14th century Treason offence deployed in UK climate of fear

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Today, in a BBC news interview Mark Rowley, the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner in charge of counter-terrorism, repeated Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond’s announcement of the day before that the Government is planning to apply Treason charges in the wake of the heightened terror alerts and which has seen over 100 raids in the past week alone. The last UK prosecution for treason was in 1946, when William Joyce was hanged for Nazi propaganda broadcasts.

Treason is a catch-all offence that is mediaeval in its nature and can be used to proscribe almost anyone considered a threat to the Establishment: it is the last resort of a Government intent on generating fear amongst the populace and acceptance of the anti-democratic measures the Government boasts.

The Treason Act was first introduced in AD 1351.

As Simon Jenkins points out, if it is not ISIS and terrorism and Russia, then the Government,  as part of its fear strategy, is peddling panic re Ebola (killing thousands in West Africa, thanks to the late intervention of Western powers, but like SARS and Bird Flu etc, is unlikely to turn into an epidemic outside of Africa).

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