The Maastricht Treaty introduced little known aspects
of EU integration referred to as "co-operation between
member states in justice and home affairs". Under
these provisions Europol, a Europe wide police force is
being created. It has very wide powers but is not answerable
to any elected body. It reports to a special committee
appointed by the Council of Ministers. It exists ostensibly
to fight crime, but it has a much wider function. Not
only will it collect and store information on known and
suspected criminals, but also on anyone's political and
religious beliefs and activities. The building up of large
databases is specifically provided for under the Maastricht
The same co-operation provisions are also resulting in
a massive EU wide increase in the use of surveillance
cameras in towns and cities again supposedly to
reduce crime. (Guardian 25/1/99 " Little known
EU proposals could soon lead to massive expansion of surveillance").
This is enthusiastically endorsed by local councils and
the public for protection against crime, but for the authorities,
these can also be used to identify anyone and monitor
their activities and movements. With the introduction
of driving licences with photographs and passport photographs
which are duplicated in central computer banks, it will
be possible through image comparison to identify anyone
in seconds. Speed check cameras, now common on many roads,
by reading a number plate can also track the movement
of any vehicle across the country.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING...... AND LISTENING!
If you go on any sort of protest march or demonstration,
you will be filmed on video cameras by police or security
personnel. Big Brother is watching you more and more...
and he can also listen to you via the Echelon communications
monitoring system run by the American "National Security
Agency" operating out of bases at Morwenstow, Cornwall
and Menwith Hills, North Yorkshire. This system monitors
telephone, fax and e-mail communications throughout Europe
and elsewhere. It is programmed to lock on to a particular
communication for analysis if certain "key"
words are used in that communication. If you carry a mobile
phone, even when switched off it emits a radio signal
to the nearest base station. With the co-operation of
the mobile phone companies, your movements can be tracked.
The Observer (6/12/98 "EU hatches plan to
tap internet and mobile phones") reported on Enfopol
98, a plan requiring telecommunications companies to build
tapping connections into every kind of communications
system including mobile phones , the internet, fax machines,
pagers and interactive cable TV services. No doubt arising
out of this, using a fast track bill and its huge
majority in parliament, last year the government rushed
through the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which
gives the police and security services the power to monitor
internet mailing lists. They are also able to order internet
service providers to give them access to peoples
private E-mail. All this is claimed to be targeted at
organised crime such as drug trafficking, paedophilia,
terrorism etc., but it takes little imagination to see
how this could be applied to any form of dissent or protest
LEGISLATION SUPPRESSING HUMAN RIGHTS
We are now getting legislation that limits the right
of people to gather peaceably, (e.g. the Criminal Justice
and Public Order Act 1994) and intrudes into privacy with
increased powers of bugging and burgling for the security
services, and even provides for detention without trial.
The first example of this in Britain are detention provisions
for those said to be "mentally disturbed" and
as a result "a danger to themselves or the public".
Who will decide what constitutes being mentally disturbed
and a threat to the public..? or perhaps those running
the state especially in view of the fact that Europol
keeps files on peoples political and religious activities.
The new Terrorism Act widens the definition of terrorism
enormously to include the threat of "serious violence"
against any person or property. How will this definition
be interpreted? Ostensibly aimed at the likes of people
who tear up genetically modified crops, could these provisions
ever be used against, for example, protesting farmers
where scuffles and damage to property has occurred occasionally?
The Act goes further - organisations can be "outlawed"
- addressing a meeting at which there is a member of such
an organisation will be an offence. There will be additional
stop and search powers for the police, and expressing
support can be treated as "incitement". All
newly created terrorist offences carry very severe penalties,
as part of a process which seems set to create a state
in which no dissent of any description will be tolerated.
The provisions for co-operation in justice and home affairs
between member states introduced by the Maastricht Treaty,
and made mandatory by the Amsterdam Treaty, are designed
to ensure that the same sort of measures are brought into
force throughout the EU. Indeed the Home secretary openly
talks of the Act making UK law the same as in other countries.(Interview
Radio 4 "Today " programme 20/2/01)
As well as this increase in repressive legislation, far
reaching changes are planned for our criminal justice system
itself, which is fundamentally different to that employed
throughout the rest of the EU (except Ireland). As part
of the continuing emergence of the single European state,
the European Commission and the European Parliament are
pressing for the imposition of a uniform system throughout
the EU known as Corpus Juris. However, if Corpus Juris were
to be fully implemented in Britain, all criminal prosecutions
would be heard solely by judges or other professional paid
officials appointed by the state.
Trial by jury would have to be phased out, to be replaced
by a single judge sitting alone. Jack Straws recent
attempts to get legislation through Parliament reducing
those cases where an accused can demand trial by jury, should
be seen as the start of this process. In addition a Home
Office report has recommended that lay magistrates should
be replaced by stipendiary (i.e. professional paid) magistrates,
another measure that clearly fits in with the Corpus Juris
plan. In both cases the government claims the measures are
simply in the interests of efficiency and cost effectiveness,
which is very misleading. The involvement of ordinary people
in the judicial process as magistrates and jurors is fundamental
to our system and goes back hundreds of years - it is designed
to protect the citizen against the risk of arbitrary or
malicious prosecution, and is a healthy feature in any democracy.
Corpus Juris would
also introduce detention without trial, since under this
continental system, a person suspected of an offence can
be arrested and held in custody for a period of six months
or more, pending such further investigations and enquiries
as the public prosecutor sees fit, before being brought
before a court.
This is radically different from our own system of Habeas
Corpus (which has its origins as far back as Magna Carta
of 1215), whereby an accused person must be brought before
a court within a very short period of arrest, and evidence
against the arrested person produced.
Furthermore, our current system incorporates the rule
against double jeopardy, whereby an accused person once
acquitted cannot be brought before a court again for the
same offence. The government has proposed that this shall
be removed perhaps reasonable in certain very carefully
defined instances, but the proposal must be seen as a
further part of the introduction of Corpus Juris.
A European public prosecutor has already been appointed
and will have authority in Britain and throughout the
EU, initially only in respect of cases involving fraud
against the EU budget (e.g. people who make dishonest
claims for EU grants and subsidies etc.) but this is just
EUROPEAN UNION ARMY
Under provisions in the new Nice Treaty signed at the
heads of governments conference at the end of last year,
an old European defence pact known as Western European
Union is to be incorporated into the European Union itself.
Previously, at the Helsinki summit in December 1999, agreement
was reached for an army of 60,000 soldiers to be set up
along with command, planning and intelligence bases. This
is claimed to be a "rapid reaction force", but
clearly these measures lays the foundation for an EU Army,
hailed by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer as another
pillar in the process of European unification. Commission
President Romano Prodi has confirmed as much. However,
significantly, French PM Lionel Jospin has stated that
"by pooling its armies, Europe will be able to maintain
internal security as well as prevent conflicts throughout
the world..". Indeed, Foreign Office sources indicate
that the setting up of a 5000 strong internal emergency
reaction force was approved at the EU summit at Feira,
Portugal in June last year. In many parts of the EU, riot
police with tear gas and water cannon are used as a matter
of course to confront even peaceful protests. Does this
herald the use of such measures here?
BAN ON POLITICAL PARTIES?
On 13/4/00 the European Parliament approved the Dimitrakopoulos-Leinen
Report, article 6 of which provides for the setting
up of EU wide political parties. However, this is
subject to the proviso that "parties that do
not respect human rights and democratic principles
as set out in the Treaty of Rome shall be the subject
of suspension proceedings in the European Court of
Justice". Despite the rhetoric in its preamble,
the Treaty of Rome is not in based on democratic principles,
but rather on European integration. Could these new
provisions therefore be used to "suspend"
(i.e. effectively ban) any political party opposed
to the EU?
The banning of political parties
is a dangerous road to go down in a democracy -
it is worth noting that
the Soviet Union never abolished elections- the ruling
Communist party simply outlawed all other parties
as "fascist" or "counter revolutionary"
and maintained itself in power that way!
also ... The
left and the corruption of language and thought -
By Patrick Spooner
We would never accept the sudden imposition of a totalitarian
police state, so if it is to be done, it has to be done
gradually by stealth, one step at a time. These various
measures should not be seen in isolation. Many people
quite close to the top positions of power may not be aware
of the full picture MPs and others do not have
time to become familiar with the whole range of bills
and proposals that are put before parliament. The security
and intelligence services are not answerable to Parliament
and their activities remain hidden from view in the interests
of so called "national security". You might
it could never happen here, we live in a
democracy, our leaders are good upstanding people fighting
for freedom and justice in the world, or so they and the
media would have us believe
History shows that all
power tends to corrupt, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Our freedoms are being gradually eroded
come next? With real power vested in unelected and unaccountable
commissioners bankers and bureaucrats, democratic principles
are already alien to the EU. It is submitted that the
building blocks are being put into place whereby soon
we could find ourselves living in a dictatorship in which
protest will become increasingly difficult and ultimately
will not even be tolerated.
"The Old Stables", Cusop,
Herefordshire, HR3 5RQ
Tel: 01497 821406.
Updated - February 2001.
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