John B - Secrets
posted by Keito
UK Roadside cameras suffer from large gaps in coverage, police admit
posted by Keito
2012-08-29 21:29:01'Police chiefs have admitted there are flaws in a "big brother" surveillance system that enables them to track and store the daily journeys of millions of motorists.
The police chief who co-ordinates the growing network of more than 5,000 roadside cameras, which records the whereabouts of 16m vehicles, said the network was patchy and left"large gaps in coverage in various parts of the country".
Police made the admissions as they won a freedom of information tribunal to keep secret the locations of the the cameras, arguing that disclosure would allow criminals to evade detection.
For the past 10 years, police chiefs have pushed the expansion of the network, saying the cameras have become one of their most valuable tools to catch criminals in investigations ranging from terrorism to low-level crime.
The cameras, located on motorways and main roads and at airports and town centres, automatically record the number plates and fronts of cars, noting the time, date and location of the images taken.
Each camera, be it fixed on a pole, gantry or mounted in a police car, can log up to 3,600 images an hour.
The images are transmitted to a central database in Hendon, north London, which holds more than 7bn records of the movement of stretching back six years. Police hope the database will be able to record up to 50m licence plates a day.
The home secretary, Theresa May, has ordered that regulation of the Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras should be tightened up, amid civil liberties concerns. No other democratic country routinely tracks innocent motorists in this way.
Weaknesses in the system were admitted by John Dean, who co-ordinates the system for the Association of Chief Police Officers, and other officers during a test case brought by the Guardian to find out the locations of 45 cameras in Devon and Cornwall.
Dean said: "This network of ANPR cameras has been established at local level to reflect the needs of local policing priorities. There has therefore been no national deployment plan, and this has resulted in significant gaps of coverage throughout the country.
"The disclosure of the locations of existing ANPR cameras could therefore put some areas at greater risk, the criminals becoming aware of these gaps of coverage."
DS Neil Winterbourne, in charge of the ANPR cameras for Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism command, told the tribunal criminals could evade the cameras by adopting "a particular driving style", which he did not describe.
"I will not go into the conduct of such tactics herein," he said, "but it is true to say that a properly trained driver can adopt a particular driving style that will greatly reduce the chance of the vehicle being detected by ANPR.
"These tactics are only effective in the short term, when in close proximity to a camera, and it would be impracticable for anyone to permanently drive around in such a fashion."
He added: "There are numerous ways in which the appearance of a number plate can be modified to reduce the chances of detection by ANPR, but these are mostly apparent when the vehicle is inspected and run the risk of attracting the attention of police, which may be counter-productive from the terrorist standpoint".
Police said criminals were steering clear of the cameras when they knew the locations. They cited the case of Danny Speed, who was jailed for a string of robberies on vans carrying cash. A secret bug in his car recorded him saying: "They are the ANPR ones … I am going to [go] round the outside."
Jeremy Harris, an assistant chief constable in the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said there had been more than 30 incidents in the region "of cameras being moved and pushed out of alignment so they are not reading registration plates and have been rendered inoperative". There had been a "concentrated effort by criminals" to damage or set fire to cameras, he added.
After a three-year battle by the Guardian, the tribunal ruled in favour of police, who argued that disclosure of the cameras' locations would compromise the effectiveness of a weapon that has contributed to more than 50,000 arrests.'
Julian Assange row: OAS gives Ecuador partial support
posted by Keito
2012-08-25 00:20:53'Foreign ministers from the American continent have passed a motion backing the "inviolability of diplomatic missions" amid the row between the UK and Ecuador over Julian Assange.
The Wikileaks founder is in Ecuador's London embassy fighting extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims.
Ecuador called for the Organisation of American States vote saying the UK had threatened to storm the embassy.
But the resolution was reworded after the UK insisted it had made no threat.
The BBC's Kim Ghattas said the resolution expressed solidarity with Ecuador but, despite a strong plea from Ecuador's foreign minister, Ricardo Patino, there was no reference to any threat against his country's embassy in London.
The United States withdrew its opposition to the resolution after the text was amended.
Australian Mr Assange, 41 - whose Wikileaks website has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables embarrassing countries including the US - has been fighting extradition to Sweden saying he fears he will then be passed on to authorities in US.
In May the UK Supreme Court dismissed Mr Assange's bid to reopen his appeal against extradition and gave him a two-week grace period - during which he entered Ecuador's embassy - before extradition proceedings could start.
The South American announced it had granted Mr Assange asylum on 16 August saying his human rights could be violated if he is sent to Sweden to be questioned over allegations that he sexually assaulted two ex-Wikileaks volunteers in Stockholm in 2010.
But the UK has said it will not allow him safe passage out of the country and has said it will follow its obligations, under the Extradition Act, to arrest Mr Assange if he leaves the embassy.
The meeting of the OAS, which represents 35 states in the Caribbean and North and South America, was called by Ecuador after it received a letter from the UK last week.
Ecuador said the letter, which drew attention to the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987 which would potentially allow the UK to lift the embassy's diplomatic status to allow police to enter the building, was a "threat".
The Foreign Office later said the letter had been sent to clarify "all aspects of British law that Ecuador should be aware of".
During the meeting in Washington DC, Mr Patino had called on the UK to withdraw its threat and guarantee it would not storm the diplomatic mission.
The UK, which has observer status at the OAS, insisted no threat was ever made and the UK remained committed to honouring international law.
The representative of the Dominican Republic had questioned why the meeting was called since the row over Mr Assange was not going to be solved there, especially not with any grandstanding by Ecuador.
Earlier this week Ecuador's President Rafael Correa told the BBC the diplomatic row over Mr Assange "could be ended tomorrow" if Britain gave him safe passage to Ecuador.
But Mr Correa said without that, the situation could go on for years.
The US is carrying out an investigation into Wikileaks, which has published a mass of leaked diplomatic cables, embarrassing several governments and international businesses.
In 2010, two female ex-Wikileaks volunteers accused Mr Assange of committing sexual offences against them while he was in Stockholm to give a lecture.
He claims the sex was consensual and the allegations are politically motivated. He says he fears onward extradition to the US if extradited to Sweden because of his website's publication of confidential documents.'
Transcript: Julian Assange Speech @ Ecuador Embassy 2012-08-19
posted by Keito
2012-08-19 18:30:33"I am here because I cannot be closer to you.
Thank you for being here.
Thanks you for your resolve and your generosity of spirit.
On Wednesday night, after a threat was sent to this embassy and the police descended on the building, you came out in the middle of the night to watch over it, and you brought the world's eyes with you.
Inside the embassy after dark I could hear teams of police swarming up into the building through the internal fire escape. But I knew that there would be witnesses.
And that is because of you.
If the UK did not throw away the Vienna Convention the other night that is because the world was watching.
And the world was watching because you were watching.
The next time somebody tells you that it is pointless to defend those rights we hold dear, remind them of your vigil in the dark before the Embassy Of Ecuador, and how in the morning the sun came up on a different world and a courageous Latin American nation took a stand for justice.
And so to those brave people I thank President Correa for the courage he has shown in considering and granting me political asylum.
And so I thank the government and the Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino who have upheld the Ecuadorian constitution and its notion of universal rights in their consideration of my case.
And to the Ecuadorian people for supporting and defending this constitution. And I have a debt of gratitude to the staff of this embassy whose families live in London and who have shown me hospitality and kindness despite the threats that they received.
This Friday there will be an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of Latin America in Washington DC to address this situation. And so I am grateful to the people and governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Venezuela and to all of the other Latin American countries who have come to defend the right to asylum.
To the people of the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Australia who have supported me in strength even when their governments have not and to those wiser heads in government who are still fighting for justice your day will come.
To the staff, supporters and sources of Wikileaks whose courage and commitment and loyalty has seen no equal.
To my family and to my children who have been denied their father forgive me we will be reunited soon.
As Wikileaks stands under threat so does the freedom of expression and the health of our societies. We must use this moment to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America.
Will it return to and reaffirm the values it was founded on? Or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into a dangerous and oppressive world in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?
I say that it must turn back.
I ask President Obama to do the right thing. The United States must renounce its witch-hunt against Wikileaks.
The United States must dissolve its FBI investigation.
The United States must vow that it will not seek to prosecute our staff or our supporters.
The United States must pledge before the world that it will not pursue journalists for shining a light on the secret crimes of the powerful.
There must be no more foolish talk about prosecuting any media organisation be it Wikileaks or the New York Times.
The US administration's war on whistleblowers must end.
Thomas Drake and William Binney and John Kiriakou and the other heroic US whistleblowers must - they must - be pardoned and compensated for the hardships they have endured as servants of the public record.
And the Army Private who remains in a military prison in Fort Levenworth Kansas who was found by the UN to have endured most torturous detention in Quantico Virginia and who has yet after two years in the prison to see a trial must be released.
And if Bradley Manning really did as he is accused he is a hero an example to us all and one of the world's foremost political prisoners.
Bradley Manning must be released.
On Wednesday Bradley Manning spent his 815th day of detention without trial. The legal maximum is 120 days.
On Thursday my friend Nabeel Rajah was sentenced to three years for a tweet. On Friday a Russian band were sentenced to two years in jail for a political performance.
There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response."
VIDEO: Assange Public Statement from Ecuadorian Embassy 2012-08-19
posted by Keito