Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Euro Pol

The armed European Gendarmerie force is now a fact, but a news blackout in Britain means the UK population remain mostly in ignorance, exactly where the Red, Blue and Yellow political classes want them to be. At the moment the Euro gendarmerie may be restricted to training barracks in Italy but the Treaty of Velsen gives them a legal basis to operate anywhere in the EU so they are most unlikely to remain forever in North-East Italy.

Continental Europe has a tradition of criminal justice that it is completely different to ours (no habeas corpus, no trial by independent jury, etc) and a totally different tradition of policing. European Police are definitely a police force along military lines. Europol officers look like soldiers with steel helmets and automatic rifles. The police in continental Europe are militarised and carry lethal weapons at all times. Our police are a civilian force and regularly unarmed.

Europol ranks reflect their basic philosophy; officers called "colonel" and "general" are commanded centrally by the government. Individual officers are shifted around the country, so each city will be patrolled by strangers. Our police in contrast are by tradition locally recruited, and locally accountable.

The Euro gendarmerie practise street-fighting tactics in battle formation. Random deaths from police gunfire have occurred over recent years in Italy and even in Sweden during G8 and other protests. Continental police forces are not familiar with our concept of "policing by consent". How many times have we seen news reports where Continental Police seem to love going into crowds with heavy handed tactics? Continental police have their primary task to uphold the authority of the state, putting down manifestations of civil unrest, dealing with protesters. When they are used to investigate crimes they are often under the direct command of a member of the career judiciary, who has the responsibility but no training in detective work. The Portuguese police in the McCann case being an obvious example.

At present the EU could not deploy their Europol in the UK, Justice and Home Affairs is still an individual member state's prerogative, but this will change with the Lisbon Treaty, justice and home affairs will become an EU competence, like practically everything else.

Undeniably justice and home affairs are the heart of state power, for it includes the power to use physical force on the citizens, to put people in prison. When the EU takes this power it becomes at last a state in its own right, with powers to repress directly behaviours it deems undesirable by citizens of any member state.

The "red lines" the government has drawn have already been dismissed by several of our EU partners, and our own parliamentary committees, as not worth very much and anyway they will be subject to the interpretation of the European Court of Justice and
Article 6.3 of the Treaty of Velsen, which allows the EU gendarmerie to be deployed in another State with the simple "consent" of that state. Once here they will not be subject to our Parliament. They will be subject only to Brussels, and will obey only decisions taken there, decisions taken by majority voting, where we will have only 8% of the vote.

We appear to be heading for a situation familiar to the satellite countries of the former Soviet Union. A domestic police service that can be over ruled and made irrelevant by an external, quasi military, police force, deployed and controlled from outside of our country and completely unaccountable to us for its actions once it is here. An army of occupation by any other name?

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