Justice No Longer Blind

The current climate of fear is allowing people to be arrested without charge. A man by the name of Mike Hawash was arrested, according to an article on Wired, he donated money to an Islamic Charity which later was suspected of terrorist links.

I don't know if this guy has done something criminal or not, but it seems that if it can be shown that the man has committed a crime, fine, charge him. If he is suspected,talk to a judge and watch him. If there isn't the evidence to get the court order, what is he doing in jail for several weeks? It should simply not be possible for a government to hold someone and for that person to have no legal recourse whatever.

There is lots of information online about 'Total Information Awareness' online, and as this this article reveals, many people aren't aware of what it is, one man said that it "Sounds like some sort of a hippie thing -- be aware, be total, be the information." This all ties in to the 'Patriot Act', how could one have a problem with something called 'The Patriot Act'?

On a not unrelated note, there is still ongoing concern about the treatment of POWs in the US. On a purely self serving note, the US loses the moral high ground when it complains that another countries is treating it's citizens poorly.

This is not all post september 11, as a bookstore owner reveals after receiving visits from the FBI to discover who bought 'The Hunt for Red October' - a Clancy for goodness sakes!

What about the UK? Well Blair is catching up, with the RIP act (to be reviewed this year) giving government the right to search communications records without judicial review, and this includes the fire department and NHS, why?, and they are wanting to remove several protections, such as double jeopardy and previous convictions.

Some of the measures proposed are:

  • Double jeopardy scrapped
    • To my mind, this is very dangerous. The main reason is that it encourages early prosecution without thorough investigation. After all, if the guy gets off, then the prosecutor can 'have another go
  • Previous convictions revealed
    • This runs the risk of prejudicing a trial, after all, someone who has committed a crime in the past must have done something wrong. Considering past convictions at the time of sentance, yes.... or where those convictions have a direct bearing on the case (at the judges discretion), but not if they have no relevance to the case in hand.
  • Judges to sit alone in serious fraud cases
    • I have a problem with this on two levels, firstly it assumes that Jurors cannot be found with the wherewithall to understand a fraud case, granted, that may be tricky, but it should not be impossible. It's patronising for the public.
    • Also, it's another example of the removal of the right to 'trial by ones peers'.

I'm all for punishing the guilty, but I want to make damned sure they are the guilty, without living in an Orwellian society at the same time. I am fully aware that these are diverging aims, but I truly fear the balance is tipping in the wrong direction.

Ben Franklin would probably be spinning rather rapidly in his grave right about now.