If you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about...

This was the line spouted by Mr Jack Straw when secret courts etc were introduced. Yesterday it was repeated by William Hague, another British foreign secretary. It is a fallacious untruth.

In the UK the prosecution of criminals is rightly in the hands of the police, security services etc. The full weight of the State is brought together to bring criminals to justice. The police, security services etc have massive funding, and access to vast amounts of material anad equipment and manpower which is not available to mere mortals. They have all the resources of the State, and all its authority, to bring to book those who stand against its laws.

If you happen to fall into their sights, and are innocent, you are therefore in deep doodoo. Equipped with a feisty defence lawyer and legal aid, already with the police and security forces convinced of your likely guilt, you have to defend your innocence. Not an easy job at the best of times, but we have a well established legal system that is pretty independent and fair minded, and the right to trial by a jury of 12 of your peers. In other words, the State has to prove its case in the open, and to other people just like you.
Now just imagine that you are suspected of terrorism, or an offence which the State determines as related to terrorism, as the State chooses to define it. Then the system changes. First, you are presumed guilty - that is why you are locked away, sometimes for years on end, perhaps in some facility abroad where no. British interrogators can extract information from you by force. This is what we call rendition, and numerous British citizens have been subjected to it, as the newspapers inform us, and the compensation awarded confirms. But whether locked up here or abroad, you face unnamed sources giving unnamed evidence which neither you, nor your own lawyer may see let alone scrutinise or challenge. And then you are not tried in open court, nor by your peers, but to a series of legal experts selected by the State, as appointees to guarantee the security of the State and not just to uphold the law and due process. With all the resources of the State you will be prosecuted sat the hands of the appointees of the State and to protect the State. You will have no right to know what is said against you, and so no chance to challenge it. And those who will decide on your guilt or innocence are not your peers, not ordinary people like yourself but those deeply in the anti-terrorist system who presume much and assume much more. After all, they are in the know and presume that they do know.

So, I am afraid that innocent people do have something to fear. Already the odds are stacked against you. Innocent unless suspected by THEM, then prosecuted with the full force of the secretive State, with no chance to know what they know, and so no chance to challenge them on equal terms. Maybe if you are a minister of state you have some clout and can expect fair treatment, indeed you can pull strings and probably know more than the rest of us, but for mere mortals... Heaven help you.

And of course this scenario presumes that the State is whiter than white, and its spos and policemen are fair, honest and would never screw an innocent man or woman. Sadly, as the stream of compensation awarded to those wrongly imprisond for years, including for example Irish men and women wrongly accused of terrorism such as the Birmingham Six, we cannot assume that. The state and its law enforcers do not unreservedly follow the right and noble path, and as the recent exposure of Wikileaks and now the Prism fiasco show, as well as the bribery and corruption revealed in the police service by the Levenson enquiry, at times are quite prepared to justify reprehensible actions in the name of security or just to line their own pockets or feed their own egos. The State is not infallible, and it is pure folly to presume it and its agents are.

No, we really do have something to fear, from a State that is not whiter than white, and is quite prepared to go to extra-ordinary and immoral lengths to get its own way.



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