UK Liberty

Another potential terrorist foiled

Posted in law and order by ukliberty on October 31, 2008


A schoolboy taking photographs of a railway station on a geography field trip was suspected of being a terrorist.

Fabian Sabbara, 15, of Cheam, was dressed in his school uniform when he was stopped by three police community support officers for taking photos of Wimbledon station on his mobile phone.

The student from Rutlish High School, Merton, explained he was taking pedestrian counts, a traffic survey and photos as part of a GCSE project.

But PCSO Barry Reeve told Fabian to sign forms under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act, which allows police to stop and search at random anyone they suspect of terrorism.

That’s not entirely accurate – in fact it allows an area to be designated as a stop and search area and anyone in that area can be stopped and searched without the requirement of reasonable suspicion.

Metropolitan Police spokesman Beverley Kassem said officers did not search him and no further action was taken.

Hmm… it’s my understanding of the Act (s45) that the power “may be exercised only for the purpose of searching for articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism” – in other words you can’t just stop people with that particular power, you have to search them too.  There is a power where an officer can stop and ask someone to account for themselves, under other legislation.

Anyway, that’s all just details isn’t it?  Because if the police hadn’t stopped Mr Sabbara, and he had turned out to be a terrorist, thousands of people could have died.

Thank god the PCSOs were prepared to put their lives at risk by stopping him.  Thank god our Beloved Leaders pushed this legislation through Parliament.  Thank god that “schools and police will work closely on future school trips in the area”.

Compensation comparisons

Posted in Uncategorized by ukliberty on October 31, 2008

Financial Times:

Abbey is fighting a rearguard action against a record £2.8m race discrimination award made to a former employee [accountant]


an RAF typist who damaged her thumb [well, she got de Quervain’s tenosynovitis, a form of RSI] at the Ministry of Defence in London was given a £484,000 payout.

The same article:

Paratrooper Ben Parkinson was left paralysed after being blown up by a land mine in Afghanistan last year, losing both legs, suffering severe fractures, and receiving brain damage that left him unable to speak and with severe memory loss. [received £152,000]


Sergeant Trevor Walker lost a leg [amputated above knee] while serving in Bosnia [compensation:£0, see Law Lords judgement]

Funny old world, innit?

The questions we should be asking of surveillance proposals

Posted in database state, surveillance society by ukliberty on October 31, 2008

William Heath at Ideal Government:

Jacqui “Spammer” Smith fessed up yesterday to what we picked up months ago, ie they’re getting on with the evil IMP giant centralised database of all email, text, phone and web traffic despite the fact that Ministers have decided to delay the legislation needed to set it up because they can see they’re on to a Parliamentary loser.

Instead they’re doing the “phoney figleaf” consultation route. This will be based on familiar questions like

Do you think our loyal security services should be given proper up-to-date equipment to help them try to prevent terrorism and the massacre of innocents?

It will probably NOT be based on questions like

1. Are we so petrified, have we so lost our common sense, courage and phlegmatic British values that we should install a massive snooping engine so that bureaucrats have intrusive access to every aspect of everybody’s work, creative, cultural, social sexual and religious life?

2. Should we bequeathe to the future an interlocking set of mechanisms of total state control in order to reduce littering and graffiti?

3. Do we seriously think that wasting more billions of pounds on high-risk technology projects start to resolve the human and social sources of conflict in society?

What price the war on terror?

Posted in accountability, detention without charge, law and order, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on October 31, 2008

The Guardian:

Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has asked the attorney general to investigate possible “criminal wrongdoing” by the MI5 and the CIA over its treatment of a British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, it was revealed tonight.

The dramatic development over allegations of collusion in torture and inhuman treatment follows a high court judgment which found that an MI5 officer participated in the unlawful interrogation of Binyam Mohamed. The MI5 officer interrogated Mohamed while he was being held in Pakistan in 2002.

It emerged tonight that lawyers acting for Smith have sent the attorney general, Baroness Scotland, evidence about MI5 and CIA involvement in the case, which was heard behind closed doors in high court hearings. In a letter seen by the Guardian, they have asked Scotland – as an independent law officer – to investigate “possible criminal wrongdoing”. The move could lead to a criminal prosecution.

The evidence was suppressed following gagging orders demanded by David Miliband, the foreign secretary, and the US authorities. The action by Smith, the minister responsible for MI5 activities, is believed to be unprecedented.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed tonight that the letter and closed evidence had been sent to the attorney. It had no further comment.

In the high court earlier this month, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones condemned as “deeply disturbing” a refusal by the US to disclose evidence. In a particularly damning passage, they said claims by Mohamed’s lawyers that the US was refusing to release the papers because “torturers do not readily hand over evidence of their conduct” could not be dismissed and required an answer.

That judgement can be found on Bailii.