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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.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The time has come...

Contributor Screening Tonight! Which should be interesting considering the massively diverse groups of people who have taken part. By the looks of things most people who have been involved in the film will be coming along. Notable exceptions will be Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Jack Straw - but we're going to keep seats free just in case.

Anyone who thought that individual liberty is going to flourish under the stewardship of Gordon Brown, need only scan some of today's news to see that the gradual drift towards authoritarianism will not be slowing down when TB kicks the political bucket.

-Heckler bundled out of Brown's hustings.

Admittedly this was not an 82 year old refugee from the Nazis, so maybe things have improved slightly since Walter Wolfgang was booted out the Labour conference for daring to disagree with New Labour. Gordon's speech on Iraq could well have just been cut and pasted from any of Blair's recent diatribes on this subject. Rather than admit that the country has descended into out and out civil war and make a decision about when pull out the troops, he is copying Blair's favourite trick and avoiding any rational approach to the argument and just insisting that the decision "was right".

The other key similarity in the Brown/Blair rhetoric is the phrase "I acknowledge that this is an issue that has divided the country." Which sounds like an admission of fault but is actually nothing of the kind. It also implies that the country has been divided on the issue equally which is also slightly inaccurate. There's everyone in the country who still thinks the decision to invade Iraq was a good idea (Tony Blair, Gordon Brown & Rupert Murdoch) and those people who don't (the rest of the population).

Russians Refuse to Extradite Litvinenko suspect

The Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett showing, once again, that Britain has less clout on the world stage than Azerbaijan. When other countries (eg The USA, most of Europe, Russia) want to extradite British nationals to stand trail in America, the US simply fills out a form, and off they go - without the need for the tiniest shred of evidence to be presented in a British court. The Natwest Three are still under house arrest in Texas awaiting trial and Alex Stone had his life ruined thanks to a chronic miscarriage of Justice - all because New Labour gleefully hands over British Citizens for extradition even if it's blatantly obvious they are innocent. But when it comes to extraditing people the other way, then suddenly it's a different story. The evidence against the Andrei Lugovoi - the KGB officer accused of poisoning Litvinenko - is compelling, and the head of the DPP has publicly said he should stand trial. But because Britain has a risible record of negotiating extradition treaties, he will probably never face justice in the UK. And there's fat chance of him facing justice in Russia as if he did carry out the poisoning he did so at the behest of teh Russian state itself. When Margaret Beckett requested extradition, The Russians basically told her to get stuffed, and she has scuttled back to the Foreign office to angrily count paperclips with Geoff Hoon.

ID Cards to be used for racial profiling

After soothing noises from the government over the past 3 years that in no way would some one's ethnic background be a reason for them to be stopped for ID, an all party committee of MP's has just announced that this is precisely what will happen. The very fact that they will be brought in for foreigners first, means that statistically you will be more likely to be asked for your ID card if you have dark skin. Papers Please!

Control Order Contradictions

It can't be easy being John Reid. On the one hand you have to justify your hard man image by making wild announcements in the tabloids about being "tough on terror", and on the other hand you've got to sit in front of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and justify these authoritarian measures. His recent performance is riddled with contradictions - first of all saying that Control Orders are not "completely effective" - even though when passing the legislation they said it was "vital to protect the nation from future attacks". And when 3 people had been under control orders for a long period of time (because - according to John Reid - they were all about to commit major terrorist outrages) suddenly escaped, "Dr" Reid then turned around and said there was no need to panic as they were not a threat to the public...

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