Book cover

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

Friday, 29 June 2012

Every action has a consequence.

In an earlier post (19 May if you want to refer back to it) I included a short quote from my book Alpha to Omega. In summary, it stated that secret steps from the past tend to deliver up their unforeseen consequences many years later. Or, according to a long since dead aunt of mine, 'be sure your sins will find you out'.

Here in the UK, banks and other financial institutions seem to be the most recent 'targets' of this truth. Mis-selling and misleading their customers and the markets is becoming increasingly obvious. So, what's new you say? Well, if you go back one or two generations such things would have been pretty unthinkable. A rogue bank manager or employee possibly; but not institutionalised wrongdoing. But that is what we now have - despite a massive increase in consumer protection laws and regulation.

But the UK is by no means unique in this respect. Much of the economic mess throughout Europe is because many of its governments lied about their economic situation in order to join the euro or agreed to the 'rules' without any intention of sticking by them. Similarly, many of their largest banks and financial institutions thought that they were above mundane rules and regulations; and even the basic tenets of common sense. No doubt a closer look at most countries and continents would reveal similar patterns of behaviour.

The phrase 'tipping point' is most often used in connection with the environment and consequences of global warming. I think it could now equally be applied to our civilisation as a whole. You may or may not have liked history at school, but it shows us time and time again how the world 're-balances' itself. Ice ages, natural disasters, wars and pandemics have all played their part. As a result of all of these, a new order or civilisation is invariably created.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Spooks (and governments) just can't get enough!

If you live in the UK, you could soon find that every letter or email you send or every phone call you make or receive, is intercepted and the details kept for at least 12 months.

Do you need to be a criminal under surveillance? No! A potential terrorist or someone with terrorist links? No! A paedophile? No! All you have to be is an everyday citizen who writes letters, sends emails or uses a telephone to communicate with other people. I guess that covers about 99% of the UK's adult population.

The government - actively egged on by the spooks and senior police officers - are seriously contemplating making all internet providers and phone companies responsible for keeping detailed records of all traffic. Even the Royal Mail will have to keep details of the addresses on every envelope. Postcards to Aunty Ethel or little Tarquin will, presumably, even have the message/greeting recorded - just in case it's in code and dealing with some gems heist. (Those of you who battled with The Ultimate Quest should be well-placed to baffle the authorities with your secret messages!)

If you have already read Alpha to Omega you will know that such 'intercepts' are routine practice under certain circumstances, but this is really going to the nth degree. But are we surprised? I'm not.

Fear and uncertainty grips the heart of every government, elite or enforcement agency. Fear that something may be going on that they do not know about. And so it has been for a very long time. It grips democracies just as much as dictatorships. The only difference is that the former pay lip service to controls and safeguards, while the letter couldn't give a ****. Which is the more honest?

But I think it also has to be seen in the current context. We are already in times of great uncertainty and, in my view, this will get worse before it gets better. I've 'predicted' 2013 in Alpha to Omega; but the actual year is irrelevant. Let's just say that it is going to happen. However 'it' manifests itself, it will be life-changing and the spooks and governments are likely to go into a spiral of despair. As they already know much more than we do, is it a surprise they are anxious?

But here's a small consolation - it is already quite easy to communicate without falling foul of the planned interception. How will 'they'cope with that, poor souls?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

False trails to flush out spies.

Those of you who have read Alpha to Omega, will know how I used this in the book. As I've previously stated, I have drawn on much factual material in the construction of Alpha to Omega and this is one small example.

The use of the technique was explained to me by a security services officer and then effectively demonstrated. It arose out of necessity, but with mildly amusing consequences. It also showed that even when you are sitting in meetings with people you think you know, you still need to be cautious what you say and how you say it. It happened like this.

Over a period of time, I had been attending meetings at which colleagues not only from the UK, but also France and Germany were present. A couple of days after one of these meetings, one of my UK colleagues said something along the lines of: "your comments about X were apparently raised at a security meeting in Paris yesterday." You may imagine my surprise. Not only that business conversations were being reported back to some official in the French security services, but also because the matter was so apparently mundane.

Not long after, it happened again; this time, relating to a matter my UK colleague had raised in a meeting. This was slightly less surprising, given his status, but still amazing given the subject matter. He said he was not certain who the conduit for this information passing was, but suggested a strategy to 'flush him out'. This basically involved the two of us (by prior mutual agreement) concocting spurious, but reasonable stories and then running them in different gatherings. By noting the 'membership' of the meetings in which the stories were run, it would be possible to identify the conduit back to Paris. Within a couple of weeks, we knew who our man was. It seemed pretty certain that he was debriefed on a fairly regular basis and they had swallowed (or at least been interested in) a most ridiculous, but plausible, story.

What was perhaps the most intriguing, to me, about this whole matter was that a UK security officer was getting feedback from meetings being conducted by the French security services. That is how we (or rather he) discovered our 'mole'. But that of course means UK security services had someone inside French security services who was able to tell them what was being said. Everyone spying on everyone else!

The moral, I suppose, is don't always believe what you hear or read.