by craig on September 10, 2008 8:09 am in UK Policy
I have been worrying about the serious deterioration of civil liberties in the UK for five years now, but a small incident last night convinced me we are living in a country that must be classified as “Not free”. I was travelling to the theatre on the tube, and the large majority of passengers were shrouded by copies of either London Lite or the London Paper. Some thirty copies of each banner headline screamed shrilly its message of fear through the train: “Five Suicide Bombers on the Loose in London!” “Jet Terror Plot!” “Terror Jury Holiday Farce Resulted in Acquittals!”
The propaganda, which reflected uncritically the briefing the Security Services and Home Office have been manically pumping out since the non-existence of the “Bigger than 9/11” jet plot was confirmed, was so stark and so divorced from any connection to the truth, that I am convinced we are already in effect living in a totalitarian state where the government controls the population through fear with brutal efficiency and with absolutely no regard to the truth. The government had contrived to turn a major blow for its “War on Terror” scaremongering into a vehicle to ramp up that scaremongering.
The Lite told of there still being bombers around from the “Jet Terror Plot” and gave no indication whatsoever that the jury had decided the jet plot did not exist. Indeed it claimed shamelessly that the three terrorists convicted of conspiracy to murder had been planning to bring down planes – a direct lie.
The London Paper was still more worrying, because it put detail into the line the odious security service spokesman Frank “Goebbels” Gardner has been pumping out on the BBC: juries are unreliable. It said that the failure to convict in the trial was due to interruptions for a holiday for the jurors and because of an injury to a juror in a golf accident. The clear trend of the briefing coming from the government is towards the abolition of jury trials in terrorist cases: Diplock courts.
Meantime in London two men are on trial for “terrorism” because they attended a demonstration at the Uzbek Embassy against the hideous Uzbek regime, at which red paint was thrown at the Embassy to symbolise the blood of Karimov’s many thousands of victims. Such protest as paint-throwing should, I think, be illegal, but given events like the Andijan massacre of many hundreds of peaceful demonstrators, I have huge sympathy for those who undertake civil disobedience in the Uzbek case. It has nothing to do with terrorism, but under the notorious Section 58 of the Terrorism Act there is real danger of conviction and heavy sentences.
These are critical times: all good men and women must fight hard against the closing in of the system upon us.