New UK Special Forces Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment

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The Sunday newspapers seem to have been briefed on the formation of a new UK Special Forces Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment: e.g. the Sunday Telegraph reports "Britain forms new special forces unit to fight al-Qaeda" and the Sunday Times reports "New elite force to combat Al-Qaeda"

Is this leaked announcement yet another empire building exercise between rival intelligence agencies in the UK ?

Will their intrusive surveillance operations be monitored by Sir Andrew Leggatt
and the Office of the Surveillance Commissioner
under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Part II ?

Since this Regiment is not defined under the Intelligence Services Act 1994,
is the placement of this new intelligence agency under the command of the Director of Special Forces, a ploy to prevent scrutiny of their activities by
Lord Justice Simon Brown, the Intelligence Services Commissioner
and also by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament ?

If they operate on the same basis as their former members did in Northern Ireland, then will they be similarly excluded from scrutiny by Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood who is the Intelligence Services Commissioner under section 59(1) of the Regualation of Investihgatory Powers Act 2000 ?

Just how many new recruits "of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, as well as Muslims and members of ethnic minorities." are they likely to get in competition with exactly the same sort of people which MI5 is trying to recruit, for their Mobile Surveillance Group:

"starting salary at grade MS5 is �22,445 rising to �25,856 on successful completion of the training course, once shift and weekend working allowance is included."

If the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment do operate in the UK, does that mean that the "military assistance to the civil power orders" which pertain to Northern Ireland now apply to the whole of the UK ?

The vital work that the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment will perform must only be done under proper democratic control. The various worthy ex-Judges and Privy Councellors who are supposed to provide some sort of scrutiny of the intelligence services should insist on scrutinising the activities of the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment, which will effectively be another new State Surveillance Agency.

The Sunday Telegraph reports:
"Britain forms new special forces unit to fight al-Qaeda"
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
(Filed: 25/07/2004)

A new special forces regiment is being created to infiltrate Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.

The Reconnaissance and Surveillance Regiment will work closely with the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service. Its mission will be to penetrate groups, either directly or by "turning" terrorists into double agents.

It will be given the authority to operate around the world, working closely with friendly intelligence agencies such as the CIA and Mossad.

Security chiefs hope that the regiment, comprising up to 600 troops, will run a network of agents providing the West with accurate intelligence on potential terrorist operations, allowing attacks to be foiled. It will at first be formed from members of a highly secret surveillance agency - the Joint Communications Unit Northern Ireland - which has worked in Ulster for more than 20 years. The unit, which worked with the SAS, MI5 and the Special Branch, perfected the art of covert surveillance in urban and rural areas and created a network of double agents who supplied the British security forces with intelligence on terrorist attacks.

Its success stemmed from its ability to plant listening devices and cameras in the homes and cars of terrorists, to bug phones and to monitor suspects at close quarters.

Such was the secrecy surrounding the unit that few of its operations were made public. Members of the unit are, however, some of the most highly decorated men and women in the Services.

One of its successes was providing the information for the SAS operation in 1988 which led to the shooting dead of three IRA terrorists who were planning to attack British forces in Gibraltar. The unit also took part in an operation that thwarted an IRA plot to attack a police station at Loughgall, County Tyrone, in 1987. Eight IRA members were killed by the SAS in a carefully planned ambush.

Volunteers for the regiment, both male and female, will be taken from all three branches of the Armed Forces. Officers are keen to recruit those of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, as well as Muslims and members of ethnic minorities.

Recruitment has begun and volunteers must pass an intensive six-month training course, learning covert surveillance, communications, driving skills and first aid as well as close-quarter battle skills, using a variety of weapons. Priority will be given to those able to infiltrate or blend in with Islamic terror groups, rather than, as with the SAS, their fitness or fighting capabilities.

One officer said: "The SAS's role is essentially to kill people. This new regiment's role is to provide the intelligence for the SAS to do that."

Those who pass - a 90 per cent failure rate is expected - will be sent on an Arabic course at the Armed Forces language school at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

The unit will be commanded by a lieutenant colonel with a special forces background, although not necessarily a member of the SAS, and will be based in South Wales. He will report to the Director of Special Forces.

A senior officer associated with the formation of the new regiment said: "This unit will be used primarily for intelligence gathering. The work will be dangerous, as it was in Northern Ireland, and operators will be taught how to protect themselves. The threat from Irish terror groups is far less now and although we will keep a presence in Ulster, it is time to use this force on a worldwide basis."

The Sunday Times reports:
"July 25, 2004
New elite force to combat Al-Qaeda
Adam Nathan and Tony Allen-Mills

The unit, nicknamed the �X-men�, has already begun recruiting and is expected eventually to comprise some 600 men and women from all three armed services and the intelligence agencies.

Particular efforts will be made to recruit people of Arabic appearance in addition to members of ethnic minority communities and Muslims. The unit would be expected to operate around the world as well as to counter the terrorism threat in Britain itself.

Much of the core of the unit will be made up of undercover surveillance operators who have honed their skills fighting terrorists in Northern Ireland.

More than 150 members of the 14th Intelligence and Security Company, have already left Northern Ireland and are forming the nucleus of the new unit.

The company was involved in the bugging of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, during the 1998 Good Friday peace negotiations.

Other Northern Ireland veterans who are experts at undermining terrorist groups using moles and informers are also likely to be recruited.

The move was hinted at in last week�s announcement by Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, on the restructuring of the armed forces. �We are increasing the strength of our special forces and investing in new equipment for them,� he said. "

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27 Comments

I read on the official Royal Marines website late last year,that a exclusively Royal Naval special forces unit,like the US Navy seals,was to be formed also. That in addition to the tripling in strenth of the Royal Marine Special Boat Squadron to form the Special Boat service. Also the Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre and 148 mektila battery RA and Spinx Battery RA ,and the force reconnaissance unit,in addition to 14 intelligence and security company, 21,22,23 SAS regiments.

Smilie, when did you read that about the new Royal Navy special forces unit?

my name is Js khan i am currently in training at the afc i want to go for the srr regiment i am highly eduacated in islamic studies, i did a 6 year islamic study course at an islamic school in dewsbury i can speak 5 different middle eastrn languages what are my chances of joining up?

You probably need SAS style fitness etc. as well as your language skills, given that it will be under the command of the Special Forces.

MOD Press Release announcing that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment is now operational from April 6th 2005

http://www.news.mod.uk/news_headline_story.asp?newsItem_id=3210

The Security Service MI5 are recruiting linguists:

http://www.mi5careers.co.uk/pages/jobs_linguists.asp

"So if you're a British Citizen, who speaks another language as your mother tongue, you could be helping to protect your own community.

Working with languages here involves listening to and translating a variety of spoken communications. You will also be adding your own insight on the political and cultural context. Right now we're particularly keen to talk to people who speak:

Sorani, Arabic, North African Arabic, Urdu,
Gujarati, Kurdish, Bengali, Fujianese, Tamil, Turkish, Persian, Pushtu.

We are also looking for people who have learnt one of these languages to degree level or equivalent.

You'll work in a team with others pooling your insight and knowledge to support specific investigations. We'll train you to use all the equipment in our Language Centre, but you will need to have a good command of written and spoken English"

i just realised you put my comments on the site have you got any more useful information on the new sr reg please and my fitness isnt of a very high standard so what would be my chances of joining given my islamic background?

Who knows ? Give it a try, they can only say no.

You might want to actually speak to someone involved with Army careers, rather than a privacy and civil liberties blog website.

You should also perhaps read the book "The Big Breach, from Top Secret to Maximum Security" by the ex- MI6 agent Richard Tomlinson, who was involved in SAS work before becoming an Arabic speaking MI6 Secret Service agent.

http://www.five.org.uk/security/mi6org/tomlinson.htm

You lot are unbelievable - do any of you actually have a clue about what you're talking about?? SAS this, 'MI6' that - get real!!

JIM x

Yes JIM, we do, but do you ?

im a poc for the royal marines, with the s.b.s being my first specialisation and i think that the lot of you need to grow up. none of you are in the special forces nor do you have the slightest clue about wat ure talking about. if you think yourselves that knowledgable then go and fucking join up {like me}, do your service and then ull realise wat rubbish you lot are polluting the internet with.
good day.

im a poc for the royal marines, with the s.b.s being my first specialisation and i think that the lot of you need to grow up. none of you are in the special forces nor do you have the slightest clue about wat ure talking about. if you think yourselves that knowledgable then go and fucking join up {like me}, do your service and then ull realise wat rubbish you lot are polluting the internet with.
good day.

@ "Lt" - we "heard" you the first 27 times

If you really are in the Special Forces, one would have thought that you would be more discreet.

Lt,
I find it extremely difficult to believe that someone who lacks even a basic grasp of the english language, as noticed from your spelling and grammar, would be accepted to the Royal Marines, let alone the SBS.
No more lies, thanks :)

@ Mike - there are lower standards of spelling and grammar online (we make mistakes all the time, which we do try to correct if they are noticed) e.g.

" e[E]nglish language, as [I] noticed from your spelling and grammar, would be accepted to[by] the Royal Marines"

8-)

I've found this page to be an interesting read. I'm not sure why certain people who have posted here have seen fit to either ridicule or attack the information submitted, because whether is "true" or "false"...lets face it, we the people are never going to really know!!

As for the gentleman who claims to be a member of the SBS, perhaps is the mis-information here is insulting to you, why not enlighten us as to what is really going on, etc....within reason of course!!

Guys

Just came across this site. I was a member of the DET in the 70's.

The description given to us was the thinking mans SAS.

We were trained by them but very definately were our own men.

The force was strong.

Dont be deceived.

DC

Wow. I'm an American, and was perusing various SBS-related sites when I landed here. My only comment is that you're all so polite, even when telling one another to go to H-E-double toothpicks. Go Brits!

Hello,
l was looking for a training course on spy/detective work and found your site. I am of North African appearance, physically super fit, and have my Master degree in Computer Arts.
I am 5' 6" size 6-8 (u.k dress size). I do not have any police or military training. However, l am interested in this line of work, as a service to my country, England. I am physically beautiful, mixed looking, jamaican parentage (3/4 African, 1/4 white european and a 1/16th indian. ) I can pass the physical tests and would fit in/pass with all communities without it being a problem. I have shoulder length mixed fibre hair, big smiles, and ready to start the training course offered and would pass the training at all levels. I am 39 years old looking closer to 28. My photo and cv WITH reference is available at your request.What do l do now to apply for the training course.
Kind Regards
sherron bloomfield
sherronb9x9@yahoo.co.uk

@ sherron - what training course do you think that this website is offering ??

hi,
i am a cpl in the royal marines, and again came across this site through interest in the sbs..i hope most people HAV spelling mistakes on the internet otherwise there far to dull, reading back to ensure no mistakes were made. on comment to you all

@ "very interesting" -
You will probably be interested in the announcement about the Special Forces Support Unit

http://www.spy.org.uk/spyblog/2006/04/special_forces_support_unit_wh.html

i am currently serving my 3rd year in the army and i am looking to a career move to the SRR. but i have no info on the recruiting or type of fittness i have to be at to be able to pass selection. has anyone got any info they could e-mail to me. it would be much appreciated. Thanks

Would like email from British SF Medics with OIF/OEF experience. I am setting up presentations at the Special Ops Med Association 2006 Conference in Tampa. Specifically looking for Combat Lessons Learned. Email to bobbittsh@earthlink.net please.
Thanks, Shain

I love "kill and tell" books. I read them for light comedy relief. I wouldn't trust much of that stuff, were I you, and I wouldn't be certain that you can 'choose' to join, no matter what anyone says. Especially when you're unprofessional enough to talk about it here. Ever think that the government may let this go on because it's good cover? Ever found an official army-owned SAS webpage? Seriously, think about it.

Hi troops - just found this site through looking for some info on JCUNI - some interesting but rather bitchy comments - after serving three years in 2 SCT I was looking for any other members plus some info on carrying on with that line of work here in the uk - any help

ta

braveheart3641@aol.com

Reaction Force South African defence force 1979. Does any body out there have interesting photo material or book recomendations on S.B.S Royal Marine Commandos. Also would like contact info from anyone who was in cyprus 1956.
Thank you.
Paul Prime

All i can say is if they start letting sum computer know it all army fags in the marines then im leaving

wtwu I find it interesting that as a Corp, in the Green machine you would be wasting your time looking for information on the SBS on the net, there are regular SF briefings for prospective recruits, also it's not like SBS guys are hard to find, go down to Poole you find them walking around like every other Commando, they even wear the same Beret and uniform as other commandos, from Marine to General, from Cook to helo pilot, the only difference is a small cuff badge bearing the title SC (swimmer canoiest) unlike the SAS who's entire No 1 dress uniform set's them apart from the rest of the army, the SBS are first amd formost commandos, assigned to special duties

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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

NuLabour

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

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

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

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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 and Security Committee - the supposedly independent Parliamentary watchdog which issues an annual, heavily censored Report every year or so. Currently chaired by the Conservative Sir Malcolm Rifkind. Why should either the intelligence agencies or the public trust this committee, when the untrustworthy ex-Labour Minister Hazel Blears is a member ?

Anti-terrorism hotline - links removed in protest at the Climate 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

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Secure Your Fertiliser - advice on ammonium nitrate and urea fertiliser security

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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."

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Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) recruitment.

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Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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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.

Foreign Spies / Intelliegence Agencies in the UK

It is not just the UK government which tries to snoop on British companies, organisations and individuals, the rest of the world is constantly trying to do the same, regardless of the mixed efforts of our own UK Intelligence Agencies who are paid to supposedly protect us from them.

For no good reason, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only keeps the current version of the London Diplomatic List of accredited Diplomats (including some Foreign Intelligence Agency operatives) online.

Presumably every mainstream media organisation, intelligence agency, serious organised crime or terrorist gang keeps historical copies, so here are some older versions of the London Diplomatic List, for the benefit of web search engine queries, for those people who do not want their visits to appear in the FCO web server logfiles or those whose censored internet feeds block access to UK Government websites.

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.

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

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

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

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

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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).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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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."

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

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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."

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

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No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

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I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

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Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

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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."

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

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WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers