Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Police State Risked - Dame Stella Rimington

The front page article in today's Telegraph is about the statement by the former head of MI5 that the fear of terrorism is being exploited by the government to erode civil liberties.

Readers of this blog will be aware I frequently make complaints about 'sloppy' journalism and this article is a case in point. Nowhere in the quoted remarks by Stella Rimington, David Davis and Arthur Chaskelson (Chairman of the International Commission of Jurists who have just issued a report criticising America and Britain for "actively undermining" the law through measures introduced to counter terrorism) is there any mention of 'the elephant in the room'.

In the Comment Is Free section of the Guardian, on 11th February 2009, Tony Bunyan writes that
"The ECJ ruling on retention of our communications data shows that threats to our liberties are now originating in the EU"
and that "People may be aware of the debate in the UK over access to communications data under the Regulation of Invwestigatory Powers Act 2000 but are less familiar with the role the UK government has played in the EU, where it first proposed mandatory data retention, backed by France, Ireland and Sweden, in April 2004."

Writing in Statewatch (in an article about America) Gene Ray states “There is a clear tendency among states, almost without exception, to criminalise established form of dissent and protest and to re-categorise forms of civil disobedience and direct action as “terrorism”

I am no lover of the Guardian, however words written by Henry Porter, in his blog, are worth repeating:

"Labour is committed to its course of eroding the traditions, procedures and respect on which our free society is based. It will not rest until all its costly systems are in place and its legacy of control and disrespect is assured. This report is a grave warning to us all, especially to an opposition that has been so feeble in defending our privacy and rights."

As the three main parties are all committed to membership of the European Union, their reluctance to highlight the origins of our laws, even their complicity in framing EU laws, is understandable. Unfortunately it shows a contempt by politicians for their electorate, compounded by what is laughably called a 'free press' with its failure to report all the facts.

1 comment:

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. This is reason number 473 for leaving the EU.