Detention without charge or trial: it stops you getting blowed up. For true.

This entry was posted on
Friday, December 17th, 2004
9:25 am and is filed
under The War on Stupid.

“The greatest danger of bombs is in the explosion of stupidity that they provoke.” – Octave Mirbeau

Independent – Law lords condemn Blunkett’s terror measures: Controversial anti-terror laws championed by David Blunkett in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks were dealt a devastating blow yesterday in a historic judgment by the House of Lords. Just hours after he resigned as Home Secretary, Mr Blunkett had to suffer the fresh humiliation of seeing one of his flagship policies being dismantled by the law lords.
They ruled that Mr Blunkett’s determination to suspend the Human Rights Act and imprison foreign terror suspects without charge or trial was the “real threat to the life of the nation”. The law lords’ opinion, delivered by an eight-to-one majority, leaves the Government little option but to rethink its key policy on terrorism.

The key quote from Lord Hoffmann had me cheering at my television yesterday. Here it is in full:

“The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.” – Lord Hoffmann

The response from the government is that the law has been legitimised by lower courts, but this ruling by the Lords is irrelevant because – in the end – it is for parliament to decide. How joyful it is, then, that parliament is not weighted in favour of the man driving this hayride to hell and that MPs are free to decide and not prone to pressure from the whips. Or constituents whipped up into a fearful frenzy by the press.

Speak of the devil… here’s the response from Rupert Murdoch. And by that I mean the unofficial response from Downing St. Please note that it yet again casts anybody who opposes Blair’s policies as being crazy…

The Sun – Loony Lords: Day One of his new job and Home Secretary Charles Clarke finds out exactly what he’s up against. Eight Law Lords make a ludicrous ruling that the anti-terrorism law passed after 9/11 is wrong. Lord Bingham declares that the law contravenes human rights because it discriminates against foreigners. It has clearly escaped his notice that al-Qaeda is largely made up of Saudis, Iraqis, Syrians, Jordanians and Afghans, not people born in Bolton, Bedford or Bournemouth. He then declares that holding terrorist suspects without trial is “disproportionate to the threat it is meant to counter”. Is he potty? How could it be disproportionate to the destruction of London with a dirty bomb, or a chemical or biological attack that might kill thousands? Lord Hoffman makes the disgraceful claim that the real threat is not terrorism “but laws like these”. Our new Home Secretary knows better than to listen to this piffle from the Lords.

Yes. I’m in total agreement. And when I grow up, I’m going to Bovine University.

Note the ever-present invocation of 11/9 (and please note correct formatting of date). Note that the threats they claim make draconian measures such as detention without trial totally proportionate have themselves been blown out of proportion by this government and by newspapers under the control of Rupert Murdoch.

But… but.. but.. have we forgotten that these men can go home at any time?

Go home to what? The threat of persecution, torture or perhaps death?

Sure. They deserve it. They’re terrorists.

Oh, really? And where’s your proof?

Guardian – Who are held, and why?

Here I should point out that you should not fall into the trap of saying things like; “I suppose the intelligence that condemns these men is as reliable as the intelligence that told us Iraq had weapons of mass destruction”… as the real issue over said intelligence in that case was that it was not the intelligence at fault, but the US and UK governments corrupting, shaping, interpreting and cherry-picking intelligence to come up with the ‘evidence’ they required.


This same corruption of intelligence can now lead to us receiving intelligence that appears direct, undiluted and reliable… but may very well have originated from the attachment of a car battery to a man’s carefully oiled genitals.

Don’t forget that evidence obtained under torture is admissible in our courts. Should these men ever get anything approaching the appearance of a trial.

Blair bleats constantly about the only justification he has left for the illegal invasion of Iraq… the importance of bringing democracy (and therefore stability) to the Middle-East. Presumably via the process of proximal osmosis.

Meanwhile, at home, civil liberties, justice and democracy are subverted for the greater good. But only to a point. Tony Blair knows this is a slippery slope he’s on, but he’s confident that he can control matters.

And I’m sure we’ll all sleep better knowing that.

SIDEBAR – You may have read through all of this and agreed with it, but still held the notion that at least Britain doesn’t torture people. You may need to abandon that notion one day.

UPDATE – Lotsa discussion on this over at Europhobia and a charming follow-up outburst here.

UPDATE 2 – BBC – Anti-terror ruling: Your reaction (be prepared to weep in places).

UPDATE 3 – Independent – Belmarsh: a new affront to justice: The Government’s refusal to withdraw its anti-terror laws has left Britain on the brink of a constitutional crisis that threatens centuries of hard-won civil liberties, it was claimed last night. Ministers were warned that their unprecedented defiance in the face of a clear ruling by the country’s highest court has set the executive on a collision course with the judiciary.

About Tim Ireland

Tim is the sole author of Bloggerheads.
This entry was posted in The War on Stupid. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to "Detention without charge or trial: it stops you getting blowed up. For true."