Thursday, February 19, 2009

Liberty is facing death by a thousand cuts

"The East Germans are now more free than we are, at least in terms of law and administrative practice in such areas as surveillance and data collection. Thirty years ago, they had the Stasi. Today, Britain has such broadly drawn and elastic surveillance laws that Poole borough council could exploit them to spend two weeks spying on a family wrongly accused of lying on a school application form. The official spies reportedly made copious notes on the movements of the mother and her three children, whom they referred to as 'targets', and watched the family go home at night to establish where they were sleeping. And this is supposed to be modern Britain?" —Timothy Garton Ash

"Stella Rimington is right. The former head of MI5 who made her career running the security service's dirtiest operations in the 1980s, against the miners' union and the IRA, has warned that the government has given terrorists the chance to find 'greater justification' by making people feel they 'live in fear and under a police state' … To have the woman once hailed as Britain's Queen of Spies accusing the government of recklessly counter-productive authoritarianism carries a special weight" —Seumas Milne

"We should keep our nerve and our faith in our own values. Our own behaviour — especially with respect to the rule of law — is very important." —Former MI6 Assistant Chief Nigel Inkster

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