Democratic Rights in Britain

UK: Families of Hillsborough disaster victims placed under police surveillance

By Barry Mason, 4 March 2014

Hillsborough family campaigners strongly believed their phone calls were being monitored in the aftermath of the football stadium disaster.

Snowden documents show US, UK spy agencies infiltrate online groups

By Nick Barrickman, 27 February 2014

The NSA and GCHQ are employing deceptive tactics to monitor, manipulate and subvert online activities.

Partner of Glenn Greenwald was held at London airport

UK ruling against David Miranda escalates assault on democratic rights

By Robert Stevens, 20 February 2014

The High Court judgement against David Miranda gives legal sanction to the police state apparatus built up by successive British governments on the pretext of the “war on terror.”

Alzheimer’s sufferer died in handcuffs at UK immigrant detention centre

By Ajay Prakash, 18 February 2014

Every year, around 30,000 asylum-seekers are detained in Britain, nearly one-third of them women and children.

Democratic rights under attack in Scotland

By Steve James, 6 February 2014

Last year there were 700,000 police stops and searches in Scotland.

Guardian reveals threats of imprisonment and closure over Snowden leaks

By Robert Stevens, 4 February 2014

On July 20 last year, the British government sent two security service agents to the Guardian’s London office to oversee the destruction of hard drives and memory cards containing encrypted files from Edward Snowden.

UK police demand water cannon to suppress austerity protests

By Robert Stevens, 24 January 2014

A police briefing paper explicitly links access to water cannon to combating protests against the government’s austerity programme.

UK police demand Channel 4 hand over whistle-blower’s footage

By Robert Stevens, 18 January 2014

The moves against Britain’s Channel 4 are part of an unprecedented campaign by the UK government to silence disclosures about state surveillance operations.

Inhuman treatment of UK woman in privately-run prison

By Dennis Moore, 11 January 2014

After receiving no medical attention during her miscarriage in the cell, Nadine Wright was allegedly ordered to clean up the blood by prison guards.

UK police get away with killing of Mark Duggan

By Julie Hyland, 10 January 2014

Duggan’s killing in north London was the spark for riots that quickly spread across the country in 2011.

Treatment of political activist Trenton Oldfield shows criminalization of protest in UK

By Allison Smith and Paul Bond, 3 January 2014

There was an outpouring of sympathy for Australian immigrant and political campaigner Trenton Oldfield during his trial and deportation ordeal.

Crackdown on UK student protests

By Joe Mount, 24 December 2013

The ramping up of state repression is part of an effort to stamp out political opposition amongst youth.

UK reneges on promised independent inquiry on rendition, torture

By Paul Mitchell, 21 December 2013

Instead of an independent inquiry, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee will hold its own inquiry.

Facing threat of prosecution, Guardian editor testifies before UK parliament

By Chris Marsden, 4 December 2013

British officials are threatening the Guardian over its decision to publish exposures of intelligence agencies’ electronic spying against the people.

UK Prime Minister Cameron plays the anti-immigrant card

By Robert Stevens, 29 November 2013

UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s measures were greeted with rapture by the most right-wing sections of the British media.

UK government moves to clamp down on Internet, citing child pornography

By Julie Hyland, 25 November 2013

Google is planning to target 100,000 search terms, with restrictions applying first in English-speaking countries and then expanded to all other languages over the next six months.

Former UK Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett’s anti-Roma rant

By Liz Smith, 21 November 2013

David Blunkett’s provocative remarks attacking Roma in Sheffield is reminiscent of Conservative MP Enoch Powell's notorious anti-immigrant “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968.

Cuts to legal aid deny hundreds of thousands access to justice in the UK

By Dennis Moore, 20 November 2013

A statement by Tooks Chambers, a leading law firm forced into dissolution, said that government policies on legal aid “are cumulatively devastating the provision of legal services and threatening the rule of law.”

Britain accused of collusion in torture in Somalia

By Robert Stevens, 19 November 2013

To conceal its role in the alleged torture and abuse of a British citizen, the UK government is utilising the Justice and Security Act, passed earlier this year.

British MP presses for criminal charges against the Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 13 November 2013

The British government is stepping up attacks on the Guardian newspaper for its publishing of revelations of mass surveillance by US and UK spy agencies.

The NSA spy scandal and the attack on press freedom

By Chris Marsden, 6 November 2013

The capitalist oligarchy, terrified of popular opposition to attacks on democratic rights and its policies of obscene self-enrichment, sees press freedom as an unacceptable threat.

New threats against the Guardian newspaper and Snowden in Westminster debate

By Chris Marsden, 2 November 2013

Following UK Prime Minister David Cameron's threats against the Guardian this week, further parliamentary debate has made clear that the three main parties are intent on suppressing evidence of mass surveillance.

The witch-hunt of Britain’s Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 22 October 2013

The concerted campaign by the British government to silence the Guardian newspaper, due to its publication of the Edward Snowden revelations, is indicative of the move toward dictatorial forms of rule by the ruling elite.

UK’s “Plebgate” scandal: Police go unpunished for set-up of Conservative MP

By Julie Hyland, 19 October 2013

The British “Plebgate” scandal testifies to the enormous powers accrued by the police over the last decades.

UK unions colluded with police and employers in construction blacklist

By Paul Bond, 17 October 2013

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report has confirmed that police provided information to firms for a blacklist of construction workers.

Main UK parties agree on statutory press control

By Julie Hyland, 16 October 2013

The measure has been denounced by the Newspaper Society as an “unacceptable degree of interference” and “state-sponsored regulation.”

UK government and media demand measures against Muslim face veil

By Chris Marsden, 20 September 2013

A British judge’s ruling has become the occasion for a campaign demanding additional measures to curtail democratic rights and to whip up hostility to Muslims.

Senior political figures demand second vote in UK parliament on Syrian attack

By Julie Hyland, 3 September 2013

Leading figures in the UK government and opposition Labour Party are set on overturning last week’s parliamentary vote against British involvement in a war against Syria.

A letter from film producer Tony Garnett

“Edward Snowden has shone a light into the secret activities of the State”

2 September 2013

The following comment in defence of former National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden was submitted to the World Socialist Web Site by film producer and author Tony Garnett.

Britain: Police justification for Taser killing in Manchester unravels

By Tony Robson, 27 August 2013

Jordan Begley was tasered inside his mother’s home and died within hours.

David Miranda’s detention and the raid on Britain’s Guardian newspaper

By Julie Hyland, 24 August 2013

Events of the last week provide chilling confirmation of the police state apparatus built up by successive British governments on the pretext of the “war on terror.”

UK High Court allows police to investigate documents illegally seized from David Miranda

By Robert Stevens, 23 August 2013

The detention of David Miranda was a blatant act of political intimidation, sanctioned at the highest levels by London and Washington.

Detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner approved at highest levels of US and UK governments

By Thomas Gaist and Joseph Kishore, 21 August 2013

A US security official has acknowledged that a central purpose of the detention of David Miranda was to send a message to all those seeking to expose evidence of government spying programs.

UK detains Glenn Greenwald’s partner under terrorism law

By Barry Grey and Thomas Gaist, 19 August 2013

Greenwald is absolutely justified in alleging US collusion in the detention of David Miranda, his partner, by British authorities.

UK Labour Party whips up anti-immigrant sentiment

By Robert Stevens, 19 August 2013

The Labour Party continues its shift to the right, embracing anti-immigrant chauvinism, support for the free market and condemnation of what remains of Britain’s welfare state.

NSA funds UK’s spying operations

By Robert Stevens, 10 August 2013

America’s National Security Agency has funded Britain’s intelligence gathering service to the tune of at least £100 million over the past three years.

Inquiry into police killing of Mark Duggan to report no evidence of police criminality

By Robert Stevens, 8 August 2013

The Independent Police Complaints Commission report found no evidence of criminal offence being committed by the Metropolitan Police in the killing of Mark Duggan.

British government introduces Internet censorship filters

By Mark Blackwood, 7 August 2013

Under the fraudulent pretext of protecting children, the British government is introducing censorship of the Internet.

European Union seeks drone and spy satellite network

By Chris Marsden, 6 August 2013

The European Union has proposed the creation of what amounts to a pan-European equivalent to the National Security Agency, armed with a European drone programme and a spy satellite network.

UK government mounts racist “Go Home or Face Arrest” campaign

By Ajay Prakash, 6 August 2013

The British government has launched a racist campaign against immigrants as a diversion from deepening austerity measures.

New attacks on civil liberties set to be passed in British parliament

By Robert Stevens, 6 August 2013

The UK government's proposed Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill is the culmination of more than a decade of attacks on democratic rights.

Britain’s Royal birth: Media frenzy amid public indifference

By Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden, 27 July 2013

The birth this week of the son of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge and wife of Britain’s Prince William, occasioned a media frenzy.

British police stole IDs of dead children to infiltrate political organisations

By Steve James, 27 July 2013

British police appropriated the identifies of dead children to infiltrate political and campaigning organisations.

UK: The unlawful killing of deportee Jimmy Mubenga

By Barry Mason, 25 July 2013

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns, deportation officers working for G4S “are incentivised to ensure that deportations are completed regardless of the level of resistance from the person being removed.”

Young man dies after being shot by police Taser gun in Manchester, England

By Dennis Moore, 25 July 2013

Jordan Begley, a 23-year-old factory worker from Manchester, is the tenth person in the country to die as a result of Tasering.

Parliamentary intelligence oversight body whitewashes mass surveillance by UK and US

By Julie Hyland, 23 July 2013

The UK parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee has whitewashed allegations of mass illegal spying by GCHQ and the US National Security Agency.

Britain to use secret evidence in court

By Jordan Shilton, 15 July 2013

The Justice and Security Act 2013 (JSA), which came into force this month, creates a new judicial procedure which will permit the use of secret evidence in any civil trial in the UK.

British government calls for more repressive powers following deportation of Abu Qatada

By Jordan Shilton, 12 July 2013

The deportation of Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan illustrates the complete disregard for basic democratic and legal principles within Britain’s ruling elite.

More details emerge of the UK’s illegal mass spying

By Robert Stevens, 10 July 2013

The Privacy International charity is taking legal action against the UK government’s spying network as whistleblower Edward Snowden gives further details about its vast scope.

Britain: Spying network exposed targeting organisations critical of police

By Barry Mason and Robert Stevens, 28 June 2013

A series of revelations has exposed a massive British police spying network, in which individuals and groups opposing police harassment, brutality and corruption were systematically monitored.

Communications of millions subject to US-UK spying

By Eric London, 22 June 2013

Whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed that the UK and US intelligence agencies record the content of phone calls, email messages, Facebook posts and browser histories of tens of millions of people.

London Metropolitan Police demand water cannons

By Paul Stuart, 22 June 2013

London’s Metropolitan Police utilised the recent G8 summit in Northern Ireland to step up its demands for water cannon to be used against protests.

British government moves to censor media coverage of spying operations

By Robert Stevens, 21 June 2013

The British government has issued a “private and confidential” request to UK media that it censor information relating to documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

The Woolwich killing and the responsibility of Britain’s ruling elite

By Chris Marsden, 1 June 2013

The killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, London has lifted a corner of the veil of lies, intrigue and criminality surrounding British foreign policy.

More questions about MI5’s relations with Woolwich killers

By Julie Hyland, 29 May 2013

Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, the killers of Drummer Lee Rigby, were under surveillance for years.

MI5 and the Woolwich killers

By Chris Marsden and Julie Hyland, 27 May 2013

The decision to arrest Abu Nusaybah at BBC headquarters suggests that Britain’s MI5 and Special Branch know a great deal more than they have admitted about the killers of Lee Rigby.

European Union cites Boston attack to justify major anti-terrorist operation

By Chris Marsden, 24 April 2013

On April 17 and 18, anti-terrorist units of numerous European Union member states participated in an operation involving simulated terrorist attacks in nine different countries.

National Union of Students complicit in British government attacks on students

By Thomas Scripps, 17 April 2013

The National Union of Students has launched a phoney campaign to “Bring Back” the Educational Maintenance Allowance, after previously sabotaging the opposition to its abolition.

Britain: Conservatives and Labour step up witch-hunt against immigrants

By Paul Mitchell, 1 April 2013

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for the denial of welfare rights to migrant workers and immigrants.

UK’s new press regulations a major threat to democratic rights

By Julie Hyland, 22 March 2013

The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties have agreed to establish a press regulatory body by Royal Charter that overturns 300 years of press freedom.

Britain: Student beaten by police finally found not guilty

By Joan Smith, 16 March 2013

Alfie Meadows, who was brutally beaten by police during the anti-tuition fees protests in 2010, was cleared of violent disorder.

UK government passes legislation for secret courts

By Jean Shaoul, 9 March 2013

The Justice and Security Bill marks a major departure in principles of English law—that cases are held and decided in public and the evidence presented by the other party is disclosed.

UK gay marriage bill: An undemocratic fraud

By Paul Bond, 20 February 2013

The passage through the House of Commons of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Bill is being depicted as a democratic triumph. It is no such thing.

UK police frame up Conservative MP

By Paul Bond, 28 December 2012

Three months after Andrew Mitchell MP resigned over allegations that he had abused police officers, it is clear that much of the evidence against him was fabricated.

Man detained in Somalia is stripped of UK citizenship for refusing to spy on Muslims

By Jean Shaoul, 10 November 2012

The British government has stripped Mahdi Hashi, a 23-year-old British national who also held Somali nationality, of his UK citizenship.

UK backs down on accused hacker Gary McKinnon’s extradition to US

By Simon Whelan, 9 November 2012

Accused hacker Gary McKinnon’s extradition to the United States was halted on the grounds of his fragile mental health and a high suicide risk.

Relative of Anthony Grainger speaks on UK police killing

By our reporters, 20 October 2012

The official Greater Manchester Police justification for the killing of unarmed Anthony Grainger, that he was part of a group conspiring to commit robbery, has been thrown out of court.

Killing of two female officers used to demand greater UK police powers

By Robert Stevens, 4 October 2012

The killing of two female police officers in Manchester, England has occasioned a frenzied government, police and media-led campaign aimed at handing the police even greater powers.

Britain: Ian Tomlinson’s family denounce police misconduct trial as a whitewash

By Sally Smith, 24 September 2012

An internal hearing sacked a police officer for “misconduct” for his attack of a newspaper vendor during the 2009 G20 protest, but refused to rule on whether his death resulted from the attack.

Foreign students at London Metropolitan University threatened with deportation

By Robert Stevens, 4 September 2012

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has prepared the way for the deportation from Britain of up to 2,600 foreign students at London Metropolitan University (LMU).

Thousands mass outside Ecuadorean embassy to support Assange

By Daniel O’Flynn and Rick Wilson, 20 August 2012

Two thousand protesters massed outside the Ecuadorean embassy in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

UK inquest finds against police in death of Sean Rigg

By Trevor Johnson, 9 August 2012

Sean Rigg was a fit and healthy 40-year old, a successful musician and producer who suffered from bouts of paranoid schizophrenia.

British police fabricate terrorist case against Rizwaan Sabir

By Simon Whelan, 8 August 2012

The internal West Midlands police professional standards investigation into the Rizwaan Sabir affair, following complaints by Dr. Rod Thornton over the police’s handling of the case, is finally complete.

Unemployed worker sets himself on fire outside UK Jobcentre

By Aidan Claire and Katie Owen, 7 July 2012

A 48-year-old man set himself on fire outside a Birmingham Jobcentre to protest not receiving his benefit payment.

Britain’s Labour Party leader Ed Miliband fuels anti-immigrant prejudice

By Paul Mitchell, 27 June 2012

Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is playing the anti-immigrant card, promising new measures to prevent British people being “locked out” of jobs by foreign workers.

Rally against police killing of Anthony Grainger in Manchester, UK

By our reporters, 23 June 2012

A rally to bring attention to the death of Anthony Grainger at the hands of the police was held in Manchester June 17.

East London tenants evicted in run-up to Olympics

By Robert Stevens, 15 May 2012

Tenants in east London are being evicted from their homes in the run-up to the London Olympics Games, to be held July 27–August 12.

London to be militarised for 2012 Olympics

By Richard Tyler, 9 May 2012

Billions of pounds are being provided to the police, military and intelligence agencies to fund a mobilisation of state forces on a scale never seen in London in peacetime.

UK: Partner of Anthony Grainger, shot by police, campaigns for truth about his killing

By our reporters, 20 April 2012

Anthony Paul Grainger, 36, an unarmed man, was shot and killed by police on March 3 in the small Cheshire village of Culcheth. The WSWS spoke to his partner Gail Hadfield Grainger and a friend about the campaign to uncover the truth about his killing.

British police face investigation of racist incidents

By Paul Bond, 14 April 2012

London’s Metropolitan Police Service is at the centre of a growing storm about police racism. Eight officers and one civilian member of staff have been suspended, as 10 reported incidents have been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for investigation.

European Court’s extradition ruling: A major blow to democratic rights

By Julie Hyland, 12 April 2012

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights that five men detained on terror-related charges can be extradited to the United States marks a major assault on democratic rights.

British government proposes extension of state surveillance

By Paul Bond, 11 April 2012

Britain’s Conservative-Liberal Democrat government has announced plans to extend wider state surveillance across e-mail, telephone and social media communications.

British teenager arrested for Facebook comments criticizing Afghan war

By Harvey Thompson and Mark Blackwood, 26 March 2012

Azhar Ahmed, a19-year-old from Ravensthorpe, England, was arrested last week by West Yorkshire Police and charged with a “racially aggravated public order offence”.

“The attacks on us are extraordinarily revealing”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks with WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 16 March 2012

Julian Assange discusses his British court appeal against extradition to Sweden and the ongoing attacks on WikiLeaks, freedom of the press and other basic rights.

UK Home Secretary approves Richard O’Dwyer’s extradition to US

By Julie Hyland, 15 March 2012

Britain’s Home Secretary Theresa May has approved the extradition to the United States of 23-year-old Richard O’Dwyer on charges of copyright infringement.

Unarmed man shot dead by police in English village

By Trevor Johnson, 10 March 2012

Police shot and killed Anthony Grainger with a bullet to the heart on March 3.

Corruption charges vs. British officers investigating murder of Stephen Lawrence

By Julie Hyland, 8 March 2012

Britain’s Independent newspaper has detailed previously suppressed allegations of corruption by police involved in the investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence.

UK government seeks deportation of Muslim cleric Abu Qatada

By Julie Hyland, 11 February 2012

The British government is continuing its efforts to deport Muslim cleric Abu Qatada to Jordan.

Security conference for London Olympics plans massive police operation

By Paul Stuart, 1 February 2012

The Royal United Services Institute, in partnership with the Home Office, held a conference on security for the upcoming Olympic Games in London.

Stephen Lawrence murder convictions used to exonerate UK police

By Julie Hyland, 7 January 2012

Gary Dobson and David Norris were sentenced this week for the 1993 racist killing of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence.

Britain deports Sri Lankan asylum seekers

By Athiyan Silva, 3 January 2012

British authorities deported 55 Sri Lankan refugees back to Sri Lanka, disregarding their safety and warnings by human rights groups.

UK family face eviction as collective punishment

By Trevor Johnson, 13 December 2011

An entire family, including a young baby and an eight-year-old child, face being thrown out of their family home in Manchester, England under anti-democratic legislation.

2012 Olympics: Police-state measures for London as super-wealthy party

By Paul Stuart, 7 December 2011

Preparations for the 2012 Olympics in London are being approached based on the calculation that Britain is a country on the edge of mass social conflict.

Mother of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, speaks with the WSWS

By Richard Phillips, 26 November 2011

Christine Assange discusses the US-led frame-up campaign against WikiLeaks and her son Julian, the role of the Gillard Labor government, and the political implications for basic democratic rights.

“Total Policing” and the criminalisation of dissent

By Chris Marsden, 12 November 2011

The scale of the police operation mounted Wednesday against a relatively small and entirely peaceful protest against UK education cuts shows that the ruling elite is no longer prepared to tolerate any form of political and social opposition.

British authorities launch “Total Policing” at student protest

By Robert Stevens, 11 November 2011

The policing of Wednesday’s students protest in London was unprecedented in its repressive character.

”Our future shouldn’t be determined by a few rich people”

Students at London demonstration speak

By our reporters, 11 November 2011

A reporting team from the World Socialist Web Site spoke to some of those participating in Wednesday’s student protest in London

Police victimise London protest against deaths in custody

By Paul Bond, 31 October 2011

A protest by the United Families and Friends Campaign against deaths in police custody was held in London on Saturday.

UK: Citizens Inquiry covers up real reasons for Tottenham riots

By our reporter, 20 October 2011

The initial meeting of the Citizens Inquiry into August’s Tottenham riots took place last Saturday. The area erupted after Mark Duggan, a 29-year-old father of four, was fatally shot by police on August 4.

UK police to be given greater repressive powers after riots

By Julie Hyland, 18 October 2011

Britain’s new police powers include the ability to declare specific places “no go areas”, with a police superintendent empowered to instruct people to leave “to prevent or address serious disorder.”