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Now the UK Government wants to ban the press from reporting on how it helped the US spy on UK citizens

Tom Winnifrith Saturday 8 June 2013

 

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The British Government is threatening journalists with jail if they report on how the British Government helped the US Government to spy on you and me – innocent British citizens. Oh, and it has also threatened journalists with jail if they report on the fact that they are being threatened with jail.  1984 in Airstrip One – this is surreal. And terrifying.

The background is that it emerged last week that the US PRISM programme where US intelligence services snooped (illegally) on millions of emails, Facebook postings, etc. of ordinary US citizens actually operated in the UK too thanks to the folk at GCHQ.

President Obama thinks it is okay to snoop on anyone in the interests of National Security. But under this administration other Government agencies have been used for expressly political purposes. The IRS (the US taxman) has been shown to have explicitly targeted and abused those folk who contributed to Republican and Right Wing groups. Do I trust a State agency to always act fairly? Never. Do I trust one under Obama’s stewardship? Never, never, never.

What is chilling is that the same sort of abuse is going on in the UK. And the Government is doing its utmost to stop you finding out about it. While GCHQ is set to report to MPs as soon as next week on what it did do I trust a criminal to report on himself? So far it has been the much maligned press making all the running.

And that brings me to June 7th when the British Defence Ministry press advisory committee, reacting to a flurry of revelations in the American press about massive warrantless US government electronic surveillance programs, warned UK organizations Friday not to publish British national security information.

Defiance of the June 7th “DA-Notice” could make British journalists vulnerable to prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.  And it gets better – that DA notice was itself marked confidential and so revealing its existence is a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

The DA-Notice accepted that the U.S. National Security Agency was indeed working with spooks in the UK but said that our spooks are worried about revelations of their involvement. Too frigging right. They should be worried. This is a scandal and another sprint down the road to 1984 here in Airstrip One.

 The DA Notice states:

"There have been a number of articles recently in connection with some of the ways in which the UK Intelligence Services obtain information from foreign sources," said the notice issued by the Defence Advisory Committee, a joint body with media organizations.

"Although none of these recent articles has contravened any of the guidelines contained within the Defence Advisory Notice System, the intelligence services are concerned that further developments of this same theme may begin to jeopardize both national security and possibly UK personnel," it said.

The notice is marked "Private and Confidential: Not for publication, broadcast or use on social media."  

Well this blog is anti-social media.  If the spooks want to arrest me I have just sent an email to myself marked Barack Obama is a c*** which has details of where I shall be this weekend.; No doubt they can hack into gmail and find out where to get me.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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