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Weak Sauce

On the radio this morning, Lord Carlile offered a highly convincing argument for why terrorist suspects should be detained for up to 42 days before being charged. Perfectionist that I am, I went back and listened to the bloody thing again. After all, I'm not at my personal best when I've just woken up, and I was concerned that I might not be doing the old bastard full justice. And indeed, it turns out that he was even more shameless than I had remembered:

LC: I've just watched, out of your radio car window, children setting off to get a bus to school in central London. In 2001, children were the subject of bombs in central London. Much worse could occur.
[Blah blah Iran (a dismissive "yes" from the interviewer when this comes up) blah blah murder using nuclear material (presumably the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Bad, but irrelevant here to the point of being disingenuous.)]

BBC: I understand that, but you're not claiming, surely, that the 42 day provision will help to prevent disgraceful attacks on children in central London? It wouldn't. It's not set up to do that.

LC: Well it might, it might. That's exactly what I am claiming.

BBC: By what mechanism?

LC: By this mechanism. If somebody is released because the police are not able to carry out a proper investigation, and that person continues on their terrorist way, they may use their skills to do something even more terrible than they were attempting to do or have done before.

Conveniently, this argument would work just as well for lengthening the period beyond 42 days, lowering standards of evidence, or even locking up people suspected of other crimes that could affect kids on buses. How reassuring that he's thinking of the children.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 12th, 2008 09:32 pm (UTC)
This annoyed me all day. People who disagree with the 42 day limit literally want to kill your children, you know. And I'd forgotten all about it until you went stirring things up again.

I also liked his subtle mention of the terrorist skillz of which we should be so afraid. Their most recent idea, of course, seemed to be stuffing a car full of gas cylinders, setting it on fire and driving into a airport. It's a dreadful thing to attempt (even if it can be foiled by a Glaswegian baggage handler giving you a dry slap) but the investigating authorities aren't going to need 42 days to get to the bottom of it.

"You see, Prime Minister, if only we could decrypt this PowerPoint presentation we might learn what was going to happen after the terrorist drove the burning car into the arrivals area. As it is, we've got no choice but to let him walk."
Jun. 12th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten all about it until you went stirring things up again.

Sorry about that. I often find that 'Today' is like a waking dream: quickly forgotten, but occasionally bubbling up from one's subconscious hours later, prompting (as often as not) a confused sense that Things are not quite as they should be.

terrorist skillz

Thanks for catching this error in my transcription. From the context it is clear that he's referring, not to the merely proficient child-exploders, but the l33t.
Jun. 13th, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
I wish I knew what happened to the concept of presumed innocence in our respective societies. Isn't criminal intent supposed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and then presented within a court of law? Calling someone a terrorist and locking them up willy-nilly for 42 days without a charge flies in the face of "innocent until proven guilty"...

It's sad to see this happening just as much overseas as it is back here :(
Jun. 13th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Given the amount of legislation on the books we all probably guilty of something. Since it would be harder to commit crimes if locked up presumably his plan is to lock up everyone and have trustees perform required functions such as prisons guards or growing food.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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