Democratic principles. Do they even mean anything anymore? As the war on Islam under the blusters and smokescreen of Islamism intensifies in neocon discourses, eventually manifesting themselves in the continued war in Iraq (again), the war closer to us at home, here in Britain, is also taking causalities vis-à-vis individual rights of each Briton.
The common argument made amongst the neocon/extremist secular liberal circles is that Islam, or “Islamism” is a threat to the West. That it threatens our “freedoms”. How the neocons view “freedoms” is a topic of another article for another day, however suffice to say, their concept of individual liberty is understood from an interpretation of collectivism, where individual liberties must give way to the “common good” or the “public interest”. As the Jewish philosopher Leo Strauss, the philosophic inspiration for the neocons expresses, that in all cases, “the common good must be preferred to the private good” without exception. (Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, pp.160-161)
Thus, those in power, have no problem riding over emphatically defined individual rights whilst covering-up their own wrongs in pursuit of these obscure notions.
With this in mind, what has our government been up to in the past week or so?
The first news is actually sort of positive, but not so for the UK government. Under Tony Blair’s regime, (yes that notorious neocon who is now seeking a new World War) Libyan politician Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife were captured in Britain and flown out to Libya to be tortured by Tony’s friend, Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces. In attempting to sue the MI5/6, Government and Jack Straw (the then Foreign Secretary of State), Government sought “immunity from accountability”. In the latest report by the Guardian it highlights that they threw more “dubious excuses” to stall the Court of Appeal hearing. On the Court’s decision in allowing the case to be heard, Cori Crider, a director of the human rights organisation Reprieve and the family’s US lawyer, said,
“The government so fears this case going to trial that they have stalled for years by throwing up a parade of scarecrows”
The government was in essence preventing scrutiny of officials whom may have been complicit to torture, in the process tearing up the rule of law. British values. Fantastic when beating Muslims with. No so much when being applied to government officials.
The good friend of rule of law, and especially human rights, Theresa May has been pushing the Snooper’s Charter which would allow police and security services to track email and internet usage (as if this is not being done already). In the event that such powers don’t exist, one would think GCHQ for instance would be cautious in prying into private data without a warrant. After all, with great power, comes great responsibility. Not so. GCHQ has special arrangements to peruse raw data collected from foreign intelligence agencies, which goes against assurances made by our government. The Guardian reports that a warrant was to be signed by minister in order to allow this. The secret arrangement was slammed by Amnesty International and Liberty, both of which have mounted a legal challenge to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. So much for “safeguards”. Uncle Ben would be ashamed of the British government.
Additionally, the police have been using technology which hacks into thousands of innocent people’s mobile phones. Matthew Rice of Privacy International stated,
“You cannot maintain this level of secrecy and claim that we still have policing by consent… The latest IMSI catchers can unmask entire groups involved in protests, intercept all their messages and block all their calls.”
Anti-fracking protestors and anti-capitalists (and obviously, Muslims), you have been warned.
Let us again turn to Theresa May. Whilst the far-right continue to bemoan the “Asians” targeting “white girls”, white, right-wing racists and thug groups like Britain First are ear-bleedingly silent on the institutional paedophilia allegedly perpetrated by middle-class “white” MPs which coursed through the government. And more significantly, the repeated failings of the Home Office to push through an inquiry into a case which has already been covered-up in the past. First, Theresa May appointed Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, despite her connections with an alleged paedophile. And May has repeated the same with Fiona Woolf who quit 30 minutes after May’s Home Office expressed “full confidence” in her. It emerged she had dinners with one of the individuals implicated in the paedophile ring. Not only is Theresa May crippling individual liberty and rule of law, she seems to be mocking the victims of heinous crimes. Apologising won’t be enough. Like her pawns, she needs to step down.
When it comes to violating the integrity of its citizens, the government seems perfectly adept at using “secret arrangements” to render private lives not so private. When it comes to exposing the actions of government officials and investigating government complicity to crimes, the government “overlooks” issues known in the public domain which would bias and delay investigations and violate the rule of law to prevent “embarrassment”. Welcome to 21 Century neocon Britain.