By popular demand we have brought together a handful of our more meaningful and/or humorous news articles and blogs published over the last six months that have appeared in such infamous media outlets in the UK as Sky News, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The BBC. In aggregate Faire Sans Dire posted several hundred articles in 2013 across not only the UK media organisations referred to above but also many others worldwide, including mainstream US media, Twitter, LinkedIn and various specialist websites.
Some of these articles are not available on the web via normal search techniques as they are only accessible through subscribing to the media organisations concerned. Some reproduced below have been edited to put them in context and may have been published in more than one media outlet on or about the date specified below.
They have been posted under various pseudonyms but often under TheBurlingtonFiles.Org and/or FaireSansDire.Org. Many relate to the Snowden affair which we hope has not passed unnoticed by our clients and associates involved in “affairs of state”.
No matter what cyberspace or electrospace security you use whether you are the NSA or FBI or GCHQ or act for them your electronic communications are open house to many state intelligence services (and a few sophisticated criminal organisations) from all over the world. Those who can intercept your communications include the criminals who haven’t been rooted out of the more pleasant Western intelligence services and all those working in other more corruptible intelligence services.
KIM JONG-UN KILLED UNCLE’S AIDES WHILE DRUNK – DECEMBER 24
It is a topsy-turvy reminder of the saying about Labour in the seventies – better Lord George-Brown drunk than Wilson sober! Let’s hope Fat Choy Kim Jong-un doesn’t drink too much over Xmas or have a hangover.
Thinking of North Korea the Chinese don’t seem to choose their allies with care but then casting an eye around Central America, Africa and the Caribbean the same could be said of the USA and the UK during the cold war and afterwards. A little research will show you that Fat Choy Kim is quite cuddly compared to many of our past and present dictatorial chums. The main reason he gets so much attention is he heads up a secretive nuclear powered nation.
ISRAELI PM CONDEMNS US/UK SPYING – DECEMBER 23
Every country always says every other country’s spying is unacceptable but sometimes they stay silent for fear of a pot and kettle scandal the next day. Hence many one might have expected to be more vociferous about Snowden’s revelations of the obvious or what was already in the public domain have by and large kept quiet. Indeed, some one might have expected to have not commented adversely at all on the USA.
For Israel to do so now is interesting. You can rest assured you’ll be surprised why they are being critical now but you are unlikely to know the real reason for some time. When it becomes apparent don’t be surprised if the USA is behind it even though that may appear to be nonsensical now.
Mr Clapper apparently doesn’t want anyone to be charged with treason for allegedly passing to Mossad all and sundry that the NSA had picked up which was meant for US eyes only.
M&S EMPLOYEE REFUSES TO SERVE PORK OR BOOZE – DECEMBER 23
What a selfish lot us humans are and around Xmas time too. No one has spared a thought for the poor pig whose leg, shoulder, rib or trotter started all this brouhaha. What if eating turkeys offended some creeds like Vegetarianism? I think a minute’s silence in memory of those we have eaten should be the new order of the day at Christmas, say after the Queen’s speech to give it some dignity.
I was daydreaming that I was in North Korea and a shop assistant said she would only serve me if I smiled at the photo of Kim Jong-un on top of her computer. I came to and realised I was in London and being frogmarched out of a supermarket for trying to take the Mickey by buying a Christmas card. My secretary had warned me that wearing a balaclava even in this weather would be a dumb idea!
If humans lived in pigsties they would be “filthy” too. What is wrong with pigs? Humans are much crueler for a start; just look at Hitler. Coincidentally he was a teetotaller and a vegetarian too. When Muslims undergo medical operations in Europe and the USA alcohol will normally be used to clean the wounds: is that filthy and forbidden too? Humans who believe they can define God for others can have no creed.
Breaking UK news – Parliament recalled for Xmas Day. The Segregated Shopping Act is to be rushed through to introduce disciplined shopping in time for the New Year sales. Latest details available are that there will be queues for separate sexes and different religions so far defined as Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist. Subject to having more than ten followers, other religions may apply. However, shoppers will only be allowed to join a queue after:
(1) Filling in a questionnaire (available in over 200 languages) to confirm their beliefs
(2) Removing their shoes (for explosives checks of course)
(3) Having had a full body/trolley search (for the wrong sort of foods and drinks)
(4) Undergoing a dental check (for traces of banned food like sausages)
(5) Being breathalysed (for traces of alcohol and other banned substances).
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg confirmed that the staff to be employed in all shops across the land which shall have to implement this important extension to our freedom of choice shall be hired from the pool of illegal immigrants which is expected to increase dramatically in 2014.
BUSH-ERA DOCUMENTS ON NSA PROGRAMS DECLASSIFIED – DECEMBER 22
The article states “Calls to the justice department and the director of national intelligence’s office were not answered”. Not surprising really as their phones were probably bugged at the time by so many others such as Merkel, Putin … Why blame the USA when the whole world is at it? Why not blame the UK instead or the Guardian or the New Talk Times? As we have pointed out before (see FaireSansDire.Org news article on June 7) Winnie the Pooh and Percy the Pigeon were both at it decades ago!
SNOWDEN TO HELP BRAZIL SPYING IN RETURN FOR ASYLUM – DECEMBER 18
There are no prizes for guessing where Messrs Greenwald and Miranda live!
NSA CONSIDERS SNOWDEN AMNESTY FOR DOCUMENTS – DECEMBER 16
If the Guardian and/or its readers were really that concerned in all this malarkey about the Snowden disclosures and lack of privacy et al why didn’t they pick up the tons of data already available in the public domain years ago?
Ignoring a few project and program names and some specific examples 80% plus of what Snowden disclosed was available all over the web (eg fairesansdire.org or wired.com) years before anyone in the UK read about the supposed heroic thief, the Robin Hood of Cyberspace, but no one was that bothered then.
Maybe it was because it would have been boring not being a tale of treachery and theft (by a Guardian created purported super-hero). Maybe their journalists simply lacked the wherewithal to know what was going on or weren’t that interested without all the espionage intrigue and trimmings they were party to. Who knows?
The publicity created by the Guardian and other media even woke up cyber criminals and terrorists whose intelligence gathering ability was about the same as your average Guardian reader. In other words they weren’t aware of not just Five Eyes data collection capabilities but also those of many other countries (not limited to members of the UN Security Council).
Judging by the paucity of articles/comments on government sponsored cyberspace and electronic interference generated outside of the USA and UK, the Guardian and its readers obviously don’t care one iota about what real abuses are going on in cyberspace etc. Isn’t that typical? There will be no amnesty for human rights activists in North Korea tomorrow whose telephone calls were intercepted today.
WATCHDOG DEMANDS GCHQ REPORT ON NSA’S UK DATA – NOVEMBER 23
Everyone is so negative about all this. We should celebrate and pass new laws to not only control the intelligence services but also allow their dark arts to be used in the war against criminals who use the web for drug and people trafficking, paedophile activities, identity theft and other serious crimes.
Why isn’t the committee turning this into something positive? Childlike politicians and human rights activists are all hot under the collar or moaning when if only they polished up their monocles they might realise they had never had it so good!
OBAMA CALLS HOLLANDE RE NSA FRENCH REVELATIONS – OCTOBER 22
“Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.” Which is more newsworthy? This Snowden Storm in a “mug of media” about eavesdropping and espionage in cyberspace which even Winnie the Pooh or Percy the Pigeon might have foretold or the history of Listen with Mother on BBC Radio?
Don’t jump to any conclusions. Please bear in mind that Listen with Mother could have been a cover for eavesdropping operations involving the likes of Percy and Winnie or their MI6 and MI7b handlers.
REPUBLICANS IN TURMOIL AS CONGRESS ENDS DEBT CRISIS – OCTOBER 17
This article should have been captioned “Extortion, reckless brinkmanship and unpredictability look set to become the norm in US governance”.
John McCain, a Republican, described the last 16 days as being “one of the more shameful chapters I have seen”. Tick that box but he is not putting it into its historical perspective. This saga has been going on for a few years now. We aren’t even in sight of the end of Chapter 1 yet.
Let’s fast forward to the next deadline and then the next etcetera. This book may well make Tolstoy’s War and Peace look like a short novel and play out to an unexpected crescendo many years from now. Lest we forget, “money makes the world go round”!
US CREDIT DOWNGRADE LOOMS AS REPUBLICANS NEAR BRINK – OCTOBER 16
Just like the Roman, British and other empires but in this digital age somewhat faster, the USA is sadly heading for implosion. Economically it’s been looking like a slow motion train wreck for a few years now … you can’t keep doing all this massive debt build up at low interest rates forever: they are incompatible … and once you add dashes of brinkmanship politics you get an unstable disunited USA and the consequences may be very dire. As for the consequences, today, next week, next year or whenever unless common sense gets a grip no matter where you live you will be affected. This is not about Obamacare … it runs much deeper than that … and the financial consequences might make previous global depressions look like the good times.
GUARDIAN’S NSA REVELATIONS: SPIES TO GO UNDER SPOTLIGHT – OCTOBER 11
We agree with the need to keep secret anything that could even remotely help “organised crime” or those wishing to harm Western democracies. The question is just what was or is secret? Ignoring the really detailed information Snowden stole, that has not been published, arguably not much. Anyone interested in most of what Snowden released which has been published could have read about most of it on the web and much of it in 2010 or earlier.
Indeed we published carefully worded articles on this topic in February 2011. No agencies were named. The articles were not about any one agency but about the mass governmental abuses going on globally in cyberspace. Some time before our publication we had to pull out of an assignment because over 100 agencies from over 20 countries were reading our clients’ emails or trying to. What is more Faire Sans Dire Limited knew that one of those agencies had apparently been infiltrated by the allegedly dubious characters it had been asked to report on.
The Times like the Guardian is myopically looking at this from the West’s perspective. But this is not just about NSA or GCHQ – it’s about dozens of intelligence agencies across the globe. Spying is endemic amongst all governments, always will be. The old boys’ brigade who are commenting on Snowden, appear out of touch by not having acknowledged that this is a global issue – NSA and GCHQ are only two agencies amongst many hundreds scrambling to keep up with the exponential growth in electronic communications.
As for the Chinese or Russians finding out what Western intelligence is up to that is a joke. When nations plod through cyberspace they leave footprints everywhere for starters just as planes leave vapour trails in the sky and that’s before you get thousands of experts to analyse the footprints and more besides.
When President Obama, Chancellor Merkel or Prime Minister Cameron are staying at a hotel before some summit or other no doubt thousands of people from all over the world will know what they are being offered for breakfast before they’ve even woken up or read the printed menu! The days of secrets are disappearing as fast as technology is developing and being used by an ever increasing number of people.
For those engaged in deception, interception and eavesdropping today no matter whether working for governments, Al Qaeda affiliates or the Mafia, cyberspace and the world of electronic communications are as lawless as the Wild West in the days of the gold rush and the main players are not hackers with acme or even “organised crime” but nations. We need international laws to protect us from abuse just as we eventually got international maritime laws but they took centuries to evolve so don’t hold your breath.
It is hardly surprising that these purported secrets spill out in to the public domain. We estimate that globally between 20,000,000 and 30,000,000 people have authorised access to clandestinely obtained data by governments all over the world. That’s equivalent to more than all working adult males in the UK. The biggest dangers lie in those millions being infiltrated by real criminals or terrorists not Snowden, Greenwald, Miranda or Assange lookalikes. How “on earth” can something stay secret when that many are granted access to it? Take a break.
SNOWDEN’S FATHER ARRIVES IN MOSCOW ‘HOPING TO SEE SON’ – OCTOBER 10
Will Lon apologise to Edward for his bringing him up without a moral compass or will Edward apologise to Lon for having lost it?
GCHQ FACES CHALLENGE IN EU COURT OVER ONLINE PRIVACY – OCTOBER 4
The real concern is not abuse by GCHQ or NSA as pointed out in two news articles released by Faire Sans Dire Limited in February 2012, not 2013! Unauthorized access to the data by organised crime is the problem. The criminal organisations (including terrorists) know where the goldmine of data is, have almost certainly infiltrated the organisations that hold it and will use the information obtained illegally to say fix a court case, do a bit of insider trading, blackmail a celebrity or avoid being arrested.
Worldwide including other countries with similar capabilities to the UK and the USA we estimate over 25 million people are employed or contracted or whatever who have access at one level or another to potentially really valuable data even if it were just a vet’s email the day before the Derby saying the favourite’s left leg hadn’t healed as quickly as expected!
They have already been infiltrated for sure as you cannot have that number of people in so many armies around the world without a few rotten apples. We have even come across them but there was no need to report them as we knew our emails were being intercepted by others! Fact or fiction – take your pick but this is the real problem – just one infiltrator could keep a small country fed on the proceeds of selling stolen data.
NSA SURVEILLANCE GOES BEYOND ORWELL’S IMAGINATION – SEPTEMBER 24
Not surprising it is beyond Orwell’s imagination in 1984 – we are nearly in 2014! By the way did you know that a new mobile phone can now access more data than the CIA, MI6, KGB and the entire world’s intelligence agencies could collectively access or store in 1984!
SYRIA AGREES ON UN INSPECTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS SITE – AUGUST 25
Murder is murder and as a crime most countries have the same penalty for it no matter how it is committed. While dying from nerve gas is apparently a very unpleasant way to go, what’s the difference between bombing, shooting, starving or gassing your own citizens or anyone else for that matter? That red line is thus somewhat enigmatic.
DAVID MIRANDA DETENTION: BETRAYAL OF TRUST & PRINCIPLE – AUGUST 20
Isn’t it obvious why he was detained? Greenwald and those connected to him including the Guardian have gone a bridge too far. Instead of reading about this claptrap you could have been reading about your close family relatives who were either murdered or maimed as a result of some atrocity that would not have occurred but for Snowden’s revelations which helped promulgate the atrocity.
Miranda is now in Brazil, Greenwald is unscathed, Snowden hasn’t been executed by the CIA and the Guardian’s offices haven’t been raided – come to think of it, why raid anywhere anymore other than electronically. Nevertheless, maybe it is about time the Guardian and Amnesty International and other normally respectable goodies got the balance right?
According to one journalist on Sky News last night Greenwald had allegedly had the audacity to threaten to release even more harmful/damning information. If that is the face of the modern media it deserves to be removed from view. We assume Miranda is on the Guardian’s payroll as they apparently paid for his flight. Do HMRC know who gets paid for what? If Miranda is in it with Greenwald he should know the rules too.
We assume the Guardian, Snowden, Greenwald and co imagine they can work out what not to publish which might aid terrorists or indeed countries such as North Korea which are not perceived to be allies of NATO.
Sadly Greenwald and the Guardian have made one hell of an assumption. It can only be naive to assume that by publishing such a large amount of detailed data when combined with their generic guidance explaining what is supposedly going on they are somehow not helping terrorists. Indeed what fascinates us about Snowden, Greenwald and the Guardian is that they don’t appear to have thought that through as they are so obsessed with demeaning Western democracies as if they were part of Al Qaeda.
No doubt they know about what many other countries get up to but persistently focus on the USA, the UK and the Five Eyes. Since China and Russia have been cooperative not one serious criticism of what they get up to in cyberspace or electrospace et al has emerged. With tongue in cheek, we are sure everyone would agree their policies are as pristine as those in the UK or the USA! What about policies in countries like North Korea or Syria where breaches probably carry the death penalty?
BT, VODAFONE & OTHERS PASSING DETAILS TO GCHQ – AUGUST 3
For all the commentators who are suggesting sending out spoof communications I wonder if they will relish the repercussions of such irresponsibility when as an indirect result of wasting anti-terrorism resources what would have been a preventable terrorist incident occurs in some city and one of their children is maimed for life. They can think about it while they are feeding, dressing, bathing and pushing their child around in a wheelchair for the rest of their lives.
NSA PAYS £100M IN SECRET FUNDING FOR GCHQ – AUGUST 2
At least it saves the UK tax payer some dosh. Why doesn’t GCHQ go commercial and offer a global on-line back-up service? It could also offer global private eye and other investigative services. That would not only save the costs of trying to regulate investigators but probably pay for all the UK’s intelligence and law enforcement services as well.
The commercial opportunities are endless once you start to think about them. No need to tell GCHQ though – they will already have the ideas in real time as I’m typing them. Trouble is – who else will? I doubt GCHQ will act fast enough to establish a monopoly so they may have to share the revenues with the Five Eyes or even China, Russia, Ukraine and France.
DEFEAT FOR AMENDMENT TO RESTRICT NSA DATA COLLECTION – JULY 25
Most of the comments about the Snowden saga have focused on whether or not he and/or the USA have “sinned” for want of a better word. Snowden’s lawyer Mr Kucherena also appears to be looking at matters that way albeit somewhat humorously after leaving Snowden a copy of Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.
Conceptually the issue appears to be about the legitimacy of a state to spy on its citizens and/or citizens of other states. If anything positive is to come out of this saga maybe those concerned should challenge the laws in their own countries as has happened in the USA in the last 24 hours.
Such challenges are easy for those of us living in true democracies but require moral courage elsewhere. The question is will these true democracies remain such and if so for how long before they morph into Stasi style states?
Looking back at dictators in history many would have benefited from these all invasive methods which Faire Sans Dire noted in its News Section in February 2012 (not 2013) had been going on for years in dozens of countries.
Perhaps Edwin Black’s book “IBM and the Holocaust” should become mandatory reading for all those working in state “intelligence” and the data harvesting industry. One day there may be a similar book published about some of today’s data harvesting giants.
MICROSOFT HANDED THE NSA ACCESS TO ENCRYPTED MESSAGES – JULY 12
Who do I contact at the NSA for a back-up of an important Skype conference call one of my clients has lost? Will they charge for this?
SNOWDEN: I NEVER GAVE ANY DATA TO CHINESE OR RUSSIANS – JULY 11
I wonder precisely what “I never GAVE any information” means. No matter where Snowden hid his laptops either the Chinese and/or the Russians would have known and could have easily accessed them.
If he had been dumb enough to turn any of them on then any sensitive data would have, euphemistically put, been somewhat vulnerable.
It’s one of those statements like Bill Clinton’s infamous denial about what he got up to with Monica Lewinsky.
For all we know Snowden might have said “I’m going to sleep for a few hours so don’t touch my laptops which are hidden in the hotel safe downstairs”!
NSA’S MASS AND INDISCRIMINATE SPYING ON BRAZILIANS – JULY 7
It is noteworthy that the Russians are purportedly being so painstakingly patient unless Snowden is no longer holed up in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
Since the ambassador’s office in the London Ecuadorian Embassy was known to have been bugged over two weeks ago everything announced since then by Wikileaks, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and probably Russia is almost certainly tainted with disinformation.
Our best guess is he left Russia a while ago and is probably in Cuba. Maybe that is disinformation too! As it’s our best guess it’s bound to be wrong. Who knows? How many really care now?
No matter where Snowden goes in South or Central American he will find it hard to make a well informed long term decision because he will no doubt be handed over to the USA in a decade or two when no one really remembers this debacle. Many South American countries’ loyalties to the USA wax and wane depending upon their political persuasions which historically have for many changed dramatically over the years since the proxy wars of the Cold War ceased.
The performances of many of the stars in this soap opera have been lacklustre to put it generously. One way or another Snowden, Clapper, Obama and Kerry have got it wrong again and again – indeed Putin is one of the few who has handled the affair with aplomb to date.
The USA through the NSA and CIA has emerged looking like a totalitarian bully even if Snowden is as guilty as he appears to be of theft and espionage etc ignoring all the moral hullabaloo about spying.
As we noted the other day, Snowden really will become a “banned on the run” for the rest of his life and probably deserves it.
This article was first published on 24th December 2013.