Abandon All Fear

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Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

[Habeas Corpus] When Did Democracy Become So Confusing?

Posted by Lex Fear on December 16, 2006

I don’t know about you but Gloucestershire Police’s statement regarding their lost case over the 2003 anti-war protesters rights to demonstrate doesn’t make me exactly comfortable.

For 100’s of years in the UK we have had a legal system that errs on the side of innocence- that is innocent until proven guilty. Unlike a system in say, Portugal, which is guilty until proven innocent. It is only now in the last few years that we have had a government which has confused those terms.

Gloucestershire Police said it was “disappointed” with the decision, which it accepted, and added that officers acted in “good faith”.

It also expressed “regret” for any inconvenience and said it would now review its policies.

“Policing in [such] scenarios is difficult and complex, with competing rights and responsibilities having to be assessed and acted upon in real time by operational commanders,” said a spokesman.

“Intelligence pointed to the potential for further disorder at the base and it was against this background that the decision was made to stop and turn back the three coaches travelling to RAF Fairford from London.” – BBC News

Not only have we now come to a point in history where the police have difficulty in determining what law to apply where when dealing with the public, we have a police force, when faced with that question, errs on the side of guilty.

It is a good job the law lords overturned this decision. Perhaps the UK does have a faint hope after all, of not becoming a country where everyone is a potential criminal and public assembly and protest is looked upon as a crime against the state.

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[Cover-Ups] Test Case For Legalised Murder Under Terror Laws

Posted by Lex Fear on September 19, 2006

It turns out the execution shooting of Jean Charles De Menezes was a test case for the Met.

“It is not about diminishing the tragedy of Charles de Menezes’ death. We see it as a test case, not only for policing in London but for the police service nationally.” – Commander Moir Stewart

Gosh! Really? So did De Menezes know he was just being volunteered for a test case? What determines if the ‘test’ is successful?

The way I see it for The Met, if this ‘test case’ is successful, they have a license to shoot anyone they like in the head, so long as it is in the name of terror. If unsuccessful, the public at least has the assurity that if they do get murdered killed they can make a Health & Safety claim.

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[Police State] Killing Now a Breach of Health & Safety at Work Act

Posted by Lex Fear on July 27, 2006

“Are the Met now going to issue us guidelines on how not to look like a terrorist, in order to prevent us coming to a similar fate?”

(Raw text, sorry but no links could be restored)

The killers of Jean Charles De Menezes in Stockwell Tube station last summer will not be prosecuted. Instead, their employers will be prosecuted for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Reassuring for the employees of the Metropolitan Police Force I’m sure, not so reassuring for the rest of us.

We’ll never actually know what was going through the minds of the killers of Jean Charles De Menezes as he boarded the tube one morning in July, however what we do know is that they made there decision prima facie. They looked at his clothing, his ethnicity, his actions and determined that it somehow qualified for a potential terrorist and so had to be ‘stopped’ before he potentially blew anyone up.

The fact that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ to prosecute any officer involved in the killing should worry us all. What does insufficient evidence mean? It means that it cannot be proved that the officers who shot De Menezes committed an act of murder or manslaughter. For murder or manslaughter to be proved it would have to be determined beyond reasonable doubt that they did not believe they were killing a terrorist. In other words, they were unable to distinguish a terrorist from an innocent civilian.

“In fact, the evidence supports their claim that they genuinely believed that Mr de Menezes was a suicide bomber and therefore, as we cannot disprove that claim, we cannot prosecute them for murder or any other related offence.” – Stephen O’ Doherty – CPS

Therefore, if a police officer, prima facie, observes your clothing, your ethnicity and your actions and comes to a belief you are a potential terrorist, he can shoot you in the head, on site, then claim that he genuinely believed you were a terrorist. After all, how are you going to disprove someone’s beliefs?

Are the Met now going to issue us guidelines on how not to look like a terrorist, in order to prevent us coming to a similar fate?

“However I have concluded that the operational errors indicate that there had been a breach of the duties owed to non-employees under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, by the Office of Commissioner of Police and I have authorised a prosecution under that act.” – O’Doherty

Considering this ruling, perhaps the family of De Menezes will now have to take a different approach (no win no fee accident compensation) to getting justice.

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[Minitruth] Gitmo Detainees – Happy to Hang!

Posted by Lex Fear on June 28, 2006

Are we to believe the doctors verdict that they ‘showed no sign of being depressed’? Locked up indefinitely and tortured, not being granted a fair trial? Yeah, wouldn’t faze me either…Taken from the Independent:

The three detainees – two Saudis and a Yemeni – were given psychological tests as a formality because they had recently participated in a hunger strike, including one who refused meals for 180 days. The military said they were found hanging in their cells from nooses fashioned from bed sheets.

After the suicides, Admiral Harry Harris, the commander of the detention operation, called the deaths an act of “asymmetrical warfare” against the US military. “If you ask my opinion, I agree with the admiral that this was somewhat of a political statement,” the doctor told reporters visiting the US naval base.

I just love how any form of dissent, or just sheer desperation is labeled as “asymmetrical warfare”. If we applied this logic consistently then these people are also guilty of asymmetrical warfare and so should be treated as (suspected) enemy combatants:

Asymmetrical warfare against Derby Council
Asymmetrical warfare against Croydon Council
Asymmetrical warfare against bin men
Asymmetrical warfare against Portugal
Asymmetrical warfare against a train

Back in April I blogged on the witch hunt taking place in America and the UK. I cannot think of a more trenchant example as Admiral Harris’s statement. This War Against Terror that they have been feeding us for so long is about whipping up fear and paranoia. But I believe the American government used this to their advantage. It is already a know fact that Bush wanted to test American military power and attack Iraq long before 9/11. After 9/11 the administration milked it all they could, constantly re-affirming how the world had changed and how we were all now part of The War Against Terror.

He suggested that American guards might have noticed the detainees sooner had the prison not been following International Red Cross recommendations, including how dark their cells should be at night. “If we did everything the Red Cross wanted, there would be very little that we could do to keep detainees alive short of putting them in a strait-jacket,” he said.”Every time we give them something to make their lives easier, they use it against us by trying to harm themselves.” Since the deaths, the military is guarding against future suicides by only giving out bed sheets and blankets during sleeping hours and monitoring detainees in their cells every three minutes.

It’s nice to see they are showing concern for these human beings whilst conducting interviews. It’s that pesky Red Cross again, always interfering and making our job of conducting TWAT difficult. How unreasonable is that, after going to all the trouble to detain these people against international law or any rights, they attack us by harming themselves?

Here’s a tip: You want to make their lives easier? GIVE THEM A FAIR TRIAL. Judge them guilty or release them!

Any detainee thought to be a suicide risk is now placed in a restraining, green anti-suicide smock for 72 hours and given a psychological exam, he said.

Oh yeah that’s going to work… will it be the same doctor? “No signs of depression here, he can be taken off suicide watch”.

The doctor said there have been no suicide attempts since the deaths on 10 June, but there have been several incidents of detainees harming themselves, such as putting themselves with paint chips or beating their heads against walls.

What, they’re not thankful for being there after all the care and attention being given to them? Some people just don’t get it.

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[Think Patriotic Thoughts] The UK Witch Hunt Has Begun

Posted by Lex Fear on April 20, 2006

“… They told me if I would not confess I should be put down into the dungeon and would be hanged, but if I would confess I should save my life.” Margeret Jacobs – The Salem Witch Trials 1692

There seems to be a mean streak of paranoid puritanism in American blood. Passed down through generations, reaching a climax every few generations which results in horrific atrocities and a dim view of the sanctity of human life. From the Salem Witch Trials to The House of Un-American Activities Committee, to our present day War on Terror.

It seems that every now and then, whether due to tragic circumstances, lack of integrity or basic morals and ethics, America gets the creepy feeling that ‘they are among us, and they want to eat our children’. This results in launching a rounding up of all suspicious looking people, bringing charges against them for being witches, communists or terrorists and then basically subjecting them to a sort of punch and judy style trial:

“You are a witch/communist/terrorist! Admit it!”
“No, I’m innocent, I never saw those children/weapons of mass destruction.”
“Admit you are a witch/communist/terrorist and your punishment will be lenient, if you don’t admit your crimes, we will punish you severely.”
“I told you I’m innocent, I am not a witch/communist/terrorist.”
“Oh yes you are!”
“Oh no I’m not!”…

Maybe this accounts for the proliferation and success of all the aliens hype of the 90s “They are among us/they are plotting against us”. Who knows? What I do know is that this kind of dogmatic cultural response to perceived threats is invading our laws and our politics. Consider the cases below:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1841452,00.html
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article356033.ece
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/09/29/nlab29.xml
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article331782.ece
http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1583684,00.html
http://www.lutonmuslims.co.uk/discrimta.htm
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article354569.ece
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/commons/story/0,9061,1559299,00.html

But before I’m accused of bashing Americans, a wise American did say this:

“He who gives up freedom for security, will end up with neither.” Benjamin Franklin

It’s worth noting that another ‘democratic’ country has decided to follow world role-models, America and the UK, in introducing anti-terror laws.

After posting this, I imagine my blog will soon be closed down by the police, citing anti-terrorism measures. It was fun while it lasted.

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[Doublethink] Democracy Versus Terrorism

Posted by Lex Fear on April 2, 2006

(Raw text, sorry but no links could be restored)

Conservative MP for Lichfield, Michael Fabricant, describes Israel as a “bulwark of democracy”. From a War on Terror debate on 4th July:

“Fundamentalist Islamists do not hate the west because of Israel; they hate Israel because the state of Israel is a bulwark of democracy, Judeo-Christian ethics of tolerance, western progress and freedom in the middle east.” – Michael Fabricant, MP.

Just so you know this is what a ‘bulwark of democracy, judeo-Christian ethics of tolerance, western progress and freedom’ looks like:

  • Amnesty slams Israel ‘war crimes’
  • Israel: Offensive stops when Hezbollah stops
  • Six civilians die is Israeli rocket attack
  • FACTBOX-Israel’s offensive to free captured soldier
  • UN Says Gaza facing health disaster
  • UN Blames Israel for humanitarian crisis, harm to children in Gaza
  • Gerald Kaufman, MP: Quotes from Israeli newspaper on Gaza Offensive
  • Gerald Kaufman, MP: On Israeli Democracy and pre-independence terrorism

And this is what terrorism looks like:

  • Hamas terrorism, violence bring chaos to Gaza strip
  • Hamas works to fire rockets deeper into Israel
  • Israeli army confirms soldier’s death by Palestinian militant’s gunfire
  • Gaza militants say fired chemical-tipped warhead
  • Palestinian militants fire rockets into Israel

But if you still can’t spot the difference between democracy and terrorism using those articles, Dr Chris Scanlon puts it more bluntly in a letter written to the Independent, 8th July 2006:

A brief Guide to Foreign Policy
Sir: Just so everyone is clear: it is “bad” for North Korea to fire missiles into the open sea, even though it is “really-not-that-bad” for Israel to fire missiles into power stations, bridges, and apartment blocks.
Meanwhile: Iran, which had opposed Saddam (who was once “relatively good” but is now “very bad”), is still just “bad”. Saudi Arabia, a feudal totalitarian state with legalised sexual apartheid (“bad”?) is nonetheless “good”, but don’t ask any awkward questions.
The United Sates may now kidnap and torture innocent civilians (this was previously “bad”, but is now “okay, if outsourced”). Similarly, some of our allies may, from time to time, need to boil people alive (literally, in the case of President Karimov), and whilst not “good” it would be a crass liberal simplification to call this “bad”. DR CHRIS SCANLAN OXFORD

So I hope you can now tell the difference between democracy and terrorism.

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