It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.
This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on. Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.
Part 1: A Review of the Casey review (1)
As the introductory part of this series showed, a timeline of events and the PM’s proclamations had pretty much predetermined the outcomes of the Casey Review. The government now needed a person who could see this agenda through to its toxically racist end. Casey, based on her history, was the right person to get this done.
Louise Casey – Violently Averse to Evidence-Based Policy
Casey is referred to as a “Tsar”. A 2009 Commons Select Committee noted that a “Tsar” differs from a civil servant in two respects; “first the direct appointment by the minister or Prime Minister and second a degree of public personal identification with a particular policy or piece of work which would not normally be expected from a civil servant or special adviser.” In effect, the process shuns Parliamentary parties, and therefore potential opposition in the formulation of a policy in favour of individuals that operate as cronies. In written evidence submitted to the Committee, Professor Martin Smith of Sheffield University highlighted that Tzars like Casey “are not morally neutral; they have an explicit function to achieve particular government objectives”.
The below article is a good demonstration of the double standards applied to Muslims in contrast with non-Muslims. I have written on this theme in detail a couple of times previously:
Michael Steven Stanford – A Terrorist? A Product of Western Culture?
Why aren’t Politicians and Mainstream Media Calling the Suspect Killer of Jo Cox a Terrorist?
Does the Orlando Attack have Something to do with Liberalism too Maajid Nawaz?
CROSSPOST: Maria Norris
On Wednesday, Thomas Mair was convicted of the murder of Jo Cox, an act which the Crown Prosecution Service has categorised as terrorism. Section 3 of the Terrorism Act 2000 states that the an act may still be considered an act of terror even if it was not designed to influence the government or the public, as long as a firearm or explosives are involved and the act was politically, ideologically, religiously, or racially motivated. Nair’s murder of Jo Cox falls neatly under this definition. So does the murder of Lee Rigby in 2013.
And yet, the difference in the reaction to these very similar murders is astounding. After Lee Rigby was killed, the media was filled with alarmist headlines about the dangers of Islamic extremism. There was no hesitation to label Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale, Rigby’s murderers, as terrorists or the murder as a terrorist attack. After Lee Rigby’s murder, even before Adebolajo and Adebowale’s trial, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, chaired an emergency Cobra meeting and the government announced a new taskforce to fight Islamic extremism. However, when it came to Mair, there was a sudden concern regarding contempt of court, and even now there is a real hesitancy to actually label him as a terrorist. Has Theresa May chaired a Cobra meeting? Has she announced a taskforce to combat far-right extremism? No.
There has been a flurry of commentary and articles on both sides of the pond seeking to fathom and comprehend the somewhat diabolical outcome over in the US. Donald Trump, the orange hued caricature of the volatile white supremacy movement, is to step into the Whitehouse to take the reins of a country which has for over a decade defined itself by secular creedal beliefs like freedom and democracy which have been militarily imposed upon the rest of the peoples of the world.
The reaction from the commentariat and Twitterati has been one of shock, followed by attempts to understand the rise of Trump. From disenchantment of the people with the elite, to the interconnected rise of neoliberalism and globalised greed, to even questioning liberal democracy itself (PREVENT anyone?), the reasons have been varied. A further explanation is that this is historic white supremacy reasserting itself – a racist institution recalibrating in the aftermath of a black president and excessive equality. For this reassertion, however, here has had to be a catalyst.
Culture wars are a neoconservative forte which is born from neoconservatism’s societal prescription of nationalism of the type which actively creates enemies, Otherises “aliens”, courts the religious/nationalist fanatic, and champions wars abroad. This is done under the overarching aim of creating an authoritarian closed society based on fascist principles, which is for neocons the solution for America’s liberalism-based cultural decline. To facilitate the “enemy” aspect of neocon policies, the clash of civilisations thesis is used along with the military doctrine of pre-emption to normalise the culture war against Islam and Muslims within the upper echelons of government. It is pumped through a multi-million-dollar, sophisticated network of hatemongers, think-tanks, propagandists and “alt-right” racist papers. Neoconservatives, in other words, are key in fostering the climate in which people have chosen Trump.
1st Knight charity founder Andy Linihan
An undercover investigation by the BBC Scotland found that a military charity which raises funds for military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was selling anti-Islamic and Nazi-themed items.
According to the report, the founder of 1st Knight Military Charity, Andy Linihan, was selling a Velcro badge which is designed to be placed on uniforms or baseball caps. Underneath the picture of an assault rifle were the words “72 Virgins Express”, which meant, according to Linihan, the shooting of suicide bombers. One T-shirt had a picture of two naked women, a pint of beer and a pig. It read: ‘Pork-eating, beer-drinking, womanising infidel’. The charity volunteer explained:
“They’re not allowed to eat it are they? These Muslims. Pork-eating, beer-drinking – basically it’s against their religion. Womanising – they’re not allowed to womanise, are they? And yet they call us infidels.”
Other merchandise included Nazi-themed T-shirts and hooded jumpers emblazoned with neo-Nazi emblems.
CROSSPOST: Professor Arun Kundnani
In Khizr and Ghazala Khan, the Democratic Party seems to have found the perfect counter to Donald Trump. Since Trump proposed banning Muslims from the US, his campaign has sought to exploit the fear that Muslims are dangerous and disloyal. But who could think that of the patriotic, constitution-waving Khans, whose son died fighting for the U.S.?
Trump suggested that Ghazala Khan did not speak for Islamic reasons. But this backfired and the episode appears to have hurt him in the polls. Meanwhile Hillary Clinton has been able to establish herself as the candidate of tolerance and liberal progress.
But take a closer look and things are not that straightforward. It is easy to lose sight of why the Khans lost their son in the first place. Humayun Khan died fighting in the illegal war in Iraq, which was launched on the basis of Islamophobic lies, and supported by Hillary Clinton, as senator for New York.
What can I say that I haven’t already?
British twenty year-old Michael Steven Sandford attempted to grab an officer’s gun at a Donald Trump rally with intention to shoot the prospective Presidential candidate. Reports state that he had been preparing for a year, had even gone to a shooting range to learn how to handle a weapon and had convinced himself that it was a suicide mission. His motive is unclear, however his target and his preparation gives plenty to speculate – if the media applied their standards equally.
Once again, we have another white, non-Muslim “terrorist” from Britain where reports fail to label him speculatively (as per the standard with Muslims) a terrorist, does not mention his ethnic or religious affinity, nor even hint at “radicalisation” and “extremism”. Plus ça change, mental illnesses (OCD and historic anorexia (?!)) are highlighted, whilst the discussion of the prevailing Western “ideology”, which, premised on individualism produces a culture that encourages a selfish “exceptionalist” attitude, is eschewed. Sandford, after all, like Thomas Mair, was a “loner” – an individualistic indication as opposed to a collectivist one.