My friend Gareth made a point on facebook regarding Ali Dizaei in connection with the current debate about Edward Snowden. From the context I presume his point was that the man is/was corrupt and that he is an example of a law enforcement officer whom we cannot trust.
My counter-argument and therefore the purpose for this blog post is that the ‘system’ worked. The man is now in jail. And indeed lost an appeal relatively recently.
From BBC News:
Opposing the appeal, Peter Wright QC, for the Crown, told the court:
“There was no error by the judge in the exercise he undertook. The decision was not wrong in law.”
(Formatting added by me).
I would argue that in any functioning society the rule of law is important (not being an anarchist personally), therefore although clearly there is a concern about spying and law-breaking, that is why we have a legal system. Corruption in the legal system is, I would say, an incredibly dangerous thing. I am, as yet, unaware of any major cases of that though.
As for Edward Snowden, in simple terms he broke the law, as far as I can make out. There is something rather amusingly ironic about an organised system of spies (the NSA) wanting to arrest somebody for spying… Although of course it is technically the US Justice Department and not the NSA who are seeking his extradition and trial.
Whether or not he was right to do what he did is a matter to be discussed, and perhaps the very nature of laws about spying *should* be reviewed in terms of the laws of our societies. I think that is almost certainly beyond the scope of this piece though which I now conclude.
For the curious, this started out as a reply to Gareth on facebook and turned into a longer item so I posted it here instead.