Remember when Gordon Brown pretended that his Government would not be spinning important policy ideas to the favoured mainstream media before announcing them officially in Parliament first ?
There has been no Statement or detailed Government consultation paper explaining the alleged "concessions" and supposed extra safeguards regarding the planned 42 days internment without charge (or even evidence) which is being planned in the Counter-Terrorism Bill 2008.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is due to say something about this in the House of Commons later today, but only to potential rebel backbench Labour MPs, and is not making an official Ministerial Statement to Parliament.. Her boss and his expensive meedja spin doctor apparatchiki are doing exactly what Tony Blair used to do, and have published this article in The Times, ahead of any official statement to Parliament.
June 2, 2008
42-day detention; a fair solution
The complexity of today's terrorist plots means the Government needs more powers
Will this controversial 42 days internment issue soak up all the available Opposition time and campaign resources, dominate the mainstream media attention span, and thereby allow the other evil provisions of the Counter-Terrorism Bill, to sneak through without proper scrutiny ?
Where is the compelling, detailed evidence which justifies such an evil law ? It is not to be found in the following media spin article:
Next week, when Parliament votes on the proposal to detain terrorist suspects without charge for up to 42 days, hard choices have to be made.
Britain has lived with terrorist threats for decades. But I am under no illusion that today's threats are different in their scale and nature from anything we have faced before. Today in Britain there are at least 2,000 terrorist suspects, 200 networks or cells and 30 active plots.
This implies that there has been no progress at all in the last 6 months, since these figures were first spun to the media in a speech to the Society of Editors by Jonathan Evans, the Director General of the Security Service MI5, last November. If not, then why not ?
The aim of terrorists is to kill and maim the maximum number of victims, indiscriminately and without warning, including through suicide attacks.
That is not their political or cultish religious aim, is it ? Their misguided aim is to destroy our liberties and freedoms, and impose their own perverted tyrannical ideology, by force.
Look at the scale and complexity of today's terrorist plots and you will understand why the amount of time required before charges can be brought has increased. In 2001 police investigating the last big IRA case had to analyse just one computer and a few floppy disks. The suspects used their own names and never went beyond Ireland and the UK.
Gordon Brown is misleadingly re-writing history again.
IRA and INLA terrorists went to training camps in Libya and gave technical bomb making training to the FARC terrorists in Colombia. They murdered British soldiers in Germany.
They made over 3000 bomb attacks, including murders of Members of Parliament, members of the Royal Family and nearly killed two Prime Ministers.
The current threat to the United Kingdom is far less than from Northern Irish terrorism.
By 2004 the police investigating the al-Qaeda plotter Dhiren Barot had to seize 270 computers, 2,000 disks, and more than 8,000 other exhibits.
He may have had the intention to do evil on a large scale, but he did not have the means (he failed to convince his Al Quaeda superiors of the viability of his plans) or the opportunity to put his technically inept "movie plots" into action.
There were seven co-conspirators, and the investigation stretched across three continents. In the 2006 alleged airline bomb plot, the complexity had grown again - 400 computers, 8,000 disks and more than 25,000 exhibits.
The "2006 alleged airline bomb plot" case is currently sub judice - the defence case is due to start in Court today.
Why is the British Prime Minister making any public comment about it whatsoever ? He is going to look even more of an idiot if the case is thrown out on appeal, as a result of this prejudicial intervention.
The police find themselves investigating multiple identities and passports, numerous mobile phone and e-mail accounts, and contacts stretching across the world. Simply establishing the true identity of a suspect may itself take days.
If there is actual evidence of firearms, explosives or other weapons or terrorist finance or training material, and other plotters, then it makes no difference whether a person is charged, tried and convicted under their real name or not.
Often hundreds of hours of video footage have to be viewed,
Why ? Any video surveillance of the terrorist suspects should have been conducted and already analysed before they were arrested.
layers of computer encryptions deciphered
Either modern computer encryption is broken within a couple of days, due to captured or weak pass phrases etc., or it will never be broken in the foreseeable future. There is no middle ground.
and overseas authorities persuaded to co-operate.
Every year there is a call from the European Union for more international intelligence data sharing, which the UK Government endorses, and which it then ignores. The worst offender for not sharing terrorist intelligence data with other EU partner countries is the United Kingdom.
And the police cannot just wait for suspects to be caught red-handed. They have to make a judgment about intervening early to avert tragedy; which means more time may be needed, between arrest and charges being laid, to unravel the conspiracy and assemble the evidence.
What danger is there to the public, if the terrorist plotters have not yet purchased or obtained any explosives or weapons, or tested any working infernal machines, or if the raw materials or firearms etc they do have access to are under close surveillance ?
It is this nature of modern terrorism and the growing complexity of investigations that have led not just the Government but the police and the independent reviewer, Lord Carlile of Berriew, to believe there may be circumstances where it is necessary to go beyond 28 days' pre-charge detention.
Nobody has spelled out in detail, exactly what those circumstances might be.
The challenge for every government is to respond to the changing demands of national security, while upholding something that is at the heart of the British constitutional settlement: the preservation of civil liberties. And if the national interest requires new measures to safeguard our security, it is, in my view, the British way to make those changes in a manner that maximises the protection of individuals against arbitrary treatment.
This is direct contradiction to all the excessive, repressive and counter productive anti-terrorism legislation, which this wretched Labour government has passed since the year 2000.
So our first principle is that there should always be a maximum limit on pre-charge detention.Wrong ! Everyone else's First Principle is "Innocent until Proven Guilty, Beyond Reasonable Doubt, through actual Evidence".
It is fundamental to our civil liberties that no one should be held arbitrarily for an unspecified period.
Note the careful choice of weasel words. This envisages people being held arbitrarily for a specified time period.
After detailed consultation with the police, and examination of recent trends in terrorist cases, we propose the upper limit of 42 days.
Where is the detailed business case for this figure of 42 days from the Police ?
How is it any different from the discredited "case" for 90 days which Parliament rightly rejected ?
Where is the 2008 version of the discredited letter and briefing paper produced by the now retired Asst. Met Commissioner Andy Hayman in October 2005 ?
Since, in true NuLabour Orwellian "re-writing of history" style, this letter has magically disappeared from public view on the Home Office website, our suspicions at the time that this might happen, have proven to be fully justified.
Read our transcribed and annotated version here:
Our second principle is that detention beyond 28 days can be allowed only in truly exceptional circumstances.
What "truly exceptional circumstances" exactly ?
Mugabe style terrorist violence against opposition parties during an election which the Labour government seems set to lose ?
The decision is made by the Home Secretary but must be backed by the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as the police. And this would allow the higher limit only for a temporary period, and only where there is a specific terrorist incident or threat under investigation that warrants it.
Our third principle is that the Home Secretary must then take this decision to Parliament for approval. If Parliament refused to sanction the decision, the existing 28-day limit would stand.
Who believes that Parliament would be given access to any actual evidence or to any detailed secret intelligence ? All that they will do is rubber stamp the Government's decision.
How can there possibly be a fair trial, once the case has been subjected to such extraordinary Parliamentary publicity ?
Fourthly, the judiciary must oversee each individual case. As happens now for detention beyond 14 days, a senior judge will be required to approve the extension of detention in each individual case every seven days up to the new higher limit.
Fifthly, to enhance accountability there must be independent reporting to Parliament and the public on all cases. That is why the independent reviewer will now report publicly not just in general on the operation of the legislation but on each individual case.
That is not any sort of safeguard for innocent people who get caught up in the Kafkaesque bureaucracy which the British State has now been infected by.
Will the Home Secretary or the Prime Minister resign if there is insufficient evidence to charge the interned suspects, even after 42 days ?
Will any suspects who are released without charge be generously financially compensated ?
Will they get personal, public apologies from the senior Police and Politicians involved in their incarceration ?
Will detainees who are released without charge, have their Police National Computer and other intelligence database records wiped, and their DNA samples and fingerprint images etc. destroyed ?
If, as we suspect, none of the above counterbalances will be applied, then there will be no effective safeguards for the innocent majority of the public.
So I say to those with legitimate concerns about civil liberties: look at these practical safeguards against arbitrary treatment. With these protections in place, I believe Parliament should take the right decision for national security.
They should defeat the Government over the 42 days internment without charge evil.
They should not be bamboozled by this, and make sure that the rest of the Counter-Terrorism Bill is properly scrutinised, line by line, without hasty "guillotine" programming motions.
I have received much advice in recent weeks. Some have argued that I should drop or significantly water down the 42-day limit. But having considered carefully all the evidence and arguments, I believe that, with all these protections against arbitrary treatment in place, allowing up to 42 days' pre-charge detention in these exceptional terrorist cases is the right way to protect national security.
That is why I will stick to the principles I have set out and do the right thing: protecting the security of all and the liberties of each; and safeguarding the British people by a careful and proportionate strengthening of powers in response to the radically new terrorist threats we now face.
The Labour party, especially Tony Blair and Gordon Brown , but really all New Labour Ministers, have perverted the English language, literally "newspeak" and "doublethink" as described by George Orwell' in Nineteen Eighty Four. Words and phrases like "liberty" or "protections against arbitrary treatment" simply do not mean the same to these politicians and their henchmen, as they do to the rest of us.
They may have deluded themselves that they are somehow Doing Good, in the National Interest, but nobody else trusts them, or believes that they are competent to do so.
Whilst these weak politicians are still in power, they are a bigger threat to our society than any alleged terrorist plotters.
Will the Opposition parties and backbench Labour MPs who rightly fear for their jobs at the next election, be able to defeat Gordon Brown over this unnecessary bit of legislation ?