Monday, October 10, 2005

England uses anti-terrorism act to stifle political speech


MORE than 600 people were detained under the Terrorism Act during the Labour party conference, it was reported yesterday.

Anti-Iraq war protesters, anti-Blairite OAPs and conference delegates were all detained by police under legislation that was designed to combat violent fanatics and bombers - even though none of them was suspected of terrorist links. None of those detained under Section 44 stop-and-search rules in the 2000 Terrorism Act was arrested and no-one was charged under the terrorism laws.

Walter Wolfgang, an 82-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, was thrown out of the conference hall by Labour heavies after heckling the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw.

When he tried to get back in, he was detained under Section 44 and questioned by police. The party later apologised.

But the Home Office has refused to apologise for heavy-handed tactics used at this year's conference.

A spokesman insisted: "Stop and search under Section 44 is an important tool in the on-going fight against terrorism.

"The powers help to deter terrorist activity by creating a hostile environment for terrorists."

He added that the justification for authorising the use of the powers was "intelligence-led and based on an assessment of the threat against the UK."

The shadow home secretary, David Davis, said: "Laws that are designed to fight terrorism should only be used against terrorism."


Scott said...

Scratch an English MP and you find a cracker congressman, eh? It's nice to see they are mimicking the U.S. so closely.

It was about fifty years ago they got caught up in the whole Suez Canal thing which ended their empire. I was reminded recently of one the major players, Iraq.

Fifty years from now will the U.S. be lackey country in a middle east mire with kissing up to the new boorish empire, using anti-terrorism laws to muzzle those who would dare criticise us or the new superpower our economic master -- China?

B.D. said...

I wouldn't be terribly surprised. After all, China is one of the leading funding sources for the current government spending on these wars (buying government bonds and dollars in order to stablelize the currency value).

Notice that Condi Rice is traveling through former Soviet Republics in Asia right now? Speculation, which she denies of course, is that she's hunting for a new spot for a "coalition base" since Uzbekistan is giving us the boot. This would add to "coalition bases" already in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Jordan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, et al. Looks like we'll be there for a long time.