Special relationship

In case anyone in the UK is feeling complacent following this week’s US torture legalization, it’s worth noting that the US agreed to return nearly all the UK residents currently being tortured in Guantanamo—and the UK government said it didn’t want them back. Four of them are still being actively torturedinterrogated.

Well, that’s all right then

According to a recent report, the UK government is demanding logs of where people go on the Internet and who they e-mail, to the tune of a million snooping inquiries a year. The Home Office has disputed the claim, saying they actually only snoop half a million times every year. Clearly the government wouldn’t snoop on people without good reason, so I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before (say) 10,000 criminals will be apprehended in a massive sweep.

Kiss your rights goodbye

England is about to lurch further to the right. David Blunkett is said to be planning further “reforms” which will partially abolish the right to trial by jury, and end the “double jeopardy” rule by which you cannot be tried twice for a single crime. Police will also now be allowed to electronically tag suspects who have not been accused of any crime. The right to silence was ended some years ago now, and armor-plated cameras routinely watch the‘citizens’ of Britain, piping their video feeds directly to central police monitoring stations.

UK vs USA in a race to the right

Just when I was getting scared by America’s lurch towards 1984, the UK’s ruling Labour Party have reminded me that it could be so much worse. The UK government has declared “a state of public emergency”, even though the UK hasn’t actually been attacked by al Qaida. This will allow Blair and his cronies to enact laws that would otherwise violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The laws, expected by the end of the year, will allow the police to get free access to passenger lists whenever they feel like it.