Tag Archive: civil liberties

Tories Reveal Authoritarian Roots While Liberals Check Their Shoelaces

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Yet again I’m forced to side with the grinning David Davis.  This doesn’t happen often and is embarrassing to admit!.

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

ConDem Coalition Pledges Broken!

It’s all about the government plans to allow full-scale unauthorised real-time monitoring of every person in the UK’s internet activity!  It’s so 1984.

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – (George Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four
.

Orwell must be turning in his grave in despair that what he predicted as a warning about what not to do, now looks like coming to fruition.

Remarkably, since wangling themselves into government, the conservative-libdem coalition government is now actually dropping a key part of their manifesto which they laboriously agreed two years ago.  This can still be found on the government website, page 11 to be exact (pdf) .  Here’s what they said:

  • The Government believes that the British state has become too authoritarian…. We need to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power – FAIL
  • …reverse the substantial erosion of civil liberties and roll back state intrusion – FAIL
  • … introduce safeguards against the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation – FAIL
  • …end the storage of internet and email records without good reason – FAIL
  • …a British Bill of Rights that … protects and extends British liberties – FAIL

(Actually, the whole Con-Dem pledge list makes good reading to see just how far removed from it our evil diktat of quangos has become.)

So what to do – use TOR.

ID Cards

Johann Wolfgang Goethe

Johann Wolfgang Goethe (Photo credit: andreasmarx)

Not so long ago I was haranguing the former Labour government about their plans for ID Cards, their laws over CCTV and photographing in public places, the reduction  in privacy for individuals and the removal of our civil rights over detention without trial, due cause and 3rd party notification for first 90 days and them 42 days.

I left the Labour Party because of it and have not rejoined.

Huge Vocal Resentment Against UK Government Secret Citizen Monitoring Plans.

try the Tor browser bundle

The new news (I thought it was an April Fool joke initially!) is that Email and web use is ‘to be monitored’ under new laws proposed by this nasty, nasty government.  Happily, there is now a huge and vociferous resentment against this from the general public who can see this evil act for what it is.  Top among them is David Davis!  See this link and the thousands of comments for instance; Backlash over email and web monitoring plan.

Clueless

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 14

Now, the tories and their liberal stooges have been shown to be both serially evil in their pronouncements and plans, and also serially incompetent of managing almost anything.

Their pathetic management of a minor industrial dispute (the fuel shortage) which did nothing except invoke almost universal resentment of the coalition and reawaken a general awareness of their ineffectiveness comes on top of stripping the very foundations away from one of UK society’s greatest inventions of the Industrial Age, our National Health Service (NHS).

United Kingdom

Top this behavioural abomination with that of the revolving door policy between banking and politics which they continue to promote with zero penalties for failure while the population-at-large have to prop up the whole system with their taxes means only two things to me.

  1. The government must do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.
  2. They will do something desperate to have any hope of re-election in 3 years – this means either war (patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel) or economic boom-and-bust gambling.

Astute folk will see this as my prediction for government actions over the next 3 years.

Tories: Keep Friends Happy

Meanwhile, hundreds of extra Tory donors will soon be available to bankroll the “all is good” story.  They will arrive as beneficiaries of the windfall provided as the “former NHS” contracts are handed out to friends, much like Michael Ashcroft benefited from the first round of NHS privatisation during the Thatcher era.  This article on Powerbase and this one (sourced from a now defunct article in The Scotsman) show quite clearly that 1/3 of cleaning contracts went to Ashcroft’s businesses during this time, saying;

MICHAEL Ashcroft, (…) bankrolled an “independent” publicity campaign that allowed his multi-million-pound contract cleaning empire to prosper and led to a change in the law. The campaign was run from the London office of the former Conservative Scottish secretary, Michael Forsyth. A spokesman for Mr Ashcroft confirmed last night that he had contributed to the Public and Local Service Efficiency Campaign (PULSE), which was set up in 1985 to persuade the public sector to contract out services such as cleaning and catering. The campaign had been disbanded by the end of the 1980s after the Conservative government passed the 1988 Local Government Act .  Mr Ashcroft’s Hawley Services Group, a contract cleaning firm later known as ADT, flourished under the new regime, with ADT, winning a third of NHS contracts between 1983 and 1988.

For further information into the depths that the Tories will go to enable all public money to be fed straight to their business friends, see this article which pulls apart the dealings of Ashcroft, discredited Dame Shirley Porter, NIMBY Nicholas Ridley, Chris Chope (the dog turd of Christchurch) and current (dodgy expenses, remember) minister Eric Pickles.

THE PICKLES PAPERS

By Tony Grogan
First published by 1 IN 12 PUBLICATIONS 1989
21 – 23 Albion St. Bradford 1.
Copyright 1 IN 12 Publications 1989
ISBN 0 948994 04 5

Once read, apply the same logic to our dear NHS, and weep again.  The same modus operandi is being used;

  1. discredit the current, imply alternatives are better;
  2. farm out internal monies to external Tory benefactors.

It’s just more sleaze just like under Thatcher before, backed up with warlike rhetoric.  Remember, only 10 days ago we had the news of billionaire Tory donors at Cameron’s dinner table, and Cameron trying to defend the cash-for-access news that made Labour’s cash-for-questions scandal appear like a sweetshop-ish wheeze in comparison.  See 

Tory Party chairman Lord Feldman was one of the key figures in the ‘cash for access’ scandal which erupted after Tory party treasurer Peter Cruddas was caught offering a private dinner with David Cameron to undercover reporters who posed as wealthy party donors.  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2123692/Tory-cash-access-row-David-Cameron-crony-pal-cash-questions.html

as well.

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Cannot Find British National Party (BNP) membership and contacts list? (April 2009 version)

Nasty Nick of the BNP

Nasty Nick of the BNP

There’s something weird about the recent ‘leak’ of BNP members’ names.  The list is available on the Wikileaks website here:

http://wikileaks.org/wiki

/British_National_Party_

membership_list_and_

other_information,_15_Apr_2009

There’s currently some trouble with downloading due to server overload.  Also, people are complaining that the file is a binary Excel workbook containing several worksheets.  It’s about 1.5Mb in size.  I’ve saved it as a standard Excel workbook which is 6.5Mb, quite a bit bigger, but friendlier.  If anyone wants it, drop me a line using the secure contact form in the top menu.  I haven’t the time to properly database it to get decent information from the data….(but see below for it’s veracity)

Nazi Nick in the National Front

Nazi Nick in the National Front

What’s weird is that the BNP claim it’s a fake list…!! (The last time this happened they were outraged at the leak ironically claiming loss of civil liberties, individual freedom and privacy, which is a bit rich coming  from the inheritors of the Nazi tradition.  A disgruntled Nazi was later fined £200 under data protection laws.)

Now I’m not sitting any BNP scum at the top of my ‘honest & honourable folk’ list, but suppose, just suppose that the Griffin with the twisted face is telling the truth.  Literally.  Just suppose that the list really is forged…

In that case, answer my favourite question when unlikely events happen and some reason needs apportioning, which is:

Q. Who Has Most to Gain?

A. The BNP!

It’s obvious really!   By this act they’ve amassed a whole heap of free publicity prior to the BBC’s Question Time show this week.  At times like this, there are no co-incidences.

It’s my guess that this is an example of the classic double-bluff.  George Smiley would be proud.

The BNP have amassed a list containing a few old member’s names and a heap of duds, then  posted it out onto Wikileaks themselves with the express purpose of self-promotion.

By this means, they’re trying to appear as the poor down-trodden underdogs, standing up for individual freedoms!

The technique is exactly the same as the Google Treasure Chest thieving scammers from UTAH who’ve posted online articles that purport to disclose the scammers and their operations but in actual fact, those same articles then try and flog more scam thievery!  (see Watch Out for the Scam Double-Bluff!)

A similar internet scam is the recent surge in fake anti-malware that actually installs the malware – and gets you to pay for the privilege!  (see Millions tricked by ‘scareware’)

It’s all the same – a double bluff!  Something disguised as something else!

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Terror State Chickens Return to Phone Hacking Roost

Introduction

Greenpeace Action

Greenpeace Action

Many years ago when I was living in France and during a prolonged period of French atomic weapon testing on the Moruroa atoll, the Greenpeace ship, Rainbow Warrior, was blown up in a New Zealand harbour. Initially, it was thought to be an accident.

Now, as soon as this happened, I thought “who has most to gain from the sinking of this protest ship?”

I immediately said, “The French” to my partner.  It’s in their interest to get that pesky ship put of their test zone.

Many years passed until finally some French Secret Service agents were collared for the dastardly deed.   President Mitterand, it turns out, authorised the bombing and thus the death of the Portuguese Dutch photographer, Fernando Pereira.

Phone Hacking

  1. The news this week is that the sleaze-paper, News of the World (NOTW), part of the nationality-challenged Rupert Murdoch’s empire, hacked many prominent people’s phones in order to gather information.  (News of the World ‘bugging’ claim – Wednesday 8th)

    E60

    Phone Hacking

  2. Later, the news was that there was going to be a huge investigation by the police into the allegations. (Police to probe phone hack claims – Thursday 9th).  In fact, PM Brown said, “This raises questions that are serious and will obviously have to be answered.”
  3. A few hours later, and the massive investigation was finished!  (New phone hack inquiry ruled out – Thursday 8th)  Second top Met Cop John Yates said, “No additional evidence has come to light since this case has concluded. I therefore consider that no further investigation is required.”  He also said, “This investigation has not uncovered any evidence to suggest that John Prescott’s phone had been tapped.”

Astonishing Speed

Warning: sarcasm alert! I think it’s amazing that Yates & Co. has managed to sift through all of this evidence in less than half a day!  It’s fantastic!  If only all enquiries were this fast!  Arms to Iraq!  Iraq War!  Cash for Questions!  G20 Tomkinson Death and Kettling tactics!  You know, things would be so much better.

Who Has Most to Gain?

Rupert Murdoch - will he gain?

Rupert Murdoch - will he gain?

Going back to my Rainbow Warrior experience, this is the thought that now crosses my mind.  In situations like this, forget the morals and any issues of integrity, personal or national, that arise.  Just look at the question in it’s starkness.  Who has most to gain?

Well this question really has several parts, or vantage points, if you like, that all supply an answer to the above question.

  • Obviously, The Guardian now gains from extra publicity, their oxygen of business.
  • NOTW originally gained by getting stories, the same oxygen of their business.
  • Robert Preston here (News of the World bugged Sun editor), reveals that all papers were (and still are?) using such tricks.  It’s all their oxygen.

Police Gain.

A key sentence in Robert Preston’s piece (News of the World bugged Sun editor) is near the bottom.  See if you can find it!

This is the relevant chunk, showing the information source as Richard Thomas, recently retired Information Commissioner and quoted verbatim from Preston’s blog.  Thomas did a huge investigation into phone hacking which were presented before our Parliament, our representatives, in 2007.  This is the chunk below (remember, see if you can see the key bit!!):

Richard Thomas, 'a champion of civil liberties'. Photo: Michael Stephens/ PA

Richard Thomas, 'a champion of civil liberties'. Photo: Michael Stephens/ PA

A good deal of this trade in personal confidential information has already been exposed by Richard Thomas, who has just retired as information commissioner.

In a series of reports and in evidence to the House of Commons culture, media and sport committee, he made a series of disclosures about newspaper activities that he regarded as “prima facie” illegal.

Here’s a statement from him to MPs that he gave in March 2007, which refers to the results of an investigation he carried out into the business relationship between the press and a firm of private investigators (the investigation was given the codename Operation Motorman):

“The first thing I would need to share is that the 3,000 or 4,000 transactions identified… came from a total of 13,000 transactions in this one operation alone. We were careful only to put forward those where there was some sort of hard evidence of the transaction being positively identified as involving a journalist for a newspaper”.

And this is what he cited as the evidence of payments being made by journalists for the information:

“We did have, and we do have still, the statements, the bank statements, the invoices – some of these well-known proprietors were including information such as ‘payment for confidential information’, payment for ‘blagging’ [obtaining information by deception] in some cases – so there was what I might call hard ‘prima facie’ evidence.”

soclose

Law Enforcement

However the degree of detail obtained by him about this trade was startling.

Where did the money end up? Well, a flow-chart produced by the office of the information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who in turn deal with phone companies, call centres, the DVLA and what’s described as “police source”.

Did you spot the last bit of the sentence?  I’ll paraphrase now for emphasis…

Where did the money (paid for hacked information) end up? The information commissioner shows the press employing private detectives who deal with (…) a “police source“.

And there we have it!

Conclusion

Now we know why Yates’ “investigation” finished so quickly.  The former information commisioner tells us in words presented to parliament – to protect the police!

Just remember, this current government has ramped up the “fear factor” over terrorism so much, that the police and other services have unparalled access to all sorts of electronic information.  In fact, by law, telecoms companies are required to keep it….

In this week’s events we’ve seen the Police investigate an event of which they were one of the prime information sources (according to Thomas) and declared “no case to answer”.  They are investigator, judge, jury and imprisoner.

As I’ve predicted many times in these pages, (and I’m only using history as a guide here, remember – I’m not a fortune teller), when the police are given unbridled power, that power will be abused either by an individual or the organisation as a whole.

The police now have power of arrest for virtually anything – e.g. by law, I’m not allowed to take their photo!  I can be arrested and searched without reason and imprisoned for the same reasons indefinitely.  Just look.  It’s all there, all passed in the last few years.

But if this case and previous ones are anything to go by, it appears that if an “investigator” can’t get the information they want, they pay the police for it!

What have we got here – the Rockford Files!

And afterwards, the Police say “no case”.  “Case closed”. “No further information”.

Our chickens have come home to roost, and no-one’s noticing!

PostScript

Actually, someone’s noticing.

 Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer launches 'urgent' review of phone tap inquiry  Photo: PA

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer launches 'urgent' review of phone tap inquiry Photo: PA

The police have decided to do nothing because, as they say no NEW information is about  (this is now being mis-quoted as in “There is no information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” instead of “There is no NEW information that John Prescott’s phone was tapped” – which is a different thing altogether and those saying it, know it!)

  • However, it’s now emerging that many “stars” and “personalities” are planning to sue the NOTW and other papers.  See Stars ‘may sue’ over phone claims
  • Also, the DPP has launched an inquiry.
  • The PCC likewise.
  • Parliament too.
  • And calls for the police to do the right thing and investigate properly are mounting.

I watch with anticipation from my little tank.  I’ve a feeling, and I hope, that this one will run and run and that hopefully, some proper rein will be put on our law enforcement folk.  Unlike most people, I don’t consider this a press freedom issue – I consider it a key part of all our freedoms.

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Sincere Words to Ignore

News Items

The only news item missing is that from a premiership football club at the wrong end of the league regarding the future employment status of it’s manager…

@AmazonThere have been two news items in the UK today that must surely have everyone either rolling their eyes in the air, or laughing down their sleeves, as to say that we’ve seen it all before is itself a bit of a cliche.

News Item Number One

GCHQ DoughnutAgency denies internet spy plans

“GCHQ is not developing technology to enable the monitoring of all internet use and phone calls in Britain, or to target everyone in the UK.
Similarly, GCHQ has no ambitions, expectations or plans for a database or databases to store centrally all communications data in Britain.
The new technology that GCHQ is developing is designed to work under the existing legal framework.”
– GCHQ statement

News Item Number Two

HarrietHarman: ‘I don’t want to be PM’“I don’t want to be prime minister and I don’t want to be leader of the party. It’s simply not true and under no circumstances would I want to be a candidate.”

Now Let’s Vote!

Do you think?

  1. Both statements are true?
  2. One or other statement is true?
  3. Neither statement is true?

Answer

If you answered 1 or 2, I don’t believe you or you are extremely young or gullible.

It’s going to be fun watching this awkward squirming moment in history pan out….

As an aside: I wonder if Harriet, if it all ends up as it appears, will use some of her experience gained as legal officer for  The National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty), to roll back some of the draconian measures that have been implemented by the government that she’s been part of and voted with at almost every moment?

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