Britain is set to detain hundreds of innocent people without trial, and to charge them £1750 for the experience. What precedents are there in any country?

The price of innocence?

From next Monday, 15 February 2021, the poshboy British kingdom will slap 10 days of hygienic detention on everyone who enters England lawfully from a “listed” country (the list contains several countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, plus the United Arab Emirates and Portugal) – and it will charge them £1750 for the experience. The government helpfully explains that the “package” that every detainee will be required to buy will cover not just their accommodation but also “security”, medical “testing”, and the cost of being carted to a detention building straight from their port of entry.

Is there a precedent for a government confining either its own country’s citizens or anybody else

● without issuing criminal charges;

● without suggesting that the internees are suspected of committing any crime; and

● without asserting that a risk exists that these specific persons may commit any type of crime in the future,


making them pay a large amount of money for their own detention?

Did General Franco, for example, make anyone pay to be locked up? Did Salazar? Did Pinochet? How about De Gaulle? How about Hitler? Ceausescu? Netanyahu? The Shah of Iran? Milosevic? Pavelic? Stalin?

The policy of “internment” that the British government introduced during the conflict in Northern Ireland is no parallel for the law of 2021. It is true that in 1971 the authorities issued no criminal charges against those they interned, but nevertheless they still publicly alleged that the hundreds of men and women on their detention “list” had committed serious crimes or would be likely to commit serious crimes if they were allowed to remain at liberty. No such statements are being made now. Today’s internees aren’t being officially accused or “suspected” of anything whatsoever.

Those who were interned half a century ago in Long Kesh weren’t made to hand over any money either. But every person who is detained under the new law will be required to pay the £1750, whether they can afford it or not. People receiving “income-related” welfare benefits are not exempt. They will simply be allowed a “deferred payment plan” according to which they must repay their “debt” to the government in 12 monthly instalments.

Hotel rooms with windows that won’t open

How many internees will be lucky enough even to survive for 12 months? The hotel chain that is currently being the most widely promoted in connection with the new law – not so much in body text, but in illustrative photographs – is Travelodge, the privately-owned company that runs about 570 hotels in Britain. (Travelodge is partly owned by Goldman Sachs, the financial firm that had the regime’s current finance minister, Rishi Sunak, on its payroll.) Many of the rooms in Travelodge hotels don’t have windows that open. Instead the air is circulated by pump. It’s unlikely to be long before we hear of “outbreaks” of SARS – or of some other viral or bacterial infection – in one or more of these buildings.

Postscript: a SARS outbreak that was “traced” to two “quarantine hotels” in Australia is said to have started a wave of infection that killed 750 people. Or if you want it in the words of the British kingdom’s state media: “outbreaks at just two hotels in the Australian state of Victoria were traced to 99% of cases in a second wave across Melbourne that led to around 750 deaths.” (Original petty-bureaucratese retained.) One detainee who was confined with her husband and two children is quoted as follows: “There were people who had, like, filthy hotel rooms, appalling food, you know, really sort of tiny spaces, no opening windows, no balconies”. Where she and her family were confined “the windows were sealed and their only time outside was 20-minute stints every two to three days.”

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There have been 3 comments on this article:

  1. In fact, Stalin made families of those he had put up against the wall and shot pay for the bullets that killed the members of their families.

    The same policy was applied in Israel (during April and maybe a bit afterwards, and in December up until about mid-January), though people didn’t have to pay for the privilege of being humiliated and imprisoned like that. The conditions in these hotels were horrendous (eg lack of sanitary conditions for babies ) and because people revolted against them they stopped the policy.

    By the way, if you want to read up-to-date information and critiques on the current totalitarian project check out this from my site:

  2. Yes, there was sometimes a bullet fee both in the USSR and China. But the only pre-coronafascism cases I know about when a state has charged prisoners rent are the “pay to stay” schemes in the USA. That article from 2005 tells of a guy who was charged $50 a day for a jail stay in Ohio, plus a $100 “booking fee”. In Britain from today the daily charge is £175 ($243).

    1. But before 2020 were there any cases of internees against whom no criminal allegations were made (whether pursued in the courts or not) being locked up and charged rent for the accommodation they were confined in?

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