other. The Bourgas note on ricin falls into this category.

The UK prosecution experts from Porton Down could not grasp the import of it. They were oblivious that the methods of Saxon and Hutchkinson had migrated to the Internet and that a variety of different copies, derived from the two, had accumulated. In the end, the sources for the Bourgas notes, like the seized list of common chemicals used in explosives, were found on Yahoo, another American property.

The other poison recipes presented in the Bourgas case were equally trivial affairs, addressing solanine, nicotine and botulinum. Primarily, they were functionally descended from Hutchkinson as the original source. In addition, there were silly notes on isolating "cyanide" from "cup of apple seeds or apricots 10,000 [sic], peaches, plums or cherries" by grinding them, heating the result in lukewarm water and filtering.

The Final Tally
The "UK poison cell" defendants were on trial for six months. In the British anti-terror sweep that netted them, there were 90 arrests. Nine people were charged and none have been convicted. Kamel Bourgas was justifiably convicted of a dastardly murder of a police officer during the raid in which he was taken into custody. But that murder was not terrorism.

Bourgas has also been convicted of conspiring to cause a public nuisance.

The notes on purported poison schemes were, apparently, the creation and property of Bourgas, not others lumped in with him. And a second terror trial, planned to start after the Bourgas case, will be short-circuited according to the prosecution since there is even less evidence for it.

It is no longer a surprise when one finds that many claims from the alleged best of American government intelligence in the war on terror are bogus. It is still dismaying, though, to see intelligence derived from materials submitted in the alleged trial of the "UK poison cell" that is so patently rotten. Who was informing Colin Powell on the nonsense before his date with the UN Security Council?

There was no UK poison cell linked to al Qaida or Muhamad al Zarqawi. There was no ricin with which to poison London, only notes and 22 castor seeds. There was no one who even knew how to purify ricin.

However, the mythology on the UK poison cell will probably always be with us. In only one example of many, a United Nations investigative arm published a report in February 2005 with the claim that an al Qaida "associated" group had come close to launching a poison attack in the United Kingdom before being arrested. (Source: Milton Leitenberg, "Assessing the Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat," advance copy of a paper prepared for international conference, "Meeting the Challenges of Bioterrorism," April 22-23, 2005, Furigen, Switzerland).

The news was too terrible and repeated too often to easily replace as common wisdom. Indeed, there will be many convinced that justice was not served, that a poison plot was foiled and that convictions would have been certain if only the -right- evidence had been presented and taken seriously. They will think that the case of Bourgas and others was a defeat in the global war on terror.

Others, however, will view it as a victory, an affirmation that specious intelligence, fear, stupidity and suspicions cannot forever trample on reality."

Ricin is a deadly poison but it is not a Weapon of Mass Destruction, as it would take hundreds of kilos of it to be dispersed before a large number of people might be affected, not the minute amount that might eventually have been extracted from the 21 castor beans found by the UK authorities.

Remember also, that the alleged French ricin plot, involving Menad Benchellali, whose brother is one of the French Guantanamo Bay suspects repatriated to France, which was hyped at about the same time, just before the War on Saddam Hussein. This trial also magically evaporated for the lack of any detectable amounts of ricin.

The Benchellali family and associates seem to have been plotting attacks against Russian targets in France, as part of the conflict in Chechnya.

How either of these alleged "ricin experiments" became hyped and spun into a "Climate of Fear" weaponised "poison gas threat" to the London Underground, has not been explained.

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Coffee drinking is hazardous to your liberty from The Partially Fictitious Adventures of Ian on April 12, 2005 7:30 PM

TITLE: Coffee drinking is hazardous to your liberty URL: http://www.pure-virtual.org/ian/PermaLink.aspx?guid=df2f6864-f701-46ee-b865-f7d0b510bbb0 IP: BLOG NAME: The Partially Fictitious Adventures of Ian DATE: 04/12/2005 07:30:28 PM TITLE: Coffee drinking is hazardous to your liberty URL: http://www.pure-virtual.org/ian/PermaLink.aspx?guid=df2f6864-f701-46ee-b865-f7d0b510bbb0 IP: BLOG NAME: The Partially Fictitious Adventures of Ian DATE: 04/12/2005 07:30:28 PM Read More

Today, the mug of “toxic terrorist” Kamel Bourgass is on the front page of every national newspaper in Britain. Bourgass, most people learned today, was convicted last year murdering Detective Constable Stephen Oake during his 2003 arrest i... Read More

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Richard Allan - former Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam
Boris Johnson Conservative MP for Henley
Craig Murray - former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan, "outsourced torture" whistleblower

Howard Rheingold - SmartMobs
Global Guerrillas - John Robb
Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends

Vmyths - debunking computer security hype

Nick Leaton - Random Ramblings
The Periscope - Companion weblog to Euro-correspondent.com journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
B2fxxx - Ray Corrigan
Matt Sellers
Grits for Breakfast - Scott Henson in Texas
The Green Ribbon - Tom Griffin
Guido Fawkes blog - Parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy.
The Last Ditch - Tom Paine
The (e)State of Tim - Tim Hicks
Ilkley Against CCTV
Tim Worstall
Bill's Comment Page - Bill Cameron
The Society of Qualified Archivists
The Streeb-Greebling Diaries - Bob Mottram

Your Right To Know - Heather Brooke - Freedom off Information campaigning journalist

Ministry of Truth _ Unity's V for Vendetta styled blog.

Bloggerheads - Tim Ireland

W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
EUrophobia - Nosemonkey

Blogzilla - Ian Brown

BlairWatch - Chronicling the demise of the New Labour Project

dreamfish - Robert Longstaff

Informaticopia - Rod Ward


The Musings of Harry

Chicken Yoghurt - Justin McKeating

The Red Tape Chronicles - Bob Sullivan MSNBC

Campaign Against the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Stop the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Rob Wilton's esoterica

panGloss - Innovation, Technology and the Law

Arch Rights - Action on Rights for Children blog

Database Masterclass - frequently asked questions and answers about the several centralised national databases of children in the UK.


Moving On

Steve Moxon blog - former Home Office whistleblower and author.

Al-Muhajabah's Sundries - anglophile blog

Architectures of Control in Design - Dan Lockton

rabenhorst - Kai Billen (mostly in German)

Nearly Perfect Privacy - Tiffany and Morpheus

Iain Dale's Diary - a popular Conservative political blog

Brit Watch - Public Surveillance in the UK - Web - Email - Databases - CCTV - Telephony - RFID - Banking - DNA


MySecured.com - smart mobile phone forensics, information security, computer security and digital forensics by a couple of Australian researchers

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

UK Liberty - A blog on issues relating to liberty in the UK

Big Brother State - "a small act of resistance" to the "sustained and systematic attack on our personal freedom, privacy and legal system"

HosReport - "Crisis. Conspiraciones. Enigmas. Conflictos. Espionaje." - Carlos Eduardo Hos (in Spanish)

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

Corruption-free Anguilla - Good Governance and Corruption in Public Office Issues in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla in the West Indies - Don Mitchell CBE QC

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

PJC Journal - I am not a number, I am a free Man - The Prisoner

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

The Caucus House - blog of the Chicago International Model United Nations

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

The 4th Bomb: Tavistock Sq Daniel's 7:7 Revelations - Daniel Obachike

OurKingdom - part of OpenDemocracy - " will discuss Britain’s nations, institutions, constitution, administration, liberties, justice, peoples and media and their principles, identity and character"

Beau Bo D'Or blog by an increasingly famous digital political cartoonist.

Between Both Worlds - "Thoughts & Ideas that Reflect the Concerns of Our Conscious Evolution" - Kingsley Dennis

Bloggerheads: The Alisher Usmanov Affair - the rich Uzbek businessman and his shyster lawyers Schillings really made a huge counterproductive error in trying to censor the blogs of Tim Ireland, of all people.

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

Henry Porter on Liberty - a leading mainstream media commentator and opinion former who is doing more than most to help preserve our freedom and liberty.

HMRC is shite - "dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of the HMRC, who have to endure the monumental shambles that is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)."

Head of Legal - Carl Gardner a former legal advisor to the Government

The Landed Underclass - Voice of the Banana Republic of Great Britain

Henrik Alexandersson - Swedish blogger threatened with censorship by the Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishement, their equivalent of the UK GCHQ or the US NSA.

World's First Fascist Democracy - blog with link to a Google map - "This map is an attempt to take a UK wide, geographical view, of both the public and the personal effect of State sponsored fear and distrust as seen through the twisted technological lens of petty officials and would be bureaucrats nationwide."

Blogoir - Charles Crawford - former UK Ambassodor to Poland etc.

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

Lords of the Blog - group blog by half a dozen or so Peers sitting in the House of Lords.

notes from the ubiquitous surveillance society - blog by Dr. David Murakami Wood, editor of the online academic journal Surveillance and Society

Justin Wylie's political blog

Panopticon blog - by Timothy Pitt-Payne and Anya Proops. Timothy Pitt-Payne is probably the leading legal expert on the UK's Freedom of Information Act law, often appearing on behlaf of the Information Commissioner's Office at the Information Tribunal.

Armed and Dangerous - Sex, software, politics, and firearms. Life’s simple pleasures… - by Open Source Software advocate Eric S. Raymond.

Georgetown Security Law Brief - group blog by the Georgetown Law Center on National Security and the Law , at Georgtown University, Washington D.C, USA.

Big Brother Watch - well connected with the mainstream media, this is a campaign blog by the TaxPayersAlliance, which thankfully does not seem to have spawned Yet Another Campaign Organisation as many Civil Liberties groups had feared.

Spy on Moseley - "Sparkbrook, Springfield, Washwood Heath and Bordesley Green. An MI5 Intelligence-gathering operation to spy on Muslim communities in Birmingham is taking liberties in every sense" - about 150 ANPR CCTV cameras funded by Home Office via the secretive Terrorism and Allied Matters (TAM) section of ACPO.

FitWatch blog - keeps an eye on the activities of some of the controversial Police Forward Intelligence Teams, who supposedly only target "known troublemakers" for photo and video surveillance, at otherwise legal, peaceful protests and demonstrations.

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

Fuel Crisis Blog - Petrol over £1 per litre ! Protest !
Mayor of London Blog
London Olympics 2012 - NO !!!!

Cool Britannia


Free Gary McKinnon - UK citizen facing extradition to the USA for "hacking" over 90 US Military computer systems.

Parliament Protest - information and discussion on peaceful resistance to the arbitrary curtailment of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, in the excessive Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 Designated Area around Parliament Square in London.

Brian Burnell's British / US nuclear weapons history at http://nuclear-weapons.info

RIPA Consultations

RIPA Part III consultation blog - Government access to Encrypted Information and Encryption Keys.

RIPA Part I Chapter II consultation blog - Government access and disclosure of Communications Traffic Data

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Please bear in mind the many recent, serious security vulnerabilities which have compromised the Twitter infrastructure and many user accounts, and Twitter's inevitable plans to make money out of you somehow, probably by selling your Communications Traffic Data to commercial and government interests.


Monthly Archives

November 2010

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UK Legislation

The United Kingdom suffers from tens of thousands of pages of complicated criminal laws, and thousands of new, often unenforceable criminal offences, which have been created as a "Pretend to be Seen to Be Doing Something" response to tabloid media hype and hysteria, and political social engineering dogmas. These overbroad, catch-all laws, which remove the scope for any judicial appeals process, have been rubber stamped, often without being read, let alone properly understood, by Members of Parliament.

The text of many of these Acts of Parliament are now online, but it is still too difficult for most people, including the police and criminal justice system, to work out the cumulative effect of all the amendments, even for the most serious offences involving national security or terrorism or serious crime.

Many MPs do not seem to bother to even to actually read the details of the legislation which they vote to inflict on us.

UK Legislation Links

UK Statute Law Database - is the official revised edition of the primary legislation of the United Kingdom made available online, but it is not yet up to date.

UK Commissioners

UK Commissioners some of whom are meant to protect your privacy and investigate abuses by the bureaucrats.

UK Intelligence Agencies

Intelligence.gov.uk - Cabinet Office hosted portal website to various UK Intelligence Agencies and UK Government intelligence committees and Commissioners etc.

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protestClimate of Fear propaganda posters

MI5 Security Service
MI5 Security Service - links to encrypted reporting form removed in protest at the Climate of Fear propaganda posters

syf_logo_120.gif Secure Your Ferliliser logo
Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

cpni_logo_150.gif Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure - "CPNI provides expert advice to the critical national infrastructure on physical, personnel and information security, to protect against terrorism and other threats."

SIS MI6 careers_logo_sis.gif
Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

Serious Organised Crime Agency - have cut themselves off from direct contact with the public and businesses - no phone - no email

Defence Advisory (DA) Notice system - voluntary self censorship by the established UK press and broadcast media regarding defence and intelligence topics via the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee.

netcu_logo_150.gif National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit - keeps a watch on animal extremists, genetically modified crop protesters, peace protesters etc.
(some people think that the word salad of acronyms means that NETCU is a spoof website)

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us - UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond
Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution - Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


Cracking the Black Box - "aims to expose technology that is being used in inappropriate ways. We hope to bring together the insights of experts and whistleblowers to shine a light into the dark recesses of systems that are responsible for causing many of the privacy problems faced by millions of people."


Open Rights Group - Petition against the renewal of the Interception Modernisation Programme