Dictatorial powers for Home Secretary

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DAVID Anderson QC, the government’s ‘independent reviewer’ of terrorism legislation, asked a basic question about the powers that Home Secretary May’s will acquire if her new counter-terrorism bill becomes law.

He asked, ‘Where are the courts?’ especially in relation to the proposed exclusion of British passport holders from the UK if they are under suspicion as far as the Home Secretary is concerned.

In fact, the new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill contains a raft of police-state measures that gives the state absolute power.

These include:

• Counter-radicalisation measures – requirements that schools, colleges and probation providers help prevent people being radicalised

• Changes to TPIMs – Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures – to allow the authorities to force suspects to move to another part of the country

• ‘Raising’ the burden of proof for imposing TPIMs from ‘reasonable belief’ to ‘balance of probabilities’

• Greater powers to stop people heading abroad to fight – including cancelling passports at the border for up to 30 days

• Statutory temporary exclusion orders to control return to the UK of British citizens suspected of terrorist activity

• Tighter aviation security – requiring airlines to provide passenger data more quickly and effectively

• A ban on insurance companies from covering ransoms

• Forcing firms to hand details to police identifying who was using a computer or mobile phone at a given time

David Anderson QC when asked what he thought of the plan to exclude British citizens from the UK responded, ‘Where are the courts?’ adding that ‘I sense that this is a power waiting for a policy.’

He argued against an exclusive reliance on state repression and dictatorial powers, saying: ‘Do you want to throw the book at them straight away in terms of arrest and charge? Or is there something to be said, even though you do suspect them of having fought, of keeping them under a very light regime where they might have to report daily to a police station?

‘They might have to notify their residence; they might have to go along to meetings with probation or with some similar which perhaps might be for some people a more sensible way of dealing with them than putting them straight into the criminal justice process.’

He continued: ‘One will want to look very carefully to see if this is a power that requires the intervention of the court at any stage, or whether it’s simply envisaged as something the Home Secretary imposes.

‘If one is abroad when this order is served on you, then it’s a little difficult to see in practical terms how a right to judicial review could be exercised.’

Conservative Baroness Berridge asked how the suspect would be notified they were under a temporary exclusion order. ‘And what if they say: “No, I’ve not been up to anything”? They can come back, can’t they?’

The answer of course is that they cannot come back, since the government has already painted a picture of bloodthirsty Islamists (who, in fact, they encouraged to go to Syria to fight President Assad) who are just waiting to come back in order to organise Mumbai-type massacres all over the UK.

The answer to ‘Where are the courts?’ is ‘nowhere’, all there is to be, is the rubber stamp or the jackboot, of the ‘great dictator’, Home Secretary May, to exclude whom she wants.

The new bill allows the government to be both judge and jury as far as the exclusion of British citizens from their country is concerned.

In fact, the whole ramp of Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures can be introduced on the basis of the ‘balance of probabilities’, that is a purely subjective estimation of the situation by a government that has been beating a propaganda drum with such great intensity, so that public officials will have to show a very great courage to challenge the state’s ‘balance of probabilities’.

The reality of the situation is that the Tories are intent on imposing a state power that will not be restricted by any courts. In fact, the defence of basic rights and liberties can only be secured by the organisation of a socialist revolution.