Author Archives: daedalus

More Evidence of Incompetence, Failure, and Cover-up?

C4 News reporting on the disturbing case of Poppi, whose life was tragically cut short at only 13 months, and the crass incompetence and cover-up that followed. An appalling comment on our society, Cumbria police, and Cumbria council.


(I can’t explain the reason for the two interruptions during Tim Loughton’s interview. Maybe it was a technical problem, or maybe the C4 legal team took issue with something that Tim Loughton said in the live broadcast).

Poppi collapsed with serious injuries at her home in Barrow, Cumbria, in December 2012 and was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Cumbria Police conducted no “real” investigation for nine months, Mr Justice Jackson found, as senior detectives thought a pathologist “may have jumped to conclusions” in her belief the child had been a victim of abuse.
The toddler was buried in February 2013, precluding a further post-mortem examination, after her body was released by the local coroner.
There is now said to be an “absence of evidence” to find out how Poppi died, or definitively prove if or how she was injured.

BBC News

There are some important legal distinctions involved in this tragic case.
Mr Justice Peter Jackson made his finding that Paul Worthington assaulted his daughter on the civil standard of proof. That standard is “the balance of probabilities”, in other words that it is more likely than not Paul Worthington carried out the assault. A finding in a civil court to this standard falls far short of a finding of guilt in a criminal case and should never be confused with it.
The Crown Prosecution will charge a suspect with a crime and bring a case to court if there is a “realistic prospect” of a criminal conviction. That is similar to a “balance of probabilities” test in that it also means the CPS regard the evidence as making it “more likely than not” there will be a conviction.
So, based on Mr Justice Jackson’s finding, why should a criminal case not be brought? There is further important and subtle distinction. The CPS must consider whether there is a realistic prospect of a jury convicting on the higher criminal standard of proof, i.e. beyond a reasonable doubt or satisfied so that they are sure.
Applying that test to the evidence, the CPS decided there was not a realistic prospect of a conviction. Following the Family Court proceedings there will be a second inquest into Poppi’s death. If new evidence comes to light, the CPS will reconsider its decision.

BBC News

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Dancing (Trip The Light)

The New Year Friday Night Song

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Who By Fire

The Friday Night Song

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Gunpowder Treason

The Friday Night Song

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No More Sorrow

The Friday Night Song

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Can’t get it out of my head…


Friday Night Song

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I’m Going Slightly Mad

Friday Night Song

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Aylesbury Child Sex Ring

Six men involved in a child sex ring in Buckinghamshire have been found guilty of abusing two schoolgirls on a “massive scale”.
The Old Bailey heard the abuse in Aylesbury went on for years and involved rape and child prostitution.
Eleven defendants faced trial, accused of 47 sexual offences between 2006 and 2012.
Four were cleared of any wrongdoing, while the jury could not reach a verdict on one of the men.
The six who have been convicted will be sentenced in September.

BBC 24.7.15

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The Aylesbury child sex ring was not discovered as most would expect – with a victim complaining to the police, a parent voicing concerns or online surveillance. It began with the main victim – known throughout the case as child A – trying to prevent her own children being taken into care.

Between the ages of 12 and 16, she had sex with about 60 men, nearly all of them Asian. Sometimes, this sex was “consensual”, sometimes it was rape.

The efforts of Buckinghamshire social services to have Child A’s two young sons taken into care were halted when she spoke out about sexual abuse she had suffered. The case – heard in the Family Court – had centred on her own fitness to be a mother. The police investigation into Child A’s claims started soon after.

Social services were well aware of the victim – she had been on its children-at-risk register from the age of seven. And over the years the records held by various public organisations about her life swelled. But paperwork did not prevent the ongoing abuse of Child A, or a second girl – Child B – who was also abused by some of the men and who, again, was known to social services.

It is understood Child A may have raised issues of sexual abuse previously with social services but nothing was done.

David Johnston, managing director for children’s services at Buckinghamshire County Council, declined to comment on any “previous contact (Child A had) with social care”.

More…

BBC 24.7.15

 

 

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Theresa May facing Tim Loughton at the HASC 21 July 2015

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? “

And;

” 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.

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Cyber War Pt 2: Unintended Consequences

This follow up to ‘Cyber War – Real Time View‘ delves slightly deeper, and examines the possibility of ‘unintended consequences’

NORSE ScreenShot
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.

 

 

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Another Brick…

The Friday Night Song

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Cyber War – Real Time View

The world has no shortage of war, so it’s no surprise to discover another one.
But this one is different in that it doesn’t involve all the traditional tools of war; armies, guns, tanks, missiles, drones, and country invasion. Although it does retain the ability to inflict pain, suffering and misery.

It has been fueled by the growth in technology, and thrives on the inability of individuals to consider the unintended consequences of their actions.
Like all modern wars, it can be viewed on a screen, just like a computer game.

NORSE ScreenShot

Click the image to follow the action provided by security company Norse .

These are real time attacks from one computer to another, probing security systems, looking for a way in. But don’t be misled by the implication this is ‘China’ vs the ‘USA’, or any other country.

It’s way more subtle than that.

This is a war without frontiers, uniforms, or even a clearly defined enemy.
The attack location can be anywhere on the planet, as can the target.
Attackers can include small-time thieves, drug dealers, arms dealers, organized crime, commercial competition, activists, rogue states, secret states, and governments, to name just a few.

It’s under reported, so makes it difficult to know which activities are the result of cyber attacks and which aren’t. Quite often those that suffer the outages aren’t certain either.

On the 8th July this year, one day after the China stock market crash, several incidents happened on the same day in USA. Computer ‘glitches’ were blamed;

1. The NYC subway system left a few trains stuck in some stations for extended periods of time.
2. United Airlines’ computer system stopped working, forcing all flights from the airline to be grounded.
3. The New York Stock Exchange’s computerized trading system also stopped working, causing trading to be suspended, a big deal in one of, if not the, world’s largest trading market.
4. Following the New York Stock Exchange failure, the Wall Street Journal’s website also malfunctioned.
5. Over 2,500 residents in Washington, DC lost power.

Co-incidence?
Maybe, but the capacity of cyber-war to devastate Power, Water or Communications infrastructure is proven.

A recent internet outage lasting only 5 days provided a sharp and timely reminder to me of just how dependent we have become on technology, and how difficult life could be with sustained outages.

The mesmerisingly pretty graphics mask that reality.

 

(If time permits, I’ll post a more detailed perspective later).

 

 

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IICSA Chair Goddard today clarifies the Official Secrets Act and retention of documents

After nearly a year of ‘will they? – won’t they? – and, we hope they don’t’ prosecute whistleblowers for breaching the Official Secrets Act, Chair Lowell Goddard addressed the subject in her opening statement for the IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse) today, when she clarified that whistleblowers will not be proscecuted under the OSA.


She said:

‘One area of concern has been the need to offer whistleblower protection to those who pass evidence to the Inquiry. I am pleased to be able to announce today that we have secured strong legal protection for whistleblowers. Following a process of discussion with the offices of the Attorney General and the Director of Public Prosecutions, an agreement was reached pursuant to which the Attorney General issued an undertaking on 15 June 2015 that no document or evidence provided to the Inquiry will result in, or be used in, any prosecution under the Official Secrets Acts or any prosecution for unlawful possession of the evidence in question. The full terms of the undertaking have been published this morning on the Inquiry’s website. I am satisfied that this undertaking provides the greatest possible protection for whistleblowers, consistent with the requirements of the public interest, and I am grateful to the Attorney General for providing it.’

She also published this letter from the Attorny General;

Attourny General OSA letter 1
Attourny General OSA letter 2

She went on to speak about security files, saying; ‘there is no obstacle to prevent the Inquiry from having access to even the most sensitive information‘.

‘In the course of its work the Inquiry may need to inspect files held by the security and intelligence services or information held by GCHQ. The statutory powers under the Inquiries Act 2005 and the Inquiries Rules 2006 make special arrangements for the handling of classified material which can be inspected under secure conditions. Where necessary, sensitive or classified information can be made the subject of a notice or order restricting its publication or disclosure, and it can be tested in a closed hearing. So there is no obstacle to prevent the Inquiry from having access to even the most sensitive information. I have been given the necessary levels of security clearance to inspect material held by the agencies, as have members of the Inquiry’s legal team, and I have no reason to doubt that I will receive the full co-operation of the agencies in the provision of the information I need to inspect.

She had previously ‘taken steps to issue retention instructions to a very wide range of institutions in order to put them on notice that the organisations for which they are responsible must preserve all records relating to the care of children by their institution without limit of time so that they remain available for inspection by the Inquiry.’

In her opening statement she explained that the IICSA now had;

‘power to order the production of documents and the attendance of witnesses. A failure to comply with such an order without reasonable excuse is an offence punishable by imprisonment. It is also an offence for a person, during the course of an Inquiry, to destroy, alter or tamper with evidence that may be relevant to an Inquiry, or deliberately to do an act with the intention of suppressing evidence or preventing it being disclosed to the Inquiry. I trust that message will go out loud and clear to all State and non-State institutions, whose actions may fall within the Inquiry’s broad terms of reference.

Full text

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Box of Frogs : House on Fire

Friday Night Song

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What happened to Vishal?

Tom Swarbrick’s LBC Podcast

‘Vishal Mehrotra went missing in London on the day of the Royal Wedding in 1981. His body was found in a shallow grave in Sussex nine months later. 33 years on, nobody knows who took him. His father believes Vishal was taken by a VIP paedophile ring and that police covered it up. Over the next few weeks, LBC’s senior reporter Tom Swarbrick examines the evidence for these claims in order to try and answer one simple question. What happened to Vishal?’

Tom Swarbrick’s original 5-part LBC podcast started 7th May and the last one was broadcast 4th June 2015. This video combines the episodes into a single audio track with added images.


With special thanks to Tom Swarbrick and LBC.

Link to original LBC podcast
Link to PDF file ‘Operation Mehrotra’

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Operation Mehrotra

Credit to LBC for publishing this 21 page report from 2005, which has been obtained using a FOI request.

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Anthem

The Friday Night Song

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Perfect Sense

The Friday Night Song

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‘Hurt’ Johnny Cash

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Happy Birthday GLO !

GLO image 3

GLO is two years old today.

‘Operation Greenlight’ was established after our attention was drawn to extensive reports of abuse at numerous care homes and institutions spanning decades. As we started to catalogue them, several survivors contacted us. With their help, we were able to locate and research more locations.

Two years ago, we’d become aware of about 200 care homes and institutions implicated in child sexual abuse. We had also identified around 25 police operations related to CSA.

At the time we were staggered that there were so many.

The scale seemed appalling, and became the motivation to establish an easy to use visual and intuitive research resource that enabled access to a wealth of publicly available information.

GLO‘ was the result.

GLO was established to try to build a clearer picture of CSA and alert others to the scale of institutional sexual abuse of children. By increasing public awareness we believe that current and future children will be better protected.
The revelation that Savile had been a predatory peadophile for over 50 years and escaped justice had created a change in public mood. But although child sexual abuse was no longer a subject to be ignored, it was still far from easy to access good information.

We didn’t want the issue of CSA to be swept under the carpet again, just because of the lack of access to relevant information.

Today, GLO contains details and reports of over 700 care homes, schools, and institutions where children were abused and failed by both the individuals who were trusted to look after them, and the System. We have also identified over 200 Police Operations related to child abuse.

We now realize the scale of child abuse is much larger, and much deeper than we had first ever imagined. The more we look back into historical reports, the more we can see that injustices occurred.

History can be a great teacher, but only if we are able to fully access it.

GLO was designed to just be simple and easy to use visual research for the information on Needle, but it has exceeded our expectations. From its small beginnings, GLO now contains nearly 9,000 pages of information, numerous reports, and over 6,000 URL links to both mainstream news and official documents. Over the past two years its had over 15,000 user activations – an average of 20 per day.

2nd-Birthday-Celebration-Cupcake

Click here to use GLO

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