Friday, October 19, 2018

The 'Five Eyes' Secret Service Conference in Australia

This all went well, except for the fact that all the other countries in the Secret Service 'Group of 5' - Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA, were exquisitely entertained at the best Hyatt Hotel in town.

But the cash-strapped & miserly English had to languish in a hotel chain unknown outside of Australia a long way from the event (someone quipped 'in the outback'). We were certainly the other four nation's poor cousin this month.

I understand we are all living in the age of austerity, but I think this is excessive. We're the country that invented James Bond for goodness sake...........and now James Bond presumably stays at the Holiday Inn and has to eat value meals on food vouchers? Where is our National Pride?

One of the British contingent made a very inappropriate joke about Snowden to the Head of Legal Affairs of the CIA.

I suppose some of us in Europe are not really aware how poorly Edward Snowden is viewed in US Secret Service and military circles. Many consider him to be the most significant US traitor since Benedict Arnold.

So why would you make such a joke at a packed assembly with a leading US Secret Service delivering a vital talk?

The top topic was Cyber Security, which is fast becoming the obsession of all Secret Service organisations. Strangely companies like Apple and Whatsapp still protect their data against Western agencies.

However, in Russia, China and other dictatorships, all data (on Google, Whatsapp, Facebook, Apple etc..)  is easily accessible by their governments. So much for Silicon's Valleys 'values'. I guess they only work when there's no real threat to their profits.

Another topic on the agenda was the proposed enquiry into abuses committed by British undercover officers, going back to the early 1970s.

These officers were dealing with some of the most dangerous criminal gangs in the UK and were consequently promised complete anonymity for their lifetime. The British Government is now going back on that promise.

Like many businesses, these gangs that the agents were operating in, go on in perpetuity and they have long memories. These undercover officers were in extreme danger then, and many of them are still in danger now and will be for the rest of their lives.

This enquiry will almost certainly uncover nothing useful, after 20,30, 40 years, yet will potentially unleash several hornets nests. Is it worth it?

Another big story right now is the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Istanbul, Turkey (where coincidentally I am going for a friend's wedding in November).

If the Saudis had asked around, they would have realised that all embassies are bugged, so they are not the best place to accidentally kill/Murder someone without detection.

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