Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Bull-dozing to win the battle

Yesterday the Independent published an edited version of the furious 14-page letter by Charles Clarke, who got rather upset by an article by Simon Carr, which outlined Carr's fears of the implications of Citizen's Emasculation Act. Now it seems Carr got a little carried away with his paranoia regarding fishing on the River Tweed without government scrutiny but one of Clarke's quotes simply takes the biscuit:
And let me conclude with one of the more ridiculous statements: “The presumption of innocence is no longer a fixed legal principal”. This is complete nonsense. In this country that you are innocent of an offence until proven guilty.
Is that so Charlie, wasn't it just the other day your boss was saying quite the opposite about harrying, hassling and hounding suspected criminals from the country? As Charlie Whitaker muses:
When we say that we don’t have confidence in the continuance of the rule of law and fundamental rights such as the presumption of innocence, can you see where we’re coming from?
Clarke's complete removal from anything approaching reality is summed up in this paragraph
Don't let us confuse the presumption of innocence with the urgent need to prevent acts ranging from antisocial behaviour to terrorism. Ordinary people also have the right to be protected. [my emphasis]*
I think this just about sums up the government attitude: as long as you are agnostic or Christian, pay your taxes, don't spit on pavements, don't heckle the Foreign Secretary or have never wanted to bring down the government (even non-violently) then you're fine.

If you are Muslim, disagree vocally about the way the government is running this country (and others), have any pretensions to creativity which threaten the government's primacy then you will be mugged, gagged or detained until you have learned your lesson.

This is a government so obsessed with control that it cannot allow its cossetted core voters to be exposed to anti-government propoganda or events that are simply unfortunate. Of course security is important, but there is a firm line between security and impinging on personal freedoms. Distressingly, it is a line the government is all too ready to cross.

*interestingly the version on the home office website does not include this sentence and the independent has not released the full letter - obviously some heavy editing from one or both parties. The Indepdent at least makes this clear, the home office does not.

UPDATE: And look what turns up in the Guardian today! Clarke accuses the media is being 'simplistic wilfully misleading'. The world is changing Charles, there are independent bloggers now who read your legislation and your quotes and, guess what, we're coming to roughly the same opinion as the mainstream media. Is this an anti-government conspiracy from the people, or an anti-people conspiracy from the government?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Terrorist attacks" are usually characterized as "indiscriminate," "targeting of civilians," or executed "with disregard for human life."

Because of the above pejorative connotations, those accused of being "terrorists" rarely identify themselves as such, and instead typically use terms that refer to their ideological or ethnic struggle, such as: separatist, freedom fighter, liberator, revolutionary, vigilante, militant, paramilitary, guerrilla (from Spanish "small war"), rebel, jihadi or mujaheddin (both meaning "struggler"), or fedayeen ("prepared for martyrdom").

Now, think of the fancy ways and names that our own armies dress up the wars, operation liberty i think was one such. we are, of course undoubtedly in the right, but, what worries me most about these new laws - and the whole host of others that are being passed in conjunction with them - is that in domestic and international law there is no satisfactory definition of terrorism.

why is this such a problem? because, for one, there is already a person facing a possible death penalty for terrorism - in fact, i beleive his was a crime on UNTRUTH (think orwell) in that he did not come forward with information that he had which related to the 9/11 attacks...mmm, well, nor did bush or the pentagon...

this is serious.

one of the reasons i presume for the general reluctancy to define this term is that it would be almost impossible to do so without, well, covering a great deal of what our governments are currently doing...which i suppose for them would be a problem, and also a problem for us in that it would be like saying that our country is being run by a bunch of terrorists - and if you take death counts into it, then we are far ahead of even the most successful "terrorist" schemes...

o buggar... hesq.

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