Wednesday 7 January 2004

Terror laws 'could infringe civil rights'

Obey! Basically what this bill means is that at any moment the government can declare an "emergency" and abrogate all our civil, legal, economic and political rights. In other words we could wake up one morning to find that we live in Fascist Britain where there are curfews, troops on the streets, no demonstrations allowed and the government can come and take your house away any time they want to. People, you do NOT make a country safer and more fucking free by instituting plans to take away that freedom! Especially when at the same time your policies piss off and disaffect a huge number of people around the world, who then have a reason to hate you and to want to blow your citizens up! If we weren't the second largest exporter of weapons (and warfare) in the world then maybe we wouldn't be much of a target for these nasty "terrorists".

Then again maybe all this endless media talk of "terrorism" is only a ruse so that the Elite can use it (or rather the fear this bullshit generates) as an excuse to enact this scary bit of legistlation and turn us all into slave-bitch-whores of the Evil Capitalist Empire. But lets all hope I'm just being paranoid.

Download June's draft civil contingencies bill (pdf)

Civil rights campaigners today accused the government of granting itself a "blank cheque" to impose massive restrictions on public liberties as Labour formally published its plans for the aftermath of terrorist attacks or other emergencies.

The civil contingencies bill, to be outlined in the Commons today, sets out new powers to be dispensed to the police, army and emergency services in wake of a natural or man-made catastrophe.

Sceptics are hoping that the government will have made some concessions in the light of severe criticisms made of the draft bill by both an all-party Commons committee and campaign groups such as Liberty.

The main criticism of the bill, which was published in draft form ahead of the Queens speech, is that the definition of "emergency" is too wide in scope.

At present it stands as "an event which presents a serious threat to human welfare, the environment, political, administrative, or economic stability, and the security of the UK or part of it", which some MPs are worried gives a future government carte blanche to impose draconian restrictions.

Those powers of restriction include public curfews, banning public meetings and the seizure without compensation of private property.

Today, the director of human rights group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, said that while everyone accepted that in the event of a major terrorist attack or a natural disaster the police and armed forces would need to act quickly to protect the civilian population, that was no reason to grant the government a "blank cheque".

She said: "What we are concerned about is that the definition of an emergency is so broad that it could cover any contingency whatsoever. That is a very, very disturbing trend.

"It gives far too much power to government itself to define what it considers an emergency.

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