The Maastricht Treaty introduced little known aspects of EU integration referred to as "co-operation between member states in justice and home affairs". These were reinforced by the Amsterdam Treaty. Under these provisions Europol, a Europe wide police force is being created. It has very wide powers but is not answerable to any elected body. It reports to a special committee appointed by the Council of Ministers. It exists ostensibly to fight crime, but it has a much wider function. Not only will it collect and store information on known and suspected criminals, but also on anyone's political and religious beliefs and activities. The building up of large databases is specifically provided for under the Maastricht Treaty.
The same co-operation provisions are also resulting in a massive EU wide increase in the use of surveillance cameras in towns and cities – again supposedly to reduce crime. (Guardian 25/1/99 – little known EU proposals could soon lead to massive expansion of surveillance). This is enthusiastically endorsed by local councils and the public for protection against crime, but for the authorities, these can also be used to identify anyone and monitor their activities and movements. With the introduction of driving licences with photographs and passport photographs which are duplicated in central computer banks, it will be possible through image comparison to identify anyone in seconds. Speed check cameras, now common on many roads, by reading a number plate can also track the movement of any vehicle across the country.
BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING...... AND LISTENING!
If you go on any sort of protest march or demonstration you will be filmed on video cameras by police or security personnel. Big Brother is watching you more and more... and he can also listen to you via the Echelon communications monitoring system run by the American "National Security Agency" operating out of bases at Morwenstow, Cornwall and Menwith Hills, North Yorkshire. This system monitors telephone, fax and e-mail communications throughout Europe and elsewhere. It is programmed to lock on to a particular communication for analysis if certain "key" words are used in that communication. If you carry a mobile phone, even when switched off it emits a radio signal to the nearest base station. With the co-operation of the mobile phone companies, your movements can be tracked.
The Observer (6/12/98 – EU hatches plan to tap internet and mobile
phones) reported on Enfopol 98, a plan requiring telecommunications
companies to build tapping connections into every kind of communications
system including mobile phones , the internet, fax machines, pagers and
We are now getting legislation that limits the right of people to gather peaceably, (e.g. the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) and intrudes into privacy with increased powers of bugging and burgling for the security services, and even provides for detention without trial. The first example of this in Britain are detention provisions for those said to be "mentally disturbed" and as a result "a danger to themselves or the public". Who decides what is meant by these terms and what is a threat to the public..? or perhaps the powers running the state. The new Terrorism bill currently passing through parliament widens the definition of terrorism enormously to include the threat of "serious violence" against any person or property. How will this definition be interpreted? Ostensibly aimed at the likes of people who tear up genetically modified crops, could these provisions be used against, for example protesting farmers where scuffles and damage to property has occurred occasionally? The bill goes further - organisations can be "outlawed" - addressing a meeting at which there is a member of such an organisation will be an offence. There will be additional stop and search powers for the police, and expressing support can be treated as "incitement". All newly created terrorist offences will carry very severe penalties, as part of a process which seems set to create a state in which no dissent of any description will be tolerated. The co-operation in justice and home affairs provisions of recent EU treaties suggests such measures are being implemented throughout the EU.
As well as this increase in repressive legislation, far reaching changes are planned for our criminal justice system itself, which is fundamentally different to that employed throughout the rest of the EU (except Ireland). As part of the continuing emergence of the single European state, the European Commission and the European Parliament are pressing for the imposition of a uniform system throughout the EU known as Corpus Juris. However, if Corpus Juris were to be fully implemented in Britain, all criminal prosecutions would be heard solely by judges or other professional paid officials appointed by the state.
Trial by jury would have to be phased out, to be replaced by a single judge sitting alone. Jack Straw’s recent attempts to get legislation through Parliament reducing those cases where an accused can demand trial by jury, should be seen as the start of this process. In addition a Home Office report has recommended that lay magistrates should be replaced by stipendiary (i.e. professional paid) magistrates, another measure that clearly fits in with the Corpus Juris plan. In both cases the government claims the measures are simply in the interests of efficiency and cost effectiveness, which is very misleading. The involvement of ordinary people in the judicial process as magistrates and jurors is fundamental to our system and goes back hundreds of years - it is designed to protect the citizen against the risk of arbitrary or malicious prosecution, and is a healthy feature in any democracy.
Corpus Juris would also introduce detention without trial, since under this continental system, a person suspected of an offence can be arrested and held in custody for a period of six months or more, pending such further investigations and enquiries as the public prosecutor sees fit, before being brought before a court. This is radically different from our own system of Habeas Corpus (which has it’s origins as far back as Magna Carta of 1215), whereby an accused person must be brought before a court within a very short period of arrest, and evidence against the arrested person produced. Furthermore, our current system incorporates the rule against double jeopardy, whereby an accused person once acquitted cannot be brought before a court again for the same offence. The government has proposed that this shall be removed – perhaps reasonable in certain very carefully defined instances, but the proposal must be seen as a further part of the introduction of Corpus Juris.
A European public prosecutor has already been appointed and will have authority in Britain and throughout the EU, initially only in respect of cases involving fraud against the EU budget (e.g. people who make dishonest claims for EU grants and subsidies etc.) but this is just the start.
Under proposals to be incorporated in the new treaty due to be signed
at the heads of governments summit at Nice just before Christmas, an old
European defence pact known as Western European Union is due to be
incorporated into the European union itself. It will lay the foundation
for a European Army , hailed by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer
as another pillar in the process of European unification. Previously at
the Helsinki summit in December 1999, agreement was reached for such an
army of 60,000 soldiers to be set up along with command, planning and
intelligence bases. This is claimed to be the basis of a rapid
intervention force, but French PM Lionel Jospin has stated that "by
pooling it’s armies, Europe will be able to maintain internal
security as well as prevent conflicts throughout the world.."
BAN ON POLITICAL PARTIES
On 13/4/00 The European Parliament approved the Dimitrakopoulos-Leinen Report, article 6 of which makes provision for the setting up of EU wide political parties. However, this is subject to the proviso that "parties that do not respect human rights and democratic principles as set out in the Treaty of Rome shall be the subject of suspension proceedings in the European Court of Justice". Despite the rhetoric in it’s preamble, the Treaty of Rome is not based on democratic principles but rather on European integration. The possibility therefore exists that any party opposed to the EU could be subjected to these proceedings. The banning of political parties is a dangerous road to go down in a democracy - it is worth noting that the Soviet Union never abolished elections- the ruling Communist party simply outlawed all other parties as "fascist" or "counter revolutionary" and maintained itself in power that way!
We would never accept the sudden imposition of a totalitarian police state, so if it is to be done, it has to be done gradually by stealth, one step at a time. These various measures should not be seen in isolation. Many people quite close to the top positions of power may not be aware of the full picture – MPs and others do not have time to become familiar with the whole range of bills and proposals that are put before parliament. The security and intelligence services are not answerable to Parliament and their activities remain hidden from view in the interests of so called "national security". Our freedoms are being gradually eroded… what will come next? As it is, with real power vested in unelected and unaccountable commissioners bankers and bureaucrats, democratic principles are already alien to the EU. It is submitted that the building blocks are being put into place whereby soon we could find ourselves living in a dictatorship in which protest will become increasingly difficult and ultimately will not even be tolerated. All power tends to corrupt but absolute power corrupts absolutely.Richard Greaves – August 2000.
"The Old Stables", Cusop,
Herefordshire, HR3 5RQ
Tel: 01497 821406.
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