Posts Tagged ‘Phone Tapping’

Private Eye on the Real Reason the Americans Don’t Want Anne Sacoolas Investigated: RAF Croughton is a Spy Base

November 13, 2019

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye, for 15th – 28th November 2019, has a very interesting article in its ‘In the Back’ pages. Titled ‘RAF Croughton – Base Motives’, this alleges that the real reason Trump and the Americans have been so reluctant to see Anne Sacoolas, the women, who allegedly killed Harry Dunn in a road accident, is married to an American intelligence officer and the base on which they lived was a communications intelligence base run by the CIA and the NSA, with links to Britain GCHQ. The article is worth quoting in full

It is hardly surprising the US is reluctant to see Anne Sacoolas put on trial in a UK court over the death of 19-year-old Harry Dunn in a crash outside “RAF” Croughton given what goes on inside the Northamptonshire base.

Sacoolas left the UK shortly after the August crash, initially claiming “diplomatic immunity” because her husband works at Croughton, described as housing an “annexe of the US embassy”. But that is not the full picture. The base is a major CIA/Pentagon communications centre. It is not staffed by diplomats; Sacoolas’ husband is an intelligence officer. It has satellite and fibre-optic links to US bases around the world and to the UK’s own signals intelligence-gathering and eavesdropping headquarters, GCHQ, in Cheltenham.

From Croughton, with British contrivance, more than 200 US personnel control and monitor US air strikes by drones based in Djibouti on the Red Sea, including attacks on targets in Yemen and Somalia. The base is also the hub of a CIA/ American National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance network, intercepting communications throughout Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. It was from there, for example, that the Americans were found to have tapped into the mobile phones of prominent politicians, including German chancellor Angela Merkel.

The US also describes “RAF” Croughton (under the purely nominal command of a British officer) as the home of its 422nd Air Base Group. But that too, is just another cover, designed to hide its CIA/NSA activities. However, under the 1952 Visiting Forces Act, which covers US bases in Britain, military personnel come under the jurisdiction of the British police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for any action outside their bases.

After Donald Trump’s botched attempt last month to broker a resolution, when Harry Dunn’s family visited Washington seeking justice for their son, it seems the US has now dropped all pretence at “immunity”. The fact that the UK police have been to the US to interview Sacoolas and submitted a file to the CPS would suggest that they may also drop any argument that the 1952 act does not apply to civilian operatives.

Reports in both the UK and US suggest those representing Sacoolas might now be looking to negotiate some kind of plea deal – which might prevent scrutiny in court of what staff do at Croughton. It’s clear that neither the US nor British intelligence agencies would welcome such attention. Not least because the US hopes to expand Croughton and set up a “joint intelligence analysis centre”, a headquarters for all American intelligence communications in Europe and Africa.

Vox Political: Theresa May Continues to Push the Government’s ‘Snooper’s Charter’

March 2, 2016

Mike over on Vox Political has put up another piece commenting on Theresa May’s continuing drive to get the government’s legislation expanding the powers of the surveillance state passed by the end of this year. This is the piece of legislation that will give the government and police greater powers to hack into your phone, and peruse your web browsing history for a year or so. Her ‘investigatory powers bill’ has been criticised because it does not cover all the intrusive powers of the security agencies to spy on its citizens, nor is the supposed protection it gives to citizens’ privacy at all clear. Mike also has a suitable Twitter comment about this whole cat’s breakfast from Frankie Boyle, who remarks that it’s strange that the government that lost 114 files on child abuse, wants to know every time you post a picture of a cute cat.

This isn’t about combating terrorism. Bremner, Bird and Fortune in their book You Are Here, note that Bliar introduced a whole tranche of legislation massively expanding the surveillance state, justifying them on the grounds that they were needed as it was a state of emergency, despite the fact no such emergency had actually been declared. This is all about the political, industrial and military establishment wishing to extend its powers to monitor, control and punish for its own sake, not to combat crime or prevent terrorism. It’s about reducing the free west to Orwellian levels of coercive, intrusive policing, urged on by an hysterical press – the Daily Mail, Scum, Express and so on.

MI5 Tapped Everyone’s Phones Over Past Ten Years

November 5, 2015

I’ve just caught this snippet on BBC Breakfast News. They claimed that it’s been revealed that MI5 have kept records of the phone calls made by everyone in Britain for the past decade.

Now this truly boggles the mind, as I was taught at school that there are about 60-65 million people in the UK. It seems incredible to me that the security services could record even a small fraction of the total population’s phone calls, let along everybody, and find enough computer memory space to store them for as long as they have.

It’s also extremely worrying. I’ve been blogging a lot recently about the growth of the surveillance state, and the threat this poses to the personal liberty of all us in the UK. This is further confirmation of that, and shows just how paranoid the authorities are.

Now I don’t dispute the fact that the security services have a right and a duty to spy on those, who can be reasonable suspected of terrorism or supporting terrorist groups, as well as foreign spies. But this has to be matched with proper checks so that innocent people are not targeted and placed under suspicion. This new statistic seems to indicate that the authorities view everyone as some kind of potential terrorist or subversive. If that’s the case, it shows a dangerous need amongst our leaders to control, monitor, and stifle just about everyone in the UK on the grounds that they present some kind of threat.

It also shows how weak and ineffective the government’s claims that their reforms to the justice system, and expansion of the powers of the secret state, won’t constitute a threat to our traditional liberties. Much was made in the Tory press about New Labour’s Marxist drive to stifle free speech and democracy. The Tories and their Lib Dem enablers have gone much further, and set up a system of secret courts. They also wanted to give the security state even further powers to seize people’s records of what they’ve been looking at online over the past year, but were forced to climb down in anticipation of another battle with the Lords.

One upon a time, the state was supposed to get a warrant from the Home Office before they started tapping people’s phones. Those days, it seems, are now long gone. Everyone is being monitored, and so everyone is apparently viewed as potential suspect. We really are heading towards the kind of society Orwell warned against in 1984. And Big Brother has been listening to our phone calls for the last ten years.