Control Order Lite – A new name but the same pre-crime punishment

By Dark Politricks

What do I think about the new “Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures” which is the fudge that has been agreed between the Lib Dem’s who wanted to scrap Control Orders and the Tories who didn’t.

Well its an obvious re-branding exercise that is aimed to help the Lib Dem’s shore up their dismal supporters and keep the right wing of the Tory party happy at the same time. It will be interesting to watch Nick Clegg try and blag everyone that he has in fact kept his word to scrap the control order whilst knowing that nothing much of substance has actually changed apart from the name.

As David Davis said in the Times (see re-posted article at bigbrotherwatch.org)

To her credit, Mrs May has swept away some of the most obviously unwise policies. She has abolished ID cards, curbed the grotesque misuse of “counter-terrorist” stop-and-search and indicated the end of 28 days’ detention without charge.

But the most shameful policy, control orders, has been the most fought over and most fiercely defended. It was created when the courts stopped the government of the day imprisoning suspected foreign terrorists who could not be deported. That was the reason given to Parliament. After a long battle, Parliament grudgingly accepted this but I suspect that it would have been rejected out of hand had it been clear that the policy would be used principally to detain British citizens and British residents. Today all the “controlees” are British.

Why are control orders so terrible? They are a series of measures, many of which — house arrest, internal exile, restrictions on movement and communication — we associate with regimes such as the Soviet Union and South Africa under apartheid. Worst of all, they are imposed after a secret trial process in which the “suspect” is told neither the specific allegation nor the evidence. It would be hard to imagine a procedure that was more of an affront to our judicial traditions.

Out of fewer than fifty “controlees”, seven have escaped. One was reported to have been killed recently in Pakistan. Another turned up at a Liberty AGM and got within close range of the Justice Minister, the future Attorney-General and the head of counter terrorism at Scotland Yard. Had he really been a suicide bomber it would have been the highest-profile hit on government since the Brighton bomb. The public should not believe that just because people are under a control order that they are in any sense under control.

But even beyond the incompetence and illegality of the policy is a hideous Catch 22. Year after year whoever is head of MI5 tells us of the alarming rise in “people of interest”: those sufficiently radicalised to become potential terrorists. The number started at 1,600; they stopped giving a number when it passed 4,000. This growth in the threat, by an astonishing 25per cent a year, is a symptom of a flawed strategy. One reason that radicalisation of Muslims is running so high in Britain is disaffection with policies that appear to victimise them. This is not a minor issue. US Intelligence views radicalised British Muslims as one of the main global terrorist threats

David Davis is right in that Control Orders Lite as they will now be known are an affront to our sense of justice and our way of life. Ignoring the name change they are also not much better than the original version and still impact heavily on the persons liberty who is under the order.

Having to wear an electronic tag so that Big Brother knows where you are at all times, have your internet access monitored and stay at designated locations without being able to travel is the sort of punishment that could be dished out to a convicted criminal not to someone who has neither been convicted or even charged with a crime.

As we now know all the people currently under these control orders are British citizens and not foreign terrorists who just happen to live in the UK. This means that the government at any time could designate you or me or any of your friends or family as a domestic extremist (as terrorism is now mutating towards anyone who protests too much or says the wrong thing online) and put you under a control order.

The worst part of these control orders is that the subject of the order has no way of finding out what terrorist activity they are supposed to have carried out that is so bad that charges cannot be brought against them in a court of law. You would think that anything that merited such a punishment would be more than downloading certain material from the web and handing it to certain “undesirables” out but alas as the 10 O’clock show interview showed tonight that was the “crime” that one controllee was put under a control order for.

Terrorism is a crime. Blowing people up or supporting terrorists by aiding them with money or weaponry is also a crime. Whilst we can debate the merits of using drones and soldiers to attack and kill known or suspected terrorists abroad in Afghanistan, Yemen or Pakistan, criminals who commit these types of crimes at home should be punished by being arrested, charged, tried by a jury of their peers and then convicted in court especially if they are citizens of our country.

If there is not enough evidence to bring someone to court but the authorities suspect that the person is up to no good then they apply for search warrants and use surveillance techniques to gather enough evidence so that a charge can be brought. They do not have a quiet word with a judge who can then take away their liberty without anything more than one persons suspicions as we all know that our security services get it wrong.

Who can forget the assassination of Jean Charles de Menezes who was shot 8 times on the Tube or the fake intelligence that has led to a million Iraqi deaths.

We also know from recent news that our police are perfectly happy to spend millions and long periods of time putting agent provocateurs inside groups it suspects of being domestic extremists such as environmental protesters or the Rebel Clown Army. Even the top commanders in the Metropolitan police don’t know where their  undercover agents are being deployed and had to recently apologise to the Home Affairs Select Committee investigating the G20 riots in which the police were filmed attacking multiple people including the death of Ian Tomlinson.

Therefore with undercover cops lurking under every bush, CCTV cameras on most walls and spybots tracking every webpage you download it is sadly no surprise that we now live in a world where the say so of someone in authority is enough to take away your freedom for years and the ancient right of Habeas_Corpus is just a happy memory. It might not be Gitmo but it is already being used on UK born citizens rather than those the law was introduced to target and in my world that is almost as bad as an orange jumpsuit and waterboarding.

The Lib Dem’s had a perfect chance to stand up for their supposed pro civil liberty agenda by removing this blot on our countries justice system. Justice must be applied equally to all no matter how high or low they may reside in society and no matter how despised they might be by certain quarters for their political or religious beliefs.

Internment did not stop Irish Republican terrorists bombing us. In fact it was used as a major recruiting tool in the same way that our own current treatment of Muslims is being used by Imams and Terrorist recruiters to attract those who already believe they have a legitimate grievance against our society due to our illegal wars, hypocritical support of Israel and other unpopular aspects to our foreign policy.

Liberty lovers have already been proved right in their suspicions that anti terrorism laws that were enacted during periods of tension and fear after major incidents such as 9/11 or 7/7 would be abused and directed at domestic protesters and political opponents. The Control Order Lite or Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measure is another piece of legislation that has no place in a modern democratic country and should be abolished at once. It is a shame that the Lib Dem’s could not fulfil their pre-election pledge but not a major surprise.

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