Friday, November 28, 2008

Ominous overreaction?...

What a worrying state of affairs: "Damian Green - arrested under the most sinister law in Britain?" The Red Box blog discussing Green's arrest under suspicion of "aiding and abetting, counselling or procuring misconduct in a public office" led me to Nick Cohen's article in The Guardian in September re the case of Sally Murrer.[Link]
"Once in custody, detectives kept her isolated from her two teenage daughters and autistic son for 24 hours. Then they began the grilling... ...They let her go, but soon hauled her back in. Before her second interrogation, they left her shivering in a cell. Before her third, a woman officer put on rubber gloves and strip-searched her. After that, 'I just lost my ability to think coherently,'"

"With their full knowledge, the law enforcement agencies have devoted vast effort on hounding a part-time reporter on a little local paper, while ignoring the criminals the public pays them to catch."

Of course such developments are worrying, the Green episode may come to nought but the trend, if it is indeed a trend (how many cases have not had the coverage?) is Stasiesque to say the least: and as one poster (thank you JSG) put it on the BBC R5L messageboards: "The opposition has an official position, standing, Her Majesties opposition. I can not see how a servant of the state civil service can 'leak' to a shadow minister. They surely are entitled to any information in the state system."

...and by complete and unbelievable coincidence: reported today in The Times.

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Paul said...

I agree that the Damian Green story is a worrying development in the overuse of power.

With regards to the Sally Murer arrest and story I have to say I trust Nick Cohen about as much as I'd trust a piece of blu-tac to hold up my trousers.

Span Ows said... it; I shall tuck that phrase away for future reference...I've just added a final sentence to my post...coincidental or what! The Murrer case has just been kicked out of court.

Paul said...

I'm glad about Sally Murer's case being thrown out and the judge was quite correct in what he said.

One of the worrying points to come out of the money laundering course the other week is the existence of a huge database logging every communication with HMRC or the police that requires HMRC investigation. Now I know that people say this is another Stalinesque aspect of society but just think of all the information that is disclosed to non-Government departments - this is an extension of the potential misuse of data.

Span Ows said...

Worrying indeed...seeing as we have proof that private data isn't safe, we have proof that government systems aren't safe and we have proof that info has already passed to departments who shouldn't be within a country mile of such just beggars belief (hackneyed phrase I know). Had a giggle on the MB today when it was revealed by a poster presumably trying to 'help' the government a bit by saying (erroneously as it happens) that the police had stated that law under which Green was arrested was PACE (the Police and Criminal Evidence Act) and the year...