|Leaders||• Foreign Secretary|
• Director of GCHQ
|Subgroups||• Composite Signals Organisation|
• Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group
• Joint Technical Language Service
• UK National Cyber Security Centre
|Interest of||Richard M. Bennett, Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, UK/Home Office/Investigatory Powers Tribunal|
|Exposed by||John Ashley Berry, Duncan Campbell|
|The UK equivalent of the NSA, which carries out mass surveillance on a lot of the world's internet traffic|
In May 2021, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that GCHQ’s methods for bulk interception of online communications violated the right to privacy and its regime for collection of data was unlawful.
- Full article: JTRIG
- Full article: JTRIG
“Among the core self-identified purposes of JTRIG are two tactics:
The Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG) is a subgroup of GCHQ. Citing documents released though the Snowden affair, Glenn Greenwald termed the group "extremist", he cited documents showing their planning of deceitful strategies to "discredit a target".
"GCHQ’s 360 degree full spectrum bulk collection data system was constructed in brazen and arrogant defiance of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Britain’s parliament never debated or approved this massive construction programme as it would for any national infrastructure project. Every phone call, no matter the device is recorded, every image, website visited, personal details such as medical and financial records, contacts, everything private to you is no longer private."
In May 2014, Privacy International and seven communications providers filed a complaint with the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal, asserting that GCHQ's hacking activities were proscribed under the UK Computer Misuse Act. Rather than face this legal challenge. In apparent response, on June 6 2014, the UK government introduced the new legislation via the Serious Crime Bill to allow GCHQ, intelligence officers, and the police to hack without criminal liability. It consulted the Ministry of Justice, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Scotland Office, the Northern Ireland Office, GCHQ, the UK police and National Crime Agency, but did not inform Privacy International until after May 3, 2015 when the new law entered into force.
A 2017 legal verdict by Justice Floyd, Justice Sales and Justice Flaux for GCHQ against privacy international decreed the Investigatory Powers Tribunal cannot be held subject to a judicial review under active laws unless the Secretary of State personally intervenes.
- Full article: Mass Surveillance
- Full article: Mass Surveillance
In 2014, the Guardian reported that documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about project Optic Nerve showed that GCHQ recorded millions of images from Yahoo webchats. To avoid overloading their computers while recording streams of so many users simultaneously, they recorded one image every five minutes from the users' feeds.
Tapping Submarine Cables
In 2014, revelations from Edward Snowden revealed how GCHQ acquired taps on internet lines. Whenever GCHQ wanted to tap a new fiber optic cable, they called engineers from BT (codename:REMEDY) to plan where to physically connect to the taps to the cable, and agree how much BT should be paid. GCHQ has Internet data feeds from "more than 18 submarine cables coming into different parts of Britain either direct to GCHQ in Cheltenham or to its remote processing station at Bude in Cornwall".
GCHQ routinely shares information with other signatories of the UKUSA agreement, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. This agreement assists all member countries in circumventing laws about spying on their own citizens.
Jock Kane, a GCHQ employee for over 25 years with experience in many areas of the organisation uncovered a range of corruption and bad practice, including poor security, and blew the whistle. A senior civil servant from the Home Office, James Waddell compiled a government report about his claims. Although finished in April 1979, this was never published. Margaret Thatcher alleged to Parliament that Kane's allegations were "unfounded"; as a consequence Waddell hinted to a journalist that his report had not concluded that Kane's allegations were without foundation.
A June 1980 episode of the investigative television show, World In Action, titled Mr Kane's Campaign, was dedicated to Kane's revelations and campaign for stricter security at GCHQ in Hong Kong. The programme was modified after having been restricted from being broadcast by the Independent Broadcasting Authority.
Kane wrote a memoir in 1984, GCHQ: The Negative Asset, which was confiscated by Special Branch, and remains unpublished. Undaunted, he wrote a second memoir, The Hidden Depths of Treachery, which was also subsequently halted by an injunction served on the publishers, Transworld Publications, Ltd.
Robin Ramsey, editor of Lobster Magazine opined in an editorial: "GCHQ works for the Americans. They must do because the British state no longer has the power to use the information GCHQ gathers."
War to "Take Out" Vaccine skeptics
In November 2020, GCHQ was ordered "to wage cyber war on anti-vaccine propaganda" (information a priori defined as false) and to "to take out antivaxers online and on social media". The the focus of the high priority covert operation is taking down hostile "state-linked" content and disrupting the communications of the cyberactors responsible.
|"Philip Cross"||“My view is that Philip Cross probably is a real person, but that he fronts for a group acting under his name. It is undeniably true, in fact the government has boasted, that both the MOD and GCHQ have “cyber-war” ops aiming to defend the “official narrative" against alternative news media, and that is precisely the purpose of the “Philip Cross” operation on Wikipedia. The extreme regularity of output argues against “Philip Cross” being either a one man or volunteer operation. I do not rule out however the possibility he genuinely is just a single extremely obsessed right wing fanatic.”||Craig Murray|
|21 May 2018|
|Intelligence agency||“There is something very wrong indeed with the UK security services, which are most certainly not a force for freedom or justice. That MI6 can be headed by as extreme a figure as Dearlove, underlines the threat that the security services pose to any progressive movement in politics.”||Craig Murray||11 January 2019|
|Document:Dag Hammarskjöld - US, UK and South Africa still withholding crucial information||Article||10 October 2019||Ludwig De Braeckeleer||“Communications sent from the CX-52 cryptographic machine used by Dag Hammarskjöld appear to have been intercepted by British and United States signals and intelligence agencies as a result of a secret interception and decryption setting that those agencies held that enabled them to intercept surreptitiously.”|
|Document:GCHQ and Me: My Life Unmasking British Eavesdroppers||Article||3 August 2015||Duncan Campbell||No one at the May 2015 conference on intelligence, security and privacy argued against greater openness. Thanks to Edward Snowden and those who courageously came before, the need for public accountability and review has become unassailable.|
|Document:Getting it Right||article||2011||Lobster Magazine||A realistic appraisal of the functioning and lack of EFFECTIVE political oversight of the UK Secret Intelligence Services|
|Document:How British journalists are seduced by the Ministry of Defence and spooks||Article||Richard Norton-Taylor||In the world of the spooks, few in the media raised questions about the root causes of terror attacks in Britain even when Eliza Manningham-Buller, then head of MI5, warned that the invasion of Iraq would increase the terrorist threat in Britain.|
|Document:How To Spot A Twitter Troll||Wikispooks Page||2 July 2019||Craig Murray||Exposure is the simple way to nullify the vast state propaganda programmes on social media|
|Document:How to spot a Twitter troll||blog post||2 July 2019||Craig Murray||Exposure is the simple way to nullify the vast state propaganda programmes on social media|
|Document:Huawei Hypocrisy||blog post||7 May 2019||Craig Murray||Former Deputy PM Nick Clegg said GCHQ's ability "to hack anything from handsets to whole networks … needs to be much better understood".|
|Document:Senior spy appointed to lead UK’s joint biosecurity centre||Article||5 June 2020||Helen Warrell|
|Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at Edinburgh University, says: “The virus is not worried that you’re tracking its progress, it’s not going to change its tactic. Cybersecurity is not your worry with a virus. It’s a biological phenomenon.”|
|Document:The Massive PSYOP Employed against Ukraine by GCHQ and NSA||article||28 February 2014||Wayne Madsen||The rapidly developing internet and electroic communications-based PSYOPS capabilities of US-UK intelligence agencies and their targeted use against the government of the Ukraine|
|Document:The Woman who nearly Stopped the War||article||19 March 2008||Martin Bright||In January 2003 Katharine Gun, a translator at GCHQ, learned something so outrageous that she sacrificed her career to tell the truth. Martin Bright on a brave deed that should not be forgotten|
|Document:UK Intelligence And Security Report, 2003||report||June 2003||Richard M. Bennett|
|A compendious summary of the UK Intelligence And Security agencies, including people, events and places.|
|Document:Whitehall Farce||book review||12 October 1989||Paul Foot||James Rusbridger: "Secrecy turns otherwise rational people into fascistic nutters; secrecy allows untold billions of pounds and endless energies to be wasted in unnecessary intelligence; secrecy pollutes the political process, muzzles what is left of the independent press and makes a mockery of Parliament and elections."|
|File:Osp8.pdf||report||November 2005||The selection criteria and process for deciding on the selection of Intelligence records for declassification and inclusion in the National Archive|
|File:Security Services Act 1989.pdf||legal document||The Security Services Act 1989|
|File:Ukintell0809.pdf||report||2008||UK Intelligence and Security Committee Annual Report 2007-2008|
- "GCHQ’s mass data interception violated right to privacy, court rules"
- https://theintercept.com/2014/02/24/jtrig-manipulation/ The Intercept
- Lobster Magazine, Issue #66
- A funny thing happened on the way to the GCHQ doughnut
- FAS Intelligence Resources
- Review of Richard Aldrich's book - GCHQ: The uncensored story of Britain's most secret intelligence agency - 2010 HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-727847-3
- Richard Aldrich's web about his book - see above
- Aerial photo © Microsoft Bing Maps
- Hat tip Alan Turnbull - Secret Bases UK