The Guardian has a good summary of a limited investigation conducted by the Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police, Sara Thornton QPM, into the public relations disaster which was the West Midlands Police Project Champion.
This was a Labour government approved and funded plan to literally create CCTV Camera and Automatic Number Plate Recognition enforced apartheid ghettos in two districts of Birmingham.
Such mass surveillance schemes attack or destroy the fundamental human rights to freedom of travel and freedom of association, of millions of innocent people. Such schemes are a victory for our enemies, who aim to destroy our free society and help to create domestic extremists or terrorists.
The full text of the actual Review: Project Champion Review (.pdf)
N.B. this was not a full inquiry, with powers to punish the guilty or incompetent bureaucrats, however the Report is reasonably hard hitting in its conclusions.
This Review benefited from the expertise of one of our favourite Cross-Bench Peers, the Intelligence and Security Committee.
The blame for this scandal should not be heaped entirely on the West Midlands Police.
- Who will cross examine the roles played by the West Midlands Police Authority and Birmingham Council ?
- Since the £3 million was approved from central government public anti-terrorism funds, who will identify and cross examine the bureaucrats and politicians responsible for this evil Orwellian mass surveillance scheme ?
- Who will investigate the Home Office (especially the Office for security and Counter-Terrorism) , ACPO (TAM), the Security Service MI5 and the "Prevent" strand of the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy ?
This is a long term and vital element of CONTEST, focusing on building relationships with all members of the community and enhancing links with key organisations.
Our 'Prevent' work will provide not only reassurance to vulnerable groups but also potentially impact upon the underlying causes of terrorism and diminish support for terrorists.
If the appalling NuLabour cheerleader Hazel Blears is allowed to serve on the Intelligence and Security Committee. then they cannot be trusted to investigate this scandal properly. Hazel Blears was the Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government when this Project Champion was proposed implemented. She was politically responsible for at least part of the PREVENT strand of CONTEST - so there would be an obvious conflict of interest whenever.the ISC looks into this policy area.
She cannot be trusted to keep classified documents secret, so her presence on the ISC will mean that they will not be given full access to documents and witnesses - see the previous Spy Blog article: Proposed Intelligence and Security Committee appointments - do *not* let Hazel Blears anywhere near the ISC !
We would also like to know
- Are there other secret mass surveillance projects using overt and covert CCTV and ANPR technology in other British cities ?
- Are there there Mobile Phone based "security cordons" using the same sort of combination of Cellular transmitter ID and / or antenna triangulation and web based geographical mapping and tracking used for Electronic Tags worn by criminals or by people subjected to Control Orders , to snoop on the locations and movements and meeting patterns of thousands or millions of innocent people in the Alum Rock and Washwood Heath areas of Birmingham or in London or Manchester or Leeds / Bradford etc. ?
- Are there any other non-Mobile Phone call technologies e.g. BlueTooth and / or WiFi or contactless Passport or Oyster travel card etc. unlicensed Industrial Scientific Medical band radio snooping and surveillance schemes in these areas, which have supposedly been installed for anti-terrorism purposes, but which have mutated , through lack of transparent public scrutiny, into secret mass surveillance schemes, which are open to abuse by authorised insiders or by external agencies ?
- Have any of these technologies been used to target and stigmatise or harass members of ethnic or religious minorities or otherwise peaceful political opponents of the Labour government, as has already happened with the national ANPR database and the Police National Computer ?
- Will the Conservative / Liberal Democrat coalition government actually investigate what the creepy Labour control freaks specifically authorised, or turned a blind eye to, in terms of such mass surveillance schemes and will they undo the damage which has been done to our freedoms and liberties ?
If you know about any other such current or future mass surveillance schemes, please contact us pseudo-anonymously via the blog comments or email, PGP encrypted if possible, taking the usual precautions - see our http://ht4w.co.uk - Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.