Britain: Police State?

OneWingedBird

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Taser Inc have done a lot of research on this, and while some of the results have not been released, basically you can't set off explosives with them.
some home made explosives are unstable enough that they can detonate spontaneously, or from a small shock. i don't think i'd fancy trying it, whatever taser inc say (or don;t say).
 

wembley8

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lupinwick said:
I suspect the truth regarding tasers is somewhere between that spouted by Taser Inc (after they have to sell it) and that of Amnesty. There are enough incidents to cast some doubts on its safety
Are you sure abot that? or is it just that if you sling enough mud, some of it gets believed?

Anyone can claim that Tasers kill, but that's not what the actual autopsies show.


lupinwick said:
s for 70 lives saved per taser death? Strange I thought the point was that they were none lethal. Even so I'd still doubt the veracity of those kind of statistics.
That seems a bit careless unless you know where it came from (...not Taser Inc!)
 

wembley8

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jimv1 said:
Here's another statistic in the rough 25% area...

.

Of 75 people who died after being shot with a taser or stun gun, the taser was considered a potentially contributory cause of death in 27 per cent of cases. Source: Drs J Strote and H Range Hutson from the University of Washington Medical Centre in Seattle and reported in the October/December 2006 issue of Prehospital Emergency Care
...note the "potenially" in there. As far as proved cases go, as far as I know there has only been one instance where a Tasar has been considered even partly contributory. (Actually make that two, there was another one where someone was Tased and fell to their death)
But that's after tens of thousands of uses.
And in the UK, Tasers have been deployed on 600 occasions, but in over 500 of those the Taser did not have to be used as pointing it was enough.
With a gun, the suspect knows that you're probably not going to shoot, so it's not a deterrent. A taser is another matter.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008 ... taser-guns

I'm not a big fan of Tasers and I think something better is needed. But I'm in favour of judging them on actual results rather than "50,000 volt" media coverage.
 

wembley8

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rynner2

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Senior Tory angered by his arrest

A senior Conservative MP has reacted angrily to his arrest by police investigating the alleged leaking of Home Office information.

Damian Green denied any wrongdoing and said: "I was astonished to have spent more than nine hours today under arrest for doing my job."

Police say Mr Green was held on Thursday on suspicion of "conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office".

He was questioned, but has not been charged and was bailed until February.

Speaking outside the House of Commons, Mr Green said: "I emphatically deny I have done anything wrong.

"I have many times made public information that the government wanted to keep secret - information that the public has a right to know.

"In a democracy, opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account.

"I was elected to the House of Commons precisely to do that and I certainly intend to continue doing so."


Mr Green's arrest is believed to be connected to the arrest of a man suspected of being a Home Office whistleblower.

The BBC understands that a junior Home Office official was suspended from duty 10 days ago over a number of leaks and the matter was referred to police. He was arrested but not charged.

It follows a series of leaks, including:

The November 2007 revelation that the home secretary knew the Security Industry Authority had granted licences to 5,000 illegal workers, but decided not to publicise it.

The February 2008 news that an illegal immigrant had been employed as a cleaner in the House of Commons.

A whips' list of potential Labour rebels in the vote on plans to increase the pre-charge terror detention limit to 42 days.

A letter from the home secretary warning that a recession could lead to a rise in crime.

The BBC understands Tory leader David Cameron is angry about what has happened and stands by Mr Green.

Speaking on BBC One's Question Time on Thursday, shadow chancellor George Osborne said: "I think it's absolutely extraordinary that the police have taken that decision.

"It has long been the case in our democracy that MPs have received information from civil servants - I think to hide information from the public is wrong.

"It is early days, it's an extraordinary case. I think there are going to be some very, very big questions asked of the police."

A spokesman for the Conservative Party said Mr Green had "on a number of occasions, legitimately revealed information which the Home Office chose not to make public.

"Disclosure of this information was manifestly in the public interest."

Conservative sources said a police investigation into a high-ranking politician would have to have been cleared at "the very top" and have described the actions as "Stalinesque". :shock:

But a Downing Street spokesman said: "This is a matter for the police. The prime minister had no prior knowledge of the arrest of Mr Green and was only informed after the event."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said he was informed in advance of the Met's plan to arrest Mr Green, and expressed "trenchant" concerns about the move.

Mr Green, the MP for Ashford in Kent, who has been the Conservatives' immigration spokesman since December 2005, was arrested shortly before 1400 GMT at his constituency home.

The Tories say they understand counter-terrorism officers were involved in searches of his home and offices.

In a statement, the Met said the arrest was made without any ministerial influence.

They said: "The investigation into the alleged leak of confidential government material followed the receipt by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) of a complaint from the Cabinet Office.

"The decision to make today's arrest was taken solely by the MPS without any ministerial knowledge or approval."

It said search warrants had been carried out at a home in Kent, a home in west London, business premises in Kent and in central London

"The search at the residential address in west London has concluded, the other searches continue," it added.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7753763.stm
 

lupinwick

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wembley8 said:
lupinwick said:
I suspect the truth regarding tasers is somewhere between that spouted by Taser Inc (after they have to sell it) and that of Amnesty. There are enough incidents to cast some doubts on its safety
Are you sure abot that? or is it just that if you sling enough mud, some of it gets believed?
Experience based on how much companies will lie to sell stuff.

wembley8 said:
Anyone can claim that Tasers kill, but that's not what the actual autopsies show.
Contributory factors. Did the Taser cause or exacerbate (even in part) the thing that killed them?

wembley8 said:
lupinwick said:
s for 70 lives saved per taser death? Strange I thought the point was that they were none lethal. Even so I'd still doubt the veracity of those kind of statistics.
That seems a bit careless unless you know where it came from (...not Taser Inc!)
[/quote]

??? Your provided the original figures. Weren't they right? Problem here is that any claim on lives saved can only be based on guess work, it could be 70, it could be none or it could be more. What is the basis for that figure? What are the assumptions that have had to be made?

In the end, the taser could be useful, but is it really necessary?
 

Analogue Boy

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wembley8 said:
jimv1 said:
wembley8 said:
If you check out the autopsies of people who have died after tasering, only in one case was the Taser considered partly (25%) responsible.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. So what did the other people die of?
It's called 'excited delirium' and it's usually related to drug use and over-excitement (i.e. getting into a punch-up with the cops)

http://pso.hmprisonservice.gov.uk/pso16 ... lirium.htm

So if they're dying of over-excitement it becomes a rather terminal psychological issue rather than a matter of voltage and restraint then?
It seems this information comes from Taser Inc itself...

Many Taser-associated deaths have been written up by coroners as being attributable to “excited delirium,” a condition that includes frenzied or aggressive behavior, rapid heart rate and aggravating factors related to an acute mental state and/or drug-related psychosis. When such suspects are stunned, especially while already being held down or hogtied, deaths seem to occur after a period of “sudden tranquility,” as Taser explains in its CD-ROM training material entitled, “Sudden Custody Death: Who’s Right and Who’s Wrong.” In that same material, the company warns officers to “try to minimize the appearance of mishandling suspects.”
http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/289 ... velations/
 

OneWingedBird

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That has to be one of the most ridiculous things i've ever heard. I wonder if it applies when they've fallen down the stairs too :?
 

wembley8

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lupinwick said:
Contributory factors. Did the Taser cause or exacerbate (even in part) the thing that killed them?
Not according to the autopsies. they get dragged through the courts every time and Taser keep being found blameless.

lupinwick said:
Problem here is that any claim on lives saved can only be based on guess work, it could be 70, it could be none or it could be more. What is the basis for that figure? What are the assumptions that have had to be made?
Check the original report.

The relative risk of police use-of-force options: Evaluating the potential for deployment of electronic weaponry

Link*

In the end, the taser could be useful, but is it really necessary
What's the alternative? Side-handled batons? bare hands? Both are deadlier than Tasers.

*Link shortened by WJ
 

Analogue Boy

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So was the use of taser valid in the Vancouver Airport Terminal?
Was it the soft option?
Why did that man have to die right there and then?


http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=VqdUhotL6Fw

It seems Taser Inc has a magic getout here. The shock, even though drug use increases the effect, is nothing compared to the psychological trauma or the 'appearance' of heavy-handed police techniques.
 

rynner2

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Cross-party fury over MP's arrest

The Lib Dems have called shadow immigration minister Damian Green's arrest a "mayday warning" for democracy amid cross-party anger over the move.

Mr Green was arrested by anti-terror officers, held for nine hours and had his two homes and offices searched as part of a Home Office leak inquiry.

Tory leader David Cameron called the police operation "alarming" and said the government had questions to answer.

But the Home Office said ministers were not informed until after the arrest.

Mr Cameron, London mayor Boris Johnson and Commons Speaker Michael Martin were all informed about the raids.

But Downing Street insisted ministers had not been given advance warning and Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it was purely a police matter.

"I had no prior knowledge, the home secretary had no prior knowledge, I know of no other minister who had any prior knowledge," he told Sky News, adding: "I knew about it only after it had happened." [Yeah, yeah...]

Mr Green was not charged with any offence but was released on bail until February, when he could face further questioning.

The Ashford MP, the Tories' immigration spokesman since 2005, has denied any wrongdoing and said "opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account".

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg told the BBC that he was "really shocked" by Mr Green's arrest.

"This is something you might expect from a tin-pot dictatorship, not in a modern democracy," he said.

Given the culture of "extraordinary secrecy" in Whitehall, it was getting harder to hold the government to account and opposition MPs had a constitutional duty to keep "ministers on their toes", he added.

He called on Gordon Brown to "rule out any further use of anti-terrorism powers in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism," although the Metropolitan Police stressed the arrest was made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act and not anti-terror legislation.

Some counter-terrorism officers were involved because they were the most "appropriate" to carry out such an operation, the Met said, but David Cameron attacked the "heavy-handed" way in which it took nine officers to make the arrest and search the premises.

"If they wanted to talk to Damian Green why not pick up the telephone and ask to talk to him," he said. "I think this is extraordinary that it was so heavy-handed and done in this way," said Mr Cameron.

"They have got questions to answer, frankly, I think government ministers have got questions to answer as well. If they didn't know, why weren't they told?

"What do they think about in Britain today, counter-terrorism police are spending their time searching an MP's office, arresting him, holding him for nine hours, all on a day when British citizens are being killed on the other side of the world and all because, as far as I can see, he made public some information that was in the public interest that the government found uncomfortable.

"Well, let's hope that our democracy hasn't come to that."


Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve released a list of more than 50 questions he said the government had to answer about the arrest, including when ministers and officials were told.

"The government's limp and confused response begs more questions than it answers. Ministers have some very important questions to answer."

Sir David Normington, the top civil servant at the Home Office, said he had taken the decision to ask for police help in identifying the source of a series of "leaks of sensitive information over an extended period," because the leaks had "risked undermining the effective operation of my department".

"The police investigation led to a junior member of the Home Office being arrested on 19 November and subsequently suspended from duty," said Sir David in a statement.

"Yesterday (Thursday), I was informed by the Metropolitan Police at about 1.45pm that a search was about to be conducted of the home and offices of a member of the Opposition front bench. I was subsequently told that an arrest had been made.

"Ministers were not involved in the decision to seek police assistance or in the subsequent investigation and were only told of the arrest after it had occurred."

......

The Metropolitan Police confirmed Mr Green was arrested by members of its counter-terrorism command, thought to be Special Branch officers, at his home in Kent and searches were conducted at his homes in London and Kent and at two offices in Kent and London.

It said the investigation was not terrorism related but did fall within the counter-terror unit's remit and that it was made without the knowledge or approval of ministers.

There was also concern about the arrest on the Labour benches.

Former minister Denis MacShane said that the Speaker should make clear that MPs were entitled to hold sensitive material in the same way as lawyers and doctors.

Mr Green said he was just doing his job and would do the same again

"To send a squad of counter terrorist officers to arrest an MP shows the growing police contempt for Parliament and democratic politics," he said.

"The police now believe that MPs are so reduced in public status that they are fair game for over-excited officers to order dawn raids, arrests and searches of confidential files held by MPs or those who work for them.

"I am not sure this is good for British democracy."


Police say Mr Green was held on suspicion of "conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office" and "aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office" - an obscure and little-used offence under common law.

One legal expert said it was doubtful whether any case would be brought against Mr Green.

"In a western democracy, I think it would be very surprising if an elected member of Parliament was put on trial for an offence which arises from him putting in the public domain material that he thinks should be there in the public interest," said Robert Brown, a partner at the law firm Corker Binning.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7753763.stm
 

Analogue Boy

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jimv1 said:
That would be number 8 crossed off Naomi Wolf's '10 Steps to creating a fascist state'.



1.Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
2.Create a gulag
3.Develop a thug caste
4.Set up an internal surveillance system
5.Harass citizens' groups
6.Engage in arbitrary detention and release
7.Target key individuals
8.Control the press
9.Dissent equals treason
10.Suspend the rule of law

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/apr/24/usa.comment

...And 6
...And 7

Just leaves 9 and 10 left to cross off.
 

Yithian

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Michael Martin is an appalling speaker. Can you imagine Betty Boothroyd or Bernard Weatherill allowing a police raid on a house of commons office?

As for the government, there are questions to answer. Starting with the Home Office and Jacqui Smith...
 

rynner2

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Police raids herald new era for MPs
By Ben Wright
Political Correspondent

The arrest of Tory immigration spokesman Damian Green over leaks from the Home Office have been dubbed a "mayday warning" for democracy by opposition parties.

The MP for Ashford was held despite a tradition of Parliamentary privilege and lack of interference by the police.

In 1642 King Charles I mustered some soldiers, marched into the House of Commons and attempted to arrest five troublesome MPs.

It didn't have the outcome he was after. Civil war ensued, the King was soon head-less and the supremacy of Parliament over the monarchy was cemented.

In 2008, officers from the Metropolitan Police arrested a Conservative MP and searched his Parliamentary offices, confiscating files and his mobile phone.

Damian Green was detained under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act as part of an investigation into the leaking of information from the Home Office.

He denied any wrong-doing and was released on bail.

MPs from all parties rallied round to denounce heavy-handed policing.

The former Conservative leader Michael Howard said the arrest represented "contempt for parliament" and invoked the memory of 1642.

Ex-Labour MP Tony Benn was just as incredulous: "I may sound strangely medieval, but once the police can interfere with Parliament, I tell you, you are into a police state."

So what counts as interference?

Some MPs seemed to suggest that the Speaker, Michael Martin, should have been manning the gates of Parliament, and waving off the boys in blue with the mace. 8)

The Conservative MP Douglas Carswell said the speaker's job was to preside over Parliament, "not to give the green light to police raids".

Many, particularly in the Conservative party, share that anger. But it's not clear at all who does give the green light to whom.

Police operations in the Palace of Westminster are very rare.

The speaker's office has been reluctant to elaborate on its part in the police search. A statement simply said: "There is a process to be followed and that was followed."

But what is the process? The Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve has issued a long list of questions to ministers about the role played by the Commons authorities.

He wants to know who authorised the search of the Commons office, on what basis, and whether it's a breach of parliamentary privilege to arrest an MP for using leaked information.

Ask the police or the Home Office if the search was made with the approval of the Commons authorities, and the response is a blunt "no comment".

A dig through the rules and regulations that govern the working of Parliament doesn't shed much light either.

MPs have privileges that the public don't.

At its most basic, it means they have complete freedom of speech in Parliament and don't have to worry about defamation.

It's a freedom they guard jealously.

Privilege used to give some cover from arrest as well an constitutional expert Ian Ward said: "Freedom from arrest in lawsuits was notorious for much of the 19th century".

But that convention has crumbled and Parliament is no longer a sanctuary from the long arm of the law.

Parliament is currently prorogued and not sitting.

In the view of the legal expert Joshua Rozenberg, that may have had something to do with the timing and manner of the police search.

He believes if officers tried to gain access to Parliament and search Mr Green's office when Parliament was sitting they could have run up against the so-called "sessional orders" which, among other things, are meant to ensure that MPs attendance in Parliament is not impeded - even by the police.

This part of the story seems to be a murky collision between parliamentary custom and the law.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7755974.stm
 

rynner2

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Blunkett leads attack against police 'overkill' after Green's arrest
• Wife witnessed search of shadow minister's home
• Brown and Smith say they were not consulted
Nicholas Watt, Sandra Laville and Alan Travis guardian.co.uk, Saturday November 29 2008

David Blunkett, the former home secretary, yesterday led a cross-party attack on the police for what he described as "overkill" in arresting the shadow home office minister, Damian Green, after he published Home Office documents allegedly leaked by a civil servant.

As fresh details emerged of a nine-hour police operation against Green, whose parliamentary computer was seized and whose wife was forced to witness a search of their London home, Blunkett questioned police tactics.

Drawing a parallel with police behaviour in the cash-for-honours affair, in which a former Downing Street aide was arrested in a dawn raid, he spoke of "the danger of overkill, of treating every case as though we are dealing with a suspicious character".

.......

Green insisted that he had not procured the documents and a Tory official said: "There was no financial or any other inducement." The Tories expressed astonishment at the conduct of the police, who notified Cameron moments before they entered parliament to search Green's office. Tory MPs are so angry at the police and the Speaker, Michael Martin, they are planning to delay the Queen's speech next week. The Tories pointed out that:

• Green's computer, mobile phone and blackberry were seized. People who sent emails to Green received an "Orwellian" reply which said: "Your message wasn't delivered because of security policies."

• The MP was held for seven hours until the police started to question him. Police used the intervening time to gather information at the four addresses.

• Green's wife Alicia, a barrister, told of the police behaviour when nine plain-clothes officers wearing purple rubber gloves began to search their west London home at 1.35pm. The search, in which the police photographed most of the house, only ended at 7.55pm and prompted her 15-year-old daughter to burst into tears.

She told friends: "I was alone when police arrived. The police said they would have used a locksmith to break in if I had not been at home. When I opened the front door the police asked if there were any children in the house. My blood ran cold because I assumed that something terrible had happened to Damian."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008 ... n-blunkett
 

rynner2

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Damian Green: arrested for doing his job
Michael White

.......................

It's worth noting here that in its many battles over secrecy and official secrets the Guardian has one unhappy chapter relevant to the Green affair.

In 1983 police arrested a junior Foreign Office clerk called Sarah Tisdall after a protracted legal tussle with this newspaper over the leaking of details – from the MoD again – about the arrival of cruise missiles at Greenham Common: a major controversy of the day.

The photocopied data arrived at the paper's offices late one Sunday, were checked for accuracy by defence correspondent David Fairhall, and printed.

Government lawyers came after the documents in order to trace what the court agreed was not a threat to national security – and won in the court of appeal on the grounds that the leaker might do something more serious next time.

We did not know the anonymous source we sought to protect and hoped he or she was crafty enough to cover tracks. Alas no: Ms Tisdall was 23 and easily traced via the copier. She got six months.

The then-editor, Peter Preston, set the story out again in a heartfelt article in 2005, worth reading if you have the time. It's complicated; it usually is.

That may be why some leakers took to using MPs as a conduit for leaks; safer than journalists who could more easily be brought to court and threatened with a rolling fine – or worse – as the Guardian was in 1983.
Which brings us back to Damian Green, the MP for Ashford and an honourable man.

His role as an opposition MP is to hold the government of the day to account. That sometimes involves putting leaked information into the public domain as he sees fit as an elected public official, just as Winston Churchill did with his stream of defence leaks in the appeasment era before the second world war.

So Green – arrested but not charged – has my vote on this one. He was doing his job (probably) and is answerable to Ashford and to David Cameron, whose staff should nonetheless avoid adjectives like "Stalinesque" in cases like this one where fewer than 30 million people have been murdered. 8)

So why do I think the Met acted on its own say-so without prior consultation with Labour ministers? Because I don't think ministers would be that stupid or short-sighted. They may be in opposition themselves again soon. ;)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog ... servatives
 

rynner2

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I don't usually bother with the News of the World, but the ever-industrious beeb has had a trawl of the Sunday papers...

Smith: MP's arrest not Stalinist

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has refused to apologise for the arrest of shadow immigration minister Damian Green.

Ms Smith was asked on the Andrew Marr programme if she would apologise - but replied that it would be wrong for her to intervene in a police investigation.

Had she intervened it would have been "Stalinist" as she believed in the principle of police being independent even when things get "tricky".

David Cameron has challenged ministers to condemn his spokesman's arrest.

Writing in the News of the World, the Tory leader said Gordon Brown's stance so far was "not good enough".

Meanwhile, a Scotland Yard spokesman has denied allegations police tried to "entrap" Mr Green before his arrest.

The Tory party refused to comment on this and other reports that members often checked their offices for bugs.

Gordon Brown and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith have denied any "prior knowledge" of the arrests, saying the matter was one for the police.

In his opinion piece, Mr Cameron said the prime minister made his name through Whitehall leaks and unless Mr Brown spoke out, he would be guilty of "hypocrisy". On the rights of MPs to hold government to account, of course no one is above the law but in a democracy there is an important line to be drawn when it comes to acting in the public interest

"The question is: does he think it is right for an MP who has apparently done nothing to breach our national security - and everything to inform the public of information they're entitled to know - to have his home and office searched by a dozen counter-terrorist police officers, his phone, blackberry and computers confiscated, and to be arrested and held for nine hours?" he said.

Mr Cameron described the arrest of the shadow immigration minister as a "watershed moment" and claimed "the right of one and all to hold the government to account is at stake".

He wrote: "On the rights of MPs to hold government to account, of course no one is above the law but in a democracy there is an important line to be drawn when it comes to acting in the public interest."

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday has reported that senior Conservative sources believe police tried to entrap Mr Green using a Home Office mole.

They allege that phone calls made by the man, who is named in the newspaper, were monitored by police as part of a "heavy-handed" attempt to "snare" the shadow minister.
David Cameron is unhappy with the prime minister's stance on the arrest

However Mr Green "declined" to be drawn into conversation with the whistleblower, who was also arrested 11 days ago.

A Scotland Yard spokesman told the BBC: "We strongly refute any accusation that any police officer has acted improperly."

The Mail on Sunday also reported that the mole had been re-housed by the Home Office to avoid media attention.

But the Home Office refused to confirm this and a spokesman told the BBC the government would not comment on an issue that involved the welfare of a member of staff.

The Independent on Sunday has separately reported that offices of senior Tories, including Mr Green, were routinely swept for electronic bugging devices as they feared they were being spied on.

Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP for Lancaster & Wyre, told the paper he had written to the prime minister requesting an urgent review of the Wilson doctrine - the convention that prevents MPs from having their phones tapped but not from other covert surveillance devices.

But a Conservative spokesman told the BBC that the party "did not comment on security measures."

Mr Green was not charged with any offence after his arrest on Thursday but was released on bail until February, when he could face further questioning.

The Ashford MP, the Tories' immigration spokesman since 2005, has denied any wrongdoing and said "opposition politicians have a duty to hold the government to account".

John O'Connor, former head of the London police unit, the flying squad, told BBC Radio 5Live he found it difficult to believe the government didn't know about the investigation.

He said: "If the prime minister and the home secretary were unaware of this police activity - then they must be utterly incompetent.

"And if they were aware of it then that makes them really quite dangerous. So I think whatever way, whatever path they choose it doesn't put them in a good light."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7757170.stm
 

rynner2

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Sam Coates' Blog:

UPDATED: Damian Green - arrested under the most sinister law in Britain?
SEE UPDATE AT END

So to the Damian Green arrest, which police say was made on suspicion he was "aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office". Looking back at the handful of prosecutions this statute has brought about, stories about the police's use of this offence make frightening reading.

First what I presume it's intended to do: to prosecute police officers who use the police national database to get revenge on ex-lovers, or trading standards officers who try and fiddle the system themselves.

But there are more pernicious examples out there too.

Perhaps the scariest is the case of Sally Murrer, a reporter of 33 years' standing who was arrested last year and later charged using this law. The trial collapsed today

The Crown Prosecution Service alleges that a police contact tipped her off about three stories: that a local celebrity footballer arrested in a brawl would not be charged, that a man killed in a fight had previously been arrested on drug offences and an Islamist the authorities released early from prison had boasted about becoming a suicide bomber. The third tip, potentially the most serious, never even made the paper.

By this scorehand [?!] Ms Murrer is hardy an enemy of the state. Yet here, according to an excellent account by Nick Cohen, is what the police did to collect evidence in their case.

The security services planned the arrest of the journalist with painstaking care. They bugged her contacts and assembled an elite squad to take her down. On 8 May 2007, eight detectives swarmed into her home and seized her address book, mobile, laptops and bank statements. In a simultaneous raid, a second team searched her newspaper office - going through everything from filing cabinets to boxes of Cup-a-Soup by the office kettle. :shock:

Police aren't alleging that she paid her contact for the stories, just that he gave her more information than he was contractually allowed to. I commend the Cohen piece, which goes into what is more broadly a very complex case and hints at the bigger reasons why the CPS may be pursuing the prosecution.

But it's clear from that if this law was rigidly applied most of the journalists, and several of the politicians, special advisers and press officers I know would be in jail. And from my brief reading about the case it seems to strike a worrying blow for the public's right to know more than politicians and public sector bosses want them to.

There can be no doubt that tonight the police decision to arrest a shadow cabinet member was political with a very big P.

UPDATE: With uncanny timing, the Murrer case has collapsed. Full details here. The judge ruled that police surveillance and search operations mounted to identify the reporter's sources were a violation of human rights. This suggests any prosecution could be even harder to bring.

http://timesonline.typepad.com/politics ... een--.html

(Various links on page.)
 

rynner2

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A pithy piece here:

An historic attack on liberty and democracy

The Damian Green affair has damaged both the police and government. It threatens 700 years of parliamentary tradition
William Rees-Mogg

The arrest of Damian Green last Thursday, his subsequent detention and interrogation, together with the police search of his home and his office in the Palace of Westminster, constitute the most serious breach of the privilege of Parliament in modern times. At least eight senior figures in the British Establishment were involved; they either initiated the action, agreed to it, conducted it, or allowed it to continue. Not one of them seems to have understood how serious a “high crime or misdemeanour” they were conspiring to commit.

The police may have thought that they were legitimately investigating a crime; in fact, they were committing one, a much more serious crime than the one they imagined they were investigating. Contempt of the House of Commons can only be defined by the House of Commons itself, but there is little doubt that this was it. All the evidence of history is that Parliament has to protect itself against outside pressure of all kinds, and particularly against coercion by the executive power.

In 1523, Sir Thomas More, as Speaker, had to resist the pressure of Henry VIII's Minister, Cardinal Wolsey; in 1642, Speaker Lenthall frustrated Charles I's attempt to arrest the five Members. The House of Commons needs the protection of privilege to do its job. The liberty of Members is the liberty of the people.

In the present case, had the police waited for 24 hours, they would have learnt of the acquittal of a journalist on the very charge they were investigating. Sally Murrer and her police source, Detective Sergeant Mark Kearney, were both acquitted under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the right of every citizen to receive and impart information without interference by public authority.

It is not clear what legal advice was taken by the police before they decided to arrest Damian Green. Plainly it was inadequate. The leader of the House, Harriet Harman, has said that they did not consult the Attorney-General or the Solicitor-General; they certainly did not consult her.

Who played the role of Cardinal Wolsey, and had the arrogance to invade the rights of Parliament? If Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, is to be believed - and her testimony is not entirely convincing - two senior civil servants ordered the police investigation - the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, and the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, Sir David Normington. These civil servants have many questions to answer. What legal advice did they take? When did they consult their own ministers, which would be the Prime Minister in the case of Sir Gus O'Donnell? What steps did they take to supervise so sensitive a police inquiry?

Did they know the police were going to arrest a Member of Parliament? Did they consider whether that might be a contempt of the House of Commons? Did they consider whether a search of Mr Green's office in Parliament would be another contempt? I doubt whether, as Jacqui Smith suggests, these civil servants acted entirely on their own; I think it more likely that they had already discussed the alleged leaks with the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary before they asked the police to intervene.

The higher responsibility belongs to the Prime Minister and Home Secretary. We do not yet know exactly when Gordon Brown or Jacqui Smith knew that the actual arrest had taken place. It seems that Boris Johnson, as Mayor of London, was told before the event; he made a very proper protest. The Speaker and the Leader of the opposition were also informed before the arrest happened. It is quite hard to believe the two ministers were not told at the same time.

What was Gordon Brown supposed to say if he had not been informed but David Cameron or Speaker Martin decided to telephone him and ask him to call off this illegal event? Could Sir Gus O'Donnell have waited to tell Gordon Brown until after the event, when so many other people knew before the event? The story being told does not really hang together.

In any case, Gordon Brown and Jacqui Smith admit that they knew what had happened shortly after the arrest itself. At that time the contempt of Parliament was being continued and extended. Searches were being made, files and laptops were being removed. This essential contempt of Parliament could still have been mitigated by a telephone call from the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary.


The Speaker, Michael Martin, and the Serjeant at Arms, Jill Pay, failed to prevent the police invasion of the Palace of Westminster and may even have approved it. This breaks 700 years of parliamentary tradition. Both of them had the authority to keep the police out of Mr Green's office.

There were two senior policemen who must share part of the blame; it is no excuse that they were obeying orders. The junior of the two, Bob Quick, is an expert on terrorism. He will have to answer for the detailed handling of the operation. The senior was Sir Paul Stephenson, who was widely expected to succeed Sir Ian Blair as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police; that would not now be appropriate or even tolerable.

The damage is strewn all around. Democracy is damaged; the House of Commons is damaged; British liberty is under attack. The police are damaged. The actual operation was a spectacular public disaster; many people now think we are living in a police state. The Government has been damaged. They must now realise how angry the public are. The Labour party has been weakened; this has been a horrifying mixture of ignorance, incompetence and shame.

Of course, Jacqui Smith should resign like other Labour home secretaries. She has been responsible for a major political disaster. I do not expect that Gordon Brown will resign, unless it proves that he did indeed have prior knowledge. Yet he bears the ultimate responsibility. The House of Commons remains the centre of our democracy. The freedom of Britain cannot survive if the centre does not hold.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 263357.ece
 

lupinwick

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If true then you have to laugh!

Britain's first ID cards, issued last week with fingerprint and facial details, cannot be read by any official body because the government has not issued a single scanner.

Ministers promised to roll out hundreds of electronic readers of biometric details. However, a spokesman for the Home Office admitted last week that no employers, police forces, hospitals or colleges have been given the machine - and there are as yet no plans to issue them.

The disclosure means the ID cards issued last week to foreign students and the foreign spouses of British citizens can be used only in a similar way to a valid passport and visa. Instead, authorities will have to rely on visual checks on the card and calls to a UK Border Agency hotline if they fear the card is not genuine.

The admission bolsters concerns the ID verification scheme is now just a 'flash and go' card similar to those used by many companies.

Home Office documents revealed last month that the cards' biometric details will only be cross-referenced with the National Identity Register in a minority of cases.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/nov/30/idcards-civilliberties
 

Analogue Boy

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lupinwick said:
If true then you have to laugh!

Britain's first ID cards, issued last week with fingerprint and facial details, cannot be read by any official body because the government has not issued a single scanner.

Ministers promised to roll out hundreds of electronic readers of biometric details. However, a spokesman for the Home Office admitted last week that no employers, police forces, hospitals or colleges have been given the machine - and there are as yet no plans to issue them.

The disclosure means the ID cards issued last week to foreign students and the foreign spouses of British citizens can be used only in a similar way to a valid passport and visa. Instead, authorities will have to rely on visual checks on the card and calls to a UK Border Agency hotline if they fear the card is not genuine.

The admission bolsters concerns the ID verification scheme is now just a 'flash and go' card similar to those used by many companies.

Home Office documents revealed last month that the cards' biometric details will only be cross-referenced with the National Identity Register in a minority of cases.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2008/nov/30/idcards-civilliberties
I'm sure this is just a tricksy way of getting around the usual news that the technology is hacked within a month.
 

lupinwick

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It'll be done already. Most of the bits are probably readily available - no doubt if you search hard enough you'll be able to find the technical specification for the UK ID card.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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Green sweeps for bugs after 'tampering'

Damian Green today called in security experts after suspecting that his personal computer was tampered with by police.

In a dramatic move, the Conservative frontbencher asked for his car, two homes and offices in London and his Kent constituency to be swept for bugs.

A private security company which specialises in countering industrial espionage was being commissioned by the Conservative Party to conduct a full search for listening devices and computer tampering.

The Standard has learned that Mr Green became suspicious that devices could have been planted when he used the computer in his London home over the weekend.

He found it would not behave normally and when he tried to use a command to undo any changes made to the operating system, it returned an error message. 'Something was not right about the computer after the counter-terrorism detectives left,' said a source. 'It was behaving as though something had been removed or implanted or that evidence of changes had been covered up. 'He realised that while the police were in his homes and his offices, there was plenty of time and opportunity for a device to be planted. 'The police also had possession of his car because they drove it to London from Kent.' Mr Green was arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office.

He was not charged, but held for nine hours while officers raided his homes and offices to search for evidence that he was in league with a Whitehall 'leaker'.

Link
 

lupinwick

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Its a bit crap if bugs etc. could be spotted so easily. If his computer has been tampered with then that will be quite awkward for the police and the government.
 

Dingo667

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Sorry its from the Daily Mail but this story does worry me. How comes that little criminals get off with almost nothing and then the police get out of their way to arrest a normal person?
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... 1880s.html

It seems that if you are an easy target [i.e someone who obeys the law and doesn't expect anything to happen] you get the worst treatment?



Bonfire Night on the village green at Elwick went off in the traditional blaze of glory. But Guy Fawkes wasn't the only sacrifice

Two days later, organiser Brett Duxfield was arrested, held at a police station for ten hours and charged with arson, for which the maximum sentence is life imprisonment.

He was taken from his home at 8am and had his DNA and fingerprints taken after police received a complaint that a 130-year-old bylaw banning fires on the green had been broken.

Mr Duxfield appeared before Hartlepool magistrates and was granted bail after the case was adjourned.

Last night the 39-year- old lorry driver said: 'This is a nightmare. I never thought this would happen.

'If you cannot have a village bonfire on a village green on November 5 - a tradition hundreds of years old - what is the world coming to?

'It's ridiculous and it means we have turned into a police state. It wasn't even me that lit the bonfire.'

The bylaw has usually been quietly ignored, but this year the parish council threatened to enforce it. Despite this, villagers went ahead.

Although the source of the complaint about the fire is unclear, many presume it came
from the council. Mr Duxfield's arrest has led to a huge row between villagers and the council.

A public meeting was held at the primary school and two councillors have resigned.
Enlarge bonfire

Annual tradition: The bonfire on Elwick Village Green on Guy Fawkes Night

One villager, Hilary Thompson, said: 'I'm appalled that Elwick Parish Council condones the arrest of a member of our community.'

Jack Harrison, chairman of the council, said they had sought legal advice and stood by their decision.

Guy Fawkes night had long been a feature at Elwick until 1994, when the ancient ban was last enforced because of rowdy behaviour.

Although the ban was never lifted officially, the celebrations returned four years ago and have passed off without incident, with families flocking to the green to watch the festivities.

Organisers even replace the charred turf.

Mr Duxfield, who lives in nearby Hartlepool, moved from Elwick three years ago but still visits the village to meet friends.
Enlarge bonfire

Entrenched in history: An archaic bylaw forbids the lighting of bonfires on the village green

He said that on Bonfire Night, 14 uniformed police officers had turned up wearing protective clothing.

He said he gave his name as a point of contact and was told that officers were only there as a matter of safety.

'Two days later, three police officers turned up at my home at 8am and I was arrested,' he said. 'I was interviewed until about 11.45am and then I was thrown in the cells until 6.15pm.

The green by day: A bylaw dating back to the 1880s prohibits bonfires on Elwick Village Green

The green by day: A bylaw dating back to the 1880s prohibits fire on Elwick Village Green

'The inspector kept opening the hatch and asking if I would accept a caution. I told him there was no way I would do that as I had done nothing wrong.

'I will definitely be making a civil case against the police force.'

Inspector Tony Green, of Cleveland Police, said: 'We are duty bound to follow a complaint through.

'Evidence was put before the Crown Prosecution Service and they decided there was a case to answer.'
 
A

Anonymous

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Minority Report comes to Britain: The CCTV that spots crimes.



CCTV cameras which can 'predict' if a crime is about to take place are being
introduced on Britain's streets.

The cameras can alert operators to suspicious behaviour, such as loitering and unusually slow walking. Anyone spotted could then have to explain their behaviour to a police officer.

The move has been compared to the Tom Cruise science-fiction film Minority Report, in which people are arrested before they commit planned offences.
It will also fuel fears that Britain is becoming a surveillance society. There are already 4.2million cameras trained on the public. The technology could be used alongside many of these to allow evermore advanced scrutiny of our movements.

Last night, civil rights campaign group Liberty was sceptical. A spokesman said: 'Bringing expensive Hollywood sci-fi to our car parks will never be as effective as having police on the street leading the fight against crime.'

The cameras, trained on public places, such as car parks, are being tested by Portsmouth City Council.

camera frame. If someone is seen lurking in a particular area, the computer will send out an alarm to a CCTV operator.

The operator will then check the image and – if concerned – ring the police. The aim is to stop crimes before they are committed. If a vehicle is moving too fast or slow – indicating joyriding or kerb-crawling, for example – a similar alert could be given.

Councillor Jason Fazackarley of Portsmouth Council said: 'It's the 21st century equivalent of a nightwatchman, but unlike a night-watchman it never blinks, it never takes a break and it never gets bored.'

despite doing nothing wrong. Nick Hewitson, managing director of Smart CCTV, which has created the technology, denied it was a further infringement on privacy.

He said the final decision on whether to send police to question a suspect would still rest with the CCTV operator.

Mr Hewitson added: 'Although we are a long way off Minority Report, it is a step closer.

'But what it cannot do is say whether a guy is waiting for his girlfriend or about to commit a crime. That is for the operator to make a subjective human decision on.'

The system has been run successfully in several U.S. cities, including New York. Government departments here are said to be interested in putting it to wider use.

Tory Shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'We will look at this carefully… but there is no argument for CCTV that invades your privacy without being effective in the fight against crime.'

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... appen.html



so i may be stopt just becos im walking to slowly :roll:
 

rynner2

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Protest threat to Speaker address

The House of Commons Speaker is to make a statement over the decision to allow police to search the offices of shadow immigration minister Damian Green.

Michael Martin is expected to face a protest unless he grants a full parliamentary debate on the issue.

Some of the most senior Tory and Lib Dem MPs including Ken Clarke and Menzies Campbell are understood to be prepared to interrupt the statement.

Many MPs are angry Mr Martin allowed police officers to enter Parliament.

Tory leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg have been discussing plans to secure a Commons debate on police powers and their application to Parliament, the BBC understands.

The Speaker is to make a statement at 1430 GMT on Wednesday - after the Queen's Speech but before MPs begin to discuss the government's legislative programme - and is likely to come under pressure to grant a debate.

The BBC's Norman Smith said several Tory MPs were considering trying to force Mr Martin's resignation.

He said they were looking at securing enough signatures on an early day motion expressing no confidence in the speaker.

But he added that he understood they would not take any action until they had heard his statement.

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said MPs were "bubbling with indignation about what is going on and will want to debate it".

But former Labour minister Lord Foulkes said the move was a tactic to "divert attention" from the real issue. He said people should not pre-judge the situation before Mr Martin's statement.

Many MPs have expressed misgivings about how police were allowed to enter Parliament to search Mr Green's office, arguing that the Speaker should have stopped them.

Some MPs had considered a protest during the Queen's Speech but ruled this out because they feared it would be seen as a protest against the monarchy.

Mr Green was arrested last Thursday and held for nine hours on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in public office in relation to an inquiry into leaks from the Home Office.

Home Office civil servant Christopher Galley was arrested on suspicion of misconduct in a public office earlier this month over the leaks.

Lawyers for the 26 year old, who is a former Tory council candidate, insist he did nothing wrong by handing over documents which embarrassed the government to Mr Green.

But Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell insisted internal systems were in place for staff to raise "matters of concern".

It was vital for the operation of the civil service that individuals put aside their "political beliefs" and kept the "confidence" of ministers, he said in a speech at an awards ceremony in Birmingham.

Lord Foulkes told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that where there could have been a threat to national security it was right to let the police investigate, provided the action was proportionate.

But David Davis, also speaking on the programme, said if there had been any question of such a threat, the arrests would have been made under the Official Secrets Act.

If that had been the case, "no-one would have said a word" about it, he added.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7762005.stm
 
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