February 22, 2005

The Government's new anti–terrorism measures

Here's the text of a letter I'm sending to my MP. I'll post the response up on my blog if/when it arrives.

22/02/05

Dear Mr. Cunningham,

I am writing to express my concerns about the government’s new proposals to allow people to be placed under house arrest in terrorist cases. Whilst it is a welcome development that the government will no longer pursue internment without trial under the Anti-Terrorism, Crime, and Security Act 2001, to replace this with what amounts to the same measure but with the place of imprisonment changed and the pool of potential victims widened still constitutes an appalling breach of the civil liberties of those involved.

I would, in addition, point out that we currently have a fully functioning legal system in this country (the leading members of which ruled very strongly against the measure these new proposals replace) and using this is the appropriate way to deal with those suspected of terrorist activities (against which we already had very stringent laws even before the passing of the original Act). The government’s reluctance to present evidence to a court, or even to let those accused of terrorist offences see it, suggests an appalling contempt for civil liberties which is indicative of the all-pervading authoritarianism of this government. Concepts such as habeas corpus exist for a very good reason and it ill behoves a government which purports to be a progressive one to return to arbitrary detention (whatever the location).

Further to this, it seems that for the government to claim that they should be allowed to impose what amounts to summary imprisonment on the basis of intelligence presumably gathered (and plagiarised from the internet) in the same way as that presented prior to the Iraq War is also incredibly dangerous. Why should the public have any confidence in the evidence the government will not show us when previous evidence from the same source has proved to be so abysmally flawed?

Yours sincerely,

Luke Parks


- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. It's a good letter. I think you'll get a response. I wrote to Jim Cunningham before the Iraq War vote and got a reply, albeit quite tardy. It won't have any effect of course, but you have to do these things.

    23 Feb 2005, 00:10

  2. I am proposing a motion on "Control Orders" to Union Council in week 9. If it passes it will then be considered by NUS as potential Emergancy Business. However it is unlikely to get onto the agenda at NUS.

    24 Feb 2005, 22:07

  3. Yes, I'm going to write to my MP as well, although she's a Lib Dem so probably agrees with me already.

    I've said before that I think our hope lies in the Lords.

    "Why should the public have any confidence in the evidence the government will not show us when previous evidence from the same source has proved to be so abysmally flawed?"

    Not to mention the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, etc etc. 'Yes, minister, of course we can't show you the evidence, but don't worry it's all very reliable. The man clearly needs to be locked up.'

    It stinks.

    25 Feb 2005, 11:58

  4. Apparently for every letter an MP gets, they assume that 100 other people feel the same way but just couldn't be bothered to write. So by writing a letter to your MP, you actually represent a lot more people than just yourself…if you see what I mean.

    13 Mar 2005, 00:20


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