Charles Clarke on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme - transcript and kremlinology

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Any thought that the Labour Government's public relations spin machine would be derailed by the resignation of David Blunkett is wrong.

The new Home Secretary Charles Clarke was busy with his first interview to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, even before he had said a word officially to Parliament.

So much for the supremacy of Parliament.

There are some notable quotes on CCTV surveillance, on Identity cards on "airy fairy" civil liberties, on the Indepenence of Judges and of course on David Blunkett's biography criticism of Charles Clarke himself.

Ah well, back to the Home Office kremlinology to try to divine exactly what the political code words might mean, and to pick up any nuances which might indicate a course of inaction:

Transcript of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Thursday 16th December 2004 (since the BBC does not produce make available to the public, any written transcripts of the programme):

James Naughtie, Today presenter: JN
Charles Clarke, Home Secretary: CC

Ten past eight. The landscape, looks rather different to the Prime Minister this morning, he's lost a Home Secretary who

In that office , this morning, sits Charles Clarke, and he joins us, for his first interview, now. Home Secretary, Good Morning.

Good Morning Jim.

Ahm, you're in a very important position, obviously, you have to draw a line , between collective security, and individual liberty. In what ways do you think you differ from Mr. Blunkett ?

I think I'm closer to him in his view of the the importance of collective security, than some people have acknowledged in the commentary. Ah, I look at the challenges that the country faces, the challenge of highly organised international crime, in areas like people trafficing and drug dealing, the challenges of international terrorism from organisations seeking to bring down every aspect of our democratic liberties, and I think it's the prime responsability of the Home Secretary, any Home Secretary, to actually, certainly I take it in this role as my prime responsability, to do what I can to protect the country, ah, to protect the civilization, even against those kinds of threats, to create a secure country in which everybody can live at peace, and that is my priority at this time.


It's one thing to say that, er, you're determined to improve the fight against organised crime, as against terrorism. It's another, though, to subscribe to some of the policies, which you know, better than I do, were very unpopular on the Back Benches, you've served in the Home Office before, and you know how much disturbance there is, particularly about the question of detention without trial, for foreign nationals, on which the Law Lords will rule in a test case this morning, and, the whole reaction to the terrorist threat, which leads people to feel, that somehow there is, at least a partial victory for terrorism, because they are walking through streets that are protected by concrete blocks, and they are moving around under the sight of cameras that never seem to go away. Does that disturb you ?

I think you're, you're not quite accurate in what you're saying, Jim, really, in analysing the politics of it all

["I'm a political heavyweight - I know best"]

We'll hear the Law Lords judgement later on today, and I'm not going to comment on that in detail, but in general I think the concern, there is concern, amongst some who, er, errm, have been involved, particularly as lawyers, in, er, a whole series of, er, er, ways, at particular aspects of legislation, but the predominant feeling, that I've felt on the Labour party Back Benches, ah, and actually in the country as a whole, is that we have to tackle these issues. Now if you say to me, do I like a world in which CCTV exists, rather than not, well I'd prefer a world in which there was no need for CCTV at all, but I also know, that many communities , of all types, er, feel much more secure, where there is a CCTV er, pres, situation there, so that, so that, er, burglars can be seen and detected, and so on. So, I might wish an idealistic world in which we don't have some of these things, but I think, what people really want today, is to feel a world, in which they feel secure, and things like CCTV play their part.

But the question is whether you do some of these things, and introduce some of these security measures, with relish, or with reluctance, which is it ?

I don't think it's, er, that's the question at all, I don't think it's relish or reluctance, I, I don't think, really think that isn't the choice in anyway,

JN: [same time as CC]
Welll, err, hhmm [or something like that]

ID Cards

the question is whether the measures are actually introduced , or not, er, that's the question, and, er, what precise measures are introduced, if you take the Identity Cards, er, issue, for example, which you, flagged up in your introduction, er, I've, always been a supporter of, er, Identity Cards, and I supported David in the Cabinet discussions about that earlier this year,

JN: [same time as CC]
Right, never a wobble on that [?]

But the question of,

JN:[same time as CC]

but the question of, how you put it into effect, and what you do, is a matter for debate, the current legislation's already been significantly influenced, for example, by the reccommendations of the Select Committee, er, on these areas,

[Not on the evidence of the very few differences between the Draft ID Card Bill, which the Committee hurridly examined, and the full Identity Cards Bill, it hasn't ! David Blunkett took the surprising political ok in the executive summary, and ignored all the evidence and reccommendations about the lack of clear objectives, the lack of financial transparencyy , the lack of race relations or privacy impact or technical security analyses. How exactly was the legislation "significantly influenced" ?
c.f. and]

and we'll debate in Parliament, but when Charles Kennedy asks me, just to drop it, as my first act,

[Note the Charles Clarke ignores the Conservative Party Opposition on this or any other "law and order" issue, throughout this interview. Perhaps the Liberal Democrats are actually now, as they claim, a more effective Opposition than the official Tory one.]

Well he asked you to pause, I was going to ask you about that

Well, err, err, I certainly shan't pause. I shall go ahead with the legislation, and we'll debate it in the House next week in the right way. But why would we do this, we would do it, because Identity Cards are a means, of trying to create a more secure society, now as you say, some people don't agree with that, and that's their, er, legitimate opinion, but, er, we have to proceed, in, er, the way that I have described.

"airy fairy civil liberties"

Mr. Blunkett, once referred, in the course of one of his arguements, over some of these, issues to "airy fairy civil liberties", not a phrase that one could imagine, slipping easily from your mouth ?

I, err, certainlty wouldn't use the phrase "airy fairy civil liberties", I don't think Civil Liberties, are "airy fairy", I suspect what he's talking about, I don't know the quote in particular that you're describing, is , that he was always concerned, David has always been concerned, with real civil liberties, real freedoms, and not notional freedoms, and presumably he used that phrase in context of some discussion of that type. But, er, I certainly don't regard civil liberties as "airy fairy", I think that civil liberties are very important, and fundamental to the nature of the society in which we live.

[Blunkett's use of "airy fairy"]

Independence of Judges

And what about the independence of the judiciary ? Because this has come under a great deal of scrutiny, and caused a bit of concern, particularly, in the Lords, in your own party, in recent times, in the last couple of years, ah er, it's a very difficult position for a Home Secretary, isn't it, because you are expected to speak publicly about the Government's committment to. sec, security and safety for the citizen, and yet you have to try to res, restrain a natural inclination, sometimes to attack Judges, haven't you, I mean that is, that is part of the separation between the Judiciary and the Political Establishment, which is necessary. Do you accept that ?

Well, I don', I certainly shan't be attacking Judges. I think judicial independence is very important, but two things arise, firstly have you got a Modern Judiciary ? , and Charlie Faulkner the Lord Chancellor is working very hard to ensure that we do modernise the judiciary, and secondly the fact that, er, a, er Judge gives the last word on a particular thing, is correct, that's the law of the land, but it doesn't mean that their considerations can't be debated, and I think that most Judges would acknowledge, there's merit in debate about these questions.

Oh indeed, but I think you would accept

CC:[same time as JN]
but the, er, the, er, just to finish
[or something similar]

er, um, sorry, yes

but the independence of the judiciary, as you put it to me, is something I value very, highly, I think it's a central part of our, our modern life.

But I think you would accept, wouldn't you, and, per, perhaps this comes about because of all the post 9/11 stuff, there's been, a political climate developing in which it's much more common to hear, a Minister, even a Home Secretary, er, making a comment about a particular judgement, of the sort, that a generation ago, would have been thought to be beyond the pale. Do you accept that, was a change, and that it's one that you're, perhaps, erm, nervous about and unhappy about ?

[David Blunkett, nearly prejudiced the trial of an alleged terrorist in Gloucester, and also of any chance of a fair trial in the UK of the football supporter improperly tried and convicted and expelled from Portugal, with his remarks which might have been ok from an MP. but not from the Home Secretary responsible for gathering evidence against such people]

Well, yes and no, er, I'm not sure that you're right, in terms of political history, I'd need to go back and check about what, som, my predecessors have

JN: [same time as CC]
Well, we can go back to Norman Brook or something, but you know my general point

but, but, that's not the central point, I agree. I do think 9/11 changed everything. you see 9/11 was a statement by an organisation, that it has, as it, it's ambition, not as a kind of negotiating position, to destroy a society based on the rule of law, based on freedom, based on independence, based on, based on votes for women, based on, er, a wide range of different things, and it was about destroying our society, and that was something that had never happened in that way at all, before, and that creates a whole set of moral issues for us, both as Government, in our policing, and in our Judicial and Legal structures

[There is a lot of evidence and analysis that 9/11 changed nothing in terms of real threats, these were the same before and since, it is just that the politicians in Washington and New York started to take the warnings that they had ignored over the years about their former ally Osama bin Laden a bit more seriously.]

and my central stance, and I think it ought to be the, er, Judiciary's central stance, and the Media's central stance, is that our form of Democracy is worth defending, and that's the stance that I will follow.

In that sense, do you accept the characterisation of the position that we're in, as a War On Terror ?

I think that's a very fair, er, description, I think that there are people who have declared war on us, actually, and the choice is whether we, er, respond to that, or not. Now, I think 9/11 was the, the, moment of tremendous, significance, from that point of view. It wasn't the only act of course, there have been many other acts, er, as well, before and after, which have been terrible, from that point of view, but 9/11, had a particular significance. War has certainly been declared, on democratic society, by terrorist organisations, and I certainly think it's our responsability as a society, and certainly my responsability as Home Secretary to do my best to defend us against that threat.


Do you think that there are too many people in prison ?

Er, I think that there are some people in prison, who ought not to be, if that's the meaning of your question

JN:[same time as CC]
Well, it, it's one of the aspects of the problem.

By, by, by that I mean, that , er, is that er, the priorities of this Government have always been Education and Health, and the least educated, the least healthy parts of the population, are the people in the Criminal Justice System. If you look for example at literacy levels, or levels of drug abuse,

JN:[same time as CC]

or mental health, in the er, prison population, there are some very serious issues, and I think that we have to work harder than, erm, ever, to try and ensure that people are able to escape the Criminal Justice System and therefore not be in prison.

[Charles Clarke probably does not mean actual prison escapes, per se !]

Although I think that prison should be a sanction, and be used to stop people from doing things which they oughtn't , very, very much so, I think that prison is an important measure in that regard, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be trying to rehabilitate people.

Well, quite, because one of the arguements that's often made, and was particularly made in the direction of Mr. Blunkett, was that if prison is seen as a solution, more and more often, to, crime, people end up in there, in a system, which hasn't developed, in terms of trying to rehabilitate them, in the, way that all parties have said that it should develop, the result being that, a new generation of criminals is trained, and sent back onto the streets, under the notion put out by politicians that er, these people aren't doing any damage because they're in prison, when in fact it means they are sent back into the community, erm, ah, as trained criminals, as it were. We know that the er, recidivism rate is extremely high, and quite often putting someone in prison is the way to make the community less safe in the long run, not more safe.

Well, this, er, these matters of penal policy are very complicated, but in terms of, there are two fundamental questions, in terms of prison numbers. Fundamental question one: Can we provide through Education, Health and all the rest of it, a system of rehabilitation which helps people re-establish normal law abiding lives. Question two, should prison be a sanction, which it really exists as a real sanction, a real life sanction to punish people who commit appalling crimes ? Now I say Yes to both of those, now the balance between the two, in terms of what that then means in prison numbers and so on, is a consequence of how you cond, conduct the other two areas, but I strongly believe that prison is a very necessary sanction, and should be actively be there , for people who are law breakers, but I also strongly believe, that we should be working as best we can, to try and help people Escape the Criminal Justice System, to lead normal law abiding lives.

Would you like to be seen, you, you are probably one of the top three people, top three, or four people in the Government now, would you like to be seen as a, reforming Home Secretary ?

[Transcribing rambling questions. which seem to be interrupted with irrelevant thoughts, like this one, is very annoying. What is it with professional broadcasters, of many years experience, both on the BBC and on ITV e.g. John Humphrys, Jonathan Dimbleby, Sir David Frost, Jim Naughtie, etc ?

These are not off the cuff questions , they have all been allegedly researched and written down into a script beforehand.

What is wrong with:

"You are probably one of the top four people in the Government now .
Would you like to be seen as a reforming Home Secretary ?"

or just

"Would you like to be seen as a reforming Home Secretary ?"

Surely filling out extra time can be done by means of asking extra questions ?]

Yes there's a number of areas of reform which I think are important. I think the Immigration and Asylum system, needs urgent reform.

[Perhaps thisis implied criticism of David Blunkett, given the scandals involving visas, and the shoddy treatment of the whistleblowersa Steve Moxon and James Cameron, but which ultimately cost both Beverly Hughes and David Blunkett their Ministerial jobs at the Home Office]

Already, with[?], great achievements have been made by David er, Blunkett and his predecessors

[is charles Clarke really giving credit to both Jack Straw and the Conservative Home Secretary Michael Howard ?]

but I think everybody acknowledges that there remain major issues that have to be resolved, so I see that as a major area for future

JN: [same time as CC]

Issues of numbers ? Or the way that people are treated when they get here ?

Er both, but principally numbers. I think that the impact of organised crime, that I mentioned earlier, on People Trafficing, has had a very serious effect on our society, as people are brought in a quite unacceptable way, for personal gain, by great criminal gangs, leading to terrible tragedies. Er, when I was er, Prison Mini, er, Police Minister, er, we had the issue of the containers, of container lorries going across the Channel, and people dying. Then we had the cockle pickers in, in Morecombe Bay, and these are appalling tragedies, as a result of these Trafficers in People, and they have to be stopped.

[Identity Cards , despite the Government's claims about illegal working etc. would not have prevented either of these two tragedies]

Looking about the, looking at the posture of this Government, six months before an Election, possibly, we don't know, you've got a Freedom Problem, haven't you ? A lot of people are duisturbed, in your own party, about aspects of, er, laws, and er, regulations which you believe necessary after 9/11. A lot of other people, maybe not natural Labour supporters, are worried about the Nanny State, about Fox Hunting, there's a feeling that this is a Government that is, intruding. in our lives, more and more, and saying it's necessary to do that. Do you think you've got a difficulty in peer, in appearing over weaning, overpowerful and too intent on running our lives ?

Not as much as the difficulty is, as some commentators say. Er Tony Blair's first er, soundbite, I should perhap his second soundbite, after "Tough on Crime, Tough on the Causes of Crime", was about people's Rights and Responsibilities. People exercising their Rights as Citizens, but also bearing their Responsibilities as Citizens. I believe that's been the way that we've tried to operate throughout the period of Government, and certainly that David Blunkett tried to operate, I don't think criticisms of us being an Overweaning State are fair. I think things like Anti-Social Behavior Orders, which are a, er, manifestation of that, are a legitimate means to try to crack down on unacceptable behavior, by er, mainly Young Men, but, er , others as well, as we saw even Pig Farmers, the other day, and er, operate in a way, which er, actually ensures that people live their lives peacefully. I don't think that's the Overweaning State. The fact is, and it's the er, oldest story in the book, that one person's right can be another person's lack of right, but it's important that everybody behaves er, well towards their neighbours, and the communities in which they are. If that's being Overweaning, then so be it, but I don't think that it is.

Finally, isn't it inevitable, that this, whole episode, which combines questions of public probity, questions of how much private life should be private, and all the rest of it, is going to be seen , by many people, in one way or another, as a symptom of the beginning of the end of the Blair era ?

There may be people, you may be among them, Jim, I don't know, who take that view

JN: [same time as CC]
I'm just putting it as a [indistinct]

Er, as I say, [indistinct] you may be among them, you may not be, but er, who take that view. I think you would be an utterly wrong view, I have every personal sympathy and support for David, in his personal life, and what he's done, as well as respect for what he's done in his public life, and I think that, er, that is a, set of events which have worked out in the dramas of yesterday, and I'm very, very sorry that it's come to that, but the idea that somehow, some symptom of a, Failure in Government, or whatever, I absolutely do not accept.

He said you "went soft" at Education, I suppose he wouldn't want you to go soft at the Home Office ?

Well he wouldn't, and actually we had a very nice lunch last Monday, where we talked about all this and his, he, er, was nice enough to acknowledge that, er, actually the criticism wasn't justified, in the case of Education.

[So David Blunkett's criticism of the other Cabinet Ministers still stands ?]

I think any fears that I might be soft on crime, wouldn't be justified either.

Do you think he knew then, that it would end like this ?

I know, he didn't.

Charles Clarke thank you very much.

Thank you.

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The full post election Cabinet has now been announced, and there are some controversial appointments at the Junior Minister level: Department for Education and Skills Minister of State (Children) The Rt Hon Beverly Hughes MP for Stretford and Urmston i... Read More

The full post election Cabinet has now been announced, and there are some controversial appointments at the Junior Minister level: Department for Education and Skills Minister of State (Children) The Rt Hon Beverly Hughes MP for Stretford and Urmston i... Read More

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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 journalist network.
The Practical Nomad Blog Edward Hasbrouck on Privacy and Travel
Policeman's Blog
World Weary Detective

Martin Stabe
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
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


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.


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 - 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


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

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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.

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. (same window)


Monthly Archives

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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

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.

Government Communications Headquarters GCHQ

National Crime Agency - the replacement for the Serious Organised Crime Agency

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 - 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

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).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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

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."

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

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 ! - despite Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling's use of anti-terrorism legislation to seize the assets of Icelandic banks.

No CCTV - The Campaign Against CCTV


I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist !


Power 2010 cross party, political reform campaign


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."


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

wblogocrop_150.jpg - Fighting for justice for whistleblowers