Reflection has become a unicorn in today’s post-modern, entertainment-driven age. News reports flood our social network streams, emails, and news channels conjure up spin-infested reports providing little to absorb, analyse and reflect on the direction such reports are heading society towards. In this information-overloaded era, our minds have become acclimatised to binging on information, with our fingers manipulating pieces of glass, sending or receiving information packets restricted to 160 characters.
In the past week reports have surfaced which should be sending alarm bells ringing, forcing the wider population to sit up and ponder over the implications of the policies our government is pushing. We need to take a step back a moment.
In January, absurd proposals which implicated children as young as three being on the path toward terrorism, were revealed and understandably criticised for being unworkable, and heavy-handed. I also took the opportunity to explain how fascist neoconservatism was driving the policy, drawing chilling parallels with the authoritarian East Germany’s Stasi security apparatus, where professionals were required to monitor the thoughts of those they worked, thus creating a state in which ideas were restricted and curtailed by the state. Totalitarianism, in other words.
Crosspost: Seumas Milne
The anti-Muslim drumbeat has become deafening across the western world. As images of atrocities by the jihadi terror group Isis multiply online, and a steady trickle of young Europeans and North Americans head to Syria and Iraq to join them, Muslim communities are under siege. Last week David Cameron accused British Muslims of “quietly condoning” the ideology that drives Isis sectarian brutality, normalising hatred of “British values”, and blaming the authorities for the “radicalisation” of those who go to fight for it.
It was too much for Sayeeda Warsi, the former Conservative party chair, who condemned the prime minister’s “misguided emphasis” on “Muslim community complicity”. He risked “further alienating” the large majority of Muslims fighting the influence of such groups, she warned. Even Charles Farr, the hawkish counter-terrorism mandarin at the Home Office, balked. Perhaps fewer than 100 Britons were currently fighting with Isis, he said, and “we risk labelling Muslim communities as somehow intrinsically extremist”.
Crosspost: Nishaat Ismail
“I may have fallen but I am not broken.” These words of former Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, who was removed from office last week after being found “guilty” of electoral fraud, were followed by fervent cheers and applauds from a room full of his supporters at a rally titled “Defend Democracy in Tower Hamlets” on Thursday night.
The event attracted an array of speakers from various organisations, who expressed their solidarity with ousted Rahman and the people of Tower Hamlets, with many of them describing the recent events in the east London borough as an “anti-democratic coup”.
Len McCluskey, the leader of Britain’s largest trade union and Labour’s biggest donor, also showed his support to Rahman.
This was conveyed through the union’s chief of staff, Andrew Murray, who described Judge Richard Mawrey’s decision as a “work of unabashed megalomania”.
Murray added that the judgement was as an “outrageous travesty of democracy” and an “undemocratic assault on the people of Tower Hamlets which was both racist and Islamophobic.”
Christine Shawcroft, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) described last week’s judgement, and PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) report as “subjective meaningless drivel”, and pleaded the audience to support an appeal on the verdict for the “future generation.”
Sunday evening I received a link to an article in my inbox: “Trojan Horse 2”, it read. I hoped it was a trailer for an unoriginal sequel to the Troy, or even perhaps a remake of the Brad Pitt version, probably starring Michael Gove as Menelaus whose wife gets stolen and Michael Wilshaw as Agamemnon, his warmongering elder brother.
Nope. It was another derogatory reference to Muslims as a fifth column supposedly brainwashing children and another Muslim majority area under “investigation”, as the Times reported:
“Tower Hamlets is expected to be the next Birmingham”
The report also stated,
“According to government sources, officials at the Department for Education (DfE) are concerned that the situation may be worse than that uncovered in the “Trojan Horse” scandal earlier this year”.
I wonder if those sources come from the counter extremism department set up by Michael Gove, whose “expert consultants” with regards to the extremism are the Quilliam Foundation, incidentally supported by Gove?
Richard Kerbaj, Murdoch and Corruption
Another interesting point I have noticed is the Times was amongst the first to peddle the Trojan Hoax lies back in March 2014 and the author of that piece was Richard Kerbaj (and Sian Griffiths). Their articles cited “Whitehall officials” then as they have done now. Michael Gove wrote for the Times, whilst his wife, Sarah Vine, was also a writer for the neocon propaganda outfit and now is a columnist for the Daily Fail. Michael Gove is “close mates” with Rupert Murdoch too and incidentally, Murdoch happened to move Richard Kerbaj to the Times paper. It therefore, doesn’t take a genius to work who that “Whitehall official” may have been. Perhaps Peter Clarke should be called into look into this “orchestrated plot” to continue pushing a neoconservative agenda at the expense of the Muslim minority.