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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, 23 October 2007

My name is Chris and I'm a Liberty addict

This is really starting to get silly. Even though I'm now supposed to be researching 2 different projects that have nothing whatsoever with civil liberties, I still seem to spend most of my tube journeys to work frothing at the mouth about some authoritarian story or other that has piqued my bristles. I'm not sure if then spending more time blogging about them is going to help cure my addiction, but for now I'm going to have a bit of a gorge...

Jacket that lets parents keep track of children
Yes this is the "must have" fashion garment for every child with demonically overprotective parents who think that by broadcasting their kids whereabouts to the world they are less likely to be nabbed by a nonce. This is a cool and trendy coat to make your youngster wear whenever they leave the house, that sends out a GPS tracking signal so you can monitor the young whippersnappers whereabouts via the Internet or mobile phone. Coming in at a snip at only £250 (Kevlar Lining is a reasonable £80 extra) these must haves are now on sale from UK manufacturer Blade Runner. (please check this out, I'm not making this up!). With a superb piece of Orwellian reverse logic, the Managing Partner of Blade Runner, Adrian Davis, actually believes that tracking your offspring 24/7 can increase the child's independence: "Parents might be more willing to allow them to go out more if they could check up on them!". Never mind that if the tearaway wanted to do a bunk they could (shock!) leave the jacket at home, give it to someone else to wear, or tie it to a cat and put a firecracker up it's arse.

But the most terrifying thing about the trackerjacket is the fact that the GPS signal will distributed to anyone who is willing to pay to receive it. Rather than have the signal known only to the "handler" (ie the parents) back at base, the exact location of your child will be stored on (you guessed it) a huge central database that is controlled by the friendly sounding company "Asset Monitoring Solutions". So, if a budding paedo wants to bundle off your bundle of joy, they just need to get someone to hack the servers (or simply pay off someone who works for AMS) and they can get the exact whereabouts of your child sent to their Blackberry. Cool!

Britain gets it's own torture camps
Yes, sick of letting the Americans get all the fun, there is mounting evidence of a "Black Site" on Diego Garcia, which is British Sovereign Territory in the Indian Ocean. Human Rights group Reprieve recently gave a dossier of evidence to the British Government containing reliable and credible evidence that innocent people who have been held there without trail by the US have and been routinely tortured. Our government has leased the land out to the US military for some time, and the base there was redesignated as a prison after 9/11 when the US was desperately looking around the world for places where it could carry out it's dirty work. The UK Government has defended it's position of complete inaction on this, by simply saying that it has asked the Americans if it has been carrying out torture or abuse on our soil, and we have been given "assurances" that they have not. Well that's OK then. Summarily the Brown government is accepting without question the assurances from a Mr Yogi Bear that he does not crap in Jellystone Park, and the assurances from Pope Benedict that he is in fact Jewish.

Sir Ian Blair demands a Pay Rise
No that's not a gag, just the gobsmacking truth. The head of the metropolitan police (or "Lonely of the Yard" as wags within the force are now calling him) has been a busy boy recently, what with announcing to the press (again) that he needs to be able to lock us up for 3 months without charge, and being revealed to be either mindlessly incompetent or a barefaced liar in the ongoing Menezes trial. He's been so overworked that he's put in a request for his maximum possible bonus (£25k) which has sent shockwaves of incredulity and anger through the Met itself. Blair's very own deputy, Paul Stephenson, was so outraged he is said to have actually told Sir Ian that "Of course you f*cking can't take the bonus, stupid!" This bust up between Blair and his right hand man, has resulted in them not speaking to each other for several days. This is presumably going to not be particularly helpful in their ongoing crusade against terror in which they apparently working night and day to stop us all getting blown to pieces.

Another senior police source has been quoted as saying that "Blair is off his trolley... he is the most self centred man I have ever met". The reason for this uproar is not just that Sir Ian is the most Gaffe prone policeman since Inspector Clouseau , but that he has picked the week to fill his boots as yet more damming evidence is made public at the Menezes trial. This week saw one of the (unnamed) officers defending the decision to shoot this innocent man in the head without warning by saying that Menezes was behaving suspiciously in the following ways:
-Getting on and off a bus
-Texting on his mobile phone
-Appearing frustrated when a station was closed.
Well if that's all it takes to be identified as a suicide bomber then most of London's commuters are in deep shit.

Richard Thwaites QC, who has the unenviable job of defending the Met against charges of breaching health and safety guidelines, has presented this evidence as his ultimate "Chewbacca Defence" to prove that this behaviour means that Menezes deserved to be shot: "If people deploy anti-surveillance methods it's usually because they are up to no good, isn't it?".

The other revelation last week was that the Met deliberately manipulated the picture of Menezes that it released after the shooting, so that it looked more like one of the suspects from the previous days failed bombings.

In a move that even Alistair Campbell might have found distasteful, some boffin at the Met actually had a fiddle on photoshop and tweaked the proportions and skin tones of the photo of Menezes to make him look more like the the person they were supposed to be following.

So while all of these damning revelations have been coming out on a daily basis, Sir Ian Blair has been demanding that he be paid what he's worth, a tactic which has suprisingly backfired. The Metropolitan Police Authority is said to be considering a motion to have him removed from office as soon as possible. According to one source, Sir Ian had "reached the last-chance saloon" and some members may pass a motion against the Commissioner at a meeting with him on 30 March. One said: "It's getting to the stage where he is the issue and not the safety of London. We should be talking about burglary and knife crime, not his latest gaffe."

1 comment:

Ralph said...

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Ruth

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