Recently in European Arrest Warrant Category

It is still astonishing to us that the UK Government has still done nothing about the insult to our Supreme Court, the Law Lords of the House of Lords, whose Judgment on the extradition to of Farid Hilali to Spain, the first person to be arrested in the UK on a European Arrest Warrant. has been deliberately flouted by the Spanish authorities.

Hilali's former UK solicitors, Arani & Co. have released a couple of documents from the successful application for Habeas Corpus, back last May, which was quashed by the Law Lords on appeal this February, with the proviso that Farid Hilali could not be extradited to Spain to face charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation (Al Quaeda) but that he must face the September 11th 2001 attack linked charges of mass murder and endangering aircraft.

In fact, Hilali is now in solitary confinement, facing only the forbidden "membership of a terrorist organisation" charge, which is an utter insult to our Law Lords and to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom.

See the Free Farid website.

FreeFarid_300.jpg

The Statement by Spanish Prosecutor Pedro Rubiro (.pdf) contains a lot of dubious claims (e.g. that Hilali was involved in the Hamburg cell of terrorist with Mohammed Ata and the other September 11th 2001 plotters, something which is refuted by the German Courts, and by the fact that the US authorities have not bothered to attempt to extradite him)

20 It is also noticeable that in the extradition proceedings, despite any representations made by his advocates, the Applicant has never denied in evidence that he is Shakur.

It should be up to the prosecution to prove that Hilali is Shakur, i.e. the presumption of innocence !

The UK Extradition Act 2003 proceedings do not allow the defendant to make any challenges to any evidence whatsoever, they only deal with the matter of whether the application for extradition has been worded correctly etc.. Hilali and his lawyers have made plenty of press statements denying that he is Shakur.

The point which caught our attention was , however:

In fact, that he and Shakur are one and the same has been demonstrated by evidence of voice analysis conducted in the United Kingdom. I mention this purely to demonstrate that there is no foundation to the suggestion that the Applicant is being unlawfully detained at the request of the issuing judicial authority. I am aware, of course, that the time and place for the evaluation of evidence in the context of a trial is when the Applicant is returned to Madrid

Incredibly, the Spanish authorities, appear to have done exactly what we suspected they might from the press reports last Friday, they have deliberately ignored the Judgment of the UK House of Lords, and charged Farid Hilali with "belonging to a terrorist organisation’", the very offence which the Law Lords explicitly forbad him to be extradited on !

See Farid Hilali finally extradited to Spain - are the Spanish authorities flouting the UK House of Lords judgment ?

The Law Lords' Judgments - In re Hilali (Respondent) (application for a writ of Habeas Corpus) clearly state that:

[...]

28. Participation in a terrorist organisation is not conduct that falls within the list of offences in article 2(2) of the Framework Decision: see section 64(2) of and Schedule 2 to the 2003 Act.

[...]

It follows that this is not an offence for which the respondent can be extradited.

[...]

31.

[...]
I would affirm the decision by the senior district judge to order the respondent’s extradition to Spain. I would do so on the ground that the offences of conspiracy to commit the offence of murder of persons in the United States and of destroying, damaging or endangering the safety of aircraft, contrary to section 2 of the Aviation Security Act 1982, are the only offences in respect of which he is to be extradited.

[...]

What steps did the British government take to ensure that the Judgment of the Law Lords was carried out properly ?

Extradition is still the responsibility of the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, not the Justice Secretary Jack Straw, who is, however, supposed to be in charge of the UK Courts system. Will either of them bother to make a Statement about this affair ?

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has been commenting on the Guantanamo Bay military tribunal announced yesterday. Will any mainstream journalists bother to ask him about Farid Hilali ?

Will the Spanish Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign Office to explain this insult to the British legal system of justice ?

Will the Law Lords issue some form of Contempt of Court or Contempt of Parliament ruling ?

Could they demand that one or more Spanish officials be prosecuted in the UK and therefore face their own European Arrest Warrant "rapid extradition without any prima facie evidence" proceedings, to be extradited to the UK , to face the wrath of the Law Lords ?

If the Spanish Government supports their officious bureaucrats in pressing ahead with this charge, in contempt of the Law Lords, then the Home Secretary must amend, by Order, the controversial Extradition Act 2003, and remove Spain from the Part 1 category of European Arrest Warrant compatible countries.

When will the Labour database surveillance state scandals ever end ?

The Daily Telegraph has published some more whistleblower revelations , which claim that the abuse of of supposedly confidential client lawyer privilege, through the secret electronic eavesdropping in Prisons, is far more widespread than the Sadiq Khan MP / Babar Ahmad scandal.

Hundreds of lawyers 'bugged on prison visits'

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor

The full scale of a nationwide policy to bug British jails can be disclosed today after a whistleblower revealed that hundreds of lawyers and prison visitors had been secretly recorded.

Why should anyone believe that these lawyers were only bugged when visiting their clients in prison ? Have they also been subjected to the full panoply of state bugging and interception surveillance techniques ?

Is this how the alleged Mobile Phone Intercept Voice Identification of Farid Hilali as the supposed "Shakur" was done, by sending the Spanish intelligence agency Centro Nacional de Inteligencia a copy of a legally priviliged conversation between him and his lawyers, obtained whilst he was at HMP Belmarsh or HMP Woodhill ?

[...]

Serious criminals, including the Soham murderer Ian Huntley and the letter bomber Miles Cooper, are also thought to have been targeted by the alleged secret bugging

What possible "national security" justification is there for bugging the legal conversations of a notorious child murderer, whose only peripheral accomplice is already in a protected witness scheme ?

Was this bugging actually due to corruption, with those involved hoping to sell sensational tidbits to the tabloid media ?

It appears that Farid Hilali, who faces terrorism charges based almost entirely on mobile phone Intercept Evidence and Voice Identification, has at last been extradited to Spain, according to The Daily Telegraph:

Hilali, 39, was arrested in June 2004 and was flown out of RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire on Friday.

CNN's Madrid bureau report publishes a photo of a clean shaven Farid Hilali after arriving in Spain, in the distinctive British yellow and green prison coveralls. Presumably nobody is ever extradited to Brazil wearing these colours.

However the CNN report says:

But the court source said it may now be difficult to press charges against Hilali for conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks, given that Spanish courts have acquitted at trial or on appeal three other suspected co-conspirators, including Yarkas.

But Hilali also faces a potential charge of membership in a terrorist group, which may be easier to uphold in court, the source said.

If Hilali is charged with belonging to Al Quaeda, and is not charged with the conspiracy to murder and endangering the safety of airliners charges, then there deserves to be a huge diplomatic row between the United Kingdom and Spain, as that would be directly the opposite of what the House of Lords, the highest Court in the United Kingdom, actually ordered in th their Judgement in this case.

It could well destroy future supposedly fast track European Arrest Warrant extraditions to Spain, and possibly to the rest of the European Union as well.

See the Law Lords' Judgement: Judgements - In re Hilali (Respondent) (application for a writ of Habeas Corpus)

Lord Hope of Craighead's Opinion, with which all his colleagues agreed:

The Law Lords have published their Judgment which overturns the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum which had been granted to Farid Hhilali.

Hilali was the first person to be arrested in the UK under the new, allegedly rapid, European Arrest Warrant extradition procedure under Part 1 of the controversial Extradition Act 2003.

See also the Press Release from his solicitor, the controversial Muddassar Arani, in the comments on one of our previous blog articles about the Farid Hilali case.

This case is of interest to us, partly because of the European Arrest Warrant, and also because the evidence seems to be rely on mobile phone intercept evidence and voice recognition evidence, in an alleged terrorist plot case, a topic which politicians and pundits should be debating here in the UK, if the secret Privy Council review under Sir John Chilcot, of Intercept Evidence is actually published before the relevant clauses of the new Counter-terrorism Bill are debated.

The BBC reports that Farid Hilali has been granted a writ of Habeas Corpus, overturning his detention without trial currently in Whitemoor prison, as the first person in the UK to have been served with a supposedly "fast track" European Arrest Warrant, for extradition to Spain.

Lady Justice Smith and Mr Justice Irwin ruled that his incarceration under a European arrest warrant was arbitrary and unjustified.

Under the notorious Extradition Act 2003 extraditions to Category 1 countries i.e. the European Union, such cases no longer even involve the Home Secretary making a decision or hearing appeals.

We have been following the proceedings of this case since 2004 (i.e. hardly "fast track" extradition) , since it has huge ramifications for everyone in the UK, who might be arrested and extradited to other European Union countries, without any actual evidence being heard and tested by the defence in a UK court. e.g.

The flimsy "evidence" against him appears to be some intercepted mobile phone conversations by the Spanish authorities (which would be inadmissible in a UK court if done by the UK authorities under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 Section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.).

This alleged identification as the a "mystery voice" via dubious voiceprint analysis (how exactly did the Spanish authorities get hold of reference recordings of his voice, when he was in prison in the UK on immigration charges ?) with the chief activist of the Al-Quaeda cell in Spain, in August 2001.

Mobile phone location records apparently place the "mystery voice" mobile phones in South East London, but these phobnes do not seem to actually have been seized or to have been shown to have been used by Farid Hilali.

Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.

Except of course, that during the multi-defendant trial in which, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas was sentenced, the Spanish court dismissed all of the telephone intercept evidence as being "untrustworthy".

"The judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."

So the alleged mastermind he is supposed to have been conspiring with in Spain regarding the September 11th 2001 terrorist plots, has already been found not guilty of those charges.

It remains to be seen whether Home Secretary John Reid will, for example deport Farid Hilali to Morocco, or impose a controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 Control Order on him.

What this means for the rest of us, who could also be arrested and held in prison without trial for months and years, under a European Arrest Warrant, simply on allegations based on easily forged or hard to interpret electronic intercept evidence, which is inadmissible in a UK court, remains to be seen.

Under this Labour Government, our supposed system of justice has become frighteningly Kafkaesque

We have been following, on and off, news of Farid Hilali since 2004.

His case is of general interest, in that Farid Hilali seems to be the first person in the UK to have been arrested and held in prison under the new, allegedly "fast track" extradition under the European Arrest Warrant.

We did think that, despite the case against the alleged ring leader Al Quaeda in Spain, Imad Eddin Barakat, having collapsed, and the Spanish court having decided that all the mobile phone evidence presented was "untrustworthy", that Farid Hilali, should have been released, and, as an illegal immigrant, deported from the UK.

The only evidence against him is an alleged Spanish "voice print analysis" of a mobile phone conversation, i.e. there is no actual physical evidence, like possession of the actual mobile phone, DNA, fingerprints etc which would prove that he was actually the person talking elliptically to the alleged Spanish Al Queada cell leader, Imad Eddin Barakat back in August 2001.

However, it, seems that the Kafkaesque legal system bureaucracy ground on, and Hilali lost his High Court Appeal against extradition to Spain, back in May 2006.

This involved the notorious Extradition Act 2003, but unlike Part 2 Scheduled Countries such as the USA, European Union
countries are dealt with under Part 1 of the Act, and the Home Secretary is not involved in the extradition and appeal process at all (officially).

We had assumed that he would then have been sent to Spain, but, lo and behold, it appears that Farid Hilai is still being held in
Woodhill Prison in the UK 17th November 2006
!

A little while later a gang of officers assaulted a category A Muslim alleged terror suspect Farid Hilali after he refused to be transferred to another prison stating that he had social and urgent legal visits booked for the week commencing 20th November 2006. Also, that the Governor of Woodhill Prison has been notified by his solicitors of the request not to transfer him. Mr Hilali was assaulted for merely stating to officers to check the position with the Governor. The inmate was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)!” in pain as he was beaten. His solicitors have reported this assault to the police for proceedings to be bought against the officers concerned.

Under the stupid Extradition Act 2003, there is no opportunity for a UK Court and defence lawyers to cross-examine any alleged prima facie evidence, such as the "voice print" analysis. If the mobile phone calls had been intercepted in the UK, then they would be inadmissible as evidence, in a UK Court, either for the prosecution or the defence, under the current Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings.

As we have said before:

Call us old fashioned, but we think that some actual positive, evidence should be brought before a British court, for a sanity check, before anyone is arrested and extradited from the UK to a foreign country.

For all we know, Farid Hilali could be a peripheral associate of terrorist plotters, but this is not justice, and it does not make us any safer against real terrorists, it just weakens our freedoms and liberties, which is exactly what the terrorist extremists want to achieve.

What could be worse than being extradited to foreign country like the USA without any prima facie evidence against you being presented to a British court for challenge by your defence lawyers, like in the cases of Gary McKinnon or Babar Ahmad ?

You could be arrested and extradited to a European Union country, under the supposedly "fast track extradition" European Arrest Warrant.

The first person to have had this dubious honour thrust upon him is Farid Hilali, who, today, has lost his High Court appeal against the decision last June to allow his extradition to Spain on terrorist chrges, connected with the alleged Al Quaeda cell which was broken up in 2001.

Spanish prosecutors claimed he telephoned Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas, the alleged head of the Madrid al-Qaida cell, in August 2001 and talked of entering "the field of aviation" and "cutting the bird's throat" - an apparent reference to the American bald eagle.

Except of course, that during the multi-defendant trial in which, Imad Eddin Barakat Yarkas was sentenced, the Spanish court dismissed all of the telephone intercept evidence as being "untrustworthy".

"The judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."

There are still lots of unanswered questions about the alleged phone calls to or from Peckham and New Cross in London.

There does not appear to be any actual evidence to link Farid Hilali with the mobile phone(s) which an unknown person named or codednamed "Shakur" spoke in such coded terms with Yarkas, from i.e. they were not fouund in his Farid Hilali's possession, and there does not seem to be any DNA or fingerprint evidence which links him to these mobile phones, if they even still exist anywhere.

The only thing to link Farid Hilali as "Shakur" is an alleged "voice analysis" by the Spanish secret authorities, which was not done until May 2003.

"Voice analysis" is hardly an incontrovertible forensic technique which cannot be challenged in court.

Given that mobile phone calls are entirely digital and are synthesised from "phoneme" building blocks, it is entirely possible to digitally fake such an alleged intercepted phone call to resemble the "voice" of a suspect.

Even if not faked, or selectively and misleadingly digitally edited, how can anyone be sure that the vague and unspecific words used were not mis-translated from Arabic ? What direct proof is there that they had anything to do with the September 11th 2001 terrorist hijacking suicide murders ?

Remember also, that if Farid Hilali was being tried in England under the Terrorism Act which he was arrested under, then Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Section 17 Exclusion of matters from legal proceedings would apply to all this alleged phone intercept "evidence", which would be indamissable in Court.

Why is there no mention of Farid Hilali in the extensive and exhaustive reports by US Congressional Commisions ad Committees into these attacks ?

How can it be right to extradite anyone on such flimsy, entirely digital and easly faked or misinterpreted, circumstantial evidence ?

One would have thought that such evidence would have been challenged in a British court during the extradition hearing, but, remember, thanks to the NuLabour Extradition Act 2003, no such evidence is required anymore. Since this comes under Part 1 of the Act, there is no longer even a role for the Home Secretary to decide on the case either.

Call us old fashioned, but we think that some actual positive, evidence should be brought before a British court, for a sanity check, before anyone is arrested and extradited from the UK to a foreign country.

For all we know, Farid Hilali could be a peripheral associate of terrorist plotters, but this is not justice, and it does not make us any safer against real terrorists, it just weakens our freedoms and liberties, which is exactly what the terrorist extremists want to achieve.

Today saw the verdicts on the long running court case in Madrid, where 24 suspected Al Quaeada terrorist cell members were on trial, for membership of a proscribed organisation, and some of them, on charges of helping in the September 11th 2001 attacks (not the March 2004 train bombings in Madrid, as most of these people were in custody by then).

Read the 447 page judgement (.pdf), obviously in Spanish.

Interestingly, the Spanish Judges rejected the "evidence" of mobile phone call conversations, as being "untrustworthy".

The BBC reports:

"But the judges dismissed evidence of recorded telephone calls used by the prosecution, saying they were misleading and often based on misunderstandings of the Arabic language."

Farid Hilali, the Moroccan facing the first European Arrest warrant extradition in the UK to Spain, has today lost his extradition hearing at Bow Street Magistrates Court, according to the Press Association report in The Scotsman.

District Judge Timothy Workman (who also heard the new "rapid" extradition to the USA hearings involving Babar Ahmad)

"added that Hilali had the right to appeal to High Court against his decision within seven days."

Farid Hilali is accused of somehow being part of Al-Quaeda in Spain, before the September 11th 2001 attacks, and was not involved in the Madrid railway bombings (he was being held in Belmarsh at the time).

It would appear that yet again, the UK extradition court did not ask any questions about the alleged eveidence against Farid Hilali, only the points of extradition lae about possible torture or the lack of a fair trial.

According to the flimsy reports abouut this case, there have to be some doubts that the Spanish authorities have identified the right man, soley on the basis of an alleged electronic "voice analysis" of a mobile phone conversation. How they obtained suitable voice samples from a prisoner being held in Belmarsh high security prison is unclear.

If Farid Hilali was a member or associate of AL-Quaeda, he was ahrdly a linchpin of the organisation, and we do not support any extremist views he may have. However, the legal precedent that this case sets is a chilling one, it cannot be justice, if people can be arbitarily arrested and extradirted to face serious charges in another European Union country , simply on some alleged "voice analysis", by a secret police agency (Unidad Central de Informacion Exterior - UCIE) of a foreign state (Spain) of a mobile phone conversation, which in itself contained no overt threats, and which it has not been established was to or from a mobile phone actually in the suspects's possession. All of this relates to an alleged terrorist plot in a third country, the USA, which has not brought any evidence or even accusations against Fatrid Hilali with respect to the September 11th 2001 attacks.

Doesn't anyone suspect that justice is not being seen to be done properly and fairly in this case ?

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

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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