Prevent Watch

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Is Priti Patel trying to militarise counter-extremism in Britain?

An ex-Royal Marine Special Forces operations planner turned spy agency consultant is advising on the appointment of the next top counter-extremism commissioner, reveals Nafeez Ahmed in another ground-breaking investigation for the Byline Times. The Government panel that will be deciding on the appointment of the next Lead Commissioner for Countering Extremism includes a former senior military officer who is a veteran of the Afghan and Iraq invasions. The former colonel now consults for overseas intelligence agencies and advises a private security firm specialising in “covert surveillance”. The Home Office assessor, Col. (ret) Robert Graham Cundy, is a former Royal Marine and British Army Special Forces officer who played a senior role in counterinsurgency operations in Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Since retiring from the British Army, Cundy has contracted for various UK government departments including providing “capability training packages for overseas intelligence agencies,” according to his biography published […]

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Priti Patel urges MPs to back anti-protest laws

The Independent’s Jon Stone reports that Priti Patel has written to MPs urging them to back controversial anti-protest legislation after it was rejected by the House of Lords. Peers inflicted a string of defeats on the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill last month after critics said some of its measures would effectively ban some non-violent protests. The mammoth bill was defeated over plans to give new powers to police to stop disruptive protests, and on a separate clause which would have imposed noise restrictions on demonstrations. Peers also torpedoed new powers that would make it illegal for protesters to lock themselves to things, and that would give police powers to stop and search those who they suspect of taking part in illegal protests. Labour’s Lord Hain had called the move “the biggest threat to the right to dissent and the right to protest in my lifetime”, while the Green […]

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Priti Patel has quietly been stuffing even more punitive anti-protest powers into the policing bill

Ian Dunt commented in IT News that the Home Secretary had been carving, without hyperbole or caveat, a piece of law which would sit more easily in a dictatorship than a democracy. The Government waited until the final stages of a bill’s legislative process and then suddenly proposed a series of amendments, leaving reporters and human rights groups very little time to raise the alarm. The mechanism she used is the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which first went before the Commons in March for its initial debate, and is now being turned into something even more alarming in the House of Lords. The bill was already a stunningly draconian piece of legislation. One of its chief provisions was to allow police to impose severe restrictions on protests on the basis of noise. The Home Secretary’s provisions, he wrote, were “carte blanche for invasive police action against activists”. Source: […]