Sunday, 13 December 2009

Strange way to protect us from a police state

The Department of Home Affairs over here is responsible for a steady stream of sick jokes. For one, as those who know it best comment, it seems to employ worse people than it incarcerates. The use of slave labour for ‘charitable projects’, the lack of an independent prison visitor scheme or prisoner complaints system required by law, the high numbers of people who spend more time there before trial than they would afterwards (if eventually fairly convicted) because the only bail facility demands daily prayer meetings….
The list of other sick jokes about the prison service alone just goes on and on.
Now you can read a new one at .
I passed this to a number of UK prisoners rights and civil liberties groups, and the jaws of most who read it are still hurting from hitting the floor so hard. If you don’t know why, the Wikipedia entry on the Strangeways Prison riot in 1990 is as good a place as any to start.
One other other common rumour amongst old lags about Mr O'Friel's real loyalties also caused some to ask: 'Does Opus Dei have a policy on police surveillance?'
Funnily enough, I did notice something odd a couple of years back, when the Manx version of new legislation on interception of communication was going through.
A curious clause was inserted at the last minute 'on human rights grounds'. Doubly curious, because it was commonly suspected at the time that Manx human rights legislation was being deliberately delayed to allow the police to retain as many unreasonable powers from the dark ages as possible.
In a nutshell, it makes it an offence for Manx police to bug the confessional booth in a Catholic church, or to require a Catholic priest to provide information on anything he hears in an act of confession. There was no similar dispensation for other Christian denominations or other faiths as far as I could tell.
How bizarre. Wonder if Dan Brown would be interested?

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