"To send a squad of counter terrorist officers to arrest an MP shows the growing police contempt for Parliament and democratic politics. The police now believe that MPs are so reduced in public status that they are fair game for over-excited officers to order dawn raids, arrests and searches of confidential files held by MPs or those who work for them. I am not sure this is good for British democracy." -- Denis MacShane
"If action can be taken of this kind against an opposition member, who knows what action can be taken against another member." -- David Winnick
"They would never arrest an MP without getting some form of political cover. The question is who cleared it." -- Diane Abbott
A raid by anti-terrorist officers on the home and offices of a senior opposition politician, documents, computers, mobile phone and other devises seized and taken away, e-mail accounts suspended, offices bugged, telephone calls and internet activity logged, the politician arrested and taken way for questioning, held for over nine hours, fingerprinted, DNA sample taken, released on police bail to report back to the police in the New Year.
All in day's work for the Stasi in the old Stalinist East Germany, a scene from a John le Carré novel, Stalinist Russia, Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe?
Er, none of these. This was a senior Front Bench Member of Her Majesty's Opposition.
Even the Stasi did not put microchips in wheelie bins or install CCTV to catch householders putting their rubbish out on the wrong day or parents dropping their kids off outside the school gate.
What had he done to deserve such treatment? Handed out Parliamentary passes to terrorists, passed nuclear secrets to Iran, lost his marbles and run naked through the streets, assaulted his butler?
Er, none of these. The heinous crime that resulted in his home and offices being raided, himself being held for over nine hours was that he had embarrassed the government. Amongst other things he had exposed that employed in sensitive government departments were illegal migrants who had been security cleared. Worse still, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith knew, but had not thought fit to tell Parliament.
The timing of the raid is intriguing. It coincided with terrorist attacks in India. India saw it as their 9/11.
9/11 was seen by neo-Labour as the day to bury bad news.
The raid also coincided with Sir Ian Blair standing down as the head of the Metropolitan police.
The raid also coincided with a journalist being acquitted who had exposed wrong doings by the police.
We are told Home Secretary Jacqui Smith did not know. This is as about as believable as Tony Blair telling us that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. If she did not know, why did she did not know? It was her top civil servant who called in the police. Former Home Secretary Ken Clark finds it incredible that she did not know.
What game are we playing here, plausible deniability?
The Speaker of the House Micheal Martin allowed the police to raid an office of a Member of Parliament. Why?
The raid coincided with the House of Commons not sitting so questions could not be asked.
Many will ask, so what, this has been going on for years.
True, and MPs are not important, even though many are full of their own self-importance.
But, if a senior politician is not safe, from this type of action, none of us are safe.
Parliament has special privileges designed to protect it from the state. These are to allow Parliament to go about its lawful business, to scrutinise the executive and hold it to account. Privileges that date from when Charles I sent armed men into Parliament. Unlike the present Speaker of the House, the Speaker of the day stood his ground and would not let the armed men proceed. His action sparked the English civil war. Much blood was lost.
Hauling Damian Green in, rifling through his home and office, was clearly intended to intimidate, the sort of action one expects in a police state. When even former Home Secretary David Blunkett speaks out, there is clearly something very wrong.
It is a 'high crime and misdemeanor' to interfere with the workings of Parliament. Will the police be charged? Will Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Speaker Michael Martin be forced out of office. Both have shown they are unfit to hold public office.
Michael Martin as Speaker has become a byword for sleaze. It is to the shame of MPs that they have not kicked him out of office long ago. This is the man who went to the High Court (and no doubt we the public picked up the tab) to try and stop his expenses being revealed.
It is to the shame of MPs that they have allowed so many Draconian pieces of anti-terrorism law to be placed on the Statute Book. Laws that have nothing to do with anti-terrorism and everything to do with control of the citizens of the country.
During the height of the IRA terrorist attacks, we had temporary anti-terrorism laws that had to be renewed by by Parliament every year. It was good enough then, it should be good enough now.
Will the opposition MPs agree to repeal all the anti-terrorism laws placed on the statute book by Zanu-Labour? Every time such legislation is proposed, back bench Labour MPs huff and puff, and then when push comes to shove meekly shuffle through the door marked Ayes.
Speaking on the Indian terrorist attacks, Arundhati Roy gave a very measured response. India is not this land of vast wealth as we have been led to believe. A few have got very wealthy, the rest live in abject poverty. We can only ever deal with terrorism by addressing its root causes. John Pilger devotes a whole chapter to this in his excellent book Freedom Next Time. Speaking on BBC Radio 4 Any Questions the next day, Caroline Lucas MEP made exactly the same point.
Bombay (no self-respecting Indian calls it Mumbai) is India's richest city. Evidence of the economic power house that is today's modern India. An economic miracle that is a mirage, benefiting a tiny elite whilst the rest slip further into abject poverty. Bombay is the richest city. The bay is filled with the stench of raw sewage and putrid fish. People scavenge its rubbish tips to eke out living. Nearly a hundred thousand homes of the poorest have been demolished to make way for new developments, the inhabitants kicked out onto the streets to add to the 350,000 who already live on the streets. In the rural areas, where the majority live, farmers commit suicide as their crops fail, unable to compete at the local markets with cheap imports, Coca-Cola bottling plants drop water tables in drought prone areas, depriving local people of water. Neo-Labour pimping for BAE Systems, sold 66 Hawk aircraft to India. A country where half of its children are undernourished.
It is to the shame of anti-terrorist officers that on the day they were intimidating an opposition MP, nearly two hundred innocent people in India were needlessly slaughtered by Muslim terrorists. Did these officers have nothing better to do, like perhaps catch terrorists? Maybe it was an away day from intimidating activists.
Speaking to one of the victims of the 7/7 bombings in London, someone who was actually there, he believes it was an inside job.
Pass Draconian laws and they will be abused, assuming that was not the intention in the first place. The abuses are widespread.
Sit outside Farnborough Airport watching the planes and you will be questioned and searched by the police. Take photos of a train station and you will be detained and questioned, as a 15-year discovered at Wimbledon Station and as man found out at Leatherhead Station. Try filming in Parliament Square and the police will try and stop you. Do not even dream of reading out the names of those whose lives have been sacrificed in Blair's illegal wars as you will be promptly arrested. You will even be arrested for wearing what is deemed to be a protest badge. Remember the elderly man who was manhandled out of a Labour Party Conference because he had the audacity to challenge the platform?
How dare we lecture other countries on democracy when we are unable to protest outside Parliament without fear of arrest.
A whole raft of private armies and security personnel have been created to patrol our streets. Uniformed private security guards patrol the North Laine area of Brighton. The highly unpopular Sir Robin Wales, Zanu-Labour Mayor of a run down London Borough, goes everywhere with his private army. In the Rotten Borough of Rushmoor, Community Support Officers (not to be confused with PCSOs) patrol the streets in pseudo police vehicles. In Oxford Street, New West End Cops ponce around in bright red uniforms looking like something out of a comic opera.
CCTV cameras watch and record our every movements. Go on a demo and you will in all likelihood be roughed up and manhandled by the police, you will be recorded on camera by special police units.
Not satisfied with the existing legislation, more is in the pipeline. It will be a requirement to produce a passport or ID card to obtain a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. All Internet and phone activity to be logged on a huge database. An offence to take a picture of a constable, ie police officer, with a ten year sentence.
Protesters and other riffraff have always been fair game. What the arrest of Damian Green has highlighted is how bad is the situation, how we have allowed our freedoms to be eroded.
We no longer live in a free society.
Maybe Green should think himself lucky. They only detained him for a few hours, riffled through his possessions. Dr David Kelly was killed by the State for revealing the truth about the non-existent weapons of mass destruction.
First they came for the gypsies, then the Jews, then they came for me.
background and reference
James Chapman, Most shocking 6 hours of my life, Mail online, 29 November 2008
James Chapman and Ian Drury, Terror of Tory MP's daughter as NINE anti-terror police raid his home over 'immigration leaks to media', Mail online, 28 November 2008
David Clifford, Arrest of MP Damian Green an outrage, 30 November 2008
Cross-party fury over MP's arrest, BBC news on-line, 28 November 2008
Francis Elliot and Richard Ford, Tory frontbench MP Damian Green arrested over leaks, Times online, 28 November 2008
Damian Green arrest is affront to Parliament, Telegraph, 29 November 2008
Hildy Johnson, ZANU- Labour, Indymedia UK, 28 November 2008
Hildy Johnson, Police State, Indymedia UK, 28 November 2008
Leading article: Our freedoms under threat, The Independent, 29 November 2008
Liberty concerned about heavy-handed tactics against opposition politician, Liberty press release, 28 November 2008
Richard Littlejohn, Damian Green's arrest is a monstrous abuse of power by the same gangsters who hounded Dr David Kelly to death, Mail online, 29 November 2008
Keith Parkins, Farnborough Airport 'terrorist' plane spotters, Indymedia UK, 23 October 2008
Keith Parkins, Big Brother targets the school run, Indymedia UK, 31 October 2008
Keith Parkins, The surveillance state, Indymedia UK, 10 November 2008
Keith Parkins, 60 Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Indymedia UK, 26 November 2008
Keith Parkins, High crimes and breach of parliamentary privilege, Indymedia UK, 28 November 2008
John Pilger, Freedom Next Time, Bantam Press, 2006
Senior Tory arrested over leaks, BBC news on-line, 28 November 2008
Mark Thomas, As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandeal, Ebury Press, 2006
Mark Thomas, Belching Out the Devil, Ebury Press, 2008
Nicholas Watt, Sandra Laville and Alan Travis, Blunkett leads attack against police 'overkill' after Green's arrest, The Guardian, 29 November 2008