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Monday, November 21, 2005 

Association of Chief Police Officers opposes some of the government's anti-terror legislation.

From the way the government and Tony Blair in particular went on alarming about the police supported him and the government's position over 90 days detention without trial, you would have thought that he did genuinely have the backing of the police for all of his anti-terror bills proposals. Some of his wish-list was originally drawn up the police after the bomb attacks of July the 7th. Well guess what? On four points the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) opposes the bill. They are:

· Amending human rights laws to get round obstacles to new deportation rules.

· Making the justification or glorification of terrorism anywhere an offence.

· Automatically refusing asylum to anyone linked to terrorism anywhere.

· Banning the alleged extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir and successor groups to al-Muhajiroun. Acpo says it knows of no intelligence to justify a Hizb ut-Tahrir ban.

In other words, apart from the 90 days, they oppose all the government's contentious proposals. "Glorification" has, and still is drafted far too broadly in the legislation and could result in the public or even journalists or commentators being arrested for saying that foreign regimes should be overthrown. Automatically refusing asylum to "anyone associated with terrorism" may well have stopped members of the African National Congress from fleeing here during the period of apartheid in South Africa. Its adoption would throw into the question the position of a least one notable opponent to Russian intervention in Chechnya, who has gained asylum here, to Russia's outrage. It would no doubt affect many others who have been falsely accused, or who have been smeared either by media, the state or intelligence services. Each case needs to be judged on its own merits. If Hizb ut-Tahrir were to be banned, why not the British National Party and/or other extreme right and left parties? Hizb ut-Tahrir are peaceful, however repugnant some may find their ideas. That cannot be said of some of the representatives whom have been put up for election for the BNP in the past.

From a BBC report:

On Sunday, Attorney General Lord Goldsmith insisted the bill was not "knee-jerk" legislation".

"The proposals in the bill do not represent overnight panic in response to the July attacks on London but are the culmination of proper policy development," he said.

He went on to argue that the danger came from "a knee-jerk reaction form the civil liberties lobby".

The civil liberties lobby now must obviously include the Apco, the Conservatives and numerous others who have condemned this draconian piece of legislation. If another attack takes place, it will not be because "the civil liberties" lobby has opposed these measures. It will be down to the incompetence of the police and intelligence services, and Blair's disastrous decision to hold President Bush's coattails. This so-called policy development happened the day before Blair went on holiday, in a typical media manipulation move while Charles Clarke was away. Before then consensus had been the key message. Now it is "it's better to do what we think is right and be defeated". What is it about this government that leads to its ministers indulging in such doublespeak? Are they gluttons for punishment, or do they genuinely believe some of this crap they call "policy?"

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