The document published by the Home Office on Wednesday 25th February 2004
COUNTER-TERRORISM POWERS: Reconciling Security and Liberty in an Open Society (.pdf) is in 3 sections.
In reverse order: there is a table about some of the details about the people who are being held without trial under part 4 of the Anti-terrorism Crime and Security Act. 2001 (ATCSA)
There is the Government's response i.e. rejection, of most of the recommendations in the Newton Committee of Privy Councellors' report on the ATCSA.
The first part of the document is, apparently, what was promised by David Blunkett as result of his remarks made during his trip to India and Pakistan at the start of February.
The absence of any details in this "discussion document" about David Blunkett's reported ideas involving "lowering the burden of proof", the use of secret courts, and of the admission of phone/electronic communications intercepts as
evidence seems to prove the earlier comments on Radio 4 by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC that David Blunkett has been flying several political kites and domesday scenarios regarding civil liberties, in order to sneak in the measures that he was after in the first place.
Having yesterday denied that he was ever threatening to "lower the burden of proof", it seems, that judging by the debate in Parliament yesterday, he has succeeded in bamboozling his supporters and the opposition into thinking that the admission of phone intercepts into courts as evidence, could somehow be of use in resolving some of the unacceptable detention without trial cases.
If GCHQ submits "evidence" of an allegedly intercepted phone call from, say an alleged aide to Osama bin Laden, how on earth could the defence ever disprove this ?
We have already noted that current computer technology such as Voice Morphing, is quite capable of producing convincing fakes.
Following the various computer virus/worm epidemics which fake email addresses, even the most technophobic of judges must question the authenticity of any allegedly intercepted emails.
Given the appalling way in which the thousands of public responses to the Entitlement/ID Card consultation via the STAND website and the Privacy International voice mail system, were suppressed and misrepresented by the Home Office, is it even worth bothering to cooperate with this latest "public debate" inspired by David Blunkett's vague ideas and soundbites ?