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Wednesday, September 25, 2002
A nasty case of linkrot

The law governing writing about spooks seems to be catch-all. This means that, as far as the UK is concerned, security service personnel are beyond criticism. Unless, of course, they leave, wanting to criticise the service itself.

In a notable, long-standing dispute, the former intelligence officer, David Shayler, has managed to raise many matters where, he feels, the spooks have been 'inefficient', shall we say. However, the law has been used to silence Shayler's arguments and he is currently awaiting trial under the (old) Official Secrets Act. There have been some interesting articles about the whole case. You can find examples here and here. The first is old (November 2000) but it has a link to David Shayler's website (don't bother). The second is recent but limited.

I have tried to follow the arguments from Shayler's point of view and, accordingly, I would consult his website from time to time. At first, I had no difficulty in finding it, using the link I had bookmarked.

About a year ago, I found that the link took me to a porn site. (Why anyone would want to look at porn on line, or anywhere, beats me: Sex is not a spectator sport - ©Josh). Since then, I have tried, in various ways, to find Shayler's site again. Not long ago, I found a link into a site called 'David Shayler Travel' (or something like that). Currently, I can find little, apart from what seems to be an official site rubbishing Shayler. For what it's worth, I also include Shayler's address: It's 'unobtainable'.

I cannot believe that all this site-blocking has nothing to do with the spooks.

Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that this site interference had been carried out by 'your average hacker'. Would not such a person, if identified, be hauled up in court and punished?

According to Peter Wright, Spycatcher (New York: Viking Penguin, 1987), spooks were apt to 'bug and burgle their way' round the country with impunity. Not much change there then, except that the naughty boys have added malicious hacking to their entirely law-abiding activities...

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