Lord Neuberger, a former President of the Supreme Court, said something we should listen to

Govt’s Internal Markets Bill, which allows UK to breach international law and in vital respects removes right to challenge Govt, puts UK on a “very slippery slope” towards dictatorship
Since Lord Neuberger’s warning, a Bill passed its third reading in the Commons which may prove to be perhaps more dangerous to UK democracy and the Rule of Law than even the Internal Markets Bill

This was Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. #SpyCopsBill
Covert human intelligence sources (“CHIS”) go undercover in order to collect intelligence.

Sometimes, to maintain their cover, CHIS commit crimes. There have been no cases where a CHIS has ever been prosecuted. However, Govt says needs to put protection on a statutory basis.
Bill says that certain designated persons have the power to grant “criminal conduct authorizations”. These are then defined as being authorisation, “for criminal conduct in the course of, or otherwise in connection with, the conduct of a covert human intelligence source.”
From the words of the Bill and the debate in the Commons it is absolutely clear that such an authorisation means the CHIS can commit ANY crime with impunity in connection with being a CHIS, including murder, torture and rape.
There's a long history of CHIS operations being misused and abused by the authorities ordering them inappropriately or by the conduct of the CHIS

One notorious example is that an undercover policeman was sent to infiltrate the group around grieving parents of Stephen Lawrence
The Undercover Policing Inquiry has heard multiple disturbing accounts. These include those from women in groups campaigning on environment, climate, social justice & other issues which are clearly not a danger to the State but which may be highly irritating to a particular govt
Many of these women had relationships and often had children with undercover policemen – who they thought were fellow activists - and now, understandably, feel they have been “raped by the State”.
At least one murder has been linked to agents of the State working undercover. In 1989 a Belfast solicitor, Pat Finucane was shot dead in his own home by loyalist paramilitaries with the now admitted collusion of undercover security forces.
A long list of Trade Unions and left-wing organisations have been targeted over the years. It is striking that only a handful of Far-Right, Neo-Nazi groups have been targeted.
Authorisation has to be for one of three specified but hardly water-tight purposes.
1.National Security
2.Preventing or detecting crime or preventing disorder
3.In the interests of the economic well-being of the UK
Person giving the authorisation also decides if one of these three categories applies. They might, e.g., decide that a group wanting to help the poor, or to rejoin the EU or stop climate catastrophe could be all targeted in “the interests of the economic well-being of the UK”.
List of orgs that can use this power to authorise a CHIS to commit any crime with impunity is incredible, that is (almost) impossible to believe
Any police force
National Crime Agency
Serious Fraud Office
Intelligence services
Armed forces
Dept of Health & Social Care
Home Office
Ministry of Justice
Competition and Markets Authority
Environment Agency
Financial Conduct Authority
Food Standards Agency
Gambling Commission
Govt claims that they are safeguards in the Bill, but they are wafer thin. They cite Human Rights Act but they have previously argued that Act does not apply to CHIS. Furthermore, Govt has made no secret of its wish to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw from the Convention.
Bill grants the power of oversight to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) but that is only to review (by way of audit, inspection or investigation.) No prior judicial authority is needed. IPC is not remotely adequately resourced to be able to meaningfully oversee the use
There are more safeguards for the police getting a search warrant of a house or garage than for someone in the long list above authorising a CHIS to commit any crime, including murder, torture, rape.
Do you trust Priti Patel, Matt Hancock, Robert Buckland or someone in Food Standards Agency or Gambling Commission or anyone from list above with the power of giving a CHIS a licence to kill or commit other heinous crimes?


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More from @TomLondon6

28 Aug
Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression
But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy. People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think
-Neil Postman
Orwell feared those who would ban books
Huxley feared that there would be no reason to ban books, for there would be no one who wanted to read one
- Neil Postman
Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism
- Neil Postman
Read 15 tweets
4 Jul
Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed—
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Read 15 tweets
29 Jun
List of my I00 poems for a strange time in lockdown, March to June 2020

1.Celia, Celia by Adrian Mitchell
2.Ode to an Onion by Pablo Neruda
3.No Man is an Island by John Donne
4.A Man May Make a Remark by Emily Dickinson
5.This Room by Imtiaz Dharker
6.Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
7.Eternity by William Blake
8.Leisure by W.H. Davies
9.Only Breath by Rumi
10.These are the Hands by Michael Rosen
11.High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr
12.This is Just to Say by William Carlos Williams
13.March the Ninth Twenty Twenty by Mariangela Gualtieri
14.Loveliest of Trees the Cherry Now by A E Housman
15.Vers de Societe by Philip Larkin
16.Manish Tana from Passover Service
17.Ring the bells, Leonard Cohen
18.This Week in Numbers by Nikki Lye
Read 19 tweets
6 Jun
EXTRACT from a letter sent from Birmingham Jail by Martin Luther King on 16 April 1963

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate.

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice;

who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action";

Read 10 tweets
3 Jun
#UKIsolatepoem 73

This is a book-length poem Whale Nation by Heathcote Williams. The film is well worth watching: beauty, wonder, horror, unforgettable

via @YouTube
Extract from Whale Nation by Heathcote Williams

From space, the planet is blue.
From space, the planet is the territory
Not of humans, but of the whale.
Blue seas cover seven-tenths of the of the earth’s surface,
And are the domain of the largest brain ever created,

With a fifty-million-year-old smile.
Ancient, unknown mammals left the land
In search of food or sanctuary,
And walked into the water.
Their arms and hands changed into water-wings;
Their tails turned into boomerang-shaped tail-flukes,

Read 24 tweets
17 May
#UKIsolatepoem 56

The article below by Arundhati Roy is not a poem but I include it in this series of poems I am tweeting daily during the lockdown, because it is the best piece of prose I have read on the pandemic.

It covers India, also the US, also global issues

Do read...
#UKIsolatepoem 57

English Girl Eats Her First Mango by John Agard

If I did tell she

hold this gold

of sundizzy

tonguelicking juicy

mouthwater flow

ripe with love

from the tropics

she woulda tell me

trust you to be


so I just say

taste this mango
and I watch she hold

the smooth cheeks

of the mango

blushing yellow

and a glow

rush to she own cheeks

and she ask me

what do I know

just bite into it?

and I was tempted

to tell she

why not be a devil

and eat of the skin

of the original sin

Read 35 tweets

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