Tuesday, 20 August 2013

What the Frack?

Again with the break! It's probably time I accept that I'll never keep this blog up to date. Ah well. 

Anyway, quick question... When the fuck did we turn into a country that detains people for 9 hours on a whim? 2000 apparently, but a second quick question: How the fuck did that happen? 

Even if you accept that known terrorists would be stupid enough to waltz into Heathrow or Gatwick, do we think they'll be there with a USB drive titled 'ALL THE TERRORIST PLOTS EVAR'? While I accept that terrorism is a thing (a massively over-hyped thing these days, as well as a two-way street, but still a thing), these precautions seem to be facile. Not strong enough to stop a determined terrorist (there are more ways into this country, and several of them are easier to slip past than airport security), and much too heavy-handed for use on the average citizen. This appears to be yet another case where the appearance of something is considered more important than the actuality. The people who this will impact aren't terrorists, but it will make readers of the Daily Mail feel better.

Given the number of foreign 'terrorists' with the means to travel internationally (not a large number) and the guts to go to a hostile foreign territory with the aim of committing an attack (probably an even smaller number), is 9 hours of aggression from the authorities going to matter? Do we assume these 'terrorists' are so cartoonishly foolish that they will not have planned a cover story and materials? Or do we believe that, like in CSI, the villain will crack when confronted?

Anyway, lets be hypothetical: lets say that someone is coming through an airport and we have reason to believe they may be a 'terrorist' (Incidentally the slippage of that term from its meaning pre-9/11 is also a scary thing). Do we think that an appropriate response to this scenario is to shut them in a room with police for 9 hours where they are denied representation, and are denied the right to silence? Seriously? These are two fundamental tenets of law and justice. Everyone is entitled to a defense and everyone is entitled not to self-incriminate (which I believe is the basis for the right to silence). As there are no outside parties in the room, I can only assume that we are shutting people up so we can apply undue pressure to force a 'confession' from them that we can then use against them in a court of law. Where have I heard of that technique before????

All this without mentioning that the target of this wasn't a terrorist, or even someone related to terrorism. Hell, Miranda wasn't even a journalist! He was the partner of a journalist whom GCHQ and the USA have reason not to like very much. Where else does this leave you but to assume that this was to instill fear in all journalists? Luckily, I don't think it'll work, but I always was an optimist.

In conclusion, I am disgusted by what this act allows the authorities to do. I'm more disgusted by the use of this act in targeting a patently unconnected person in the hopes of scaring his loved ones into compliance. But I am totally outraged by the response from the Home Office.

From my Facebook: 
We "need to think about what we're condoning"? What the actual frack? We're not the ones condoning intimidation and destruction of private property on a false pretext.

I mean Seriously? We need to think about what we're condoning? We're condoning the right of all people to fair judicial procedures. We're condoning innocent until proven guilty. We're explicitly not condoning the right of authority to bully people based on it's own embarrassment after the public find out just how much it's been snooping on them for years.

To finish: This act needs serious modification or repeal. If we sink to these levels we are simply using fear to accomplish our ends. The ends justify the means, no matter how many people are hurt in the process. We have a word for that.