Spying For Britain: Could You Be The Next 007?

Have you seen the latest James Bond movie ‘Casino Royale’ yet? Do you dream of a job like that? Fast cars,flexible working hours,free international travel,adventure, a varied social life and substantial overtime pay.  The UK’s Security Services are looking for recruits. The days of taking on mainly Oxford & Cambridge University graduates have gone. Now they advertise openly in the national press. MI5 needs Mobile Surveillance Officers to gather intelligence ‘by observing people or places,either on foot or by vehicle’. You’d first though have to pass a ‘mentally & physically demanding’ 75 day course.

MI6/SIS (The Secret Intelligence Service) want Technology Specialists,Linguists (including fluent Spanish speakers) and (euphemistically-named )‘Operational Officers’. Your role would be to support the ‘worldwide collection of foreign intelligence & information to counter threats to Britain’s safety & economic well-being.’ The MI6/SIS Headquarters are on the north side of Vauxhall Bridge and reasonably safe. The building hasn’t been attacked since September 2000 (by a ‘Real IRA’ Russian-built Mark 22 anti-tank missile).If you have a British passport & are interested,visit www.you-yes-you.co.uk and don’t tell anyone except your partner or immediate family (preferably not even them).

Espionage is definitely back in the news. Four of the suspected 30 spies at the Russian Embassy in London were expelled in July following the poisoning of dissident Alexander Litvinenko at the presumed instigation of President Putin and the SVR (the new KGB). Russian bombers have resumed their Cold War routine of flying close to British airspace. The Chinese military have been accused of trying to hack into the Pentagon,British & German computer systems and the Russians of doing the same with the Baltic States.

British Government surveillance,at least within the UK,appears to be very efficiently organised. There are now over 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the country – one for every 14 people. At the 2007 International Data Protection & Privacy Commissioners Conference in London,Britain was described as a ‘Surveillance Society’,the most controlled Western Democracy and in the bottom five of a 36-nation survey along with China and Malaysia. The book ‘Taking Liberties’ (now also a film) published this year contends that Tony Blair contemptuously used ‘counter-terrorism’ and ‘the fight against crime’ as justifications for eroding Freedom of Speech and Civil Liberties in the UK.

London now has 10,000 CCTV cameras  (not including those on Railway & London Underground Stations) at a cost of £200 million over ten years. Hackney has the most:( 1,484).; Wandsworth (993); Tower Hamlets (824); Greenwich (747); Lewisham(730); Brent (164).  Kensington & Chelsea,Sutton and Waltham Forest have less than 100 each. Statistics do not indicate any direct connection between the number of CCTV cameras and ‘crime clear-up rates.’ A NACRO (criminal justice charity) report concluded that better street lighting (rather than more cameras) would cut crime by up to 20%. Meanwhile,if you’ve decided against being a spy,why not become a ‘Police Community Support Officer’? Cambridgeshire Constabulary employs 29 PCSO’s speaking 13 different languages,which suggests that they (and other UK Police Forces) need linguists and that you don’t have to be British.

Filed under: Society | Posted on October 1st, 2007 by Colin D Gordon

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