Thursday, June 05, 2008

42 days. Once more for those at the back

Jacqui Smith is bowling hard and fast, and stepping up to bat we have the indomitable Shami Chakrabarti, the Home Affairs Select Committee, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, various peers, rebel Labour MPs and the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Lord Goldsmith, all hoping to defeat the government's plans to lock people up for six weeks without charging them with any crime.

Don't be fooled by the 'concessions'. Fluffy and reasonable this ain't. a report published on Thursday the joint committee of MPs and peers said it believed the plans breached European human rights laws and the amendments offered were "inadequate to protect individuals against the threat of arbitrary detention".

The committee said the description of a "grave exceptional threat" was not tight enough.

Committee chairman Labour MP Andrew Dismore said: "The government has talked of a major emergency, the 'nightmare scenario' of simultaneous plots across Britain or two 9/11s at once.

"Yet the amendments tabled by the government provide for possible events falling well short of that."

The report also said requiring the home secretary to declare publicly there was a serious enough emergency to justify the powers was not much of a safeguard without independent scrutiny.

And allowing Parliament to vote on the individual case within seven days - another concession - would make little difference as any debate would be "heavily circumscribed by the risk of prejudicing future trials".

Why is nobody stating the obvious? If there were two 9/11s, there wouldn't be much point trying to bang the perpetrators up for 42 days in the aftermath. They'd be dead.

42 days wouldn't have stopped the 7/7 bombers. ( *Lead bomber Mohammed Siddique Khan could possibly have been arrested for suspected fraud back in 2004 if you want to be awkward, and a more thorough investigation into his activities and associates at the time might well have flagged him as flashing code red if more dots were joined up and intra-agency communication was better). There have been some great successes in the Battle Against Unimaginable Terror. The police and security services brilliantly disrupted the plot to make a fertiliser bomb
(Operation Crevice) and the alleged airline-bombing plot trial is concluding soon. We have not had any further successful attacks since 7/7 and 21/7. Indeed, recently all reports of attempted terrorist activity have shown the terrorists to be pretty useless, and more likely to kill or injure themselves than us.

It was local Muslims in Bristol who tipped off police about Andrew Ibrahim, a 19-year old convert with a history of drug problems who was allegedly making a suicide vest and assembling explosives. He was not on the security services radar. The trust and good will of local communities in preventing murder-attacks is priceless and one of our best assets in saving lives.

Time and again it is pointed out that draconian laws, laws that look like they are targeting Muslims unfairly, drafted on the basis of what tough-talking politicians say might be needed - rather than an honest assessment of the current situation are not only undemocratic but counter-productive. The Security Services, the people who do this day in and day out are not asking for this law. I repeat, the Security Services are not asking for this law. Don't ask me how I know that, because I can't tell you. But it is true.

This is political posturing at the expense of our safety, and to make it even more disgraceful, the threat of Labour being holed below the waterline is being brandished in order to frighten voting MPs into thinking, presumably, about their jobs and their mortgages. Well, tough luck if the Labour top brass has got themselves on a sticky wicket with this dangerous law. They can't say they weren't warned.

And given the sacrifices of blood and treasure
that millions of ordinary men and women have made to protect our freedoms in the last hundred years, against far more dangerous enemies than suburban teenagers with a death-fetish and a bedroom full of hate-literature and a cupboard full of household chemicals, anyone voting for the law against their conscience to protect their bloody job ought to be ashamed of themselves.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in favour of 42 days - for politicians only. Followed by rendition and a water bath.

If Thatcher didn't need it when she climbed out of the rubble of the House of Commons, or when her friend was murder *inside* the House of Commons, what does Gordon "I love heroism" Brown need it for?

The Anon

June 05, 2008 6:53 pm  
Blogger Rachel said...

I think you mean the Brighton hotel?
actually, I am not sure what you mean...

June 05, 2008 9:23 pm  
Blogger Andy Ramblings said...

Question time last night was very revealing, Millimede was hammered on the subject. Don't know if you saw it you can see it here

June 06, 2008 8:25 am  
Blogger Rachel said...

I did watch it, J and I were cheering Shami , and my God, I agreed with Petrt Hitchens on two things!

It was a great show last night.

In fact, thanks for the link, I will watch it again....

June 06, 2008 8:34 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, incoherent with anger :-) - actually hit send at the wrong point.

I was referring to -

1) Brighton hotel
2) Murder of Airey Neave

Probably should have added in the mortar attack on No. 10 when Major was there. Did you see the arrogance of the ZanuLabour spokesdroids trying to claim that Major was out of touch with what terrorism is?

Another point to raise. During WWII, the XX operation (a.k.a Double Cross) was probably the most valuable secret there was - more so than the Bomb, I think. It consisted of capturing all the German agents in Britain, trying them as spies and giving the choice between the hangman and working for the Allies (all totally legal according to the Hague and Geneva Conventions, by the way). Their faked reports were checked and modified according to what was read from Enigma and Fish decrypts. The result was that the Allies could tell the Germans any lie they wanted and check that it was believed. If this had come out, the ULTRA secret would have been exposed. Say another 18 months on the war, and the first atom bomb would have been dropped on Berlin. How many more million dead in those 18 months? 10?

Instead of passing new laws, running round shooting foreign electricians etc. the trials were held in camera - other than that they were perfectly normal. The legislation is still on the books under which this was done.

Given that Hilter and his comedians could actually get a time fuse to work, could actually shoot straight I think they represented a slightly greater threat than a bunch of idiots who didn't actually read the one book they think is important....

The Anon

June 07, 2008 9:31 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great show

June 30, 2008 7:41 pm  

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