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High crimes and breach of parliamentary privilege

Keith Parkins | 28.11.2008 16:51 | SOCPA | Repression | Social Struggles | Terror War

Yesterday Damian Green a senior opposition politician was arrested and held for nine hours.

'A 52-year-old man . . . has been arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit misconduct in a public office and aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office.' -- Metropolitan Police

'The fundamental duty of the Metropolitan Police is to protect Londoners from harm, not the Government from political embarrassment.' -- Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti

I never thought the day would come when I turned on my radio and hear that a senior opposition politician had been arrested for a political crime. When I heard last night that Damian Green, Conservative front bench spokesman had been arrested and held for nine hours, I thought I must have misheard the report, but no, it was true.

His alleged crime, handing out passes to terrorists so they could gain access to Parliament, passing nuclear secrets to Iran, tipping off drug dealers? Er no, embarrassing the Home Secretary by publishing a leaked report that showed she knew that illegal immigrants had been security cleared to work in sensitive government departments including the Home Office. In other words he was doing his job and holding the government to account.

When I heard what had happened and realised it was indeed true, it sent a chill down my spine. This was like a throw back to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia or today in Zimbabwe or China.

Damian Green had his home, his constituency and parliamentary offices raided by police, including anti-terrorism officers. According to Tony Benn who has spoken to Damien Green, the police rifled through his hard drive on his computer, riffled through his papers. He was arrested and held for nine hours for questioning. He has been released on Police Bail pending further questioning in February.

We are asked to believe the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith did not know. We are asked to believe she did not not know when it was the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office who called in the police. If she did not know then there is a serious lack of accountability at the Home Office.

Mayor Boris was told, the Speaker's Office was told, the Sergeant at Arms was told.

Protesters and demonstrators are used to being fair game, as we have seen with the EDO demonstrations in Brighton, the banning of the film of these demonstration, the over-the-top policing at the Climate Camp this summer, at ID Card actions this week, the harassment of Brian Haw for having the audacity to protest the illegal Iraq War.

The arrest of Damien Green is to ratchet up the oppression a notch.

According to Tony Benn speaking on the BBC Radio 4 lunchtime news The World at One, this was a serious breach of parliamentary privilege, that it was a high crime to interfere with a witness to Parliament.

Was it one last throw of the dice, two fingers from the disgraced Metropolitan Police Chief Sir Ian Blair who stepped down today?

Only recently The Independent reported that the Parliamentary Intelligence Select Committee wanted to bring in censorship to stop any report damaging to the national interest, ie government interest.

We are seeing serious abuses of anti-terrorist legislation.

Councils are using anti-terrorist legislation to spy on people putting their rubbish out.

All 46 schools in Aldershot and Farnborough are being placed under secret surveillance to catch any parent who may dare to drop their children off at the school gates. The evidence will then be used to issue an on-the-spot fine.

You cannot protest outside Parliament without police permission.

Student filmmakers were recently stopped from filming in Parliament Square.

A 15-year-old was detained by PCSOs at Wimbledon station as a terrorist suspect for taking pictures of the station.

A man was questioned by a female PCSO outside Leatherhead Station for taking pictures outside the station. At the time his camera was pointing away from the station!

Plane spotters outside Farnborough Airport are being questioned and searched using terrorism legislation.

There is legislation passing through Parliament that will make it a criminal offence with a ten year sentence to take a photo of a constable, ie a serving police officer.

The government plans a massive data base that will record all our phone calls, text messages and Internet activity.

It will be a requirement to produce a passport or National ID card to obtain a pay-as-you-go mobile phone.

Citizens outside of the EU visiting the UK as of this week will be required to fingerprinted, be interrogated and be issued with an ID card containing biometric data.

False information or even out-of-date information on an ID Card will lead to a thousand pound fine.

At a recent meeting in Guildford hosted by Amnesty International to mark 60 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, veteran peace campaigner Bruce Kent spoke of his grave concern at the erosion of our freedoms. He was right to be concerned.


background and reference

A £1,000 fine for wrong ID details, BBC news on-line, 21 November 2008

James Chapman and Ian Drury, Terror of Tory MP's daughter as NINE anti-terror police raid his home over 'immigration leaks to media', Mail online, 28 November 2008

Cross-party fury over MP's arrest, BBC news on-line, 28 November 2008

Francis Elliot and Richard Ford, Tory frontbench MP Damian Green arrested over leaks, Times online, 28 November 2008

ID Card rollout meets resistance, Indymedia UK, 25 November 2008

Liberty concerned about heavy-handed tactics against opposition politician, Liberty press release, 28 November 2008

Keith Parkins, Farnborough Airport 'terrorist' plane spotters, Indymedia UK, 23 October 2008

Keith Parkins, Big Brother targets the school run, Indymedia UK, 31 October 2008

Keith Parkins, The surveillance state, Indymedia UK, 10 November 2008

Keith Parkins, 60 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Indymedia UK, 26 November 2008

Kim Sengupta, MPs seek to censor the media, The Independent, 10 November 2008

Senior Tory arrested over leaks, BBC news online, 28 November 2008

Keith Parkins


Display the following 7 comments

  1. Same shit — Winston Smith
  2. Conspiracy — Winston Smith
  3. interesting timing — Keith
  4. Police State now official — Keith
  5. Further press coverage — Keith
  6. Indymedia UK coverage — Keith
  7. Not new at all - it's the style thats changed — A F Williamson