Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy

The termination of the Swedish investigation is, in one sense, good news for Assange. But it is unlikely to change his inability to leave the embassy any time soon. If anything, given the apparent determination of the Trump administration to put him in a U.S. prison cell for the “crime” of publishing documents, his freedom appears further away than it has since 2010, when the Swedish case began.

Fuente: Sweden Withdraws Arrest Warrant for Julian Assange, but He Still Faces Serious Legal Jeopardy


WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails | Daily Mail Online

Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange, told the Dailymail.com he flew to Washington, D.C. for emails. He claims he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources. The leakers’ motivation was ‘disgust at the corruption of the Clinton Foundation and the ’tilting of the primary election playing field against Bernie Sanders’Murray says: ‘The source had legal access to the information. The documents came from inside leaks, not hacks’

Fuente: WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Hillary Clinton emails | Daily Mail Online


The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing

in the heart of the tranquil English countryside, is the National Security Agency’s largest overseas spying base. Originally used to monitor Soviet communications through the Cold War, its focus has since dramatically shifted, and today it is a vital part of the NSA’s sprawling global surveillance network.

Fuente: The NSA’s British Base at the Heart of U.S. Targeted Killing


Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure

A secret report warned that British spies may have put lives at risk because their surveillance systems were sweeping up more data than could be analyzed, leading them to miss clues to possible security threats.

Fuente: Facing Data Deluge, Secret U.K. Spying Report Warned of Intelligence Failure


Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies

NEWLY DISCLOSED DOCUMENTS offer a rare insight into the secretive legal regime underpinning the British government’s controversial mass surveillance programs.The London-based group Privacy International obtained the previously confidential files as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the scope of British spies’ covert collection of huge troves of private data.

Fuente: Documents Reveal Secretive U.K. Surveillance Policies


Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian

Five hundred prominent names, including Ai Weiwei and Mairead Maguire, accuse countries of undermining UN human rights covenants

Fuente: Assange supporters condemn UK and Sweden in open letter | Media | The Guardian


Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond dismisses panel’s finding as ‘ridiculous’ but WikiLeaks founder hails ‘sweet victory’

Fuente: Julian Assange accuses UK minister of insulting UN after detention finding | Media | The Guardian


GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian

GCHQ captured emails of journalists from top international media | UK news | The Guardian.

 

• Snowden files reveal emails of BBC, NY Times and more
• Agency includes investigative journalists on ‘threat’ list
• Editors call on Cameron to act against snooping on media

 

GCHQ
The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by GCHQ. Photograph: GCHQ/EPA

GCHQ’s bulk surveillance of electronic communications has scooped up emails to and from journalists working for some of the US and UK’s largest media organisations, analysis of documents released by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Emails from the BBC, Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, the Sun, NBC and the Washington Post were saved by GCHQ and shared on the agency’s intranet as part of a test exercise by the signals intelligence agency.

The disclosure comes as the British government faces intense pressure to protect the confidential communications of reporters, MPs and lawyers from snooping.

The journalists’ communications were among 70,000 emails harvested in the space of less than 10 minutes on one day in November 2008 by one of GCHQ’s numerous taps on the fibre-optic cables that make up the backbone of the internet.

The communications, which were sometimes simple mass-PR emails sent to dozens of journalists but also included correspondence between reporters and editors discussing stories, were retained by GCHQ and were available to all cleared staff on the agency intranet. There is nothing to indicate whether or not the journalists were intentionally targeted.

The mails appeared to have been captured and stored as the output of a then-new tool being used to strip irrelevant data out of the agency’s tapping process.

New evidence from other UK intelligence documents revealed by Snowden also shows that a GCHQ information security assessment listed “investigative journalists” as a threat in a hierarchy alongside terrorists or hackers.


Edward Snowden: state surveillance in Britain has no limits | World news | The Guardian

Edward Snowden: state surveillance in Britain has no limits | World news | The Guardian.

Whistleblower and former NSA analyst says UK regulation allows GCHQ snooping to go beyond anything seen in US
 Edward Snowden
John Naughton interviews Edward Snowden via Skype at the Observer Festival of Ideas Photograph: Alicia Canter For The Guardian for the Guardian

The UK authorities are operating a surveillance system where “anything goes” and their interceptions are more intrusive to people’s privacy than has been seen in the US, Edward Snowden said.

Speaking via Skype at the Observer Ideas festival, held in central London, the whistleblower and former National Security Agency specialist, said there were “really no limits” to the GCHQ’s surveillance capabilities.

He said: “In the UK … is the system of regulation where anything goes. They collect everything that might be interesting. It’s up to the government to justify why it needs this. It’s not up to you to justify why it doesn’t … This is where the danger is, when we think about … evidence being gathered against us but we don’t have the opportunity to challenge that in courts. It undermines the entire system of justice.”

He also said he thought that the lack of coverage by the UK papers of the story, or the hostile coverage of it, other than by the Guardian, “did a disservice to the public”.

His appearance at the festival on Sunday marked the end of a weekend of almost frenetic social activity by his highly reclusive standards: he appeared at two public events and was the absent star of Laura Poitras’ documentary, Citizenfour, which premiered in New York on Friday.

Collectively, the events revealed a more rounded, human, portrait of the former NSA analyst than had been seen before, and offered a few telling glimpses of what his life was now like in Moscow.


Julian Assange asegura que abandonará “pronto” la embajada de Ecuador en Londres – BioBioChile

Julian Assange asegura que abandonará “pronto” la embajada de Ecuador en Londres – BioBioChile.

 

John Stillwell | AFP PhotoJohn Stillwell | AFP Photo

 

Publicado por Patricia Acuña | La Información es de Agencia AFP

 

 

El fundador de WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, dijo el lunes que abandonará la embajada de Ecuador en Londres, pero el tono de su respuesta y las aclaraciones de su portavoz dan a entender que su salida no es inminente ni tiene fecha.

“Kristinn [Hrafnsson, portavoz de Assange] ha dicho que puede confirmar que me iré de la embajada pronto”, declaró Assange riendo, en lo que se interpretó como una broma sobre el anuncio de varios medios, citando al portavoz, de que estaba a punto de salir por problemas de salud después de 26 meses de asilo.

La salida no se deberá a las razones “publicadas en la prensa”, agregó Assange, que compareció ante los medios junto al ministro ecuatoriano de Relaciones Exteriores, Ricardo Patiño.

El australiano no quiso volver sobre sus palabras pese a la insistencia de los periodistas, pero Hrafnsson indicó tras la conferencia de prensa: “Lo que Julian ha querido decir es que se irá en cuanto el gobierno británico honre sus compromisos” con las leyes internacionales.

La prensa británica escribió este fin de semana, citando una fuente de WikiLeaks, que el australiano Assange padece arritmia cardíaca y problemas de pulmón, además de una presión sanguínea demasiado alta.

Hranfsson también respondió a estas informaciones afirmando: “A mí me pareció que [Assange] estaba muy bien”.

Las especulaciones sobre su salida hicieron que decenas de fotógrafos y camarógrafos se agolparan ante la sede de la legación ecuatoriana, en el barrio de Knightsbridge, muy cerca de los famosos almacenes Harrods.

El funcionario ecuatoriano no habló de ninguna salida de Assange de la embajada, pero llamó a actuar a todos los gobiernos implicados en el caso, haciendo valer que dos años “es demasiado”.

Patiño dijo que “esta situación debe terminar”. “Han sido dos años perdidos para todos, de angustia e incertidumbre, y esta situación debe terminar. Es hora de liberar a Julian Assange”, declaró.

Hasta que eso ocurra, prosiguió Patiño, el gobierno del presidente Rafael Correa se compromete a “mantener la condición de asilado político de Assange y a ofrecerle protección”.

La situación, según Patiño, ha cambiado porque el Reino Unido introdujo cambios en la legislación que hacen más difícil extraditar a alguien que no ha sido acusado y porque hay un nuevo ministro de Relaciones Exteriores, Philip Hammond.


Julian Assange has had human rights violated, says Ecuador foreign minister | Media | The Guardian

Julian Assange has had human rights violated, says Ecuador foreign minister | Media | The Guardian.

Ricardo Patino says British government has no will to find a solution to stalemate that has confined WikiLeaks founder to London’s Ecuadorean embassy for more than two years
Julian Assange

Julian Assange pictured in the Ecuadorean embassy in London on 18 June 2013. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Ecuador‘s foreign minister has accused the British government of having no real interest in finding a diplomatic solution to the confinement ofJulian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who has spent more than two years in the country’s embassy in London.

Ricardo Patino told the Guardian that he believed the UK was violating Assange’s human rights by refusing to allow him to leave the building without fear of arrest.

“I do not think there is a will [in Britain] to find a solution,” Patino said, acknowledging that without a political or legal breakthrough Assange could spend years living in a handful of tiny rooms at the country’s small west London embassy.

“The British government hasn’t taken any steps in that direction. We have made proposals, we have submitted documents, and all we have seen on the part of the British government is an increase in security to make sure Julian Assange does not leave the embassy, but there has been no political will or any steps taken towards a diplomatic solution to this.

“Everyone around the world knows that the rights of Julian Assange have been violated.”


Assange no renunciará a la protección del Estado ecuatoriano | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Assange no renunciará a la protección del Estado ecuatoriano | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

Rueda de prensa de Assange celebrada este jueves en Londres / EFE

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El famoso huésped de la Embajada de Ecuador en Reino Unido, Julian Assange, y el ministro ecuatoriano de Exteriores, Ricardo Patiño, ofrecieron una rueda de prensa conjunta para recordar que ya han pasado dos años desde que el primero se refugiara en la oficina diplomática de Ecuador. Conectados a través de una videoconferencia ante medios de Londres y Quito, Assange reveló que no renunciará al asilo y que seguirá alojado en la embajada ecuatoriana. “Mis abogados dicen que sería tonto dejar mi condición de asilado, además las condiciones aquí son diferentes a una prisión real”, dijo. Patiño, en su turno, respondió que la protección del Estado ecuatoriano se mantendrá. “Nosotros a Julian Assange le vamos a proteger todo el tiempo que sea necesario y que él quiera”.

Las negociaciones entre Ecuador y Reino Unido para conseguir que se expida un salvoconducto al fundador del portal de filtraciones Wikileakspara que pueda salir de la embajada y viajar al país andino están en punto muerto. Patiño dijo que la iniciativa del Gobierno ecuatoriano de conformar un grupo mixto de juristas para analizar el caso, que compartió con su homólogo británico hace un año, no llegó a concretarse. “Como Estado ecuatoriano hemos hecho lo que nos corresponde hacer, consideramos que les corresponde a los organismos de las Naciones Unidas establecer un caso. Esperamos que la sociedad civil y los periodistas del mundo dejen de mantener el silencio respecto a la defensa de libertad de expresión de un periodista en el mundo”, manifestó.

El hacker australiano reveló que su equipo de defensa está compuesto por 30 personas que trabajan en varios países, muchas sin cobrar honorarios. En su intervención hizo hincapié en lo difícil que ha sido vivir alejado de sus hijos y compartió las presiones que ha soportado su familia: “Si no pueden llegar a mi, a lo mejor van a asesinar a ella o a mis hijos. Algunos parientes míos han tenido que cambiar de nombre, como mi madre, por las amenazas. No deben utilizar a mi familia por mis publicaciones, es importante tomar en serio su seguridad”.

También criticó lo gastos excesivos que ha generado su vigilancia aEstados Unidos y Reino Unido. La factura de Reino Unido ya roza los 6 millones de libras, pero se desconoce el gasto que tiene Estados Unidos. Patiño, sin revelar cifras, dijo que Ecuador solo ha reforzado la vigilancia en su oficina diplomática. “A efectos de que ninguna persona pueda abusar de una entrada en la embajada para afectar a la persona de Julian Assange y a su equipo de trabajo”, explicó.

Sobre la supervivencia de Wikileaks, Assange dijo que seguirá vigente a pesar de la estrangulamiento económico que sufre. Las cuentas de la organización en Francia y Estados Unidos han sido bloqueadas y la única libre es la Islandia. El cálculo del perjuicio económico hace un año era de unos 70 millones de dólares. “Hoy tiene que ser más”, aseguró el hacker.

Para probar la salud del portal de filtraciones reveló que justamente este jueves publicaron el borrador de una negociación secreta que afecta a 50 países y a un 68,2% del comercio mundial. Estas conversaciones se estaban produciendo fuera de los límites formales de la Organización Mundial del Comercio (OMC) con los ojos puestos en los Servicios Financieros del Acuerdo de Comercio de Servicios (TISA, por sus siglas en inglés). Wikileaks explica que estos países se llamaban a sí mismos “realmente buenos amigos de los servicios” y su objetivo era convertir a TISA en la nueva plataforma de servicios financieros.


Dos años de Assange en 20 m 2 | Internacional | EL PAÍS

Dos años de Assange en 20 m 2 | Internacional | EL PAÍS.

Se cumplen 24 meses de la entrada del ‘exhacker’ en la Embajada ecuatoriana en Londres

 

/ Londres / Quito 18 JUN 2014 – 21:40 CET

 

Assange, en una comparecencia desde la embajada, en 2012. / LEON NEAL (AFP)

 

El pulso político y diplomático que encarna el fundador de Wikileaks, Julian Assange, permanece enquistado cuando se cumplen este jueves dos años de su entrada en la Embajada de Ecuador en Londres, donde sigue refugiado bajo riesgo de ser arrestado si pone un pie fuera del recinto. Mientras el Gobierno ecuatoriano sostiene que el exhacker, que la fiscalía sueca quiere interrogar por posibles delitos sexuales, “no es un fugitivo” sino un asilado bajo su amparo, las autoridades británicas persisten en su empeño de detenerlo por haber violado los términos de la libertad condicional aquel 19 de junio de 2012, y mantienen un cerco policial en torno a la legación cuya factura ya roza los seis millones de libras.

 

En todas las entrevistas hechas a Assange, durante los dos años que lleva en el recinto diplomático, ha habido una pregunta constante. ¿Cómo es vivir en una embajada? Sus respuestas han permitido conocer que pasa los días confinado en una oficina de 20 metros cuadrados convertida en habitación. En ese espacio trabaja (jornadas de 17 horas frente a un ordenador), se ejercita (en una cinta para correr que le regaló el cineasta Ken Loach) y recibe visitas, según los reportes del periódico británico The Daily Mail en 2012. Por declaraciones de uno de sus abogados, Baltasar Garzón, se sabe que su mobiliario incluye una cama, una mesa, una estantería y ahí se acaba su mundo.

 

El propio australiano comparecerá en una rueda de prensa en conexión internauta este jueves con el ministro de Exteriores ecuatoriano, Ricardo Patiño, según este anunció su cuenta de Twitter sin precisar más detalles.


Reino Unido considera legal intervenir a Google y Facebook – El Mostrador

Reino Unido considera legal intervenir a Google y Facebook – El Mostrador.

 

runidofacebook

El gobierno de Reino Unido reveló que su servicio de inteligencia, GCHQ, puede intervenir las cuentas de Google y Facebook de sus ciudadanos sin autorización legal porque dichas compañías están basadas en el exterior.

El jefe de inteligencia británico, Charles Farr, afirmó que esos servicios están clasificados como comunicaciones externas.

La política de fisgoneo fue revelada como parte de una lucha legal que viene librándose con el grupo activista Privacy Iternational (PI).


Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official | World news | theguardian.com

Social media mass surveillance is permitted by law, says top UK official | World news | theguardian.com.

 

Mass surveillance of social media is permitted by law, says top official

Social media count as ‘external communications’, according to Farr, and so can be indiscriminately monitored. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

 

Anyone’s Google searches or use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be monitored by the security services because such “external communications” do not require individual intercept warrants, according to the government’s most senior security official.

Charles Farr, director general of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism, has produced the first detailed justification of the UK’s mass surveillance policy – developing a legal interpretation that critics say sidesteps the need for traditional intercept safeguards.

His 48 page document, released on Tuesday, provoked calls for the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) to be overhauled urgently and allegations that the government was exploiting loopholes in the legislation of which parliament was unaware.

The government defence was published in response to a case brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and other civil rights groups before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), which deals with complaints against the intelligence services. A full hearing will take place next month.

The allegation that mass online surveillance is illegal emerged in the wake of revelations from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden about the impact of the Tempora monitoring programme operated by the UK monitoring agency GCHQ and the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Under RIPA, traditional interception of communications within the UK requires an individual warrant. Farr argues that in a technologicallly-fast moving world, where the greatest threat to national security is from “militant Islamist terrorists” operating both abroad and in the UK, identifying individual targets initially is too difficult.

He says: “Any regime that … only permitted interception in relation to specific persons or premises, would not have allowed adequate levels of intelligence information to be obtained and would not have met the undoubted requirements of intelligence for the protection of national security.”

Farr’s statement, published on Tuesday by Privacy International and other human rights organisations, is the first time the government has commented on how it exploits the UK’s legal framework to operate its mass interception programme.

Under section 8(1) of RIPA, internal communications between British residents within the UK may only be monitored pursuant to a specific warrant. These specific warrants should only be granted where there is some reason to suspect the person in question of unlawful activity. “External communications”, however, may be monitored indiscriminately under a general warrant according to section 8(4).

Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International, said: “Intelligence agencies cannot be considered accountable to parliament and to the public they serve when their actions are obfuscated through secret interpretations of byzantine laws.


Former whistleblowers: open letter to intelligence employees after Snowden | Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Katharine Gun, Peter Kofod, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Former whistleblowers: open letter to intelligence employees after Snowden | Thomas Drake, Daniel Ellsberg, Katharine Gun, Peter Kofod, Ray McGovern, Jesselyn Radack, Coleen Rowley | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

Blowing the whistle on powerful factions is not a fun thing to do, but it is the last avenue for truth, balanced debate and democracy

 

 

Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden’s revelations have changed the debate on civil liberties. Photograph: Ho/AFP/Getty Images

 

At least since the aftermath of September 2001, western governments and intelligence agencies have been hard at work expanding the scope of their own power, while eroding privacy, civil liberties and public control of policy. What used to be viewed as paranoid, Orwellian, tin-foil hat fantasies turned out post-Snowden, to be not even the whole story.

What’s really remarkable is that we’ve been warned for years that these things were going on: wholesale surveillance of entire populations, militarization of the internet, the end of privacy. All is done in the name of “national security”, which has more or less become a chant to fence off debate and make sure governments aren’t held to account – that they can’t be held to account – because everything is being done in the dark. Secret laws, secret interpretations of secret laws by secret courts and no effective parliamentary oversight whatsoever.

By and large the media have paid scant attention to this, even as more and more courageous, principled whistleblowers stepped forward. The unprecedented persecution of truth-tellers, initiated by the Bush administration and severely accelerated by the Obama administration, has been mostly ignored, while record numbers of well-meaning people are charged with serious felonies simply for letting their fellow citizens know what’s going on.


What now for the surveillance state? | World news | The Guardian

What now for the surveillance state? | World news | The Guardian.

Even GCHQ and the NSA know their work may not be sustainable without a proper debate about their power

 

Illustration of people on connected devices

GCHQ and the NSA potentially know everything about us, but we know virtually nothing about them. Illustration: Laurent Cilluffo

 

To most visitors, Cheltenham is a charming spa town on the edge of the Cotswolds. They admire its handsome regency terraces, visit its racecourse and throng to a thriving festival scene. Less visibly, Cheltenham is also a company town built around one industry: spying.

The Government Communications Headquarters seems to be very good at what it does. Its 6,400 employees include many bright computer engineers who work tirelessly to invent ever more imaginative ways to collect vast amounts of data on hundreds of millions of people.

Some find what they do reassuring, others menacing. As for the people who work at GCHQ, they have found themselves, for the first time, under intense scrutiny. This is, to put it mildly, unwelcome to them. They would like it to stop – and they have friends in politics, the law and even the press who agree.

According to those who study such things for a living, we live in a golden age of surveillance. The mobile phones we carry around betray us – our movements, our search terms, our health, our intentions, our friends, our emails, our texts. A bland name for it is “metadata“. But, as one former lawyer with the US National Security Agency told me: “Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life.”

GCHQ is, along with the NSA, a world leader. Over the past five years GCHQ’s access to what they call “light” (a sweeter name for metadata) has increased by 7,000%, according to documents leaked by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The amount of material being analysed or processed is up by 3,000%. That’s a lot of light.

Some accuse GCHQ of being little more than the Cheltenham branch office of the NSA. This may be unfair, but Whitehall officials concede that there is a high degree of co-operation and sharing between the two agencies. One of Cheltenham’s senior legal advisers put the possible attraction for their American counterparts this way: “We have a light oversight regime compared with the US.”

GCHQ, which receives tens of millions of pounds from the NSA every year, used, in some minds, to be the Cinderella of the intelligence world. The public imagination was more easily captured by James Bond, George Smiley and the cold war pitting of agent against agent.

It’s now clear that GCHQ and the NSA have risen without trace to the top of the intelligence pecking order. Increasingly an asymmetry has developed: they potentially know virtually everything about us, but we know virtually nothing about them.

This raises three questions. First, is it right that they are able to master all civil and commercial forms of communication in order to collect, store and analyse information about entire populations? Who knew?

Secondly, is it right that we should know so little about who they are or what they do – that this dramatic loss of individual privacy, unprecedented in history, could be done without any kind of public knowledge or consent? Who agreed?

Finally, is this new infrastructure sustainable?


Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Snowden: UK government now leaking documents about itself | Glenn Greenwald | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

GCHQ

GCHQ’s headquarters on the outskirts of Cheltenham. Photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA

(Updated below)

The Independent this morning published an article – which it repeatedly claims comes from “documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden” – disclosing that “Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies.” This is the first time the Independent has published any revelations purportedly from the NSA documents, and it’s the type of disclosure which journalists working directly with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have thus far avoided.

That leads to the obvious question: who is the source for this disclosure? Snowden this morning said he wants it to be clear that he was not the source for the Independent, stating:

I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger. People at all levels of society up to and including the President of the United States have recognized the contribution of these careful disclosures to a necessary public debate, and we are proud of this record.

“It appears that the UK government is now seeking to create an appearance that the Guardian and Washington Post’s disclosures are harmful, and they are doing so by intentionally leaking harmful information to The Independent and attributing it to others. The UK government should explain the reasoning behind this decision to disclose information that, were it released by a private citizen, they would argue is a criminal act.”


Exclusive: UK’s secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

Exclusive: UK’s secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks – UK Politics – UK – The Independent.

 

 

Related articles

Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept and process vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies, The Independent has learnt.

The station is able to tap into and extract data from the underwater fibre-optic cables passing through the region.

The information is then processed for intelligence and passed to GCHQ in Cheltenham and shared with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United States. The Government claims the station is a key element in the West’s “war on terror” and provides a vital “early warning” system for potential attacks around the world.

The Independent is not revealing the precise location of the station but information on its activities was contained in the leaked documents obtained from the NSA by Edward Snowden. The Guardian newspaper’s reporting on these documents in recent months has sparked a dispute with the Government, with GCHQ security experts overseeing the destruction of hard drives containing the data.