The former head of the KGB, General Yevgeni Primakov, and the ex-boss of the former East German Security Police, Markus Wolfe, have been employed by the US Homeland Security department.

In 1997, Markus Wolfe was refused entry to the USA on the basis that he was a terrorist. Evidently the criteria for vetting staff are less stringent than those used for visitors.

Last week, anti-war protesters in California learnt that state law entitles police to take DNA samples even from those against whom charges have been dropped.

Gerry wrote last week about the passing of the Surveillance Devices Act into Australian law. This permits federal and state police to use covertly planted spyware on citizens’ computers, to track their online activities. This includes recording keystrokes which are later deleted.

The British Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has today refused to accept the legal ruling which states detention of “terrorism” suspects in Belmarsh Prison is unlawful. Lord Nicholls said “Indefinite imprisonment without charge or trial is anathema in any country which observes the rule of law.” Lord Hoffman said “The real threat to the life of the nation, in the sense of a people living in accordance with its traditional laws and political values, comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these.”

This cut no ice with the British government. Jack Straw replied “The law lords are simply wrong to imply that this is a decision to detain these people on the whim”. Charles Clarke, Blunkett’s replacement as Home Secretary, insisted the prisoners will be kept under lock and key regardless of the ruling, while the Government prepares to change the law itself to make its crimes legal. “We will be studying the judgment carefully to see whether it is possible to modify our legislation to address the concerns raised by the House of Lords,” said Clarke.

Needless to say (as B1rdie commented in the post below), Charles Clarke has also picked up Blunkett’s ID cards baton and is running with it all the way to a new police state.

Are there any influential countries where this sort of thing isn’t happening right now? I’d really like to know.