Justice and Security Bill Evidence 2012-13
The government has failed the people, our democratic voice is here expressed as a voice of no confidence in the coalition government plan for Secret Courts.

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.

Civil cases done in secret leaves far too wide an approach against counter-terrorism legislation which has, in the past, allowed individual security service personnel to privately prosecute civilians in detention and torture cases.

+ 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.

+ The Justice and Security Bill could also incorporate a wider written constitution to safeguard civil liberties when questions of national security arise. This could consist of legal due process to determine and define the national security risks that propose to curtail the rights and freedoms of British citizens. It should not be a monopoly of the Security Services and should be independent of the executive arm of government. We are aware of intelligence failings in foreign policy decision, the risks exist for domestic policy where the Security Services have a considerable say over how we govern our lives based on the security risk they independently determine for us. Why is this process not subject to scrutiny when our constitutional principles are at risk? I believe the House of Lords, as the guardians of the constitution, must exercise its legal authority and arbitrate the risk factors inherent in a classification of national security.

+ The wholesale destruction of civil liberties as has been the case with counter-terrorism legislation amount to a state of collective punishment. An Independent scrutiny process that can safeguard the constitution and the rights and freedoms of British citizens would offer a safety mechanism.

+ The Security Services has been accused of unlawful activity in torture and rendition 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 believe the Justice and Security Bill should be no substitute to good management, oversight and guidance.

+ The Justice and Security Bill presents us with a defining choice. Do we look to the institutions of the past or do we look to the democracy needs of the future and our place in the world as equal, equitable partners. Are there risks of a second level, second tier power exerting itself in the world as a first level power?

+ What we propose in the bill is to prioritise domestic law above our obligations under international agreements. Without qualifying claims of threats to national security the government has regretfully made an assumption of non-entitlement thereby impeding access to legal due-process,

+ In introducing this bill Britain risks sleep-walking into approving laws that suspend due process. This matrix of surveillance, plus claims of brutality combined with unprecedented access to the public space and laws that suspend due process create inevitable circumstances that break down protest and close down democracy.

+ 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.

+ Can we allow British citizens to be intimidated by their own national security?

Shah Sher

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