Dear Cranfield University,

I would like to request the following under Freedom of Information legislation:

In your response below, you mentioned that Contractor Organisations and Non-Governmental Organisations have trained in Information Operations with you. Could you please list the Contractor Organisations and NGOs who have done this?

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/62...

Yours faithfully,

Donnie Mackenzie

Cranfield University

Thank you for your enquiry to info@ Cranfield University. You will receive a personal reply from us shortly but this message is automatically generated to acknowledge receipt of your query. Please don't reply to this unless it has been sent inappropriately (e.g. to a mailing list) when you should inform [email address]

Please note that if your enquiry is about undergraduate courses, Cranfield University is wholly postgraduate and does not accept undergraduate admissions. You may find www.ucas.ac.uk helpful as it provides a complete listing of all UK universities offering first degree level courses - BA, BSc etc. In this instance you will not receive a further reply.

Donnie Mackenzie left an annotation ()

Also could you let me know when Cranfield began training in Information Operations (formally or informally)?

If this dates back to the College of Aeronautics, or Cranfield Institute of Technology, could you please provide the best information you have as to when this commenced?

Regards,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your request below made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I confirm that we will respond within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL
 
Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]
 
http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...
 
This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

show quoted sections

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie

Thank you for your request below made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. We also note from having reviewed the information on the whatdotheyknow.com website that you have posted a supplementary request on the website. As far as we are able to ascertain this has not been submitted formally to us but we are treating it as part of your FOI request.

Cranfield University is able to make partial disclosure of the information you have requested.

The Information Operations course began in 2008.

We consider the information you have requested with regards to the names of organisations who have participated in this course to be exempt under s43(2), Commercial interests as it might affect our ability to undertake our business and also under s40 (2) (a) and (b) and (3) (a)(i), Personal Information.

Should you have any queries with regard to the above information please do not hesitate to contact me.

If you are unhappy with the way in which your request has been dealt with please refer to our internal appeals procedure http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/pag... .

If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 08456 306060 or 01625 545745.
Website: www.ico.gov.uk

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...

This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

show quoted sections

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

Thank you for your response yesterday.

I appreciate your inclusion of the answer provided to the annotation.

With regard to the withholding of information, I would like to ask that you provide detail of the reasons for refusal. Having read the legislation, I am struggling to understand how it applies to you. The nature of the information I am requesting is only organisation names.

Can you please state the specific exact section/sub-section of the legislation and provide a clear, simple language explanation for the grounds of each part constituting a relevant refusal.

If you do not want to do this then I would ask that you pass this onto your Deputy Vice Chancellor for designation of an internal review.

Thanks again.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

I will be out of the office until 13:00 on 5 November, 2012. I will deal with my e-mails on my return.

If you have an urgent enquiry please contact my colleagues in MIRC on 01234 754440 or e-mail [email address].

If your enquiry relates to Freedom of Information please e-mail [email address]

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

Could you please provide an indication of intention?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie

We are reviewing our response to your further request and will respond within 10 working days.

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341<tel:+44%20(0)1234%20754440;3341>
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806<tel:+44%20(0)1234%20751806>
E-mail: [email address]<mailto:[email address]>

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...

This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

Sent from my iPad

show quoted sections

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

Could you please provide an indication of intention?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

show quoted sections

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

Thanks for your response. Is this an official internal review or an informal review?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

I will be out of the office until 13.00 on 19 November, 2012. I will deal with my e-mails on my return.

If you have an urgent enquiry please contact my colleagues in MIRC on 01234 754440 or e-mail [email address].

If your enquiry relates to Freedom of Information please e-mail [email address].u

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

We are currently undertaking an informal review, and will respond to you by the date indicated below.

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray

Sent from my iPad

show quoted sections

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Please find attached, as requested, details of our reasons for the refusal of part of your request.

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...

This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

show quoted sections

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

I have provided a full response at the following link which will be easier to read than the copied and pasted version beneath here:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/115252589/Cran...

COPY OF RESPONSE FROM LINK FOLLOWS.

02-12-2012

Dear Ms Betts Gray,

Thank you for your response dated 27/11/12.

In this response you took the time to expand on the reasons for refusing information I requested. You explained the conclusion that you believe that the public interest in 'transparency and openness in the operation of public authorities' is outweighed by the interest in withholding the information. I have tried to surmise your points as I understand them immediately beneath this:

Citing FOIA 2000 SECTION 40 Personal information:

-There is a risk that if the employers are revealed people may find out who the students were
-This may cause damage and distress
-Who a student's employer is is personal data

Citing FOIA 2000 SECTION 43 Commercial interests.

-Other public or private organizations could set up similar courses and poach clients resulting in loss of income for you
-You provide a secure framework and environment for national/international defence courses and there is an 'extremely strong public interest' in maintaining this

I would like to begin by discussing your use of Section 40. I am unconvinced that the lists of the NGOs and/or Contractor Organisation's names would lead to any discoveries, damage or distress. This is all hypothetical conjecture. I have struggled to get some of the most fearless investigative journalists, human rights campaigners and ministers to even look at Information Operations; so it takes some leap of imagination for me to imagine someone even having strong enough motivation to attempt such a feat as you envisage, never mind them actually managing to procure the data or risking their liberty by doing anything to misuse it.

Either way I believe it is the duty of the employer to maintain the secrecy of who their employees are if they are engaged in a business where it is appropriate for them to do so. I believe they are also likely to do a pretty good job of this. Operatives receive comprehensive training and expansive resources in order to protect the secrecy of operations. Information security is their art more than anyone else, and they spend a large amount on it. Those employed are encouraged to apply the highest levels of care in all of their actions to prevent discovery; to the point that paranoia is actively encouraged as a means to foreseeing and averting any potential risks or undesired results.

I also strongly believe that the general nature of an organisation's business should be public information. If the nature of that work is secretive for defence or security reasons; the burden of taking reasonable measures to protect identity/privacy is surely it's own. That is not to say that I agree with contractor organisations or NGOs being involved in covert operations. If I can be frank, to the discerning eye it appears very possible you may be trying to shield these organisations and their activities from reasonable scrutiny.

The public has a right to know what private organisations are involved with operations such as these because they ultimately pay for them, and they are directly affected by them.

Now I would like to move on to section 43.

There are many different factors to be considered when someone decides where to attend a course. To my mind the greatest of these is the quality delivered by the institution. This is what provides client retention and return.

You mentioned in the letter to Ms Russell which we have referenced that:

'this is the only course of it's kind in the world, and one that takes an entirely different approach to the domain of information operations. The Postgraduate Certificate in Information Operations is unique to Cranfield because it is practitioner centric, rather than process centric.'

(http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/62...)

You are obviously proud of the standard and the nature of the course you deliver; and if this is as good as you believe then you should not struggle to keep a steady stream of students. Some would argue that if similar courses were set up this would be likely to heighten the standard overall by providing some competition and leading to raising of the bar. If this were to happen then surely you might see that as being in the public interest? In honesty I struggle to see any competitors trying to usurp your position in the near future. I believe the foremost strength of your course would be the multitude of experts whom you mention, and with whom you have a unique intrinsic link.

Allow me to proceed further and focus specifically on the strength behind the public interest.

If I can again refer to the response to Ms Russell in the link above; you mention on page one that those who apply for the course are:

'assessed to ensure that they have the competencies and abilities to advocate the use of an information operations approach amongst decision makers at a senior and national level in military and other national security contexts.'

The Oxford dictionary definition of an advocate is as follows:

'1. a person who publicly supports or recommends a particular cause or policy .
2. a person who pleads a case on someone else's behalf'

The immediate thought that springs to mind is that such involvement of contractor companies, NGOs or any other group for that matter should not be based on their ability to advocate/lobby/sell the idea of information operations to parties who could further them and their financial interests. It should be that the individuals in question are virtuous, have strong moral values, and a matching desire, professionalism and aptitude for dealing with matters which are in the interests of the greater good.

When there is any type of Covert Operations such as this, there is massive scope and opportunity for abuse of power. It is of paramount importance that the people who have such powers bestowed upon them are only the most morally upright and responsible individuals our society produces.

Allow me to quote from the document named JWP 3-80 Information Operations, produced by the Ministry of Defence in 2002. Page 1-1 states:

'Inter-state conflicts.........are increasingly being replaced by intra-state conflicts, or asymmetric attacks by transnational organisations. These usually involve a wide variety of actors and parties, often in loose or ad hoc alliances, frequently operating outside the geographic area in dispute, or even globally. The causes of these conflicts are equally complex; religion, ethnicity, politics, poverty and perceived oppression are among the many factors behind them.'

Later, page 4-3 states:

'The effectiveness of Info Ops is improved if influence is exerted by all instruments of power and by local and regional governments and organisations that may be more readily trusted than ‘external’ parties. This requires the development of linkages to a wide range of external actors.'
…........

Later within that document it references the key tools used in such operations are Psychological Warfare and Electronic Warfare. It implicitly states that Directed Energy Devices are being used to influence humans (effectively, targeting them with radiation) and that Info Ops are heavily influencing the media. This is happening within operations both on home soil and abroad. And they are doing all of this for an agenda which the voting public are not privy to.

There is an obvious public interest in knowing who these organisations are who are involved in or connected with these Information Operations. The combination of quotes referencing the advocacy to instruments of power, and the multifarious staff components give the obvious impression that Information Operations are their own entity separate of government. Which begs many questions:

Whose interests are they serving?
Who is deciding where these operations are situated and why?
Who is setting the various agendas for these operations?
Who is setting the objectives within these operations,
and who decides what is appropriate and what is not?

And in relation to Cranfield University it gives cause for wonder who specifically your graduates are advocating for? Who's interests are they serving? Who is setting their agenda.....and for what purpose, to what end, and with what means?

Having done some research, it seems as though funding and interests in the furtherance of these operations is coming from both public and private sources.

In general it appears to me that Info Ops are a massive unregulated industry. It's methods are murky at best, it's powers self appointed, it's decision making autonomous, it's operators filled with an obvious vested interest in their continuity and growth, and with many millions of public and private money at it's hands. Not to mention the best technological advantage these collaborators can muster (e.g. collaborations with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, multiple universities, multiple space organisations, private defence companies like Thales, Finnmeccanica, Qinetiq etc. in UK alone). They use all of this advantage to target people as they please without any type of proper accountability whatsoever and attempt to completely formalize and validate the one sided affair by applying a 'cause' to it and calling it asymmetric warfare.

There has been no public debate on the appropriateness of Information Operations in the UK,
Nor their agenda,
Nor whether they should have any role in the media,
Nor the operational means they use or the powers they have,
Nor the technology they use (or how they use it),
Nor whether the cost is value for money,
Nor the appropriateness of the multitude of different parties being involved in such sensitive and intrusive matters.

The privatisation of such unregulated, uncontrolled, unaccountable, and largely unknown activity is something for which the term 'extremely strong public interest' is fitting.

I would like to conclude by saying that I have not asked for any personal information. And whilst I do agree with you that declaring client titles could lead to more competition, I see the significance of this concern as minuscule and short sighted compared to the public interest in knowing who the organisations are who are connected with these Operations.

I believe the public should know the extent and titles of organizations involved in Information Operations. If they continue as is and the full extent is known, this will provide a level playing field for competitors where all clients can be courted. Any measures which help this transparency to happen have to be a step in the right direction.

If you want to suggest any other public organisations who I might ask similar questions; I would be happy to do so. Similar queries already reside with the MOD.

This response is to be considered a request for an Internal Review. Please could you forward this to the appropriate individual whom you referenced in your last contact.

Yours Sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

I will be out of the office until 14.00 on 3 December, 2012. I will deal with my e-mails on my return.

If you have an urgent enquiry please contact my colleagues in MIRC on 01234 754440 or e-mail [email address].

If your enquiry relates to Freedom of Information please e-mail [email address]

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

I acknowledge your request for an internal review and have forwarded this to Professor Stephens, University Secretary and Registrar. He will nominate a Senior Officer of the University, who has not been involved in the original enquiry, to deal with your appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Mary Betts-Gray

Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...

This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.

show quoted sections

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie,
 
I have been asked by Professor William Stephens, Secretary and Registrar,
to convey to you the result of the internal review.
 
Having reviewed all the documentation and following consultation with a
relevant third-party organisation the reviewer came to the conclusion that
there was no compelling evidence for information to be withheld on the
basis of the s43 exemption which had been applied - Commercial Interests. 
They concluded that the partial disclosure given below would be
appropriate.
 
The FOIA request is for disclosure of the names of NGO and Contractor
Organisations whose employees received “training” on Cranfield’s PGCert in
Information Operations.
 
1.      Cranfield University carries out postgraduate education through
its PGCert in Information Operations.  It does not carry out training in
this discipline.
2.      A significant proportion of the students on the University’s
PGCert in Information Operations are self-funded.  Cranfield holds some
employment details for such student, however the names of   their
employing organisations is personal data and therefore exempt from
disclosure under FOIA Section 40.
3.      No NGOs have registered employees onto the University’s PGCert in
Information Operations.
4.      One commercial organisation has registered a single employee onto
the University’s PGCert in Information Operations.  This company is BAE
Systems Detica.
 
While we would normally aim to respond to a request for an internal review
within 20 working days our response has been slightly delayed by the need
to consult with a relevant third party organisation and by the
Christmas/New Year closure. We apologise for this.
 
Should you have any queries with regard to the information please contact
us.
 
If you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint
you have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at:
The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF. 
Telephone: 08456 306060 or 01625 545745.
Website: [1]www.ico.gov.uk
 
Yours sincerely
 
Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL
 
Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]
 
[2]http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...
 
This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If
you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this
communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in
error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.
 
The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of
Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the
content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the
basis of the information provided.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Betts-Gray,

Thanks for passing on the response.
I would appreciate if you or Professor Stephens could provide further clarification for me.

He says that only one commerical organisation has funded an individual to attend the course. He also says that "A significant proportion of the students on the University’s PGCert in Information Operations are self-funded". Is it accurate to infer that the remaining proportion of attendants who do not come into these categories were employed by the MOD or other public bodies?

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Betts-Gray, Mary, Cranfield University

Dear Mr Mackenzie,

Thank you for your additional request below seeking clarification.

I am advised that according to our records all the students that have been sponsored onto the course come from military organisations and their civilian branches, except for one that came from BAE Systems Detica.

I hope that this provides the clarification you require.

Yours sincerely

Mary Betts-Gray
Freedom of Information Officer
Cranfield University
Cranfield
Bedford
MK43 0AL

Tel: +44 (0)1234 754440 x3341
Fax: +44 (0)1234 751806
E-mail: [email address]

http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/legal/foi/ind...

This communication is sent in confidence to the named recipient only. If you are not the named recipient, any use, disclosure or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or email.

The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the corporate views of Cranfield University. Cranfield University accepts no liability for the content of this email or the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Dear Betts-Gray, Mary,

Thank you for providing that clarity.

Yours sincerely,

Donnie Mackenzie

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org