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Authoritarian overreach

by Migeru Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:39:04 AM EST

From the Panic Room comes this report by the Financial Times: Warning on use of anti-terror law on banks (October 10 2008)

The use of anti-terror powers to freeze billions of pounds of Icelandic bank assets in Britain is a distortion of the law’s intent and risks further gumming up the ailing financial system, legal experts warned on Thursday. Financial crime lawyers said the government’s unprecedented decision to apply the freezing order for purposes other than tackling terrorism opened the way to its use in other cases centred on commercial and political interests. The Treasury’s action on Wednesday to protect the deposits of British account holders has highlighted broader concerns that some security-related laws passed since the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks are so widely drafted they are open to abuse.
If this is what it takes for the Very Serious People™ to realise that the post-9/11 laws are "so widely drafted they are open to abuse", so be it. Now let's work to get them repealed or at least the language tightened.


Display:
Hat tip to metatone for breaking the story to me.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:41:29 AM EST
And in other authoritarian overreach news:

Jenni Russell: The all-seeing state is about to end privacy as we know it | Comment is free | The Guardian

You might suppose that the economic tornado hitting Britain would cause the government to focus its energy and resources very tightly on the political projects that are of undoubted value. This is not, after all, the moment to be wasting either political or financial capital. But you would be wrong. Faced with a crisis that it patently can't control, the government is instead seeking to exert power where it still can: over us.

The state's latest plan to watch us makes every other imminent intrusion seem limited. Next month's Queen's speech will contain a brief reference to an innocuous-sounding communications data bill. But what this means is the development of a centralised database that will track, in real time, every call we make, every website we visit, and every text and email we send. That information will then be stored and analysed - perhaps for decades. It will mean the end of privacy as we know it.

Also:

ABC News: Exclusive: Inside Account of U.S. Eavesdropping on Americans

Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.

'Terrorist' is literally the new black - it's being used as a convenient excuse to dole out the kind of authoritarian abuse that the sus laws were notorious for.

And if the Treasury can confiscate foreign assets, it can just as easily confiscate personal assets in a time of 'national emergency.'

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:50:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll have to check on it but as far as I know calls that originate abroad towards the US are not protected (in that you need a warrant)- just as any call between foreign states that transits US territory.

The fact that they are US citizens calling from abroad does raise an issue that has yet to be resolved. How can it be determined that the person abroad happens to be a US citizen?

But the real problem- highly impractical- is the proposal to take measures to control internet communication (Skype, email), as the Guardian points out.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:07:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But the real problem- highly impractical- is the proposal to take measures to control internet communication (Skype, email), as the Guardian points out.

The ammount of hard drives you would need to record the data for this would put a severe crimp on the UK ever meeting its carbon emissions targets.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:08:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And judging from the danish experience it drives smaller ISPs out of business, concentrating ownership.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:20:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientific American did a monograph in September on privacy. They noted that it would put most ISPs out of business. Other than being, of course, impractical...
by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 04:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's the EU data storage directive for you. Already implemented in Denmark and Germany (and probably more states).

Pushed as usual with by the terrorpropaganda and copyright lobbies.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a typical Brown action. It looks good at first sight, but on closer examination falls apart.

It will probably not stand up to legal scrutiny and in the long run it will be counterproductive. What we need is international cooperation, not pass the parcel and hope the foreigners get left starving in ditches not us.

by Gary J on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:48:12 AM EST
Draft LTE for the FT?

Very Draft beginning

Dear Sir,

The recent use of "anti-terror" legislation to freeze Icelandic bank assets in the UK highlights is clear evidence that such laws apply far beyond "terrorism."

--------------------------

My brain has stopped working... I think we need to make the point that if they can do this... then every member of the FT set is vulnerable to this law... and they should oppose it as much as the rest of us ordinary people who are all vulnerable to this overreach.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:52:48 AM EST
The recent use of "anti-terror" legislation to freeze Icelandic bank assets in the UK highlights is clear evidence that such laws apply far beyond "terrorism."

Further, the repeated use of those same terror laws to suppress legitimate democratic expression (going back at the very least to October 2003) gives little hope that such overreach will be limited to times of immediate and serious crisis. Even former heads of counter-terrorist units have voiced their concern over the scope and vagueness of some of the terror laws that have been passed throughout the European Union, which should certainly give pause for thought.

As the collapse of the East bloc has shown, a society cannot remain competitive in the globalised world if its citizens must constantly look over their shoulder in fear of the secret police. Thus, thorough revision and re-evaluation of the terror laws that have been passed since Fall 2001 should thus be of the highest priority for all who value a free, open and democratic society.

With the highest regard,
[signed, etc.]

---------------------

Is the second-to-last sentence too full of bullshit? I tried to put in some of the usual Globollocks lingo that doesn't mean a whole lot but seems to go down well with editors of LTE pages, but I fear that I may have overdone it.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 03:33:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
pitch perfect, slightly pompous, you are trying to reach people mired in illusions after all...

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Oct 11th, 2008 at 07:04:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, Michael Peel, 'financial crime lawiers' and you are being naive. The full name of the law is Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24). It's not just about terrorism. This is not a mis-use but a foreseen feature of that law.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:57:09 AM EST
Procedure for making freezing orders

(1) A power to make a freezing order is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(2) A freezing order--

(a) must be laid before Parliament after being made;

(b) ceases to have effect at the end of the relevant period unless before the end of that period the order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament (but without that affecting anything done under the order or the power to make a new order).

(3) The relevant period is a period of 28 days starting with the day on which the order is made.

(4) In calculating the relevant period no account is to be taken of any time during which Parliament is dissolved or prorogued or during which both Houses are adjourned for more than 4 days.

(5) If the Treasury propose to make a freezing order in the belief that the condition in section 4(2)(b) is satisfied, they must not make the order unless they consult the Secretary of State.

(My emphasis)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:58:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Brown had better hope Parliament upholds the order within 28 days... And we'd better hope it doesn't.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:00:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, with the MPs who were insane and blind enough to approve this bill...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:04:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It makes no difference - see my other comment.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:07:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also:

Part 2

Freezing Orders

Orders 4 Power to make order

(1) The Treasury may make a freezing order if the following two conditions are satisfied.

(2) The first condition is that the Treasury reasonably believe that--

(a) action to the detriment of the United Kingdom's economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons, or

(b) action constituting a threat to the life or property of one or more nationals of the United Kingdom or residents of the United Kingdom has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons.

(3) If one person is believed to have taken or to be likely to take the action the second condition is that the person is--

(a) the government of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom, or

(b) a resident of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom.

(4) If two or more persons are believed to have taken or to be likely to take the action the second condition is that each of them falls within paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (3); and different persons may fall within different paragraphs.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:03:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you think about it, that's reasonable. It's just the end of the City as a home for foreign assets.



A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:06:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it being "the end of the world as we know it"; the world since Reagan has sucked.  What's the "New" world going to look like?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:26:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So this is what the birth of the much publicized "New World Order" looks like.  When do our major cities start looking like Baghdad; you know, military in the streets, burned out cars, etc?  That's next, right?

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 08:44:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ceases to have effect at the end of the relevant period unless before the end of that period the order is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament (but without that affecting anything done under the order or the power to make a new order).

WTF?

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:04:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They really didn't read this properly, did they?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:06:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the more reason to repeal it.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 05:59:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
MPs who first approved it were insane and blind.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:03:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One can always admit error and correct it.

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:07:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope you're joking. We're talking about politicians here.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 07:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a comment of one Serbian guy who actually works on Wall St.
---------
My American and Canadian brothers (and others too) make sure if you can (depending on your circumstances) to have $2-3000 in cash at home at all times. And food, much more then usually, say few cartons of canes of tuna, ham...Make sure when you buy it to be " good until 2011" or later.



Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:30:24 AM EST
Breaking and entering is going to become a really profitable business... Last time we got broken into they took a laptop that wasn't even worth the £200 I paid for it second-hand, let alone in the stolen-goods market. Losing £2,000 in cash would really have pissed me off...

A vivid image of what should exist acts as a surrogate for reality. Pursuit of the image then prevents pursuit of the reality -- John K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 06:32:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Breaking and entering is going to become a really profitable business.

That's next...buy a gun (lucky Americans already have one haha).Really at some point in our Serbian crises  we had to buy gun on a black market.We never even thought about having a gun before but criminals now used to brake the house while people are inside so that they can torture them to tell them where money and valuables are.There were drastic cases where for example whole family (including dog) was tortured and brutally killed in their apartment. We had a dog but at that point we had to buy gun.I am a Serb (haha) and forgive me for this but I would rather kill (and no blink) then to see my children being killed.
I really can't believe that I had to go live on the other side of the world to experiance all that hell again.Still hope that Australia will somehow avoid it but I do not trust it...

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 09:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The ravings of Wall Street types are the last thing I'm listening to. They're self-righteously projecting the chaos of their little world collapsing onto everything else.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Oct 10th, 2008 at 02:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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