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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting Angry

I am not normally a big fan of John Le Carré's political views but, speaking to the Telegraph today he has hit the nail on the head as to the way that this Labour Government have undermined our civil liberties over the past eleven years:

The writer, who admitted he has a reputation as "an angry old man", said he was furious that the Government had been allowed to get away with a sustained attack on civil liberties.

"Partly, I'm angry that there is so little anger around me at what is being done to our society, supposedly in order to protect it," said the 76-year-old in an interview in Waterstone's magazine.
"We have been taken to war under false pretences, and stripped of our civil rights in an atmosphere of panic. Our lawyers don't take to the streets as they have done in Pakistan.

"Our MPs allow themselves to be deluded by their own spin doctors, and end up believing their own propaganda."

He added: "We haul our Foreign Secretary back from a mission to the Middle East so he can vote for 42 days' detention.

"People call me an angry old man. Screw them. You don't have to be old to be angry about that. We've sacrificed our sovereignty to a so-called 'special relationship' which has nothing special about it except to ourselves."

I could not have put it better myself.
Comments:
"We have been taken to war under false pretences..."

"Our MPs allow themselves to be deluded by their own spin doctors, and end up believing their own propaganda."

"...We've sacrificed our sovereignty to a so-called 'special relationship' which has nothing special about it except to ourselves."

John Le Carre I think you've hit the nail, squarely on the head.
 
that's one hit nail indeed
 
The comment: "... this Labour Government have undermined our civil liberties over the past eleven years" has me at a disadvantage. Specifically what happened 11 years ago that defines the start of the 11-year period of erosion of civil rights in Britain?

I'm thinking back 11 years and which President was on the US side of the 'special relationship'. Bill Clinton. Sorry, but I am not getting it, are you saying President Clinton was encouraging the British government to crack down on civil liberties some 11 years ago? I don't see it.
 
11 years of the Labour Government; talking to American friends of mine, they can't believe that Blair and Brown have sucked up to Geo. W. in the way they have.
 
Anon said:
"11 years of the Labour Government; talking to American friends of mine, they can't believe that Blair and Brown have sucked up to Geo. W. in the way they have."

Well to misquote James Carville (Bill Clinton's election guru) its the Worldview, stupid! Blair and the NeoCons want to spread democracy and the free market, and get rid of nasty dictators (remember Mislolevic ) That's why?
 
....and bump off anyone who disagrees with them.
 
"..and bump off anyone who disagrees with them."
Did not say they were right, did I?

Love of power transcends ideology! Just look at Hitler and Stalin in 1939!
 
Anonymous : 8:55 AM> but GW Bush wasn't in power 11 years ago. A US President can only serve 8 years. Somebody's basic arithmetic is not adding up here. Again: GW Bush was not in power 11 years ago - that would have been Bill Clinton.

But hey, believe what you read without engaging brain. Might explain y the Welsh economy is at the bottom of the British economic league tables.
 
Anonymous : 8:55 AM> I just re-read your post and forgive me, you say the 11 years relate to the time Labour was in power and so not when GW Bush was in power.

So what you are saying is that GW Bush did not start Labour's crack down on civil rights. Can't have, because it was another three years before GW Bush was elected President.

9-11 happened about eight months after President GW Bush took up office. The planning for 9-11 clearly was in the works before GW Bush took up office. That is, during President Clinton's final year or so in office.

Forgive me, but didn't the British government crack down on civil rights long before Clinton took up office?

How about the “five techniques”/interrogation practices supported by the British government during the 1970s and used against British citizins in Northern Ireland; what about Operation Demetrius - ring any bells? Internment?

The arrest of civilians without a warrant on the say so of a British Army Officer?

The use of white-noise and forcing citizens to stand against a wall with arms and legs outstretched for hours on end causing nerve damage.

What of the no-jury trials – Diplock courts c/o British rule?

The massacre of civilians on Bloody Sunday? The following white-wash investigation where soldiers were allowed to swap rifle barrels making it impossible to identify by forensics which soldiers show which civilian.
 
I think any Ignorant Stupid American would know that our constitution isn't worth the paper it isn't written on.

Only recently have we had a Freedom of Information Act, which I have found, like my Figs which are growing in my garden rarely bares fruit when FOI requests are made. As regards keeping our own personal and private information safe; personal information about people have been sold on eBay and left on Buses and Trains.

We are living in a surveillance society; we have one of the highest rates of CCTV per head of population in the World, one camera for every fourteen people.

An estimated half a million people (573,639) with no criminal record (conviction, caution or warned) have their genetic fingerprints stored on a genetic database, 40,000 of these are children. Around 5% (one in twenty) of the population are on this database, in the USA this figure is around 0.5% of the population being on a similar database.

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to stop and search anyone in a specific area. Before Section 44, the police could only stop and search individuals if they had 'reasonable grounds' and certain criteria were met.

This is similar in nature to the comments that were highlighted by AISA in the last posting commenting on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

What interrogation practices are being used in Guantanamo Bay?
 
Anonymous (10:48 PM) asks, "What interrogation practices are being used in Guantanamo Bay?"

I don’t agree with torture of POWs. I also didn’t agree with the British government's “five techniques” or the use of Diplock courts, or the use of Internment without trial. The five techniques of interrogation, which were used against British citizens in NI, were found in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that the POWs at Guantanamo Bay are entitled to a trial. It is my understanding that this ruling conflicts with the Geneva Convention which states POWs should not be put on trial. So I guess the POWs at Guantanamo Bay are not regarded in law as POWs, since they should not be put on trial, and instead are regarded as enemy combatants that should accorded a trial – at least according to the U.S. S. Ct..
 
Anonymous (10:48 PM)> forget to reply to your observation concerning the overuse of CCTV in the UK. This level of CCTV surveillance isn’t as yet tolerated in the USA. No one really wants it.

Imho it doesn’t prevent crime per se as crime will go where CCTV is less of an issue and many one-of robberies happen regardless of CCTV coverage, but CCTV can help solve crime – admittedly after it has occurred and thereby help lock up criminals and thereby protect the public from crimes that otherwise might occur if the persons committing crime were still free on the streets to commit more crime.

I recall walking along streets in downtown Glasgow that I was pretty sure were covered by numerous CCTV street cameras, but did that make me feel safer if I was walking home late from the rail station to my university digs? Nope. It still felt very unsafe being on the streets late Saturday nights – so much so that despite CCTV coverage I did my best to avoid walking home late on Friday or Saturday nights – it felt dangerous.

I seem to recall walking home late from Glasgow's main train station late one Sunday night with luggage (clean washing) after an eight hour journey from Cardiff, Wales - the downtown area was awash with teenagers - maybe there had been a concert or something. Some of them were running a bit wild, it was scarey regardless of CCTV coverage.
 
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