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Vapourised.


The Intelligence and Security Committee, the parliamentary watchdog of the intelligence and security agencies which has a cross-party membership from both Houses, wants to press ministers to introduce legislation that would prevent news outlets from reporting stories deemed by the Government to be against the interests of national security.

They already have the DA-notice system, which works pretty well. It only applies to UK media though so there's nothing MP's can do, including legislation, to stop other countries publishing what they like. Whether it applies to blogs depends on whether they go for the site host or the individual. My bet is they'd go for whichever they can most easily reach. Oh yes, it will apply to blogs because it's not 'newspapers' they're talking about, it's 'media'. That includes the internet.

As for national security, well, who decides what constitutes a threat? A minister found taking money on the sly? Is that a national security issue? How about a student writing a thesis on terrorism and who gets a copy of a terrorist manual from the Internet?

How about criticism of the government?

National security has a floating definition, and if laws designed specifically to catch terrorists can be applied to people who have one bag too many in their bins, then anything that can be seen to disparage or insult the government can be considered a national security issue, and therefore silenced.

So, our government wants the power to lock us up for 42 days without bothering to think up a charge, to assume guilt from the outset, to make us pay for our own defence, to hold autopsies in secret when we fall down the stairs, and to prevent the media telling anyone about any of it. In effect, this is the 'vapourised' that Orwell describes. Vanished so completely that nobody remembers you were ever there. All that's left is to edit any record out of history and you're not only gone, you never existed.

And yet when they get a copy of 1984 in the post, they pour scorn on our concerns.

This place is getting more like Oceania by the day. As in that story, if there is hope, it lies in the proles. Time to spread the word among them.

 

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Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
10th Nov, 2008 19:29 (UTC)
Dead right - I thought exactly the same thing when I read this - like we'd trust Zanu NL to define "national security" - would you trust that bunch of fuckwits who invented modern doublethink to define anything.

Oddly, I heard and agreed with the one time MP and aristocrat Benn yesterday - he said; to control people, you first demoralise them and then frighten them. Ironically a perfect definition of what his party have done to a once proud nation.

Well, that's the righteous for you

Andy
(Anonymous)
11th Nov, 2008 14:26 (UTC)
Here is an example.

This is a small criminal case. A Special Police officer has been accused of financial wrongdoing. It is highlighted here because although it should be covered by normal criminal conventions, those conventions have been weakened in the last ten years to equate any old accusation with guilt, to admit hearsay evidence which doesn't deserve the name 'evidence' at all, to remove the right to silence as being that on which nothing can be logically construed, and to weaken the understanding of 'beyond reasonable doubt' to mean 'balance of probabilities as calculated by people who know nothing of either balance or probability'. The conventions have even been weakened to the extent that some officers and courts don't even understand who the victim is in a case and now consider 'anyone who has been upset' to be a victim in the criminal law sense.

Now, when this happens to an officer with public standing, it may be asked whether this shouldn't all be hushed up in case it reflects badly on the police. It is exactly the sort of case which would like to shimmy under the cover of 'security' when precisely the opposite is true - we need to see justice being done. If he's guilty, prove it an punish him, if he's innocent, clear him and apologize.

"Chief Special for Hampshire Constabulary, Satbir Giany, is accused of stealing £1,563.22 from the company where he worked part-time.The 37-year-old was awarded an MBE four months ago in recognition of his work policing communities. The father of three is charged with false accounting and two counts of theft from Euro Car Parts in Portsmouth, Hants. He resigned on October 14, a day after he was suspended from the force following the charges."

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/3366830/Public-face-of-police-charged-with-stealing.html

It is probably just the Telegraph being useless, but the story looks like the bottom part has been butchered for some reason.

Interesting to compare this with the comments on the forum for Special Police officers
http://www.policespecials.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=82938

The officers there are already aware that there is some problem with the justice system - but they don't grasp that it isn't just police officers who might be victims of this.

"if you get stuck on with something like this, then there is no way you could ever maintain that kind of position, and naturally, the Police service has to appear whiter than white and distance themselves from it in every aspect, which is why it's being dealt with in a different force area court. Of course, his high profile in promoting the work of Specials, will also make him a media brown smelly stuff magnet won't help him in the slightest. As usual it's guilty until proven otherwise"

N.B. Specials are not to be confused with PCSOs. Specials are full police officers but there is some legal dispute about how their relationship with their Force should be defined - it isn't ordinary employment law; it's more like a personal pledge to the Crown, which could be resigned for any number of reasons. (I don't think much of PCSOs, but that's another matter.)

Woman on a Raft
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )