Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another high-up Brit decries her country's loss of freedom and privacy

Dame Stella Rimington, who used to head MI5 (England's domestic CIA) has come out and blasted the British government for the current blizzard legislation that is turning that once-proud country into a police state by severely limiting the rights of the population.

Of course, just like "Sir" Ken McDonald, the former head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Ms. Rimington waited until after she retired from government service to begin speaking up about the many abuses of freedom her former employer is foisting onto her countrymen, which isn't all that helpful.

It's not all her fault, though; she retired in 1996, before England really got serious about depriving the peasants of their rights, and at least she fully understands what is happening to her nation and communicates her criticisms effectively:

"It would be better that the Government recognised that there are risks, rather than frightening people in order to be able to pass laws which restrict civil liberties, which is precisely one of the objects of terrorism: that we live in fear and under a police state."

Her views are also shared by former musician-turned-activist Brian Eno:

"When the government passed its 'anti-terror' laws, it reassured those who campaigned against them that they would only ever be used in the most extreme circumstances"... "Within a couple of years they had been used to eject an 80-year-old heckler from a Labour Party Conference, to arrest a woman for reading out the names of British soldiers killed in Iraq, and to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks in England. This is the problem with vague legislation of this type: it invariably gets called into use whenever anybody does anything that the government finds embarrassing or the police find inconvenient."

One great example of the kind of "vague legislation" that Eno references is the brand-new anti-photography law we commented on yesterday, the provisions of which are so murky as to be laughable, and which can be easily misused by police in a number of ways, seemingly depending on how their lunch is sitting with them that day.

In fact, we hereby predict that virtually all people of the who get arrested under this law won't in fact be terrorists or would-be terrorists at all, but rather innocent people whose only "crime" was cheesing off the wrong cop.

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