On the 15th of March 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant walked into two mosques and murdered men, women and children, killing 50 and injuring numerous. This was particularly shocking for a country that, according to the Global Peace Index, is ranked as the second safest place in the world. Much commentary has followed since particularly on proposals for new gun-control measures, with various images of the New Zealand leader Jacinda Ardern hugging of Muslims and speculating on whether her response was genuinely “intuitive” , or crafted for grief competitions.
The response most curious, however, has come from the neocons.
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.
The fostering of the Straussian neocon “closed society” continues to soldier on ahead. The main, but certainly not the only, conduit for this austere vision of society utilises the rhetoric of fear – “safeguarding”, “cohesion” and “counter-extremism”, augmented courtesy of puppets of the neoconservative malignancy within Government.
Despite being utterly baseless academically and broken as pre-crime tool, there has been effort to mainstream PREVENT into society. This normalisation of authoritarian PREVENT-thinking has led to the latest charade; anti-fascist group Hope not Hate (HnH) has been used to spread the tentacles of PREVENT further into civil society by using Sara Khan in its publication State of Hate 2017.
In doing so, HnH comprehensively debilitated its legitimacy.
The founder of HnH, Nick Lowles, has a history of confronting far-right racist individuals and groups. He has also campaigned for the banning of Pamella Geller and Robert Spencer for their anti-Muslim, hate filled rhetoric. The question is of course, how has such a campaign group been hoodwinked into co-opting PREVENT-thinking and allowed itself to be exploited by a cheerleader of discrimination?
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”.
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.
“for neither conscious nor shame ought to have any influence upon you… those who obtain great power do so either by force or fraud, and having got them they conceal under some honest name the foulness of their deeds”. – Irving Kristol, quoting Machiavelli
Lying and deception are traits ingrained in the post-modern political world we inhabit today. Worse still, is the continued unaccountability and societal indifference to the consequences of these traits. This remains the case despite wars initiated upon on blatant lies, ulterior motives and utter deception. The Iraq war comes to mind, however, it is frequently isolated as a case of bad planning and a blip in the normally “virtuous” causes of Western violence in the Middle East. Few recall that the massively delayed and strategically released (Jack Straw’s Brexit silver-lining) Chilcot report went through a sanitisation process with documents and correspondences blocked at the behest of the Americans. Whistle-blowers like Katharine Gun and her leaks demonstrating underhanded tactics to convince UN Security Council delegates to favour war, were ignored. It matters little that a grinding genocide has taken place over the course of the War on Terror.
Every facet of the Iraq war and the accompanying War on Terror is doused in deception.
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.