Politicians never let a good crisis go to waste
May 23, 2013
Following the brutal murder of a young soldier in London, British politicians have called for the resurrection of a bill that was shelved last month that would see the creation of a dragnet surveillance database, allowing police and intelligence agencies to effectively monitor the communications of everyone in the country.
The so-called “snoopers’ charter”, a proposed database of everyone’s internet and phone usage, was blocked last month by The Deputy Prime Minister, and Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, who cited “significant reduction in personal privacy”.
However, Conservatives in government intentionally left the door open for a revival of the legislation.
Seizing on the horrific Woolwich attack, both Conservative and Labour Party politicians are calling for the plan to be brought back.
Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and security minister, told reporters that shelving the scheme on Clegg’s say so was a “terrible mistake”.
“That information is extremely important for our security services to be able to pin down people, find out who they were linked with, find out who radicalised them,” West told Sky News.
“Was it just themselves or was there someone radicalising more people? We need to know this information and I do think that the Communications Data Bill that was due to come through but has been put on pause by the Deputy Prime Minister, I think that’s a terrible mistake.” he added.
The Conservative minister for faith and communities, Baroness Warsi, also indicated that the big brother legislation should be resurrected.
“Like with any situation I’m sure people will analyse how things could be done better and I’m sure people will have a lessons-learnt exercise,” she said, adding that at some point the Communications data bill would “play into the debate.”
Lord Reid, the former Labour Home Secretary, claimed that enabled mass monitoring of communications is “essential” to combating terrorism. He added that politicians should not wait further for “some huge tragedy” to prove that scrapping the bill was the wrong thing to do.
“Had we not had that method of connecting people through their communications, 2,500 people would probably have been blown out of the sky over the United Kingdom.” he claimed, referring to the (thoroughly absurd) liquid explosives plot of 2006.
“It was a vital component.” Reid claimed. “But now people have moved on from mobile phones to internet, email, text, Skype. We don’t have the means of doing what we did six years ago.” he said, adding that “That is where some of the measures the Government has refused to implement, like data communication, is absolutely essential for effective fighting of terrorism.”
Lord Carlile, a former independent reviewer of terror laws, also said the Woolwich attack should “give the Government pause for thought about their abandonment for example of the Communications Data Bill.”
“We mustn’t rush to judgment. But we must ensure that the police and the security services have for the future the tools they need which will enable them to prevent this kind of attack taking place.” he said on BBC’s Newsnight program.
It emerged today that MI5, which has long lobbied for the legalization of mass communication monitoring, were aware of the suspected attackers. Sources said reports the men had featured in “several investigations” in recent years – but were not deemed to be planning an attack – “were not inaccurate” BBC News reported.
It was also confirmed that one of the suspects was intercepted by police last year while leaving the country.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.