Bahraini dictatorship’s hacking of computers in Britain


This 13 May 2013 video is called UK spyware used against Bahraini activists – Ala’a Shehabi.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

UK police asked to investigate alleged Bahraini hacking of exiles’ computers

Rights group Privacy International files complaint that officials illegally monitored devices of pro-democracy trio in UK

Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent

Monday 13 October 2014 11.16 BST

The police National Cyber Crime Unit has been asked to investigate claims that computers and mobile phones used by exiled Bahraini pro-democracy activists living in the UK are under illegal surveillance.

A complaint about Bahraini officials’ alleged monitoring of the devices was compiled by the civil liberties group Privacy International (PI) and submitted to the Metropolitan police on Monday.

The remote interference is said to have started after Dr Saeed Shehabi, Jaafar al-Hasabi and Mohammed Moosa Abd-Ali Ali inadvertently downloaded malicious software or had their machines infected by the programs. The intrusive technology is able to copy and transmit documents, remotely turn on cameras and microphones to record, as well as send emails from other people’s accounts, according to PI.

It said the technology involved was FinFisher, software once owned by Gamma International, a company that used to be based in Andover, Hampshire, but is now run by a firm based in Germany.

The complaint is partially based on evidence published in August by Bahrain Watch and WikiLeaks, which, it is said, details exchanges between Bahraini officials and Finfisher staff who were providing technical support.

The three men allegedly targeted are human rights activists who oppose the current regime in Bahrain and have been granted asylum in the UK.

Moosa Abd-Ali Ali and Hasabi had both been detained and tortured in Bahrain. Shehabi has been sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia and had his Bahraini citizenship revoked.

“We often had the feeling that they were spying on us but we had no physical evidence of intrusion,” said Shehabi, 60, who is a journalist. “I have lived here since 1971. I thought I was under British protection.”

His only direct evidence of computer interference was when his Twitter account inexplicably began following more and more people; on another occasion, he said, his daughter’s travel plans were disclosed to Bahraini government officials. Three years ago his home in the UK was the target of an arson attack.

Hasabi, 43, an IT specialist, said he had received numerous emails which he did not open because they appeared suspicious. He was alarmed to see his computer’s details appear in the WikiLeaks list online.

Moosa Abd-Ali Ali, 33, a TV camera operator, said: “Many times I received notices from my friends that I had sent them emails when I had not. Once I opened up my Facebook page and found that someone was writing it. Later I found it had been deleted. On other occasions I received notices from Gmail saying someone had tried to hack into my account.

“When I first came to the UK I felt safe but I don’t any more. They have hacked my computer.”

PI said: “It is clear from the Gamma documents published online that among those targeted by the Bahraini government with FinFisher technology were Mohammed, Jaafar and Saeed, along with prominent Bahraini opposition politicians, democracy activists and human rights lawyers.

FinFisher was developed and produced by the British company Gamma International. Promotional material for FinFisher shows that it allows its user full access to a target’s infected device and everything contained within it, even enabling them to turn on functions such as cameras and microphones.

“Reports from the Citizen Lab suggest that FinFisher command and control servers have been found in 35 countries, including Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, Bahrain, and Malaysia.”

The National Cyber Crime Unit is part of the National Crime Agency. Earlier this year PI made a similar complaint to police about alleged surveillance of the computer of an Ethiopian activist living in the UK.

Commenting on the alleged surveillance of the Ethiopian, a Metropolitan police spokesperson said: “On 28 February 2014, we received an allegation that a man in Islington had had his computer accessed without authorisation. This matter is currently under investigation by Islington CID.”

PI alleges that surveillance carried out by Bahraini authorities amounts to unlawful interception of communications under section 1 of the UK’s Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) 2000.

FinFisher and its previous owner Gamma have previously claimed they only sold their products to responsible governments. The German-based firm did not respond to requests for a comment, nor did the embassy of Bahrain.

See also here. And here.

Bahraini government, with help from FinFisher, tracks activists living in the UK: here.

FinFisher spyware used to snoop on Bahraini activists, police told. Gamma International on the end of UK criminal complaint: here.

Privacy International files criminal complaint on behalf of Bahraini activists targeted by spyware FinFisher: here.

G4S Bahrain to provide manned and electronic security to [Saudi] Al Arab News: here.

‘British government missed chance to free ISIS prisoner Alan Henning’


This video from Britain says about itself:

Moazzam Begg interview: ‘MI5 gave me the green light to go [to] Syria’ | Channel 4 News

3 October 2014

Moazzam Begg was released from prison on Wednesday after MI5 handed over documents to the police. He claims security services knew all about his trip to Syria – and the papers appear to back it up.

By Luke James in Britain:

Government ‘turned down Begg help’ for Henning release

Wednesday 8th October 2014

Ex-Guantanamo detainee offered to negotiate with Isis

FORMER Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg revealed yesterday that his offer to help the government free murdered Brit Alan Henning from Isis extremists was turned down.

Mr Begg claimed on Radio 4’s Today programme to know the identity of the group holding Mr Henning.

He said he could have helped to secure the release of the taxi driver-turned-aid worker by delivering a “heartfelt” message to his captors in Arabic.

“I know the people who may have been holding him,” he said.

“I don’t think he’s [Jihadi John] responsible for holding him, I think there’s people much higher up the ladder within Isis.”

Mr Begg, who spent two years in Guantanamo without charge, said the Manchester man’s friends had appealed to him for help in December 2013.

He then made contact with former Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt — but his help was turned down and [he] was arrested a few weeks later.

He said: “The message that I was going to deliver could probably not have been delivered by anybody else because of the language — the terminology, the understanding, the connection that I could have made to that world was very specific and exclusive to me.”

The Birmingham man was arrested by British police officers in February on seven terror charges connected to the conflict in Syria.

All charges against him have now been dropped and he spoke yesterday after being released from Belmarsh Prison on October 1.

A video released by Isis at the weekend showed Mr Henning had been beheaded, making him the second British Isis victim.

In the wake of the murder, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman has said she will refuse to call the extremists “Islamic State.”

She said: “I will never call them Islamic State because so many Muslims are suffering at the hands of Isis or Isil or whatever.”

Ms Harman made the pledge at a Muslim Friends of Labour eid celebration at the party’s London headquarters on Monday evening.

Labour Ealing Central and Acton candidate Rupa Huq added: “The actions of Islamic State are barbaric and medieval — they’re not Islamic and they’re not a state.”

British ex-National Front nazi now in UKIP


This video from England says about itself:

UKIP AND THE EX-NF CANDIDATE

17 April 2013

A THANET WATCH REPORT. Campaigning for UKIP in Ramsgate for the Kent County council elections, Trevor Shonk answers questions about the ex-chair of Thanet UKIP party, Martyn Heale, who was in the past an organiser for the National Front. UKIP has a rule not to allow membership to people who have been members of far right parties such as the National Front and the British National Party.

Apparently, having such a rule is one thing. Applying it is another thing.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

UKIP OFFICIAL DEFENDS RACIST NATIONAL FRONT

Wednesday 8th october 2014

Heale accused of rewriting history over NF claims

SENIOR Ukip official Martyn Heale was accused yesterday of “rewriting history” after claiming that the National Front (NF) was not a far-right organisation.

Mr Heale, party leader Nigel Farage’s campaign manager in the Kent constituency of South Thanet, had previously said that his membership of the NF in the late 1970s was “a bad decision” that he “sincerely” regretted.

But in an about-turn, Mr Heale has now leapt to the defence of the organisation.

In today’s issue of the London Review of Books, Mr Heale is quoted as saying: “There’s been an attempt by many people to associate the National Front with the far right. But that’s not fair, that’s not true.

“It was a bit of a social club,” he told the journal. “Initially the National Front was just a group of retired people and soldiers.”

Mr Heale was a branch organiser for the National Front in Hammersmith, west London.

He held his position at a time when the racist NF was blamed for encouraging a huge escalation in far-right violence in the city.

His neonazi links were first exposed last year when he ran successfully for a seat on Kent County Council.

Hope Not Hate organiser Simon Creasy told the Morning Star: “Maybe he’s trying to rewrite history and whitewash over his far-right past.

“Anyone with a modicum of intelligence knows that the National Front was a far-right organisation and still is.

“For him to try to deflect from questions about his history in this way is just laughable. It was always a far-right party.”

Mr Heale’s claims were published as the anti-immigrant party launched a shocking defence of one of its MEPs after she tweeted a link to an anti-semitic website.

Last week Jane Collins tweeted a link to an article drawing links between Labour leader Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange, which incorrectly referred to Ms Harman as a “Jewess.”

But a Ukip spokesman told Jewish News yesterday that the term was “(no) more insulting than saying that Ms Collins is a Yorkshirewoman, it is merely descriptive not pejorative.”

Last year Mr Farage said he would not join an alliance with the French far-right Front National, led by Marine Le Pen, because of the “prejudice and anti-semitism” in the party.

Mr Heale’s comments are quoted in a 8,000-word polemic in the London Review of Books by author and journalist James Meek.

“In view of Ukip’s insistence that it isn’t a racist party, I thought Heale might be defensive, or embarrassed, about being a member of the NF in 1978,” Mr Meek writes. “To my surprise, he came to its defence.”

A Ukip spokesman said the party disputed the quote and claimed that when Mr Heale joined the NF he felt it was a left-of-centre community-oriented organisation with a national focus.

Party leader Mr Farage was adopted as Ukip candidate in South Thanet this summer.

When Heale joined the National Front, its founder and party leader was John Tyndall, ex-deputy leader of the National Socialist Movement and a lifelong nazi.

Talking about the British National Front; about their French sister party:

France’s far-right National Front (FN) party has boycotted a vote to dedicate a square in the southern city of Toulon to Nelson Mandela, saying the anti-apartheid icon was a “terrorist” in the past.

ONE of Ukip’s rising stars has been left red-faced after social media messages emerged showing he criticised Nigel Farage’s party at the last election. Blair Smillie had hurriedly deleted posts and made his social media profiles private yesterday, after Labour revealed the embarrassing posts: here.

Ukip leader says he is ‘not going to pretend to reach out to female voters or voters of all different denominations': here.