Anthony Glees: Internment should be a policy option
Thursday 19 October 2006
Professor Anthony Glees is Director of the Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies at Brunel University. He argues that the European Convention on Human Rights needs to be overturned and the Government should have the power to imprison people without trial.
Academics should think the unthinkable. We should not be blinkered by political correctness. People need to speak up. They shouldn't be made to be afraid. Increasingly universities are becoming mental corsets because of over-regulation. I've had universities threatening legal action, vice-chancellors calling for me to be prevented from doing research. And it's these people who claim to be for freedom of speech.
The legal profession has taken the European Convention far too far in a way that is inappropriate in a country that's at war. The convention is deeply flawed. It was set up in 1948 and it is not right for now. At the moment we are at war, the fact that it is being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan conceals that fact. The law has been used to favour the perpetrator, not the persecuted. We need to think about how we should behave to people who consider us enemies, whether they are British citizens or people who are in Britain seeking asylum.
Internment in the second world war is called MI5's darkest hour, but internment was a very effective way of keeping the country safe from Nazi subversion. People say that the vast majority of those interned were Jews, and they would be the last people to act in a subversive way. In fact research shows that there were some Jews in Britain as agents of the Third Reich. Their families were in the hands of the Gestapo and they were blackmailed. And some say that internment in Northern Ireland made the situation better. Internment needs to be talked about. There shouldn't be things that shouldn't be considered - if they can help.
The German equivalent of MI5 is called the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Liberal democracy will be easily destroyed if we do not act against extremism. We give our enemies the weapons they need to destroy us. We need to be more mindful that there is a threshold that should not be crossed. Not everything is permissible. Wearing the niqab is saying we don't want to be British. Forty per cent of British Muslims say they want to live under sharia law. That is unacceptable. They should go to a country with sharia law.
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