Is this really how Special Branch are gathering "intelligence" on terrorist suspects ?

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Questions need to be asked, by senior anti-terrorist experts, about the training and competence of the Special Branch officers at our airports. UPDATE: (See the Press Release from Bedfordshire Police below)

This account of his questioning by "Special Branch", at Luton Airport, by Riz Ahmed one of the actors detained on his return from the Berlin Film Festival, where he was promoting a film where he portrayed one of the "Tipton Three", British former Guantanamo Bay detainees, is worrying..

"Guantanamo Film Stars Detained in Luton"

Is this really the way in which "intelligence led" anti-terrorism policing is being conducted at Luton Airport, one of the major airports in the UK ?

Was this questioning even legal, given that none of the lawyers on the other end of the mobile phone, including specialist human rights lawyers with plenty of terrorism suspect case experience, could recognise the supposed powers under which the actor was held and questioned ?

She gave me a blank copy of a “Section 7 of the Terrorism Act Detention Form” to explain why I couldn’t contact anyone. The form stated that someone detained under its powers can be prevented from contacting anyone, including legal advisors, for up to 48 hours, by a superintendent officer. I asked her whether she was a superintendent. Her reply was that I was not in fact being held under the powers outlined in this form. I was only being denied legal advice for the first hour of questioning, rather than 48hours.

What, apart from creating resentment against the police, has this incompetent stop, search and questioning actually achieved in makng us safe from terrorists ?

via Talk Politics

UPDATE: The Bedfordshire Police have issued a Press Release on their website, regarding this affair, which , astonishingly repeatedly quotes the legislation as the "Prevention of Terrorism Act" !

"Bedfordshire Police can confirm that four people were stopped and spoken to on arrival at London Luton Airport on February 16, 2006, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act."


"This was done under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which is legislation regularly used by police officers working at London Luton Airport."


"Gathering intelligence and information under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other legislation ensures we remain vigilant when it comes to preventing and detecting crime as well as providing reassurance to those people entering into and living in Bedfordshire and the UK"

Why are they not aware that the Terrorism Act 2000 Schedule 16 Repeals actually repealed the "Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act 1989". and the "Prevention of Terrorism (Additional Powers) Act 1996." and all the other "Prevention of Terrorism Acts" from 1974, which were renewed every 6 months have lapsed, having been replaced by the Terrorism Act 2000.

The Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 made some amendments to the Terrorism Act 2000 with regard to passenger information.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 deals with Control Orders, and not with stops and searches at airports.

The need for immediate re-training at all levels of the Bedforshire Police is therefore now self-evident.


What is so difficult about reporting the correct piece of anti-terrorism legislation ?

The BBC story about an arrest and raid on premises in South Wales also uses the obviously incorrect "Prevention of Terrorism Act"

If anybody is arrested or questioned for suspected terrorist related activity under the Prevention of Terrorim Act 2005, then the massively expensive surveillance of the 9 or so people currently under Coontrol Orders will have failed, and the Home Secretary Charles Clarke must resign.

The BBC have now corrected their South Wales terrorism investigation story approrpriately, after we had pointed out their factual error via their online feeback webform:

Thank you very much for your email concerning the arrest in Swansea

We checked again with South Wales Police, who said at the time in their
statement to all the media that the arrest was under the Prevention of
Terrorism Act.

They have clarified the position for us and now say it was under the
Terrorism Act 2000.

We have changed our story as a result

Thanks again for pointing this out



NewsOnline Wales

BBC Wales
Llantrisant Road,
Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2YQ

Is it just a coicidence that both the Bedfordshire Police and the South Wales Police forces, or at least their public relations spokesmen, are uttierly confused by the anti-terrorism legislation ?

What if they actually do find a real terrorist suspect and he gets aquitted because they have failed to use the correct legislation ?

How widespread is this problem ?

If you see the words "Prevention of Terrorism Act" in a news story or police press release, in relation to some suspected terrorist activity, then, if that were to be true, it would be time for Home Secretary Charles Clarke to resign, due to the utter failure of his repressive, intrusive and expensive Control Orders policy.

Regarding the UK: What type of person makes policing their life's work? The sort of person that identifies with authority and can blindly follow regulations, but with an underlying streak of lawlessness. Take the schoolyard bully: Not exactly "A-level", university material, so gets off on putting the fear of God into the other kids. Inevitably seen with a handpicked gang of like-minded henchmen.
The police send their recruiting team around shortly before the Sixth Form are kicked out onto the street, and young "Flashman" is an absolute shoe-in for the force. Qualifications (or lack thereof)? No worries, son. Two "O-levels" and a budgerigar and you're in. Face it, nobody can spell these days.
Remember, the police (unlike the military) have no officer corps. So your average solid bone-between-the-ears plod is very gradually promoted to the level of his own incompetence. By which time he's worked out a few techniques to disseminate blame, as well as a few scams to supplement income.
Of course there is a university-educated, fast track elite, but they are the exception. Care to comment Sir Ian. With Tony Blair’s Police State UK well on track, and the Prevention of Terrorism Act providing justification, it’s no surprise the worst elements in the police force are getting off on harassing demonstrators and generally pushing their weight about. But lacking the brain to be pro-active; simply reacting to events. Even the most right-wing governments must realise that it’s asking for trouble to ban or severely restrict peaceful protest. Because without a legal avenue to express dissent, violence becomes the only remaining channel for the most extreme elements. Ban marches and the bombing starts. Nice, neutral Buddhist country, anyone?

Dear Sir/Madam,

On 6th April 2006 Thursday night I have arrived in Heathrow Terminal 2 from Munich on Lufthansa flight LH 4764.

It was around 8.30 PM I was in immigration hall of the Terminal 2. When I reached the immigration officer’s desk, someone from the back moved to the desk and stand behind the officer. During the interview with the immigration officer, he first looked at the landing card and asked me how I am going to get Glasgow. As soon as the officer stamped my passport, he picked it up with the landing card and called me behind the desk. The entry stamp reads “Immigration Officer (2216) 6 April 2006 Heathrow (2)”.

He said he is from Special Branch Police officer and had plain clothes and was alone. He asked me where I was coming from, how long I stayed in Turkey, what was the purpose of my visit, what I am doing in Glasgow etc. I reminded him the fact that I have been stopped and questioned by Special Branch countless times and it has always been very unpleasant. He did not seem to take notice of what I said. He asked me first when the last time I have been stopped was and he said, “I am going to do some checks on you and will come back in 10 minutes time wait here!” He took my new Turkish passport with only one entry stamp in it.

I waited about 20 minutes standing position, there was no chair to sit and my prayer time was running late. He came back 20 minutes later and looked very agitated.

He asked me series of questions. As far as I remember:

1- You have travelled extensively, where do you find money for that?

2- Why did you go to New Zealand? How did you afford to buy the ticket?

3- What do you do for living?

4- What political party do you support?

5- Why do you keep beard? Why don’t you have more civilized look?

6- Are you a member of Al-Qaida? Do you involve, instigate and prepare any terrorist activities?

7- You have a British Passport. Why do not you use it?

First of all, I was very surprised how he got all the information about me as I do not have any criminal record. The passport he got had only one entry stamp endorsed 20 minutes earlier in his presence and all the pages are blank. It looks like Police is holding a file about me and I do not know any legal basis for that. I told him I do not involve any terrorist activities. I work in Glasgow and my wife works in Singapore and often she buys my tickets to SE Asia. I said I am not willing to discuss my political views and religious beliefs and family affairs here.

He got very angry and he asked “do you realize that you are in Airport?” I replied “yes”. He said; “in here, you cannot refuse to answer any questions, otherwise I will detain you and fuck you!” He continued, “The evidence and information we have about you is enough to keep you in Guantanamo Bay for a long time if the Americans knew that!” I said, “I thought my rights covered by Human Rights Act specially Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life, Article 9 – Freedom of thought, conscience and religion and Article 10 – Freedom of expression.” His reply was “look, there is no Human Rights Law in here; your arse belongs to me!” He continued, “You must answer all the questions!”

He did not explain whether detention is a part of the questioning process or a way of punishment without jury and trial because I find the questions inappropriate, unlawful and intrusive.

I asked him how many passengers travel to New Zealand on daily basis from the UK and how many of them he personally asks how he/she can afford to buy ticket on daily basis. He did not answer. I asked him if the flights to NZ for only members of the “politburo” of the Blair government, he did not answer this question either.

In the end, he gave my passport back and said “you may go now!” I asked his name, he declined to answer. It was about 8.55 PM. I went to luggage hall, picked up my bags and continued my journey. Unfortunately I missed my prayer time by 15 minutes. He was about 6 feet tall and in his 40s.

Can you publish this story and give me some advice?

Yours sincerely

Mr. Sahin Lim

@ Sahin - what an inept way of supposedly securing our borders !

There was no need to be rude to you, even when asking stupid questions, which, if you had actually been a terrorist, might have tipped you off to some "intelligence" being held on your secret police file.

Unfortunately it will be a case of your word against the policeman's.

You might benefit from some advice from the Independent Police Complaints Commission, who may be able to gain access to CCTV video and possibly audio recordings, which you will not. However any IPCC investigation could take several months or years.

You might also wish to send a statement for informal consideration by Lord Carlile of Berriew Q.C., the Independent Reviewer of the Terrorism legislation in the UK, who is interested in the real life expereiences of members of the public, and not just official reports from the authorities. He will be given access to secret intelligence information , which may be witheld from the IPCC.

See "Send your views on the UK Terrorism laws to Lord Carlile of Berriew"

There are some token mechanisms to complain about the secret intelligence watchlist which you appear to be on.

This could be because you lead a "suspicious" lifestyle, or through "guilt by association", or it could easily be confusion with someone with a similar name.

You could try a complaint to the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal
PO Box 33220
London SW1H 9ZQ
Tel: 0207 035 3711

Note, however, that the Tribunal does not appear to have ever upheld any complaints against the authorities, possibly because it is hardly known by the public.

Let us know the results of any responses you get , if you do complain.

Use our PGP public encryption key if you want to email us stuff which should remain private from snoopers.







@ TIMOTHY - It does not appear that the RAF Police come under the auspices of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which most other Police forces do. Nevertheless, they might be able to advise you better than us, especially as complaints against the Cambridgeshire Police are part of their remit.

They also have details on their website about detention under the Mental Health Act.

If you have some evidence, rather than just a feeling, that you have been under "24 hour Police Surveillance", then you can take this up with the Office of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner

Timothy, are you off your head or what?

The RAF would not do that unless you broke the rules for something, seems very fishy to me!

I would watch you accusations they could land you in worse trouble!

Tim get yourself a new keyboard you donut..

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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.

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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_150.gif - 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_150.jpg - 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 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