UK Liberty

Did Keith Vaz privately seek Gordon Brown’s views on 42 days?

Posted in detention without charge, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on October 1, 2008

If so, it’s a big no no!

The Observer (hat-tip David Moss):

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, sought the private views of Gordon Brown for an independent report into government plans to extend the detention of terror suspects beyond 28 days.

Emails which have been seen by The Observer suggest that the MP for Leicester East spoke secretly to the Prime Minister about the committee’s draft paper and proposed a meeting because ‘we need to get his [Brown’s] suggestions’.

The disclosure has deeply concerned committee members and civil liberties campaigners. Select committee reports are supposed to be compiled independently of government influence. …

I trust he will be appropriately rewarded.

notes from de Menezes inquest day 6

Posted in de Menezes by ukliberty on October 1, 2008

29 September 2008

Operation Rainbow briefing, section on Operation Kratos, includes “awareness of different types of devices” used by suicide bombers, possible behavioural characteristics of people involved in suicide bombing, including “sweating, mumbling, possibly praying, recently clean-shaven, looking anxious, wearing bulky clothing not in keeping with the weather or event, holding something in the hand or in a clenched fist; and says you could look for a wire or toggle protruding from an overtly carried bag” – this information coming from the MIddle East, not based on information from the UK.

at 5.40 [am 22 July] a question was asked in Mr McDowall’s office: what if only one suspect came out of one of the premises. He says: “This was immediately followed up by the tactical adviser…” ‘Andrew’ “… saying that if a suspect came out of the address wearing gloves and/or carrying a rucksack, it is possible that he is preparing for another attack and ready to die for the cause. Should he fail to do as he is told, he is likely to be shot.”

“The systems do exist … to find out where the address is in London, a map of the roads and possibly, you know, whether it’s a block of flats or a house.”

Q. [Mansfield] Assuming the chain of command that you have described, so that Angela Scott, as you understood it, the deputed Silver, would it then be her responsibility to come to you and say, as the main tactical adviser: look, the commander — or however she referred to, or John or whatever — wants a deployment as soon as possible to Scotia Road of two kinds; one is a watching one, that’s SO12; and two is a stopping one if there are suspects coming out who are the subject of the operation, which is CO19. She would come to you; yes?
A. [‘Andrew’] Yes, sir.
Q. Right. What you appear to be saying is that no-one came to you and did that; is that right?
A. Correct, sir.
Q. In the many months and years that have gone by, have you ever discovered or has anybody told you why nobody came to you?
A. No, sir, I only realised the 5.15 meeting, I think, round about the time of the Health and Safety trial. Up until that time I was unaware of this meeting or this issue.

‘Andrew’: “I think the term “hard stop” is a really unfortunate expression that’s crept into police parlance, because it’s interpreted by so many people to mean so many different things.”

Some interesting detail about firearms training pages 149-161.

SFO operations 600-1000 a year.  Between 2001-2005, five operations, five individuals hit, four killed. There is some more discussion of such figures.  I think this is obfuscating the issue somewhat: that something is a rare event – statistically insignificant, even – does not mean we shouldn’t scrutinise it, or that it is an accident as opposed to negligence. <- this isn’t what they are saying; it’s support for the claim that the firearms officers aren’t gung ho, that there is a culture of restraint.

Council of Europe body has serious doubts about 42 days legislation

Posted in detention without charge by ukliberty on October 1, 2008

The BBC:

Government plans to enable police to hold terror suspects without charge for 42 days have caused “considerable concern” at Europe’s human rights body.

The Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee said suspects should be taken to prison after 14 days as police cells were inadequate for longer detention. …

The rest of this shoddy article pretends that’s all the report is about: conditions in cells.

They don’t bother to link to the report.  The most important bit in the summary, more important than conditions in detention it seems to me, is this:

3.       The Assembly has serious doubts whether all the provisions of the draft legislation are in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of appropriate procedural safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of Articles 5 (right to liberty and security) and 6 (right to a fair trial) of the Convention. The Assembly is particularly concerned that:

3.1.       the judge determining the extension of a person’s detention may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;

3.2.       legal assistance and representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;

3.3.       information on the grounds for suspicion of a person having committed an offence may be unduly withheld, even from institutions competent in deciding on continued detention;

3.4.       the draft legislation may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;

3.5.       prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment of the person held in these conditions.

4.       The Guidelines on Human Rights and the Fight against Terrorism, adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 2002 and which confirm the established case-law of the Strasbourg Court, serve as a model for legislation. In particular, any person arrested or detained for terrorist activities must be told of the reasons for his or her arrest and must be able to challenge the lawfulness of his or her arrest and continued detention at an adversarial hearing.

5.       Legislative provisions concerning deprivation of liberty, including the detention of terrorist suspects, must be clear, precise and easy to comprehend. The draft legislation is, however, unduly complicated and not readily understandable.

6.       Parliamentary involvement in the extension of pre-charge detention, as proposed, is not appropriate. Hence, from the perspective of the separation of powers, the decision to maintain a person in custody is a judicial function with respect to which a legislative, political body should, as a matter of principle, have no say.

Hahaha – when are identity cards not identity cards?

Posted in ID Cards by ukliberty on October 1, 2008

The UK Border Agency:

Identity cards for foreign nationals are a form of residence permit

Someone ought to tell Jacqui Smith.