Al Jazeera

UK government ‘exploiting Paris attacks to curb civil liberties’

London, United Kingdom – Privacy and civil liberties campaigners have accused David Cameron, the British prime minister, of “cynically exploiting” last week’s attacks in Paris to call for even more stringent counterterrorism and surveillance powers than those already being controversially pushed through parliament.

David Cameron says the UK faces a "fanatical death cult of Islamist extremist violence" [Photo: @Number10gov]

David Cameron says the UK faces a “fanatical death cult of Islamist extremist violence” [Photo: @Number10gov]

Speaking earlier this week, Cameron pledged to give British security services greater capabilities to monitor and read online communications, and said countries such as the UK and France were facing a “fanatical death cult of Islamist extremist violence”.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Woolwich report fails to address torture and harassment claims

London, England – An official report into whether British security services could have prevented the murder of a soldier on a London street has been denounced as a smokescreen by critics who say it fails to address serious allegations of the intelligence agencies’ complicity in the torture and harassment of one of the men who carried out the attack.

Michael Adebolajo, left, Michael Adebowale.

Adebolajo, left, and Adebowale, said they killed Lee Rigby, a serving British soldier, in protest at British foreign policy.

Civil liberties campaigners also questioned the timing of the release of the report just one day before the government’s presentation to parliament on Wednesday of tough new counterterrorism measures to tackle the perceived heightened threat posed by Britons fighting in Syria.

“This is carefully choreographed. You’ve got the security apparatus investigating the security apparatus and deciding they need more money and more power so they can roll back civil liberties even further,” said Cerie Bullivant, a spokesman for CAGE, a human rights group.

Continue reading

Standard
Al Jazeera

Spy chiefs hit out at media over Snowden leaks

London, United Kingdom – An unprecedented public appearance by British spy chiefs to face questioning over the conduct of their organisations following revelations about UK complicity in mass internet surveillance has been lambasted by civil liberties and privacy campaigners.

[www.ukparliament.org]

Andrew Parker, John Sawers and Iain Lobban were appearing together publicly for the first time. [www.ukparliament.org]

Thursday’s televised session of the intelligence and security committee, the parliamentary panel that oversees the activities of the British secret services, was hailed by Malcolm Rifkind, the committee’s chairman, as “a very significant step forward in the transparency of our intelligence agencies”.

Continue reading

Standard