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In our Taking Liberties blog, not only will we keep you uptodate on the progress of the film, we'll also post news about the ongoing civil liberties movements we're related to.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Random Fact of the Week

Taking Liberties is released on June the 8th 2007.

The first publication of George Orwell's 1984 was on the 8th June 1949.

Go Figure.

The Police State We're In...

Tony Blair has taken a curious approach to the accusations that Britain is drifting towards a Police State, by announcing radically more draconian powers for the Police - powers that not even the police want. At present the police have section 44 powers that enable the police to detain and search whoever they want without any reasonable suspicion. The test case that went to the House of Lords showed that the Police can use these powers arbitrarily and do not have to ever say why they stopped someone - even if it's because they don't like the colour of their skin. The most famous misuse of these poweres was to stop 82 year old Walter Wolfgang from re-entering the Labour Party conference in 2005. Several members of the Taking Liberties team have earned their section 44 wings during the making of the film. Thousands of peaceful protesters have been stopped demonstrating and a massively disproportionate number of Muslim men have been hassled using these powers. In all over 100,000 people have been detained using section 44 in the past 7 years.

The number of terrorists caught? None.

So what does our Tony do? Announce he wants to extend these powers. As this announcement was with the usual tough rhetoric in the Murdoch Press, there's precious little policy detail (this normally gets improvised the night before the bill goes through parliament) but it seems that the police will soon be able to:
-Stop anyone in the street without there being suspicion of a crime.
-Demand to know your name, DOB and address, and see identification.
-Demand to know where you have been and where you are going.
Refusal to comply with any of the above would result in a £5000 fine.

Sounds like a recipe for national harmony, apart from:

1) New Labour repeatedly said, when introducing ID Cards, that they would never be demanded on the spot to create a "papers please!" society.
2) The people who are most likely to be unfairly treated under these powers would be young Muslim men.
3) The Police don't want these powers. Several senior police officers told the Guardian that these new powers are not needed, have not been asked for, and will only make the terrorist problem worse.
4) Even senior New Labour Figures are publicly rubbishing the idea. Peter Hain said that these powers will only serve to radicilise people even further and could end up being the British Equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.

But apart from these little niggles, sounds like a great idea.

Tony says ta-ta to Torture and signs an Oil Deal

Blair's grand farewell just keeps on getting more and more classy. As part of his whistle stop "Giz a Job!" tour to mark the end of his reign, he has spent 5 days mincing round Africa to try and boost his value as an after dinner speaker. Journalists wanting to get on board Tony's Jet (Already nicknamed "Vanity Blair") were being told to stump up £1800 if they wanted to fly with his highness. Most of the Broadsheet Journalists have balked at this, but there is a large delegation from Men's Vogue on board the flight to cover Blair's every move..

The trip has neatly avoided anywhere that has gone to shit during Blair's reign, which is sadly most of the continent, but Blair made sure that he touched down in Libya to spend a few hours with his best pal, Colonel Gadaffi. Despite Libya's horrendous and ongoing human rights record, the nutty Colonel will always have a special place in Blair's heart. New Labour is still doing it's very best to send various unfortunates back to Libya to be Tortured (including Omar deghayes), and Blair is still maintaining that - thanks to his soothing influence - Gadaffi is no longer a bloodthirsty despot, but a cuddly amiable despot who wouldn't hurt a fly. And the fact that BP are signing a multi billion dollar deal with the man is neither here nor there...

Goldsmith Refuses to Publish Iraq Torture Advice

Anyone have a feeling of Deja Vu? Goldsmith's secret filing cabinet must be fit to bursting. Not only is he having to hide away:
-The advice he gave on the Iraq War.
-The Reasons why he dropped the BAE Fraud enquiry.
-Why he still hasn't properly excused himself from any decision making role in the cash for peerages affair.
But poor of Lord "Fag Packet" Goldsmith is now having to hide away the advice he gave about the use of Torture in Iraq by British Soldiers. This all stems from legal advice issued by the flexible Attorney General on whether the Human Rights Act (and in particular the ban on torture) applies when British Soldiers are dealing with Iraqi Civilians. This comes after a spate of incidents where British Soldiers have been blatantly mistreating and torturing Iraqis, which seems to have stemmed from the fact that they were not given clear instructions that hooding and being forced in the stress position is completely illegal. Goldsmith denies that he gave advice that would lead to Torture, but - strangely - is still refusing to publish the advice to put himself in the clear. He's almost certainly going to need a bigger filing cabinet.

Fairford Two Are Cleared

This is an unexpectedly bold move by a British Judge, that has enabled 2 peace activists to be cleared over trying to stop planes taking off from Fairford on the eve of the Iraq War. The pair were caught red handed trying to put the planes out of action, but as their defence they claimed that they were trying to stop a greater crime being committed by the illegal invasion of Iraq. This defence has been tried by numerous protesters and activists, but has, until now, been thrown out before it's heard by a jury. But with the Fairford Two the Judge allowed this defence to be presented, and the Jury found them not guilty. This is the furthest the Judiciary has gone to date in declaring the Iraq War illegal, and could be a crucial step towards bringing some of the perpetrators of the war to book. Geoff Hoon - if you're reading this - they criminal defence lawyers at are very reasonable...


banelos said...

Good luck with the movie guys, I really like the topic and the way you are representing it.
Civilians have lost liberties in the USA, UK and all over Europe since the terrorist attacks. Patriot act, Habeus Corpus removed etc.

Taking Liberties said...

yes the only thing britain currently rules the waves at is the erosion of personal freedom. Maybe we should turn it into a personal sport...

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