Disability groups are deeply concerned about a dangerous mental capacity bill rushed through parliament

The Tories have quietly pushed through a bill that seriously weakens the rights of people deemed lacking mental capacity.

The government has succeeded in quietly pushing through a bill that seriously weakens the rights of 300,000 people with learning difficulties, brain injuries and autism.

The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill – which passed in the House of Commons on Tuesday, without key amendments that would have added vital safeguards – has received little media attention or public scrutiny, but disability organisations like mine are worried it could undermine key freedoms that, instead, urgently needed to be strengthened.

The Tories first announced last summer that they would seek to pass a reform to the Mental Capacity Act 2005. While disabled people and their organisations are in agreement that reform is needed, the bill presented was immediately flagged as a dangerous threat to the rights of people deemed to be lacking mental capacity.

Last year Inclusion London started a petition asking people to support our call to protect the freedoms of people receiving care and support. The petition has nearly 200,000 signatures. But despite criticism from disabled people, advocates, lawyers, professionals, and academics, the bill continued its rapid passage through Parliament without pause.

The Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, wrote to us in an attempt to mitigate some of our concerns and invited us to meet with her in early February. Neither the letter nor the meeting convinced us that the bill will adequately protect disabled people’s human rights, and our key concerns remain.

There are serious conflicts of interest as to who has the power to make important decisions about a person’s deprivation of liberty inherent in the bill, and this could mean that people are forced to live in care homes or be physically or medically restrained if it’s an easier or cheaper option for a local council or service provider.

There are also issues with access to advocacy and the right to information. Not everyone will have the right to an independent mental capacity advocate (IMCA) – there’s an assumption friends or relatives can act as an advocate. This should never be the default option, everyone should be entitled to an IMCA. Not all relatives will act in an individual’s best interests nor can they be expected to understand a complex system.

Finally, there has been a very short period of time for members of the public to voice their thoughts or concerns with the bill. The government failed to put the bill into easy read format, to make it more accessible to people with learning difficulties, until just two weeks ago. Easy read is a format designed for the people most likely to be affected by the bill.

Repeated requests for accessible information about the bill have been ignored over the last 6 months. One can only conclude that people with learning difficulties have been disregarded as valid stakeholders in this process. This is an unacceptable situation and one that would be politically and culturally unacceptable if applied to other communities.

We believe it’s unacceptable that the government ignored all requests to pause, engage and listen to our key concerns. Two hours for MPs to debate the Mental Capacity Amendment Bill is just the latest example of poor law-making that will weaken the human rights of disabled people in some of the most vulnerable situations.

Via Ellen Morrison | leftfootforward.org

Ellen Morrison works for Inclusion London, which supports deaf and disabled people’s organisations across the capital.

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Police spies infiltrated UK leftwing groups for decades

A Socialist Workers party demonstration outside the Labour party conference in Brighton in 2000. Photograph: Chris Ison/PA

Photograph: Chris Ison/PA


Guardian Exclusive: database shows 124 green, anti-racist and other groups spied on by undercover police.

Police deployed 24 undercover officers to infiltrate a small leftwing political party over a 37-year period, the Guardian can reveal. The database lists 124 groups that have been spied on by undercover police officers since 1968. The database is incomplete as the full list of groups that were spied on has yet to be established.

The list so far compiled, however, suggests police spies overwhelmingly monitored leftwing and progressive groups that challenged the status quo, with only three far-right groups infiltrated – the British National party, Combat 18 and the United British Alliance.

Undercover officers spied on 22 leftwing groups, 10 environmental groups, nine anti-racist campaigns and nine anarchist groups, according to the database.

They also spied on campaigns against apartheid, the arms trade, nuclear weapons and the monarchy, as well as trade unions. Among those spied on were 16 campaigns run by families or their supporters seeking justice over alleged police misconduct.

Continue reading at the Guardian source:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/15/undercover-police-spies-infiltrated-uk-leftwing-groups-for-decades

Groups spied on by undercover police – search the list
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/ng-interactive/2018/oct/15/uk-political-groups-spied-on-undercover-police-list

UK ‘Snooper’s Charter’ Nearly Law

Illustration by R. Kikuo JohnsonIllustration by R. Kikuo Johnson

The Investigatory Powers Bill has passed its third reading in the House of Lords and will soon become law.

For the first time, security services will be able to hack into computers, networks, mobile devices, servers and more under the proposed plans. The practice is known as equipment interference and is set out in part 5, chapter 2, of the IP Bill.

Bulk data sets

As well as communications data being stored, intelligence agencies will also be able to obtain and use “bulk personal datasets”. These mass data sets mostly include a “majority of individuals” that aren’t suspected in any wrongdoing but have been swept-up in the data collection.

These (detailed under part 7 of the IP Bill and in a code of practice (download PDF), as well as warrants for their creation and retention must be obtained.

“Typically these datasets are very large, and of a size which means they cannot be processed manually,” the draft code of practice describes the data sets as. These types of databases can be created from a variety of sources.

Continue reading here.

Source:
Snooper’s Charter is nearly law: how the Investigatory Powers Bill will affect you (Wired)

Download:
IP Bill – Draft BPD code of practice.pdf. (www.gov.uk)

BBC Writer Advocates Murder Over Democratic Free Speech

Writer chosen to write Assange-inspired comedy advocates murder over democratic free speech in production due to be broadcast in the run-up to the general election. And that’s the way the BBC works, because every little bit helps.

BBC propaganda writer Thom Phipps lets it slip.

“if the met want to regain my trust they should drag Assange out the embassy + shoot him in the back of th head in the middle of traf square” – Writer Thom Phipps’ tweet https://twitter.com/thwphipps/status/236073062531997696

“Written by Thom Phipps and Peter Bowden, the comedy is part of a BBC season next year called Taking Liberties, celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta and exploring democracy in the run-up to the general election.” – http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/dec/11/ben-miller-bbc4-comedy-asylum-julian-assange

Propaganda works best when its subtlety woven into the media fabric.

UPDATE:
Noticing he’d been rumbled, Thom Phipps removed the guilty tweet. But before he did, we took a full screenshot and present it for you here – please share. Download Thom Phipps’ Guilty Tweet

Forbidden Bookshelf Project

Forbidden Bookshelf

Unearthing Suppressed American History.

For over half a century, America’s vast literary culture has been disparately policed, and imperceptibly contained, by state and corporate entities well-placed and perfectly equipped to wipe out wayward writings. As America does not ban books, other means—less evident, and so less controversial—have been deployed to vaporize them. The purpose of Forbidden Bookshelf is to bring such vanished books to life. These works pull some of the most troubling trends and episodes in US history from the shadows, shed light on how America got to its present moment, and show us how we all might change direction.

These 5 Censored Books Tell a History the Establishment Wants Hidden
Abby Martin speaks with NYU media studies professor, Mark Crispin Miller, about five historical books that have been actively suppressed and hidden from the American public. – YouTube

The first titles released in ebook-form, all of which included new introductions, are:

Blowback: America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Destructive Impact on Our Domestic and Foreign Policy by Christopher Simpson.
The Phoenix Program: America’s Use of Terror in Vietnam by Douglas Valentine.
The Search for an Abortionist: The Classic Study of How American Women Coped with Unwanted Pregnancy Before Roe v. Wade by Nancy Howell Lee.
Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football by Dan E. Moldea.
The Lords of Creation: The History of America’s 1 Percent by Frederick Lewis Allen.

Further Reading
Forbidden Bookshelf Project
Forbidden Bookshelf: Interview with Mark Crispin Miller via Stop Making Sense