back to article Bizarre Tolkien-inspired GCHQ Xmas card CAN'T BE READ by us PLEBS

I have just received from the Dark Web, a samizdat copy of GCHQ’s Xmas card complete with cartoon from Chris Slane. The references (see below) provide a download of the complete Xmas card, which presumably can be printed out on cardboard in hard copy. I think we can assume that the card is genuine as it contains the exemption …


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  1. Awil Onmearse

    That's all well and good

    But spooks don't give - and don't have to give - a flying fuck about "the law", do they?

    Total culture of impunity, innit.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's all well and good

      and it looks like the regulators have been well and truly 'regulatory captured'

      it's almost as tho' the EU experts on Data Retention were paid up members of GCHQ/NSA themselves!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's all well and good

      If they have got time to do this then they are not working hard enough.

    3. JCitizen

      Re: That's all well and good

      Oh! Wait! I thought only the Americans had skulduggery going on! :O

  2. Forget It

    GCHQ: Mordor where the Shadows lie ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The shadows never lie!

      But occasionally it proves necessary to issue non-operative truths to avoid information disclosure to enemies of the state [*] strictly in the interests of state security.

      [*] formerly known as "citizens"

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      GCHQ: Mordor where the Shadows lie ?

      A little further to the North.

      1. Owain 1


        "GCHQ: Mordor where the Shadows lie ?

        A little further to the North."

        You mean Tewkesbury?

      2. Stevie

        A little further to the North.

        [hesitantly] ... the Newport Pagnel Service Area on the M1...?

        It would explain the food.

        And the roadworks.

    3. TRT Silver badge

      A new branch...

      GCHQ: Morden.

    4. hamcheeseandonion

      Where The Shadows Lie?

      They were framed...

      It was Harry Webb...

  3. Pypes


    No bleed, no crop marks, no fold marks. Is this what I pay my taxes for?

  4. Cliff

    Have you decoded it yet?

    That's one clever poem working on both levels! Hats off to The guts who did that, and 'Happy 25/12' to them too!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have you decoded it yet?

      I give up - got the 25 and 12 but what's the 7 about?

      1. Cliff

        Re: Have you decoded it yet?

        @AC, you'll kick yourself when you see it!

    2. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Have you decoded it yet?

      Is it my imagination or is there a dig at the NSA and the Snowden leaks when read vertically?

  5. mastodon't

    Lapdogs of the NSA

    As it is in US A4 (letter) format I assume that it is mainly intended for our colonial cousins in the NSA over the pond.

    I wonder what theirs looks like? if the prism ppt deck is anything to go by it will be even 'better' than this.

    Merry christmas to all


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A4 isn't the same as letter

      A4 paper is 210 x 297 mm; this file is letter size (8.5 x 11 inches, 215.9 x 279.4 mm). They're similar, but not interchangeable. If the jokers at Amberhawk want us to believe this is actually from GCHQ, they need to pay more attention to detail.

    2. JCitizen

      Re: Lapdogs of the NSA

      See what I mean? Heh! Heh!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is this supposed to be satire? If so its not very funny

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: ??

      ...Is this supposed to be satire?...

      It's supposed to be the truth.

      You want the truth?


    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: ??

      "Is this supposed to be satire?"

      No, they thinks it's serious and is a compliment.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks for the creepy poetry, spooks...

    So I guess Cheltenham and Fort Meade are now the Two Towers?

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Thanks for the creepy poetry, spooks...

      No, that can't be. Both these places are, to my mind, evil. So neither of them could be Minas Tirith.

      A better analogy would be the Teeth of Mordor, Carchost and Narghost the two towers guarding the Morannon. You know ensuring the security of the state.

  8. Fudge

    "We can assume that the card is genuine"... because some one has slapped some generic GCHQ boilerplate text on it?


    I think we can assume this is a rubbish parody produced by someone almost certainly with no connection to GCHQ (or ability to write good poetry).

    (Anyone producing this from within GCHQ would be liable to discipline for violation of the Civil Service Code at least....)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And of course if GCHQ state that it is nothing to do with them and its all just a load of rubbish, which it obviously is, then people will say "well they would say that".

      The question is.. Who came up with this rubbish? If it was Amberhawk training what does that say about them as a company?

    2. nuked

      Personally i think it's entirely plausible that GCHQ would use this type of engagement at this kind of audience. They have confirmed the intent publically (for the first time ever) to the parliamentary committee. If it is fake, where then is our actual Xmas card with witty and insightful verse??

  9. Grimthorpe
    Black Helicopters


    I always think of GCHQ being more like Isengard than Mordor; think they are in charge when really it's the NSA pulling the strings.

    1. JCitizen

      Re: Over-opinionated?

      Just gwin thinkn' that! Heh! Heh! ]:)

  10. rurwin

    A million times smaller...

    Many years ago, there was a SunOS fortune cookie:

    Nine megs for the secretaries fair,

    Seven megs for the hackers scarce,

    Five megs for the grads in smoky lairs,

    Three megs for system source;

    One disk to rule them all,

    One disk to bind them,

    One disk to hold the files

    And in the darkness grind 'em.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All these dark, foreboding posts...

    All these dark, foreboding posts... you need to lighten up with a cheery sing-song:

    'Rings! Rings! Wherever they may be

    I am the Lord of the Rings,' said he

    'And I'll find them all, wherever they may be

    And I'll bind them all in the dark,' said he

    1. Clive Summerfield

      Re: All these dark, foreboding posts...

      Personally I preferred Irving Berlin's take on such matters:

      If you're evil and you don't know

      Where to go, why don't you go

      Where Sauron sings

      Putting on the Rings

      Evil king in pitch black cloak,

      Rides black beast with loathsome croak

      Mordor brings

      Putting on the Rings

      Dressed up like a old king from Numenor

      Trying hard to look a bit like Gorthaur

      Hordes roar

      Let's match words where Haradrim

      Carry swords, and bow to him

      Who hates all things

      Putting on the Rings

  12. NomNomNom

    you shall not password protect your data

  13. David Given

    That picture's pretty old

    ...feeding it into Google Image Search shows it seems to have originated from the New Zealand magazine The Listener, sometime in July. The image search may be here:

    Unfortunately the article is paywalled, but here's another reference to the image from August:

    So yeah, I reckon that card's about as genuine as a chocolate fiver. Mmm, chocolate money...

  14. Sarah Balfour

    Okay, think I'm gonna be pleading - or should that be bleedin' - thick...

    WTF DOES the '7' mean, cos this 'ere numpty cannae work it out, either (in her defence, she IS very Moby at the mo - not to mention Jacobed - and it's rather affecting her noggin...).

    I won't attempt any 'funnies', cos nobody appears to find my funnies funny anyway... No point in trying if nobody gets 'em, is there (think it's the autism; what's funny to me, obviously isn't to the average - or even non-average - neuro-typical bod...).

    Oh yeah and a stripy mint-flavoured ovine to the lot of yas!

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