Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Boiling the frog

So, Blair favours arrest without trial for three months on anyone suspected of a crime under terror law.

Now, Police have the power to arrest, IIRC, whenever they have reasonable grounds to believe a crime has been committed and that a person may have committed (the arrestee). Reasonable is defined as relevent to the pursuit of their office, again, IIRC. God knows what that means. I suppose it means does the court find the reasoning suitable. Man on Clapham Omnibus time? Well, that's me, I'm the man on the Clapham Omnibus (the 88 to be exact, though ssometimes the 137).

Now, I heard on the Today programme this morning, that recent legislation removes the distinction between this form of arrest (Statutory arrest for arrestable offences) and non-arrestable offences - now anyone who is arrested can be finger printed and DNA sampled - and anyone can be pretty much arrested for anything.

Back to terror laws, effectively, what they are announcing with this is internment - let's face it, three months without charge means police can pick up anyone they feel like who they might vaguely be connected with terror. i.e. any hinterland support network for the actual hardcore terrorists.

I don't know if it'll be widely used, but it could well be. Why ask for it if not.

Of course, even if it isn't, such laws have a nasty habit of staying on the statute books, and they could be wheeled out in any future emerency without a problem - look what Yanklander courts and police were able to do to the IWW without having recourse to draconian powers. Endless murder charges were enough.

Of course, the state has, and always has had, the power to be draconian when needed, I suppose the only change is ideological: a change of tone, the decline of a narrative of emancipation to one of cringing cowardice in the name of petcting life. We all just have to grin and bear it.


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