In the light of three men under control orders apparently absconding, the right wing media are having a field day.
Michael White, sole living member of the Jack Straw fan club and spiritual leader of the Guardian New Labour hacks, has written a “right-wing bigot in the lounge bar” piece to explain that that this terrorism is all the fault of human rights and judges.
He fails to note that the men have never been convicted of anything. If the evidence is “Solid” that they were plotting acts of terrorism, then charge them.
It is also rather strange to bluster on about the need to be able to deport people, and then complain because they may have left the country. Finally, of course, there is the strange logic that it is fine for British soldiers to invade Iraq and kill people, and it is fine for many thousands of British mercenaries to go to Iraq and kill people, but very wrong for our abscondees to want to go and kill people. A more logical position might be to oppose anybody heading off to Iraq to deal in death. Or put another way, accepting as a hypothesis (with no evidence ever produced) that these men do want to kill British troops in Iraq, there is an unavoidable prior question of what on Earth our troops are doing there in the first place. That question doesn’t seem to occur to Mr White.
Finally, a thought on communications intercepts. The government remain deeply opposed to the use of these in court. I am in favour. If surveillance has been properly and legally carried out, it should be admissible. The truth of the matter is that the Government does not want revealed how weak its so-called intelligence often is.
I can give one example. According to the US intercept agency the NSA, Al-Qaida frequently use the word “Wedding” as code for a suicide bombing. I recall as Ambassador being deluged with intercepts of “suspicious” conversations like “We’re going to a wedding in Bokhara.” Of such flimsy stuff is most of the material. If they keep it from court scrutiny, they can persuade natural authoritarian brown-nosers like Michael White to publish that it is “Solid”.