Spook scandal in Athens

Could this apparent scandal explode into something juicy? Apparently the ISC will investigate and, as the power of the Dear Leader is collapsing, the chairman of the ISC (Paul Murphy) may be less reluctant to dissent from the party line than the supine Ann Taylor.


Incidentally, I believe the "D-Notice" system (referred to as a gagging order) is voluntarily adhered to by newspapers and itself carries no legal power, presumably operating on the basis that co-operating is better than being told what to do. Is this true?

Call for inquiry into MI6 Greek torture claims
By Vik Iyer and agencies

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader (Paul Rogers/The Times)

Claims that British spies were involved in the abduction and torture of terror suspects in Greece should be investigated by Parliament, a senior politician said today.

The Ministry of Justice in Athens has launched an inquiry into allegations that 28 Pakistanis were held and mistreated after the July 7 bombings in London.

Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, has now called for the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to investigate as well.

Sections of the Greek press have alleged that Pakistani-born detainees were seized, held in secret and hooded, with one claiming to have had a gun forced in his mouth while another claimed to have been hit "very hard" on the head.

Last weekend, a leading Greek newspaper named 15 alleged Greek security officers and the supposed MI6 station chief in Athens, who it claimed were involved in the men’s detention.

Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, has told MPs that claims of UK involvement are "complete nonsense".

Mr Campbell told the BBC Radio Four Today programme: "I believe the appropriate course now would be for the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament to investigate these matters.

"I think it is necessary for public confidence and also to get to the bottom of what are serious allegations for some further investigation to be carried out."

The ISC, chaired by former Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy, is made up of senior members of both Houses of Parliament and has the job of overseeing the work of MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.

Unlike other parliamentary committees, the ISC holds its hearings behind closed doors and reports to the Prime Minister rather than to MPs. It also has access to top secret documents and can quiz spy chiefs on their activities.

Sensitive material is blacked out of all ISC reports before their publication, in order to avoid compromising security operations.

Mr Campbell added: "We're at a time when these issues, like rendition, are controversial and very much in the forefront of the minds of the public.

"That is why I think we should use established mechanisms like the ISC to deal with this matter. I think Parliament has a responsibility in these matters, as conferred to it by the legislation which established the ISC when John Major was Prime Minister."

Alekos Alavanos, the leader of Greece’s opposition Coalition of the Left party, called on Britain to come clean about the extent of its involvement.

He also said on Today: "They have to say if British services were involved in this act, that is against the democratic traditions of Europe, against the laws of human rights of the European Union, against the laws on torture of the UN, against the constitutions of every democratic country in Europe."

Greek newspaper reports have further alleged that the suspects, who were all migrant workers, were questioned over mobile phone calls linked to the London suicide bombers and another man in Pakistan wanted for questioning about the attacks.

The detainees said they were convinced their interrogators were British, though they spoke fluent Greek. One was described as black.

Following the questioning, British officers allegedly told the captives their families in Pakistan and the UK faced reprisals if they spoke of their ordeal.
If the worst that happened to them was a gun pointed to the head and one blow then, whilst being unacceptable, one could hardly describe it as torture. The Greek left, if I remember rightly have been suspected of some rather nasty stuff themselves, including the murder of the Brit Defence Attache.
MrPVRd said:
Incidentally, I believe the "D-Notice" system (referred to as a gagging order) is voluntarily adhered to by newspapers and itself carries no legal power, presumably operating on the basis that co-operating is better than being told what to do. Is this true?
It's now called the DA-Notice (Defence Advisory Notice) and is indeed voluntary. The official website about how the system worked was here:


but the site seems to have disappeared for now.

Here is a quote from the website I had stored:

In 1971 a major change was made by cancelling all existing D-Notices and replacing them with standing D-Notices to give recipients sufficient guidance on subjects in which considerations of national security could be involved, to enable an editor to decide whether to publish, spike or seek advice from the Secretary. There were eleven such notices covering Defence, Civil Service, Nuclear, Radio and Radar, Intelligence, Security and Communications matters and a twelfth included at the specific request of the Australian Government. These twelve were later further refined and reduced where specific items where concerned, eg in the case of military aircraft and aero engines. The Committee's title was changed first to the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Committee, and in 1993 to the Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee, when the 6 standing D-Notices were renamed DA-Notices (Defence Advisory Notices). In May 2000, these were further updated and reduced to the present 5 notices.
Is there any point in a D-notice in this case, when a few minutes on the internet provides the information that is apparently so vital to national security? 8O

An attempt to use a power for the sake of it, or to spare HMG's blushes in front of a domestic audience.

I'll give the curious a clue: the name of the civil servant is not James Bond!
What part of the story is an 'apparant scandal'?

... that the Greek intelligence service actually bothers to talk to anyone?
... the naming of the diplomat as an SIS employee?

... the allegation that this individual was working with the Greeks in an anti-terror op?
... the allegation that SIS was involved in a wider sense?
... the allegation that this op involved 'torture'?
... the allegation that the SIS would stoop so low as to use 'torture'?
... the allegation that the terrorists who bombed/tried to bomb London had 'friends' working in Greece?


... HMG should pull out a DA notice for such a piffle?

... or any of the other little tidbits dropped by the Greek press.

Of all the names on the 'Tomlinson list', I have met just 2 - and both were as sneeeakey as sneeeakey beakey could be! :roll:

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