Saturday, November 29, 2008

Uproar in Police-State Britain

Uproar in Police-State Britain By DEEPAK TRIPATHI on

The arrest and interrogation of Damian Green, one of Britain’s leading opposition politicians, by the counter-terrorism police (November 27, 2009) on ‘suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office’ is an extraordinary event. Counter-terrorism officers searched his homes and offices in London and his constituency. He was questioned for nine hours and released on bail without charge, but must return next February for further questioning. The police action happened when the world’s attention was focused on the terrorist attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.

The Conservative Party, the main opposition in the British Parliament that has been leading in opinion polls this year, is furious at the treatment of one of its star performers. In all probability, Green, a former journalist on the London Times, would be a minister if the Conservatives won the next general election. He had raised some uncomfortable questions for the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and his government in the past year.


Samson said...

This one really caught my interest. Its extraordinary that a 'frontbencher' of a rival political party would be hauled in for arrest like this.

And, its a prime example of the over-reach of 'counter-terror police' and 'anti-terror laws' that was almost certain to occur.

This case seems to have little to do with terrorism. Instead, this article in the Guardian says that

"counter-terrorism police arrested the shadow Home Office minister, Damian Green, after he published leaked documents allegedly sent to the Tories by a government whistleblower."

Another commentary in the Guardian reveals some more of the details behind this ...

"There is absolutely no suggestion that he has done anything to endanger the safety of the nation. He revealed that thousands of illegal immigrants had been given security clearance to work within Whitehall and one had also been employed in Parliament. That exposed law-breaking by officialdom and a reluctance by ministers to admit to it in public. This was helping national security by exposing a potential weakness created by the sloppiness of government. This was whistle-blowing which was powerfully in the public interest.

Another leak was of a letter from Jacqui Smith to Gordon Brown warning that the recession would lead to an increase in crime. All that really revealed is that there are too many people at the Home Office employed on research into the bleedin' obvious. Then there was the leak that disclosed that the Home Office was keeping a list of potential Labour rebel MPs. I expect that led to more raised voices in the ministerial suite, but again it did not touch on national security.

Mr Green was not detained under the Official Secrets Act. The authorities resorted to a catch-all law about 'procuring misconduct in public office', a piece of blunderbuss legislation which dates back to the 18th century. "

Samson said...

To continue, what we seem to now be seeing in Britain is the government using 'counter-terror' police and anti-terror laws to attack a political opponent who is leaking information that is politically damaging to the government. It has nothing to do with fighting terror, which of course is the reason given for creating and funding the 'counter-terror police' and passing the 'anti-terror laws' that take away our rights that protect us from this sort of abusive behavior by the government.

And yes, it can surely happen here too.