Neocons relish a good tragedy. In a screed published prior to the 9/11 attacks, a cabal of neocons argued that the US Armed Forces could only be made resurgent through “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – a new Pearl Harbor”. Soon after the 9/11 attack the neocon David Brooks noted how the attack was positive for cultivating “an unconsummated desire for sacrifice and service”. Unsurprisingly, soon after the Westminster attack, the Times took the opportunity to milk the event and direct all narratives towards Islam and Muslims.
Niall Ferguson, a neocon, penned a particularly vitriolic piece, relying on three reports. The opinion piece has also been published in the Boston Globe.
Cedar Riverside, credit Burhan Mohamud/arraweelo.wordpress.com
In Britain, the PREVENT counter-extremism programme is now being challenged academically and practically to the point that voices within the mainstream political spectrum are calling for it to be scrapped.
However, despite this policy failure, beyond Britain and in countries like Australia and the Unites States of America, the ideology of PREVENT is spreading like a virus.
There have been developments in Australia, where counter extremism policies are maintaining the discriminatory targeting of the Muslim minority. Australia is looking to ramp up its counter-extremism measures, both in a hard and soft capacity. The Australian measures will include the strongly-lambasted control orders to be used on individuals whom have not been convicted of a crime. Further those “high-risk extremists” whom have been convicted of a crime and have completed their prison sentence may be indefinitely detained. In other words, the rule of law is being decimated by disproportionate, authoritarian measures which will most likely be used majoritarily against Muslims.
Whilst the neocon/Blairite subversion of the Labour party leadership continues unabated with ever more contrived and adventurous ways being used by Blairites and pro-Israel activists to pressure Jeremy Corbyn to step down, the Conservative party leadership race has been overrun by neocons.
Four out of the five of the Conservative leader aspirants are linked to the anti-Muslim, hate-financed Henry Jackson Society.
It is important to understand that neoconservatism is a “persuasion” which believes in using “noble lies” to steer the “vulgar masses” towards a fascism-based closed society which serves the interests of the neocons such as obtaining and maintaining power. This entails bludgeoning “principles” like the rule of law and human rights through their “prudence” unashamedly in name of these very “principles”.
Thus, we can fully expect an increased hardening of securitised policy and therefore an assault on the civil liberties of all. We can also expect a continuation and possibly an increase in the political hostility against the Muslim minority and Islam as Britain’s identity is forcibly built against this minority as the Machiavellian enemy.
This is a continuation of a previous article which can be found here. David Cameron demanded that if people “walk our streets, learn our schools, benefit from our society, you sign up to our values. Freedom. Tolerance. Responsibility. Loyalty.” The question is, who indeed is Cameron and his neoconservative syndicate “loyal” to?
Some of the biggest backers of Cameron’s party are also linked to neoconservative/pro-Israeli lobbying and activism.
David Harding, for instance, who has donated £600,000 has spoken at the neoconservative Policy Exchange and has also financially contributed to fundraisers for ARK – the notorious charity backed by neocon Michael Gove, and linked to Michael Wilshaw. It has aggressively taken over schools in Muslim majority schools which Ofsted (headed by Wilshaw) placed into special measures in the aftermath of the Trojan Hoax lies.
The War on Terror breathed life into morbid industries. Those who were the fundamental cogs in the illegal, immoral and strategically catastrophic neoconservative war machine profiteered. Over the years it has also spurned another industry at the soft end of the War on Terror: counter extremism. Pimping the discourse of rights, and using it as a stick to beat a minority with, the language has shifted from rights to one of security.
Having observed over the past decade or so the recycling of the calls to “reform” or rather, deform Islam through various charlatans like Ziauddin Sardar, Ed Husain, Taj Hargey et al, the need to freshen the line up to resurge the desperate call is necessary. This is mainly because deconstructing Islam has been a somewhat difficult affair; Muslims understand the meticulous nature of their Book, belief and disbelief, and the fact that the calls to deform conveniently serve the neoconservative War on Terror agenda. Those who force a deformation of Islam using superficial and spurious argumentation do so often incredibly poorly, without any intellectual rigour and to the wine-sipping neo-colonial glee of the unctuous neoconservatives and their supporting, superficial Twitterati.
David Cameron in his speech said that in order to defeat extremism, the extreme ideology which underpins it must be confronted head on. I will confront an ideology which is already in power in Britain, and perpetuates fascism and violence in the name of values it does not believe in.
Looking back over the past decade, we witness the damage wrought by neconservatism in the US; the War on Terror which bequeathed us endless violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, civilian causalities amounting to genocide, torture, and the steady attrition of civil liberties thanks to legislation like the unconstitutional PATRIOT Act, which paved the way for unchecked power and increased surveillance. Muslim communities became the target of counter-subversion strategies and, what Professor Arun Kundnani calls, “COUNTELPRO 2.0” tactics:
“…the extensive surveillance of Muslim-American populations; the deployment of informants; the use of agents provocateurs; the widening use of material support legislation to criminalize charitable or expressive activities; and the use of community engagement to gather intelligence and effect ideological self-policing of communities. Significantly, such practices have been encouraged, organized, and legitimized by the radicalization models that law enforcement agencies adopted in the first decade of the twenty-first century.”
Over a period of time, certainly in the US, the neocons have become almost taboo for the crimes they perpetrated, and the destruction they brought to civil liberties. As one American writer notes, “Neoconservative dreams of creating a hard-edged, neo-imperial American hegemony over the world died in the rubble of Iraq and Afghanistan.” Obama’s recent diplomatic agreement with Iran has further pained the neoconservatives, who have been consistently calling for a war against Iran.
In this series, we will delve deeper into the views held by our new Justice Secretary, Michael Gove as articulated in his book, Celsius 7/7, with additional commentary explaining the neoconservativism underpinning the statements where appropriate, and the impact it has thus far had on the good Britons of this country.
Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.
Why Such an Offensive Foreign Policy?
Gove leads us to believe that democracy is the best “solvent yet devised for Islamism”, or rather, Islamic self-determination. Hence the benevolent West should bestow this loving gift through bombs and arms primarily in the resource rich Middle East. This fantasy justification has been rebutted by history itself, be it through the hypocritical stance taken on the death sentence of the first democratically elected President of Egypt, or the outgrowth of the ever belligerent ISIS from the ruins of neocon foreign policy. The argument that democracy means a safer world is untrue; the US “democracy” has been overthrowing other democracies for decades.
No, the real reason is alluded to through shrewd wording. Gove writes that the importance of the spread of democracy is firstly “a matter of simple, prudent statecraft.” While Gove goes on to extol the hypothetical virtues of a “proper” democratic Iran, a trackback is needed and these words carefully analysed.
“Prudence” and “statecraft” have very particular meanings amongst neoconservatives. And as the citation of Allan Bloom and reference to Kristol and Kagan’s “moral clarity” in the book shows, Gove is not unfamiliar with American neoconservative works.
One of the recurring themes of “counter-extremism” groups – be it the latent Radical Middle Way (RMW) and ISB, or the more overt Quilliam Foundation, and the puppeteered Humza Arshad – is that it always tracks back to an agenda to undermine Islam, “reform” it, crush dissent and deflect Western foreign policy critique. This is one of the reasons why, I believe, that our “transparent” public bodies are more resilient in disclosing the organisations they are funding from the counter-extremism pot. A link to PREVENT is all that is needed to expose the soul-destroying efforts of whichever organisation is acting as a conduit for neoconservative, anti-Islam agendas.
With the counter-extremism industry growing over the years, a cross-pollination of those neoconservative-based ideas has occurred, primarily between US, UK and Europe. The ideal for the neocons is to mount an ethnocentric, culturalist attack on Islam. History shows us two ways of doing this, as exemplified by Britain’s evolution of the PREVENT Strategy. The current strategy is one of secularisation of Islam through the “British values” social engineering programme. The previous strategy, also designed by the “sophist” (or rather supremacist) minds of neocons is one where apolitical, pacifist readings, usually through the abuse of Sufi Ulama, is posited as the “ideal” Islam. This is a temporary measure only, of course, until the next phase of the neocon agenda of aggressively promoting “progressive Muslims” and “ex-Muslims” is entered, as per the current strategy.
This strategy of promoting “moderate Islam” seems to be returning into vogue, as can be seen by Shaykh Abdullah bin Bayyah and Imam Hamza Yusuf-endorsed ImamsOnline initiative. Another recurrent theme is the Zionist interest and involvement in influencing the counter-extremism discourse, with the likes of Mossad internationally monitoring “moderate”, pacifist Muslim movements, and domestically, organisations like the Board of deputies of Jews contributing to the counter-extremism policy.
Jumping on the deradicalisation VW Camper Van is “Abdullah-X”, a character of a graphic novel aimed at providing the “counter-narrative”. The character in the initial episodes experiences some sort of divine unveiling, all on the topic of “extremism”. He then possesses a “mind of a scholar” and the “heart of a warrior” who proceeds to provide the counter-narrative to the “extremist” discourse. Not exactly Frank Miller’s Dark Knight then.
Quite a furore has been stirred by proposals which check for “extremism” in toddlers (yes, read that sentence again – it is absolutely ridiculous). According to the new PREVENT-on-steroids Strategy, teaching staff must have training which gives them knowledge and confidence to identify children as young as three, at risk of being drawn into terrorism and challenge “extremist ideas”. They must also know where and how to refer children to the Channel panel for “deradicalisation”. Though Home Office likes to placate the people with the spin that they do not expect “unnecessary intrusion into family life”, a proper examination of the reveals otherwise. As Asim Qureshi of CAGE notes,
“the CTS Bill is presented as a consent based system where those… under 18… [must obtain] consent of their parents. However, the devil is in the detail, and where the consent is not gained, then the panels established to review each individual case of risk, will be able to consider models within the health and social services. In other words, the threat of having your children taken away, should you not provide consent, will be used as a form of coercion, so the very idea of a consent based approach will be completely neutralised.”
I have already written extensively about the fundamental problems of the PREVENT strategy (see links in this blog). Over the past decade, the Muslim minority have been the test bed for the impending statutory roll-out of PREVENT. Much injustice has be done. Lives have been disrupted, families harassed, and an entire community has been made to feel targeted and circumspect. If there is any doubt that these measures are primarily aimed at the Muslim minority, then one needs to simply peruse the daily reports in neocon papers about “extremist” Muslims. Even in the those reports discussing this absurd proposal targeting toddlers, quotes of examples of children at risk of radicalisation from the Home Office are in the context of Muslims only (see the Telegraph and the Independent coverage as examples). The references to “far-right terrorism” are tokenistic at best.
Establishing a multi-agency public surveillance programme conducted by the public, the PREVENT Strategy is simply put, a refined Stasi strategy. This near replication of authoritarian and fascist regimes is not incidental.
“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.”
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.