Tag Archives: home office

Sean Gabb on the DNA Database


file:///C:/user/Sean/Writings/Sean%20Gabb%20Website/flcomm/flc155.htm

Free Life Commentary,
A Personal View from
The Director of the
Libertarian Alliance
Issue Number 155
26th October 2006
14th June 2006
|

On Opposing the DNA Database
by Sean Gabb

(Update by blogmeister: this subject is topical and we spoke on this blog about it earlier today, at this link. )

Last Monday evening—the 23rd October 2006—I was called into the London studio of Sky News to put a case against constructing a database of DNA samples from the whole British population. Tony Blair had been on his hind legs again, braying for the final abolition of freedom in this country. Watched by about a million people, I am told I did rather well in opposing him and his kind. So now, revising an article I wrote back in 2000, I will put my case in writing.

The main problem whenever this sort of proposal is made, is that debate is constructed in terms of either consenting to exactly whatever is proposed, or doing nothing at all about crime. Within this structure of argument, opponents can be presented as indifferent to crime, or even as more interested in the rights of criminals than of their victims.

The secret of winning such debates lies in persuading enough people to reject the assumptions that underlie the structure of debate.

Let us briefly examine these assumptions.

First, it is assumed that a DNA database is essential if crime is to be reduced. This is not so. It would be better to legalise drugs. Millions of consenting acts that are presently illegal would then drop out of the crime figures. At the same time, competition from legitimate suppliers would bankrupt the criminal gangs that have turned parts of London and Manchester into low-intensity war zones; and lowered prices would reduce the vast number of burglaries and street crimes now committed by drug users.

For those acts still criminal we could have much stronger punishments. The notion that serious threats to lock criminals away for very long periods, or to flog or mutilate them, or to hang them, will have no deterrent effect is so laughable, that only someone with a Sociology degree could propose it; and only a fool could really believe it.

Then the laws regarding self-defence could be changed. It is a scandal that respectable people in this country are not allowed to use whatever force they think necessary to defend their lives and property. Tony Martin was put in prison for the bizarre crime of “murdering” a burglar. If he was to blame for anything, it was for his moderation in not going after the other two thieves who broke into his house, and executing them as well.

Each by itself, these reforms would take us back to the crime figures of about 1970. Combined, we might find ourselves back in the 1950s. Of course, the authorities affect horror and even incredulity at the thought of doing these things. They would rather have their DNA database.

Second, it is assumed that a DNA database would reduce crime. Undoubtedly, it would have some effect, but this would be mostly against those criminals likely to be caught and punished in any event. There might at best be a small drop in the cost of policing.  But anyone aware of the optimistic claims made when finger printing was first introduced must know that the more intelligent criminals will simply take more care to hide their identity. That will need more this time than wearing gloves. But I doubt if it will need anything very hard or expensive.

It is, of course, true that some crimes would be solved by having a DNA database. In his comments the other day, Mr Blair mentioned various rapes and murders that were only solved decades afterwards by accidental matches of DNA samples. But something still more effective in the fight against crime would be making everyone in the country go about with a bar code tattooed on his forehead. This would reduce any number of petty frauds. Given the right sort of scanning machines in public, it would allow lost children to be found in minutes, and allow the authorities to keep an eye on known criminals. I can easily multiply the number of alleged benefits a salesman for the big computer companies might make to the Home Office. But I ask instead—would you willingly present your face for the tattooist’s needle?

This brings us to the third assumption of the debate—that a DNA database would be used only for crime control. Even granting that our present rulers are entirely to be trusted—at the very least a dubious assumption—we cannot be sure what they will be like a generation from now. But we can be sure that a database set up now to cover those who are arrested will, without any positive extension, soon cover most of the population. It would a useful tool for any government wanting to exercise the tyrannical powers it now has only in theory.

As Albert J. Nock once observed, every time we give a government power to do things for us, we also give it the power to do things to us. I cannot think of a better illustration of this truth than a DNA database.

You may huff and puff and insist you have nothing to fear from a database of your DNA. After all, the authorities keep promising how much safer it will make you. But do you want your children to go on that database? Can you be sure that some demented government scientist two decades from now will not decide that the surest way to heaven on earth is to stop certain people from breeding? Can you be sure that your children will not show up negative on a DNA database that will have enabled an old authoritarian fantasy to be made into bureaucratic reality?

Are there no criminal tendencies somewhere in your family background? No racial or sexual characteristics that may one day be again be as unfashionable as they have been in other times and places? No bad eyes or flat feet? No predisposition to obesity or illnesses that it will for the foreseeable future be expensive to treat on the National Health Service?

Bear in mind that, with a certainty not known since the 1940s, the relevant scientists are proclaiming that your destiny is in your genes. This may be true. Whatever the case, it is and will remain the consensus. Can you believe it will never be attractive to politicians ignorant of the science, but struggling with the problems of crime control and ballooning health budgets?

Do you want grandchildren? Or do you want to risk seeing your genes scientifically combed from the general pool?

Or do you want your DNA samples handed over to foreign governments? I imagine data will soon be shared between the various governments of the European Union, which will certainly include Rumania and Bulgaria and possibly Turkey as well.

Or do you want your DNA samples at risk of theft from thieves? I cannot imagine what use it might be to them. But who can say what things will be useful in the future?

Or do you want the police to use your DNA samples to get you falsely convicted of a criminal offence? This has been happening with fingerprinting as long as it has been around. With finger prints, it is a matter of using sellotape to copy prints from one object to another. I imagine the police will soon find ways to do this with DNA samples. And the courts will be just as willing as with finger prints to take DNA evidence as effectively conclusive proof of guilt.

If your answer is what it ought to be, let us turn back to an investigation of what other measures may be available for the fight against crime.

This is the framework within which debate on the DNA database should proceed So long as the present framework of assumptions continues unchallenged, there can be no effective opposition.

I am pleased with how well I put my case last Monday evening. But I am sure that others can and will do better.

Extremely satisfying news…for a change.


UPDATE 2: Sean Gabb commented on 26th October 2006, about this same problem when the DNA database was, reltively, in its infancy, and was being masturbated over in public by Tony Blair.

UPDATE 1: Philip Johnston in the DT has opinions about what the Stalinists government will now decide to do.

David Davis (not that one, no, I’m just the duty-bumpkin )

The Police are going to be “asked” (I guess that’s what it will be) by the European Court of Human Rights to “wipe” the DNA records and perhaps other info on “about one million people”. Knowing today’s British-State-Policing-Strategy-Directors, whoever they may be, as we suspect that we do, we wonder how soon this landmark event will take place – think what it is…..the absolute destruction of pinpointing information on about a million British males.

Of course 99% of them are males: what did you expect? And a higher-than-average percentage of them are “black” too, and “young”. This is also wrong and should be addressed, but there may be other socialist-based reasons for this apparent crime-apartheid, such as the education system being designed to fail young males in particular as this is deliberate, and the multicultis deliberately separating the socialisation of “young black males” from the culture they live in, via media-music, “rap” (whatever that may be) State schools, Maxo-Gramscian teachers, and ministers who “groom” the said teachers to be lefties, and the like.

Do you think for one minute that the feminazis would have kept so quiet about such a terror-tool, as they have done – their silence is deafening – if even a slightly appreciable percentage of wimmin (of any sort whatever) were on it?

Nay: it is good that there is a “ruling”. I can’t say, personally, what notice the “Police” “Forces” of this state will take, yet, or at all. They may, they may not. They may make a show of “destroying” “records”, of a sort. This will be for Sir Paul Dacre’s benefit.

But it is good that the EU Soviet is at least pretending to look out for people’s interests, in some things, sometimes. Sean gabb and I both agree that the EU is “a” problem for liberty, but ultimately it is not “the” problem – which is our home-grown (sadly) bureauNazis.

I have recently been criticed on here for bandying about the word “Nazis” too freely. I have therefore decided, that, in the manner of Margaret Thatcher, who read the Guardian each morning and then decided to do the opposite of what it recommended, that I do not use it freely enough. Stalinists of even more kinds than before will now be dubbed what they are: Nazis.

The essence of freedom and individual liberty lies in the free use of language, its ability to adapt to changing threats (threats change all the time: Nazis are no more stupid than we are: just wrong and thus bad becuase they have freely decided to forcibly promote socialism.)

They, the leftie Database-promoting-bastards, such as the Home Office, and some Police chiefs here I expect, must live and be and bear it, to thank the German language and its colloquial orthography, for the spoken grammar that gave rise to the single most sound-bitey word I can find, which describes best all that socialists stand for and do. Remember that Stalin was always Hitler’s ally: his only mistake in the war, which was I guess fortunate for him and for the USSR (sadly) was that he had not properly read “Mein Kampf”, and what it said about which brand of socialists Russia was going to be for.

Damian Green and Christopher Galley: let’s suppose DG “groomed” CG. What then?


David Davis

The Daily Quislingraph carries a “report” that Damian Green, arrested (and then bailed, why only that? What’s wrong with “release without charge” – as he has done freedom a service?) for allegedly being in possession of “leaked documents”, obtained them by “grooming” (ummm, what’s that?) a “civil servant”, allegedly the eponymous Christopher Galley, who is of course, still “disappeared” as of now.

If so, and if “leaking” is OK if the New Labour Government Stalinists do it (as they have been for years if not longer) then, under the principles of a level playing field in liberal pluralist democracy, it’s OK for the opposition to take advantage of “leaks”.

The problem arises when one side tries to upend the playing field , or do the equivalent of “rocking the table” in Billiards and Snooker. This of course is transparently what ZanuLieBorg is doing to our constitutional settlement, and what it has set out to do at least since 1997.

An administration which:-

(1) Creates one new crime a day, by arbitrary definition,

(2) Wants to bring in ID cards by force or stealth,

(3) Forcibly nationalises Banks for spurious reasons based on new and arbitrary definitions of solvency,

(4) Wants to not have its rotten and pocket boroughs in inner cities merged into fewer bigger ones,

(4) Fills the nation with CCTV camerae,

(5) Is creating a very very large and immortal DNA database by stealth, (mostly of young whilte males now, but you just watch what will happen in a couple of years)

(6) Has deliberately decimated and downsized the Farming Communities really quite early on (cunning move that was, before any of us really noticed!) (they are Kulaks and thus conservatives by and large) by burning their animals at the point of a gun, trampling their fields with “ramblers” (who are clearly mostly lefties or they would have better things to do), closing their shops and Post Offices, and allowing the EU to dictate what produce of theirs could be sold to whom at what price,

(7) Has removed the intellectual basis of anti-Stalinist opposition to wickedness, in the Lords, by gerrymandering it by force,

(8) Has passed what amounts to an Enabling Act, for ministers of this Junta,

(shall I go on? That’s all I could type in a minute flat.)

An administration which does all this, is Nazi. Plain and simple. Now, it bcoemes the DUTY, first of opposition MPs, and then the rest of us, to oppose it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to share the fate of the poor miserable German people in 1945. As I keep on saying, it could be argued that they did bring a terrible retribution and fate upon themselves, by failing to reject what were ostensibly and frankly portrayed socialist/ultranationalist policies, clearly outlined to them in successive elections and publlications – not to mention violent events.

Any Conservative MP who thinks that he ought to suborn the Civil Service, directly or otherwise, to find out more about the nefarious things going on under the surface of this government, ought to do so – it’s now his duty. This is war. In the pursuit of truth, particularly in what passes for “government” and the things it tries to cover up, and if socialist (as this outfit is), then it is always and invariably a lot – bad laws should be broken. Publicly and often. While the “media” are still nominally free, this strategy will weaken the masses’ belief, in time – and it will take time – in the cases for their retention.

Old Brian on Damian Green, a good analysis.


David Davis

Brian Micklethwait at Samizdata cuts this to the bone for you. He thinks that, when the junta government starts to arrest opposition politicians for doing things that it itself has been doing for decades, its time is up.

I’m not so sanguine as him. I think it’s just got worse. But either way, we will live in “interesting times”. I’m not so sure that I’m brave enough, or unconnected-enough, to want to. I have wives and children etc.

See what you all think about Will Rhodes Portmanteau, on the same thing.

Damian Green… that’s it. The steel gloves are now off, and the Iron Hand can be seen.


UPdate: Philip Johnston’s commentary is here. “Martin”, writing at The Devil, is even more apposite and eloquent than the rest of us.

One would like to think that this act is a massive “own goal” by the Stalinists (they are, I have always said so, haven’t I?) who purport to be allowed to govern us, but I doubt it sadly.

David Davis

As you all know, this blog tries to keep out of politics as it is currently fought in the bear-pit of the destruction of Liberty. It’s more fun and less stressful to talk about Keeley Hazell. But now, for as long back as I can remember, I can’t think of any occasion when the governing party in parliament has sent the Police to arrest a member of the Opposition, for what is essentially a political act – always assuming that the guy has had sight of something he shouldn’t…..

…and that raises all sorts of smelly rats too: why should Damian Green (or any citizen for that matter!) NOT be allowed to know what shady stuff the gangsters in ZanuLieborg are covering up? Specially if it’s nominally to do with “terrorism” and “security”, and the sort of people who seem to have been allowed into supposedly “sensitive” jobs like in airports and the like? This is stuff about which this administration is making such a song-and-dance of being so caring and solicitous of our safety.

It almost makes you want to embrace conspiracy theories. Like quietly leeting terrorists into airside jobs so they can do the plane-sabotaging themselves…and then using that as an excuse for even heravier-handed general policing – not just “security-theatre”.

I gather that the guy has now been released: but that does not make it better. The today-comments of senior Tories do not in any way match the gravity of what has just happened, and what sort of “line in the sand” has now, in Britain of all places, been passed. (Here’s what Guido said that Sky said.)

And Guido is just now wondering who’s next. George Osborne?

It makes you wonder about the Civil Servants and public service functionaries, ostensibly doing blameless jobs for the State (even Libertarians would mostly agree on this one.) Many must be or are “close to” these shysters and evil mountebanks posing as “Ministers of the Crown”, and can or must see what’s going on – they go to meetings, take minutes, are given briefs, etc. They must, in their own humanity, wonder about what is going on? Surely?

Ort are we truly lost now? The Landed Underclass thinks we have passed a certain point too.

I think they are just making it up.


David Davis

Poor old Obnoxio the Clown has just blown another fuse, poor old chap, about “Jacqui” “Smith”, described as an “interior” “minister”, who apparently wetted her knickers in public about the rush of people wanting to “pre-register” for an ID card. I think she did it on purpose, because winding the old chap up is so easy….I do fear for his blood pressure sometimes.

I have heard of “pre-selling” – this is or was a legitimate sales-related activity where you, say send in a “Key Accounts Manager” to, say, Tesco…then they have lunch paid for by you and you negotiate a price for two million dozen etc, but “pre-registering” for an ID card? Nah.

News Release on Barry George


Sean Gabb

NEWS RELEASE FROM THE LIBERTARIAN ALLIANCE
In Association with the Libertarian International

Release Date: Saturday 2nd August 2008
Release Time: Immediate

Contact Details:
Dr Sean Gabb on 07956 472 199 or via sean@libertarian.co.uk

For other contact and link details, see the foot of this message
Release url: http://www.libertarian.co.uk/news/nr069.htm

Barry George: An Innocent Man Free at Last

The Libertarian Alliance, the radical free market and civil liberties policy institute, welcomes the acquittal of Barry George after his retrial for murder.

[Note for overseas readers: Barry George was found guilty in 2001 for the murder in 1999 of the television presenter Jill Dando. He always maintained his innocence. In 2007, the Court of Appeal quashed his conviction and ordered a retrial. This ended on the 1st August 2008 with an acquittal.]

The Libertarian Alliance published two of the key documents used by campaigners to obtain the retrial:

Robert Henderson, Barry George and the Celebrity Effect: A Miscarriage of Justice in the Making, Legal Notes No. 37, 2001
Scott Lomax, Trial and Error: The Case of Barry George, Legal Notes No. 40, 2003

Libertarian Alliance Director, Dr Sean Gabb, says:

“We welcome this acquittal. It shows that the criminal justice system in this country is not wholly useless. Indeed, since Mr George would probably never have been allowed a retrial in most other countries, we can say that we still have one of the best criminal justice systems in the world.

“This being said, an innocent man has had nine years of his life taken away. The remainder of his life may be passed in the shadow of these past nine years. He can be given financial compensation. He cannot be given his life back.

“His conviction in 2001 was not an ordinary mistake. The authorities were under pressure to find the killer of Jill Dando. Not being able to find the real killer, they seem to have conspired to get an innocent man convicted. If so, several police officers and several lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service are guilty of a dereliction of duty amounting to corruption.

“We call on the Home Office to begin an immediate enquiry into what happened. If criminal acts were committed by the relevant police officers and lawyers at the Crown Prosecution Service, we call for criminal prosecutions. If there was wrongdoing that falls short of the criminal, we call for the names and photographs of the persons concerned to be published, and for these persons to be dismissed from government service and to suffer the greatest disadvantages with regard to their pensions allowed by law.”

END OF COPY

Note(s) to Editors

Robert Henderson is the author of Barry George and the Celebrity Effect: A Miscarriage of Justice in the Making, Libertarian Alliance, Legal Notes No. 37, 2001. He can be reached on 020 7 387 5018 or at philip@anywhere.demon.co.uk

Dr Sean Gabb is the Director of the Libertarian Alliance. His latest book, Cultural Revolution, Culture War: How Conservatives Lost England, and How to Get It Back, may be downloaded for free from http://tinyurl.com/34e2o3. It may also be bought. His other books are available from Hampden Press at http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.

He can be contacted for further comment on 07956 472 199 or by email at sean@libertarian.co.uk

Extended Contact Details:

The Libertarian Alliance is Britain’s most radical free market and civil liberties policy institute. It has published over 800 articles, pamphlets and books in support of freedom and against statism in all its forms. These are freely available at http://www.libertarian.co.uk

Our postal address is

The Libertarian Alliance
Suite 35
2 Lansdowne Row
Mayfair
London
W1J 6HL
Tel: 07956 472 199

Associated Organisations

The Libertarian International – http://www.libertarian.to – is a sister organisation to the Libertarian Alliance. Its mission is to coordinate various initiatives in the defence of individual liberty throughout the world.

Sean Gabb’s personal website – http://www.seangabb.co.uk – contains about a million words of writings on themes interesting to libertarians and conservatives.

Hampden Press – http://www.hampdenpress.co.uk.– the publishing house of the Libertarian Alliance.

Liberalia – http://www.liberalia.com – maintained by by LA Executive member Christian Michel, Liberalia publishes in-depth papers in French and English on libertarianism and free enterprise. It is a prime source of documentation on these issues for students and scholars.

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