Monday, February 04, 2008

Above The Law?

So the police bugged an MP and The Times is outraged!

SCOTLAND YARD’S antiterrorist squad secretly bugged a high-profile Labour Muslim MP during private meetings with one of his constituents.

Sadiq Khan, now a government whip, was recorded by an electronic listening device hidden in a table during visits to the constituent in prison.

The bugging of MPs is a breach of a government edict that has barred law agencies from eavesdropping on politicians since the bugging scandal of Harold Wilson’s government. There was no suspicion of criminal conduct by Khan to justify the operation.

Sounds terrible, doesn't it? But it raises the question- just why should MPs be above the law- they've demonstrated on numerous occasions that breaking the law is not something that they're terribly averse to. If the average British citizen can be bugged without his or her knowledge then so should MPs.

But it gets worse- The Times neglects to mention that the "constituent" the MP was meeting with wasn't just anybody until halfway through the story.

The bugging operation recorded conversations with his constituent, Babar Ahmad, who is facing deportation to the United States under new extradition laws. Khan has been a friend of Ahmad since childhood and has been a prominent campaigner against his extradition. He met the home secretary to discuss the case and handed over a petition of 18,000 signatures calling for Ahmad’s release.

The US government has accused Ahmad of running a website that raised funds for Taliban and Chechen terrorists in the late 1990s. He faces no charges in Britain but is wanted in the United States because his website was registered there.

So a fast-rising Muslim MP is a life-long friend and campaigner on behalf of a man accused of raising funds for Islamic terrorists? Sounds to me like there's enough reason for the security services to be concerned- they received plenty of flack over missing one of the 7/7 bombers from their surveillance program after he was linked to a terrorism suspect, didn't they?

The Sunday Times told him about the bugging operation last week. A friend said the disclosure might further undermine the government’s attempt to “reengage” the Muslim community. He said: “If he was not a Muslim MP would they be doing this? If it had been some ordinary white middle-class MP, would they have been bugged?

Profiling a suspect in a sensitive government position linked to international terrorism while British troops are at war with the Taliban in Afghanistan. How dare they!

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