The Beginning of the End of PREVENT

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We live in an age where those who work towards realising idealised principles of the rule of law, transparency and due process are smeared by their governments and press.

Julian Assange is the most recent case in point.  In the face of the categorical UN ruling that Assange was being subjected to arbitrary detention, the British press has been focussed on his rape allegations. David Cameron has deflected that Assange “should stand trial in Sweden, a country with a fair reputation for justice” so there could be an “end to the sorry saga”. What has been forgotten is that the Swedish prosecutor refused to go to London to interview Assange for more than four years before being questioned by a Swedish court for her failure to progress investigations into what Helena Kennedy QC said was “unlikely to lead to conviction”. Then of course there is the ever so minor detail that Sweden refuses to issue safety guarantees to the Wikileaks founder which would prevent extradition to the US to face potentially the death penalty.

Edward Snowden is another prominent example of a smear campaign.  Western security agencies have strongly tried to associate his actions of accountability with the secular blasphemy that is the threat to national security. Incidentally, he also exposed previously unknown British activity with regards to bulk surveillance, and now there is an attempt by Theresa May to ex-post facto legalise the gross invasion of privacy via the Investigatory Powers Bill and in particular the recent, criticised investigatory powers tribunal ruling on GCHQ bulk surveillance.

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Has the Neocon Government Lost its Legitimacy?

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I have outlined in previous blog how the government has in essence stripped the people before the State and shrouded itself against scrutiny. Earlier in the year the case of David Miranda became a significant milestone in the treatment of journalists. He was detained under the anti-terror legislation at an airport because he possessed encrypted intelligence documents. More recently news surfaced that Metropolitan police had been recording journalistic activities on a secret database designed to monitor “domestic extremists”. Journalists are being “assaulted monitored and stopped and searched by police during their work, which often includes documenting police misconduct”.

The question remains, for a government which promotes democratic principles to the point that it happily enforces its respect in the guise of “British values”, why are journalists whom are supposed to be the practical manifestation of the principle of government transparency being harangued and monitored like this? To reverse the question to the State: what have you got to hide?

Inextricably linked is the treatment of whistle-blowers. Miranda’s detention is but one example. Julian Assange and Edward Snowden have helped disclose the excesses of western governments which would have otherwise gone unnoticed without accountability. Yet these individuals are pursued to the point that they have to hide in embassies and seek asylum.

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