Azara Blog: The Blair dictatorship programme slowly advances

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Date published: 2006/04/13

Lot's of stories in the news about the Blair dictatorship agenda.

The BBC says:

A High Court judge has ruled control orders, a major part of government legislation to deal with terror suspects, is "conspicuously unfair". BBC legal affairs analyst Jon Silverman looks at the implications.

It is no great surprise that the government has lost the first round of its legal battle over control orders.

During the stormy passage of the 2005 Terrorism Bill, the parliamentary joint committee on human rights warned that it was "highly unlikely" that the orders were compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article 6 of the ECHR enshrines the right to a fair trial. A control order is designed to prevent a future crime rather than punish for a past act.

Thus, says the government, it is not punitive. But Strasbourg case law takes the view that the executive is nevertheless obliged to provide access to a court. The access established by the Terrorism Act 2005 does not fulfil this requirement.

The ruling turned on the amount of information a judge is entitled to see when reviewing the home secretary's decision to impose a control order.

As it stands, this is limited to material which was before the home secretary and excludes other, potentially exculpatory, facts.

This, said Mr Justice Sullivan, is "conspicuously unfair."

A temporary victory which the government will no doubt figure out how to work around. But the idea that control orders are not punitive is 1984-speak, which is what one expects from Blair and his cronies.

The BBC also says:

A controversial piece of legislation which critics fear would give sweeping powers to ministers to change any law is to be rethought.

Ministers wanted powers to scrap red tape but opponents said they could use the same bill to by-pass Parliament and change criminal or constitutional laws.

Now Cabinet Office Minister Jim Murphy had confirmed amendments will be brought in limiting the powers.

A select committee of MPs will be able to veto ministers' decisions.

And the Regulatory Reform Bill will not allow any powers to make constitutional changes.

If one didn't know Blair better, one could think that the original proposals were just badly phrased by mistake. But Blair's government is totally untrustworthy, so one must assume he and his cronies were up to no good, as usual.

The BBC also says:

New laws making it illegal to glorify terrorism and distribute terrorist publications have come into force.

The Terrorism Act 2006 allows groups or organisations to be banned for those offences and covers anyone who gives or receives training.

The act designates nuclear sites as areas where trespass can become a terrorist offence.

Human rights campaigners argue the law is drawn far too widely and it faced stiff opposition in the House of Lords.

Peers were worried it would curb free speech and rejected the plans five times before voting them through in March.

Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs voted against the Terrorism Bill, saying existing legislation already covered the glorification offence.

Yet another fundamental attack on civil liberties courtesy of Blair and New Labour. This law will be twisted soon enough to be used against political opponents rather than real terrorists.

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