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Britain is slithering down the road towards a police state

 
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atm



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 3861

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Britain is slithering down the road towards a police state Reply with quote

Only slithering? Well, at least it's now mainstream.

Quote:



Britain is slithering down the road towards a police state


The pretence of oversight has been ripped aside by the Khan bugging affair: the security apparat has become a law unto itself

Simon Jenkins
Wednesday February 6, 2008
The Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2253033,00.html

The machine is out of control.

Personal surveillance in Britain is so extensive that no democratic oversight is remotely plausible.

Some 800 organisations, including the police, the revenue, local and central government, demanded (and almost always got) 253,000 intrusions on citizen privacy in the last recorded year, 2006.

This is way beyond that of any other country in the free world.

The Sadiq Khan affair has killed stone dead the thesis, beloved of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, that any accretion of power to the state is sustainable because ministers are in control. Whether this applies to phone tapping, bugging devices, ID cards, NHS records, childcare computer systems, video surveillance or detention without trial, it is simply a lie. Nobody can control this torrent of intrusion. Nobody can oversee a burst dam.

Khan, an MP and government whip, was allegedly targeted by the police for having been a "civil rights lawyer" and thus a nuisance, though the recording of his meetings with a constituent in prison was supposedly directed at the inmate. Either way, the bugging destroyed the "Wilson doctrine", that MPs cannot be bugged. It appears that they can if ministers, or the police, so decide.

Security machismo claims that in the "age of terrorism", real men bug everyone and everything. The former flying squad chief and BBC dial-a-quote, John O'Connor, implied this week that it would be negligent of the police not to bug anyone they - repeat they - thought a threat.

The Blair thesis that "9/11 changes everything" has been a green light to every security consultant, surveillance salesman and Labour minister wanting to flex his - or her- muscles in the tabloids.

Years ago a lawyer gave me unassailable evidence that a call with a client had been tapped by the police and handed to the prosecution. Such tapping allegedly required a personal warrant from the home secretary who, when tackled on the subject, flatly denied it could have happened without his approval, which he would never give in such a case. I checked back with a police chief, who roared with laughter. "The home secretary is absolutely right. He must authorise all taps sent to him for authorisation. But not, of course, the rest." Orwell's cuttlefish were squirting ink.

The grim reality of the past week alone is that it has seen a substantial section of the British establishment allowing itself to believe that private dealings between lawyer and client, and between MP and constituent, should no longer be considered immune from state surveillance. A cardinal principle of a free democracy is thus coolly abandoned. It is not a victory for national security. It is a victory for terrorism.

The monitoring organisation Privacy International now gives Britain the worst record in Europe for such intrusion, indeed the worst among the so-called democratic world and on a par with "endemic surveillance societies", such as Russia and Singapore. The Thames Valley policeman, Mark Kearney, who bugged Khan's conversation in Woodhill prison, claims to have protested that it was "unethical" but was overruled and placed under "significant pressure" from the Metropolitan police. He has since had to leave the force. The saga reads like a script from the film about East German espionage, The Lives of Others.

Britain's poor record is the result of government weakness towards the security apparat. Even among supposed liberals, the response is to demand not less surveillance but more oversight. David Davis, the Tory spokesman, said yesterday: "It's got to be controlled; it's got to be accountable." Civil rights champion Liberty wants "simpler and stronger surveillance laws, with warrants issued by judges, not policemen nor politicians".

People have been saying this for years. Britain has a Kafkaesque oversight bureaucracy ranking with the one it purports to oversee. Some six separate surveillance monitors trip over themselves. All operate in secret and appear to be one gigantic rubber stamp. The distinction drawn by the justice secretary, Jack Straw, between "intrusive" and "directed" bugging, illustrates the prevailing mumbo-jumbo. The chief surveillance monitor, Sir Christopher Rose, has been asked by Straw to investigate the Khan affair, which appears to be a failure by the chief surveillance monitor. Is this to be taken seriously?

When the council can bug you for fly-tipping, when prisons can record conversations with defence lawyers, when any potentially criminal act can justify electronic intrusion - and when ministers resort to the dictator's excuse, "The innocent need not fear" - warning bells should sound.

There is no "balance" to be struck between civil liberty and national security. Civil liberty is absolute, security its handmaid. Measures are needed to protect the public, but a firm line needs to be drawn round them. The line must accept a degree of risk, or a police state is just around the corner.

A quarter of a million surveillances in Britain are beyond all power of politicians or overseers to check. It is state paranoia, justified only by that catch-all, the "war on terror". In truth it is not countering terror, but promoting it. Mass surveillances one of the poisons that the terrorist seeks to inject into the veins of civil society.

It is clear the overseers have gone native. Even the "independent" security watchdog, Lord Carlile, has bought 42-day detention. More oversight will not cure surveillance but mask its spread. The extension from terrorism to benefit fraud, fly-tipping and trading standards demonstrates how the official mind flips to Stasi mode at the least excuse.

To claim that Britain is a police state insults those who are victims of real ones. But I have no doubt that feeble ministers are slithering down just this road, pushed by the security/industrial complex. It is not oversight that must be increased, but rather the categories and boundaries of surveillance that must be drastically curbed.

Of course there are people who want to explode bombs in Britain. [Yeah, MI-5. atm]


Taxpayers spend a fortune trying to stop them. But how often must we remind ourselves that the bomber need not kill to achieve his end when we appease his yearning for the martyrdom of repression?

The amount of surveillance in Britain is grotesque. It is a sign of the corruption of power, and nothing else.





Last edited by atm on Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:22 am; edited 1 time in total
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atm



Joined: 16 Apr 2006
Posts: 3861

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A little anecdote to that above:

Quote:



Babar Ahmad: the bugging case terror suspect


By Duncan Gardham

Last Updated: 7:01pm GMT 05/02/2008

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/news/2008/02/05/nbugged405.xml

Babar Ahmadís alleged connection to al-Qa'eda is through his cousin, Naeem Noor Khan.

# Jack Straw knew of MPs terror meeting
# David Davis' bugging warning letter in full
# Leader: Reasoning to listen with Sadiq Khan MP

When police first arrested Ahmad in December 2003, they found 25 to 30 pages of correspondence between Ahmad and various export companies during 1997 and 1998 in which he allegedly sought to purchase up to 5,000 tons of sulphur or phosphate based fertilizer and large amounts of chemicals, which could be used to make a homemade bomb.


The documents also allegedly linked Ahmad to Noor Khan who was arrested in Pakistan in July 2004.

The arrest led Pakistan security services to another house where they found a laptop which contained extensive plans which had been presented to al-Qa'eda bosses by British plotter Dhiren Barot.

Barot was arrested two days before Ahmad was re-arrested in August 2004.

In October 2006 he was sentenced to life in prison for plotting car bomb attacks in Britain and the US.

Also allegedly found at Ahmad's home in Tooting, South London were notes on how to launch assassinations on commuter train platforms and "low-tech tactics to bring down military aircraft2, as well as an old book on the Empire State building.

The Americans claim that Ahmad used his website, run from his home and his office at Imperial College, London, to channel money and equipment to foreign fighters and to advise those who wanted to join them.

The website allegedly included violent images of jihad [holy war] in Chechnya, Bosnia and Afghanistan, including the video made by Suraqah.

Those connected with the website are said to have provided "lodging, training, safehouses and false documentation" and among the equipment they sent over were 100 camouflage suits bought in New York, a bullet-proof vest and Global Positioning Satellite equipment.

The Americans also claim Ahmad communicated with a Naval enlistee on the destroyer USS Benfold in the straights of Hormuz during the summer of 2001 and was given classified plans of the battle group.
# Sadiq Khan: A fighter of causes
# The laws on bugging explained
# Three Line Whip: Why were the police bugging anyway?

In the plans it stated: "Weakness: they have nothing to stop a small craft with RPG [rocket propelled grenades] etc, except their seals stinger missiles."

Also charged in the US is Syed Talha Ahsan, 21, a former public schoolboy at Dulwich College with a first class degree in Arabic, who is alleged to have fought in Afghanistan and helped Ahmad run the website.

Babar Ahmad was born and brought up in south London to parents who came to Britain from Pakistan in the early sixties.

His father is a retired civil servant and his mother, a former science teacher.

He has three siblings, one of them a doctor. He went to a state school in South London where he achieved good GCSE and A-levels and enjoyed playing football and cricket.

As a teenager he attended study circles at Balham Mosque in south London and later organised trips for the children at the mosque.

After school he went to university in London where he studied for a master's degree in engineering before working in information technology support at Imperial College, London. In his spare time, Ahmad took up martial arts.

His family say Ahmad was popular and well liked at school.


A vociferous "Free Babar Ahmad" campaign has built up and one friend said: "Like any other British boy, he thoroughly enjoyed all sports and his school reports would always highlight that he was helpful, well-behaved and popular."

As a child he is described as having a "caring personality" and the friend added: "His youngest sister recalls that whenever she was unwell, he would sleep on the floor of her bedroom in case she needed anything in the night and no matter how busy he may be he always finds time to speak to and play with his nieces and nephews."

Ahmad lost a relative in the September 11 attacks who worked at the Windows on the World Restaurant in the North Tower.


Work colleagues believed his identity had been assumed by someone else
, and one colleague described him as a "kind, gentle person who hated injustice being done to anyone and tried to defend what is right."

But Ahmad had stolen another student's name and was using his office to run the website.

[Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. atm]

It may have been Ahmad's perceived sense of injustice which led him into involvement with Islamic militants fighting abroad.

Ahmad denies any involvement in terrorism.


Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of MI-5 Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without a licence to shrill. For the full copyright statement see a shrink.



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Turner



Joined: 06 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think of it in the way of Full Spectrum Liberty-say no more Very Happy
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atm



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No more.

atm Laughing
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SidVicious



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Peruvian anti-riot police officers participate in a military parade to celebrate Peruís Independence Day in Lima on Sunday.



Had to post this, seems like a good thread to do it in.

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