FEB 4th 2008
Since there is so much confusion over the recent case of the MP conversing with the imprisoned terrorist suspect, I feel obliged to relate the facts.

1. Prisoners have never enjoyed the same rights as free citizens. Their conversations are routinely monitored, so that they cannot run their criminal businesses just as well inside as outside with the added privilege of free board and lodging, TV and the other amenities.
2, The 'Wilson Doctrine' of MP/Constituent privilege does not apply in these circumstances. * See entry for Feb 21
3. The MP in question is possibly upset because he did not realise this and told the constituent in question that their conversation was completely private and confidential.
4. The MP would be obliged by law to report any criminal or terrorist intelligence he gained during such a conversation in any case.

To arouse any concerns here we have to imagine the case whereby the incarcerated man is innocent, the conversation is about proving his innocence, and the police listening in are corrupt. In that case we shall not get any further in understanding what, if anything, should be done until the entire content of the bugged conversation is revealed to a trusted juducial individual or committee.

From the above you will gather that the current points being made by Cameron, Davis et al. is the usual load of wind and piss we are used to. There may be a problem here, though I doubt it. If there is it is certainly nothing they would have a clue about or know how to remedy.

Some further points:

Client-Lawyer conversations are historically privileged. This is an important principle in law. However, when we are dealing with terrorism and the planning of massive crimes against the state, it is absolutely absurd to rely on historical traditions desingned to protecthe rights of ordinary criminals. If the police need to protect the public, and they suspect that a lawyer is colluding with someone capable and willing to cause massive public damage, they should take steps to gather intelligence by this means rather than e.g. some older classic methods such as torture.

Of course it can be said that if the police gain knowledge of the defence strategy and tactics, they can adjust their prosecution strategy and tactics. This is a major characteristic of the adversarial system. However, when we are dealing with terrorism the adversarial system is itself absurd. There should be full disclosure to the defence and to the prosecution even if this moves the procedure from the fully adversarial towards the inquisitorial.

FEB 5th 2008
So now we come to the question of 'Interception evidence' and its admissability in court. The security services wish to exclude it for very good reasons. After a few cases it will become public knowledge what the caabilities and what the weaknesses are in intercept technology. We would get into very deep water as all sorts of technical challenges dug deeper and deeper. In addition it could put security personnel in more danger. A commission examining this has just reported in favour of changing the status quo and making intercept evidence admissible. The devil will lie in the detail, but the security services will in my view avoid using it even if it is allowed. This may mean that a new way of restraining or ridding the country of declared terrorists has to be devised. That should not be impossible providing we can dig the brains of some of our fossilised institutional big-wigs out of their bumbling ignorance of the changing reaiities of the globalised society.

FEB 6th: It seems the detail in the new proposals have been well thought through, will satisfy the needs of the security services, and are therefore likely to be adopted in due course. Bear in mind that 'bugging', or monitoring a prisoner, which was the subject that opened this file, is quite different from 'interception'.

FEB 9th
The legal heavyweights are now up and roaring about the lawyer-client privilege and how if breached, then all trials ar mistrials, My dear old buffers, you know all about the law but understand nothing about terrorism. Our laws are not designed to deal with terrorism. They grew up in a world that was born out of Judaeo-Christian history and simple ideas of treason. But even then, when the state was at risk, the law was always set aside - yes, set aside, There are those who deplore the phrase 'War on Terror'. Indeed, at the moment George Bush introduced it publicly it was a great mistake, equal to 'Axis of Evil', as the target was mistaken by those who thought they were it but were not.

However, partly as a result, we now do have a war on terror. There is no question now of letting it continue as a a game, with fairness enough to allow the guilty to get off if they play a shrewder game than the prosecution. The adversarial must give way to the inquisitrial and the search for the facts, te truth, the real intentions. By so doing we can also eliminate the abuse of power by the servants of the state which also hide within the coverage of the adversarial system. This is a game that has gone badly wrong.

Oh yes, some say, the terrorists will win because we will be denying the very human rights and freedoms that we defend, and which they wish to deny. Er... NO, actually. The lack of transparency in our legal system neither protects the innocent or deals with the guilty. The social Contract therefore fails and with it human rights and freedom.

So don't get over excited, or huff and puff with pompous legal indignation. Let us just grow up.and realise we have have always much to learn. In this case it is an old, old truth - that every philosophy if taken to its ultimate conclusion will cause the seeds of its destruction, ever within, to germinate. Thank goodness for that. The alternative would be a stultifying creation to which there was a single answer (e.g: 42), making the whole of existence pointless

FEBRUARY 21st 2008
I think I was perfectly correct in saying that the Wilson Doctrine did not apply in the situation, even if the prison authorities had known he was the prisoner's MP. But in addition, in this case, it turns out the MP was visiting as an old friend of the prisoner and the prison authorities had not identified him as an MP. Finally, he was not the target. So the complaints made by David Davis and his claim that the Prime Minister was a liar are triply absurd and he should apologise. Instead of that he struggled through a disgraceful attempt on BBC Radio 4's News at 1pm today to defend his miserable behaviour. This man is, as I have said often, not fit to be on the Tory front bench and never has been.