A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Saturday, September 10, 2005

MI5 may wish to erode your liberty!

The head of Britain's security service, MI5, has warned that hard won civil liberties may have to be "eroded" to protect people from terrorist attacks. In a speech in the Netherlands, Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller said the world had changed and a debate was needed. She said the suicide bomb attacks in London in July were a "shock", and that the MI5 and police were "disappointed we had not been able to prevent them".

I read this and thought it sounded OK. But then I thought, how come she didn't know? How come MI5 had not been able to prevent the attacks? Probably because the security forces are so tied up with PC thinking that it never occurred to them that radical clerics spouting a vitriolic form of Islam might have a perverting effect on marginalised and impressionable young Muslims. Did anyone from MI5 mix with immigrant communities to assess the feelings on the ground? Appears not! Any wonder they get it wrong?

Interestingly by speaking to the Dutch AIVD she was upping the current thinking of spys and spooks that erosion of civil liberties is not a very troubling matter. The Dutch have gone back to having ID cards. Just a thought, but during World War 2 the Nazis had no trouble picking up Dutch Jews because all their details were on ID records. Today, with computerized records immigrants that don't fit the profile can be picked up that much easier! ID cards are very much on the agenda in the UK.

A telling part from her speech!

So how do we respond? Intelligence is key to any successful counter terrorist strategy but it is not enough and I shall explain why not. I want first to say something about the nature of intelligence and its use. What many here will know but is not always well understood is that intelligence rarely tells you all you want to know. I should like to quote from Lord Butler's report into the "Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction". "The most important limitation on intelligence is its incompleteness. Much ingenuity and effort is spent on making secret intelligence difficult to acquire and hard to analyse... intelligence seldom acquires the full story... it is often... sporadic and patchy and, even after analysis may still be at best inferential".

She repeats the point about the nature of intelligence from Lord Butler's report on WMD! This showed the intelligence services passing incomplete and patchy information to Blair's government. I think the truth is nearer to the fact that employing spies is expensive and picking up computerised information from third parties is much cheaper and more convenient!

We need to be watching those watching us in case we get locked up, shot at, or have our personal details passed around at will!



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