Recently in Detainee Inquiry - Torture Category

Spy Blog has re-submitted our FOIA Request which was refused over 6 months ago, on the grounds of imminent publication.

Cabinet Office - 6 F Off IA exemptions not to publish Detainee (Torture) Inquiry Interim Report requested back in December 2012..

Still no Detainee (Torture) Inquiry interim report over a year after submission to Downing Street

The process of clearing the report for publication has taken longer than envisaged, but it is important for the Government to be able to publish as full an accounting of the Inquiry's work as possible, without compromising national security and consistent with its legal obligations. Discussions with the Inquiry about clearing the report for publication are nearing a conclusion and it is hoped that the Government will be in a position to publish as full a version of their report as possible in the autumn, although no date has been set.

" in the autumn, although no date has been set."

It is now over 3 years since Prime Minister David Cameron announced the the setting up of Detainee Inquiry on 6th July 2010

It took a year for the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry to be produced and it only worked for about 6 months before being abandoned.

It then took another 6 months to produce the Interim Report, which has now been delayed / suppressed for another year.

Given that the Detainee Inquiry had hardly got into the detail of any investigations into the allegations of UK government complicity in the use of torture i.e. there had been no public witness evidence sessions etc., the Interim Report is likely to be quite content free, especially after the boycott by civil liberties and human rights organisations and the lawyers of some of the alleged victims of such torture..

Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson, the retired High Court Judge who served as the RIPA Intelligence Services Commissioner, was presumably chosen to chair the Detainee Inquiry partty because of his experience in producing already self censored public reports, with confidential annexes for the Prime Minister. It is inconceivable that he would have put anything into the report which would have damaged national security tactical operations or confidential sources, so what, apart from political complicity, is there to censor ?

We would have liked to have seen our suggestions for witness anonymity and the promises from the Cabinet Office, the Attorney General and the heads of the Intelligence Agencies regarding immunity from prosecutions or disciplinary procedures for insider witnesses or whistleblowers who might have evidence about which the senior management of the Intelligence Agencies may have been unaware.

Witness but not whistleblower protection for the Detainee Inquiry into torture complicity of MI5, SIS, GCHQ

There is also the question of immunity of the Inquiry itself from being targeted by the Intelligence Agencies or their foreign based colleagues, to try to identify and neutralise or counter-spin any whistleblower evidence being considered by the Inquiry in private.

Given the recent revelations about NSA and GCHQ bulk snooping on transatlantic fibre optic cables, any future Inquiry must get explicit written promises that they will not be targeted for interception or Communications Data / Metadata analysis..

This is vital if there is to be, as promised, a future Inquiry into these torture allegations, which will face the same problems of credibility and excessive secrecy s the abandoned Detainee Inquiry.

Remember that since the original allegations of complicity in torture, highlighted by the Binyam Mohamed case, the Government has passed the Justice and Security Act 2013, which introduced Closed Material Procedure into civil cases, which has both pros and cons.

More importantly, they have nobbled Norwich Pharmacal Orders via section 17 of that Act.

It is now impossible to see how the revelations of rendition / kidnapping and torture in the Binyam Mohamed civil case, which saw former and current Secret intelligence Service officers having to give evidence (from behind a screen) in a civil court, could now take place, so one of the main possible reasons for the deliberate delays in the Detainee Inquiry would seem to have been removed i.e. the fear of another such court case

However the fall of the evil Libyan dictator Gaddaffi, also led to the some prima facie evidence of even more MI6 and other UK Government complicity in kidnapping and torture, something which the Detainee Inquiry noted but did nothing about..

Since the Detainee Inquiry obviously did not actually get around to investigating the Libya allegations, it is very puzzling what exactly there could be in this interim report, which is taking the Cabinet Office so long to censor.

If there really is nothing for the UK Intelligence Services to hide with respect to complicity in torture, then these delays are actually damaging to national security, because the public at home and abroad will be naturally suspicious of the activities of British intelligence agencies.

If there is something to hide, then the Coalition Government must show themselves to be strong enough to denounce and prosecute all of those involved, no matter how senior or distinguished. They should punish the securocrat bureaucracy to prevent it from happening again..


The Detainee Inquiry, headed by Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson, was supposed to have investigated the allegations of complicity in torture and "extraordinary rendition", by the British government, especially its secret intelligence agencies - MI5 Security Service, SIS Secret Intelligence Service, GCHQ and possibly DIS the Defence Intelligence Staff.

However the Detainee Inquiry has been shut down before it even got started formally, even after 18 months delay, supposedly because of the suspiciously lengthy and ineffective Metropolitan Police Service and Crown Prosecution Service investigations into old allegations and the effect of the "smoking gun" documentary evidence discovered in Libya last autumn.

In order to probe exactly how potential witnesses and whistleblowers to the Detainee Inquiry might be protected from vengeful secret bureaucrats, Spy Blog requested, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the full, detailed text of the latest draft(s) (or the final version) of the promised undertakings from the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services.

These Undertakings were promised by Prime Minister David Cameron when he set up the Detainee Inquiry over 18 months ago: The Prime Minister's Letter to Sir Peter Gibson 06 July 2010 (.pdf)

See the Spy Blog - FOIA request blog for the text of these FOIA disclosures:

Detainee Inquiry "undertakings" by the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary

Attorney General's Office disclosure

Attorney_General_to_Detainee_Inquiry_03Nov2011.pdf

This seems to be a reasonable level of legal immunity, especially for criminal offences which the Attorney General himself decides whether to prosecute or not e.g. Official Secrets Act cases.

The Detainee Inquiry is not a Tribunal or Court of Law (despite being chaired by a retired senior Judge) and it was not set up as an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 and so it has no legal power to compel any witnesses to give evidence,

How can it can enforce any prosecutions for giving, or conspiring to give it any "false evidence", which the Attorney General's undertaking explicitly does not give immunity for ?

Cabinet Office disclosure

Sir_Gus_O_Donnell_letter_21Nov2011.pdf

As expected by Spy Blog, the Cabinet Office letter by the then Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell (now Lord O'Donnell of Clapham) and its "overarching principles" seem suitable for protecting witnesses who are current or former intelligence agency staff members who espouse the official line e.g. by treating evidence given within the Terms of Reference of the Detainee Inquiry, as having been given "lawful authority" for the purposes of the Official Secrets Act 1989 section 7 Authorised disclosures

However the letter does not really provide the necessary guarantees for any whistleblowers who might contradict their current or former bosses.

Neither is it clear what whistleblower guarantees the vast array of private military contractors, defence industry suppliers and sub-contractors etc. who are not civil servants, but who will fear that their security clearances and government contracts could be at risk if they make allegations, or provide evidence which contradicts the official intelligence agency briefing positions, which those agencies might have provided to the Detainee Inquiry or which they might do so to a future inquiry.

There is no explicit prohibition on using the self authorised legal powers, human and technological resources available to each intelligence agency, to prevent them from snooping on the members and staff of the Detainee Inquiry itself (and their friends and families), so as to try to obtain advance notice of the identities of potential whistleblowers and the information or evidence which they might be offering to the Detainee Inquiry.

Spy Blog correspondence with the Detainee Inquiry

Spy Blog letter to the Detainee Inquiry re: lack of whistleblower anonymity protection and immunity from prosecution - August 2011

Reply from the Detainee Inquiry, regarding anonymity protection for whistleblowers, surveillance targeting against the Inquiry itself etc. - September 2011

After faffing around for over 4 years, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Metropolitan Police Service have decided not to charge anyone at MI5 the Security Service or SIS the Secret Intelligence Service in the cases of two people who have made allegations of complicity in torture against them.

Their joint statement does not "clear" the officers and agencies concerned of any wrongdoing, which is the propaganda line being spun by say , the Daily Telegraph, it just says that the CPS feels that there is insufficient evidence for the likely prospect of a criminal conviction.


Joint statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Metropolitan Police Service

12/01/2012

This is a joint statement by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) dealing with:

(a) the decisions of the CPS not to charge any named individuals in relation to the investigations in Operations Hinton and Iden;

(b) the setting up of an advisory panel for scoping other complaints about ill-treatment by detainees in similar circumstances; and

(c) the decision by the MPS whether to investigate two further cases where allegations of criminal wrongdoing are raised in relation to the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya.

[...]

All concerned have been mindful of the obligation that allegations such as those made in Operations Hinton and Iden must be investigated thoroughly and in accordance with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights is very short and all encompassing:

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Operation Hinton involved the investigation of the alleged involvement of British officials in the ill-treatment and torture of Mr Binyam Mohamed when he was detained in Pakistan between about April and July 2002 and/or when he was detained elsewhere between about July 2002 and early 2004.

Mr Mohamed has never alleged that any member of either the Security Service or the Secret Intelligence Service was directly involved in the torture and ill-treatment he alleges. The investigation has therefore focused on whether there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of convicting any member of either Service for offences of aiding and abetting torture, aiding and abetting war crimes and misconduct in public office.

[...]

However, the CPS has also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to prove to the standard required in a criminal court that any identifiable individual provided information to the US authorities about Mr Mohamed or supplied questions for the US authorities to put to Mr Mohamed, or was party to doing so, at a time when he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk that Mr Mohamed would be exposed to ill treatment amounting to torture.

"he or she knew or ought to have known that there was a real or serious risk"

The Crown Prosecution Service appear to be completely out of touch with reality, again.

Intelligence Agencies not only ought to have known exactly which countries and state agencies use torture, but they ought to know exactly where the torture chambers are located and the identities of the torturers and their superiors, because they should be hunting them down, instead of helping them.

If the Intelligence Agencies are claiming to be somehow ignorant of this, then MI5 or SiS officers and their superiors, should be charged with Misconduct in Public Office,
for "wilful neglect or misconduct", since everyone within the UK Intelligence Agencies is supposed to be aware that "torture" or "inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" is utterly wrong.

Any investigation of the Libyan allegations , which Sir Peter Gibson's Detainee Inquiry had already promised to look into back in September 2011, are now in danger of being spun out for another 4 years by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Ploddingly and bureaucratically, they have announced that they have set up "an advisory panel" to decide whether they should investigate these claims or not. Why have they not already started to investigate before Christmas 2011 ?

Statement by the Inquiry, January 12, 2012

[...]

Following the advice of the joint advisory Crown Prosecution Service and Metropolitan Police Panel, the Metropolitan Police has decided that the allegations raised in the two specific cases concerning the alleged rendition of named individuals to Libya and the alleged ill-treatment of them in Libya are so serious that it is in the public interest for them to be investigated rather than at the conclusion of the Detainee Inquiry.

The Detainee Inquiry Panel will now carefully consider its next steps and the Chairman of the Panel, Sir Peter Gibson, will make an announcement in due course.

Surely it is possible for the Detainee Inquiry to proceed in parallel with any Police investigation ? If they wait for every investigation and court case to finish, before they get formally started, then they might as well all resign now.

Were these kidnappings of individuals and families, none of whom were terrorists who posed a threat to the UK and their "extraordinary rendition" into the hands of torturers in the USA, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco, Jordan, Egypt or Libya etc.
sanctioned by Labour government Ministers under the Intelligence Services Act 1994, section 7 Authorisation of acts outside the British Islands ?

Will Tony Blair and his henchmen like Jack Straw and David Blunkett, try and divert responsibility for British complicity in torture by blaming their civil servant officials instead ?

The Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government's hands are not entirely clean either, given that only last year, they firstly accepted the defection of
Moussa Koussa from the Gadaffi regime in Libya and then let him go freely out of their custody. There are plenty of allegations around of his personal involvement in political assassinations, massacres and torture as head of the Libyan intelligence bureaucracy, whose abandoned offices have yielded prima facie evidence of such complicity.

It is now over 18 months since the Detainee Inquiry was set up and the promise Undertakings to protect witnesses or whistleblowers from prosecution and / or disciplinary action have still not been agreed or published

Spy Blog has raised with the Detainee Inquiry, the question of Communications data snooping, Interception of Communications and Intrusive Surveillance and recruitment of Confidential Human Intelligence Sources i.e. routine Intelligence Agencies powers and techniques, which could easily be aimed at members and staff of the Detainee Inquiry and their families and friends, by one or all of the intelligence Agencies, trying to identify potential or actual whistleblowers who may not be adhering to the official party line. The self justification for doing so will be on the nebulous grounds of "national security" - to determine if anyone willing to talk, even in secret, to the Detainee Inquiry about the deeds or misdeeds of their colleagues or superiors be trusted any more.

See the previous Spy Blog article: Reply from the Detainee Inquiry, regarding anonymity protection for whistleblowers, surveillance targeting against the Inquiry itself etc.

Were the Metropolitan Police and Crown Prosecution Service teams working on investigations Operation Hinton and Operation Iden targeted in this way ? Given the 4 years it took them to fail to find sufficient evidence and the number of people they were not allowed to interview, it may well be that the Intelligence Agencies were always one step ahead of the investigators, perhaps through the use of such surveillance techniques.

Will the Metropolitan Police investigation into the Libyan allegations, if it ever goes ahead, also be so targeted by the Intelligence Agencies ?

Remember that individual Police officers and investigation teams have, according to evidence given to the Leveson Inquiry, been targeted by News of the World and / or other journalists and private investigators, including the team investigating Downing Street complicity in the "cash for honours" scandal headed by the now politically disgraced Assistant Commissioner John Yates.

It is therefore not fanciful to assume that people within the UK Intelligence Agencies with these secret surveillance powers will use them, or will get their US or European sister intelligence agencies to do so on their behalf against such torture investigations, unless expressly and publicly forbidden to do so .

Any such ban must be public, so that the companies and staff working in telecommunications, internet and postal communications services can recognise illegal requests for Communications Data or the contents of communications and refuse to accede to them.

It is ironic that the person to whom complaints about such abuses of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 by the Intelligence Agencies, if they exist, is the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the post held by Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson until he resigned it early in his tenure to devote himself to the Detainee Inquiry.

The current Intelligence Services Commissioner is Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller - see the previous Spy Blog article: Intelligence Services Commissioner, Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller appointed early, announced late


If you are a potential or actual whistleblower, working in the United Kingdom intelligence services, who had information regarding involvement in torture, which might contradict what the senior managers and officials who will be appearing before Sir Peter Gibson's Detainee Inquiry, would you be satisfied with the assurances given below ?

Would you risk your career or life, or those of your family and friends, on such such assurances ?

See our previous blog article of the 11th August 2011, before the revelations from Libya: Spy Blog letter to the Detainee Inquiry re: lack of whistleblower anonymity protection and immunity from prosecution

The Detainee Inquiry
35 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BQ
Telephone: 020 7276 5544


From the Secretary to the Inquiry

13 September 2011

[name]
Spyblog
Via E-mail [email address]

LACK OF ANONYMITY PROTECTION FOR POTENTIAL OR ACTUAL WHISTLEBLOWERS TO THE DETAINEE INQUIRY.

Thank you for your e-mail to Sir Peter Gibson on behalf of Spyblog and its readership, in reference to the provisions of anonymity protection for whistleblowers and a number of issues related to the Inquiry's work. I am responding on Sir Peter's behalf.

The Inquiry takes the welfare and safety of any witnesses who provide evidence to us very seriously. The Inquiry's Protocol (available on our website) makes clear that witnesses may provide evidence to the Inquiry in private if the Inquiry believes that there is a good reason for them to do so.This is designed to ensure both the welfare and safety of witnesses by the protection of their identity, and the provision of full and frank evidence to the Inquiry. Any request by a witness to appear in private will be given careful consideration by the Panel. By way of further reassurance, the only people present during private hearings will be the witness and any one person they choose to accompany them, the panel, Counsel to the Inquiry, members of the Inquiry staff and contracted stenographers with the appropriate security clearance (see paragraph 37 of the Protocol). Should we find it necessary to seek further information from a Department or Agency as a result of evidence given by a witness, we would not reveal the source of the information leading to the request. We believe that the current measures are sufficient at this stage to protect the anonymity of whistleblowers or anyone else who has good reason to give evidence in private, but we will keep this under review

As you have identified, the Prime Minister stated in his letter of the 6 July 2010 to Sir Peter Gibson that 'the Attorney General has agreed to provide an undertaking that evidence given by witnesses may not be used against them in criminal proceedings, whether their evidence is given in public, private or both (other than in proceedings where he or she is charged with giving false evidence or conspiring to do so in the course of this Inquiry)' We are currently liaising with the Attorney General's office on producing a comprehensive undertaking which we are confident will address the concerns you have around potential prosecution of whistleblowers under legislation such as the Official Secrets Act. We hope to receive a final version of the undertaking soon and will then publish it on our website as you suggest. We will then confirm with the Cabinet Secretary and the Heads of the intelligence services their analogous undertakings to staff in respect of disciplinary proceedings based on the evidence provided, this was also set out in the Prime Minister's letter.

You raise an important point about assurances from the UK Intelligence Agencies in respect of their cooperating with the Inquiry. We have been assured by the Prime Minister that we will receive full co-operation from the Government and its Security and Intelligence Agencies. The Inquiry believes that this would cover all of the activities you have mentioned, as the type of behaviour you have explained regarding the Agencies deploying surveillance techniques on the Inquiry's Staff or asking Agencies in other countries to do likewise would go against this assurance of full cooperation.

Thank you for your recommendation in reference to encryption of the website to allow for individuals to submit evidence while protecting their identity. We continue to review our website and its security and will consider the points you have raised.

Finally on the important point in reference to ensuring that redactions placed on documents cannot be removed, the Inquiry takes its obligation to redact sensitive material, including individuals' personal details where they must be kept private, very seriously and are mindful of this risk. We shall, of course, do everything we can to ensure that this situation does not arise.

Yours Sincerely,

Alun Evans

With your help and feedback (either in the comments or via encrypted email, ideally using Tor or other IP Address obfuscation techniques) we will respond to the Detainee Inquiry, to press them further about the points in our Letter which they did not properly answer.

N.B. there are only a couple of working days left before the Attorney General and the Cabinet Secretary must reply to our Freedom of Information Act Requests for the promised Undertakings:


The Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson
c/o Secretariat
The Detainee Inquiry
35 Great Smith Street
London
SW1A 3BQ

Dear Sir Peter,

Please accept my apologies for this rather long email, but the issues it raises are of critical importance to the Detainee Inquiry.

I am writing to you on behalf of Spy Blog and its readership, which includes many people within the privacy and human rights audience and also people within the UK Government and Intelligence Agencies, as well as Foreign Governments and their Intelligence Agencies.

Spy Blog has been very critical of your (and your predecessors') Annual Reports as the appointed Intelligence Services Commissioners under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

However, unlike some trained lawyers, human rights activists and even former British Ambassadors, we do *completely understand the constraints placed upon you by the relevant sections of the Act* and cannot believe that you are likely to have come across anything directly relevant to your current chairmanship of the Detainee Inquiry, which would question your independence and honesty.

Unfortunately, the Detainee Inquiry Protocol, which you have agreed with senior Government Civil Servants, is all very well for protecting senior managers and officials of the UK Intelligence Agencies from embarrassment or the threats of prosecution.

However, it is is totally inadequate, if you put yourself in the shoes of a potential whistleblower e.g a junior official or sub-contractor to the Intelligence Agencies, whose testimony might contradict the official corporate line, which the senior managers and officials of those Intelligence Agencies have been briefed with.

Currently, there is basically no Whistleblower Anonymity Protection offered by your Detainee Inquiry at all.

Therefore, no matter what evidence or testimony you hear in public or private and no matter what your public report actually says, the Detainee Inquiry will inevitably be portrayed as a coverup and whitewash - trust us on this - we have a lot of experience in dealing with conspiracy theorists.

Perhaps there are no real whistleblowers, with "smoking gun" evidence which would have a major effect on your Inquiry, but you cannot be sure that story you are hearing from the senior officials and managers of the intelligence agencies is actually completely true - they may themselves have been deceived by their subordinates.

However, if, as you claim, your Detainee Inquiry is really independent of Government, you must be seen to make every effort to encourage and protect even a single potential whistleblower.

Spy Blog would like to see you publish, on your public website, your requests / demands to those people mentioned in the Prime Minister David Cameron's letter of over a year ago, setting out the Terms of reference for your Detainee Inquiry i.e. the detailed Undertakings by the Cabinet Office and the Intelligence Agency chiefs and the Attorney General.

We also expect that the Advocate General for Scotland, the Rt. Hon. the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, should also re-iterate the promises of immunity from prosecution which the Attorney General for England and Wales and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland, the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP, should by now have made, bearing in mind the slight differences in the relevant Scottish legislation.

Potential Whistleblowers

Spy Blog can "neither confirm nor deny" that we are in contact with potential whistleblowers within the Intelligence Agencies, who may or may not, be considering contacting the Detainee Inquiry.

Such whistleblowers may very well suggest lines of inquiry, or name specific documents or witnesses, which the Detainee Inquiry would be unprofessional not to pursue.

However, your published Protocol for the Detainee Inquiry is very obviously flawed, if you put yourself in the position of a potential whistleblower

There is one oblique reference to potential whistleblowers:.

Paragraph 34

"c) would giving evidence in private ensure the witness's welfare, security or freedom to speak frankly, for example in the case of junior staff who may wish to give evidence that runs counter to that of others?"

The Protocol does *not* provide any practical promises of whistleblower immunity from prosecution.

Just as important is the concept of "giving evidence in private". The Protocol may well suffice for hiding their testimony from the public and the mainstream media, but it does nothing to protect whistleblower or just potential whistleblowers, from identification and persecution by their colleagues and senior managers, cloaked under the veil of "national security" secrecy.

You need to give an explicit, absolute guarantee to potential whistleblowers, that you will *never* consult with members of the intelligence agencies about their potential or actual testimony or documentary evidence.

Publish all of the detailed Undertakings regarding criminal prosecution or internal discipline

The Detainee Inquiry should publish detailed copies of the "undertakings" promised in the Prime Minister David Cameron's letter of 6th July 2010 setting out the terms of reference for the Inquiry, especially:

"The Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services will require staff in their departments and agencies to cooperate fully with the inquiry and expect them to cooperate with the Inquiry's requests for oral evidence. The Attorney General has agreed to provide an undertaking that evidence given by witnesses may not be used against them in criminal proceedings, whether their evidence is given in public, private or both (other than in proceedings where he or she is charged with giving false evidence or conspiring to do so in the course of this Inquiry). The Cabinet Secretary and heads of the intelligence services will set out analogous undertakings to staff in respect of disciplinary proceedings based on their evidence, whether public or private. "

i.e. at least 8 written undertakings need to be published from:

1) Attorney General for England and Wales and the Advocate General for Northern Ireland: the Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP

a) The Attorney General needs to clearly state that the Prime Minister's Letter of 6th July 2010 and the promised undertakings made by

"The Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services"

constitute "official authorisation" and "lawful authority" under the

Official Secrets Act 1989 section 7 Authorised disclosures.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1989/6/section/7

for the disclosure of any Official Secrets or Information via Questions, Statements, Evidence or Oral Testimony etc. offered to the Detainee Inquiry.

Such leaked documents or other tipoffs from insiders, may help to guide the Detainee Inquiry to demand documents or computer files or human witnesses etc., which even some of the senior management of the intelligence agencies may have been deliberately kept unaware of.

This legal immunity should be regardless of whether Detainee Inquiry evidence is published in public or kept private and must apply to any current or former member of the intelligence agencies, any other current or former Crown servant, or any other current or former Notified Government Contractor etc.

b) Since the Detainee Inquiry is not a court of law or a tribunal or an inquiry set up under the Inquiries Act 2005 and therefore has no criminal sanctions or immunity from prosecution, the Attorney General also needs to give a public undertaking, exempting the Detainee Inquiry members, staff , sub-contractors, witnesses and whistleblowers etc. from prosecution under the controversial

Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A.Eliciting, publishing or communicating information about members of armed forces etc
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/11/section/58A

which requires his consent for prosecutions.

This specifically covers "attempting to elicit" information about current or former members of the armed forces, the intelligence service or police constables.

This even applies to those who have been criminally convicted, fired in disgrace or forced to retire, for breaches of security or corruption etc.

This obviously could apply to the Detainee Inquiry, as you will inevitably be "attempting to elicit" information about the identities of current or former Intelligence Agency staff, regardless of whether or not you actually publish any such information.

There is a statutory defence of having a "reasonable excuse", but that can only come into play after the modern day executive punishment ordeal of Arrest, Fingerprinting, DNA sampling, charging, Bail / Remand and a court appearance. Any arrest under Terrorism legislation, does permanent damage to one's reputation, regardless of whether there is ever an actual charge, let alone a conviction, because of the immediate knock on effect this as you are automatically and permanently put onto international travel and financial watchlists and databases and you remain the collective online memory of internet search engines, around the world.

The threat posed by this legislation could easily be used to harass and obstruct members of the Detainee Inquiry or their staff etc, given that they are certain to be asking about current or former members of the intelligence agencies and / or the armed forces and that whistleblower evidence or testimony may include such information, regardless of whether it is eventually redacted or censored in the final Detainee Inquiry report.

Therefore the Attorney General should prevent the chilling effect of this law from hindering the Detainee Inquiry by clearly undertaking, in public, not to allow any prosecutions under the Terrorism Act 2000 section 58A, which might conceivably arise.

c) Potential whistleblowers may currently have, or may formerly have had, access to information gathered under the

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
Intelligence Services Act 1994
Security Service Act 1989
Police Act 1997 part III
etc.

Such legislation could prevent them from communicating relevant information to the Detainee Inquiry e.g. under RIPA section 19 the disclosure of the mere existence of Interception warrants, or RIPA section 54 the tipping off offences regarding demands for cryptographic keys etc ,

The Attorney General's public undertakings must make them exempt them from prosecution in relation to the Detainee Inquiry, in the public interest.

d) The various inchoate offences of conspiracy to breach the Acts mentioned above, should also be suspended in respect to the Detainee Inquiry and potential witnesses or whistleblowers

There must be no doubt at all in the minds of any potential whistleblowers or witnesses, that they will not ever be arrested or charged, let alone prosecuted, for making any whistleblower disclosures or leaks to the Detainee Inquiry.


2) Advocate General for Scotland The Rt. Hon. the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC

He must publish the same undertakings not to prosecute under the legal system in Scotland, where it differs slightly from that in England and Wales or Northern Ireland, for example the

Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2000/11/contents

3) Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell GCB

4) Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 Sir John Sawers KCMG

5) Director General of the Security Service MI5 Jonathan Evans

6) Director General of GCHQ Iain Lobban CB

7) Chief of Defence Intelligence, Air Marshal Christopher Nickols, CB CBE


These officials must make it clear that the Detainee Inquiry itself i.e. the members, secretariat staff, sub-contractors and all their their families and friends, must *not* be subjected to the powerful techniques of surveillance, which the Intelligence Agencies routinely deploy every day.


"Don't ask / don't tell about contact with the Detainee Inquiry" and Developed Vetting Security Clearance interviews

These officials also need to publish instructions for a "don't ask / don't tell" policy about attempted or actual contact with the Detainee Inquiry by potential or actual whistleblowers and any future Developed Vetting interviews or forms, for current or future staff

If the Detainee Inquiry does somehow manage to preserve the anonymity of any intelligence agency whistleblower sources, there must be a clear "don't ask, don't tell" policy for when intelligence agency staff next undergo their periodic Developed Vetting security clearance interviews.

They should never be asked whether they tried to contact the Detainee Inquiry or not.

No shame or blame should be attached to those officials who do choose to testify to the Detainee Inquiry in public or in private, regardless of how politically embarrassing that might be to their colleagues or superiors.

This "don't ask, don't tell about the Detainee Inquiry" policy needs to apply to both the current Developed Vetting (DV) interviews and forms handled by each of the intelligence agencies themselves and also to any future DV interviews conducted by the Defence Vetting Agency etc., when personnel move jobs to other intelligence agencies or government departments or private sector contractors or consultancies and vice versa.

Therefore, in addition, you need to publish a written undertaking from the

8) Chief Executive of the Defence Vetting agency - Jacky Ridley,

that the Defence Vetting agency will also operate the "don't ask, don't tell about the Detainee Inquiry" policy, when they conduct Developed Vetting interviews with former intelligence agency staff moving to other Government departments or List X private sector companies etc.

Get assurances that the Detainee Inquiry itself will never be treated as a national security investigation target

Some people within the UK Intelligence Agencies will inevitably take the view, that anybody cooperating with the Detainee Inquiry, will have broken the internal code of honour / "omerta" and can therefore not be trusted with any other confidential information. These people, who may be in senior positions of power and influence, must be given explicit, very clear and unambiguous orders, that anybody associated with the Detainee Inquiry is strictly off limits, for any "national security" investigation or snooping.

Knowing what we do about Communications Data Retention and Analysis abuses, there should be clear, public, written instructions from the heads of each of the Intelligence Agencies, from the Cabinet Office and ultimately from the Prime Minister David Cameron, absolutely prohibiting these techniques from being used on the members of the Detainee Inquiry, or their staff, their website, email addresses, landline or mobile phone and postal mail etc.

This prohibition also needs to apply to the *private* phones, emails, social networking accounts etc. of the families and friends of people associated with the Detainee Inquiry.

Most importantly, this public prohibition must also apply to any *potential or actual witnesses* who attempt to contact the Detainee Inquiry.

There must be no Communications Data snooping or Communications Interception authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and no intrusive surveillance e.g. the planting of electronic bugging or tracking devices or cameras etc. sub-contracted out to any Police units, under the Police Act 1996 part III.

There must be no attempts to recruit or coerce any Confidential Human Intelligence Sources amongst the Detainee Inquiry members and staff, nor any or their sub-contractors nor service any of their providers (e.g. their website design or email hosting companies) , neither directly, nor from amongst their families and friends.

The Intelligence Agencies should also be forbidden from using their access to Unregulated Databases such as the ACPO National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Database or the London Congestion Charge monitoring vehicle journeys or the London Oyster Card monitoring Tube and Bus journeys etc. , or the e-borders access to Passenger Name Records from the airline and ferry industries, or CCTV footage in general, which they will be tempted to use to try to track down possible face to face meetings, or document dead drops, between Detainee Inquiry staff and potential or actual whistleblowers.

The Intelligence Agencies should be expressly forbidden from asking their colleagues and contacts in friendly foreign intelligence agencies e.g. in the USA, or in UK Police Forces, or private sector companies, to carry out any of these activities against the Detainee Inquiry or potential or actual whistleblowers, on their behalf.

These instructions need to be made public, so that staff at the Communications Service providers (telephone, mobile phone, internet and postal) are aware of them as well and can question or refuse even alleged "national security" requests for Communications Data or for Electronic Communications or Postal Intercepts.

GCHQ and MI5 should be given the budget and the explicit task of protecting the Detainee Inquiry from attempts to snoop on it by private military contractors, private investigators, foreign intelligence agencies, tabloid or mainstream media journalists and amateur hacktivists etc.

Make http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk into a proper whistleblower leak website

The current website Contact pages: http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk/contact/ provide no security or anonymity mechanisms to protect the identities of potential whistleblowers, either from foreign intelligence agencies, serious organised crime gangs, terrorists groups or from the UK intelligence Agencies, the UK Police, the press and media or from amateur or professional computer hacker wannabees.

Publish a PGP Public Encryption Key

At the very least the Detainee Inquiry should publish a Public PGP Encryption Key

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy

and be properly trained in how to use it in conjunction with their published email addresses.

A Digital Certificate to encrypt a web submission form and a whistleblower submission workflow acknowledgement mechanism might also help with the credibility of the Inquiry.
see Leak Directory wiki (backup site) for examples.

http://leakdirectory.wikispaces.com

Document Meta-Data should be removed before public publication

Please learn from the mistakes made by the Hutton Inquiry etc. when it comes to censoring or redacting any emails or other documents, which the Detainee Inquiry decides to publish on its website.

Please ensure that you do not simply use Adobe Acrobat to put a black rectangle over sensitive personal data e.g. names or email addresses, which can be simply overcome by copying the censored data to , for example , Microsoft Windows notepad.exe.

Please ensure that you remove any sensitive digital or photo or scan or document Meta-Data before publication e.g. using the multi-platform ExifTool

http://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/index.html

This may all sound a bit paranoid, but the people the Detainee Inquiry will be dealing with, cannot be treated as ordinary members of the public - they have privileged access to powerful surveillance techniques, which, if there is any sort of coverup, will inevitably be deployed against the Detainee Inquiry itself, in order to hunt down and neutralise any potential whistleblowers.

Please feel free to contact Spy Blog for any technical assistance in beefing up your whistleblower anonymity protection protocols and procedures.

regards

[name]

----
http://SpyBlog.org.uk - Spy Blog
blog@spy.org.uk

PGP Public Encryption Key for blog@spy.org.uk:
http://spyblog.org.uk/ssl/spyblog/Spy_Blog_PGP_Key.pl
PGP Public Encryption Key ID: 0x281EBE28
Fingerprint: 9F7A 3F39 BA97 0148 2A1C 65F2 BDAC 5BBB 281E BE28

If you are researching, or writing, or protesting about anything to do with National Security, or Government spin and secrecy, you should take some basic precautions:

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers
http://ht4w.co.uk

This constitutes a valid Electronic Signature, as per the
Electronic Communications Act 2000 section 7,
Electronic Signatures and related certificates

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000007_en_2#pt2-l1g7



Several Civil Liberties and Human Rights organisations have, rightly, criticised the Detainee Inquiry for its lack of power to compel evidence from witnesses and its excessive secrecy, so they are therefore boycotting it,

e.g. The Guardian reports: Torture inquiry boycotted by human rights groups over lack of openness

The chairman, the Rt. Hon. Sir Peter Gibson, is the former Intelligence Services Commissioner, whose office was set up under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, whose censored Annual Reports never gave any details of anything, never criticised the Intelligence Agencies at all and consequently never inspired any public confidence that there was any effective independent scrutiny of the activities of intelligence agencies.

Rt_Hon_Sir_Peter_Gibson_450.jpg

To be fair to Sir Peter and his predecessors, their role as Intelligence Services Commissioners are bound strictly by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 59 Intelligence Services Commissioner i.e. they are not allowed to attempt to scrutinise anything other than Part II Surveillance and covert human intelligence sources and Part III Investigation of electronic data protected by encryption etc. i.e. they have never been allowed to scrutinise any wider intelligence agency investigations or projects or policies.


However, unless Sir Peter Gibson takes immediate steps to demonstrate real independence from the intelligence agencies, Whitehall and Downing Street, his Detainee inquiry will be dismissed as a coverup and whitewash, even before it has really got going.

No explicit protection for whistleblowers

The identities of any potential or actual whistleblowers from within the intelligence agencies, who might contradict the official media line, will be of intense interest to the agencies involved and also to their UK peers and foreign rivals.

The fact that The Guardian seems to have been given access to British government's secret interrogation policy. This document was supposedly very secret, so there has been some sort of a leak to The Guardian newspaper.

If this is genuine, then it reveals a deliberate policy of covering up the the intelligence agencies' and the former Labour government's collaboration with torturers, whilst taking care not to dirty their hands themselves.

It is extremely unlikely that any of the prisoners who were tortured were ever classified by the intelligence agencies as Covert Human Intelligence Sources, so we will be amazed if Sir Peter admits that he was are of or had read the document published by The Guardian whilst he was the RIPA Intelligence Services Commissioner.

The Detainee Inquiry Protocols (.pdf) highlight the lack of any protection or immunity for individual whistleblowers from within the intelligence services.

Private Evidence Sessions

33. The Inquiry recognises that the operational details of the security and intelligence agencies will need to be considered in private due to national and personal security concerns. All evidence from current or former members of the security and intelligence agencies, below the level of Head, will be heard in private. The private evidence sessions of current or former crown servants, civil servants or Ministers may be attended by authorised representatives of the relevant departments, unless the witness has requested otherwise and the Inquiry accedes to that request.

Without an explicit, up front, guarantee that the Detainee Inquiry will not betray the fact of their existence or their actual identities, to the intelligence agencies, whilst they decide whether or not to grant them anonymity, why should any whistleblowers from within the intelligence agencies ever come forward to give evidence to the Inquiry ?

34. Other individuals wanting to give evidence in private will have their requests considered on a case by case basis by the Inquiry with reference to the following points:

(a) would the matters on which the witness will give evidence, if revealed in public, meet the criteria in Paragraph 1 of Annex A

(b) is there any genuine or sufficient reason (such as health or personal security concerns) why a witness would have difficulty appearing or being entirely frank in public? The Inquiry will consider sympathetically any request to give evidence in private from a witness who believes that he/she has suffered trauma in the course of his/her detention, or otherwise as a result of the matters about which he or she is to give
evidence.

(c) would giving evidence in private ensure the witness‟s welfare, security or
freedom to speak frankly, for example in the case of junior staff who may wish to give evidence that runs counter to that of others?

(d) the extent to which a witness‟s concerns could be addressed by other protective measures short of hearing the evidence in a private session.

They have thought of "the case of junior staff who may wish to give evidence that runs counter to that of others", but they have not provided any immunity or whistleblower anonymity protection at all.

At the very least they should demand and publish, written undertakings from the heads of each of the intelligence agencies and from the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister, guaranteeing that any such junior official whistleblowers will be protected from their colleagues and senior managers.

If the Detainee Inquiry does somehow manage to preserve the anonymity of any intelligence agency whistleblower sources, there must be a clear "don't ask, don't tell" policy for when intelligence agency staff next undergo their periodic Developed Vetting security clearance interviews - they should never be asked whether they contacted the Detainee Inquiry or not.

The letter from PM David Cameron to Sir Peter Gibson mentions some vague promises about protections for whistleblowers, but these appear to be really more aimed at giving immunity to the named senior witnesses from the Intelligence agencies, rather than to
any anonymous whistleblowers or potential whistleblowers.

http://download.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/intelligence/pm-letter-gibson.pdf

The Cabinet Secretary and the heads of the intelligence services will require staff in their departments and agencies to cooperate fully with the inquiry and expect them to cooperate with the Inquiry's requests for oral evidence. The Attorney General has agreed to provide an undertaking that evidence given by witnesses may not be used against them in criminal proceedings, whether their evidence is given in public, private or both (other than in proceedings where he or she is charged with giving false evidence or conspiring to do so in the course of this Inquiry). The Cabinet Secretary and heads of the intelligence services will set out analogous undertakings to staff in respect of disciplinary proceedings based on their evidence, whether public or private.

This is dated 6th July 2010 i.e. over a year ago, but if these undertakings really exist, they have not been made public, as they should have been.

No protection from Communications Data snooping etc.

The Intelligence Agencies must be explicitly forbidden from treating the Detainee Inquiry and any potential whistleblowers who may be thinking of giving evidence, as targets for the powerful surveillance methods which they use routinely.

Knowing what we do about Communications Data Retention and Analysis abuses, there should be clear, public, written instructions from the heads of each of the intelligence agencies and from the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister preventing these techniques from being used on the members of the Detainee Inquiry or their staff, their website, email addresses, landline or mobile phone and to postal mail etc.

This prohibition also needs to apply to the private phones, emails, social networking etc. of the families and friends of people associated with the Detainee Inquiry.

This public prohibition must also apply to any potential or actual witnesses who attempt to contact the Detainee Inquiry.

There must be no Communications Data snooping or Communications Interception authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and that no intrusive surveillance e.g. the planting of electronic bugging or tracking devices or cameras etc. will be subcontracted out to any Police units, under the Police Act 1997 part III.

There must be no attempts to recruit or coerce any Confidential Human Intelligence Sources amongst the Detainee Inquiry members and staff, or any or their sub-contractors or service providers (e.g. their website design or email hosting companies) , neither directly, nor from amongst their families and friends.

The Intelligence Agencies should also be forbidden from using their access to unregulated databases such as the ACPO National Automatic Number Plate Recognition Database or the London Congestion Charge monitoring vehicle journeys or the London Oyster Card monitoring Tube and Bus journeys etc. , or the e-borders access to Passenger Name Records from the airline and ferry industries, or CCTV footage in general, which they will be tempted to use to try to track down possible face to face meetings or document dead drops between Detainee Inquiry staff and potential or actual whistleblowers.

The Intelligence Agencies should be expressly forbidden from asking their colleagues and contacts in friendly foreign intelligence agencies e.g. in the USA, or in UK Police Forces, or private sector companies, to carry out any of these activities against the Detainee Inquiry or potential or actual whistleblowers, on their behalf.

These instructions need to be made public, so that staff at the Communications Service providers (telephone, mobile phone, internet and postal) are aware of them as well and can question or refuse even apparently "national security" requests for Communications Data or for Electronic Communications or Postal Intercepts.

GCHQ and MI5 should be given the budget and the explicit task of protecting the Detainee Inquiry from attempts to snoop on it by private military contractors, private investigators, foreign intelligence agencies, journalists and amateur hacktivists etc.

The current website Contact pages: http://www.detaineeinquiry.org.uk/contact/ provide no security or anonymity mechanisms to protect the identities of potential whistleblowers, either from foreign intelligence agencies, serious organised crime gangs, terrorists groups or from the UK intelligence Agencies, the UK Police, the press and media or from amateur or professional computer hacker wannabees.

At the very least they should publish a Public PGP Encryption Key and be properly trained in how to use it in conjunction with their published email addresses.

A Digital Certificate to encrypt a web submission form and a whistleblower submission workflow acknowledgement mechanism might also help with the credibility of the Inquiry.
see Leak Directory< wiki (backup site) for examples.


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 & PGP Contact

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

blog@spy[dot]org[dot]uk

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.

Current PGP Key ID: 0xA165A29480CFAA4C which will expire on 6th September 2014.

pgp-now.gif
You can download a free copy of the PGP encryption software from www.pgpi.org
(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 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: http://ht4w.co.uk

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)

Links

Watching Them, Watching Us

London 2600

Our UK Freedom of Information Act request tracking blog

WikiLeak.org - ethical and technical discussion about the WikiLeaks.org project for anonymous mass leaking of documents etc.

Privacy and Security

Privacy International
United Kingdom Privacy Profile (2011)

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
Justice

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

The incompetent yet authoritarian Labour party have not apologised for their time in Government. They are still not providing any proper Opposition to the current Conservative - Liberal Democrat coalition government, on any freedom or civil liberties or privacy or surveillance issues.

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
PublicTechnology.net - 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 stand.org.uk have gone on to set up other online tools like WriteToThem.com. The Government's contemptuous dismissal of over 5,000 individual responses via the stand.org 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
www.idcards-uk.info - New Alliance's ID Cards page
irefuse.org - 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

CommentOnThis.com - 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

RFIDBuzz.com 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
freetotravel.org - 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

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

Syndicate this site (XML):

Follow Spy Blog on Twitter

For those of you who find it convenient, there is now a Twitter feed to alert you to new Spy Blog postings.

https://twitter.com/SpyBlog

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.

https://twitter.com/SpyBlog (same window)

Recent Comments

  • wtwu: BBC reports the password was $ur4ht4ub4h8 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25745989 When Hussain was read more
  • wtwu: "only" an extra 4 months in prison for failing to read more
  • wtwu: Although not confirmed as part of the Wilson Doctrine per read more
  • wtwu: For now (just before Christmas 2013) it appears that the read more
  • wtwu: As expected, the ISC did not give the intelligence agency read more
  • wtwu: N.B. the Intelligence & Security Committee is now legally consituted read more
  • wtwu: "GCHQ accused of monitoring privileged emails between lawyers and clients read more
  • wtwu: Mon, 11 Feb 2013 14:44:32 +0100 Dear [name] I've read more
  • anon: The FSB and Russian TV news has named the alleged read more
  • wtwu: The FSB have now released some recordings / translated selected read more

Categories

Monthly Archives

April 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30      

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

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.

gchq_logo.gif
Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

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

da_notice_system_150.gif
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.

FreeFarid_150.jpg
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)

Open_Rights_Group.png
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).

irrepressible_banner_03.gif
Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

anoniblog_150.png
BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

ngoiab_150.png
NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

homeofficewatch_150.jpg
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."

rsf_logo_150.gif
Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

committee_to_protect_bloggers_150.gif
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_logo_150.jpg
Icelanders are NOT terrorists ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

nocctv.gif
No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV

phnat-logo-black-on-white_150.jpg

I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !

power2010_132.png

Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign

Cracking_the_Black_Box_black_150.jpg

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."

surveillance_72.jpg

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

wblogocrop_150.jpg

WhistleblowersUK.org - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers