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What were the worst offences against liberty, democracy and the rule of law in 2009?

For most bloggers and hacks, the end of the year is a time to look back at some of the best moments from the previous 12 months. But I'm a miserable bastard. So instead I thought I'd make a list of some of the low points for freedom and democracy in the UK in 2009.
Guy Aitchison
30 December 2009

For most bloggers and hacks, the end of the year is a time to look back at some of the best moments from the previous 12 months. But I'm a miserable bastard. So instead I thought I'd make a list of some of the low points for freedom and democracy in the UK in 2009. I'm thinking of those things which offend against the very notion of a free society; the kind people refuse to believe until you show them the proof.

Here's my list, in no particular order, to get things going. Please add any more you can think of in the comments (there have been so many I'm sure to have missed some...)

Police killing an innocent man in central London and then lying about it (again)

The use of “kettling” to shut down and intimidate peaceful protests

The growing use of Forward Intelligence Teams to film and harass protesters

..and the discovery they're logging profiles on criminal intelligence databases regardless of whether a crime is committed 

The pre-emptive mass arrest of peaceful environmental protesters, now stigmatised as “domestic extremists”

Measures which will allow inquests to be held in secret in cases which may embarrass the state

The spread of CCTV and biometric technology into the classroom

The Independent Safeguard Authority which requires anyone who has regular contact with children to obtain a document saying they’re not a paedophile

The determination of some self-styled champions of human rights to rubbish and belittle initiatives that reach across the usual divides

The determination of the Home Office to give itself access to data from every email, phone call, text message and internet transaction you make

The arduous and expensive new restrictions on international artists entering the UK and the damage this does to our cultural life

The refusal to scrap the – originally racist - Form 696 which requires compulsory registration of all live musical events with the Metropolitan police

The refusal to comply with the European Court’s judgement that retaining innocent people’s DNA is a breach of their human rights

The pretence that “voluntary” ID cards are being scaled back whilst really pressing ahead with the scheme

Measures in the Digital Economy Bill that would give the government arbitrary powers to protect copyright

Police using sweeping anti-terror powers to harass street photographers

The confirmation that UK officials were complicit in the torture of our citizens in Pakistan

The Foreign Secretary’s collusion with US authorities to suppress information relating to the torture of another UK resident, Binyam Mohamed

…are there any I've missed?

Expose the ‘dark money’ bankrolling our politics

US Christian ‘fundamentalists’, some linked to Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, have poured at least $50m of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the past decade – boosting the far right.

That's just the tip of the iceberg: we've got many more leads to chase down. Find out more and support our work here.

Who is bankrolling Britain's democracy? Which groups shape the stories we see in the press; which voices are silenced, and why? Sign up here to find out.

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