Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/385/4358
Oppose Clarke's 'hideous experiment'
HOME SECRETARY Charles Clarke's draconian new 'anti-terror' laws have been passed through Parliament after the longest sitting so far this century. British subjects as well as foreign nationals can now be subject to 'control orders' without a trial.
These orders allow for measures such as the house arrest and electronic tagging of suspects. In fact, by the Friday after the Lords debate, tagging equipment was being prepared, ready to install in the homes of those subject to control orders.
These measures, rushed through Parliament, eat away at our hard-fought democratic rights. They won't succeed in fighting the 'terrorist threat' any more than internment without trial or the brutal jury-less Diplock courts that replaced internment in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. These harsh measures actually fuelled, for many years, support for terrorist groups in Ireland.
In a warning to the trade union movement 30 years on, many of those arrested under the 1974 Prevention of Terrorism Act were innocent trade unionists of Irish origin.
The Blair government is widely suspected of lying and duplicity after the experience of the weapons of mass destruction saga. Many people are asking: if the government has real evidence of the suspects' involvement in terrorist activity, why don't they take their suspects and their evidence to court?
Already, injustices are arising. The mother of one former detainee visiting from abroad was thrown out of the family house because she wasn't on a list of people authorised to visit her son under the control order.
Solicitor Gareth Peirce, who represents many detainees said: "Another hideous experiment has begun and again the government is using human guinea pigs."
The Socialist Party calls for the repeal of this legislation. We oppose any curtailment of the right to jury trials. We also fight for the democratic election of judges. Moreover, in a capitalist society where wealth and power are controlled by a tiny minority of rich and powerful people, that same minority fundamentally control the forces of the state - the courts, judges and police.
That's why the fight for a socialist society - organised to meet the needs of the millions rather than the profits of the millionaires - is so vital in all questions of democratic rights and civil liberties.
In The Socialist 19 March 2005: