'This goes to the heart of what is to have a free Parliament not some privilege enjoyed by MPs. Constituents, pressure groups and other organisations need to know for sure that they are talking to their elected representatives in complete confidence.' -- Andrew Mackinlay MP
According to The Independent on Sunday, Tony Blair is to break with a 40-year-old convention established by Harold Wilson and grant MI5 the powers to bug MPs. The reason given is the terrorist attacks of 7 July 2005.
Now we know we have plenty of shady characters in the Commons, only too willing to make a quick buck, happy to have their pockets lined by Big Business, but how many are engaged in plotting terrorist attacks?
Once again, Blair is using terrorism and the fallout from 911 as the excuse to clampdown on our civil liberties. In the US, Bush is doing the same with the Patriot Act.
Can we even trust MI5? Not according to David Shayler and Annie Machon, both ex-MI5, who were appalled at the abuses they observed at MI5, and most of those abuses were to do with telephone taps and the suppression of political dissent.
This is but a long line of repressive measures brought in by Blair under the guise of fighting terrorism.
We have one fifth of the world's CCTV, the average person is caught on CCTV 300 times a day. Soon, unless our spineless MPs do something about it, we will have ID cards.
Regulation of Investigative Powers Act puts spies on the net.
In 1997 there were 1,712 authorised phone taps. By 2003, this had jumped to 4,827!
Can we trust the intelligence services? Not according to Annie Machon and David Shayler in the UK, not according to Sibel Edmonds and others in the US.
It was not for want of new powers that led to the July Tube bombings, it was lack of intelligence, and MI5 incompetence.
Francis Elliot, MI5 will get new powers to bug MPs, The Independent on Sunday, 15 January 2005
Francis Elliot, The politics of paranoia, The Independent on Sunday, 15 January 2005
Annie Machon, Spies, Lies and Whistleblowers: MI5, MI6 and the Shayler Affair, Book Guild, 2005
Keith Parkins, 911 – a route to war or an excuse for war?, Indymedia UK, 8 December 2005
Keith Parkins, Spies, Lies & Whistleblowers, Indymedia UK, 8 December 2005
Keith Parkins, Death of free speech in Blair's Britain, Indymedia UK, 13 December 2005
Keith Parkins, CIA extraordinary rendition, Indymedia UK, 15 December 2005
Keith Parkins, 911 – Sibel Edmonds, to be published
Keith Parkins, 911 – Intelligence failings, to be published
Keith Parkins, 911 – a fortuitous occasion for the Bush administration, to be published
Bush to criminalize protesters under Patriot Act as "disruptors", Indymedia UK, 15 December 2005