Spooks

According to the Guardian today, lecturers and other staff are being encouraged by the Department for Education to keep an eye on what they describe as “Asian-looking” and Muslim students. Apparently Muslims are getting too political these days and are being “groomed” for terrorism at university. It sounds like a jolly bad idea to get universities to spy on their students, but if you’re Muslim and a student then I expect Her Majesty’s Government will soon be grooming you to spy on your mates – could help with top up fees but likely to make you unpopular down the pub.

Meanwhile former Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) officer Richard Tomlinson has been hauled into a French court for writing a work of fiction based loosely on his experience. He has had rather a bad time of it: thrown out of SIS, a job he loved, without explanation, and offered a boring financial job in London as compensation; arrested (repeatedly and in multiple countries) for writing a book on his training and experience (which is now available for free) ; accused of releasing a list of officers (which it seems likely was just made up by someone who had looked at publicly available lists of diplomatic postings abroad); he has had his belongs confiscated multiple times – most recently after he wrote to SIS to ask for permission to write a novel. Now he is threatening to (really this time) publish names of officers he remembers from his time in the service unless the authorities give him his stuff back.

Crazy stuff. All he wants is an explanation for why he was kicked out of the service. I suspect he also wants to make a bit of cash – which seems reasonable enough given that Stella Rimington, former head of the Security Service, has to date published an autobiography and two works of fiction (see her wikipedia entry). It worries me when I think how many resources are being wasted on issues such as these which would be better used trying to work out how to stop us all from blowing each other up!

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