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The Rise of the "Democratic" Police State

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  • Dan Clore
    News & Views for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo BRITAIN: The rise of the democratic police state by John Pilger London Thomas
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2005
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      BRITAIN: The rise of the 'democratic' police state
      by John Pilger

      Thomas Friedman is a famous columnist on the New York Times.
      He has been described as "a guard dog of US foreign policy".
      Whatever America's warlords have in mind for the rest of
      humanity, Friedman will bark it. He boasts that "the hidden
      hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist".
      He promotes bombing countries and says World War III has begun.

      Friedman's latest bark is about free speech, which his
      country's constitution is said to safeguard. He wants the
      State Department to draw up a blacklist of those who make
      "wrong" political statements. He is referring not only to
      those who advocate violence, but those who believe US
      actions are the root cause of the current terrorism. The
      latter group, which he describes as "just one notch less
      despicable than the terrorists", includes most Americans and
      Britons, according to the latest polls.

      Friedman wants a "War of Ideas report" which names those who
      try to understand and explain, for example, why London was
      bombed. These are "excuse makers" who "deserve to be
      exposed". He borrows the term "excuse makers" from James
      Rubin, who was Madeleine Albright's chief apologist at the
      State Department. Albright, who rose to be secretary of
      state under President Bill Clinton, said that the death of
      half a million Iraqi infants as a result of a US-driven
      blockade was a "price" that was "worth it".

      Of all the interviews I have filmed in official Washington,
      Rubin's defence of this mass killing is unforgettable.

      Farce is never far away in these matters. The "excuse
      makers" would also include the CIA, which has warned that
      "Iraq [since the US-led invasion] has replaced Afghanistan
      as the training ground for the next generation of
      'professionalised terrorists'".

      On to the Friedman/Rubin blacklist go the spooks! Like so
      much else during the Blair era, this McCarthyite rubbish has
      floated across the Atlantic and is now being recycled by
      British Prime Minister Tony Blair as proposed police-state
      legislation, little different from the fascist yearnings of
      Friedman and other extremists. For Friedman's blacklist,
      read Tony Blair's proposed database of proscribed opinions,
      bookshops, websites.

      The British human rights lawyer Linda Christian asks: "Are
      those who feel a huge sense of injustice about the same
      causes as the terrorists -- Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on
      terrorism, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib -- to be stopped from
      speaking forthrightly about their anger? Because terrorism
      is now defined in our law as actions abroad, will those who
      support liberation movements in, for example, Kashmir or
      Chechnya be denied freedom of expression?"

      Any definition of terrorism, she points out, should
      "encompass the actions of terrorist states engaged in
      unlawful wars".

      Of course, Blair is silent on Western state terrorism in the
      Middle East and elsewhere; and for him to moralise about
      "our values" insults the fact of his blood-crime in Iraq.

      His budding police state will, he hopes, have the
      totalitarian powers he has longed for since 2001 when he
      suspended habeas corpus and introduced unlimited house
      arrest without trial. The Law Lords, Britain's highest
      judiciary, have tried to stop this. Last December, Lord
      Hoffmann said that Blair's attacks on human rights were a
      greater threat to freedom than terrorism.

      On July 26, Blair emoted that the entire British people was
      under threat and abused the judiciary in terms, as Simon
      Jenkins noted, "that would do credit to his friend Vladimir

      What we are seeing in Britain is the rise of the
      "democratic" police state. Should you be tempted to dismiss
      all this as esoteric or merely mad, travel to any Muslim
      community in Britain, especially in the north-west of
      England, and sense the state of siege and fear.

      On July 15, Blair's Britain of the future was glimpsed when
      the police raided the Iqra Learning Centre and bookshop near
      Leeds. The Iqra Trust is a well-known charity that promotes
      Islam worldwide as "a peaceful religion which covers every
      walk of life". The police smashed down the door, wrecked the
      shop and took away anti-war literature which they described
      as "anti-Western".

      Among this was, reportedly, a DVD of the Respect party MP
      George Galloway addressing the US Senate and a New Statesman
      article of mine illustrated by a much-published photograph
      of a Palestinian man in Gaza attempting to shield his son
      from Israeli bullets before the boy was shot to death. The
      photograph was said to be "working people up", meaning
      Muslim people. Clearly, David Gibbons, this journal's
      esteemed art director, who chose this illustration, will be
      called before the Blair Incitement Tribunal.

      One of my books, The New Rulers of the World, was also
      apparently confiscated. It is not known whether the police
      have yet read the chapter that documents how the Americans,
      with help from MI6 and the SAS, created, armed and
      bankrolled the terrorists of the Islamic Mujahideen, not
      least Osama bin Laden, in Afghanistan.

      The raid was deliberately theatrical, with the media tipped
      off. Two of the alleged July 7 bombers had been volunteers
      in the shop almost four years ago. "When they became
      hardliners", said a community youth worker, "they left and
      have never been back and they've had nothing to do with the

      The raid was watched by horrified local people. who are now
      scared, angry and bitter. I spoke to Muserat Sujawal, who
      has lived in the area for 31 years and is respected widely
      for her management of the nearby Hamara Community Centre.
      She told me: "There was no justification for the raid. The
      whole point of the shop is to teach how Islam is a
      community-based religion. My family has used the shop for
      years, buying, for example, the Arabic equivalent of Sesame
      Street. They did it to put fear in our hearts."

      James Dean, a Bradford secondary school teacher, said: "I am
      teaching myself Urdu because I have multi-ethnic classes,
      and the shop has been very helpful with tapes."

      The police have the right to pursue every lead in their hunt
      for bombers, but scaremongering is not their right. Sir Ian
      Blair, the metropolitan police commissioner who understands
      how the media can be used and spends a lot of time in
      television studios, has yet to explain why he announced that
      the killing in the London Underground of the Brazilian, Jean
      Charles de Menezes, was "directly linked" to terrorism, when
      he must have known the truth.

      Muslim people all over Britain report the presence of police
      "video vans" cruising their streets, filming everyone. "We
      have become like ghettoes under siege", said one man too
      frightened to be named. "Do they know what this is doing to
      our young people?"

      The other day Tony Blair said: "We are not having any of
      this nonsense about [the bombings having anything] to do
      with what the British are doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, or
      support for Israel, or support for America, or any of the
      rest of it. It is nonsense and we have to confront it as that."

      This "raving", as the US writer Mike Whitney observed, "is
      part of a broader strategy to dismiss the obvious facts
      about terror and blame the victims of American-British
      aggression. It's a tactic that was minted in Tel Aviv and
      perfected over 37 years of occupation. It is predicated on
      the assumption that terrorism emerges from an amorphous,
      religious-based ideology that transforms its adherents into
      ruthless butchers."

      Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago has
      examined every act of suicide terrorism over the past 25
      years. He refutes the assumption that suicide bombers are
      mainly driven by "an evil ideology independent of other
      circumstances". He said: "The facts are that since 1980,
      half the attacks have been secular. Few of the terrorists
      fit the standard stereotype . . . Half of them are not
      religious fanatics at all. In fact, over 95% of suicide
      attacks around the world [are not about] religion, but a
      specific strategic purpose -- to compel the United States
      and other Western countries to abandon military commitments
      on the Arabian Peninsula and in countries they view as their
      homeland or prize greatly. . .

      "The link between anger over American, British and western
      military [action] and al Qaeda's ability to recruit suicide
      terrorists to kill us could not be tighter."

      So we have been warned, yet again. Terrorism is the logical
      consquence of US and British "foreign policy" whose
      infinitely greater terrorism we need to recognise, and
      debate, as a matter of urgency.


      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
      Lord We├┐rdgliffe & Necronomicon Page:
      News & Views for Anarchists & Activists:

      As the Government of the United States of America is not, in
      any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in
      itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or
      tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never
      entered into any war, or act of hostility against any
      Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no
      pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce
      an interruption of the harmony existing between the two
      -- The Treaty of Tripoli, entered into by the USA under
      George Washington
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