Friday, June 27, 2008

The Government Will Protect

“It is part of the role of government not to wait till crime has been committed but, for the good of the wider community and the families themselves, to step in earlier when it is obvious to all agencies that this is the type of situation that can end in tragedy.” - Jacqui Smith: Home Secretary. The Times. 27th June 2008.

Is this not the same logic as has been used to propel the US and British peoples into support for an illegal war and occupation?
Is it not the same logic which underpins the ever more intrusive (and inadequately regulated) surveillance culture?
Is it not the same logic which is presumed to justify the dismantling of protections against injustice, against detention without trial, against abusive police interpretations of already abusive law?
Be reassured. The government will protect you. It will protect you from the witness and experience of the human condition, it will protect you from children and it will intervene to protect you from yourself.
Impossible, you say?


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Have Been Advised of The Price of Liberty

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania (1759)

At 6.35pm on Wednesday 11th June 2008, the UK House of Commons passed the Counter Terrorism Bill. With the the £1.2bn bung to Ulster to gain the support of the nine Democratic Unionist Party MP's, the price of liberty has been established as £85.7 million pounds a day.

A brief history. It was the Terrorism Act 2000 which introduced a provision for terror suspects to be held for 48 hours This could be extended to seven days with the permission of a judge. In 2003,that was extended to14 days and in 2006 to 28 days. We might expect certain Senior Police officers wll continue to press for the need for further extensions to that limit in order to psychologically destroy a segregated and degraded suspect. Blair argued for a 90 day detention limit, on advice from senior Police and Security staff.

Six days felt like six years. I dread to think what 42 days would feel like.” Ratzwin Sabir, a postgraduate student at the University of Nottingham, was detained under the Terrorism Act for the offence of downloading (and arranging printing of) an edited al-Qaida training manual from a US Government website. For his dissertation. It has been reported that it was a junior clerical staff-member at the University who advised the Police of the matter.

As a nation, the people of the United Kingdom have yet another reminder that, in the eyes of both the Government and those who act as its security agents, the principles of liberty, of justice, of rights, have no longer any place in the scheme of things. And will use scurrilous political means to get their way. Even if the authority for the matter has been eroded by the unusual strength of the rebellion by Labour MP's' who have, in large part, been historically supine.

"In the end, more than they wanted freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all -- security, comfort, and freedom. When ... the freedom they wished for was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free." Sir Edward Gibbon 1737 – 1794.


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