Paranoid Britain Tops US To Become #1 Police State
Britain and the U.S. use similar tactics fighting 'terrorism,' but Britain has taken the delusions to a new level: it now appears that the British have surpassed U.S. in becoming a police state.
Like the U.S. version of George Orwell's book "1984," Britain's descent into a full-fledged police state has been building for a long time. We've reported on Britain's super database, remote PC searching and the warnings issued over the egregious surveillance techniques, but there are still other facts to be examined.
Spying On Domestic Extremists and Political Dissenters
The British have set up a secret police unit to spy on British 'domestic extremists,' or left-wing and right-wing political groups. According to the Daily Mail, the Confidential Intelligence Unit (CIU) has the power to operate across the U.K. and will mount surveillance to build a detailed picture of radical campaigners. According to the Daily Mail UK, "the CIU will also use legal proceedings to prevent details of its operations being made public." (Source: dailymail.co.uk)
The British government has not learned that this type of domestic spying almost always ends badly. Watching 'terrorists' inevitably ends up including mere radicals and simple political protestors -- ultimately, anyone who says something critical about the government instead of actual terrorists. (Source: independent.co.uk)
Taking Pictures Of The Police Could Be Deemed A Crime
As of February 16, 2009, anyone taking a photograph of a police officer in the U.K. could be deemed to have committed a criminal offense. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
The U.K.'s Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 amends the Terrorism Act 2000 regarding offenses relating to information about members of armed forces, a member of the intelligence services, or a police officer. According to the SF Examiner, the new set of rules targets anyone eliciting information about the aforementioned group that is likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism. (Source: examiner.com)
Here's the kicker in U.K. law: besides increasing anti-terrorism powers used by police officers to stop photographers, including press photographers from taking pictures in public places, interpretation of the new law applying to photographers will be up to the police and the courts. (Source: guardian.co.uk)
Illicitly Monitoring Electronic Communications
Pending legislation in Britain would reportedly allow just about every governing body in the UK to see who is communicating with whom, and how often. According to the report, town halls, police, security services and other public bodies will be able to view the communications details for any one suspected of committing a crime, paving the way for authorities to spy on any one and every one. (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
In lieu of the nefarious U.S. PATRIOT ACT and other 'legislation' that allegedly fights the war on terror, the U.K. Parliament passed the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 giving themselves unprecedented power to intercept electronic communications. Attempts in 2002 to implement the extended electronic surveillance powers was put on hold due to public outrage. (Source: guardian.co.uk)
Governments Accused Of Exploiting Terrorism
Both governments need to rethink the strategies they're using to fight terrorism. The 'legal' justification utilized by the Bush administration in 'fighting terrorism' aren't legal. It's hard to claim you're fighting terrorism when you're using something akin to terrorism to fight it. (Source: pubrecord.org)
For years the U.S. has illicitly passed 'legislation' that destroys civil rights and liberties, but the U.K. is starting to make America look better. The delusional dictatorship created by the Bush administration to 'fight the war on terror' -- coupled with illicitly expanding Federal police power -- has only succeeded in eroding rights worldwide. (Source: reuters.com)
All is not lost though. Dame Stella Rimington, a former head of MI5, has accused the British government -- as well as the U.S. government -- of exploiting the fear of terrorism and trying to bring in laws that restrict civil liberties. She's right. It'll be interesting to see who crosses the police state implementation first unless citizens do something to stop it. (Source: bbc.co.uk)
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