I nearly forgot.

I want the UK out of the European Union. It’s a kleptocratic, anti-democratic distillation of everything that’s worst about its individual member states. I’d cheerfully see Europe as a free trade zone with free movement of people and capital, but not at the cost of democracy, and not as a vast bureaucracy specialising in technocratic overreach and corruption.

But I’m not prepared to support, vote for, or defend against groups like Hope not Hate a party whose leader defends casual public racism. Fuck UKIP.

That is all.

 

UPDATE: Chris Dillow is right, this is part of a pattern of ‘asymmetric libertarianism‘: “people want freedom for themselves whilst seeking to deny it to others”.

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Was the Guardian ‘bugged’ by laser beams? This post, by a very sensible author, says probably not.

In the late 1980s the business I ran experimented with lasers on windows for this purpose, a physicist friend who’d been working on CO2 lasers at a couple of Scottish universities did the actual work. CO2 lasers are good for this because they’re infra red so usually invisible.

It worked OK but the problem is, you have to catch the return beam which places constraints on where you can use it. Or do you?

It turns out this sort of system is more sensitive if you don’t catch the return beam but use two beams and look at the interference patterns in the scattered light. Having an instrument sensitive enough to do this is another thing.

But this physicist had been to an army research place where they’d been using a heterodyne, to be posh about it, approach for laser range finding, so it was part of military technology in the mid-eighties.

Also I discussed it with some special forces people who’d been involved with the Iranian Embassy siege and they remembered these odd machines being brought in and used in a way that was consistent with that sort of eavesdropping.

So I wouldn’t be certain this technique wasn’t used. That was in the 1980s.

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More on the effects of Swedish criminalisation of prostitutes’ clients:

 

The biggest overall result is the increased stigma. Practical results have to do with the police going after clients. Street workers have lost valuable assessment time they need before getting into a client’s car [because the clients are too nervous about arrest to stop and talk.—ed.]  Also, their clients have more control and can say, ” Don’t drive to that spot, I know a better one the police don’t know about.” Police target  indoor workers too, trying to catch their clients. That means the focus is now on making clients feel safe enough to see us, rather than us focusing on our own safety.  In addition, the pimping laws force us to work alone. It’s also illegal to rent out premises to us. Many work from home, and if the landlord finds out, he is forced to evict you. So they want to save us, but they punish us until we are willing to be saved. And if we say we want to be “saved,” all they offer is therapy [rather than economic alternatives—ed.]

The context?

On Friday, Swedish sex workers’ rights organization Rose Alliance released this statement on Facebook: “Our board member, fierce activist, and friend Petite Jasmine got brutally murdered yesterday (11 July 2013). Several years ago she lost custody of her children as she was considered to be an unfit parent due to being a sex worker. The children were placed with their father regardless of him being abusive towards Jasmine. They told her she didn’t know what was good for her and that she was “romanticizing” prostitution, they said she lacked insight and didn’t realise sex work was a form of self-harm. He threatened and stalked her on numerous occasions.  She was never offered any protection. She fought the system through four trials and had finally started seeing her children again. Yesterday the father of her children killed her. She always said, “Even if I can’t get my kids back I will make sure this never happens to any other sex worker.” We will continue her fight. Justice for Jasmine!”

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I haven’t been posting because I’ve been far too busy with work – which now includes lambing in the coldest March for 30 years. But I can’t let this pass without a brief comment.

Congratulations to The Speccie for a masterpiece of car crash journalism, in Darius Guppy’s defence of Boris Johnson. BoJo absolutely needed the “he’s a liar but hey, aren’t they all?” defence right now. I can’t remember anything causing more hilarity in social media.

But let me draw your attention to one short part of Delerious’s rant, one that refers to me:

A police informer planting listening devices in someone’s home – an offence for which he was arrested. He admitted guilt, only to sell the recordings to the press at a later stage.

This, from a man who is involved in a grotesque example of lawfare against me at the moment, libel trolling with a completely baseless, vexatious action in South Africa where the most important point in the dispute – the allegation he showed me shipping documents that he said were for the illegal export of armoured vehicles to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war – boils down to my word against his.

If you were involved in such a dispute and if you were already facing a counter-suit for libel, would you go out of your way to publish a paragraph of new libel against your opponent?

Would you publish a lie that not only isn’t true, but also can’t possibly be true?

You see, in 1990 and 1991, when I tapped Guppy’s phone, telephone tapping wasn’t illegal.

It wasn’t made illegal for the best part of a decade afterwards.

So of course I wasn’t arrested for it or for anything related to it. Of course I didn’t ‘admit guilt’; there was no crime to be guilty of.

And as for the ‘police informer’ bit, if I had given evidence against Guppy as an informant he’d be back in jail by now. Informants have very strong protection from harassment by the people they give evidence against. Instead, because I was just one of 60 odd witnesses, I have to spend money paying a criminal investigation consultancy to put together a detailed complaint of what is colloquially known as ‘stalking’ before Guppy can be arrested and jailed for his six year (and counting) campaign of on- and offline stalking against me.

The real reason for this dispute remains the same. Guppy framed me for robbing him in New York and I had no choice but to give evidence against him – as a witness not an informant. Here’s a video of me discussing the framing with Ray Berke, the detective who investigated the ‘robbery’ in New York. If you’re interested, there are a further two videos of discussion about the incident. You’ll be amazed, but it turns out Guppy wasn’t the Master Criminal he’s made out, and the police saw through him.

 

More to follow when I have a bit more time.

 

UPDATE: Well I’ll be jiggered! It was illegal. Guppy’s still lying, of course – he knows quite well I wasn’t arrested – but I’m posting this to correct the claim the tap wasn’t illegal.

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This runs against my normal narrative, which might be all the more reason to mention it.

I was chatting earlier today with a partner in a criminal forensics consultancy. This firm (of ex-Met personnel, mainly) is employed by solicitors in complicated cases to perform forensic analysis of things like telephone records, which form a large part of most serious trials. The work just isn’t there at the moment. That’s because large complicated investigations have been scaled back, leaving the simpler ones to keep crime stats respectable.

So it sounds like the cuts really are having an impact on the investigation of serious crime. Ironically, they’re all waiting for the News International hacking cases to come through. Lots of telephone analysis there!

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Guido’s latest post claims BoJo was a blagger:

 In the now famous taped conversation between him and Darius Guppy, just months before the latter would be busted in a £1.8 million insurance scam, Boris conspired to have a News of the Worldjournalist, Stuart Collier, beaten up on behalf of his old School chum. In the tape Boris says he’ll obtain Collier’s phone number and then get an address. As the UK has never published reverse directories how would Boris achieve this?

Well blagging of course. It had to be via the police or a British Telecom staffer. Most likely would be a copper, as it was standard practice on Fleet Street back then to take advantage of the fact that the Police National Computer did not record such inquiries unless an individual was flagged as a person of interest. BT on the other hand much tighter internal controls. Boris displayed both the knowledge and intent to blag, though there is no evidence that he actually supplied the requested information, despite saying he would.

I was responsible for that tape recording: I hired an ex-BT employee to tap Guppy’s phone. Incidentally, while the conflict between myself and Guppy was a dirty fight, I’m sorry Johnson has got caught up in it. Anyway, Guido is wrong. Johnson had worked for News International and told Guppy he would approach an ex-colleague who had Collier’s address. Clive Goodman made enquiries, he told me, and discovered Johnson made no such approach despite assuring Guppy he would. I think Johnson was stiffing Guppy deliberately and had no intention of helping, but that’s just my opinion.

In any event, Guido’s wrong about this.

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The News of the World yesterday became the subject of a second police inquiry after Scotland Yard announced that it was to investigate whether the newspaper made illegal payments to serving police officers.

[...]

None of the officers is said to be senior. All are below the rank of commander…

This sort of corruption wasn’t limited to the News of the World. I saw it at first hand in the early 1990s when I was a witness in the Darius Guppy case; for all Guppy’s whining and lying, he actually had cause for his complaints about police conduct. A private letter from the future Earl Spencer to him, which had been found during a search of his flat, was passed by the police to the press and it was subsequently printed.

Only a minority of police officers had relationships with journalists. This wasn’t for any noble reasons. Only detectives were likely to have access to enough newsworthy stories, so uniformed officers were rarely press sources. The various squads dedicated to serious crime were the most likely to be connected with journalists but it would have been a shambles if everyone on a squad had their own contacts, so someone around the rank of Inspector would have maintained the contact and shared out the proceeds with the rest of the squad.

I was introduced, as a prosecution witness, to the journalist contact of the police team who were investigating Guppy. This was before the trial. The introduction was made, in person, by one of the more senior team members. I have no doubt he was paid for making it.

The journalist did not work for News International, but one of the other tabloids. He now writes for that most worthy of newspapers, The Independent, and is a prominent anti-war voice there.

News International do need to be investigated for this. But so does every other newspaper publisher.

There are a fair number of pious broadsheet journalists who’ve done this sort of thing, routinely, in the past as they climbed up the ladder. Full disclosure would be interesting.

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I agree with Tim and Guido. Ian Puddick used twitter and various websites to publicise his wife’s affair with an insurance broker who subsequently lost his job, reportedly because of the stress Puddick caused him. Puddick is now facing charges of harassment.

Very many public figures and politicians are subjected to campaigns that step well beyond the realms of reasonable discourse but occasionally the campaigns are right. It would be dangerous to allow the powerful to silence this sort of criticism, so unfortunately the less powerful have to have the same lack of protection. After all, politicians should be subject to the same laws as the rest of us, and vice versa.

It’s easy to say this when you haven’t been the target of this sort of campaign. One of the good things about being the subject, myself, of an online campaign by Darius Guppy is that he gives me the opportunity to walk the walk when it comes to the subject of free expression.

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This sounds odd:

Two armed men have been arrested in Devon over a suspected “murder plot” involving Joss Stone, the international singing star and close friend of the Duke of Cambridge, police said.

It doesn’t seem to have been planned by Professor Moriarty:

… the pair had travelled 250 miles from the Manchester area before they were arrested in Devon…

“Officers attended the area at around 10am and subsequently arrested the occupants of a red Fiat Punto.”

“A 30 year old man was arrested for driving whilst disqualified…”

They had weapons and a body bag, so it’s a good thing they were arrested.

But a routine license check would have had them arrested and searched when the disqualification came up; that’s not the hallmark of a well-planned scheme. It sounds like two very petty Manc neds got overambitious.

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