Socialist Worker

New law to give police and spooks a new licence to kill

Issue No. 2724

Thames house

MI5 headquarters in Millbank


Undercover cops and MI5 spooks will be given explicit permission in law to commit criminal offences under new law introduced by the Tories.

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS) Bill provides a “clear and consistent statutory basis for a limited number of public authorities to continue to authorise participation in criminality, in carefully managed circumstances”.

It follows years of litigation by Reprieve, the Pat Finucane Centre and others who argued that an existing MI5 policy allowing agents to commit crimes was unlawful.

Last December, the tame overseer of the spooks the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) ruled by a 3-2 majority that the policy was lawful. Announcing the new legislation, Security Minister James Brokenshire said, “In the course of this vital work, it may be necessary for agents to participate in criminal activity in order to gain the trust of those under investigation.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty’s Northern Ireland campaigns manager, said, “There is a grave danger that this bill could end up providing informers and agents with a licence to kill.

“It is deeply alarming that the proposed law does not explicitly prohibit MI5 and other agencies from authorising crimes like torture and killing.

“We have seen the consequences of undercover agents in paramilitary organisations operating with apparent impunity whilst committing grave human rights abuses, including murder.


Black barrister treated as a criminal

A black woman barrister was stopped in court and mistaken for a defendant three times in just one day.

A complaint by Alexandra Wilson over her treatment forced the head of the courts service in England and Wales to issue an apology.

Kevin Sadler from the HM Courts and Tribunals Service condemned the “totally unacceptable behaviour”. He promised to investigate.

Wilson is the author of In Black And White, which highlights racism in courts.

She was first stopped by a security guard who assumed she was a defendant.

She was then stopped by a barrister or solicitor inside the courtroom, and a clerk. Wilson tweeted, “This really isn’t ok. I don’t expect to have

to constantly justify my existence at work.”


Axed football matches don’t stop racism

An incident of hate crime occurred at one in ten football fixtures in the 2019-20 season, official figures show.

Verified hate crime incidents were reported at 287 matches out of 2,663 fixtures, according to a report published by the Home Office.

It said at 214 of them –8 percent of all fixtures –the reported hate crime related to race.

The data also shows that the number of arrests for racist or indecent chanting more than doubled from 2018-19 to 2019-20.

This is despite the fact that 319 matches were cancelled due to the pandemic, and a further 227 were played behind closed doors.


Bookings cancelled as flu vaccines run out

If you can’t get a coronavirus test, take heart from the fact that you can at least get a jab to protect from the flu. Except you might not be able to.

Pharmacies across England last week ran out of flu vaccines, forcing them to pause online bookings for the jab.

It follows a government campaign to encourage people to get flu jabs, to try and avoid the NHS being overwhelmed as the second wave of Covid-19 hits.

The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said at some pharmacies “all of their stock has already been administered to patients”.

Flu kills between 4,000 and 22,000 people in England every year. Last year, some 8,000 died from it.

Robbie Turner from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said, “We have been told by the government that there are adequate supplies of the flu vaccine.”


Women left to give birth without support

Over three quarters of NHS trusts aren’t letting birth partners support women throughout their entire labour.

This is despite Boris Johnson saying in parliament earlier this month that no one should give birth alone.

And NHS guidance released on 8 September means partners and visitors should be able to attend maternity units.

Yet data collected by the Guardian newspaper showed that 40 percent of women have to attend their 20-week scan alone. This scan identifies potential anomalies in the foetus, and means women are having to discover this news alone.

Half of trusts are restricting partners from attending at least two of either the 12-week scan, 20-week scan and the duration of labour.

The data covered 144 trusts in England, Scotland and Wales.


  • The Sun newspaper has launched a “Save the parade” campaign to ensuyre that remberence sunday events go ahead. Lest we fogret, Labour’s John Healey said the government had “washed their hands of any concern about local Remembrance events” If you can’t find a jingoistic event nearby, you could purchse the poppy face maskfor £10 or a dog coat for £19

  • Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest person, has moved to tax-free Monaco.Ratcliffe was Britain’s third-highest individual taxpayer. His personal wealth shot up from an estimated £9.5 billion in January 2019 to £17.5 billion today. It has risen by £1.25 billion so far this year alone—despite the pandemic. The move to Monaco is estimated to let him keep £4 billion in tax payments.

Things they say

‘A shame’ Donald Trump’s assessment of the 200,000+ coronavirus death toll in the US

‘If we didn’t do it properly, you’d have 2.5 million deaths’ Trump pats himself on the back

‘China let this happen, just remember that’ Trump passes the buck

‘The government must resist becoming addicted to spending’ Matthew Lesh from free market think tank the Adam Smith Institute on Rishi Sunak’s replacement for the furlough scheme

‘Enemies spread false rumours and friends mutter about his health’ The Mail on Sunday crticises those plotting against the prime minister

‘Burn down the house twice to get rid of a wasps’ nest, then stand in the ruins and blame everyone but himself’ Peter Hitchens also in the Mail on Sunday is less sure

 

 


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