War on terror used as pretext for tyrannical erosion of fundamental freedoms

War on terror used as pretext for tyrannical erosion of fundamental freedoms in the UK

We HAVE seen over the last few years, and indeed stretching back more than 30 years, a policy of the erosion of so-called democracy in the United Kingdom as a reaction to alleged, and of late rarely real, terrorist activity on the mainland. The responses by the British government to Irish terror tactics, at face value in support of the liberation of Ireland, were legislative measures - such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1973. A review of these and later legislative measures reveals the extent to which these measures have become accepted and integrated into the fabric of British society, its institutions and its outlook. The current government's response to the attacks on the World Trade Centre has been yet another serious attack on civil liberties and a significant accumulation of power by the executive. In the long run, the accumulation of power by the state over the individual is as serious a threat, if not greater, than the terrorist activity the response is purported to protect the individual from. Much of the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001, the government's main legislative response, went far beyond a genuine attempt to deal with terrorism. It is instead the speeding-up of a long-running trend whereby the fundamental freedoms and protections from arbitrary state power in Britain are being progressively dismantled. From the 1980s onwards, legislation has been brought into force which increases state power over the individual and communities. One can see a pattern emerging which attacks the right to silence, the right to a fair trial, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of speech, the right to protest and the presumption of innocence.


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Top Stories - October 4th, 2004


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Oktober 2004

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