The Indy are reporting that another batch of government e-mails have been leaked to the New Statesman, this time regarding which is alleged to be an attempt by Tony Blair to ‘bounce’ Charles Clarke into banning two Islamic ‘political parties’, one of which being Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, was bounced by Tony Blair into trying to ban two Islamic parties in Britain after last year’s London bombings, leaked civil service e-mails show.
The e-mails also show the heads of British intelligence refused to be drawn into a “political decision” by the Prime Minister, who announced in August that he intended to ban the radical Islamic party, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and one of its off-shoots, as part of a 12-point anti-terrorism plan.
The Indy’s report picks up two particularly interesting comments, only attributed to Charles Clarke…
“Clarke said he would prefer putting off proscription of HuT until after the proposed amendments to the current legislation. It would, for example, be much easier to argue that HuT met the criteria of ‘justifying and glorifying violence’. Clarke said his fear was that the Government would lose the case for proscription and so wanted to act cautiously.”
And the other to John Scarlett, head of MI6.
In another e-mail, the head of MI6, John Scarlett, the man accused of having “sexed up” intelligence reports on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, is shown to be anxious not to have his agency drawn into another controversy. “He sees this as a political issue and a matter for the Foreign Secretary,” the e-mail said. It went on to summarise the view of the intelligence agencies: “They do not oppose proscription but oppose reliance on their assessment to justify what they see as a change of policy not fact.”
This broadly confirms what many bloggers have felt all along – even those at Harry’s Place, who are certainly no friends of HuT – that despite the government’s efforts to sell the proposed offence of ‘glorifying terrorism’ as dealiing with something akin to incitement, the real motives behind it are fundamentally political and this section of the current terrorism bill amounts to little more than the reintroduction of sedition laws into the UK.
Hopefully, these leaked e-mail will serve as the final nail in the coffin for this particular part of the Bill.