Dagsarkiv: 9. april 2006

Intet nyt fra Plame-fronten

Da vi har orienteret om Plame-sagen hidtil (opsamling her, og en efternøler her), må vi vel også hellere tage den sidste udvikling med, selvom der reelt ikke er sket noget af betydning.

Fra efterforskningen af Scooter Libby fremgår det, at præs. Bush autoriserede ham til at oplyse om indholdet af efterretningsrapporter over for journalisten Judith Miller fra NYT.

Hvordan bliver nyheden så fortolket af MSM:

1) MSM: Bush tillod citering fra efterretningstjenesterne for at miskreditere ambassadør Joe Wilson.

Tja, ordvalget er vel ikke helt dækkende. Bush ønskede at imødegå Wilsons påstand om, at man løj i forhold til efterretningstjenestens vurderinger. Det kunne man imødegå ved simpelt hen at fremlægge rapporterne. Fogh imødegik Grevils påstande om løgn ved på samme måde at fremlægge FE rapporterne, og Blair løste tilsvarende påstande om Goldsmiths vurderinger ved offentliggørelse. Der er som bekendt endnu ikke dokumenteret et eneste tilfælde af løgn fra hverken Bush, Blair eller Fogh i så henseende.

Derimod fremstår Wilson som løgner i sine anklager mod Bush. Men MSM kæmper bravt for ham og oplyser stadig, at han under sit besøg i Niger havde bevist, at Saddam ikke forsøgte at købe uran. Det er – igen som bekendt – forkert. Skal man endelig forsøge at være flink mod Wilson kan man sige, at han fandt det usandsynligt, at Saddam kunne købe uran i Niger. Men Bush påstand var jo også kun, at Saddam forsøgte at købe det i Afrika, og den påstand kunne Wilson faktisk selv bekræfte, og Butler-rapporten har siden fastholdt den.

2) MSM: Hvis Bush blot ville vise, at han ikke havde løjet om efterretningstjenesterne, hvorfor nøjedes han så med at citere fra dem og endda gøre det via en venligt indstillet journalist?

Tja, rapporterne blev faktisk fremlagt ganske kort tid efter, så der er ikke rigtig bid i den del heller.

Men efterretningsrapporter bliver sjældent fremlagt fuldt ud, så her er der (lidt) plads for konspirationsteoretikere, hvad der da også gælder Wilson-, Grevil- og Goldsmith-sagerne.

Den venligt indstillede journalist Judith Miller har i øvrigt fået en krank skæbne, og her finder vi måske en af årsagerne til, at journalister er så konforme, som de er. Gud nåde og trøste den journalist, der ikke passer ind og deler branchens holdninger.

3) MSM: Bush er taget i at hykle. Han sagde, at han ville fyre enhver, der lækkede oplysninger til pressen, og så gjorde han det selv.

Denne her er den dårligste del af historien og viser, hvilke dele af MSM, der er de ringeste. Bush udtalelser angik afsløringen af Plame som (tidligere) CIA-agent, hvilket er kriminelt. Ingen har påstået, at citeringen fra efterretningsrapporterne var strafbar. Hvorfor ikke? Fordi Bush afgør, om rapporterne skal fremlægges eller ej. Denne del af sagen er nogen lunde så ubegavet, som at kritisere, at Fogh kunne offentliggøre FE-rapporterne, når Grevil ikke måtte.

Summa sumarum: Bob Woodward synes stadig at have ret i sin vurdering af, at Plame-sagen ikke har noget på sig.

Når vi fortsat dækker sagen her på bloggen, er det, fordi den giver et indtryk af, hvad der er galt med MSM i dag.

På Woodwards tid handlede kritisk journalistik om at være kritisk over for sine kilder. At man hele tiden efterprøvede, om ens kilder kunne holde vand og gav et fair billede af virkeligheden. I dag angår begrebet ikke arbejdsmåden, men resultatet. Man skal som journalist være kritisk over for “magthaverne”, og så er det bedøvende ligegyldigt, om kilderne er skæve eller uholdbare, bare tendensen er rigtig.

House of Lords om anti-terrorlovgivning

Jeg har tidligere lovprist den øverste engelske retsinstans "House of Lords'" (HOL) insisteren på en effektiv beskyttelse af retsstatsprincippet og individuelle frihedsrettigheder overfor indgribende anti-terrorlovgivning. I disse tider, hvor regeringen her i landet søger at udvide statens anti-terror beføjelser, hvilke allerede blev kraftigt udvidet i 2002, er det endnu engang værd at kaste blikket vestpå over Nordsøen.

I 2004 skulle HOL tage stilling til, hvorvidt udenlandske statsborgere mistænkt for terrorisme kunne tilbageholdes på ubestemt tid uden adgang til at blive stillet for en dommer, med andre ord en suspension af Habeas Corpus. HOL kom med dommerstemmerne 8-1 frem til at en sådan suspension ikke var forenelig med Englands (uskrevne) forfatning eller den Europæiske Menneskerettighedskonvention (EMRK). Lord Hofmanns begrundelse er særlig interessant fordi den på overbevisende vis demonstrerer frihedsrettighedernes konkrete og praktiske værdi og betydning igennem århundreder af den engelske civilisations eksistens, frem for det historieløse og abstrakte forsvar for menneskerettighederne, der ofte fremføres af menneskerettighedsbevægelsen:

This is one of the most important cases which the House has had to decide in recent years. It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has until now been very proud: freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention. The power which the Home Secretary seeks to uphold is a power to detain people indefinitely without charge or trial. Nothing could be more antithetical to the instincts and traditions of the people of the United Kingdom.

[..]In any case, suspicion of being a supporter is one thing and proof of wrongdoing is another. Someone who has never committed any offence and has no intention of doing anything wrong may be reasonably suspected of being a supporter on the basis of some heated remarks overheard in a pub. The question in this case is whether the United Kingdom should be a country in which the police can come to such a person's house and take him away to be detained indefinitely without trial.


 […]The technical issue in this appeal is whether such a power can be justified on the ground that there exists a "war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation" within the meaning of article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But I would not like anyone to think that we are concerned with some special doctrine of European law. Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention is a quintessentially British liberty, enjoyed by the inhabitants of this country when most of the population of Europe could be thrown into prison at the whim of their rulers. It was incorporated into the European Convention in order to entrench the same liberty in countries which had recently been under Nazi occupation. The United Kingdom subscribed to the Convention because it set out the rights which British subjects enjoyed under the common law.

 […]The technical issue in this appeal is whether such a power can be justified on the ground that there exists a "war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation" within the meaning of article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights. But I would not like anyone to think that we are concerned with some special doctrine of European law. Freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention is a quintessentially British liberty, enjoyed by the inhabitants of this country when most of the population of Europe could be thrown into prison at the whim of their rulers. It was incorporated into the European Convention in order to entrench the same liberty in countries which had recently been under Nazi occupation. The United Kingdom subscribed to the Convention because it set out the rights which British subjects enjoyed under the common law.


 The exceptional power to derogate from those rights also reflected British constitutional history. There have been times of great national emergency in which habeas corpus has been suspended and powers to detain on suspicion conferred on the government. It happened during the Napoleonic Wars and during both World Wars in the twentieth century. These powers were conferred with great misgiving and, in the sober light of retrospect after the emergency had passed, were often found to have been cruelly and unnecessarily exercised. But the necessity of draconian powers in moments of national crisis is recognised in our constitutional history. Article 15 of the Convention, when it speaks of "war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation", accurately states the conditions in which such legislation has previously been thought necessary.

 The exceptional power to derogate from those rights also reflected British constitutional history. There have been times of great national emergency in which habeas corpus has been suspended and powers to detain on suspicion conferred on the government. It happened during the Napoleonic Wars and during both World Wars in the twentieth century. These powers were conferred with great misgiving and, in the sober light of retrospect after the emergency had passed, were often found to have been cruelly and unnecessarily exercised. But the necessity of draconian powers in moments of national crisis is recognised in our constitutional history. Article 15 of the Convention, when it speaks of "war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation", accurately states the conditions in which such legislation has previously been thought necessary.

[…]What is meant by "threatening the life of the nation"? The "nation" is a social organism, living in its territory (in this case, the United Kingdom) under its own form of government and subject to a system of laws which expresses its own political and moral values.

[…]What is meant by "threatening the life of the nation"? The "nation" is a social organism, living in its territory (in this case, the United Kingdom) under its own form of government and subject to a system of laws which expresses its own political and moral values.

When one speaks of a threat to the "life" of the nation, the word life is being used in a metaphorical sense. The life of the nation is not coterminous with the lives of its people. The nation, its institutions and values, endure through generations. In many important respects, England is the same nation as it was at the time of the first Elizabeth or the Glorious Revolution. The Armada threatened to destroy the life of the nation, not by loss of life in battle, but by subjecting English institutions to the rule of Spain and the Inquisition. The same was true of the threat posed to the United Kingdom by Nazi Germany in the Second World War. This country, more than any other in the world, has an unbroken history of living for centuries under institutions and in accordance with values which show a recognisable continuity.

I think that it was reasonable to say that terrorism in Northern Ireland threatened the life of that part of the nation and the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom as a whole. In a community riven by sectarian passions, such a campaign of violence threatened the fabric of organised society. The question is whether the t
hreat of terrorism from Mu
slim extremists similarly threatens the life of the British nation.

[…]The Home Secretary has adduced evidence, both open and secret, to show the existence of a threat of serious terrorist outrages. The Attorney General did not invite us to examine the secret evidence, but despite the widespread scepticism which has attached to intelligence assessments since the fiasco over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, I am willing to accept that credible evidence of such plots exist. The events of 11 September 2001 in New York and Washington and 11 March 2003 in Madrid make it entirely likely that the threat of similar atrocities in the United Kingdom is a real one.

 But the question is whether such a threat is a threat to the life of the nation. The Attorney General's submissions and the judgment of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission treated a threat of serious physical damage and loss of life as necessarily involving a threat to the life of the nation. But in my opinion this shows a misunderstanding of what is meant by "threatening the life of the nation". Of course the government has a duty to protect the lives and property of its citizens. But that is a duty which it owes all the time and which it must discharge without destroying our constitutional freedoms. There may be some nations too fragile or fissiparous to withstand a serious act of violence. But that is not the case in the United Kingdom. When Milton urged the government of his day not to censor the press even in time of civil war, he said:
"Lords and Commons of England, consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governours" 

  This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation.

  This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation.

Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda. The Spanish people have not said that what happened in Madrid, hideous crime as it was, threatened the life of their nation. Their legendary pride would not allow it. Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community

[…]. The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. That is the true measure of what terrorism may achieve. It is for Parliament to decide whether to give the terrorists such a victory

HOLs afgørelse, og især Lord Hofmanns begrundelse, demonstrerer, hvorfor beskyttelsen af individuelle frihedsrettigheder burde være et fælles borgerligt-liberalt projekt, som både konservative og liberale kan støtte op omkring. Liberale på grund af, at anti-terrorlovgivning jo i sagens natur griber ind i det enkelte menneskes frihedssfære og udvider statens beføjelser på vilkårlig vis.  Konservative, fordi det grundlæggende er et frit samfund man ønsker at bevare, hvorfor lovgivning, der indskrænker eller ophæver hævdvundne og civilisationsdefinerende grundprincipper bør afvises.   

HOLs afgørelse, og især Lord Hofmanns begrundelse, demonstrerer, hvorfor beskyttelsen af individuelle frihedsrettigheder burde være et fælles borgerligt-liberalt projekt, som både konservative og liberale kan støtte op omkring. Liberale på grund af, at anti-terrorlovgivning jo i sagens natur griber ind i det enkelte menneskes frihedssfære og udvider statens beføjelser på vilkårlig vis.  Konservative, fordi det grundlæggende er et frit samfund man ønsker at bevare, hvorfor lovgivning, der indskrænker eller ophæver hævdvundne og civilisationsdefinerende grundprincipper bør afvises.