Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies

The British government ran a secret “black propaganda” campaign for decades, targeting Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia with leaflets and reports from fake sources aimed at destabilising cold war enemies by encouraging racial tensions, sowing chaos, inciting violence and reinforcing anti-communist ideas, newly declassified documents have revealed. The effort, run from the mid-1950s through to the late 70s by a unit in London that was part of the Foreign Office, was focused on cold war enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, leftwing liberation groups and…

MPs criticise cyber agency for not aiding China rights group after it was hacked

Members of a cross-party China human rights group have accused Britain’s cybersecurity agency of “failing to respond” with help after their website was taken offline this week in an attack they fear came from Beijing. MPs from the Inter Parliamentary Alliance on China (Ipac) said the incident took place on Tuesday, days after the group had said publicly it was “deeply disturbed” by reports that an Anglo-Chinese lawyer had been trying to improperly influence parliamentarians in the UK. They complained the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) did not engage or…

How MI5 uncovered a Chinese ‘agent’ in parliament

Last week Britain’s security services issued an extraordinary warning to parliament naming Christine Lee, a well-known lawyer in London’s Chinese community, as an agent working covertly for the Chinese government. It is the first time MI5 has issued an “interference alert” relating to China and it cast a spotlight on the Labour MP Barry Gardiner, whose office received £584,177 worth of donations from Lee. Gardiner said he had been “liaising with our security services for a number of years about Christine Lee”. He added: “All the donations were properly reported…

MI5 accuses lawyer of trying to influence politicians on behalf of China

A security warning from MI5 has been circulated to MPs and peers accusing the lawyer Christine Lee of seeking to improperly influence parliamentarians on behalf of China’s ruling Communist party. The “interference alert” from the security service names and pictures Christine Ching Kui Lee as an individual who has allegedly “knowingly engaged in political interference activities on behalf of the United Front Work Department of the Chinese Communist party”. The notice added that the UFWD “is seeking to covertly interfere in UK politics through establishing links with established and aspiring…

MI6 chief thanks China for ‘free publicity’ after James Bond spoof

The head of MI6 has thanked China’s state news agency for “free publicity” after it posted a James Bond spoof video in response to a statement he made last year that Beijing was the spy agency’s “single greatest priority”. Richard Moore, codenamed C, intervened after Xinhua released an extraordinary four-minute English-language video featuring a pair of supposed British spies, James Pond and an apparent Marvel universe recruit, Black Window. Xinhua said the video, entitled No Time to Die Laughing, was leaked footage of a secret meeting between the British spies…

Cyber review warns UK and west in ‘clash of values’ with Russia and China

Britain and the west are becoming embroiled in a “clash of values” with Russia and China over the rules governing the internet, ministers and spy chiefs have warned in the UK’s first national cyber review published since 2016. Threats to the UK in cyberspace are “evolving and diversifying” they added, and argued that Britain has to improve its offensive cyber capabilities – and its wider digital skills base – to meet the challenge. “Cyberspace will become more contested as state and non-state actors seek strategic advantage,” the review said, with…

At least 13 phone firms hit by suspected Chinese hackers since 2019, say experts

At least 13 phone companies around the world have been compromised since 2019 by sophisticated hackers who are believed to come from China, a cybersecurity expert group has said. The roaming hackers – known as LightBasin – were able to “search and find” individual mobile phones and “target accordingly”, according to CrowdStrike, a group regularly cited by western intelligence. Hackers were also able to obtain personal subscriber information held by phone companies and metadata showing who made and received calls. “Sophisticated signals intelligence activity” aimed at phone company networks has…