MI5 / MI6 / GCHQ / CTIRU should positively deny any involvement in "Operation Cupcake" alleged cyber attack on "Inspire" magazine

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Last summer, there was a bit of fuss about about an alleged Al Quaeda associate produced glossy electronic magazine, called "Inspire", written in English, for the benefit of wannabe jihadi extremists in the USA and the UK etc, without arabic language skills.

This week, the Washington Post has repeated the story with the added twist of uncritically "crediting" British Intelligence with carrying out a stupid "cyber attack", which the US authorities had supposedly decided not to go ahead with.

List of cyber-weapons developed by Pentagon to streamline computer warfare

By Ellen Nakashima,
31 May 2011

[..]

Last year, for instance, U.S. intelligence officials learned of plans by an al-Qaeda affiliate to publish an online jihadist magazine in English called Inspire, according to numerous current and senior U.S. officials. And to some of those skilled in the emerging new world of cyber-warfare, Inspire seemed a natural target.

The head of the newly formed U.S. Cyber Command, Gen. Keith Alexander, argued that blocking the magazine was a legitimate counterterrorism target and would help protect U.S. troops overseas. But the CIA pushed back, arguing that it would expose sources and methods and disrupt an important source of intelligence. The proposal also rekindled a long-standing interagency struggle over whether disrupting a terrorist Web site overseas was a traditional military activity or a covert activity -- and hence the prerogative of the CIA.

The CIA won out, and the proposal was rejected. But as the debate was underway within the U.S. government, British government cyber-warriors were moving forward with a plan.

When Inspire launched on June 30, the magazine's cover may have promised an "exclusive interview" with Sheik Abu Basir al-Wahishi, a former aide to Osama bin Laden, and instructions on how to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom." But pages 4 through 67 of the otherwise slick magazine, including the bomb-making instructions, were garbled as a result of the British cyber-attack.

It took almost two weeks for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to post a corrected version, said Evan Kohlmann, senior partner at Flashpoint Global Partners, which tracks jihadi Web sites.

Mainstream media commentators and Twitterati have dubbed this as "Operation Cupcake", and have gleefully repeated and elaborated it, without bothering to analyse the story at all.

If this was a deliberate "cyber attack", then it was extremely inept.

  • Even the Washington Post article mentions that a corrected version of the .pdf file was being distributed after less than 2 weeks, so what exactly did this supposed "disruption" actually achieve ?

    Like most internet censorship, it has suffered from the
    Streisand effect. As a result of the publicity, many more people have now downloaded copies of Inspire magazine than ever would have bothered to otherwise.

    See Media Perpetuates Myths About "Virus Attack" on Inspire Magazine

    You can download copies of all 5 editions (so far) of "Inspire" magazine, as well as proof of the "Cupcake" corruption from the Public Intelligence website.

    They, like us, are also sceptical of the provenance of this magazine. It could so easily be some sort of scam perpetrated by one of the unscrupulous wannabe private sector "terrorist trackers" who provide convenient "evidence" in support of multi-billion dollar counter-terrorism budgets and repressive laws.

    Does Anyone Take These Al-Qaeda Magazines Seriously?

  • If "British intelligence" was involved in this alleged incident, then why was such an obviously American "Cupcake" recipe used as the criminal damage payload to corrupt the .pdf file ? Even the wikipedia entry for Cupcake recognises that these are called "Fairy Cakes" in the United Kingdom.

    Since "Inspire" magazine is supposedly aimed at internet self-radicalising wannabes in the United Kingdom and the USA etc, why would British intelligence use an American "joke" ?

  • British intelligence agencies i.e. GCHQ, MI5 the Security Service, MI6 the Secret Intelligence Service, the Metropolitan Police SO15 Counter Terrorism Command and the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, all claim to work within the law.

    The Police (but not the Intelligence Agencies) have legal powers to demand that an Internet Service Provider removes a file from a public website under the Terrorism Act 2006 section 3.

    The Intelligence agencies and the Police may have legal powers for Intrusive Surveillance involving otherwise illegal computer access ("hacking").under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

    None of them have any legal exemption from the Computer Misuse Act 1990, as amended by the Police and Justice Act 2006, to modify or corrupt any computer data:

    Unauthorised acts with intent to impair, or with recklessness as to impairing, operation of computer, etc.

    (c)to impair the operation of any such program or the reliability of any such data; or

    This offence is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and / or an unlimited fine.

  • The corrupted first edition of "Inspire" magazine contains not only the amateur pipe bomb "recipe", which is rather less sophisticated information than what you could pick up from watching episodes of US criminal forensics tv dramas like CSI or NCIS etc., but also some screenshots of a supposed "jihadist" data encryption program and a "public key":

    Al-Ekhlaas Network ASRAR El Moujahedeen V2.0 Public Key 2048 bit-

    This is encryption system is neither open source like GnuPG or PGP, nor is it compatible with them.

    There must be reasonable suspicion that this is a crude attempt to con wannabe jihadists into using an encryption system which can be read by someone else and which immediately self-incriminates a user of it as a"terrorist suspect".

  • The contact emails for "Inspire" magazine are all, suspiciously, only from entirely USA based free email providers: hotmail,com, gmail.com, fastmail.net and yahoo.com.

    Why would any Al Quaeda associated group choose to give the US authorities automatic access to their Communications Traffic Data (email addresses, IP addresses, web browser details , times and dates and amount of data transmitted etc.), even if the contents of emails are actually strongly encrypted ?

  • It is unclear if there was any "hacking" at all. Anyone could simply have seeded a corrupted / faked / amended copy of the Inspire magazine (.pdf) into a per to peer file sharing network e.g. using BitTorrent.

The British mainstream media has been busy publishing stupid, anonymous briefings from Whitehall officials which use the idiotic "neither confirm nor deny" formula, which, given the proven lies which it has been used to cover up in the past, is as good as an admission of guilt in the public mind.

However they cannot decide which branch of "British Intelligence" should be praised or blamed for "Operation Cupcake"

e.g. The Daily Telegraph claims it was MI6 the Secret intelligence Service

MI6 attacks al-Qaeda in 'Operation Cupcake'

British intelligence has hacked into an al-Qaeda online magazine and replaced bomb-making instructions with a recipe for cupcakes.

By Duncan Gardham, Security Correspondent

7:16PM BST 02 Jun 2011

[...]

A Pentagon operation, backed by Gen Keith Alexander, the head of US Cyber Command, was blocked by the CIA which argued that it would expose sources and methods and disrupt an important source of intelligence, according to a report in America.

However the Daily Telegraph understands an operation was launched from Britain instead.

Al-Qaeda was able to reissue the magazine two weeks later and has gone on to produce four further editions but one source said British intelligence was continuing to target online outlets publishing the magazine because it is viewed as such a powerful propaganda tool.

[...]

It is alarming how many of the hundreds of "news" stories on this topic around the world appear to be simply churnalism, blindly parroting the Daily Telegraph and its naming of MI6.

However, the Guardian claims it was GCHQ:

British intelligence used cupcake recipes to ruin al-Qaida website

GCHQ officers sabotaged online jihadist magazine in English as part of cyber war against terrorists

Richard Norton-Taylor, security editor
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 2 June 2011 19.40 BST

Whitehall sources have revealed that British intelligence officers successfully sabotaged the launch of the first English language website set up by an al-Qaida affiliate.

The officers, understood to be based at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, attacked an online jihadist magazine in English called Inspire, devised by supporters of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

A pdf file containing fairy cake recipes was inserted into Inspire to garble most of the 67 pages of the online magazine, including instructions on how to "Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom".

Though the authenticity of claims made about Inspire have been questioned, British security and intelligence sources say they believe the magazine, and the bomb-making instructions, were genuine.

The sabotage took place a year ago, following a dispute between agencies in the US about who should take on the role of attacking the Inspire website.

Publicising the achievement amounted to little more than a propaganda exercise - "just to let them know", as one British official put it on Thursday.

The Associated Press also goes for GCHQ and also seems to be be complicit in being briefed by anonymous government spokesmen, who cannot be challenged directly.:

British spies to terrorists: make cupcakes not war

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press - 03 June 2011

[...]

"We're increasingly using cybertools as part of our work," a British government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters said Friday, confirming that the Inspire magazine had been successfully attacked.

The hackers were reportedly working for Britain's eavesdropping agency, GCHQ, which has boosted its resources in the past several years.

[...]

But choosing to hack into al-Qaida-affiliated websites or other systems is also risky business for intelligence agencies. Infiltrating a site can often expose sources and methods, a second British official said, also speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss cybersecurity matters. He would not specify how Inspire was hacked.

British officials consider al-Qaida in the Arabian Pensinsula to be a significant threat to U.K. interests.

The local newspaper website This Is Gloucestershire, assumes that it must have been GCHQ in Cheltenham:

GCHQ staff replace bomb-making instructions with cupcake recipes

Saturday, June 04, 2011, 07:00

By emma tilley citizen.news@glosmedia.co.uk

[...]

A GCHQ spokesman said news of the operation was "pure speculation."

She said: "We cannot confirm or deny any of our operational capabilities."


This Cold War anonymous briefing nonsense is simply not good enough any more when dealing with internet stories from overseas.

Named official spokesmen either Home Office or Foreign Office officials or the Ministers who are supposedly elected to be accountable to the public for the actions of their bureaucrats, should be issuing a very firm denial of any British involvement in such a stupid plot.

The main reason for an unambiguous official denial should be the forthcoming terrorism trial of the Cardiff, London and Stoke on Trent plotters who were charged on 27th December 2010:

Nine Charged with conspiracy to cause explosions in the UK

[...]

ENGAGING IN CONDUCT IN PREPARATION FOR ACTS OF TERRORISM, contrary to section 5(1) of the Terrorism Act 2006.

PARTICULARS OF OFFENCE: on diverse days between the 1 day of October and 20 day of December 2010, with the intention of committing an act or acts of terrorism, engaged in conduct in preparation for giving effect to that intention, namely and including, downloading, researching, obtaining and discussing materials and methods; researching, discussing, carrying out reconnaissance on, and agreeing potential targets; travelling to and attending meetings; igniting and testing incendiary material.

Those charged with the above are:

Gurukanth Desai - aged 28 - of 89 Albert Street, Cardiff.
Omar Sharif Latif - aged 26 - of 28 Neville Street, Cardiff.
Abdul Malik Miah - aged 24 - of 138 Ninian Park Road, Cardiff.

Mohammed Moksudur Rahman Chowdhury - aged 20 - of 26 Stanliff House, Cassilis Road, London (E14).
Shah Mohammed Lutfar Rahman - aged 28 - of 64 St Bernard's Road, London.

Nazam Hussain - aged 25 - of 47 Grove Street, Stoke-on-Trent.
Usman Khan - aged 19 - of 4 Persia Walk, Stoke-on-Tent.
Mohibur Rahman - aged 26 - of 81 North Road, Stoke-on-Trent.
Abul Bosher Mohammed Shahjahan - aged 26 - of 9 Burmarsh Walk, Stoke-on-Trent.

Eye Spy magazine, whose mostly uncritical pro-intelligence agency and pro-police editorial viewpoint, seems to ensure that they are thrown various tidbits of information, report:

"MI5 Surveillance Success - Alleged terror plotters surveilled and targeted iconic buildings and symbols of London"

Eye Spy, Volume IX, Number Eight 2011 (issue 72) page 40

Other materials found in residences included an al-Qaida support journal called 'Inspire' that contained bomb-making instructions. The features included: 'How to make a pipe bomb in the kitchen of your mom'; 'What to expect in jihad' and 'Tips for brothers in the US'

Obviously the alleged British "Operation Cupcake" failed to prevent these plotters from getting hold of the full first edition of "Inspire" magazine with the full pipe bomb recipe.

Since no actual explosives or firearms or money etc. was found, this will be Yet Another Terrorism Thought Crime Trial, where, presumably one of the key bits of evidence will be the downloading and possession the alleged "Inspire" magazine.

If "British Intelligence" continue to simply "neither confirm nor deny" that they were involved in altering or faking this edition of "Inspire" magazine, then there is every chance that a judge and jury will believe that it has been planted by "British Intelligence", thereby prejudicing its use as evidence in the trial.

Unless the British Government explicitly denies any involvement in "Operation Cupcake", then Intelligence Agency witnesses will be subpoenaed to be cross examined in Court. The prosecution may then have to drop the charges, for fear of revealing intelligence "operational sources and methods".

8 Comments

Will academics and security researchers be harassed by the Kafkaesque authorities for possession or analysis of "Inspire" magazine in the same way as the ongoing scandal at Nottingham University which revolves around another widely available "handbook" issued by the US government ?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/jun/11/nottingham-university-secret-films-students

and

http://www.unileaks.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15:nottingham-university&catid=8:oplss&Itemid=38

Possession of "Inspire magazine" now seems to be the UK authorities' favourite Thought Crime tool used to charge people who do not have any access to real firearms or explosives etc. under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58 collection of information

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/29/radical-muslim-bilal-ahmad-jailed

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3718672/Two-German-Islamic-converts-were-caught-with-bomb-making-instructions-gun-manuals-and-jihad-magazines-as-they-entered-Britain-court-hears.html

None of the "Open Source Jihad" articles in this glossy English language propaganda machine are anywhere near as detailed or useful to terrorists as , for example, the Europe 2083 manifesto published by the Norwegian mass murderer of children etc.. copies of which are to be found now in every mainstream media organisation or university or police force etc.

This seems to contain the evil child murderer's detailed practical experience of obtaining and converting inert agricultural ammonium nitrate fertiliser prills into an IRA style ANFO car bomb, with a detonator made (after a lot of time consuming bu simple steps, only using basic lab equipment) from asprin, battery acid, meat preservative etc.

His car bomb killed 7 people, but his semi-automatic firearms attack on unarmed children killed 10 times as many.

Will "Inspire magazine" be the main or even the only item of "evidence" in this case:

http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2011/08/cps-diary-week-of-22-august.html

Wednesday

Committal hearing for German nationals Christian Emde and Robert Baum at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, charged with possessing information likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

(spelling of "Emde" corrected from "Edme")

Was it also involved in the case on Monday ?

Monday

[...]

First hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court for Mohammed and Shasta Khan of Oldham, Greater Manchester, accused of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Will "Inspire magazine" be the main or even the only item of "evidence" in this case:

http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2011/08/cps-diary-week-of-22-august.html

Wednesday

Committal hearing for German nationals Christian Edme and Robert Baum at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, charged with possessing information likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Was it also involved in the case on Monday ?

Monday

[...]

First hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court for Mohammed and Shasta Khan of Oldham, Greater Manchester, accused of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Will "Inspire magazine" be the main or even the only item of "evidence" in this case:

http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2011/08/cps-diary-week-of-22-august.html

Wednesday

Committal hearing for German nationals Christian Edme and Robert Baum at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, charged with possessing information likely to be useful to someone committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

Was it also involved in the case on Monday ?

Monday

[...]

First hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court for Mohammed and Shasta Khan of Oldham, Greater Manchester, accused of engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism.

Inspire Magazine terrorism thought crime case ?

http://blog.cps.gov.uk/2011/09/diary-week-of-26-september.html

Monday 26th September 2011:

German nationals Christian Emde and Richard Baume appear at the Old Bailey charged with terrorism offences.

The BBC reports on the terrorism thought crimecase at the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court) in London today:

26 September 2011 Last updated at 14:16

German pair to face Old bailey terror trial

Two German nationals have appeared at the Old Bailey accused of having terrorist materials.

Christian Emde, 28, and Robert Baum, 23, both Muslim converts, were arrested in July entering the UK at Dover port.

They were charged with having material which could be of use in terrorism on a computer and a hard-drive.

They are due to reappear in court in December to enter a plea, and were remanded in custody to face trial in February next year.

Mr Emde was further charged with four similar offences under the Terrorism Act involving articles with titles such as "Destroying buildings" and "Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom".

Neither Mr Emde, of Konrad Adenauer Strasse, Solingen, Germany, nor Mr Baum, of Peter-Rasspe Strasse, Solingen, stood for the judge at the Old Bailey.

"Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" sounds suspiciously like the amateur pipe bomb illustrated "recipe" in the edition of "Inspire Magazine" which was subjected to electronic tampering in "Operation Cupcake".

Presumably by not entering a plea and by showing disrespect to the Judge, they are trying to convince themselves that they are somehow being martyred for their new found religious faith.

Why are the UK authorities wasting taxpayers' money on high security prison and a criminal trial ? They could easily have been deported back to Germany, since there obviously no actual physical evidence of them having access to money, or to real weapons or explosives etc.and there is no evidence that they were even intending to come to stay in the UK.

The two German muslim converts have been convicted of Thought Crime:

Germans jailed over UK terror offences

6 February 2012 Last updated at 17:48

[...]

Emde admitted four counts of having documents that were likely to be useful for terrorism and was jailed for 16 months, minus 193 days he has already spent in custody.

Baum admitted one similar charge and was jailed for 12 months. The prosecution said his document was at the lower scale of extremist literature.

The men were found carrying 2,968 euros (£2,467) which Judge Rook said should be paid towards the prosecution costs.

The documents they were carrying were electronic copies of Inspire magazine, an English publication launched by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

[...]

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse said Emde did not appear to be planning any terrorism himself, but given the amount of material on his hard drive, he did have more than a "casual interest" in the subject

Ms Whitehouse said the material the men had was hosted on websites based in the US and nobody in Germany had, thus far, been prosecuted for having it in their possession.

What are the chances that if these two have not already been approached by various German and foreign intelligence agencies, attempts will be made to try to recruit them as undercover CHIS / Agents Provocateurs, who now have the "street cred" of a (short) Terrorism Conviction on their records.

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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.

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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)

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

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Naked Spygirl - Olivia Frank

Blog Links

e-nsecure.net 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 Euro-correspondent.com journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
Longrider
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
Murky.org
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

War-on-Freedom

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.

Shaphan

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

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

Ralph Bendrath

Financial Cryptography - Ian Grigg et al.

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

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

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

"Give 'em hell Pike!" - Frank Fisher

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

geeklawyer - intellectual property, civil liberties and the legal system

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

Charlie's Diary - Charlie Stross

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

Famous for 15 Megapixels

Postman Patel

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

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

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

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

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

Matt Wardman political blog analysis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No CCTV - The Campaign against CCTV

Barcode Nation - keeping two eyes on the database state.

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

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

Justin Wylie's political blog

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Links

Spam Huntress - The Norwegian Spam Huntress - Ann Elisabeth

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

Cool Britannia

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

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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