Blair and the European democratic bypass, part the nth
"On 1-2 December 2005, European Union justice and security ministers at a Council of the European Union meeting in Brussels plan to back stringent new anti-terror measures. Some of them will be based on a strategy that raises difficult questions about personal integrity, fundamental rights and freedom of speech. They will almost certainly be put on the agenda of the European Council summit in Brussels on 15-16 December... This is one of the most important points on the United Kingdom’s agenda for its presidency of the European Union...That Open Democracy Article also links to a leaked memo giving a few clues as to what the plans are (in typically Blairite tones like "consequence management capabilities" where they mean "manpower for picking up bodies and rubble", the old chestnut of "justification for terrorism" etc. etc.).
"The measures should have been the subject of a public debate at EU level, involving many parts of society – not least Muslim communities. It has not happened: instead, although member-states have discussed the strategy and the wider action plan for four months, the documents are still kept secret in the council secretariat."
There's also yet another mindless attack on modern technology from our luddite overlords (they have to be technological incompetents to think their data retention and ID card plans could ever work, surely? And the obviously don't understand the internet, or government websites would be rather easier to navigate...):
"The ability to put ideas into action has been greatly enhanced by globalisation: ease of travel and communication and easy transfer of money mean easier access to radical ideas and training. The Internet assists this facilitation and provides a means for post-attack justification...Yes, of course the internet provides a "means" for post-attack justification. So does a pen and paper. So does the ability to speak. But what, pray tell, does "disrupt such behaviour" mean? What does "prevent individuals from inciting and legitimising violence" mean? The conflict zones stuff, fine - no problem with that. But are Blair and co again trying to get the blessing of the EU to start wading in and censoring the internet and limiting freedom of speech?
"We need to spot such behaviour by, for example, community policing, and effective monitoring of the Internet and travel to conflict zones. We should build our expertise by exchanging national assessments and analyses. We also need to disrupt such behaviour... We must put in place the right legal framework to prevent individuals from inciting and legitimising violence. And we will examine ways to impede terrorist recruitment using the Internet. We will pursue political dialogue and target technical assistance to help others outside the EU to do the same."
Call me cynical, but these days I hear them say "Throughout we will ensure that we do not undermine respect for fundamental rights" and I remember the Safety Elephant blathering on about how some rights are more fundamental than others (and some animals are more equal than others).
I also note that "respect for fundamental rights" is not the same as "commitment to fundamental rights". A hunter may respect the deer he's stalking - that doesn't stop him from shooting the fucker in the face...