SECRET STATE LINKS AND RESOURCES You might be surprised (honestly!) at how few people know MI5 have a web-site: perhaps taking the 'secret' thing too literally. For what it is, not a bad site: clearly set out & easy to read. Considering their resources, too infrequently updated--you'd almost think they don't trust us...It would be far too simplistic to dismiss as mere 'propaganda'. Although that in part--having sections explicitly aimed at schools, including outrageous falsehoods such as a denial of the Wilson plot. However, rather than get aereated about this, treat it as par for the course: and remember, 'open source intelligence' cuts both ways. Just as spooks trawl web-sites to gather information on target groups, so can critics trawl this kind of site to get important insights into how MI5 want us to perceive them, and at a deeper level the 'operational ideology' informing the construction of this site, and the language/terms of reference within it. Reproducing occasional speeches by various Directors General is also helpful here. More please! There is a tangible earthiness to this site which denotes those who produce it are busy at the 'cutting edge', what you might call the 'rougher end' of the security market. As such, for what it is, to be commended. If the MI5 site is a virtual Ford Focus, MI6 is unquestionably an Aston Martin, or even better a BMW. Slick, polished and accessible, the tone is set by an impressive (in technique/scope, not content) 60 second video outlining how MI6 wants us to see it. MI6 are portrayed as representing modern British values, while glossing over their mendacious content (as experienced by Guantanamo Bay Hotel customers for instance), and past MI6 operations. Sir John Sawer's keynote speech of 28/10/10 pitching for increased funds and legitimacy is given due prominence--though sadly the site's commitment to "keeping staff safe at home and overseas" has no accompanying picture of Sawers attending the 2010 memorial service for MI6 secondee from GCHQ Gareth Williams. We do not expect the contradiction between Sawer's claims MI6 do not condone torture and collaborating with torture practised by the Qadhafi regime in Libya to be covered any time soon either. Critics like ex-SIS officer Richard Tomlinson are, also, simply airbrushed out of the picture, predictably. The whole site is mercilessly upbeat, a cross between top-range management seminar and religious cult, shot through with enough corporate jargon to make you reach for your exploding cigar. The 'virtual tour' offered by an attractive blonde woman verges on the chilling--reminiscent in its pointed emptiness of the prelude to a seance. An unavoidable tension bedevils this site--we are asked to believe in SIS "integrity" but simultaneously told SIS does not comment on its activities, or agents (even past ones). Except those they choose to comment on of course. Sadly (or perhaps not) there is no link provided to the Facebook pages for various members of the Sawers family, which have in the past been replete with photos/personal information concerning the spook. Ultimately, a site as believable as any New Labour spin-doctor, and it is noteworthy Alisdair Campbell described the previous head of MI6, John Scarlett, as a "mate". Not sure the late David Kelly would...Thinking about it, if MI6 has been so successful at "gathering intelligence to safeguard the UK's economic prosperity", just how bad would things be otherwise? As for BMW's--nowhere near as reliable as you might think...

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About NFB Magazine

Welcome to Britain's premier parapolitical investigative magazine Notes from the Borderland (NFB). We have been producing the magazine since 1997 but some published material before then.

Our political perspective is Left/Green, but we welcome truth-tellers, whatever their affiliation. Research interests include the secret state (MI5/MI6/Special Branch, now SO15) & their assets, including those in the media. We are resolutely anti-fascist, and to that end investigate the far right and state infiltration of various milieus. In a shallow age where many TV programmes and print/internet stories are spoon-fed to servile journalists/bloggers by shadowy interests, NFB stands out as genuine investigative research. 

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