Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Liberty on Trial

I've just read the excellent piece on the recent trial of a non existant airline plot at www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2008/09/nonexistent_big.html

The jury found that three of the accused were engaged in a plan to carry out domestic terrorist bombing, and there does appear some evidence to substantiate that. But this appears to be another example of a small group of failed would be terrorists who were never, at any stage, planning to take liquid explosives on to airliners.

That is one of the problems with the "War on Terror", its not that Islamic extremist terrorism does not exist; it does. Frankly given the many thousands of civilians we have killed in Afghanistan & Iraq, it would be surprising if it did not exist. But it is massively hyped out of all reality by a government determined to use it to justify a massive increase in its powers over the citizenry.

I'm also sceptical about the hype surrounding the all war on terror cases, they seem to follow a pattern. First the case is inflated by the police, politicians and the media, in order to provide 'proof' or justification for the continuing 'war of terror'. And then used as an excuse for introducing 'security' measures that often make us less secure, such 42 days detention without trial that will encourage some people to feel victimised and possibly turn to terrorism. And then theres the chip in our new passports that can be read and cloned in an hour and using Lockheed Martin to collect our Census data and not pass the data on to the USA under their Patriot Act
. Not to mention id cards and using new anti terror laws to stifle peaceful protest, such as at the recent climate camp and AWE.

Months later, when most people have forgotten about what the whole case was about, the trial ends with the accused being found guilty of a serious offence. But the media, as seen today, never compares the hysteria with the reality which the trials started with the damp squib of a result. But that really doesn't matter as they got what they wanted during the initial media storm.

Cristina Fraser, a student, was stopped when cycling near Heathrow Airport during a climate Camp and then charged under section 58 of the Terrorism Act. This makes it an offence to make a record of something that could be used in an act of terrorism. "I was arrested and held in a police cell for 30 hours. I was terrified. No one knew where I was. They knew I was not a terrorist," she said. Green Party activist Matt Wooton was similarly held for posessing vitamins at the recent Kingsnorth Climate Camp.

I think the police should be charged with wasting police time on cases like these.

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