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Sunday papers – 14 June 2015

Snowden files

Several of the papers cover the aftermath of the release of confidential information by Edward Snowden.

Sky News says:

MI6 has been forced to move some of its intelligence agents after Russia and China accessed secret files stolen by Edward Snowden, according to senior UK Government and intelligence sources.

Mr Snowden – the US whistleblower who leaked thousands of documents about surveillance programmes run by the National Security Agency and foreign counterparts, including Britain’s GCHQ – has insisted that crucial data in the material could not be accessed by foreign powers.

But UK security chiefs have warned that his actions had compromised anti-terror activity, with former GCHQ director Sir David Omand describing it as a “huge strategic setback” for the West.

A Downing Street source said Moscow and Beijing had “cracked” information that exposed intelligence-gathering techniques and could identify individual spies.

The Telegraph reports:

Britain has had to remove its spies from live operations after Russia and China allegedly cracked top secret files stolen by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, a source has claimed.

MI6 has been forced to pull spies out of operations due to Russia and China cracking encrypted documents stolen by the former contractor to the US National Security Agency, a government source has told the BBC.

The source said the countries “have information” that led to agents being moved but added there was “no evidence” any had been harmed.

It comes after Home Secretary Theresa May told the Commons’ home affairs select committee in March the leaks about Britain’s surveillance capabilities had caused “damage” to the country’s security.

She said Snowden’s actions, after he stole and disclosed thousands of top secret files, had led to “an impact on the ability of our agencies to do the work they need to do”.

Snowden, now in Russia, leaked intelligence data two years ago.

According to the Sunday Times, Western intelligence agencies have been forced to pull agents out of “hostile countries” after “Moscow gained access to more than one million classified files” held by Mr Snowden.

“Senior government sources confirmed that China had also cracked the encrypted documents, which contain details of secret intelligence techniques and information that could allow British and American spies to be identified,” the newspaper added.

The Mail claims Snowden ‘has blood on his hands’

MI6 has pulled its spies out of ‘hostile countries’ and America’s intelligence agencies are on high alert after Russia and China cracked encrypted files leaked by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The top-secret documents contain information that could lead to the identification of British and American spies, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.

A senior Home Office official accused Snowden – the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor responsible for the biggest confidential information leak in US history – of having ‘blood on his hands’ after they gained access to over one million files.

The Sunday Times said:

RUSSIA and China have cracked the top-secret cache of files stolen by the fugitive US whistleblower Edward Snowden, forcing MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries, according to senior officials in Downing Street, the Home Office and the security services.

Western intelligence agencies say they have been forced into the rescue operations after Moscow gained access to more than 1m classified files held by the former American security contractor, who fled to seek protection from Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, after mounting one of the largest leaks in US history.

Senior government sources confirmed that China had also cracked the encrypted documents, which contain details of secret intelligence techniques and information that could allow British and American spies to be identified.

And the Guardian reports:

Snowden provided the Guardian with top secret documents from the US National Security Agency (NSA), which revealed that western intelligence agencies had been undertaking mass surveillance of phone and internet use.

He fled to Hong Kong, then to Moscow, and the Sunday Times claims that both Chinese and Russian security officials gained access to his files as a result.

The files held by Snowden were encrypted, but now British officials believe both countries have hacked into the files, according to the report.

The newspaper quotes a series of anonymous sources from Downing Street, the Home Office and British intelligence saying that the documents contained intelligence techniques and information that would enable foreign powers to identify British and American spies.

The Independent says:

Britain has been forced to withdraw intelligence agents from operations because Russia and China have obtained access to secret information in files stolen by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, senior government sources have indicated.

The ex-National Security Agency contractor – now in Russia – has insisted that crucial data in the material could not be accessed by foreign powers but UK security chiefs have warned that his actions had compromised anti-terror activity.

In what was described by former GCHQ director Sir David Omand as a “huge strategic setback” for the West, it was reported that Moscow and Beijing had “cracked” information that exposed intelligence-gathering techniques and could identify individual spies.

Labour leadership

The Express claims Andy Burnham is likely to win the job of leading the Labour Party.

THE frontrunner in the race to become the next Labour leader has promised to combine the “best” of Tony Blair and Ed Miliband in a bid.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, currently stands at the front of the race to lead the party after their worst electoral defeat in a generation.

But rather than break with the past, the leadership hopeful has declared he wants to tap into Mr Blair’s appeal to “families in the middle” and Mr Miliband’s appeal to “people with [the] least”.

And the Mirror agrees

Andy Burnham is odds-on favourite to become the next Labour Leader, while Kezia Dugdale is also odds-on to become Scottish Labour Leader.

Bookmakers William Hill make the 45-year-old Shadow Secretary of State for Health 5/6 favourite, with Liz Kendall 9/4 second favourite, ahead of 10/3 chance Yvette Cooper and 80/1 rank outsider Jeremy Corbyn.

Scottish deputy leader of the Labour party Kezia Dugdale, 33, is 1/7 with the bookies to be the next leader north of the border.

Referendum campaign

City AM reports that Labour frontbenchers are planning to launch a separate pro-EU campaign

    A group of Labour frontbenchers is planning to launch a pro-European campaign group for the upcoming EU referendum.

Senior figures in the party will be launching the “unashamedly” pro-EU group, separate to the Conservatives’ campaign.

It is reported that they have begun discussions for funding and office space in order to launch their campaign as soon as possible.

There have been disagreements in Labour over how to tackle the EU debate, with the party performing a u-turn in deciding to support a referendum after their election defeat.

Prime Minister David Cameron has begun discussions with EU leaders in order to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with Europe. His government has promised to deliver a referendum before the end of 2017.

Labour came under fire after campaigning alongside Cameron’s party for the “no” vote in the Scottish independence referendum – being dubbed “red Tories”. It is feared this contributed to their electoral wipeout north of the border.

A member of the shadow cabinet told the BBC that acting Labour leader, Harriet Harman, was “panicking” about the party been seen as “tied to the Tory leadership” again.

However, a spokesperson for Harman said that it was important Labour had “room” to air different views after the General Election, with the party struggling to decide how to position itself in order to recover from last month’s result.

And the Telegraph claims Tory rebels are preparing to vote ‘No’

David Cameron is facing a growing Tory revolt over his plan to keep Britain in the European Union, as his own ministers have joined a new group preparing for an “out” campaign.

The Eurosceptic organisation, Conservatives for Britain, which had just over 50 members last weekend has now swelled to include 110 Tory MPs.

A further 12 MEPs and 13 peers are also supporting for the organisation, which will demand that Britain leaves Europe if Mr Cameron cannot secure drastic changes to the terms of EU membership before a referendum.

The development will be a further blow to the Prime Minister’s authority over his party, which has already been undermined over Europe.

He was forced last week to retract a dramatic threat to sack any ministers who want to campaign against Britain’s continuing membership of the EU at the referendum due to be held by 2017.

Mr Cameron has promised to “renegotiate” the terms of Britain’s EU membership before putting the new deal to voters in an in/out referendum and has embarked on a round of diplomatic talks as he seeks allies in Brussels.

Cameron still thinks he can secure a good deal, says City AM

David Cameron has held “open and frank” discussions with EU leaders in his ongoing campaign to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU.

The Prime Minister met with leaders from Belgium, Spain, Finland and Romania as he continued to push his agenda for EU reform in Brussels.

Each of the four leaders rejected Cameron’s plans to strip welfare from migrants, saying they could not rewrite existing EU treaties.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said that he respected the UK’s decision to hold an EU referendum, but warned against “discrimination of European employees” under any welfare reforms.

He said that he did not want to see the “dismantlement of the European Union”, adding:

In Belgium we believe that the principle of free movement of workers is very important, that non-discrimination and equal rights for European citizens are very important.

And on these issues, we hope to find agreement in the negotiations.

But business leaders are preparing a ‘no’ campaign, says the Express.

A MULTI-MILLION pound campaign supporting Britain’s exit from the European Union will be unveiled in September with an Olympic Games-style launch.

Business leaders have already pledged millions of pounds to support the international campaign, in which politicians have been banned from taking part.

One millionaire donor has even offered to underwrite the entire cost of the £7million launch, which is to take place in the second week of September.

A source said: “This is going to be the official No campaign but it is not going to involve any politicians.

“We know the Yes campaign is going to be run by politicians but we want ours to be run by people who have a personal stake in the future of this country, not politicians who often have a vested interest.”

The organisers have already engaged an advertising agency and are actively seeking to recruit a prominent political strategist from either America or the UK to co- ordinate the campaign. They are also in the process of setting up fundraising and organising committees in each of the Commonwealth countries.

The source added: “Our message will be a positive one about voting to leave the EU so we can take Britain global.”

Those behind the campaign are expected to remain anonymous until its launch in the autumn.

Defence

Some of the top military leaders are warning that Britain’s military presence has been rendered ‘feeble’ against world threats, say several of the papers.  The Telegraph reports:

The military might of Britain has been rendered “feeble” in the face of threats from around the world, some of the country’s most senior military commanders have said.

Four former leaders of the Armed Forces issue a passionate warning about the decline of British influence, saying they are deeply concerned by the UK’s failure to act as crises grow in Iraq, Syria and Russia.

The four men — Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, Admiral Lord Boyce, Field Marshal Lord Walker and Air Chief Marshal Sir Peter Squire — liken Britain’s inaction to the “appeasement” of Nazi Germany before the Second World War

The Guardian agrees.

There are “uncomfortable similarities” between the state of Britain’s defences now and the period during which Hitler and the Nazis were on the rise, a former military chief has said.

The UK’s response to threats from the Middle East has been “feeble”, according to Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh, a former head of the Royal Navy.

Islam at a waterpark

There has been anger over a waterpark’s decision to demand that all female swimmers cover up while swimming.

The Express says:

A BRITISH waterpark has sparked fury by banning bikinis and ordering visitors to cover up in “Islamically appropriate” clothing.

WaterWorld in Stoke-on-Trent plans to black out windows and provide a prayer room during a women-only night aimed at Muslims.

Only female lifeguards will patrol the park during the event, which has triggered a flood of complaints.

Staff will also “guard” the front entrance to “make sure that no males enter the facility”.

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said: ‘I imagine there would be a lot of outrage if the boot was on the other foot and swimmers were told they had to dress appropriately in respect of Christians. I don’t see how this is different.”

One invitation to the “Sisters Only Funday” advises attendees to cover their “awrah” (nudity) by wearing full-length jogging bottoms and a dark-coloured t-shirt.

And the Mail says:

A water park has been accused of stirring up religious tension by holding a women-only night aimed at Muslims where bikinis are banned.

Visitors to WaterWorld have been told they must cover up with ‘Islamically appropriate’ attire, and that the venue’s windows will be blacked out to protect their modesty.

Female-only lifeguards will patrol the pool and the centre will provide a prayer room.

The Stoke-on-Trent water park has been accused of getting around rules that stop companies discriminating based on religion by designating the night in August as a private event.

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone said: ‘I imagine there would be a lot of outrage if the boot was on the other foot and swimmers were told they had to dress appropriately in respect of Christians … I don’t see how this is different.’

Customers have inundated the park’s Facebook page with complaints, claiming it is ‘segregating’ swimmers. Far-Right group the EDL is also planning to hold a protest.

A WaterWorld statement said: ‘We pride ourselves in having the adaptability and diversity to cater to demands of our guests.

‘This is a female-only event and is not specific to any ethnic or religious group.’

Magna Carta

And finally, events are taking place across the country in recognition of the Magna Carta – 800 years after it was first agreed in 1215.

Sky News reports:

Two days of national celebrations are under way to commemorate Magna Carta – the failed treaty between a tyrannical king and his rebellious barons which turned into a decisive moment for English democracy and justice.

Also known as the Great Charter, it was agreed in June 1215, but within weeks it was torn up and the country was plunged into civil war.

Despite this, many of the principles in the charter survived and became law – with the language adopted in democracies around the world.

Today, a statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth will be unveiled on the site of the treaty negotiations at Runnymede on the banks of the River Thames. And tomorrow, the Queen, members of her family and the Prime Minister will attend an event on the site.

Her predecessor, King John, is regarded as one of Britain’s worst monarchs, and it was his dispute with the landowning aristocracy which formed the background to the creation of Magna Carta. The barons forced him to accept new laws and a limitation on his power.

And Breitbart says:

This year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. For many, such as British parliamentarian and best-selling author Daniel Hannan, the anniversary represents “an event of truly planetary significance.” A time when the English people rose up against Norman tyranny to reestablish the freedoms and liberties of their Anglo-Saxon forefathers. A moment that would eventually guarantee the rights of all “freeborn Englishmen” from the tyranny of absolute and arbitrary rule. An event that, up until the last century, was celebrated as reminder that the rights of the individual were superior to the needs of the state and that no man, not even a king, was above the law.

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7 Comments on Sunday papers – 14 June 2015

  1. pamela preedy // June 15, 2015 at 6:44 pm //

    Edward Snowden is a traitor to his country and to the West. We are in a war with Islamists/ IS, whatever these madmen call themselves, and if Snowden has aided them or any of our enemies in the slightest way, he deserves to pay heavily for his treason. ‘Whistleblowing’ and treason are not the same thing.

  2. Oldermpsplease // June 15, 2015 at 11:35 am //

    I am still somewhat mistrustful of the supposed “Tory rebels preparing for a No campaign” because they couch their “No” on the proviso “if Mr Cameron cannot secure drastic changes to the terms of EU membership before a referendum.”

    We know that he will be totally unable to secure “drastic changes” so why prevaricate? Why not join other campaigners, such as UKIP, who want OUT?

    Is this “No” side of the Tory government really a Cameron stitch up, since it contains so-called “Tory sceptics” who have had more than 20 years to campaign for a Referendum and have done nothing towards getting us out. At the very least, they could have pulled previous Tory governments back from getting us deeper into the EU communist experiment, and didn’t.

    I feel we need to be very wary of them until they truly nail their colours to the Brexit mast.

    • pamela preedy // June 15, 2015 at 2:38 pm //

      It’s a bit unfair to say that the anti/sceptic-EU Tories have ‘done nothing’ in the last 20 years. The ‘bastards’, as they were called by John Major, caused him a lot of trouble over the Maastricht Treaty and weakened his government because of it.
      Having said that, they could have done more by having the courage of their convictions and joining UKIP, the only party to have independence for the UK at the core of its being. No doubt, they are deterred by the rough ride they’ve seen other defectors endure. As for ‘pulling Tory governments back’, it is likely that, being known as anti-EU and therefore disapproved of by the Tory leadership, they rarely attain any position of power within government to directly influence EU matters.
      If they are sticking with the Tories, I suppose they have to allow Cameron a chance to ‘renegotiate’ in Brussels, before declaring his results … ahem, ‘unsatisfactory’ and supporting Brexit wholeheartedly. We can only hope and encourage them to do this in the end, because we need every single voice raised in favour of voting NO and must embrace everyone prepared to do it.

      • Oldermpsplease // June 15, 2015 at 2:58 pm //

        Presumably some of the 12 MEPs who are now supporting “Conservatives for Britain” include Daniel Hannan, who worked tirelessly last summer after the EU election to try and ensure that UKIP was stitched up and would have to take seats at the back of the EU auditorium and have no access to funding – even to the point of luring one of the EFDD group to join them instead, by bribing her to have an important position on a visit to Russia last year.
        Whilst, for expediency’s sake, we will have to work with any tory who says they are Euro-sceptic, however I would do that whilst at the same time keeping an eagle eye on them.

    • I see the point,
      But they are “the devil within”
      UKIP is “the devil without”
      The whole “game” is depending on Cameron going for “fundamental change”.
      Somebody has got to hold his toes to the flame and Carsewell with the best of intentions, cannot do it on his own, so we have to rely on these people.
      The case that Cameron is trying to “fix” the result, by going for the “inconsequential” and duffing up the cash allocation, plus the 28 day “silence period”; has already been outlined.
      The debate in the House of Commons” (the bit I saw), the smell of suspicion from all sides of the house was almost tangible in the TV picture.
      We are reliant on them doing their stuff, after all from what I can make out the voters are already divided into three camps.
      IN, OUT, and let`s see what the deal is – after all that was what Cameron was elected on – we`ve known all along that whatever emanates he is going to advise staying in.

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