After a series of NuLabour Climate of Fear propaganda insults from the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, and, especially from her junior Minister, Tony McNulty, the dreaded Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008 has now been published
Sadly, we fear, that yet again, the Government, the Opposition and the Media will focus on the extremely controversial sections regarding the extension of pre-charge internment to 42 days, and the other controversial and obscure sections of this Bill will not be properly scrutinised.
We will have more to say about this in detail later, but we have immediately been struck by the planned destruction of all notions of legal, medical, financial or any other statutory or common law duty of confidentiality, for disclosures to the intelligence agencies i.e. the Security Service MI5, the Secret Intelligence Service MI6 and GCHQ. This is not merely for "national security" or even for the list of "terrorist related offences", but, generally for the "prevention and detection of serious crime" and the "proper discharge of their duties".
There are no extra checks and balances on this new power to disclose and share information, even with foreign Governments or private sector companies.
Similarly the further extension of the the powers to take fingerprints and "non-intimate samples",and to retain human tissue samples and DNA profiles etc., without any chance of them ever being removed from an intelligence agency database, is frightening.
Despite the latest Privy Council review headed by Sir John Chilcot, which was due last November, then allegedly in mid January", but which seems to have been deliberately delayed so as not to be available by the time Parliament starts to debate this Bill, there is some mention of Intercept Evidence in this Bill, This is in regard to Inquiries, Inquests and Asset Freezing hearings.
There is also a section with new "Offences relating to information about members of armed forces"- which are already covered by plenty of other existing legislation, This appears to be a substitute for proper action to secure Ministry of Defence laptop computers and other Government centralised databases.
Why are further such draconian powers really necessary, over an above the vast array of existing legal power ?
According to the Minister of State for Policing and Security Tony McNulty:
Speaking as he prepared to announce proposals to allow suspects to be held without charge for 42 days, he said: "As an extreme example, imagine two or three 9/11s. Imagine two 7/7s. Given the evidence we've got and the nature of plots so far disrupted, such scenarios aren't fanciful.
This utter nonsense is a quotation from the an interview in the Labour supporting tabloid, the Daily Mirror. Even they could not stand to hear such scaremongering claims, and they published this editorial on Wednesday:
Voice of the Mirror Suspect package 23/01/2008
Apocalyptic claims by a Government Minister seeking to justify controversial anti-terror plans smacks of desperation.
Tony McNulty produces not a shred of evidence to support his proposal that detention without charge should be extended by two weeks to 42 days.
To suggest Britain could face three September 11 attacks in a single day - potentially killing 9,000 people - is nothing but political spin.
This Counter-Terrorism Bill further erodes our freedoms and liberties, without increasing public trust or confidence in the tentacles of the Government bureaucracy or their political masters.
No evidence has been presented that these measures will make us any safer from real terrorists.