November 30, 2008

First they came for the Conservative....

I'm not comfortable with this. We have a strange situation in the UK with a government with a left-wing label relentlessly pursuing right wing policies mixing aggressive imperialism with free market economics, making libertarian noises whilst increasing repressive police powers, even passing a Freedom of Information Act whilst maintaining draconian secrecy legislation. Well now a Conservative MP has been arrested by, among others, counter-terrorism police under secrecy legislation.

The government is pretending that this is nothing out of the ordinary here and, on the BBC website Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith
insisted the investigation was not ordered because of politically embarrassing leaks, but because of the security implications for the Home Office.
But according to the Guardian's Q and A on the affair,
The Home Office called in the police to help them find who was leaking official information. The Tories have highlighted four documents that were passed to Green, but Home Office sources say that there were other leaks and that the problem had been going on "for an extended period of time".

What information did the four documents contain?

• A series of Home Office memos, which appeared in the Daily Mail on November 13 2007, showed that Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, had been warned four months earlier that thousands of illegal immigrants had been cleared to work in sensitive Whitehall security jobs. An email revealed that Smith had appeared to accept press office advice in August not to disclose the number of illegal immigrants.

• An email to Liam Byrne, then a Home Office minister, in February which showed he was informed about an illegal Brazilian immigrant who allegedly worked in parliament on a fake ID card. The memo was published in the Sunday Telegraph on February 10.

• A letter from Smith to Gordon Brown warning that a recession would lead to a rise in crime. The letter was draft advice that had not been cleared by Smith and had not yet been sent to Number 10, the Home Office said.

• A list of Labour MPs likely to rebel against the government's plans to detain terror suspects for up to 42 days without charge.

They amount to security implications? I don't think so.


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