The laptop on which I’m working tells me that it has sent 7,392 email messages to date, and if I knew how to reach its innermost parts it would probably provide a rather embarrassing list of every website it has ever visited on my behalf as well. Like most internet users, I have absolutely no idea how any of that traffic actually happened. I have a fantasy that it involves satellites in space and bunkers deep underground, full of scary professors and beautiful girls in lycra spacesuits dancing attendance on giant computers; and I sometimes wonder whether my cyber-correspondence is being monitored for key words (‘jihad’ perhaps, or ‘Galloway bank account’) at GCHQ Cheltenham or Langley, Virginia.
One way to imprison a suspected terrorist for 90 days or even longer, without any bother from Parliament, would be to give him an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. The Asbo could be drawn up to include a number of hard-to-follow rules such as never to associate with more than one other person in public or use the internet. Once a breach was proved in court, where it would be regarded as a serious criminal offence, the offender could be given a jail sentence of up to five years.
Alasdair Palmer on how the White House is trying to defeat Senator McCain’s anti-torture Bill America is starting to get anxious again about its use of ‘aggressive interrogation’. The more usual name for what the Americans have been doing to some of the people they think are terrorists is ‘torture’. When the pictures from Abu Ghraib first became public 18 months or so ago, they caused a flurry of agonised self-examination among senior officials in the country’s armed forces and intelligence services.
Rape is wrong, says Rod Liddle, but it is right to believe — as 30 per cent of British people do — that some victims are partly responsibleThere was a clever little opinion poll in your morning news-papers this week, courtesy of Amnesty International UK. The headline story from the poll was that about one third of British people thought that women were ‘partially or totally responsible’ for being raped if they didn’t say ‘No’ clearly enough, or were wearing revealing clothing, or were drunk, or had been behaving in a flirtatious manner.
Anthony Browne reports on the EU’s unabated lust for control of national policies, from law and order to universities, from biotechnology to tax Brussels
It was perhaps inevitable that the crash in central London of Banana Republic Airlines Flight 101, which killed 453 people and created a swath of destruction across Islington, provoked Britain’s withdrawal from the EU. Few could understand how the judges in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg had the power to overturn the secretary of state’s ban on the airline for its poor safety record, giving it the right to enter UK airspace.