Musharraf Presses the Panic Button 5

It is worth stating the obvious – Musharraf has always been a military dictator, strongly supported by the US and the UK. He has not just become a military dictator. What he has just done is tighten authoritarian control, clamping down on the press, opposition parties and the judiciary. He is becoming a worse despot, taking long strides down the road of authoritarianism, and dashing fond hopes that he may be set on gradually returning democracy.

The timing of his pressing of the panic button seems dictated by a need to pre-empt the Supreme Court finding his re-appointment as President unconstitutional. Its connection to Benazir Bhutto’s return is confusing, but her initial statements seem to be condemnatory, short of actually doing anything about it. It has to be said that, with very few exceptions, Pakistan’s leading democratic politicians are, and always have been, a venal shower. But being clear eyed about that in no way justifies Musharraf’s desperate attempt to extend his power.

A large proportion of the over a thousand or more arrested are in fact the “Good guys” in this – human rights activists, the better journalists and campaigning lawyers. That is inexcusable.

The posturing in the US and UK would be amusing if it weren’t appalling. Rice and the Pentagon have a distinctly different nuance, while the UK government tries to get away with minimal huffing and puffing – and no action. The whole flawed logic of the War on Terror is exposed yet again. I had to watch it as they supported Karimov. A measure of their hypocrisy is that even their mild rebukes of Musharraf are harsher than anything they were meteing out to Karimov – not because they mean it, but because in the case of Pakistan the World is watching and they feel the need for some pro-democratic spin to hide their true actions.

Meanwhile just how close we are to similar government actions to those in Pakistan comes with a government ratcheting up of the anti-Muslim rhetoric following the De Menezes verdict. The head of MI5 is wheeled out today to make the ludicrous assertion that there are 2,000 individuals posing a potential terrorist threat in the UK.

Those confessions and mass denunciations wrung in the torture chambers of Uzbekistan, Pakistan and elsewhere do come in useful when you need to press the fear button again, don’t they?

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5 thoughts on “Musharraf Presses the Panic Button

  • Vervet

    Craig: "The head of MI5 is wheeled out today to make the ludicrous assertion that there are 2,000 individuals posing a potential terrorist threat in the UK."

    And how well the state broadcaster serves it's purpose of government propoganda machine … see this subject as the top story on the BBC news website … ''Thousands' pose UK terror threat' … but then check the link to one of the sub-stories –

    'MI5 tracking '30 UK terror plots'' … check the date of this report – nearly ONE YEAR OLD but placed immediately below the current story.

    Completely outdated news but it still serves to ratchet up the scare factor.

    Note also the judicious use of inverted commas … around 'thousands' because 1,600 cannot be represented by the plural of thousand, but it sounds scarier. And, of course, around the, clearly unverifiable, '30 UK terror plots.

    This government and its propoganda machine are the only ones currently terrorising the citizens of this country.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Check out an excellent film just premiered in Glasgow, entitled, 'Mistaken'. It concerns the arrest of a young man of South Asian origin who is suspected of being a terrorist. For once, we have an intelligent, passionate feature film, made on a minimal budget, that does not exoticise its characters and which is NOT about young Muslim men becoming Jihadis or recanting and becoming necons/ MI5 officers and appearing on Channel 4 News praising the invasion and complete destruction of Iraq. It was made by people of South Asian origin, and the screening today had a full house, it was a sold out performance. Will it get any publicity? The stupid and politicised glamourisation of the security services in glossy crap like 'Spooks', 'CSI', 'Law and Order' and 'Britz' just serves the purposes of the state. 'James Bond', etc. were/ are different because they were/ is so obviously fantasies, whereas these supposedly gritty dramas purport to carry heavy doses of truth. These 'security and intelligence services', may I remind everyone, who now are busily constructing La Strategia della Tensione, are the very organisations who trained, funded and armed the Islamists over decades. Centuries, as quite rightly was pointed out by another blogger on this site re. the rise of Wahhabism. Currently, they are manipulating Islamist groups for their own, militarist ends. Far from saving us all from plots, they are busy constructing them! Jonathan Evans is a paid liar, indeed, by definition he must be the best liar in the land, so why should we believe even a semi-colon of what he says? Whenever they open their mouths, I sense an incipient spectacle. I would anticipate another fast-food explosion soon – possibly using Thai chillies – think Aldo Moro, the infiltration of the Red Brigades, the bombing of Bologna Station, Northern Ireland… Be afraid, be very afraid… of MIs 5 and 6 and Special Branch. Indeed, if Evans says, 'day', think 'night'. They helped manufacture a monster through the client states of Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani military/ hard state. Ask anyone who took a stroll through Peshawar, Pakistan during the 1980s and early 1990s. They are the problem, and they never were, nor will they ever be, part of the solution. For more info about this film, and other stuff besides, check out:

  • Alien

    What a coincidence!

    MI5 chief announcement comes in time with the government pushing on doubling the detention without trial limit to 56 days (at least).

    I wonder if there is any connection?!

  • writeon

    What makes me nervous is that our policies are destabilizing Pakistan as well, as if Iraq and Afghanistan weren't enough!

    Are we going to send troops to intervene in an eventual civil war in Pakistan too? Search and destroy missions in the slums of Pakistan's teeming cities sounds like the future of warfare!

    Forcing the military in Pakistan to act as a proxy US army is a very high-risk strategy, which is putting the complicated social and ethnic Pakistani mix under enormous strain.

    What seems increasingly clear is that the current leadership in Washington is close to "insane" as makes no difference. They are inexorably setting the Middle East on fire, a fire that could consume us all.

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