In June, the High Court ruled that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation was liable for sexual abuse committed by one of its members.
The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Britain – to give the group its official name – had failed to take adequate safeguarding steps when senior members of the organisation were aware that a fellow Witness was a known paedophile.
It was the first civil case in the UK of historical sexual abuse brought against the Christian-based religious movement.
The BBC’s Religious Affairs Correspondent, Caroline Wyatt, explores the implications of the Court’s decision and investigates the Jehovah’s Witnesses explicit policy of attempting to deal with all allegations of sexual abuse in-house.
The Report has gained access to confidential internal documents, sent out only to those who are senior in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. These reveal the organisation’s reluctance to involve the secular authorities in cases where a crime has been committed by one Witness against another.
Caroline Wyatt hears from former Witnesses who have suffered abuse and who claim that the organisation’s doctrine and procedures have allowed offenders within the congregation to avoid prosecution.
Presenter: Caroline Wyatt
Producer: Hannah Barnes.
Monthly Archives: July 2015
This report was quietly released today;
‘Following the discovery of a file that should have been submitted to Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC in their review, the Cabinet Office undertook further searches of the Cabinet Secretary’s private papers collection and identified 4 additional relevant files. Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam QC have reviewed this additional material and produced a supplementary report.’ gov.uk
Of particular interest is this observation by Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam, 3rd June 2015;
‘More broadly, there were a number of references across the papers we saw that reinforced the observation we made in our Review [Review 2.5] that issues of crimes against children, particularly the rights of the complainant, were given considerably less serious consideration than would be expected today. To give one striking example, in response to claims from two sources that a named Member of Parliament ”has a penchant for small boys”, matters conclude with acceptance of his word that he does not and the observation that “At the present stage … the risks of political embarrassment to the Government is rather greater than the security danger.” [Sir Antony Duff to Sir Robert Armstrong 4/11/86]
The risk to children is not considered at all.’
The Cabinet Office apologised for the ‘flaw’ in the way they responded to a request for information during the Wanless-Whittam Review. A supplementary report to the review was released on the government website today and can be found here.
Clockwise from top left: Morrison, Brittan, Van Straubenzee, Hayman
Key Westminster figures from the 1970s and 1980s have been named in a series of Government child abuse documents.
After months of requests from Sky News the Government has revealed that papers exist that relate to Margaret Thatcher’s former parliamentary secretary Sir Peter Morrison, former Home Secretary Leon Brittan, former diplomat Sir Peter Hayman and former minister Sir William van Straubenzee.
All four have passed away and the contents of the papers have not been revealed.
Extract from the letter from Richard Heaton, Cabinet Office, 5th May 2015 to Peter Wanless and Richard Whittam:
As you know, there was a flaw in the way in which the Cabinet Office initially responded to your call for a search of departmental papers. I am writing with an explanation for that error, and an apology.
The additional papers that Roger Smethurst showed you when you visited the Cabinet Office on 16 February and 24 March, and which had not been earlier identified, fall into three categories.
The first is the PREM file about Sir Peter Hayman. This file was held by the Cabinet Office and it should have been identified as relevant to your review. It was overlooked, and that may have been because it appeared in The National Archives catalogue. In any event, on behalf of the Cabinet Office, I am very sorry for the oversight and for our failure to identify this file earlier.
Second, a PREM file about Sir William van Straubenzee was identified in late January 2015. This file did not meet your search criteria and was part of a batch of files that had been selected for destruction in 2013, before your Inquiry began, as part of our routine records management process: To guard against the destruction of historically important records, The National Archives team checks files selected for destruction. As a consequence, on 22 January The National Archives referred the file to the Cabinet Office to be reviewed. On review my team noted that the file contained references to the Kincora Boys’ Home; Roger Smethurst promptly drew this to your attention.
The final group of papers about Peter Morrison, Leon Brittan, Peter Hayman, William van Straubenzee and Colin Wallace’s allegations about Kincora were found in a separate Cabinet Office store of assorted and unstructured papers. This collection, colloquially known as the Cabinet Secretary’s miscellaneous papers, has accumulated over several decades and was closed in 2007. It was largely uncatalogued and unregistered. We have been aware for some time that this is an unsatisfactory position.
The Home Affairs Select Committee allows opportunity for full interrogation of witnesses, usually in the full gaze of the public eye. Tim Loughton, MP (former Children’s Minister), doesn’t miss this opportunity to ask the questions that many others have also wanted to ask the Home Secretary;
” Why did you leave it so late to send out guidance about protecting material that might be relevant to the inquiry? “
” The latest guidance only went out on the 23rd June giving various people months and months and months where they might conveniently destroy material.
It could have been done a lot earlier couldn’t it? “
Like a terrier, and in the face of political answers that might help explain why Theresa May has now been Home Secretary for 1,893 days, Tim Loughton keeps going. He also raises the question of the ability of the Goddard Inquiry to fully access information held by the Intelligence Agencies.
Acting Chair, David Winnick, seeks further clarification of access to information, getting the response from the Home Secretary that;
” No Exemptions have been set on the material that will be made available to the Justice Goddard Inquiry. “
The Home Secretary also confirmed that Justice Goddard’s salary is £360k per year, plus other allowances, plus four return flights to New Zealand each year for her and her husband.
This follow up to ‘Cyber War – Real Time View‘ delves slightly deeper, and examines the possibility of ‘unintended consequences’
Another view of attacks, again from security company Norse.
There are two important aspects regarding these images:
1. The people behind the attacks are not necessarily residing or even acting from the country the attacks appear to come from. As was noted last time, ‘this is a war without frontiers, uniforms, or even a clearly defined enemy’. Its important not to view this as one country versus another country type of war. It’s far more subtle than that.
2. The map mainly serves so show the scale and type of the attacks as monitored by Norse. It is not a complete picture of all worldwide threats. It under-reports because it doesn’t include attacks on sites that aren’t monitored by Norse. Other security companies will have similar maps that aren’t publicly available. Without access to that data, the real scale of intrusion attempts cannot be accurately assessed.
Many of these attacks are simply about theft. Data is money, and attackers are looking to steal private data to sell on to willing buyers.
The theft from ‘Target Stores’ in 2013 involved 40 million credit cards, and 70 million customer details. It was estimated that between 1 to 3 million card details were sold on by the thieves, netting around $54 million
Target aren’t alone, these have been subject to a large scale loss of data in 2014;
Staples – 1.16 million cards, Michaels (retail chain) – 2.6 million cards, Home Depot – 56 million cards and 53 million email addresses, Sony – Theft of 5 unreleased films, and 47k Social security numbers (including 15k staff) many will full personal details, JP Morgan Chase – 76 million households and 7 million small businesses data, and New York’s Attorney General advised that over 8 years, 22.8 million private records were exposed.
However, its not always about theft.
Industrial espionage or malicious intent can be the motives, such as disrupting a company or organization’s operations, sometimes re-routing or delaying the logistics chain. There is also the example from 2013 where drug dealers hacked the Belgium Antwerp port computers, with the intent to smuggle drugs into the country.
Probably the most public malicious attack was the Stuxnet worm, (2008-2010). An infected USB stick delivered a payload intended to achieve a very specific result, and targeted only the Siemens devices that controlled the Iranian centrifuges used for uranium enrichment. It’s believed that 20% of the Iranian centrifuges were destroyed by Stuxnet.
The worm was later confirmed to be a joint USA / Israeli operation, and although achieving its objective, it wasn’t without problems. The worm was designed not to travel outside the the nuclear facility. However an error in the code allowed the worm to replicate and spread all over the internet. It was claimed that no ‘unintended consequences’ occurred as a result, but some reports suggest otherwise. The Russians claimed that their nuclear facility was infected with the worm and, in the UK, a French owned nuclear reactor unexpectedly shut down. EDF confirmed that the reactor also used Siemens controllers, but denied that the Stuxnet virus was involved. In a secret war, how would we ever know?
However, whatever the truth, it does appear that no catastrophic events occurred. Will we be so lucky the next time, when the people who design malicious code fail to grasp the significance of the unintended consequences of their work?
This attack highlighted how unprepared countries and organisations are to defend or respond to such action. It also showed how catastrophic unintended consequences might occur.
Most of all, it showed the potential of Cyber-warfare – the ability to collapse complex infrastructures.
Similar malware could cause havoc if allowed to infiltrate the computers in large corporations or infrastructure such as Power, Water or Communications.
This isn’t a war in which people are merely spectators. In many cases they are the players. Often the doors are left open by the users themselves.
A major retail chain suffered a crippling attack last December, during a peak trading period. Despite having invested in an extensive central security team, it transpired that a senior director had download porn onto his work computer and unwittingly introduced the malware into his business.
Many intrusions occur because an individual had a lapse with their own security. One intrusion technique is APT (Advanced Persistent Threats) where a specific individual is identified, and then repeatedly targeted with the expectation that eventually one intrusion will be successful.
‘Security should be viewed as a shared responsibility that reaches well beyond the traditional view of it residing in a single department.’ …Senior Director NTT Com Security
This should be the standard thinking, but it’s far from it.
Security is not ‘configure and forget’. It requires constant monitoring and user interventions. Often the simple solutions are most effective.
Around 60% of attacks on web applications in the UK are ‘SQL injection‘, typically exploiting known vulnerabilities in software. It’s not reported how many are successful, but since NTT Com Security research shows that 76% of known vulnerabilities identified in Businesses were over 2 years old, its not hard to see why they are so popular with attackers. The simple act of regularly updating operating systems and applications would block them.
Everyone has responsibility for computer security.
When the lights go out, or communications fail, or water fails to run out of the tap, it’s quite possible that someone, somewhere enabled the malware intrusion by downloading some forbidden file onto their PC without first considering the possible ‘unintended consequences’.
That might be all it takes.
From The Needle’s royal correspondent
A shocking photograph of media mogul Rupert Murdoch apparently giving a Nazi salute has emerged.
There is no way of verifying the context in which Rupert Murdoch makes this public gesture in support of Adolf Hitler but it is bound to be an image that he now regrets.
This public backing of the Anti-Semitic policies of the Nazis and the apparent support of the holocaust by Rupert Murdoch is sure to be controversial.
A spokesperson for Rupert Murdoch in response to our inquiries said, “What ? Who are you?”
The spokesperson at no point denied that the photograph of Rupert Murdoch making this fascist salute in support of the architects of the Blitz was genuine.
A shocking photo of an impressionable young girl trying to heil a taxi has been published by a tabloid newspaper owned by an Australian republican.
[I really can’t be bothered. Goodnight!]