Book cover

Book cover
There are some 'clues' if you wish to find them!

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Dystopian Future?

Following on from last week's post about 'predictions' in Alpha to Omega, I was interested to see this week scientists again raising the serious issue of antibiotics becoming useless - and the very real threat this poses to all of us.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organisation highlighted the same issue. In no uncertain terms, they talked about a developing global crisis because of antimicrobial resistance and the risk of every antibiotic ever developed becoming useless. As a result, both common and life-threatening infections have already or will soon become impossible to treat.

So if that's true of the known infections, where does that leave us with in respect of new ones? I'll leave you to supply your own answer! And there is a near inevitability that such will appear; either 'out of the blue' like HIV or as a result of a deliberate man-made action. Long before science can hope to have any answer to the problem, it will be too late and we will be back in a world of pandemics.

Sorry to be so blunt, but I think it puts into perspective the million and one 'complaints' about such things as whether we'll have to work a bit longer to get our pension or bemoaning the fact that we can't really afford an overseas holiday this year. And those who are currently attracted to dystopian literature will see their dreams (or nightmares) come true!

If I was a serious terrorist leader - which I assure you I am not - this is the area I would be looking at; not the occasional bomb on a bus or pair of exploding underpants. The material is out there and it only needs someone with money and serious intent to exploit it. The CIA, MI6, Mossad and the rest are fully aware of this. With a lucky break, they might stop it. Without one, there is absolutely nothing they could do, until it was too late.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Alpha to Omega: do 'predictions' come true?

How many of us would confess to an action or decision that we took without a second thought or inkling of the consequences that would later flow from it?

...yet life is a continuous chain of such incidents, with no moment in the present or future being unconnected with some moment from the past. More often than not, secret steps from the past deliver up their unforeseen consequences many years later. But not in a random or coincidental sort of way. There is a moment, whether for better or worse, when the fruit of past actions or events eventually becomes ripe.
In nature, fruiting results in either the death of the plant or the start of a new cycle of development and growth. In life, it is no different.

Two small extracts from Alpha to Omega. Although only published at the end of 2011, they were actually written more than two years ago. Such is the gestation period of most books. Events of the past week vaguely reminded me of the words I had written and I went back to the text to remind myself. As I've said before, I like to intertwine fact and fiction, but I had no intention of becoming a latter day Nostradamus.

The first was the ongoing Euro crisis and the admission that the Greek government had 'cooked the books' (lied!) in order to be allowed to join the Euro. Just consider the consequences of this action; not just for Greece, but for Europe and the world economy in general. It is also clear that other members who joined the single currency, either lied about their actual economic readiness or had no intention of sticking to the rules once they were in.

The other is the postion of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Not only his relationship with various News International people (including Rebekah Brooks, recently charged with criminal offences) but also the slow but obvious disconnection with members of his own party and the British electorate. Those of you who have already read Alpha to Omega, will recognise why I am intrigued with this state of affairs.
Finally, just as I was about to sit down and write this piece, I read that statisticians from Imperial College, London have concluded that Vladimir Putin's re-election as Russian President and the earlier December parliamentary elections, contradict the laws of statistics. Or they were the result of very amateur vote rigging. In Chechnya, where Putin previously waged a bloody war against the people, he got 99.5% of the vote!

Another 'box to tick' for Alpha to Omega readers!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Let's Legalise Spying!

Those of you who have read my earlier posts, will know that that I have previously experienced my phone calls being intercepted. (Those of you who are not up to speed, should know that this was because of who I knew, rather than what I did. Read the posts and it will make more sense.) Today, the technology is so sophisticated that your chance of realising your phone is tapped or hacked is virtually zero.

The same is true of emails and internet activities. Or is it? Not long ago, it suddenly dawned on me that my computer started to 'misbehave' at very specific moments. When I analysed these, a common thread emerged. Wondering if it was just my computer playing up, I asked a couple of people to repeat the actions I had been having trouble with. Guess what? Correct!

Now we all know that we are monitored continuously every time we log onto the internet; with tracking cookies and other means of data gathering. It's one of the things, unfortunately, that we have to put up with. Put  all the barriers and safeguards in place that your internet security package offers and your computer runs at the speed of an old Amstrad. But what we don't accept (why should we, unless we are trainee underwear bombers?) is that the state can anonymously keep track of everything we do or say.

In one form or another, it's been going on for ages. This week, however, the Queen's Speech declared that her government (Conservatives & Lib Dems) planned to legalise it. There will, of course, be all sorts of safeguards, so 99% of citizens have nothing to worry about! That's ok then. Give it a little time for everybody to forget about it and we could privatise it. Raise a few much needed millions for the Treasury. Maybe, with the right tax breaks, we could persuade a big pharmaceutical company or Microsoft to invent a chip that would monitor what we are thinking. Pop along to your local health centre for the ten minute procedure. Promote it as a health monitoring device, that automatically tracks your heart function, cholesterol levels, PSA etc. You get the idea. Much easier than phone tapping and email interception! (If anyone uses this as a commercial proposition or plot for a book, I would like due recognition of my idea.)

The problem is, who is actually 'monitoring' us? GCHQ, NSA or someone else? When my own phone was tapped and my office bugged, I automatically assumed it was 'one of ours'. And I have continued to think that until I started writing this. Then I remembered an odd telephone call I received around the same time. The caller introduced himself, referred to a particular commercial venture I was involved with and asked if I could send him more details. Perhaps a meeting, if he was interested. I of course said yes. When I mentioned this the next day to my associate (who was also a member of the UK security services) I was advised not to send the information and to avoid further contact with this individual.

A member of a well-known UK business family, he apparently had connections with another security service and was known to my associate. I was not told which one, but by a process of deduction have concluded that it was probably Mossad. As the commercial venture I referred to  was still in its infancy and known to only a handful of people, I never discovered how he had found out about it. Perhaps it wasn't 'one of ours' that was keeping tabs on me. But on balance of probability, I think it was.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Security Services protected from proper investigation.

Those of you who have been following the Gareth Williams inquest will know that the coroner gave her 'narrative verdict' this week. Given all the problems and the extensive attempts at cover up, I think she did very well. None of us know exactly how he died (not yet, anyway) and many a lesser coroner might have backed away from some of the reasoned conclusions she drew. (And have done so in the past!)

Because it took so long for the body to be found, much vital evidence had been degraded or lost. There is little doubt in my mind, that whoever placed Gareth Williams body in the bag, knew exactly what they were doing. The combination of the confined space, warm weather and delay in finding the body all worked in their favour. Had he been shot, had his kneck broken or other physical damage, this would not have helped. But that was not the case. Whoever put the body in the bag and then placed it in the bath (where any bodily fluid leaks would be contained or drain away) knew exactly what they were doing.

So who does that suggest? Ruling out avid fans of Patricia Cornwell books, that narrows the field down quite dramatically. Forensic scientists, crazed doctors - or what about security services operatives? From a 'foreign' power? - usually first choice. One of his own? - possible. (You may recall I suggested this in a previous posting and was interested to see that this week the coroner raised it as a possibility). But why would his own people kill him? It would either be related to his work - therefore, officially sanctioned - or to something he had discovered about another colleague's private life. In this second scenario, the killing would have been professionally carried out, but for personal reasons.

Apparently, Gareth Williams was working in a small unit/office at MI6. These are the people who failed to flag up that he was missing for a week! If I was a senior police investigating officer, I would be particularly interested in ruling these people out of my investigation. But therein lies a problem. The police do not have the same rights and jurisdiction that they would have in an ordinary investigation. Basically, MI6 have the power to say what they can or cannot do. So that puts the police into a virtual lose-lose situation.

I can give you an illustration of how this works with a real story. A colleague (who worked for the British security services) was returning home one evening on a late train from London. He was due in London next day for more meetings, but had decided that he would like the night back in his family home. As he was leaving the deserted station platform, he was accosted by three men, who began to threaten him. He quickly dealt with all three of them and two ended up in hospital.

He was duly arrested and taken to the city centre police station. Given what had transpired (despite the rights and wrongs of the situation) the police should have charged him and left it to the courts to decide. He spent the best part of six hours in a police cell, until a telephone call came through (via the county Chief Constable) instructing that he be released. It being too late to go home, he caught the early train back to London and as far as the police were concerned, the matter just went away!