The Human Rights Act (HRA) is an eyesore for David Cameron and his neocon clique. It is a thorn in the side of their desires to strip civil liberties under the apparent pretext of terrorism, “foreign criminals” who presumably are not “human”, and other excuses such as “Parliamentary sovereignty”. Article 8 – the right to private family life is often invoked as a troublesome Article by the neocons. When a government looks to reduce civil liberties of any people, it should be a cause for concern for all of us.
While the plans to repeal the HRA have been temporarily been shelved, other pieces of legislation which are designed to violate the rights of the people are steamrolling ahead. These pieces of legislation cannot be seen mutually exclusively. A holistic analysis presents a grim reality. I have previously argued that the doing away with Human Rights Act allows for an even more opaque government. It also paves the way for other draconian legislation to be brought in without the need to comply with the HRA. As I stated in a previous blog,
“The point to note is that any subsequent legislation must be compatible with HRA. With the Tory proposals regarding the HRA itself, the requirement of compatibility and giving due regard to the European Court’s judicial interpretation will be removed, which naturally means the courts would take into account the intention of Parliament. The intention of Parliament, if the proposals go through, would be to limit the application of human rights to the “most serious cases”, with inalienable rights being subject to “tests”.”
The neocons in government are hell-bent on creating a closed, securitised, on-edge society which values their aims over and above individual rights. To this end, varying aspects of our lives are slowly being restricted and exposed to the government.
Peter Oborne, former chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph, in a sequence of articles for Open Democracy has shed significant light on the demise of standards at the Telegraph titles drawing attention to the paper’s refusal to publish his investigative pieces on the behaviour of the Charity Commission towards British Muslim charities and the paper’s woeful neglect in coverage of the banking scandal engulfing HSBC allegedly to avoid losing valuable advertising revenue.
In our view, Andrew Gilligan and his derisory brand of ‘investigative’ journalism is further evidence of the “fraud” by the Telegraph titles on its readers who are fed a regular diet of shoddy journalism. Gilligan’s mudslinging at British Muslim organisations is well known. Lesser attention, however, has been paid to the number of times his ‘investigative’ pieces have been shown to be lacking in substance. Unfortunately, British Muslim organisations do not possess the kind of financial clout that large business corporations may be able to exercise over the Telegraph’s print output and so spurious allegations and unfounded accusations continue to be printed.
Gilligan’s form of non-violent extremism takes the curious shape of paradox peppered with paranoia. For example, in light of the Education select committee’s report this week on the so called ‘Trojan horse plot’ in Birmingham schools, it is useful to reflect on the number of articles Gilligan wrote elaborating on the ‘extremism‘ present in the schools, the actors involved and how the Sunday Telegraph “revealed the truth behind the plot”. Contrast this to the important finding by the select committee, and affirmed by the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, in an interview with The Muslim News last year, that “ No evidence of extremism or radicalisation, apart from a single isolated incident, was found by any of the inquiries and there was no evidence of a sustained plot nor of a similar situation pertaining elsewhere in the country.” Have we seen a retraction of the specious allegations Gilligan made in relation to the schools? Of course not. Have we seen an apology from the Telegraph for allowing articles without substance to be published and thereby committing a “fraud” on its readers? Of course not.
Through the 90s, Gary Webb, an award winning journalist, experienced the wrath of the CIA through the corporate media for exposing CIA’s link with the Contras in Nicaragua and the cocaine epidemic in the US. There was a suggestion that the black communities were being targeted with these drugs. An internal CIA document authored by Nicholas Dujmovic, an employee of the CIA Directorate of Intelligence at the time of publication, noted the “already productive relations with journalists,” which allowed the CIA’s reputation to be left intact thanks to distractions by major newspapers. Webb’s career was destroyed and some years later, was ruled to have committed suicide with two bullets to his head. Much of his core findings however, were found to be accurate. As the Intercept spread articulates, the corporate media spent,
“ …far more time trying to poke holes in the series than in following up on the underreported scandal at its heart, the involvement of U.S.-backed proxy forces in international drug trafficking.”
More interestingly, Dujmovic wrote that the papers had deflected the core allegations, using stories which cited, “[r]espected columnists, including prominent blacks.” In other words, people “representing” the black communities, which were enraged by the allegations, had been abused to successfully shift opinion.