Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Worse Than the Patriot Act? II

Trey Smith

In this morning's post, I dealt with one nefarious aspect -- a person can be detained and questioned even if they aren't suspected of anything having to do with terrorism -- of the UK's Terrorism Act of 2000. On its face, that is bad enough, but another aspect is even worse. You do not have the right of silence. You must answer the questions posed or you can be charged with the crime of noncooperation!

Just like in the US, Brits and foreigners supposedly have the right to not incriminate themselves. They supposedly have the right NOT to answer questions, particularly when they aren't charged with anything and there is no suspicion that they have ties to terrorism. But that's not what they told David Miranda. According to Glenn Greenwald's spouse, 'They said I would be put in jail if I didn't cooperate.'

If Miranda was a suspect of a crime, the government would have somewhat of a leg to stand on. If they genuinely thought that he was part of a terrorist plot or was contributing money/support to a known terrorist organization, then most people would understand why he was detained and why authorities would demand cooperation. But Miranda is none of these things. He merely happens to be the life partner of an investigative journalist being targeted by the US and UK political elite.

If the authorities picked you up because of your spouse or partner's job -- a legal and needed job at that -- would you be okay with being threatened with imprisonment because you didn't want to compromise your spouse or partner's work?

Again, this is the kind of behavior one would expect in a police state, not a constitutional democracy.

You should be outraged. If you are not, then you won't have the right to whine and complain when the authorities decide it's your turn to be questioned.

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