"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pssst want some passports ?

Ace Mill, Chadderton (designed by Sir Philip Sidney Stott) is a nondescript building opposite Chadderton library. During WWII it was used for manufacturing Manchester bombers.

It then reverted to use in textile production and ended up owned and run by Courtaulds. Eventually it became a print workshop for Her Majesty's Stationery Office, producing all sorts of printed documentation, including at one time a pallet a day of Greater Manchester Police Parking Tickets. This operation was privatised in the 90's as Security Printing and Systems Limited and is now run by 3M Security and Printing Systems Ltd who purchased it in June 2006 from authentos GmbH, who were the holding company of SPSL and Bundesdruckerei GmbH.

The old style "Colonial" blue passport was first assembled there in the 60's which has been replaced by the claret coloured EU style document.

In what is effectively a cottage industry, all the parts arrive every day from different suppliers , 2 for the cover, 4 for the watermarked numbered pages (each supplier will only print 4 sheets with their specific built in printing faults). The blanked RFID chip is also inserted, ready to receive passport holder details - each of these are identifiable.

The only in house printing operation is the numbering.
There are several batch identity marks, such as radioisotope tags in glues, colours of the 2 sided self adhesive label for attaching your photograph.

After all this careful and elaborate security it appears parcels of completed passports (plus some visas or "vignettes") are made up and despatched on a van to RAF Northolt to be sent to UK Embassies, that is not tracked, driven by a driver who stops off for a newspaper.

UK passports are surprisingly easy to obtain, and fanciful values have been placed on these blank documents by the press / TV... Remember this story ? Wednesday, July 04, 2007 Pssst!!! wanna Passport, Driving Licence ... ID card ?
Police raided a 2 bedroomed flat in Poplar Grove, Colney Hatch, north London, yesterday and discovered 1,800 alleged counterfeit passports, which they claim have a street value off £1m.

Remember this guy ? Sunday, August 07, 2005 Passport Paradox -"35 year old Mahieddine Daikh of Algerian origin (?) was arrested at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on 2nd August, in the latest incident of document forging in Thailand, with 452 fake passports from France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. He said he had been promised £15,000 to take the passports into London. He was routed to fly into Glasgow. Daikh is reported to have told the Bangkok Police that he had lived in London for 7 years and was granted British citizenship two years ago. The passports are said to be worth £2,000 each in the UK market." If you want to follow up the fate of the very relaxed looking Mr Mahieddine Daikh go here - you will be very surprised...."A Foreign Office spokeswoman admitted the cool, calm, Mr Daikh would not be arrested on his return to the UK. "He could not be prosecuted in Britain for this offence," she said.

Of course the most wonderful part of the story is that the oleaginous Mr Vaz who tried to sell the Hinduja Bros. some UK passports (they ended up £1 Mn poorer without passports and Mr vaz without a Ministerial job) is now complaining about security. Good job Tony Blair made sure Mr Bernard Berezovsky Platon Elenin got his in time.

UPDATE 6th August 2008 Guradian Passport chips can be cloned..."Jeroen van Beek, a security researcher at Amsterdam university who can read, clone and alter microchips so they are accepted by the software recommended for use at airports by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

Van Beek could not be contacted today, but the Times said he had used his own software, a publicly available programming code, a £40 card reader and two £10 radio frequency chips. Within an hour, he had cloned and altered chips so that they were ready to be planted in stolen or fake passports."

It also appears the man in the van was the mastermind and is now in custody.Times AS we said, an inside job.


y said...

UK passports are surprisingly easy to obtain...

They were for terrorist Dhiren Barot/Eesa Al Hindi/Al Britani (geddit?) - he had NINE of 'em.

Barot was, however, apparently issued with these nine British passports by 'the authorities', rather than obtain them through some shady underworld character, probably connected with 'terrorism'.....

ziz said...

In the link you provide is the tantalising remark ..."The two cases emerged in a Home Office report which revealed that as many as 10,000 fake passports are issued each year to criminals, terrorists and others making fraudulent applications. "

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish