The fact that police have been doing the spying illegally makes these stories even bigger - it's a national scandal.
However Police Scotland spying is nothing new to me.
Police have been monitoring my communications and my websites - without the proper legal authorisation to do so I might add - for some years now.
I complained to police about it a couple of years ago but, as you would expect, they denied it...and then curiously asked "So, what have you found that makes you think we're spying on you"? Full marks to them for chancing their arm, but come on, it was a bit ambitious to think I'd tell them how I know so that they can just change tactics. Yeah, thanks but no thanks.
Anyway, the thing is, what I publish is not illegal so their spying is unlikely to get them very Far. Never the less, it's still a disgrace that they do it covertly and without the proper judicial permissions.
As it happens they don't actually call it spying. They call it 'gathering intelligence' about a 'person of interest'.
So, what's their interest in me?
Oh that's an easy one.
Just read this blog and it's as plain as the nose on your face that untrustworthy Police Scotland and their cronies in the corrupt Crown office don't like what I say about them. They particularly hate it when I, or anyone for that matter, dares to expose their corruption.
Theres really not much more to it than that.
Public-enemy-number-one, I most certainly am not. I can assure you that my life is far less exciting and much more boring than that, believe me.
So, if you criticise Police Scotland and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service - as you are legally allowed to do and, in fact, should be encouraged to do because they work for us and spend our money - they'll get you back by spying on you (under the guise of 'gaining intelligence' of course).
The idea is that they hope some day you'll break some obscure law - like being drunk in charge of a fish supper or something equally ridiculous - and that will then give them an excuse to pounce on you, arrest you, prosecute you, and exact revenge on you for all your past criticism of them.
Yes, the police and Crown office are very vindictive people.
It's pretty much the old bully boy tactics - a sort of "how dare you exercise your right to free speech, don't you know who we are", and all that kind of stuff.
I often think of the popular quote (usually accredited to Voltaire but is actually by the writer S. G. Tallentyre), which famously says: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".
Sadly Police Scotland and the Crown office have never heard of Voltaire or S.G. Tallentyre.
Nor have they heard of the concept of free speech or freedom of expression.
Freedom of speech is an essential requirement of any democratic society and Police Scotland and the Crown office have a duty to help, support, and protect you and I to speak freely. Police Scotland and the Crown office should defend our right to free speech, not curtail it.
But instead, they monitor and try to persecute anyone who dares to criticise them.
So much for democracy, justice, and basic human rights eh?
In addition to this blog, I run another website called www.BentFiscals.co.uk which is all about, well, bent fiscals - corrupt Procurator Fiscals in the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service.
The BentFiscals website pre-dates this blog and came about after a number of incidents I experienced with the Crown office including one where I had a meeting with a corrupt Procurator Fiscal Depute by the name of Brendan Devaney who, after I called him an incompetent liar to his face (which apparently PF's don't like you doing), sent two Police Scotland officers to my door within hours.
Of course the arrogant, vindictive, and incompetent liar Devaney denied he had instructed police to do this, but what he didn't know was that one of the police officers - at my request - radioed in to the control room while standing in my living room to ask who gave the instruction to pay me a visit and 'have a word'.
It came back over his radio that the code showed it had come from "Procurator Fiscals Office, Hamilton".
Ahhh, caught red-handed Devaney you rascal!
But it get's better (or worse, depending how you look at it).
I immediately lodged a complaint against corrupt liar PF Devaney. But low and behold, the very next day some 'unknown person' went in to the police computer and changed the code to make it look like it did not come from the PF Hamilton office.
An investigation followed but it was concluded that with so many police officers having access to the police computer that day, they were unable to find out who it was who changed the code.
Surprise, surprise, who'd have thunk it eh <yawn>.
That's only one example, but it does illustrate the kind of thing I have personally experienced at the hands of the motley crew at the Crown office and their minions at Police Scotland who jump to their every command.
I keep a close eye on my websites and some years ago I noticed that the Police and the Crown office seemed awfully interested in me, my journalism, and what I say.
For example I discovered that they had asked the University Of Strathclyde to try to figure out how I had my BentFiscals website set up. A bit daft really, because if they'd just asked me I would've happily told them - unlike them, I'm honest, above board, and not secretive in any way in what I do, what I say, and what my views are.
If they had bothered to ask me I would have told them that BentFiscals sits on a server in Frankfurt, Germany, and from there forwards to a server in the Nuaru islands off the east coast of Australia, and finally ends up on what's known as a special 'Freedom Of Speech Server' based in California, USA.
The 'Freedom Of Speech Server' is particularly important because unlike most British and European web hosts, my server hosts in the USA do not scare easy when lawyers or foreign authorities threaten them with legal action and take-down notices. In fact my web hosts will only take a website down if the order to do so is issued by a judge in the state of California after due process in a Californian court of law.
So good luck to them if they want to try and shut me up and shut me down. Anyway, even if they did try it and were by some miracle successful, one of my supporters abroad would have a clone of the website back online under a new domain name within 72 hours and their lengthy and expensive legal attempts at trying to stifle my freedom of speech would just have to start all over again.
The bottom line is that I'm a journalist. I investigate, I report. My websites and my articles here and in other publications do a public service for the people of Scotland.
I expose wrong-doing in untrustworthy Police Scotland and the corrupt COPFS and if they were good, honest, and decent people they would be thanking me for the work I do - not trying to spy on me, monitor me, and persecute me just because they don't like criticism.
That kind of stuff should only happen in third world countries with tin pot dictators, not here in Scotland.
The first inkling I got that anything was amiss was when I picked up the police's commonly known and infamous IP address on my web stats: 22.214.171.124
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But it's really the police watching you.
By the way, don't waste your time submitting a Freedom Of Information Request to ask about 126.96.36.199 because that's already been done. Their response was a request denied "for reasons of National Security and so as not to compromise ongoing investigations". A bit silly really considering that even the dogs in the street know that 188.8.131.52 belongs to the police.
Not only does everyone (including the criminals) know 184.108.40.206 is GCHQ's Swindon Cable & Wireless IP address, but it's a matter of public record that Cable & Wireless are the ISP that assisted GCHQ with their “Mastering the Internet” program and with whom the National Policing Improvement Agency signed a deal with to provide elements for the national communications network (also known as PNN3).
If you email the police to tell them your cat's stuck up a tree, their email reply to you will have 220.127.116.11 on the email headers (source code).
Rocket science it ain't!
So what's it all about?
Why would the Police spy on you using 18.104.22.168 and do such a poor job of it?
Are they really so incompetent and stupid?
Well, yes, they are incompetent, and they are stupid, but rest assured they're most certainly not incompetent and stupid when it comes to surveillance.
You see if police want to properly spy on you - and I mean really properly spy on you - they'll do it, and they'll do it well. So well in fact that you'll be very hard pushed to actually know they're doing it, never mind figuring out how they're doing it.
National security is a serious business and there are some very nasty people out there so you can be assured that they most certainly do not use the widely known 22.214.171.124 IP address to do the real serious surveillance work.
So the 126.96.36.199 IP address is just their way of letting you know "we're watching you".
A gentle threat.
A warning if you like.
Believe me, if the 188.8.131.52 address had anything to do with national security (even though police lied and claimed it does in the FOI request that was submitted to them) I would not be revealing it on this blog. Trust me, I know how they monitor me and my communications aside from the 184.108.40.206 IP address - but I also pride myself in being a responsible citizen and journalist so it should be obvious to you why I'm not going to reveal to you here how they do it.
So to conclude this post, here's the deal.
When you look at your website stats or email headers and see the IP address 220.127.116.11, don't worry.
It's just our bold boys in blue giving you a friendly warning that they're 'interested' in you and are monitoring what you're doing and what you're saying, that's all.
They're just trying to gather bits and bobs of evidence against you in the hope that all the little things you've said and done can one day be combined to make it all in to something bigger - something that they can one day 'do you' for (it's called bundling evidence).
Whether it's legal, honest, or fair for them to do this to you is another question entirely.