Monday, April 16, 2012

Glenn Greenwald Needs to Come to Britain

I'm a bit worried. I watched GiGi a few weeks ago on Real Time and actually found him the most likeable of Bill Maher's guests. He sat beside Bill and smiled, but for some reason, Bill didn't respond.

Anyway, have I got a place for GiGi to visit ... The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I'd actually be on GiGi's side here. I'd egg him on, chipping away at everything that nice David Cameron and his assistant premier Nick (Legover) Clegg are hoping to achieve.

At last ... at last the New York Times reports something that's been bubbling away here in the UK for weeks. As the article reports:-

The George W. Bush team must be consumed with envy. Britain’s government is preparing sweeping new legislation that would let the country’s domestic intelligence agencies monitor all private telephone, e-mail, text message, social network and Internet use in the country, bypassing requirements for judicial warrants.

As with all such legislation on both sides of the Atlantic, sponsors promote the bill as a necessary new tool to keep the public safer from would-be terrorists, child molesters and common criminals. We are not convinced. What such sweeping new powers surely would do is compromise the privacy and liberty of law-abiding British citizens without reasonable justification.

Proper warrants, in Britain, as in the United States, are not hard to obtain whenever there is reasonable cause. And without such cause, the authorities should not have unchecked power to snoop on private conversations. As Britain’s ongoing hacking scandals demonstrate, unflattering private information in police hands can be selectively leaked or bartered to unprincipled media outlets with painful consequences.

The measures now being contemplated would betray the election promises of both parties in Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition to be more protective of traditional British civil liberties than their Labor Party predecessors. When Tony Blair proposed similar legislation in 2006, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, both then in opposition, rightly opposed it and Labor backed down.

The government’s proposed law will not be unveiled until next month. But the British press is full of semi-official leaks. The Sunday Times of London reported a few weeks ago that Internet companies would be required to install hardware that would let intelligence agencies routinely monitor headers and patterns of communication and give the agencies the capacity to monitor the contents of individual communications without a warrant.

There is still time for more reasonable voices to prevail. David Davis, for example, a leading Conservative backbencher, has publicly challenged the proposal for not focusing on terrorists or criminals, but on “absolutely everybody.” He rightly characterizes it as “an unnecessary extension of the ability of the state to snoop on ordinary innocent people in vast numbers.”

Britain has no formal equivalent of America’s constitutional guarantee against unreasonable search, although that concept is rooted in English common law. But Britain has its own long and admirable civil liberties traditions going back to the Magna Carta of 1215.

With London’s Olympics just months away, we recognize the need for vigilance against terrorist plots. But this legislation would go much too far. It needs to be rethought to protect the privacy of innocent British citizens.

I just had to include the entire article because it informs America just exactly what's going on in a country many Puritopians highlight as being more tolerant, open-minded and liberal than the US. Several so-called Leftwing pundits have even asserted that the Conservative, that nice David Cameron, is actually more to the Left than our own President.

It's one thing for Cameron to champion same-sex marriage, challenging some in his own Anglican Church and, indeed, in his own party, but it's quite another thing to put private citizenry under what is tantamount to continuous surveillance.

Please note the highlighted parts. It's true that when Tony Blaier proposed such measures in the wake of 9/11 and the London Underground bombings, Cameron's party allied with the hard Left of Blair's party to condemnn and reject them ... just like the Republican party is now repudiating Romneycare, which was actually formulated some years before by Bob Dole.

So the next time someone wants to have a good old moan in the US about how repressed you are and how your civil liberties are being infringed by wicked, evil Barack Obama ... come to England, where STFU is close to becoming a law.

And I haven't even started on what that nice David Cameron is doing to the National Health.

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