Sinister New State Powers 14

Hidden beneath the good news of the withdrawal of army patrols from the streets of Northern Ireland, the government has snuck through powers for police and army in Northern Ireland that it has mooted for the rest of the UK.

They will be able to stop you – without requiring any reason to do so – and ask you to identify who you are, where you are going and why. You will be obliged to reply and justify yourself.

It really is not hyperbole to describe this new power as Nazi or Stalinist, and completely antithetical to the entire heritage of British liberty. It is our right to go about our lives and not to justify ourselves, unless we have actually done something wrong. This is a move to the system I fought in Uzbekistan, where nothing is permitted unless you specifically have authority to do it.

I have written before that the first policeman to stop me for no reason, and demand that I identify myself and explain where I am going, will get bopped on the nose. I attracted much criticism for this, and some of my supporters kindly tried to suggest that I was speaking figuratively. Let me be plain: I really mean it. As our liberties are sluiced away, at some stage respectable people have to start to resist. Or one day we will wake up and find we have no meaningful liberty left at all.

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14 thoughts on “Sinister New State Powers

  • Sabretache

    I agree 100%!.

    Also, have you noticed that alongside the proposed extension of 'detention without charge' time, Brown is also proposing to allow further police questioning AFTER any charges are laid – another first and arguably a far more serious erosion of defendant safeguards and rights. Couple it with the Database State of RFID chipped ID cards and the criminalisation of protest (SOCPA in particular) plus a raft of unnoticed new ministerial powers to create legislation without Parliamentary approval and a clear pattern emerges. It parallels the US Patrot Act and the raft of other US legislation that puts vast arbitrary power in the hands of the executive and its agents/enforcers.

    Personally, I have little doubt that Western governments can see some very nasty stuff coming down the pipe and are preparing for the civil unrest it is likely to involve accordingly – probably triggered by collapse of the 'globalisation' paradigm which has been fuelled (exuse the pun) and facilitated largely by the age of abundant cheap oil which is now inexorably drawing to a close – and MUCH MUCH closer than commonly appreciated.

    In fact it's on hardly anyone's radar at all right now and governments are VERY careful that it should remain that way. So long as the 'war on terror' drum is beaten, a cowed, fearful and compliant population will, I'm afraid, raise little serious objection and this inexorable course to a virtual Police State will continue.

    I thought Ming Campbell made a very telling point at PM question in Parliament last week. Haven't got the precise quote or link but, in reply to Brown seeking to justify his proposed new police powers (I think) and saying people had the right to security against acts of terrorism Campbell said said, and I paraphrase, "People also have a right to security against the abitrary excercise of the powers of the State". A very telling point but lost in the prevailing clamour for protection from 'terrorism' I'm afraid.

  • Dushyant Patel

    Sabretache, I disagree with your point about cheap oil leading to globalisation. It's about control of oil, which then leads to higher profits by restricting supply ala OPEC.

    It was quite interesting that during the prepping stage for the invasion of Iraq, there was two camps in the US. One, the ideological neo-cons wanted to invade in order to break Saudi control on OPEC – flood the market with cheap Iraqi oil and the Saudi's couldn't fight back. The other, mostly the clique in the Pentagon wanted to control Iraq's oil, in order to raise prices and grant big oil, massive windfall profits. The latter, obviously, won since oil is at $70 a barrel now, when it was like $35 before the war.

    Anyway, these new powers are absurd in a democracy. Craig, I'd say that punching a cop on the nose is a bit harsh. He's only performing his role in the doctrinal system. But to each his own.

  • Wegal

    The police already have the power to stop you and ask where you have been and where you are going.

    Try refusing to answer a traffic censors and see what happens. Try telling a police officer to mind his own business when you are pulled over in your car for a random stop.

    Refusing to answer will lead to a long delay. If you have nothing to hide then you have no fear of answering the question. Its not the laws that are the problem, its how they are enforced that is the problem. I have never yet met an unreasonable police officer, I have yet to have one to be rude or disrespectfull to me. So long as you are polite to them they will remain polite to you. If they do not then you can complain about them and they get in trouble. So long as we have that right and so long as that right is real then we have nothing to fear from our police force. It will be a fact that non whites will be subjected to these requests more than white people, but without sounding horribly un PC we have to accept that the terrorist threat comes predominantly from the non white population of this country and ergo that is where these powers would be most used. Before everyone starts shouting racist, I dont intend that as a racist comment. It is a fact.

    The reasons for the increase of "eastern" terrorism have been well documented on this site and until the "west" learns and accepts that our demand that the Middle East conforms to Western views is doing nothing but causing problems then the increase in terrorist activity will continue unabated.

    Most people in thsi country dont care that thier right to demonstate has all but gone, they dont care that people can be detained without trial, because most people are not affected by it.

    Years and years ago I was on holiday and got freindly with some Germans, round a fire on the beach one night we discussed how each country viewed the other. The one comment I will never forget that one of the Germans said was " The British are a strange race, you can push them and push them and get no reaction, then you push them that little bit too far, and the reaction you get is both explosive and violent". He was a german police officer. This Government is pushing and pushing the British population (irrespective of colour) and I have faith that one day the Great British Public will react, and all these restricive laws will in time be repealled. In the mean time as far as I am concerned the more they make and the faster they implement them then sooner the reaction will happen.

    Personally I cant wait to see the day that the electorate take power back from the Government.

  • writeon

    I think it's important to realize that the age of 'libery decomocracy' is passing before our very eyes. We're entering something different. It won't be 'liberal' and it most certainly won't be 'democratic'!

  • Tonys Akiller

    No offence, but "cheap oil – control of oil" that's tomato-tomayto. The restriction is still there! I am peak oil man myself. A finite planet cannot by definition have limitless oil. And yes, I know about the HUGE Venezuelan and Canadian tar sands but the cost of their extraction has HUGE consequences for poor countries. You think the poor countries are gonna see a slice of the pie? Not on your nelly!

    The peak has already come, hence the PNAC/NuLabour energy wars, hence Russia planting Titanium flags 4km below sea level in the artic, hence Chavez purchasing a million AK47's or whatever the amount was. Then we have the concentration camps in the states – built by KBR/Halliburton presumably.

    Make no mistake about it. We've entered these times, that's one reason why the government is ignoring the rules of civility. That's why there false-flagging. I don't wanna scare people 'cos the govt's already working flat out on that one but hey people, open your bloomin eyes!

  • Tonys Akiller

    "neo-cons wanted to invade in order to break Saudi control on OPEC" It was my understanding that the Sauds run their oil policy according to US demands. After all, who do you think is keeping the Sauds in power?

  • Sabretache


    We have a similar take on things.

    At present we use 10 calories of hydrocarbon energy to put every single calorie we eat on the table. 90% of the worlds transportation systems are still powered by oil. By 'Cheap Oil' I don't mean cheap in dollars or any other currency, I mean cheap in the sense that historically it has only required 1 barrel of oil consumed to produce maybe 20-30 or more barrels for surplus use. The Alberta Tar sands, The US Shale deposits and even ethanol bio-fuel approach 1 to 1 Energy returned on energy invested to produce – not to mention the vast amounts of fresh water required, loss of good food-producing agricultural land etc etc. (In Mexico the poor are already being priced out of bread purchase because of the US tax-breaks on corn for ethanol for example). They simply cannot replace the 'cheap oil' because the physical production sums on EROEI simply do not add up. There is also no way that the touted alternatives can fill the hole – and that includes nuclear – with world energy consumption growth maintained on its present trajectory. SOMETHING will have to give – and you can bet your sweet life it ain't going to be that 'Non-negotiable' US happy-motoring way of life either. THAT's what the West's obsession with the ME is all about

    For anyone who has not researched the peak oil phenomenon seriously, I recommend the archived newsletters on The Association for the study of Peak Oil (ASPO) web site here: , or the video 'Oil Smoke and mirrors' on my redundant blogg here:

  • Dushyant Patel

    Tonys, the US Government, despite appearances, is not an monolithic government. There's competing rival factions.

    That's why I mentioned ideological neo-cons like those in and with influence in the Pentagon like the Heritage Foundations' Ari Cohen. He wanted to flood the market in order to break Saudi control on the oil markets. When the Whitehouse was confronted with this it just woudln't happen – Saudi's had been good to Bush and all, why would they want to hurt OPEC?

    cf Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse pp-80-90. And Noam Chomsky at various points in Hegemony or Survival.

    Cheap oil and control of oil is not a small difference as you assert. They are complete opposites of each other, when we take into account effects on the market. If the US really went into Iraq for cheap oil, there'd be new sites being drilled and explored and the market would be flooded. As it is, production is lower than even under Saddam's quotas, which were also there to keep prices high. Oil prior to the war was $35 a barrel and after it rose sharply.

    I don't like the Peak Oil theory at all. As Palast states "almost everything you need to know about Hubbert and the agenda behind the 1956 study is contained on its cover. The oil doomsday pronouncement is "Publication No. 95. Shell Development Company, Houston, Texas". It was really just propaganda in order to usher in OPEC, so there could be an apparant 'public good' in limiting supply, since oil is such a finite resource and it's running out we better limit supply. It ain't about profit, it's about saving the world! Back in 1956 the big oil companies were worried, oil was cheap and they needed to do something – so they invented 'peak oil'.

    Palast is worth being quoted again:

    "Worldwide oil reserves continue to rise even faster than America and CHina burn it. Since 1980 reserves… have risen from 658 billion to 1.2 trillion barrels. Yet, weirdly, despite the rising flood of discovered crude, its price quadrupled between 2001 and 2005. Supply chocked, yet there's no peak in sight"

    As you acknowledged the large, difficult to extract, reserves in Venezuela and Canada. This is where our supply will eventually come from. Of course it has huge consequences for poor countries, indeed they won't see a slice of the pie, but do they now?

    I also understand oil is a finite resource. However, by the time it truly runs out, or more accurately, when it is no longer profitable for private corporations to extract oil, technology should move us onto alternate sources.

  • Sabretache

    As with 9/11 I don't think there's much point in debating the pros and cons of 'Peak Oil' here. Suffice to say on my part that I find Dushyant Patel's last post close to insulting in its assumption that the principle proponents of 'Peak Oil' as a grave and pressing issue for humanity, have not given careful consideration to the points he raises. Fact is they have and have very comprehensive properly researched answers to them. Greg Pallast's point about reserves is simplistic nonesense. There is a world of difference between CLAIMED reserves and proven reserves for example. There is also a vast difference between reserves that can be produced at the rate of say 30 barrels for every barrel expended as in the Middle East (a 30 to 1 return), and Deep Water, Shale, Tar sands etc etc where every barrel produced requires closer and closer to the same amnount of energy to be expended in its production

    It is a VERY complex subject and the folk at ASPO are neither simplistic doom-mongers nor government/Oil industry stooges

  • Dushyant Patel

    Indeed it is complex. The main point, however, is that peak oil has been around for so long, yet the world is flush with oil. It needs sanctions, wars and cartels to keep the price high. If it is indeed such a limited commodity, the price would (by market principles) remain high without cartels and wars.

    By the time market realities mean it's not profitable for private corporations to drill up, as you say when it's closer to energy expended = created, then there is the very real possibility of other forms of energy taking its place.

    I just cannot escape the logic that if oil was so scarce and was bound to run out, why it needs wars and cartels to keep price high.

  • peacewisher

    C'mon people!

    I'm sure you know your history? The only way people got rights was by fighting for them. I'm instinctively a pacifist, but learned the lesson early on that there really are unscrutable people around. People generally don't rise up against oppression but try to manage its consequences and hope for a quiet life. As a child, did you ever see the mass of kids in the playground turn against the bully?

    When I learned of the existence of trades unions to champion peoples rights, I was very much encouraged. Generations had given their blood, sweat, and tears to gain those rights, and it made me proud to be living in such a country. I beieved in Jesus, and these values were very much in the New Testament Christian tradition.

    It is a sad fact, however, that people only revolt when they have nothing much left to lose. In the absence of a strong voice protecting the people, All any government needs to do is make sure (nearly) everyone is well-fed and housed, cleverly lied to, have much to lose by making a fuss, and there never will be a rising up.

    In the Thatcher years, people gathered is much greater numbers to protest about nuclear weapons than they did about the selling of national assets and their erosion of rights – which both started from almost the day she got into power. I was depressed beyond belief through the 1980s as I saw rights that had been fought for over the centuries just given away without hardly a fight (Miners excepted). I bet Maggie was pinching herself constantly that she was getting away with it so easily, and being voted back with a big majority each time! Those who could see what was happening consoled themselves with the fact that this was a democracy, and the trades unions would get their powers back when Labour was returned to power.

    Once that didn't happen, and Labour were into their second term with a thumping majority and no return of peoples rights, it was obvious that the people had been betrayed big time, and the lessons of history (epitomised so well by the words of Pastor Niemoller) would have to be learned all over again.

    I remember a long discussion on the way back from "Making Poverty History" in Edinburgh, which had been very impressive. Someone was talking about the people having had enough, and middle England rising up – a bit like the German mentioned above. By then, I really couldn't see it happening. I felt that the masses would go back to sleep again, and more rights would be taken away without a murmur at the next session of parliament.

    In fact, we didn't even have to wait that long! Just FIVE DAYS after MPH there were the 7/7 bombings, and another trench of draconian legislation. And so it continues…

    People always justify their actions, and I'm sure politicians are better than most at doing that. They may aregue that, with such a large population, the only way the UK can survive is by protecting and expanding its overseas interests. One thing that might (only might!) bring about real unrest is a return to enforced military service. I could see that happening under Blair, but I do think that Brown has an ounce of decency.

  • Sabretache

    The wars are not to 'keep the price high'. They are to ensure continued access to and at least a measure of control over a finite resource that cannot be produced much, if any, faster than right now and which is absolutely fundamental to the consumer countries – particularly the US which, with just 5% of the worlds population, consumes 25% of its production, and . The cartels are to provide a measure of protection to weak producer countries against rapacious consumers. Without such protection they are analgous to small farmers faced with the dictatorial purchasing power of the large supermarkets. There I've escaped from your 'logic' :-))

    But seriously, just accept it hypothetically and do a thorough, methodical comparison with your stated position. It's an excercise I went through about 3 years ago. There really is no contest if you cover all the bases with a genuinely open mind.

  • magnusw

    "It is our right to go about our lives and not to justify ourselves, unless we have actually done something wrong."

    Sorry to nitpick, but until quite recently it was also our right to never have to justify ourselves even if we've done something wrong. Now on the mainland it's more like "unless there is reasonable suspicion we've done something wrong. I'm sure we'll all go the way of the province soon though.

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