Archive | December 23rd, 2013

MacSHANE JAILED FOR 6 MONTHS FOR FRAUD

NOVANEWS
Denis MacShane. Picture: PA

Denis MacShane. Picture: PA

  • by MARTYN MCLAUGHLIN

DISGRACED former Labour minister Denis MacShane has been jailed for six months after admitting making bogus expense claims.

 

The ex-MP was sentenced this morning at the Old Bailey after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The 65-year-old previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services.

MacShane used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

His guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of House of Commons allowances.

Parliamentary authorities began looking at his claims in 2009 when the wider scandal engulfed Westminster, and referred him to Scotland Yard within months.

But the principle of parliamentary privilege meant detectives were not given access to damning correspondence with the standards commissioner – in which MacShane detailed how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The body was controlled by MacShane and the general manager’s signature was not genuine. One missive, dated October 2009, told how he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book judging panel in Paris.

It was not until after police dropped the case last year that the cross-party Standards Committee published the evidence in a report that recommended an unprecedented 12-month suspension from the House.

MacShane, who served as Europe minister under Tony Blair, resigned as MP for Rotherham last November before the punishment could be imposed.

Police then reopened their probe in the light of the fresh information and he was charged in May – even though the letters are still not thought to be admissible in court.

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Former Labour MP Denis MacShane sentenced to six months in jail after admitting 13k expenses fraud

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daily Record

THE former MP was sentenced to six months at the Old Bailey after admitting faking invoices that netted him almost £13,000 of taxpayers’ cash.

Denis MacShane
Denis MacShane

DISGRACED former Labour minister Denis MacShane has been sentenced to six months at the Old Bailey after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The ex-MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services.

MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

His guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of Commons allowances.

Flanked by two security officers, MacShane, wearing a dark suit with a blue striped tie and glasses, said “Cheers” as the sentence was delivered, before adding, “Quelle surprise” as he was led from the dock.

Mr Justice Sweeney told MacShane his dishonesty had been “considerable and repeated many times over a long period”.

“You have no one to blame but yourself,” the judge said.

The judge said MacShane had shown “a flagrant breach of trust” in “our priceless democratic system”.

“The deception used was calculated and designed,” he said.

He told MacShane he must serve half his sentence in prison and was ordered to pay costs of £1,500 within two months.

Parliamentary authorities began looking at his claims in 2009 when the wider scandal engulfed Westminster, and referred him to Scotland Yard within months.

But the principle of parliamentary privilege meant detectives were not given access to damning correspondence with the standards commissioner in which MacShane detailed how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The body was controlled by MacShane and the general manager’s signature was not genuine. One message, dated October 2009, said he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book judging panel in Paris.

It was not until after police dropped the case last year that the cross-party Standards Committee published the evidence in a report that recommended an unprecedented 12-month suspension from the House.

MacShane, 65, who served as Europe minister under Tony Blair, resigned as MP for Rotherham last November before the punishment could be imposed.

Police then reopened their inquiry in the light of the fresh information and he was charged in May – even though the letters are still not thought to be admissible in court.

The offence of false accounting covered 19 “knowingly misleading” receipts that MacShane filed between January 2005 and January 2008.

The court heard that MacShane incurred “genuine expenses” for similar amounts which he chose to recoup by dishonest false accounting rather than through legitimate claims.

Mr Sweeney said: “However chaotic your general paperwork was, there was deliberate, oft repeated and prolonged dishonesty over a period of years – involving a flagrant breach of trust and consequent damage to Parliament, with correspondingly reduced confidence in our priceless democratic system and the process by which it is implemented and we are governed.”

The judge said he had considered a number of mitigating features, including MacShane’s guilty plea, and that the offences were “not committed out of greed or for personal profit”.

MacShane had suffered “a long period of public humiliation” and carried out the offences “at a time of turmoil” in his personal life, Mr Sweeney said.

The court heard that MacShane and his wife divorced in 2003, his daughter Clare was killed in an accident in March 2004, his mother died in 2006 and his former partner, newsreader Carol Barnes – Clare’s mother – died in 2008.

The judge also considered his previous good character and that the money had been paid back.

The court heard that MacShane submitted four of his false claims while serving as Europe minister.

He joins a list of politicians prosecuted as a result of the expenses scandal.

They include fellow former Labour minister Elliot Morley, as well as MPs Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Eric Illsley.

Tories to fall foul of the law were Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick.

Sentences have ranged from nine to 18 months.

Another ex-Labour MP, Margaret Moran, was spared prison and given a supervision order instead after suffering mental health problems.

Mr Sweeney told MacShane that he acknowledged a difference between his case and other MPs sentenced following the expenses scandal.

However, MacShane “deliberately created misleading and deceptive invoices and then used them in order to procure payments of public money”, the judge added.

“You must therefore have been aware throughout that it was an essential feature of the expenses system then in operation that Members of Parliament were invariably treated as honest, trustworthy people, and that the unwritten assumption was that only claims for expenses genuinely incurred in accordance with the rules would be made,” Mr Sweeney said.

“Yet you acted in flagrant breach of that trust.”

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, said: “It is welcome that justice has finally been done.

“But it is staggering that it has taken four and a half years for this case to be brought to a conclusion and serious questions need to be asked of the various authorities involved as to why it took so long.

“The police and parliamentary authorities must ensure that the Crown Prosecution Service has been handed all relevant evidence in order to decide whether a prosecution ought to be brought in any other cases relating to the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal.

“Only then can the public be sure that a line has finally been drawn under a saga which did such damage to confidence in Parliament.”

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Ex-minister Denis MacShane jailed for bogus expenses claims

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Labour’s former Europe minister pleaded guilty to false accounting after filing 19 fake receipts totalling nearly £13,000.
Denis MacShane

Denis MacShane arrives at the Old Bailey for sentencing after pleading guilty to falsely claiming thousands of pounds in parliamentary expenses. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP

The former MP and Europe minister Denis MacShane has been sentenced to six months’ imprisonment after admitting making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The judge stipulated that he should serve half of the sentence, and could be released earlier. Flanked by two security officers, MacShane said “cheers” as the sentence was delivered, adding “quelle surprise” as he was led from the dock.

During sentencing at the Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney said MacShane had committed a “flagrant breach of trust” and had no one to blame but himself.

“The dishonesty involved was considerable and was repeated many times over a long period,” the judge said. “The deception used was calculated and designed to avoid suspicion falling on your claims.”

MacShane, 65, the former Labour MP for Rotherham, pleaded guilty last month to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services. On Monday, he became the fifth ex-MP to be jailed in relation to the 2009 expenses scandal. He was also ordered to pay costs of £1,500 within two months.

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance campaign group, welcomed the sentencing but said it was “staggering that it has taken four and a half years for the case to be brought to a conclusion”.

He said: “The police and parliamentary authorities must ensure that the Crown Prosecution Service has been handed all relevant evidence in order to decide whether a prosecution ought to be brought in any other cases relating to the 2009 MPs’ expenses scandal. Only then can the public be sure that a line has finally been drawn under a saga which did such damage to confidence in parliament.”

The Labour MP Tom Harris said his colleague, who resigned his seat last year, should not have been jailed as he had already suffered enough and the CPS and police accepted he had not gained personally from the claims.

Evidence suggesting MacShane’s guilt was reportedly uncovered by a Commons investigation in 2010 but remained hidden from police under the rule of parliamentary privilege. It has been claimed that refusal by the Commons to release the material led to a police investigation into MacShane being dropped in 2012.

His expenses have been under scrutiny for more than four years. The Commons authorities began looking at the claims when the expenses scandal engulfed Westminster in 2009 and referred the matter to police within months of identifying potential criminal activity.

However, the longstanding principle of parliamentary privilege, which is supposed to protect MPs’ freedom of speech, meant detectives had no access to damning correspondence with the then standards commissioner, John Lyon. In the correspondence, MacShane described how signatures on receipts from the European Policy Institute (EPI) had been faked.

The EPI was controlled by MacShane, and the general manager’s signature was not genuine. One letter dated October 2009 described how he drew funds from the EPI so he could serve on a book-judging panel in Paris.

Police could not prove any wrongdoing without the correspondence, and dropped their inquiry in July 2012 before reopening it in November last year when the letters emerged and the cross-party standards and privileges committee recommended a 12-month suspension from the Commons.

MacShane was charged in May. The offence of false accounting covered 19 “knowingly misleading” receipts that he filed between January 2005 and January 2008. The court heard that he had incurred “genuine expenses” for similar amounts, which he chose to recoup by dishonest false accounting rather than through legitimate claims.

The judge said: “However chaotic your general paperwork was, there was deliberate, oft repeated and prolonged dishonesty over a period of years, involving a flagrant breach of trust and consequent damage to parliament, with correspondingly reduced confidence in our priceless democratic system and the process by which it is implemented and we are governed.”

Sweeney said he had considered a number of mitigating factors, including MacShane’s guilty plea and that the offences were “not committed out of greed or for personal profit”.

He also recognised that MacShane had suffered “a long period of public humiliation” and carried out the offences “at a time of turmoil” in his personal life. The court heard that MacShane and his wife divorced in 2003, his daughter Clare was killed in an accident in March 2004, his mother died in 2006 and his former partner Carol Barnes – Clare’s mother – died in 2008.

The judge also considered his previous good character and that the money had been paid back. He said his starting point for the offence was a 12-month sentence but he reduced this to six months because of the mitigating factors.

Other politicians prosecuted as a result of the expenses scandal include the former Labour MPs Elliot Morley, Jim Devine, David Chaytor and Eric Illsley. Also prosecuted were the Conservatives Lord Hanningfield and Lord Taylor of Warwick. Sentences have ranged from nine to 18 months’ imprisonment. Another former Labour MP, Margaret Moran, was spared prison and given a supervision order on the grounds of mental health problems.

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Zionist Denis MacShane jailed for expenses fraud

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ZIONIST CORRUPT  DENIS MacSHANE

Zionist Denis MacShane said “Quelle surprise” as he was led from the dock after being sentenced to six months in prison for making bogus expense claims amounting to nearly £13,000.

The ex-MP previously pleaded guilty to false accounting by filing 19 fake receipts for “research and translation” services.

Zionist MacShane, 65, used the money to fund a series of trips to Europe, including one to judge a literary competition in Paris.

His guilty plea followed more than four years of scrutiny into his use of Commons allowances.

During this time the former Labour MP continued to receive a parliamentary salary and expenses – and was re-elected as an MP – despite the Commons authorities and the police being aware that he had admitted the fraud.

Old Bailey, Mr Justice Sweeney said the former Europe minister had shown “a flagrant breach of trust” in “our priceless democratic system”

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ZIONIST CAMERON SICKENING WAR IN SYRIA

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David Cameron describes death of Dr Abbas Khan in Syrian prison as ‘sickening’ as doctor’s body is flown back to UK

”DR DEATH KILLED BY SICKENING ZIONIST CAMERON DIRTY WAR IN SYRIA” SHOAH

Dr Abbas Khan, 32, was on the verge of being released when his family were told of his death

David Cameron has written to the mother of a British doctor who died in custody in Syria, describing his death as “a sickening and appalling tragedy”.

Dr Abbas Khan, 32, was on the verge of being released when his family were told of his death this week.

His relatives have said he was the victim of a political murder, but the Syrian government have called his death suicide.

His body was flown back to the UK today and will undergo a post-mortem examination.

In a letter dated December 20, the Prime Minister told his mother, Fatima Khan, that he and his wife Samantha were “so very sorry” to hear of her son’s death.

“I know from my own experience of losing a child that words are of little comfort at this terrible time but please know that you are in our thoughts,” he wrote.

“Abbas’ death is a sickening and appalling tragedy and it is right that the Syrian regime should answer for it.

He branded the regime’s treatment of Dr Khan “despicable” and claimed it was “utterly unacceptable” that the UK were not able to support him.

In a hand-written ending, he added: “You are in our thoughts and prayers.”

The orthopaedic surgeon from London was captured in November 2012 in the ancient city of Aleppo after travelling from Turkey to help victims of hospital bombings.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it transported his body from Damascus to the Lebanese capital Beirut, where it was received by his mother Fatima Khan and British officials.

Mrs Khan, who has “110%” refuted claims that he committed suicide, broke down in tears when the coffin arrived.

“The national security intelligence of Syria, they killed him!” she screamed. “They’re murderers!”

The ICRC said it expected the British Embassy to fly Dr Khan’s body to London “rapidly”.

Mrs Khan has categorically denied claims made by Syria’s deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad that he had killed himself.

In the last few days the family revealed a letter in which the doctor expressed his optimism at being released, and his hopes of being home in time for Christmas.

A convoy of British doctors headed for Syria despite the death of Dr Khan.

The Observer reported aid groups vowed not to be deterred as a fleet of more than 40 ambulances carrying medical volunteers and supplies left on an eight-day journey to Syria.

According to the newspaper, several of the vehicles had “RIP Dr Abbas Khan” written on the side.

Dr Shameela Islam-Zulfiqar, from Manchester, said: “It’s really tragic that we lost Dr Khan, but even his family have said there are hundreds dying in Syria every day and so many doctors and medical staff just want to help.

“People have been asking, ‘why are we going?’ The question is why aren’t we doing more? The work of UK charities is a drop in the ocean, but I’d rather be part of that than do nothing.

“The timing of Dr Khan’s death is very deliberate by the regime. They know the holiday season means the aid convoys will be coming and it was a very symbolic act – don’t come or look what we will do.”

Dr Islam-Zulfiqar will be on board the convoy, which is funded by the Worcester-based charity Al Fatiha Global and the Aid4Syria campaign, the Observer reported.

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Majority in former Soviet states believe breakup was harmful mistake – poll

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Demonstration on Red Square (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin)Demonstration on Red Square (RIA Novosti / Vladimir Vyatkin).

More than two decades after the Soviet Union collapsed a majority of citizens in the independent states believe that the split brought nothing but harm, according to a new Gallup poll.

Gallup a research-based, global performance-management consulting company released a poll conducted in 11 countries of the former Soviet bloc asked participants whether the “breakup of the Soviet Union benefitted or harmed this country?”

Overall statistics revealed that 51 percent of the combined total said that breakup hurt their country’s national interest while only 24 percent argued in favor of independence.

Kazakhstanis, Azerbaijanis and Turkmens are more likely to see benefit than harm from the breakup. In Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Russia people answered they see “harm” three times more often than “benefit.” In Georgia, the people are more or less split.

The survey also reveals that those who had conscious experience of living in the USSR are nearly three times more prone to say its collapse harmed the country. People under 30 are split on the issue with 33 percent seeing harm and 30 percent – benefit, while 20 percent admit they don’t know and refused to answer.

The Gallup study concluded that those with higher education are more likely to accept and support the benefits that came from the split with Moscow, with Kyrgyzstan being the exception.

Those states that have witnessed ongoing conflict, violence or ethnic tensions are likely see greater harm from the collapse of the Soviet Union, the research says.

People who say that “most people” in their home states are afraid to express their political views voted in favor of Soviet conditions, while those who claimed that that “no one” is afraid in their country voted in favour of independence. The figures suggest “the freedom they thought they might have after the fall of the Soviet Union has not materialized,” the study claims.

Thirty percent of residents of 11 former republics who believe that future generations have the opportunity to learn and grow see the benefits gained after independence, compared with 18 percent among those who do not see such an opportunity.

“Overall, residents who see opportunities for their children and themselves to succeed are more likely to say the breakup benefited their country than those who do not,” the study says.

As for the Russians, 55 percent say it harmed their lifestyle with only 19 percent believing that the collapse improved life.

The Gallup study was based on personal interviews of at least 1,000 people conducted between June and August 2013 in each of the sampling countries, aged 15 and older. Uzbekistan, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia despite formerly being a part of the Soviet Union were excluded from the polling.

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Oren calls on US Congress to quell movement to boycott I$raHell academically

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Former  ambassador Zio-Nazi to US says in Politico op-ed that more  organizations could boycott I$raHelli academia if action not taken.

jpost.com

The US Congress should act to quell the movement to boycott Israel academically, former Israeli ambassador to Washington Michael Oren argued Friday, in the wake of the American Studies Association’s (ASA) decision to boycott Israeli academic institutions.

The 5,000-member association, which describes itself as “the nation’s oldest and largest association devoted to the interdisciplinary study of American culture and history,” announced on Monday that it had endorsed and would participate in a boycott of Israeli universities and academic institutions. Another small North American academic association – the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association – followed suit two days later, declaring a boycott of its own against Israeli academic institutions.

Officials in Jerusalem have downplayed the significance of the boycott, which has been widely condemned by Jewish groups. Oren, however, writing in an opinion article published in Politico, argues that unless the boycott is fought back against, more organizations could follow suit.

Oren, who finished his 50-month tenure as Israeli envoy to the US in September, said that Congress should pass laws which would quash the boycott, as it did in 1977 in response to the Arab economic boycott of Israel.

“Laws could be passed withholding federal or state funding from any academic program that knowingly blacklisted Israeli scholars or institutions or cooperated with associations that did,” Oren argued.

“While an organization like ASA might prefer punishing Israel to receiving government funds, other academic bodies—including universities—most likely will not. At the very least, lawmakers on the local and national level can go on record expressing their unequivocal opposition to such boycotts,” he added.

While Oren’s successor, Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer, called the ASA boycott “a travesty” and hinted that it constitutes anti-Semitism, the response in Jerusalem was more subdued.

Diplomatic officials cautioned against “playing into the hands” of boycott activists looking to stir up debate over Israel.

“That a small, radical academic union votes to boycott Israel is not a state affair that necessitates a formal response from the government,” one Foreign Ministry official said. That the tough response came from Washington, not Jerusalem, seemed designed to convey that message – that Israel views this as a localized incident.

“The BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) movement is not a strategic threat to Israel,” the official added, noting that occasionally the movement would have a success that garnered disproportionate media attention. “Every once in a while they will have a celebrity, like [singer] Roger Waters or [physicist] Stephen Hawking, who will speak up for them, but that doesn’t mean this is a wave or a widespread phenomenon.”

The Foreign Ministry official said that while actions like these were an “annoyance,” they were blown out of proportion.

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Peres: World must keep pressuring Iran

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peres

Iranian people need ‘divorce’ from Tehran’s policies of threats, hostilities to acquire nuclear  capabilities, president  tells  China FM,  noting again Israel’s only enemy is ‘ideology driving current regime’

ynet

President Shimon Peres urged China and other world powers on Thursday to keep up pressure on Iran as talks on implementing a landmark nuclear deal were set to resume in Geneva.

“The world, in which China is a major player, should help the Iranian people to divorce themselves from the policies of threats and hostilities to prevent (Iran) from acquiring nuclear capability,” Peres said after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Jerusalem.

Peres said the international community shouldn’t loosen its grip on the Iranian sanctions, but also reassured the Iranian people that Israel’s policies were nothing personal.

“We do not view the Iranian people as our enemy,” he said. “Our enemies are the policies and ideology driving the current Iranian regime.”

Nonetheless, he noted that “We must maintain diplomatic pressure, ensure the sanctions regime remains effective to force Iran to comply with the inspections and limitations that the international community demands.”

Talks between Iran and the P5+1 are set to resume, as the two sides look to implement an interim agreement in which Iran will curb its nuclear activities in exchange for a partial easing of sanctions.

The two sides will decide how to apply the initial Geneva agreement, as well as formulate procedures and set an implementation date for the first part of the agreement, Abbas Araqchi, a member of the Iranian negotiation team told National Iranian Radio and Television.

In the major diplomatic breakthrough in Geneva, the 5 +1 and Iran reached an agreement that provides for no new sanctions against Iran during an interim period of six months, during which Tehran agreed to freeze the development of its nuclear program.

Israel and Western nations have long suspected Tehran of using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for developing a nuclear weapons capability, while Iran insists the program is entirely peaceful.

Israel sees Iran as its greatest threat and has not ruled out military action to stop Tehran’s drive for nuclear weapons.

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Friendly Fire: How GCHQ Monitors Germany, I$raHell and the EU

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By Laura Poitras, Marcel Rosenbach and Holger Stark
rabbi

Documents from the archive of whistleblower and former NSA worker Edward Snowden show that Britain’s GCHQ signals intelligence agency has targeted European, German and Israeli politicians for surveillance.

The American spy stayed in northern Cornwall for three weeks. He was delighted with the picturesque setting, with its dramatic cliffs and views of the Atlantic.

In a classified report, the NSA employee also raved about the British signals intelligence agency GCHQ‘s field of antennas, located high above the Atlantic coast, about 300 kilometers (190 miles) west of London. Her Majesty’s agents have been working at the site, where 29 satellite antennas are aimed skyward, for decades. The Cornwall intelligence base, once part of the Echelon global signals intelligence network, was previously known as “Morwenstow.” Today the site is known as “GCHQ Bude.”In addition to its geographical conditions, which are ideal for monitoring important communications satellites, Bude has another site-specific advantage: Important undersea cables land at nearby Widemouth Bay. One of the cables, called TAT-14, begins at German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom’s undersea cable terminal in the East Frisia region of northern Germany.

There were suspicions as early as this summer that the British intelligence service in Bude was eavesdropping on German targets. Now documents from the archive of US whistleblower Edward Snowden contain the first concrete evidence to support this suspicion: German telephone numbers. SPIEGEL, Britain’s Guardian and the New York Times, as part of a joint effort, were able to view and evaluate the material.

List Includes Embassies, Leaders

According to the documents, the GCHQ Bude station listed phone numbers from the German government network in Berlin in its target base as well as those of German embassies, including the one in Rwanda. That, at least, was the case in 2009, the year the document in question was created. Other documents indicate that the British, at least intermittently, kept tabs on entire country-to-country satellite communication links, like “Germany-Georgia” and “Germany-Turkey,” for example, of certain providers.

The name of the European Union’s competition commissioner and current European Commission vice president, Joaquin Almunia, also appears in lists as well as email addresses that are listed as belonging to the “Israeli prime minister” and the defense minister of that country.

The details from the British intelligence agency’s databases could have political consequences. The British will now face an uncomfortable debate over their activities, which are apparently also directed against partner countries in the EU and the political leaders of those nations. SPIEGEL already reported in September on a GCHQ attack on partly government-owned Belgian telecommunications provider Belgacom.

Possible Headache for Cameron

At a dinner during the Brussels EU summit in late October, two days after SPIEGEL’s revelation that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone had been tapped, French President François Hollande began a debate during the meal over surveillance practices in Europe and called for the establishment of a code of conduct for intelligence agencies.

British Prime Minister David Cameron remained oddly silent during the discussion, in solidarity with his American friends — but also, presumably, because the GCHQ intelligence service doesn’t behave very differently from its big brother, the National Security Agency, and because of their agency’s close cooperation with the NSA in the realm of satellite surveillance. If it is confirmed that the British targeted the phones of German government officials and EU Commissioner Almunia, Cameron will have a problem.

The documents do not indicate the intensity and length of any collection of targets. The German numbers are only a small part of a bundle of documents filled with international telephone numbers and corresponding annotations. The documents viewed by SPIEGEL, the Guardian and theNew York Times appear to represent only a small cross-section, and they include hundreds of telephone numbers from more than 60 different country codes. The bundle of documents provides the first glimpse of the scope of Britain’s surveillance ambitions.

EU Figures, Companies Targeted

The documents also show that the surveillance net cast by GCHQ and its political overseers is remarkably comprehensive. From Bude and other GCHQ sites, the agency appears to be systematically monitoring international country-to-country telephone calls made through satellite connections, as well as email communications (known as “C2C,” or computer-to-computer). This is evidenced by, for example, long lists relating to connections between places like Belgium and various African countries.

The entry “EU COMM JOAQUIN ALMUNIA” appears in an “informal” analysis of the communication paths between Belgium and Africa prepared in January 2009. At the time, the peak of the euro crisis, Almunia was still the EU economics and finance commissioner and he already had his own entry and personal identification code in the British target database, with the codename “Broadoak.”

It’s unlikely that the surveillance interest in him — at least when it comes to industrial espionage — has diminished since then. Almunia, now the EU’s competition minister, is currently ruling on, among other issues, whether US Internet giant Google is abusing its market power, thereby harming European companies. Almunia recently imposed fines on US pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, as well as financial companies like Citigroup and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Non-Governmental Organizations Included

The EU commissioner’s name also appears in a second document from 2008, which describes a communication path between France and Africa. According to the document, Almunia, or a number assigned to him in the British target database, called a number in Ivory Coast on Oct. 30 or 31, 2008. SPIEGEL was unable to obtain a response from Commissioner Almunia on the incident by the time it went to press.In addition to many political and “diplomatic targets,” the lists contain African leaders, their family members, ambassadors and businesspeople. They also include representatives of international organizations, such as those of United Nations agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). A noticeably large number of diplomatic missions to the United Nations in Geneva are also listed.

Even non-governmental organizations like Doctors of the World (Médicins du Monde) appear on the British intelligence agency lists, along with a representative of the Swiss IdeasCentre and others. Individual companies can also be found on the list, especially in the fields of telecommunications and banking. The partly government-owned French defense contractor Thales, along with Paris-based energy giant Total, is also mentioned.

When GCHQ officials were asked about the suspicion arising from the documents that their organization engages in large-scale industrial espionage, they stated that while they were unwilling to address specific details, “one of the purposes for which GCHQ may be authorized to intercept communications is where it is necessary for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK” or state security. “Interception under this purpose is categorically not about industrial espionage,” it stated.

The NSA also denied in a statement that it uses its “foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies on behalf of — or give intelligence we collect to US companies.” In another statement, NSA officials said, “The United States collects foreign intelligence just as many other governments do.”

Either way, it appears the British have come relatively close to the goals they state elsewhere in the documents to “exploit global telecommunications” and of “mastering the Internet.” The documents that were reviewed also suggest that the satellite dragnet is likely a continuation of the legendary global Echelon surveillance network, which was the subject of an investigation by a committee of the European Parliament in 2000.

Codename: ‘Carboy’

In their 2001 final report, the EU politicians presented a wealth of convincing evidence of industrial espionage allegedly committed through Echelon, and also made various demands on the United States. But only a few weeks later, the events of 9/11 pushed the criticism of the EU’s partner to the back burner.

A map from the wealth of classified documents obtained by Snowden on the so-called “Fornsat” activities of the technical intelligence cooperation program — informally known as the Five Eyes — shows that the system of global satellite surveillance remained in operation.

Bude is referred to by its codename “Carboy” under a heading titled “Primary Fornsat Collection Operations.” Another collection point in the alliance that also appears in the documents is the NSA’s Sugar Grove listening post in northern Virginia, codenamed “Timberline.”

It has been clear since the release of the Echelon report that intelligence services eavesdrop on international communications conducted by satellite — and Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency is no exception. What is so politically charged about the current revelations is that the names and institutions of European neighbors, including EU representatives and various UN organizations, appear to be listed in the target databases. It would be hard to consider this to be anything less than an intelligence service attack on friends. The question now is whether the names and institutions are also intelligence targets for the NSA.

Israel Spying May Cause Tensions for US

GCHQ and NSA agents work together closely at Bude, which is a jointly operated listening post. Clearly the visitor from the United States who was so enchanted by the scenic Cornwall landscape was far from an isolated case. In fact, there are NSA agents who are permanently assigned to the Cornwall facility. The Guardian reported over the summer, based on information from other documents in the Snowden archive, that the NSA even assumed redevelopment costs of more than $20 million (€14.5 million). According to a secret GCHQ document from 2010, the British were making an effort to at least satisfy the NSA’s minimum expectations, but had trouble keeping up with demand from the United States.

The close cooperation between Britain and the United States could prove highly controversial because the intelligence workers in Bude also targeted Israel. At least four Israeli targets are named in GCHQ lists, including an email address named as the “Israeli prime minister.” The paper dates from 2009, when Ehud Omert was in office. Another email address is also sensitive. For a time, minister@mod.gov.il was central to Israeli foreign and security policy. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his then chief of staff Yoni Koren personally used the mailing list. In its reporting, SPIEGEL learned that Barak coordinated a part of Israel’s Iran policies using this account. It wasn’t a forum for top-secret operations, but it was one for many internal decision-making processes.

The prime minister and his foreign minister are the two most important men in Israel. Anyone with access to their communications could quickly gain a lot of insights about the inner workings of Israeli politics.

Suggestions Germans Were Also Targeted

The lists of full numbers, names and email addresses certainly offer the potential for fresh political tensions in other places. Just last week, German Chief Federal Prosecutor Harald Range said that from his office’s perspective, there is no evidence that the NSA or British intelligence has systematically monitored German telephone and Internet traffic. In a joint appearance before the British House of Commons in November, Britain’s three top intelligence chiefs insisted that their work primarily involved counterterrorism operations.

The material viewed does indeed contain many references to possible terror suspects, suspected cases of nuclear proliferation and individuals associated with the taking of hostages. In many instances, the code names of current operations appear next to the listed numbers, including the operations of other British agencies, such as the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) police unit. Still, this doesn’t explain the large number of so-called “hits” relating to political, diplomatic and business matters. These individuals, organizations and businesses must, therefore, have been defined as espionage targets.

A key document consisting of a long list of telephone numbers and dated Nov. 27, 2009 suggests that this also applies to German institutions and possibly German individuals. The surveillance operation recorded in the document was apparently focused on targets in crisis-ridden Congo, including members of the family of an African president, as well as senior military officials in the country, a cleric and a former vice-president. Two numbers with relevance to Germany are listed under a line that reads “list of all noted hits in priority order.”

Berlin As ‘Surveillance Target’

The words “German Emb in Rwanda” — the German Embassy in the capital Kigali — are noted next to the number “250-252575141.” Further reporting revealed that the telephone number was the main line for the German Embassy in Kigali until 2011.

Five hits farther down the list, a combination of numbers leads directly to the German capital: “49-30-180 German Government Network.” Those numbers include the country code for Germany, the area code for Berlin and the prefix for the Federal Government Information Network, to which government ministries in Berlin are connected. Any agency that would include that prefix for German government numbers must have considerable interest in political developments in Berlin.

SPIEGEL contacted several intelligence experts, who expressed the opinion that the list of German numbers under the term hits could only mean that GCHQ essentially declared these numbers to be surveillance targets.

GCHQ: Activities Are ‘Authorized’

The documents SPIEGEL was able to examine do not indicate how intensively and during which periods of time the individual targets were actually monitored. However, the example of an African politician shows that even during a surveillance test run, the British intercepted and stored his mobile phone text messages in their entirety.

In response to a detailed list of questions, GCHQ answered that it does not comment on intelligence matters. It did state, however, that its own activities are “authorized, necessary and proportionate,” and are conducted under the “rigorous oversight” of various supervisory bodies.

However, it must be assumed that the German Embassy in Rwanda and the number for the Berlin government network aren’t the only targets with relevance to Germany. Rather, they were merely the only German numbers acquired during the period and on the specific communication path in question. The fact that the British agents monitor, at least intermittently, the entire signal paths of satellite communications between Germany and other countries means it is certain that significantly more numbers with the German country code, 0049, must appear in the GCHQ databases.

Search for New Targets

Moreover, the intelligence services participating in the satellite surveillance alliance are apparently constantly searching for new eavesdropping opportunities of interest, or at least they were in the period from 2008 to 2009, when the satellite surveillance documents SPIEGEL examined were created.

Some of the longer documents and hit lists are “informal reports” addressing test runs for new, previously unmonitored communication paths intended to “highlight the possible intelligence value.” They are generally listed under “Bude Sigint Development,” which means they relate to the identification and development of new targets.

According to the documents, most of the tests were conducted over a period of a few days, during which the intercepted numbers were apparently correlated with the target databases to determine whether ongoing monitoring would be worthwhile. The hit lists filled with names and numbers are the results of these tests. Each of the documents ends with a question: “Can this carrier be tasked to the collection system?” In many cases the answer is simply “yes.” One such case is a communication path from Europe to Africa from the year 2008, in which EU Commissioner Almunia appears for the first time. In the January 2009 document in which Almunia is mentioned once again, the answer to the question at the end reads: “Not currently due to the data rate of the carriers.” It is also noted that “future (…) updates will resolve this issue.”

A Revealing Example

A report from August 2009 shows how much information the spies managed to intercept even in these test runs. It also mentions the president of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), who is referred to as “Dr. Chambers” in the material. This appears to be a reference to the Ghanaian diplomat Mohamed Ibn Chambas, who worked for Ecowas in various capacities from 2001 to 2010. In late 2012, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon appointed him as the UN’s Joint Special Representative for Darfur.

In 2009, the British apparently intercepted his text messages as part of a test run. The messages are marked in red in one of the documents, which is meant to highlight the potential value of another satellite link between Africa and Europe.

The documents include, among other things, more than a dozen of the complete texts of his messages, and reveal the whereabouts of the Ecowas president, who was in Liberia to receive a prize for his peace efforts. “Am in Liberia to receive a national award during their independence day celebration (sic) tmrow,” reads one of the texts intercepted by the British. In another, Chambas recommends a book about Ghana’s colonial history. It’s “interesting and informative,” the message, which is private and mundane like most of the others, informs.

SPIEGEL was unable to obtain a statement from Chambas before this article went to print about surveillance of his text messages.

But when contacted by reporters, Leigh Daynes, the UK executive director of Doctors of the World, said he was “shocked and surprised by these appalling allegations of secret surveillance on our humanitarian operations.” He said his relief organization, like others, operates impartially and independently. “There is absolutely no reason for our operations to be secretly monitored,” he said.

 

Posted in USA, Europe, ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Friendly Fire: How GCHQ Monitors Germany, I$raHell and the EU

Shoah deniers support Australian call to weaken anti-racism laws

NOVANEWS

holohoax

Adelaide Institute, a Holocaust denial group, agree with attorney general, human rights commissioner’s proposal to weaken, limit laws defining hate crime

Ynet

Australia’s largest Holocaust denial group expressed support in Tony Abbott’s initative to reduce and weaken the laws defining hate crimes, according to a Saturday report in the Australian daily the Sydney Morning Herald.

The report claimed that the Adelaide Institute, founded by Gerald Fredrick Töben – who served two jail sentences for Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism – announced that section C18 of the Racial Discrimination Act and other anti-racism laws have prevented “legitimate” historical discussions.

Australia’s Attorney General George Brandis and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson called for the legislative changes.

Wilson denounced Töben, saying his positions and the positions of the institute he formerly chaired are “repugnant” and “fantasyland rubbish,” but added that the judicial system is not the arena for dealing with these broad issues.

According to Wilson, unhindered public debate is the proper way to deal with Holocaust deniers: “Rather than hide in their caverns of hate, these people should be exposed for the stupidity and absurdity of their commentary in public debate so their names can be dragged through the dirt for all time.”

The current director of the Adelaide Institute, Peter Hartung, refused to respond to Wilson’s comments, saying instead that “these laws stop discussion of things that can be proved with facts and figures so it cannot be debated. These laws were brought in to shut people up when they have no rational argument against what they’re saying.”

The anti-racism laws have been in the news since they were used in 2011 against a News Corp journalist for his “inaccurate and offensive” attacks on light-skinned Aborigines.

Their was wide-spread criticism of the laws at the time, though the Sydney Morning Herald report says the legislation has mostly been used by Australian Jewish groups against Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis.

Töben’s second jail sentence, three months in 2009, was for breaking a court order to stop publishing anti-Semitic material on his website.

He was handed his first jail sentence in 1999, serving seven months in a German prison for denying the Holocaust. At Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s 2006 Holocaust denial conference, Töben claimed that the Auschwitz concentration camps was “too small” to have been the site of mass murder.

He claimed only 2,007 Jews were killed at Auschwitz; most researchers place the figure between 1.1 million to 1.5 million people murdered at the notorious camp, most of them Jews.

Australia has witnessed several anti-Semitic incidents in the past decade, including a string of cases in 2006 thought to be the result of the summer conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Less than two months ago, in October, six Sydney Jews were brutally assaulted.

Posted in ZIO-NAZIComments Off on Shoah deniers support Australian call to weaken anti-racism laws

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