The Sun "newspaper" reports:
By HARRIET ARKELL
and JOHN KAY, Chief Reporter
PUNK rock fan Mike Devine sent an innocent text message containing lyrics by The Clash ? and was quizzed as a terror suspect after it was INTERCEPTED.
Computer worker Mike, 35, was confronted by a Special Branch cop at his office and taken for a grilling.
He was stunned to be shown a printout of his text which contained the words ?gun? and ?jet airliner?.
Mike, who in his spare time plays bass in a Clash tribute group, had sent the lyric from the song Tommy Gun to a bandmate a month earlier.
The cop accepted his explanation and let Mike go. But last night experts said the amazing incident proved NO phone call or text was now safe from monitoring in the war on terror. Mike, of Bristol ? who works for mobile firm Orange ? admitted: ?I was bricking it.?
He told how his tribute band London Calling ? named after a Clash album ? had been struggling to remember a line in Tommy Gun. His text to singer Reg Shaw, 35, read:
?How about this for Tommy Gun? OK ? SO LET?S AGREE ABOUT THE PRICE AND MAKE IT ONE JET AIRLINER FOR TEN PRISONERS.?
Mike told how he was leaving a meeting at work last week when a Special Branch detective introduced himself.
Mike said: ?I was thinking, ?God, what have I done?? We went into a room and sat down and he asked me if I knew about Special Branch.
"I said, ?Yes? ? even though I didn?t really.
?He asked me lots of questions about my phone, such as was this my number and did I use it at the end of April. Then he produced a printout of a text and asked me if I had sent it.
?I said, ?That?s the lyrics from Tommy Gun?. I explained, ?I?m in a tribute band and was sending the lyrics to the singer.?
?The bloke said, ?Oh I see? and looked a bit embarrassed.?
The song, written in the late 1970s, is about terrorists.
Mike said: ?It hadn?t even occurred to me that it might look a bit dodgy. The man wrapped the interview up quite quickly. I was so relieved to find out that was all it was. It was quite nerve-racking for Special Branch to come looking for you at work.?
Terrorism expert Chris Dobson said: ?It is clear from this incident that the computers at the GCHQ listening operation in Cheltenham have been programmed to listen in on all vocal and textual mobile phone traffic.
?They are probably programmed to pick out key words like bomb and hostage.
?Having this kind of surveillance is the price we have to pay in a modern society to protect us from terrorists.?
Does this mean that the Home Secretary David Blunkett has signed a certificate under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 permitting GCHQ to speculatively trawl the content of every SMS text messages sent within the United Kingdom ? If not, then this alleged interception is illegal.
Why did it take from "the end of April" when the SMS text message was sent until "the end of last week" i.e. May before Special Branch got around to investigating this affair ?
The Register reports that:
" Police maintain that Devine's message went astray. They say he actually sent it to a woman in Bristol by mistake and it was she who alerted police to the content."
Which is slightly more plausible, but still does not explain the time delay in bothering to investigate an alleged "terrorism" related activity.
A web search engine query for the actual lyrics of "Tommy Gun" by The Clash, shows that they do not match with the text of the alleged message quoted by The Sun and The Register above:
"Tommy Gun Lyrics
Artist: The Clash
YOU AIN'T HAPPY LESS YOU GOT ONE
AIN'T GONNA SHOOT THE PLACE UP
JUST FOR FUN
MAYBE HE WANTS TO DIE FOR THE MONEY
MAYBE HE WANTS TO KILL FOR HIS COUNTRY
WHATEVER HE WANTS, HE'S GONNA GET IT!
YOU BETTER STRIP IT DOWN FOR A CUSTOM RUN
WAITING IN THE AIRPORT 'TILL KINGDOM COME
AN' WE CAN WATCH YOU MAKE IT
ON THE NINE O'CLOCK NEWS
STANDING THERE IN PALESTINE LIGHTING THE FUSE
WHATEVER YOU WANT, YOU'RE GONNA GET IT
YOU'LL BE DEAD WHEN YOUR WAR IS WON
BUT DID YOU HAVE TO GUN DOWN EVERYONE?
I CAN SEE IT'S KILL OR BE KILLED
A NATION OF DESTINY HAS GOT TO BE FULFILLED
WHATEVER YOU WANT, YOU'RE GONNA GET IT!
YOU CAN BE A HERO IN AN AGE OF NONE
I'M CUTTING OUT YOUR PICTURE FROM PAGE ONE
I'M GONNA GET A JACKET JUST LIKE YOURS
AN' GIVE MY FALSE SUPPORT TO YOUR CAUSE
WHATEVER YOU WANT, YOU'RE GONNA GET IT!
BOATS AN' TANKS AND PLANES, IT'S YOUR GAME
KINGS AN' QUEENS AN' GENERALS LEARN YOUR NAME
I SEE ALL THE INNOCENTS, THE HUMAN SACRIFICE
AND IF DEATH COMES SO CHEAP
THEN THE SAME GOES FOR LIFE! "