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A couple of paragraphs from Mi5 Director General Jonathan Evans' speech seem to contradict each other:

The Threat to National Security

Address at the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals by the Director General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans.

16 September 2010


10. It is interesting to note in this context that in the last ten years what might be called a "zero tolerance" attitude to terrorist risk in Great Britain has become more widespread. While it has always been the case that the authorities have made every effort to prevent terrorist attacks, it used to be accepted as part of everyday life that sometimes the terrorists would get lucky and there would be an attack. In recent years we appear increasingly to have imported from the American media the assumption that terrorism is 100% preventable and any incident that is not prevented is seen as a culpable government failure. This is a nonsensical way to consider terrorist risk and only plays into the hands of the terrorists themselves. Risk can be managed and reduced but it cannot realistically be abolished and if we delude ourselves that it can we are setting ourselves up for a nasty disappointment.

We agree with this, except that it is unfair to simply blame this risk aversion / "no stone unturned" / Cover My Bureaucratic Backside nonsense on the "American media". The morally weak, unscrupulous and incompetent Labour party control freaks, who were in positions of power in Government, are at least as much to blame.

They were always willing to Be Seen To Be Doing Something about terrorist threats, even though they were helping to make matters worse.

11. In the investigations that we are pursuing day to day, sometimes our ability to uncover and disrupt a threat goes right down to the wire, as was the case with the airline liquid bomb plot in 2006. The plotters were only days away from mounting an attack. Sometimes it is possible or necessary to step in much earlier, though in such cases it can be hard to get enough evidence to bring criminal charges. But I would rather face criticism when there is no prosecution (often accompanied by conspiracy theories about what was supposedly going on) than see a plot come to fruition because we had not acted soon enough. Operation Pathway, the disruption of an Al Qaida cell in North West England 18 months ago, is a good example of a necessarily early intervention where criminal charges could not eventually be sustained. The case has subsequently been reviewed by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission and Mr Justice Mitting concluded that the case involved a genuine threat from individuals tasked by Al Qaida. Whilst we are committed to prosecutions wherever possible it is a sad fact that for all sorts of good reasons terrorist threats can still exist which the English criminal justice system cannot reach. The government cannot absolve itself of the responsibility to protect its citizens just because the criminal law cannot, in the particular circumstances, serve the purpose.

"The government cannot absolve itself of the responsibility to protect its citizens just because the criminal law cannot, in the particular circumstances, serve the purpose."

No ! This is an argument for extra- judicial punishments and for the harassment of people who should be treated as "innocent until proven guilty, on actual evidence" regardless.

Where has this stupid idea been imported from ?

This weasel worded paragraph tries to imply that all of the people who were arrested under Operation Pathway pose a terrorist threat, which is obviously untrue.

There is also no mention of the "collateral damage" caused by the hurried arrests themselves, where at least two completely innocent people were forced to the ground at gunpoint, in public, putting their lives and those of the passing public at risk unnecessarily, before they were released without being arrested, and without any public apology or compensation.

Remember that despite intensive forensic searches, no weapons, explosive or terrorist money etc. was ever found in Operation Pathway.

Surely the benefit of doubt must be given to terrorist suspects, where it is not possible to catch them red handed and they should simply be be let go and kept under surveillance ?

This is an acceptable risk, as per the argument outlined in paragraph 10, because otherwise there is far too much "collateral damage" to innocent people and the terrorist s will have won a victory by conning the Government and intelligence agencies into destroying our freedoms and liberties, which is precisely what the terrorists want to achieve.

There is no evidence that the widely condemned house arrest and other restrictions without any trial or evidence, through the "Control Orders" scheme works at all.

Jonathan Evans appears to be arguing for its continuation, and possible extension to people who have been released after having served their time in prison for terrorist related offences.

Finally MI5 appears to be moving into the 21st century.

21. I would like to conclude with a brief reference to the espionage threat. Events over the summer in the United States underlined the continuing level of covert intelligence activity that takes place internationally. Espionage did not start with the Cold War and it did not end with it either. Both traditional and cyber espionage continue to pose a threat to British interests, with the commercial sector very much in the front line along with more traditional diplomatic and defence interests. Using cyberspace, especially the Internet, as a vector for espionage has lowered the barriers to entry and has also made attribution of attacks more difficult, reducing the political risks of spying. And cyber espionage can be facilitated by, and facilitate, traditional human spying. So the overall likelihood of any particular entity being the subject of state espionage has probably never been higher, though paradoxically many of the vulnerabilities exploited both in cyber espionage and traditional espionage are relatively straightforward to plug if you are aware of them. Cyber security is a priority for the government both in respect of national security and economic harm. Ensuring that well informed advice is available to those who need it, including through the use of private sector partners is, and will remain, vital.

"though paradoxically many of the vulnerabilities exploited both in cyber espionage and traditional espionage are relatively straightforward to plug if you are aware of them"

Another argument for not letting Hazel Blears anywhere near the Intelligence and Security Committee - see the previous Spy Blog article:

Proposed Intelligence and Security Committee appointments - do *not* let Hazel Blears anywhere near the ISC !

Unfortunately, MI5 itself has a history of "cyber security" blunders with their public website, their public alert email system and with the activities of the likes of Daniel Houghton, all of which were "relatively straightforward to plug if you are aware of them".

The Mail on Sunday has a peculiar article about Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, which seems to contradict itself, even as published.

Why should we believe a story based on quotes from an anonymous "senior security source" ?

MI5 'vetoed Security Minister over links to Ukrainian oligarchs'

By Christopher Leake and Mark Hollingsworth
Last updated at 1:48 AM on 15th August 2010

Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones - the Shadow Security Minister when the Tories were in Opposition - was widely expected to take over the newly created role of National Security Adviser to David Cameron with overall responsibility for British intelligence policy at home and abroad.

Widely expected by whom, exactly ? Not by us.

But the pivotal security post was awarded instead to Whitehall mandarin Sir Peter Ricketts.

The Baroness, 70, was appointed Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism - a more junior position, which restricts her responsibilities to domestic intelligence issues.

As Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism, she has the power to sign or reject warrants by MI5 the Security Service, if the Secretary of State is unavailable. She also sits as a permanent member of the new National Security Council , with access to the same top level intelligence summaries and reports as the Prime Minister and Sir Peter Ricketts etc.

In what way are "domestic intelligence issues" less important than foreign ones ?

Here are some quotes (not whistleblower documentary evidence of any sort) from an anonymous" security source":

A senior security source revealed that the Baroness's appointment was blocked after MI5 produced a report about her links to two controversial Russian oligarchs.

Is this the same source as in the next few paragraphs, or a different one ?

According to a source, MI5 sent the Prime Minister's aides a confidential briefing about her connections to two billionaires with alleged links to organised crime and a Russian mafia leader.

The source said: 'The job of National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister needed a high-security vetting clearance because it involved knowing and handling sensitive state secrets.

The role of Minister of State at the Home Office in charge of security and counter-terrorism also involves "knowing and handling sensitive state secrets." . Unlike the National Security Adviser role, the holder of this Ministerial position also has executive power and can sign Orders for new or amended secondary legislation and can approve or reject warrants and certificates and notices etc. under intelligence, terrorism, serious crime and immigration laws, in lieu of the Secretary of State the Home Secretary.

'As a result, Cameron's private office at No 10 asked MI5 for any relevant information that was needed for the PM to make this appointment.

'MI5 sent a summary of the intelligence on Neville-Jones's financial assoc­iations with the two oligarchs. Based on that submission and on a separate briefing by his political advisers, Cameron decided not to appoint her.'

Mr Cameron then appointed Sir Peter, a former Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office, who has been credited with persuading the Prime Minister to remove British troops from Afghanistan by 2015.

Will that target date really be achieved ?

Earlier this month it was reported that Sir Peter had agreed to carry out the role for 12 months only before returning to the diplomatic service.

A source said: 'Pauline was absolutely furious that she did not get the top job. She threatened to resign, but took up the ministerial post once she realised that was the most she was going to get. She is still very bitter and prickly about being snubbed in this way.'

Insiders have pointed out that the Baroness's role is less wide-ranging than that of her predecessor Lord West, Gordon Brown's former security adviser. Although only a Home Office Under Secretary, he enjoyed a brief that spanned the globe.

As a Home Office Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Lord West had less executive power than Baroness Neville-Jones does as a Home Office Minister of State.

The two men at the centre of the controversy surrounding the Baroness are Ukrainian oligarch Dimitry Firtash and Russian tycoon Mikhail Chernoy.

Is it really acceptable, in the out of touch fantasy world of Whitehall and the Westminster village of politicians and mainstream media journalists, to think that alleged links to foreign billionaires who may or may not have links with organised crime gangs, somehow disqualifies someone from one sensitive advisory post involving national security, but that such allegations are ok for a Ministerial job also involving national security ?

If there was any substance to these allegations, then Baroness Neville-Jones could not be trusted to hold either post, something which is clearly nonsense.

Two years ago, the Baroness revealed in the House of Lords Register of Members' Interests that her office received £20,000 a year from British businessman Robert Shetler-Jones, who oversees the assets of Mr Firtash.

Why were these questions not raised two years ago then ?

Mr Shetler-Jones made the donations to the Baroness plus a further estimated £80,000 to the Conservative Party as a private individual and through his UK-registered company Scythian Ltd. The fact that it was a British-based company made the payments legal under political funding rules


The Baroness said yesterday that she received the money from the Conservative Party.

But Mr Shetler-Jones said last night that he made donations to the people who managed the Baroness's office 'over and above what I gave to the Conservative Party'. He has since stopped supporting the Baroness financially.

The Baroness used the money to pay the salaries of her adviser Mark Phillips, a research associate for the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, and a part-time secretary.

Is that two salaries out of £20,000 a year or is Mark Phillips acting as both advisor and part time secretary ?

According to the RUSI staff biography of Mark Philips:

    Prior to joining RUSI, Mark was Chief of Staff to Baroness Neville-Jones during her time as Shadow Security Minister and National Security Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition and, after the 2010 general election, Security Minister. In this capacity he managed all security legislation in Parliament, was speechwriter to Baroness Neville-Jones, and had a central role in developing the Conservative Party's national security policies and post-election implementation plan. His remit covered all aspects of national security, including the National Security Strategy, Strategic Defence and Security Review, machinery of government, intelligence, counter terrorism, resilience, Olympic security, stabilisation and conflict prevention, procurement and the role of industry in defence and security. Mark co-authored the Conservative Party's National Security Green Paper, A Resilient Nation (January 2010).

Given that this Green Paper acknowledged the obvious national security risks to the UK of over-reliance on Russian gas supplies and pipelines, there does not appear to be anything which favours Ukrainian gas billionaires there.

Mr Shetler-Jones, a property developer who speaks fluent Russian, is chief executive of Group DF - the holding company for the multi-billion-pound assets of Mr Firtash


Mr Firtash became a billionaire through a lucrative gas trading company RosUkrEnergo (RUE), which until two years ago had a monopoly over supplies from Russia into Ukraine and onwards to EU customers such as Poland and Hungary.

RUE has been the subject of an investigation by the US Department of Justice over its alleged links to Semyon Mogilevich, 64, a Ukrainian-born billionaire who is said to control RUE and is one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives.

So there is no proven link between Shetler-Jones, Dimitry Firtash and "the Russian mafia" at all.

Has Dimitry Firtash been banned from the UK or had any of his assets seized by the Serious Organised Crime Agency ? No.

The second oligarch with whom the Baroness has been linked is Mikhail Chernoy, a 58-year-old Uzbekistan-born Israeli indust­rialist, who made billions from the Russian aluminium industry.

He is the main financial sponsor of the Intelligence Summit, a Washington-based Right-wing anti-terrorist think-tank, whose executive council has included the Baroness.

Chernoy has been banned from entering the US because of alleg­ations of money laundering, illegal business deals and claims of connections to the Russian mafia.

The billionaire has denied any wrongdoing or any ties to organised crime and has been cleared in several countries, including Switzerland, of links to the mafia.

Has Mikhail Chernoy been banned from the UK or had any of his assets seized by the Serious Organised Crime Agency ? No.

Speaking at her £2 million Chelsea townhouse in West London yesterday, the Baroness said: 'It was clear a very long way back that David Cameron wanted an official in that position [of National Security Adviser].

'There was not at any stage a commitment on David's part that I should have that position. It was not a position I ever discussed with him or sought. It was always my understanding that should the party win the Election I would have the position I now have.'

The Baroness denied having ever met Dimitry Firtash, Mikhail Cherney or Robert Shetler-Jones.

So, no holidays with or fawning over, foreign billionaires or rich British contributors to party funds, like so many Labour politicians then ?

She said the donations to her office had been 'properly registered' by the Conservative Party and then allocated to her.

Last night neither the Home Office not the security services were prepared to comment officially on the Baroness's appointment.

But senior Home Office officials repeated the Baroness's claim that the National Security Adviser post had always been designed to go to an official.

So, is this anonymous security source lying or exaggerating ? If so then why ?

The intelligence services are forbidden by law from interfering in UK politics, although there are no criminal sanctions against any of their employees from doing so, especially anonymously, with or without the blessing of their colleagues.

The MI5 Security Service website section on Myths and Misunderstandings claims that:

5. MI5 monitors the private lives of Ministers and other public figures

We are sometimes alleged to be responsible for monitoring the private lives of people because they have a high public profile, including members of the Royal Family, Government Ministers and Members of Parliament. This is not the case. We only investigate individuals whose activities fall within our statutory remit under the Security Service Act 1989.

6. We "vet" every government employee

Our role in the vetting of candidates for employment in sensitive government posts is based solely on checks against our records. Decisions on employing staff are the responsibility of the Department concerned and we do not investigate or interview candidates on their behalf.

The Security Service Act 1989 stipulates that we may only disclose information for use in deciding whether someone should be employed in sensitive work if we do so in accordance with arrangements approved by the Home Secretary. If, when we check, we find that we have a significant and relevant security record on an applicant, we may provide a summary assessment of the security information. However, the mere existence of a Security Service record does not necessarily mean that an assessment will be made. There is no "blacklist".

Holiday reading for Spy Blog readers - reviews of a couple of books on the GCHQ and the NSA

These comprehensive reviews seem to give a good outline of a couple of books about a couple of the world's premier intelligence agencies, which deserve close study:

Spy Blog could be tempted to review

Securing the State by Sir David Omand GCB, the former éminence grise of the Cabinet Office Intelligence bureaucrac and obe of the architechts of Protint - 'protected information' data mining of personal sensitive data by intelligence agencies.

Report of the Intelligence Services Commissioner for 2009 (.pdf), by the Rt,Hon. Sir Peter Gibson

Just like all the previous Intelligence Services Commissioner reports, the lack of public detail makes a mockery of the whole RIPA oversight process - it takes 16 pages to say almost nothing at all.

Yet again, there has been no call for Sir Peter to oversee any RIPA Part III encryption key or plaintext orders. This appears to have been left to the Chief Surveillance Commissioner.

Part III of RIPA

34. As I have noted above, Part III of RIPA came into force on 1 October 2007. However, no notification of any directions to require disclosure in respect of protected electronic information has been given to me in 2009 and there has been no exercise or performance of powers and duties under Part III for me to review.

The Intelligence Services Commissioner has gone through the motions with the Identity Scheme Commissioner Sir Joseph Pilling, bearing in mind the scrapping of the scheme which is still in progress.

11. On 16 November 2009 the Identity Minister, Meg Hillier, signed the Commencement Order allowing the Identity and Passport Service to begin issuing identity cards to members of the public living or working in Greater Manchester with effect from 30 November 2009 though it should be noted that identity cards were also made available to Home Office/Identity and Passport Service civil servants as well as airside workers in Manchester and London City Airport for a few weeks beforehand. On 10 December 2009 I had a useful meeting with Sir Joseph Pilling, the Identity Commissioner, in which we discussed our respective areas of responsibility under the ICA. I informed him that I did not envisage that I would need to obtain information about the acquisition, storage and use of data in the National Identity Register by organisations other than the intelligence services. At the time of writing this Report I am not aware of any acquisition, storage and use made by the intelligence services pursuant to the ICA of information recorded in the National Identity Register and in view of the intended repeal of the ICA it is unlikely that there will be any such acquisition, storage or use

Obliviously he has a good professional working contacts with the Intelligence agencies, but does that automatically taint him as the chairman of the Inquiry looking into allegations of complicity in torture of foreign terrorist suspects by MI5 or MI6 etc, appointed by PM David Cameron ?

He is already looking at:

Guidance on detention and interviewing of detainees by intelligence officers and military personnel

39. On 18 March 2009 the Prime Minister made a statement to Parliament about the detention and interviewing of detainees by intelligence officers and military personnel and announced my agreement to his request that the Intelligence Services Commissioner should monitor compliance by the intelligence agencies with the consolidated guidance on the standards to be followed during the detention and interviewing of detainees. My role in monitoring compliance will not commence until the consolidated guidance has been published. Such publication has not yet occurred,

The Report contains exactly the same words as the Interception of Communications Commissioner regarding the Investigatory Tribunal. A public agency broke the law, but will not be published for doing so. Why can they not at least be named and shamed in public ? There cannot be any "national security" grounds for not doing so.

The British public deserves to know and trust that the powerful, secretive intelligence agencies like GCHQ the Government Communications Head Quarters, MI5 the Security Service and SIS/MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service are operating properly and cost effectively, especially given:

  • The rise in actual real terrorist bomb attacks and killings in Northern Ireland

  • The recent Court cases revealing complicity in "extraordinary rendition" by the US intelligence agencies and the tacit complicity of UK intelligence in the use of torture.

  • Chinese internet espionage stories

  • Personnel vetting and IT security failures highlighted by the trial of alleged wannabe spy, the ex-MI6 employee Daniel Houghton

  • Major IT project failures and cost overruns e.g. the SCOPE project, the lack of backup disaster recovery data centres for the intelligence agencies.

  • Still no viable plan for the use of electronic intercept as evidence in Court.

  • Frightening and expensive plans for mass surveillance and data trawling against millions of innocent people.

  • The ongoing threat from self radicalised Muslims, racists, animal rights or environmental extremists etc.

With the dire state of public finances, there must be financial cuts in the budgets of some or all of these secret agencies. How are we the public meant to know if these financial cuts are justified or not ?

That is the role of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, which is appointed by the Prime Minister.

However, like so much else, the last Labour Government left this in a shambles, with strong hints of political interference from Downing Street and / or the Cabinet Office, according to the outgoing (Labour) chairman of the Committee Kim Howells.

See:Intelligence and Security Committee Report 2009-2010 - interference by the Cabinet Office, MI5 DIGINT, Northern Ireland terrorism, new Cyber Defence bureaucracy but CESG financially bankrupt ?

For no good reason that we can see, currently there is no Intelligence and Security Committee in operation at all.

When will Prime Minister David Cameron appoint a new Committee ?

Will it be given the extra investigative manpower and budgetary resources it needs to work independently of the Cabinet Office etc. ?

At the very least they need forensic accountancy and IT project management resources to be able to understand the technical complexity and impact of potential budget cuts on GCHQ, MI6, MI5 etc.

By the time the National Audit Office or perhaps the Commons Public Accounts Committee get a sniff of such secret projects, there could have been millions or billions of pounds of public money wasted.

Alternatively, if the wrong budgets or projects are cut, delayed or cancelled, then we could needlessly find ourselves in another bloody war or terrorist outrage, because of inappropriate penny pinching.

The remit of this new Intelligence and Security Committee should be expanded beyond the roles of just the three main intelligence agencies.

They should also cover units or agencies which use the same technology and techniques as the main intelligence agencies do. e.g. the various UK Special Forces units like the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), or the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) or the Police units like the National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit (NETCU) or the Metropolitan Police Counter-Terrorism Command.

It should also look the role of sub-contracted intelligence agency functions either to so called "friendly" foreign intelligence agencies like the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), who, it appears, may have been allowed to breach British sovereignty by recruiting and running intelligence assets within UK Muslim communities

They must also investigate the shadowy and unaccountable world of Private Military Contractor / Mercenary companies, operating with UK Military and Intelligence agencies overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. but, it appears, also being used within the United Kingdom.

As with the publication of the RIPA Commissioners' Annual Reports, it is not acceptable to delay the appointment of this Committee until September or October, they should already have been hard at work now.

Spy Blog would be interested to see in the(pseudonymous) comments or via email (PGP encrypted if you like) , your nominations for who you would trust to sit on this cross party committee of MPs and Peers., bearing in mind that most of the experienced former members of the ISC have now retired.

The arrest of 10 Russian "illegal" suspected SVR spies, in the USA, including the photogenic Anna Chapman, who appears to have spent 5 years or so working in the United Kingdom, and who married and divorced a British citizen, is full of interesting technical tradecraft and legal issues.

The arrest of another 11th suspect, Christopher Metsos, in Cyprus, who then appears to have been allowed to flee the country "whilst awaiting an Extradition warrant" on "money laundering" allegations from the USA", is , in its own way rather worrying, given the obvious use of Entrapment by the US authorities in this affair.

One area in which the US judicial system is better than that of the United Kingdom is in the online publication of Indictments, signed by investigating police or counter- intelligence agents, detailing the alleged activities of the accused.

These are often made available for free by the major US newspapers and provide a check against the wretched culture of "anonymous briefings" which the British media allow themselves to be manipulated by.

The New York Times seems to have been the first to do this, but copies of the two Indictments are now available from the BBC website:

BBC copy of the District Court Indictment against Anna Chapman and Mikhail Semenko(.pdf)

BBC copy of the District Court Indictment against the other 9 illegal spy suspects (.pdf) i.e. Christopher R. Metsos, Richard Murphy, Cynthia Murphy, Donald Howard Heathfield, Tracey Lee Ann Foley, Michael Zottoli, Patricia Mills, Juan Lazaro and Vicky Pelaez.

Both documents make a distinction between spies under diplomatic cover working from Embassies, Consulates and, in this case the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York and "illegals".

"Illegals" are in two categories - those who operate under totally false names and identities of, in this case, US citizens, or those who operate under their own (Russian) identities.

See the infamous "Hollow Coin" case in the 1950's involving Rudolf Abel / Vilyam Genrikhovich Fisher.

Why arrest this alleged spy ring now, after several years of surveillance ?

It is unclear why the US authorities actually decided to make a propaganda fuss and arrest these alleged "illegals" rather than simply threatening to deport them under immigration laws.

Presumably there is some sort of internal power struggle for scarce budgets and prestige, amongst the various US intelligence agencies.

The case has certainly shifted a lot of mainstream media attention from the BP oil pollution scandal, which probably pleases the White House spin doctors.

No actual Espionage or even Economic Espionage charges

None of the suspects are actually accused of obtaining or passing on any actual classified information.

None are actually accused of Espionage, (up to 20 years in prison) or even Economic Espionage (up to 10 years in prison and half a million dollars fine for stealing certain trade secrets).

There are no charges under the catch all "national security" provisions of the so called PATRIOT Act either.

The likelihood is that the alleged spies were either as yet inactive "sleepers" awaiting orders in the future, or were meant to be "agents of influence", or perhaps low level logistics support team members, without direct contact with any US traitors or personal access to real secrets.

The fact that two of them are accused of undertaking "dead drop" operations of money and of a false passport, at the behest of the FBI agent provocateurs who had gained their trust, implies membership of the logistics tail of the SVR espionage rings in the USA.

Similarly in the United Kingdom, none of the alleged activities set out in the Indictments would have fallen foul of the the UK's Official Secrets Act 1989

Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government

They are accused of Conspiracy to Act as Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government which carries a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

There is no such law in the United Kingdom.

If there was, how many Public Relations and Political Lobbying companies and individuals would be caught by such a law in the UK ?

Given the number of current and former MPs and Lords and Ministers (from across the political spectrum) who have acted for foreign clients and for foreign companies or organisations, which are controlled by foreign governments, it seems unlikely that any such law would be passed in the UK.


The interesting alleged technical details about the secret communications methods employed by this alleged spy ring are not in themselves illegal.

This is presumably why the US authorities went for their usual Entrapment method, using their people who managed to infiltrate or gain the trust of a couple of the suspects, to accept and deliver to a Dead Letter Drop, an envelope of cash or a false passport.

These acts were then videoed to provide evidence of activity as an "Unregistered Agent of a Foreign Government" a crime with a penalty of up to 5 years in prison.

Since US laws and regulations do not allow "Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government" to make use of the US bank or credit card or other financial systems, anybody who receives or passes on any money "from a Foreign Government" can be accused of "money laundering" or more usually, as in this case, the even more catch all inchoate offence of "conspiracy to commit money laundering", which has a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

In previous cases, the US authorities have even claimed that the salaries paid by the US Government to to Federal employees working for the FBI etc. who turned out to have been recruited to be Russian or Chinese or Cuban or Israeli etc. spies after their initial employment by the US Government, was evidence of "money laundering" since they were obtained under false pretences by "Unregistered Agents of a Foreign Government".

This is not "money laundering" in the the sense that UK laws are framed, aimed at Serious Organised Crime gangs involved in illegal drug or tobacco or alcohol etc. smuggling, human trafficking. Neither does this sort of activity qualify as "terrorism" money laundering.

Entrapment is much more heavily frowned upon in the UK legal system than in the USA.

It is just over a month since the cringeworthy Labour Foreign Secretary, David Miliband went through the motions in the House of Commons, over the abuse of British Passports in the Dubai murder case by the Israeli intelligence agencies.

UK Passports (Use in Dubai Murder) - Oral Answers to Questions --Justice - House of Commons debates, 23 March 2010, 3:36 pm

David Miliband (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; South Shields, Labour)


The Government take this matter extremely seriously. Such misuse of British passports is intolerable. It presents a hazard to the safety of British nationals in the region. Also, it represents a profound disregard for the sovereignty of the UK. The fact that that was done by a country that is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK, only adds insult to injury. No country or Government could stand by in such a situation.


However, I have asked for a member of the embassy of Israel to be withdrawn from the UK as a result of this affair, and that is taking place.


Martin Linton MP is Chair of Labour Friends of Palestine & the Middle East.

Martin Linton (Battersea, Labour)

I commend my right hon. Friend on his decisive action in expelling a so far unnamed diplomat from the Israeli embassy, although he is of course welcome to name him. I have the diplomatic list, from the ambassador to the defence attaché, who, to refer to the previous question, just happens to be a Colonel Kaufman.


Peter Bone (Wellingborough, Conservative)

Could the Foreign Secretary be clearer? He has been very evasive about the person who will be expelled. Could the Foreign Secretary say what position the person held? Did he have any relationship to Mossad?

David Miliband (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; South Shields, Labour)

I am not going to give any further information about the individual concerned, and I am not going to describe anything further about the role that he played. I have been very clear about the basis on which he was chosen. That is the right thing to do

David Miliband should never have represented our country as Foreign Secretary. When he is not insulting our intelligence, he is fawning over some foreign leaders and insulting other foreign heads of state whilst smirking and grinning. This may suit Gordon Brown, for petty internal Labour party reasons, but it is yet another reason to get rid of the lot of them at the May 6th elections.

Martin Linton is one of the few Labour backbenchers who has spoken out in favour compuslory ID Cards and the the National Identity Register, although most have them have voted in favour.. Hopefully, with a majority of only 137, he will be voted out on May 6th.

Martin Linton seems to have been wrong about the name of the defence attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London - he probably relied on the annually printed version of the London Diplomatic List, rather than the online versions, which now seem to be published approximately every month. Hansard has misspelled the name as "Kaufman" rather than "Caufman", presumably because the debate also had a contribution by Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman.

Colonel Gil-Shlomo Caufman was Defence & Armed Forces Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London until at least August 2009.

Colonel Hadar Furman was Defence & Armed Forces Attaché at the Israeli Embassy in London from at least November 2009 and was listed as such at the time of the diplomatic expulsion statement on 23rd March 2010.

Has this diplomat or intelligence officer (either from Mossad or Shabak or Aman etc.) actually been expelled from London yet ?

London Diplomatic List 26th August 2009

Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary (since 19 November 2007)
Mrs Hadas Prosor
Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher m Minister Counsellor
Mr Ran Gidor m Counsellor
Mr Lior Ben Dor m Counsellor (Public Affairs)
Mrs Ronit Ben Dor m 1st Secretary (Public Affairs)
Mr Shmuel Ben Tovim m Minster (Economic Affairs)
Mr Gil Haim Erez m Minister for Commercial Affairs
Mr Uzi Gafni 1st Secretary (Information & Tourism)
Ms Tehiya Weinstein Minister & Consul General (Consular Affairs)
Mr Booni Cohavi m Counsellor (Administration)
Mr Yair Rozi m 1st Secretary
Mr Rafael Yagodaiev m 2nd Secretary
Colonel Gil-Shlomo Caufman m Defence & Armed Forces Attaché

London Diplomatic List 9th November 2009

HIS EXCELLENCY MR RON PROSOR m Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary (since 19 November 2007)
Mrs Hadas Prosor
Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher m Minister-Counsellor
Mr Ran Gidor m Counsellor
Mr Shmuel Ben Tovim m Minster (Economic Affairs)
Mr Gil Haim Erez m Minister for Commercial Affairs
Mr Rephael Shalev m 1st Secretary (Tourism)
Mrs Liora Givon m Minister Counsellor and Consul General
Mrs Vivien Aisen m Minister-Counsellor (Administration)
Mr Yair Rozi m 1st Secretary
Mr Rafael Yagodaiev m 2nd Secretary
Colonel Hadar Furman m Defence & Armed Forces Attaché

London Diplomatic List 4th February 2010

HIS EXCELLENCY MR RON PROSOR m Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary (since 19 November
Mrs Hadas Prosor
Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher m Minister-Counsellor
Mr Ran Gidor m Counsellor
Mr Shmuel Ben Tovim m Minster (Economic Affairs)
Mr Gil Haim Erez m Minister for Commercial Affairs
Mr Rephael Shalev m 1st Secretary (Tourism)
Mrs Liora Givon m Minister Counsellor and Consul General
Mrs Vivien Aisen m Minister-Counsellor (Administration)
Mr Amir Shmuel Ofek Counsellor (Public Affairs)
Mr Michael Brodsky m 1st Secretary (Public Affairs)
Mr Yair Rozi m 1st Secretary
Mr Rafael Yagodaiev m 2nd Secretary
Colonel Hadar Furman m Defence & Armed Forces Attaché

London Diplomatic List 8th March 2010

HIS EXCELLENCY MR RON PROSOR m Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary (since 19 November 2007)
Mrs Hadas Prosor
Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher m Minister-Counsellor
Mr Ran Gidor m Counsellor
Mr Shmuel Ben Tovim m Minster (Economic Affairs)
Mr Gil Haim Erez m Minister for Commercial Affairs
Mr Rephael Shalev m 1st Secretary (Tourism)
Mrs Liora Givon m Minister Counsellor and Consul General
Mrs Vivien Aisen m Minister-Counsellor (Administration)
Mr Amir Shmuel Ofek Counsellor (Public Affairs)
Mr Michael Brodsky m 1st Secretary (Public Affairs)
Mr Yair Rozi m 1st Secretary
Mr Rafael Yagodaiev m 2nd Secretary
Colonel Hadar Furman m Defence & Armed Forces Attaché

London Diplomatic List 9th April 2010

HIS EXCELLENCY MR RON PROSOR m Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary (since 19 November 2007)
Mrs Hadas Prosor
Mrs Talya Lador-Fresher m Minister-Counsellor
Mr Ran Gidor m Counsellor
Mr Shmuel Ben Tovim m Minster (Economic Affairs)
Mr Gil Haim Erez m Minister for Commercial Affairs
Mr Rephael Shalev m 1st Secretary (Tourism)
Mrs Liora Givon m Minister Counsellor and Consul General
Mrs Vivien Aisen m Minister-Counsellor (Administration)
Mr Amir Shmuel Ofek Counsellor (Public Affairs)
Mr Michael Brodsky m 1st Secretary (Public Affairs)
Mr Yair Rozi m 1st Secretary
Mr Rafael Yagodaiev m 2nd Secretary
Colonel Hadar Furman m Defence & Armed Forces Attaché

Presumably nobody had yet been expelled in the 18 days between the Ministerial Statement on 22nd March and the publication of the 9th of April London Diplomatic List.

Will Colonel Hadar Furman, or will someone else turn out to have been the diplomat who was expelled, when the next London Diplomatic List is published ?

Please email us using our PGP Encryption public key for confidentiality, or leave a comment here using Tor or other anonymising techniques (see our Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers etc. - if you already know the answer.

David Miliband's Orwellian newspeak and doublethink showed through, when he attempted to pretend that a major objection against the National Identity Register, somehow makes a case for it.

Edward Garnier (Shadow Attorney General, Justice; Harborough, Conservative)

The point that my right hon. and learned Friend Mr. Hogg made is just as important even if one is not dealing with an alleged killing. The courts of England send people with no previous convictions to prison for passport forgery and their sentences are measured in years. What does this story tell us about the integrity of the Government's proposals for identity cards? Does it not undermine the Government's case?

David Miliband (Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; South Shields, Labour)

I am delighted that the hon. and learned Gentleman has raised that point, because it makes a very strong case precisely for the national identity register that we propose. I think that many people, if they can be diverted from the issue at hand for a moment, will see that the determination to have a national identity register precisely fits into the sort of concerns that people have about identity theft. Actually, the case is made for the proposal that the Government have put forward, and I hope that the hon. and learned Gentleman will reconsider his opposition to it.

So is the Labour plan to share the sensitive personal details held on the National Identity Register with all foreign governments ?

This would make it even easier for foreign governments to forge UK Passports.

One Parliamentary Bill which did just complete its passage through Parliament without the wretched "wash up" process was the largely symbolic Bribery Act 2010

We criticised this Bill when it first appeared for its flawed attempt to correct the stupid Anti Terrorism Crime and Security Act 200 Part 12 Bribery and Corruption sections 108 to 110. , which made it a criminal offence for the intelligence agencies or for the military to ever bribe any foreign officials either for spy recruitment purposes or to help in the escape of military personnel trapped behind enemy lines etc.

Presumably the intelligence agencies and the military have simply been ignoring that stupid law ever since.

See: Bribery Bill 2009 clause 12 - some Secret Intelligence Service MI6 or Security Service MI5 exemptions, but why should Local Authority Trading Standards etc. ever be allowed to bribe anyone ?

13 Defence for certain bribery offences etc.

(1) It is a defence for a person charged with a relevant bribery offence to prove that the person's conduct was necessary for--

(a) the proper exercise of any function of an intelligence service, or
(b) the proper exercise of any function of the armed forces when engaged on active service.

(2) The head of each intelligence service must ensure that the service has in place arrangements designed to ensure that any conduct of a member of the service which would otherwise be a relevant bribery offence is necessary for a purpose falling within subsection (1)(a).

(3) The Defence Council must ensure that the armed forces have in place arrangements designed to ensure that any conduct of--

(a) a member of the armed forces who is engaged on active service, or
(b) a civilian subject to service discipline when working in support of any person falling within paragraph (a),

which would otherwise be a relevant bribery offence is necessary for a purpose falling within subsection (1)(b).

(4) The arrangements which are in place by virtue of subsection (2) or (3) must be arrangements which the Secretary of State considers to be satisfactory.

(5) For the purposes of this section, the circumstances in which a person's conduct is necessary for a purpose falling within subsection (1)(a) or (b) are to be treated as including any circumstances in which the person's conduct--

(a) would otherwise be an offence under section 2, and
(b) involves conduct by another person which, but for subsection (1)(a) or (b), would be an offence under section 1.

(6) In this section--

"active service" means service in--

(a) an action or operation against an enemy,
(b) an operation outside the British Islands for the protection of life or property, or
(c) the military occupation of a foreign country or territory,

"armed forces" means Her Majesty's forces (within the meaning of the Armed Forces Act 2006),

"civilian subject to service discipline" and "enemy" have the same meaning as in the Act of 2006,

Even we noticed that the original text of the Bill did not specify the Armed Forces Act 2006

"GCHQ" has the meaning given by section 3(3) of the Intelligence Services Act 1994,

"head" means--

(a) in relation to the Security Service, the Director General of the Security Service,
(b) in relation to the Secret Intelligence Service, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, and
(c) in relation to GCHQ, the Director of GCHQ,

"intelligence service" means the Security Service, the Secret Intelligence Service or GCHQ,

"relevant bribery offence" means--

(a) an offence under section 1 which would not also be an offence under section 6,
(b) an offence under section 2,
(c) an offence committed by aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of an offence falling within paragraph (a) or (b),
(d) an offence of attempting or conspiring to commit, or of inciting the commission of, an offence falling within paragraph (a) or (b), or
(e) an offence under Part 2 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 (encouraging or assisting crime) in relation to an offence falling within paragraph (a) or (b).

Compared with the original text of the Bill when it was introduced, there is an improvement, with the removal of the huge attempted exemption

(a) the prevention, detection or investigation by, or on behalf of, a law enforcement agency of serious crime,


"law enforcement agency" means a public authority acting in pursuance of a duty of a public nature under the law of any part of the United Kingdom to prevent, detect or investigate crime,

which would have allowed the Serious Organised Crime Agency, any Police force, or HM Customs and Excise or the UK Border Agency or even Local Authority Trading Standards officials or even for private sector sub contractors working on behalf of Whitehall or Local Government departments investigating alleged fraud etc. to bribe officials in the UK or the rest of the world, without any scrutiny.

None of these public bodies should ever be allowed to bribe anyone, ever. To be fair to them, most of them would never wish to have such a power granted or imposed on them either.

Similarly GCHQ does not need the power to bribe people with impunity, but, for no good reason, this Act lumps them in with MI5 the Security Service and MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service, who may well do so.

Surely any conceivable scenario involving bribery of say, foreign Government telecommunications monopoly or company officials, which GCHQ might have an interest in, could be handled by MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service or by by Active Service Military personnel in the field ?

GCHQ should not have and should not seek to have, any of their personnel involved in the recruitment of Covert Human Intelligence Sources, the recruitment and proper handling of which must surely apply to any attempts to bribe foreign officials. This should be left to MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service or, in limited counter-intelligence operations, to MI5 the Security Service.

There is no independent scrutiny of the "arrangements" which the heads of the intelligence agencies or the Defence Council have to put in place according to the clause above.

There are no penalties for officials of those agencies or the armed forces, if they contravene such "arrangements".

Presumably these unspecified "arrangements" will involve some more bureaucratic form filling and blanket rubber stamp self authorisations, which will be kept secret from the public and Parliament, under the claim of "national security" exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act etc.

There is no mechanism for independent investigation of individual cases of alleged bribery involving people hiding behind "national security" secrecy.

There is not even any duty imposed on Ministers to report to Parliament and the public how much public money has been spent on bribes in total each year.

The most interesting section of the BBC Radio 4 documentary, by the BBC's Security Correspondent Gordon Corera, entitled GCHQ: Cracking the Code is the couple of minutes almost at the end of the 40 minute programme.

N.B. a hat tip to the professional GCHQ audio transcribers - even this short section from BBC broadcast quality sound, required multiple repeat playbacks of certain sections. Their transcriptions of much poorer quality sounds, must be a lot harder and even more error prone.

(start at about 34 minutes into the programme)

Gordon Corera (GC):

Out in Afghanistan, it may be clear who the enemy is, but in the vast swamp of global communications, and with all the supercomputers whirring away in the basement, how can we be sure that GCHQ, isn't listening to us ? Director Iain Lobban: - People out here might think, you can "hoover up" everything, all the communications data, that you are listening to everything, that you are capable of intercepting anything, that you've got huge databases, collecting all of our communications information.

Can you ? Do you ? Will You ?

Iain Lobban (IL): errm no. So can we listen to everything - no we can't

Do we try to listen to everything - no we don't

There's a vast amount of communication out there.

Our approach, is to be as surgical as possible.

So we're looking for that tiny, tiny proportion of communications, globally, that is of interest to us.

And how do we measure that ? How do we check ourselves ?

We operate according to 3 very strict principles.

First of all, is our activity Authorised ? Normally that is a Warrant, some sort of authorisation signed by a Secretary of State.

The second one is, is what we have done necessary ? Does it meet those purposes of national security, the prevention or detection of serious crime, or the economic well being of the UK ?

And then finally, is it proportionate ? Is the action that we are taking, sufficient to justify the potential intrusion around privacy ?

This is what is expected under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part 1 Interception of communications.

GC: there have been reports that you are building some super huge database, down in the basement here, to collect all the Communications Data.and that you'll have access to, everyone's phone records, email records.

Is that true ?

IC: No it is not true.

GC: No such database ? No such access ?

IC: There's no such database, there's no such access, and it would be impossible, anyway, in my view, my view so.

Gordon Corera was being very clear and specific in using the term "Communications Data" and mentioning phone records and email records.

Note to the Home Office - your plan, mooted by the disgraced former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, for a vast expansion of mandatory Communications Data Retention under the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) plan, "would be impossible", according to the Director of GCHQ.

GC: What do you hear, there is lots of speculation about things called Echelon, and systems, for being able to listen to, all kinds of private communications, around the world.

IC: Yes, I read about some of these in books. I particularly like the one which says anytime anyone says the word "bomb" in a conversation, that tapes start whirring, and an individual is GeoLocated. It's simply not like that. It's just not like that.

So what we aim to do, is focus down on, known targets, or try to establish new, unknown, intelligence targets. And then restrict, as closely as possible, focus, as surgically as possible, on that individual's communications.

GC: Rather than "hoover up" everything,

IL: Hoover up

GC: and then look through it, in a database

IL: "Hoover up". "Hoover up" is not a concept that we would be physically capable of doing, or legally capable of doing.

Are GCHQ's official statements any more or less trustworthy, than the anonymous briefings from Whitehall or from MI5 the Security Service, or from MI6 the Security Service, to favoured mainstream media reporters ?

What are the chances of innocent people's private data being "collateral damaged" as part of an ongoing GCHQ investigation ?

Where is the necessary system of generous financial compensation and mandatory, swift, prominent public apologies and the punishment of malevolent or overzealous bureaucrats, to redress such wrongs ?

The Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2009-2010 (.pdf) has been published, exactly as we predicted in our previous blog article:
Intelligence and Security Committee publishes Two annual reports - Gordon Brown keeps one still secret

i.e. only on the actual day of the debate in the Commons, presumably to deliberately restrict the number of Members of Parliament and members of the public who would actually read and analyse it.

The covering letter to the prime Minister Gordon Brown by the outgoing Labour ISC Chairman the Rt. Hon. Dr Kim Howells, MP

"I am grateful that you have agreed to publish both Reports before the House of Commons debate on our work on 18 March."

Gordon Brown broke this promise !

The backbench Labour MP Andrew Mackinlay, pointed out that the 2009 - 2010 Report had not been published "in good time" for the debate on 18th March:

18 Mar 2010 : Column 1049


I put the problem simply: approximately 600 MPs do not know of the existence of the 2009-10 report because they are not here in the House of Commons today. When I went to our own dear Vote Office-I make absolutely no criticism of its staff-to ask for papers for today's debates, I was given the 2008-09 report; only when I came into the Chamber and listened to the Chairman of the Committee did I realise that there was another document worth looking at.

18 Mar 2010 : Column 1050

It is a mickey-take of Parliament when that sort of thing happens and I just wonder who is to blame. Will anyone own up to that cavalier handling by Parliament? We need to watch that in the future. To be candid, I think it is indicative of the cavalier way in which the scrutiny of our security and intelligence services has been dealt with by a number of people, including Ministers and, I have to say, my colleagues on the ISC.

Technically, since the debate on 18th March 2010 was only about the 2008 - 2009 report, MPs could in theory have another debate on the 20009 - 2010 report, but do not hold your breath in anticipation.

There appears to have been some sort of petty interference from the Cabinet Office and / or the Prime Minister and his henchmen, with the running of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

7. [...]

According to the legislation which established the Committee, it can set its own procedures. These have, naturally, evolved over the last 16 years through written agreements and verbal assurances. It has become very clear to us, however, that corporate knowledge of these procedures within Government has been lost over time and there was now very little awareness of our procedures, some of which date back to when the Committee was first established. This has led in some cases to misunderstandings as to the statutory independence of the Committee and its work and the nature of the relationship between the Committee and the Prime Minister.

This Report includes an appendix making a plea by the ISC to divorce themselves from reliance on the Cabinet Office for facilities and budget. The Cabinet Office is belatedly now seen to have a conflict of interest regarding Intelligence matters by the ISC, which rightly feels that the public perception of its supposed Independence from Government has been compromised.

This potential conflict of interest was obvious to outside observers since the very inception of the ISC.

A few crumbs of information from the 2009 - 2010 report:

About this blog

This United Kingdom based blog attempts to draw public attention to, and comments on, some of the current trends in ever cheaper and more widespread surveillance technology being deployed to satisfy the rapacious demand by state and corporate bureaucracies and criminals for your private details, and the technological ignorance of our politicians and civil servants who frame our legal systems.

The hope is that you the readers, will help to insist that strong safeguards for the privacy of the individual are implemented, especially in these times of increased alert over possible terrorist or criminal activity. If the systems which should help to protect us can be easily abused to supress our freedoms, then the terrorists will have won.

We know that there are decent, honest, trustworthy individual politicians, civil servants, law enforcement, intelligence agency personnel and broadcast, print and internet journalists etc., who often feel powerless or trapped in the system. They need the assistance of external, detailed, informed, public scrutiny to help them to resist deliberate or unthinking policies, which erode our freedoms and liberties.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email your views about this blog, or news about the issues it tries to comment on.


Our PGP public encryption key is available for those correspondents who wish to send us news or information in confidence, and also for those of you who value your privacy, even if you have got nothing to hide.

You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from
(available for most of the common computer operating systems, and also in various Open Source versions like GPG)

We look forward to the day when UK Government Legislation, Press Releases and Emails etc. are Digitally Signed under the HMG PKI Root Certificate hierarchy so that we can be assured that they are not fakes. Trusting that the digitally signed content makes any sense, is another matter entirely.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

House of Lords Constitution Committee - Surveillance: Citizens and the State

House of Lords Constitution Committee 2008-2009 session - Second Report: Surveillance: Citizens and the State


Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog - ethical and technical discussion about the project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
Privacy and Human Rights Survey 2004

Cryptome - censored or leaked government documents etc.

Identity Project report by the London School of Economics
Surveillance & Society the fully peer-reviewed transdisciplinary online surveillance studies journal

Statewatch - monitoring the state and civil liberties in the European Union

The Policy Laundering Project - attempts by Governments to pretend their repressive surveillance systems, have to be introduced to comply with international agreements, which they themselves have pushed for in the first place

International Campaign Against Mass Surveillance

ARCH Action Rights for Children in Education - worried about the planned Children's Bill Database, Connexions Card, fingerprinting of children, CCTV spy cameras in schools etc.

Foundation for Information Policy Research
UK Crypto - UK Cryptography Policy Discussion Group email list

Technical Advisory Board on internet and telecomms interception under RIPA

European Digital Rights

Open Rights Group - a UK version of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a clearinghouse to raise digital rights and civil liberties issues with the media and to influence Governments.

Digital Rights Ireland - legal case against mandatory EU Comms Data Retention etc.

Blindside - "What’s going to go wrong in our e-enabled world? " blog and wiki and Quarterly Report will supposedly be read by the Cabinet Office Central Sponsor for Information Assurance. Whether the rest of the Government bureaucracy and the Politicians actually listen to the CSIA, is another matter.

Biometrics in schools - 'A concerned parent who doesn't want her children to live in "1984" type society.'

Human Rights

Liberty Human Rights campaigners

British Institute of Human Rights
Amnesty International

Prevent Genocide International

asboconcern - campaign for reform of Anti-Social Behavior Orders

Front Line Defenders - Irish charity - Defenders of Human Rights Defenders

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

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."

Reporters without Borders internet section - news of internet related censorship and repression of journalists, bloggers and dissidents etc.

Judicial Links

British and Irish Legal Information Institute - publishes the full text of major case Judgments

Her Majesty's Courts Service - publishes forthcoming High Court etc. cases (but only in the next few days !)

House of Lords - The Law Lords are currently the supreme court in the UK - will be moved to the new Supreme Court in October 2009.

Information Tribunal - deals with appeals under FOIA, DPA both for and against the Information Commissioner

Investigatory Powers Tribunal - deals with complaints about interception and snooping under RIPA - has almost never ruled in favour of a complainant.

Parliamentary Opposition

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."

UK Government

Home Office - "Not fit for purpose. It is inadequate in terms of its scope, it is inadequate in terms of its information technology, leadership, management systems and processes" - Home Secretary John Reid. 23rd May 2006. Not quite the fount of all evil legislation in the UK, but close.

No. 10 Downing Street Prime Minister's Official Spindoctors

Public Bills before Parliament

United Kingdom Parliament
Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons.

House of Commons "Question Book"

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.

FaxYourMP - identify and then fax your Member of Parliament
WriteToThem - identify and then contact your Local Councillors, members of devolved assemblies, Member of Parliament, Members of the European Parliament etc.
They Work For You - House of Commons Hansard made more accessible ? UK Members of the European Parliament

Read The Bills Act - USA proposal to force politicians to actually read the legislation that they are voting for, something which is badly needed in the UK Parliament.

Bichard Inquiry delving into criminal records and "soft intelligence" policies highlighted by the Soham murders. (taken offline by the Home Office)

ACPO - Association of Chief Police Officers - England, Wales and Northern Ireland
ACPOS Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland

Online Media

Boing Boing

Need To Know [now defunct]

The Register

NewsNow Encryption and Security aggregate news feed
KableNet - UK Government IT project news - UK eGovernment and public sector IT news
eGov Monitor

Ideal Government - debate about UK eGovernment

NIR and ID cards

Stand - email and fax campaign on ID Cards etc. [Now defunct]. The people who supported have gone on to set up other online tools like The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the website to the Home Office public consultation on Entitlement Cards is one of the factors which later led directly to the formation of the the NO2ID Campaign who have been marshalling cross party opposition to Labour's dreadful National Identity Register compulsory centralised national biometric database and ID Card plans, at the expense of simpler, cheaper, less repressive, more effective, nore secure and more privacy friendly alternative identity schemes.

NO2ID - opposition to the Home Office's Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID bulletin board discussion forum

Home Office Identity Cards website
No compulsory national Identity Cards (ID Cards) BBC iCan campaign site
UK ID Cards blog
NO2ID press clippings blog
CASNIC - Campaign to STOP the National Identity Card.
Defy-ID active meetings and protests in Glasgow - New Alliance's ID Cards page - total rejection of any UK ID Card

International Civil Aviation Organisation - Machine Readable Travel Documents standards for Biometric Passports etc.
Anti National ID Japan - controversial and insecure Jukinet National ID registry in Japan
UK Biometrics Working Group run by CESG/GCHQ experts etc. the UK Government on Biometrics issues feasability
Citizen Information Project feasability study population register plans by the Treasury and Office of National Statistics - comments and links to each paragraph of the Home Office's "Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme".

De-Materialised ID - "The voluntary alternative to material ID cards, A Proposal by David Moss of Business Consultancy Services Ltd (BCSL)" - well researched analysis of the current Home Office scheme, and a potentially viable alternative.

Surveillance Infrastructures

National Roads Telecommunications Services project - infrastruture for various mass surveillance systems, CCTV, ANPR, PMMR imaging etc.

CameraWatch - independent UK CCTV industry lobby group - like us, they also want more regulation of CCTV surveillance systems.

Every Step You Take a documentary about CCTV surveillance in the Uk by Austrian film maker Nino Leitner.

Transport for London an attempt at a technological panopticon - London Congestion Charge, London Low-Emission Zone, Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, tens of thousands of CCTV cameras on buses, thousands of CCTV cameras on London Underground, realtime road traffic CCTV, Iyster smart cards - all handed over to the Metropolitan Police for "national security" purposes, in real time, in bulk, without any public accountibility, for secret data mining, exempt from even the usual weak protections of the Data Protection Act 1998.

RFID Links

RFID tag privacy concerns - our own original article updated with photos

NoTags - campaign against individual item RFID tags
Position Statement on the Use of RFID on Consumer Products has been endorsed by a large number of privacy and human rights organisations.
RFID Privacy Happenings at MIT
Surpriv: RFID Surveillance and Privacy
RFID Scanner blog
RFID Gazette
The Sorting Door Project blog - where we sometimes crosspost RFID articles

Genetic Links

DNA Profiles - analysis by Paul Nutteing
GeneWatch UK monitors genetic privacy and other issues
Postnote February 2006 Number 258 - National DNA Database (.pdf) - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

The National DNA Database Annual Report 2004/5 (.pdf) - published by the NDNAD Board and ACPO.

Eeclaim Your DNA from Britain's National DNA Database - model letters and advice on how to have your DNA samples and profiles removed from the National DNA Database,in spite of all of the nureacratic obstacles which try to prevent this, even if you are innocent.

Miscellanous Links

Michael Field - Pacific Island news - no longer a paradise - John Gilmore versus USA internal flight passports and passenger profiling etc.

The BUPA Seven - whistleblowers badly let down by the system.

Tax Credit Overpayment - the near suicidal despair inflicted on poor, vulnerable people by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown's disasterous Inland Revenue IT system.

Fassit UK - resources and help for those abused by the Social Services Childrens Care bureaucracy

Former Spies

MI6 v Tomlinson - Richard Tomlinson - still being harassed by his former employer MI6

Martin Ingram, Welcome To The Dark Side - former British Army Intelligence operative in Northern Ireland.

Operation Billiards - Mitrokhin or Oshchenko ? Michael John Smith - seeking to overturn his Official Secrets Act conviction in the GEC case.

The Dirty Secrets of MI5 & MI6 - Tony Holland, Michael John Smith and John Symond - stories and chronologies.

Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links blog - Comments on IT security and Privacy or the lack thereof.
Rat's Blog -The Reverend Rat writes about London street life and technology
Duncan Drury - wired adventures in Tanzania & London
Dr. K's blog - Hacker, Author, Musician, Philosopher

David Mery - falsely arrested on the London Tube - you could be next.

James Hammerton
White Rose - a thorn in the side of Big Brother
Big Blunkett
Into The Machine - formerly "David Blunkett is an Arse" by Charlie Williams and Scribe
infinite ideas machine - Phil Booth
Louise Ferguson - City of Bits
Chris Lightfoot
Oblomovka - Danny O'Brien

Liberty Central

dropsafe - Alec Muffett
The Identity Corner - Stefan Brands
Kim Cameron - Microsoft's Identity Architect
Schneier on Security - Bruce Schneier
Politics of Privacy Blog - Andreas Busch
solarider blog

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 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

BLOGDIAL - 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

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.

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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