Torture: A By-product of Neoconservative Thinking

CloseGitmo

“One of the most atrocious violations against human dignity is the act of torture, the result of which destroy the dignity and impairs the capability of victims to continue their lives and their activities.”[1]

The spin which has been pumped regarding the true nature of US activities is based on a precedent of architecting lies and selling it to Western audiences by their “statesmen”. As I will allude to later in greater depth, it is the neoconservative thinking which has forged a path of deception which masks the truth from the public purely on the basis that the public cannot handle the truth (because they are incapable of doing so) and therefore they need to be sold “noble lies” to pursue objectives.

In 2007 Bush declared, “our government doesn’t do torture”, despite the fact that according to the Torture Report Bush had acknowledged the existence of the program on the 6th of September 2006. In other words, he lied. Leading up to the release of the report, Bush focussed on the “heroes” who were doing their “duty” thus repackaging his lies in the form of distorted and delusional patriotism. This “duty” has now had ramifications in Iraq and Syria.

Whilst our neocon statesmen were happily using the ISIS beheading videos as fodder to pursue military aggression abroad and enacting legislation banning dissent and policing thought at home, a small but significant aspect of the videos was conveniently ignored: the victims were garbed in Guantanamo Bay jumpsuits. Indeed a number ISIS operatives have been tortured by Western agencies at one point in time or another. The rules of war were “changed” escalating brutality. As highlighted by activist Asim Qureshi,

“The Islamic State exists, and it has not only secondary experience, but lived experience of the abuses carried out in the name of the War on Terror. The danger of that lived experience is not in just its disenfranchisement of those affected, it is that it will be given further oxygen to the idea the other new forms of abuse will somehow bring this conflict to an end.”

Neocon outlets like FOX began “shaping” the perception of the public which started buying into the utility of torture despite its ubiquitous status as completely unjustifiable and unworkable. Torture simply does not work. And this has been reinforced by the Torture Report which found such methods did not yield actionable intelligence which foiled plots. Instead it led the CIA to dead ends, and the US government to bad decisions. As Moazzam Begg noted, the torture of Ibn al Sheikh Al Libi resulted in a false testimony which linked Saddam to Al-Qaeda, forming the primary basis for the neocons in Washington and Britain to architect a war which has led to the appalling situation in Iraq and Syria.

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Anne Marie Waters, Sharia Watch and Far-Right Extremism

Anne Marie Waters Sharia Watch

In all honesty, up until recently she was an unknown obscure who did not have much relevance in my life. However, Anne Marie Waters caught my bored eyes as she nestled between Quilliamite Usama Hasan and Zionist hate preacher Sam Westrop, in a discussion program which discussed the neocon deflective postulation that “Islamism” poses the greatest to the world. But where some neocons obscure their hate for Islam behind linguistic gymnastics of “Islamism”, Waters boldly declared Islam itself to be the problem,

“the idea that Islamism can be completely separated from Islam I think is problematic to say the least.”

Later in the same discussion she trivialises Islamophobia as “a phrase used to shut down any criticism of anything to do with Islam”. Perhaps she should trivialise Islamophobia and its realities directly addressing the many women who are attacked by white, non-Muslim and – like Waters – right-wing for being Muslims because of the hate directed at Islam and Muslims thanks to extremist ideologues like herself. And make no mistake, Anne Marie Waters hate for Islam as a religion is unfettered and focussed.

From Extreme…

Maryam Namazie’s view of Islam is not dissimilar to Waters’. Thus both were suited for each other at the organisation “One Law for All” (OLFA), a front organisation for the anti-Islam Worker-Communist Party of Iran.

During her time at OLFA she made shockingly anti-Muslim remarks, loaded with prejudiced, reductionist assumptions. In one particular lecture she claims “criminal cases” occur in the context of “Taliban-esque” Sharia courts, which is patently false (See here from 10:50). In the same diatribe of a lecture Waters, in supporting the French ban on the niqab cites an unverifiable conversation with a French parliamentarian who stated that because of the French ban many women were now happy that they didn’t have to wear the hijab. In responding to the contention “what about women who do want to wear it, she replies

“why do you care about the women who want to wear it than the women who don’t want to wear it?”

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Human Rights and Justice: Understanding the Neoconservative Threat

humanrightsactneocon

In my previous article, I highlighted how Moazzam Begg and his ordeal signalled the death knell of the counter terrorism and counter extremism agenda.  His presence, words and actions were and still are a thorn in the side of the neocon government’s intentions.

Que Alan Henning’s death. However saddening and condemnable it is, from a government point of view, frankly it’s the best thing that can happen for the neocons to continue the onwards march of the war on human rights, and continuation of the foreign policy agenda.  It is a means of accelerating the recuperation from the damage dealt by the release of Moazzam Begg.

Neoconservatism – a “Mode of thinking”

Murray has supported American policies like done attacks and waterboarding

Douglas Murray – supported American policies like drone attacks and waterboarding

Neoconservative policies are driving much of British politics today, but aside from a light mention of what neocons really stand for on this blog, the understanding of the intricate play of neoconservatism with the politics and the people requires a deeper analysis of the writings of the neocons and the sources from which they derive. I have already mentioned Douglas Murray, a man who does exert an influence over the current direction of UK’s frankly absurd policies. Murray in his book cites Leo Strauss,[1] and academics like Shadia Drury have described their thoughts as “Machiavellian”, abusing democracy to achieve their own ends.  For many, this serves little meaning in terms of everyday life.  In order to fully understand the implication of the neoconservative mind-set, one needs to delve further into the neocon “mode of thinking”.

The Henry Jackson Society, which is a key influence on UK domestic and foreign security policy, proudly imports (and exports) the American neoconservative “persuasion”.[2]  The focus on America is why Douglas Murray has passionately spoken in defence of American policies, for instance defending the use of US drone attacks and shockingly, even torture in the form of water-boarding. It is also why William Shawcross has defended Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq war and why Michael Gove pursued his “ideological” military-esque foray into the Muslim minority vis-à-vis Trojan Hoax, and why now the ground has been prepped for the neocons in Government to pull the plug on the Human Rights Act, to the disdain of various rights groups such as Liberty and Amnesty.

The “fathers of neoconservatism” are Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss. I will focus on Irving Kristol and other contemporary “leading lights” like David Brooks as it was Kristol  who brought out the writings of Strauss and wrote in defence and promotion of neocon “persuasions” (as opposed to principles) whilst contemporary neocon thinkers have built upon what has been written.

Neocons and the Acquisition of Power

The aim of the neocons is to firstly get into power, and once in power, stay there. They fundamentally do not believe in liberal “principles” as they do conservative ones.  This notion allows for the easy dispelling of other principles, such as the rule of law. As Kristol explains, there are moments when it is “wrong to do the right thing”,

“There are occasions where circumstances trump principles. Statesmanship consists not in being loyal to one’s avowed principles (that’s easy), but in recognizing the occasions one’s principles are being trumpeted by circumstances…”[3]

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