Let Civil Liberties & Freedom Ring!

Submitted by Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger

In his speech Restoring British Liberties (dated January 7, 2011), Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg talked about the freedom and the “hard-won liberties” that people in Britain have held dear. He talked about the standards of a nation that have been the hallmarks of a civilized society to which people who are victims of oppression in other places around the world have looked to as a beacon of hope…as an example of a better way of life.

Clegg claimed that in recent times under Labour many of Britain’s best traditions have suffered—and that many of its civil liberties “have been undermined, eroded, lost.”

Clegg said:

They[Labour] turned Britain into a place where schools can fingerprint your children without their parents’ consent. Where councils use surveillance powers designed to tackle crime to check if you’re cleaning up after your dog. Where thousands of new criminal offences have amassed on to the statute book. Where you are 7 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the police if you are black or Asian. Where, in one year, we saw over 100,000 terror-related stop-and-searches, none of which yielded a single terror arrest.

They made Britain a place where you could be put under virtual house arrest when there was not enough evidence to charge you with a crime. And with barely an explanation of the allegations against you. A place where young, innocent children caught up in the immigration system were placed behind bars. A Britain whose international reputation has been brought into question because of our alleged complicity in torture.

That record is an affront to everything we stand for.

It has created a fundamental imbalance between British citizens and the British state; disempowering individuals, criminalising innocent people, fuelling mistrust between communities, and diminishing this nation’s moral authority too.

Clegg went on to enumerate the ways in which the Coalition Government would address the problems in 2011, which included the following:
Three: by ending the practices of closed and secretive government; giving people the information and freedom they need to hold us and other institutions to account.

Does any of what Clegg said ring familiar to you? Do you believe that some of our civil liberties have been undermined and eroded in this country—especially over the past decade? Do you think that we Americans need to be ever vigilant about the loss of our “hard-won” freedoms? Do you think that “we the people” should have the freedom and information that we need to hold our political leaders and government institutions to account?

Source: Liberal Democrats

162 thoughts on “Let Civil Liberties & Freedom Ring!”

  1. William Hartung, Director, Arms and Security Initiative, the New America Foundation

    January 11, 2011 12:56 PM
    Is Lockheed Martin Shadowing You? How a Giant Weapons Maker Became the New Big Brother



    In the meantime, since at least 2004, Lockheed Martin has been involved in the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), which collected personal data on American citizens for storage in a database known as “Threat and Local Observation Notice” (and far more dramatically by the acronym TALON). While Congress shut down the domestic spying aspect of the program in 2007 (assuming, that is, that the Pentagon followed orders), CIFA itself continues to operate.

    In 2005, Washington Post military and intelligence expert William Arkin revealed that, while the database was theoretically being used to track anyone suspected of terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, “some military gumshoe or overzealous commander just has to decide someone is a ‘threat to the military’” for it to be brought into play.

    Among the “threatening” citizens actually tracked by CIFA were members of antiwar groups. As part of its role in CIFA, Lockheed Martin was not only monitoring intelligence, but also “estimating future threats.” (Not exactly inconvenient for a giant weapons outfit that might see antiwar activism as a threat!)”

    When President Eisenhower warned 50 years ago this month of the dangers of “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex,” he could never have dreamed that one for-profit weapons outfit would so fully insinuate itself into so many aspects of American life. Lockheed Martin has helped turn Eisenhower’s dismal mid-twentieth-century vision into a for-profit military-industrial-surveillance.

    (Thanks for this posting, Elaine M. “Let Civil Liberties and Freedom Ring!”, as you say…)

  2. As bad as it is I was glad to hear when all the phone tapping information broke the news years ago at least it woke up some people to how bad our civil rights are being abused.
    I watched a show several years back called “Big Brother Big Business” that was very informing on how some of the ways our government keeps tabs on us through things like phone taps and companies like Choicepoint who collect our credit and debit charge habits. I worry about how things will be will all the facial recognition software becomes more mainstream.
    It’s very scary and dissillusioning for me to finally see the America that we all live in this past decade.

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