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Justice and Security Bill Evidence 2012-13
“ In the coming year, the government, at the behest of the intelligence agencies, is going to ask us to introduce a secret procedure into our civil courts for the first time in our history. It will allow the covering up of crimes – such as complicity in torture – that may have been carried out in our name. It is being argued on the assumption that our allies are naïve, and are willing to compromise the fundamental values of our justice system in a war that is suppose to be in defence of those very values.”
- Rt Hon David Davis MP
The torture and indefinite detention of civilians has been condemned repeatedly following 9/11, however we find repeated attempts by the UK Security Services to encroach on civil liberties despite the fundamental value of these liberties in protecting the British way of life. Such action on its own accord, could be considered a threat to national security. We believe the the United Kingdom would do itself better justice if it stood by the principles that made it a great nation.
Will we reaffirm the values our nation was founded on or veer towards an oppressive world where we attempt to regulate the vitality of society because we are unable to accommodate unity of purpose.
Those who jeopardise, sacrifice or abandon due process, must be held accountable for the terrorism they inspire.
As our justice system stands under threat, so do the freedoms of expression and the health of our society. We have before us a choice, we can look back or look to the future, to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United Kingdom. If we look to the past we must follow those British Institutions accused of harbouring delusions of grandeur and risk a bleeding ulcer in a second level, second tier power overextending itself in the world as a first level power.
Those who will endeavour to look to the future will honour the vision of the late Robin Cook who tried to preserve the delicate equilibrium of the world around us and adjust towards an equitable world where there would be a clear balance of powers and no definite, unsurpassed competitive advantage in terms of production or technology. To oppose the adventurism of Tony Blair & Co. He sacrificed his life in the process.
We must find our place in the world as equal, equitable partners and fulfil the dream of Robin Cook.
We know the areas we have neglected, the prosecution of an illegal war in Iraq and the revealing of individual war crimes carried out within that war; the targeting and inhumane treatment of individuals throughout the world and the collusion of governments in that targeting; the torture and rendition of British citizens.
British citizens who have complained of being tortured are unable to prosecute those involved in their torture because of claims of national security, we see the executive government use national security to protect their own corruption and fraud against the public interest.
I am disconcerted to see Britain sleep-walking into approving laws that suspend due process. Sadly, when you get this matrix of surveillance, plus claims of brutality combined with unprecedented access to the public space and laws that suspend due process we have circumstances that will inevitably break down protest and close down democracy.
There are grave concerns for the way the Security Services are governed and the reliability of their intelligence information in crucial foreign policy decisions in the interest of public safety we must ensure the intelligence and security committee fulfil its responsibility under the direction and public scrutiny of parliament as a committee of parliament rather than a non-parliament committee composed of parliamentarians.
Urgent improvements to accountability are required to avoid immediate public safety risks. Can we allow ourselves to diminish accountability of the Security Services on the basis of an ambiguous threat to national security?
With increasing pressure to maintain public services, the Justice and Security Bill risks instituting a regime of secrecy in the Britain and instigating a violent crackdown on dissent, whistle-blowers or anyone who threatens to expose government malpractice, fraud or corruption. In the 21st century it is imperative we obtain structures of compliance for the demands we face as a modern democracy of the future. Britain who pioneered the global concept of democracy has an important place in deciding that these challenges of democracy are managed. We should ask ourselves is this legislation compatible with the accountability and compliance demands of a modern working democracy of the 21st century?
This law risk the the very process of democracy, in awarding power - the power that exists in the absence of oversight - to an institution that has been accused of unlawful activity in torture and abuse cases. The Security Services have a responsibility, that has unfortunately in the past been abused with providing intelligence information with going to war with Iraq, an abuse of public trust, as was unfortunately the case in going to war with Iraq, requires enhanced accountability. I firmly believe the bill should be no substitute to good management, oversight and guidance.
I ask the noble lords that we make a stand for justice and help protect those who shine a light on the crimes of the Security Services and potentially any government department standing behind national security. Claims of National Security should be no substitute for good management, oversight and guidelines.
The present legislation is a moderate means to access accountability of the Security Services that British citizens are entitled to as part of our Human Rights commitments under international law. What we propose is to prioritise domestic law above our obligations under international agreements. Without qualifying the claim of threats to national security the government has regretfully made an assumption of non-entitlement thereby impeding access to legal due-process, several British nationals have suffered prolonged duress in detention and torture cases.
Despite an impending need to investigate accountability and protect the process of law the government offered no commitment to redress, this affected public interest by placing human rights and civil liberties at risk. I believe public harm was caused in the Security Services failing to fulfil an essential public service in providing overdue accountability
Clearly with an impending need for accountability, there is no reason to abandon foresight and invite neglect to further jeopardise a working democracy. Particularly if there is full capacity to manage these claims of risks to national security with good management, procedures and oversight without jeopardising compliance and public safety to the detriment of our democratic way of life. It is unethical to punish the public for internal failings with the department. The governments Zero Tolerance approach should not impede due-diligence or service care or fail in its responsibility to the public. The policy should not be a substitute to good management, procedures and oversight.
Laws that suspend due process that are an integral part of our heritage may be effective in closing down complaint and protest, but raise questions of the compatibility of this legislation with a working democracy.
Without enhanced oversight of the Security Services we risk descending into authoritarian and totalitarian practices that criminalise dissent and the safety mechanisms of checks and balances to safeguard our way of life.
It is unfortunate that there is a doctrine in the law that allows courts to throw out cases that allege serious constitutional violations based on secret evidence the judge reviews behind closed door that never see the light of day. This should not be in a democratic society.
History has shown that democracy has unable to support itself with secretive mechanisms that can and have been known to abuse power and betray public confidence.
This questions the systems of checks and balances to make democracy work. As there is little or no oversight of the Security Services. It allows the government to escape responsibility for its actions. I would argue it is unlawful for the Security Service to enter the public space, since an institution battered and bruised by allegations of misconduct, could pose public safety risks without recourse to redress.
I believe we have a responsibility to follow the example of the Rt Hon David Davis MP and act as a representative of the public interest.
I have contacted the Attorney General, and I have written to the Justice Secretary since I believe the actions of the government threaten key constitutional principles, human rights and rules of law. Secret courts would not be compliant with EU law and as my personal case demonstrates there is a real risk the security services could become above accountability, a state within a state, because the service is judged to handle sensitive information. Is this an issue of organisational culture and management, should there be coplacency to the fact that our service is implicated in torture; wouldn't the appropriate response be to initiate a new House of Lords committee inquiry in to evidence of torture, in the public interest? I present before you evidence of my own experience to bring accountability of wrong-doing by the security services.
Justice, the pride and envy of every nation, is the very embodiment of national integrity. We must protect out national heritage and save the Human Rights Act.
Manningham Human Rights Centre
This petition closed over 2 years ago
Campaign for an Open & Accountable Justice System
Justice is the pride of every nation.
Britain which pioneered the concept of individual freedom with the Magna Carter has an important place in...
Campaign for an Open & Accountable Justice System
Justice is the pride of every nation.
Britain which pioneered the concept of individual freedom with the Magna Carter has an important place in deciding how to manage the future challenges of democracy. Our lordships as the guardians of the constitution should be supported to protect this heritage of constitutional law, so that Britain may lead the way with the democratic compliance of a 21st century democracy.
The Justice and Security Bill threatens over 200 years of democracy in Europe as the British people fight to secure their habeas corpus rights. Ambiguously defined national security threats favour a new bill now being introduced to make it a crime to protest in a way that disrupts any government process and to criminalise anyone who is in position to expose government corruption and fraud.
It gives the government the power to presume guilt rather than innocence, and indefinitely imprison anyone accused of a belligerent act or terror-related offence without trial. It could provide political leaders the power to arrest their political critics. The Justice and Security Bill is the worst threat to civil liberty in Europe, since we have for the first time in the democratic age, a case in Europe where habeas corpus could be suspended. What threat could justify an abdication of constitutional law?
I believe the EU is able to provide a constitutional guard based on its own founding principle to support an open justice system and ensure national security should not supersede our constitutional principles.
Secret courts would not be compliant with EU law and as my personal case demonstrates there is a real risk the security services could become above accountability, a state within a state, because the service is judged to handle sensitive information. Is this an issue of organisational culture and management, should there be complacency to the fact that our service is implicated in torture.
Justice, the pride and envy of every nation, is the very embodiment of national integrity. We must protect out national heritage and save the Human Rights Act. To view the full document please visit: