A few comments about the British and independent Press.

There are five or maybe six newspapers in the United Kingdom which are of national scale and might be regarded as being in a position to investigate matters which are mentioned in this blog. These include The Times, The DailyMail, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent and The Evening Standard.

With the best will in the world and having contacted them, this however is not case which would be expected given:

  1. The lack of any form of complaint on their part with regards to the lack of oversight of the intelligence serices
  2. The DSMA notice commitee.
  3. The fact that some newspapers and perhaps all do the bidding of the intelligence services.
  4. The lack of any serious investigation or campaign into the harassment of other individuals who have been in a similar situation.
  5. The lack of respect by the intelligence services who work for the newspapers even for the person who is the head of state and her family.

There is of course Private Eye. The Eye and the editor, Ian Hislop does go much further than the other newspapers and I think deserves respect for his sense of right and wrong as well as providing humour when one needs it. He will I hope remain as editor.

I am it is true to say critical of that journal (and perhaps have been rather too blunt for their tastes as it is rather frustrating given that it is the premiere journal of investigative journalism in the UK), in that it is difficult to see how a journal which

  • Is published every two weeks. (It should be at least weekly and have a website behind a paywall)
  • Has at most 70 (I think) pages some of which contain humour and other which contain small snipets of investigative material, some of which on occasions pertain to the intelligence services. 
  • Does not as of yet have a secure method of contact nor secure communications infrastructure. (The editor would need to appoint someone who can look after such matters given that most people I would imagine communicate via email)
  • Does not have adequate funds.
  • Does not respond to any emails (even to say go away) or ask for more information
  • Does not really appear to have an inkling as to how intelligence related matters work which would affect the quality of the investigative journalism.

Can be in a position whereby investigative journalism can take place even if one might like the journalists. I rather sense that the establishment like it this way and would be keen to reassure them they’re doing a splendid job which is true in certain respects.

Then there are of course Wikileaks and the Intercept. The former has some relation to my particular field although their specialism is being a repository of “official government documents”. It is in effect a supplier of documents but is not a publication.

I do have grave misgivings about the later and suspect it may be a controlled opposition. Edward Snowden had already leaked his documents so bearing in mind how easily these things spread, the US government must have decided to take certain measures to stop this. There were apparently copies sent to three other people but I do not forsee a situation rather like with Spycatcher where three different newspapers would work on the same story..

The US government must have decided given the alternative it would be better for the documents (which apparently according to Julian Assange are not complete) to end up in the hands of one individual, namely a guardian journalist, Glenn Greenwald and for certain measures to be taken not ensure that the leakage of this information would be moderated. In other words the intercept is a very neat little package for them to handle. 

Indications of the decision taken by the US government are the fact that

1) The Guardian has more or less stopped reporting first hand to the extent that it did the contents of the documents and the editor, Alan Rusbridger did so with some reluctance.

2) Whenever I have contacted the guardian to attempt to discuss matters, they have without any examination of any document and without discussing things said they were uninterested.

3) Alan Rusbridger resigned from the guardian and was eventually froced out of the trust and works for a college which might be regarded as having some links with the intelligence services.

4) The journalist who worked with Snowden in this first instance, Glenn Greenwald has left the guardian to work on a small online journal which republishes and comments upon documents which have mostly already been released or in the absence of new verifiable documents, raises issues about human rights.

5) Strangely when he returned to the United States, Mr Greenwald was unlike Snowden who also distributed the documents, not in any way impeded by any judicial process and one might argue that he is being allowed to release these documents. He was unlike Snowden and unlike Julian Assange eallowed to claim residence in Brazil and was not impeded in doing so which seems rather odd.

6) When someone wishes to release further documents, the process is either not user friendly and presumably does not accept large document drops (PGP email) or uses a platform which last time I tested it does not work (secure drop).

7) Some of the documents which have been released since Snowden documents, most notably the FBI documents referred to in the second podcast, were on the balance of probabilities leaked by the FBI themselves in order to prevent the revelation of the methods of HUMINT used by western governments. When this was pointed out on their twitter page, for some strange reason, there was a distinct lack of interest, which would indicate that certain members of staff at that online journal are either naive or complicit in the prevention of the leakage of information. In other words rather like the situation which existed with Wikileaks in that they have an infiltrator(s) within the staff.

8) There is a distinct lack of interest on the part of the intercept with regard to a rather crucial aspect of intelligence related work, namely neurodiversity, which is regarded as crucial to the functioning of an intelligence agency by GCHQ. The staff have no training or awareness of neurodiversity nor appear curious to know why this is important and have never written about it, so it is difficult to see how they are in a position to comment upon intelligence related work. They devote pages to gay rights which might be fine but it is difficult to see how this pertains to  intelligence related matters.

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