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back to article French spies do a Barbara Streisand over secret nuke radio base

A Wiki page about a French military base has gone viral after Gallic spooks tried to censor it. French internal spies at the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur called in a volunteer Wiki editor to their Paris office and ordered him to spike an entry about the Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute, a …

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Anonymous Coward

It's not a radio base...

...it's where French government ministers stash their untaxed cash (allegedly).

Anon to avoid being beaten to death by a baguette-wielding, beret-sporting, garlic-breathed onion-seller. Zut alors!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not a radio base...

You forgot the "cheese-eating surrender-monkey" bit...

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Joke

Re: It's not a radio base...

"Anon to avoid being beaten to death..."

or being outed as a Daily Express reader?

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Facepalm

Re: It's not a radio base...

> garlic-breathed onion-seller

Dude, these are jewish!

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Re: It's not a radio base...

"..it's where French government ministers stash their untaxed cash (allegedly)."

Surely, that would be banks in Switzerland or other tax havens in the Caribbean, if recent reports are any to go by.

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Troposcatter

There was an old NATO troposcatter node there - who knows what is there now?

That can't be the reason why the article was removed though.

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Thumb Up

Re: Troposcatter

I was going to say exactly that, ACE HIGH, that old NATO system you're speaking of, had a station there. But in and of itsself, that isn't saying much, as there were ACE HIGH transceivers all over the place in every NATO member state from the US to Turkey.

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It Wasn't That Long Ago...

...that Faslane submarine base on the Clyde and the nuke storage area at Coulport were blurred out of Google Earth.

Anybody wanting a good look inside the base just had to park up at the picnic area on the hill behind.

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Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

And no doubt there were hidden ANPR cameras in the area...

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Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

And no doubt there were hidden ANPR cameras in the area...

Back in the 80's and early 90's?

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Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

Drop the 'A' maybe; imagine some poor RN Intelligence Rating fast-forwarding through hours of video tape, pausing and noting reg/model/colour every time he sees a vehicle.

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@Ross K Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

I worked on the development team for the first UK civilian ANPR camera installation at the Dartford Tunnel toll lanes in the late '70s. I also occupied an on-site portakabin for a week as we did the setup and initial field tests. Stationary vehicles with IR spotlights shining on them give good images and the location of the numberplate is easy to find.

You can bet the security services had developed earlier ANPR systems for sensitive areas since military image processing (target acquisition and tracking) was starting to build up in the late '70s.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

We here in north west Scotland have to suffer degraded Google satellite imagery allegedly because of the annual NATO sea exercises nearby, but Bing imagery is pretty good ad much more up to date. The reasoning may be an urban myth (well, a rural myth) but it is true that you get a lightened image on which little is visible when you zoom in on Google. And yes, to make things worse, it does hurt to say something positive about Microsoft.

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Meh

Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

Getting a low-ranking swabbie to fast-forward through a VHS would be much cheaper than ANPR, but there wouldn't be as much scope for bribes, bungs and incompetence as there would be with a procurement project.

I guess the central question here is "what's the most back-arsewards way of doing things?".

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Re: It Wasn't That Long Ago...

Getting a low-ranking swabbie to fast-forward through a VHS would be much cheaper than ANPR

I guess the central question here is "what's the most back-arsewards way of doing things?"

Sounds about right.

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Anonymous Coward

Deliberate misinformation?

All this attention on an innocuous article would be a good way to distract from the removal of real sensitive information elsewhere.....

Anyone checked for more subtle edits on other French military/security articles?

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Re: Deliberate misinformation?

I was thinking along similar lines. Drawing attention to this site would give them more freedom to get up to whatever they want at another installation because this place will now be tinfoil hat central.

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Black Helicopters

This morning's idle thoughts

USA: Good morning, mes petits singes capitulards, may we count on your vast historical experience in South East Asia, and parts of your secure communications infrastructure, to aid us in our little bagarre with North Korea? Is it that it is that you perhaps maintain a secure worldwide communications network link for NATO operations, which in the event of an attaque nucléaire on any NATO member would be required to assist under Section 5 of the NATO treaty? Would it be deranging you to just make certain that it's still there, in full working order, and most particularly that les geeks et les militaires de la Corée du Nord can be utterly unaware of its existence?

France: But yes, my old, nothing of more easy. Its secrecy total is assured... Name of a pipe! We must take of the measures incredibly foolish directly!

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Re: mes petits singes capitulards

You owe me a new keyboard.....

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Re: This morning's idle thoughts

C'est à dire singes capitulards fromageophages, n'est ce pas?

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Happy

Re: This morning's idle thoughts

New keyboard here also, please.

"...may we count on your vast historical experience in South East Asia,"

//why? we ignored their advice the first time it was given...

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Big Brother

Listen very carefully

I shall say this only once.

If theyre making a big issue out of this non-event.. It'll be to bury some other news/issue/censorship or wiki-fiasco thats going on.

Which wiki-pedian has done something silly? Or which French agency needs to drown out some other bad news?

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Re: Listen very carefully

I'll concede that it's possible that there is a Machiavellian agenda behind this action. But bitter experience and a combination of healthy cynicism and scepticism suggest otherwise.

I can think of plenty of embarrassing governmental revelations that no amount of effort have been able to suppress. A US President couldn't even manage to hide a clandestine BJ from an intern for heaven's sake!

Documents revealed after thirty (or more) years of being blocked don't generally reveal successful plots either. Think of corruptible civil servants, deliberate leaks and lost laptops. Add in prospective whistleblowers, if the plot is against the public interest, and there's an awful lot working against secrecy.

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Coat

Re: Listen very carefully

It would have been kind of hard to hide it from her as she was probably wearing most of it

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Anonymous Coward

They're planning something.

They don't want their adversaries knowing of an impending naval attack. I'd be worried if I was on a Greenpeace ship right now.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They're planning something.

Given the way their policies have changed in recent years, I'd be a bit worried to be on a Greenpeace ship any time.

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Swiss-French restored it

IIRC, it was a Swiss wikipedian who undeleted the article in question, as he was beyond the reach of the gallic blue line.

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Re: Swiss-French restored it

The volunteer, named ... as Pierre-Carl Langlais

Suspicious surname, that. Are you sure it wasn't a UKIP supported trying to spread dis-harmony?

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It's preprogrammed...

... 'we surrender' for in case of emergencies?

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WTF?

Re: It's preprogrammed...

This "amurrica fuck year" retardation is actually getting tiresome.

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Black Helicopters

Remember this?

Dunno why this popped into my head: a clip from 1999 of Mark Thomas at Menwith Hill listening post...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBksQsAZ2hQ

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Meh

Probably an Idiot

With no knowledge of how the web works decided he wanted the page gone so they hired an outside consultant to remove the page. Next thing you know there's a shitstorm because the military guy didn't realize there would be copies of the page out there & pretty much anybody could replace the entry. He broke physical security 101 protocols by calling attention to the place. The exact opposite of what he intended.

I'm only guessing at this but it seems highly plausible it is just a case of dumbassery. Many years ago I was flown out to meet with a prospective client who wanted us to lead a large project for his firm. I get out there only to discover what he wants more than anything is for us to remove the negative comments about him that other people have on their websites. The whole job hinges on finding someone who can do that. I didn't get the job. He called me a fake because we advertise engineered solutions to any problem but I couldn't even change a few words on a web page. This guy owned a large successful company and still had no knowledge of how the web worked. I see no reason why ignorance wouldn't extend to the military as well.

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Re: Probably an Idiot

Possibly even more worrying that the secret inteligence services of a european nuclear power is staffed by such weapons-grade morons.

On the other hand it is nice to discover we have something in common with the French

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Re: Probably an Idiot

"I get out there only to discover what he wants more than anything is for us to remove the negative comments about him that other people have on their websites."

There are companies which specialise in this kind of bollocks, mainly by gaming search engines.

Reputation.com is one of them.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Probably an Idiot

> we advertise engineered solutions to any problem

Does this involve the use of polonium and/or dioxin?

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Happy

Re: Probably an Idiot

Absolutely no assassinations. We can arrange for a security team to escort individuals who may not have requested the escort, but they won't kill them or harass them physically or verbally.

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Headmaster

Re: Probably an Idiot

Polonium yes, but dioxin? Were you thinking of clubbing someone to death with burnt toast? I think you mean ricin.

Phil.

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Re: Probably an Idiot

Agent Orange was contaminated with burnt toast?

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Big Brother

Reading between the lines

The volunteer ... quickly agreed to their demands even though he did not write the original entry.

Whereupon the guys at the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur agreed to remove the electrodes.

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Headmaster

Random trivial pendantic nonsense

I'm surprised no one has pointed out that her name is actually spelt "Barbra", and that the effect is usually referred to as merely the "Streisand effect".

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Devil

I'd go with "pas de fumes sans feu" on this one. There's probably been a major security snafu in their intelligence gathering, and this is their chuckling media-friendly way of burying the bad news. "ooh!....a butterfly!"

Perhaps M. Hollande's freshly tax liable friends in high places are shredding the electronic audit trail to the gnomes in La Shweesh.

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Facepalm

1) It is "pas de fumée sans feu"

2) If you want to evade the guns and badges of the french tax nazis, what would that have to do with anything about a military place on wikipedia? An article about belgian expats would be more appropriate.

And then,,,

"The Foundation takes allegations of national security threats seriously and investigated the matter accordingly."

Yeah, they are okay with endlessy discussing/censoring/moderating the particular ways cats fall down stairs, but once the real stuff his the HTTP request, they chill the fuck out.

Fracking peter puffers.

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They wanted to do a Streisand!

Let's face it, France lost much of its former importance in the world. Nowadays, lingua franca is English, French industry is nothing but a shadow of its past, they were not very successful in warfare in 20th century etc.

I bet they wanted the world to know that France is still a nuclear super power. Just a guess.

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Trollface

Re: They wanted to do a Streisand!

I bet they wanted the world to know that France is still a nuclear super power. Just a guess.

They do generate 80% of their electricity by nuclear means and they developed their own nuclear weapons (as opposed to getting the yanks to give them a hand). Sounds like something a nuclear superpower would do...

French industry is nothing but a shadow of its past

You could remove 'French' from that sentence, replace it with 'British' and it would still make perfect sense.

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Re: They wanted to do a Streisand! @Ross K

You could remove 'French' from that sentence, replace it with 'British' and it would still make perfect sense.

Quite.

Simply pointing at the failures of other countries when we're collectively busy celebrating the actions of a PM that saw British industry decimated with a lot of the rest being eventually sent to India or China doesn't do much good.

As for the rest...

French car manufacturers: Citroen, Renault, Purgeot.

British car manufacturers: Ummm... errr... Give me a minute - I'm sure there's one somewhere...

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MJI
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Re: British cars

Following are British designed & built

Aston Martin

Jaguar Land Rover

Caterham

Lotus

Ariel

Morgan

McClaren

not sure on Rolls Royce

not sure on Bentley

Mini was

Most F1 teams

Following made here

Honda

Toyota

Nissan

Vauxhall

Ford

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Duck Sauce

I wonder what they will make of this.

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Anonymous Coward

A perfect example...

...of what is very wrong about the Internet and social media when they cause unjustified harm to entities.

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Anonymous Coward

ICBM submarines, LOL

"According to Wikimedia, "almost all of the information in the article is cited to publicly-available sources", much of it gleaned from a television interview with Major Jeansac, the officer commanding the station, in which he showed a reporter around the base.

The Pierre-sur-Haute base is thought to be a link in the communications chain for France's nuclear deterrent. France operates a flotilla of four Triomphant-class nuclear ICBM submarines, similar to Blighty's Vanguard class vessels, as well as a force of Mirage M-2000N jets armed with standoff nuclear weapons."

As this is public info, and the guy in charge of the base is a named sub-officer (major being the last sub-officer rank in the french army, more or less always given to a clueless bloke, who's no way gonna get officer rank ever, this 1 year before his retirement), there is no way this is involved in any way in any sort of french military activity, even shooting blank cartridges at paper target ... Really no <bip> way, and certainly nothing linked to nuclear force.

And DCRI is civilian only, only coppers there, some of them (the extremely low level) from former "Renseignements Généraux" which has always acted as a (militia) political police.

No clue about military stuff, thanks God !

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Childcatcher

Re: ICBM submarines, LOL

I can actually understand why they are twitchy. Having been involved in the UK version I know that you need virtually no information to be able to determine what it can do, mostly it is about the size of the mast; the rest can be assumed. So if you know where it is you can see how big the mast is, the rest is simple arithmetic. So now you know all you need to jam it or blow it up. Merde! Absolutely useless.

And they cost about £1000m each. The location of the UK version? Oh! The Navy found another way of doing it.

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