The Absence of Liberalism 327


The overruling of a European Court judgement to assert individual privacy, and the anti-democratic rushing of emergency legislation through parliament where no emergency exists, are the antithesis of liberalism. So of course is the jettisoning of all the Lib Dem manifesto pledges on civil liberties.

It is not news that Nick Clegg has become the poster boy for a politics utterly devoid of principle, organised purely around the desire of individual politicians for wealth and power. But even with all that background, I found Clegg’s enthusiastic ratcheting up of the fear factor over the “need” to protect us from virtually non-existent threats, utterly reprehensible.

At his press conference with Cameron, Clegg actually quoted the non-existent “liquid bomb plot to bring down multiple planes” as the reason these powers were needed. He even made a direct claim that telephone intercepts had been instrumental in “foiling” the “liquid bomb plot”. That is utterly untrue. The three men eventually convicted had indeed been under judge approved surveillance for a year. In that year, they made no reference to a plan to bring down airplanes, because there was no such plan. The only “evidence” of a plan to bring down multiple airplanes came from a Pakistani torture chamber. There never was a single liquid bomb. 90% of those arrested in the investigation were released without charge or found not guilty.

The three found guilty had done little more than boast and fantasise about being jihadis. That is not to say they were nice people. They may even have done some harm, though if Clegg were in any sense a Liberal he would not be supportive of imprisoning people in case they one day do some harm. But they had never made a liquid bomb or made a plan to bring down multiple airlines.

The point is, that while any ordinary member of the public could be forgiven for believing in the Liquid Bomb Plot, given all the lies of the mainstream media, Clegg has to be aware that he is spreading deliberate lies and propaganda to justify this “emergency legislation”.

Still more ludicrous was the failure to address the elephant in the room – Snowden’s revelation that the NSA and GCHQ indulge in vast mass surveillance, of the communications of millions of people in the UK, with absolutely no regard for the legal framework anyway.

In the last few weeks there has been a concerted effort to ratchet up the fear of the extremely remote possibility of a terrorist attack. We have seen, as first lead on the news bulletins and front page headlines, the jailing of two young men for “terrorism” for fighting in Syria, when there was no evidence of any kind that they had any intention of committing any violence in the UK. We have the absolute nonsense of the mobile phone in airports charade. We had days of the ludicrous argument that ISIS success in Iraq will cause terrorist attacks in the UK. Now we have the urgent need for this “emergency legislation”.

Why is the fear ratchet being screwed right up just now? What is this leading up to?


327 thoughts on “The Absence of Liberalism

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  • Tony_0pmoc

    Guano,

    I am kind of with you, except that I don’t do religion. I do however respect anyone who does do religion, providing religion is done in its purest original form, which is one of love, rather than control. As strange as this may seem (I gave up my Catholic religion at the age of 15 on moral grounds), I do believe in the power of prayer (I also love the most blessed Music of The Muslim Call to Prayer – it is just as good – and strangely very similar to Gregorian Chant)…

    So can I ask you to pray for someone I haven’t seen for 34 years, and have had almost no contact with in all this time. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and family. So is she. She was very nearly my wife, but something happened to pull us apart. We had never betrayed each other, and I have never betrayed my wife. I have told my wife that we got in contact again via Facebook. I have spoken to her once on the telephone. Today she sent me a message. She is not well. Please pray for her to get better. If you understand these things at this level…you do not need to know my name, nor hers…that’s how these things work. Don’t ask me to explain…I have already told her, that lots of people are praying for her, and that she will get better. Yes, she is going through the entire conventional diagnosis and treatment. I insisted…that rather being fobbed off by her doctor to insist on seeing a consultant…and she has. She may not have cancer…the results are not yet in…and even if she has…it may well be curable…with the help of our prayers (well they won’t do any harm).

    Thank You, and God Bless

    Tony

  • Iain Orr

    There’a a Liberty campaign to encourage people to write to their MP about this deplorable “emergency” legislation. I sent the following to mine this morning. I have little expectation of more than her immediate automatic reply – but worth at least warning staff who handle constituency correspondence of this impending epidemic of infectious spinelessness. My subject line was:

    “Urgent – please reject the Home Office’s “emergency” legislation”

    “Dear Mrs Jowell

    I write as a constituent, to express deep concern at the Coalition’s declared intention to rush through “emergency” laws compelling phone and internet providers, in flagrant breach of the (mandatory) Court of Justice ruling in April, to collect and retain blanket and indiscriminate records of our personal communications data.

    It would require extraordinary primary legislation for the existing permission of limited phone-tapping and mail interception (carefully circumscribed by judicial authority) to be transformed into a system in which agents of the state were allowed to intercept all UK postal mail and record the dates and frequency of all messages or parcels being sent to all addressees. The same goes for the addresses from which they are sent if that meta-data is on the outside – as I do with all my letters and parcels in order to facilitate their return, unopened, if they prove to be undeliverable. The collection of such postal mega-data would also require a ludicrous and immoral misuse of resources, both sufficient reasons never to contemplate such legislation. Until now The Queen’s subjects have enjoyed security of personal communication, perhaps protected by Her head on UK postage stamps.

    Its being easy to collect and retain such mega-data in the case of electronic communications makes that neither desirable nor any less a misuse of resources. I do not wish legislation passed that will impoverish and endanger civil society, promoting a burgeoning but unproductive economy in which the fastest growth is of numbers in the state and private security sectors, staking out the grounds of every citizen, making the Englishman’s home not his castle but an electronically-paroled prison whose keys jangle from Westminster and Whitehall keyboards.

    The proposed measure offends deeply against a proper sense of ourselves as belonging within and being admired contributors to a European liberal tradition. More particularly, the manner of execution – a spurious emergency, conspiratorially contrived with Labour leadership support, to suppress debate and public accountability – strikes at the fundamental principles of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law at the heart of the British constitution.

    I plead with you, therefore, to resist this deeply disquieting further erosion of our civil liberties and cherished British values.

    I will not vote at the next general election for any political party which has whipped its members to vote in favour of this proposed legislation. However, I will make an exception for individual sitting MPs who defy their party whip in order to vote against this shameful legislation which distrusts ordinary citizens and allows the state to terrorize us and infantilize our institutions.

    Yours sincerely “

  • guano

    Tony Op

    Everybody will taste death. My sister is looking after a man with cancer and in the course of his latter stages of illness he left his worldly distractions and joined a church. Look how death focuses the mind on the reality of life which was totally inaccessible before.

    Islam goes further, by refining our understanding who to worship to just Allah/God, because it is He who sustains every atom of this planet and every moment of our consciousness. All of that is written in a record.

    People repent before death and all of us have plenty to repent for, but people don’t know where to go. The signposts have all been removed. As Jesus said about the rabbis: Matthew 23:12

    “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
    [N.B. Nothing about taking power from government spy agencies here]

    13″But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.…”

    Please direct your friend to the Oneness of Allah, because belief in His Oneness and in his last messenger Muhammad SAW is the key to heaven and Heaven is a reprieve for all who sincerely believe in Him without any partnership with Jesus or Mary or any other thing.
    Amen

  • Tony_0pmoc

    Skip the Advertisements if you want…though the Muslim Advertisement is Better Than The Gregorian One. Believe this or not, but I had the idea for what Youtube did a few years later, (3 years before)..and even Registered The Domain Name…but I thought If I do This..Publicising..Live Music…I will Get Sued To Hell. Do I Really want to end up in a Courtroom Facing an American Music? “Executive”.

    I Thought Nah…

    I will go For ANTHONY CHARLES LYNTON BLAIR instead

    I will Face That EVIL in a COURT OF LAW

    Now The Music..Seriously… Both are Really Good

    “Beautiful Islamic Call To Prayer”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fe8qRj12OhY

    “Over 1 Hour OF Gorgeous Gregorian Chant -Chillout Megamix”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ElL8hdQD_4

    Tony

  • Phil

    Iain
    I am in a holiday field with a dying battery so cannot check but I am fairly certain the automatic systems record and keep all sorts of data about your post and packages. Have done for years enshrined in the grim RIPA laws.

    You write to your MP knowing it makes no difference. You say you will not vote for a complicit party then say you will. Ah the muddle of faith!

    The system is dead! Long live the system!

  • Rehmat

    @Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Are you saying that Netanyahu’s anti-Iran, anti-Syria, anti-Hamas, anti-Hizbullah – and anti-Abbas filth is a statement from Talmud?

    Take for example, last month, Netanyahu in his first comment on ISIS victory in Iraq, said that Washington should stay out of the Iraqi conflict – and let the Sunni militants defeat the Shia-dominated government of prime minister al-Maliki and break-up Iraq. “This will weaken Iranian influence in the Arab region,” said Netanyahu during his address at Tel Aviv University’s INSS think-tank.

    http://rehmat1.com/2014/06/30/netanyahu-isis-is-good-for-israel/

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Craig

    “What is this leading up to?”
    _________________

    I suppose that this refers to the immediate consequences of what you call the fear ratchet in the previous sentence, but allow me to use it to ask you a more general question.

    Do you share the often-expressed opinion of various commenters on this blog that the UK is either already a “fascist state” or that it is rapidly turning into one?

    ***********************

  • Iain Orr

    Phil – you say “You write to your MP knowing it makes no difference. You say you will not vote for a complicit party then say you will. Ah the muddle of faith!”

    Not “no difference”, even if slight. At least my MP’s staff will be logging the messages to her; and I even hope that an FoI request might reveal the number of messages to MPs asking them to vote for or to vote against this shameful legislation.

    Note too that there’s a tight condition attached to my voting for any party complicit in this legislation: that I would only consider doing so if my constituency MP has shown independence of judgement by rebelling against her party whip and voting against the Home Office’s draft “emergency” legislation. Why is that “muddled”?

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The Canadians Responded With American Woman – Guess Who…

    So I had retired and thought wtf is going on…and after The London Bombings..and I seriously Fell Out Well ….I Got Banned From The Very Pouplar English Website I had been posting on for Years…

    I wrote

    “All Terrorists are Cunts”

    this was the Headline after The London Bombings…when I thought My Wife Had Been Caught Up with Them…She was in London…when The Birds Went Crazy…as I Was watching it them..I didn’t know what had happened…but the Birds Did…It was The Ripple Effect…The Birds sensed The Evil on 7/7 and passed it on…

    I turned the Radio and The TV on..I tried to contact my wife…

    The Birds Knew – I had Never Seen Anything Like It…

    I Didn’t Hear The Explosions..But The Birds Did…

    “ALL TERRORISTS ARE CUNTS”

    So I thought how do I understand what is going on…

    I was Banned From The UK

    So I logged on To Alternet…In California in the USA..and I was there in their Virtual World..and I made Friends with Sister_Lauren…over the Years…I kept asking her to come over to the UK for a Festival or what..My wife is Really Nice..and we are used to people staying in our home and our tent…

    Then Nick Turse Got Appointed….Yes I know His History Too…and He saw what I had been writing for the previous 5 years…and he just Banned Me..and Deleted 5 Years Worth of what I had been writing from here…in England Trying To Make Friends and Understand Americans….

    “guess who- american woman”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkqfpkTTy2w

    Sister_Lauren Has Almost Single Handedly Changed The Laws in The USA…

    And She is Still Invited To Our Home in The UK

    What a Girl

    Tony

  • MerkinOnParis

    ‘The answer to your last two questions: A “state of emergency” called with troops deployed at major airports and tearful explanations from Cameron and other British nationalists that only a “united” kingdom can save us from terrorist cataclysm.
    Maybe a False Flag at the Commonwealth Games which allows the Government to impose Martial Law and cancel the Ref?

  • Póló

    Be nice if the College of Europe were to strike Nick Clegg off their books. After all they are supposed to be supporting human rights and European institutions.

    Fat chance, though, I’m afraid.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Nice quote from Nevermind on the “water damage” thread, which some of you might have missed:

    “I don’t think that Israel is innocent in the abduction and killing of its own teenagers/soldiers, it was their kind of mini 911 designed to garner publicity to Bibi’s policies,…”

    Anyone here agree with that, or care to comment? 🙂

    *********************

  • Je

    What they worry about is an attack on them. That’s why they put all those security measures round parliament after 9/11 and did nothing much to protect ordinary people. That’s why during the cold war they had shelters built for them and we didn’t.

    There is absolutely no measure that isn’t too great when its a matter of saving their wretched skins from the small terrorist threat they’ve created. By invading Afghanistan, and Iraq, and supporting Israeli occupation.

    Unfortunately its ordinary people who get targetted as on 7/7 anyway.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    And from the one and only Mary, speaking on the Doune the Rabbit Hole thread:

    “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”

    Sounds like the Hamas “Drive the Jews into the sea”, doesn’t it.

    Agreement with or comments on this, anyone?

  • Yonatan

    Slightly off topic – into the area of Neo-Nazism aka Ukraine which is aided by the Neo-Liberals / Neo-Cons / Neo-Scumbags.

    The Ukrainian military has been using multiple launch rocket systems against civilian targets in various towns such as Slavyansk. The varied nature of the urban terrain makes it difficult to appreciate the full impact of these systems. The Novorossian army has finally found a system of their own and used it as intended against a military target, in this instance the 79th Motorized Brigade. This site shows the effect of MLRS weapons. The 79th Motorized Brigade no longer exists as a functional military unit. This was one strike on one day unlike the day-in, day-out attacks the Ukrainian army perpetrated against civilians.

    There may be up to 400 dead in this strike. An awful way to go for the troops involved. However, they signed up for this, the civilians they targeted didn’t. The MSM are happily residing in das Wolkenkuckucksheim regarding Neo-Nazi Ukraine.

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    Liz and Dick are beginning to look like a very strange couple.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/truth-about-iraq_796387.html?nopager=1

    “America must win this war. We won’t defeat our enemies by retreating. We won’t win if we adopt a false narrative about the past, fail to learn the lessons of history, or seek security in disengagement and isolationism. We will only defeat our enemies if we are clear-eyed about the threat and have the will to do what it takes for as long as it takes—until the war is won.”

  • Peacewisher

    @Habby:

    I object very strongly to your mocking of views expressed on this blog that relate to freedom of speech, the UN charter of human rights, what our forebears fought for in ww2, and “British”? principles that go back hundreds of years (see below).

    Anyone…

    I’m not a legal expert at all, and need some help here, but I have a faint suspicion that the 1970s onwards anti-terror legislation runs counter to the principles laid down back in 1215. If so, how can a law just get passed by the House of Commons that ignores whether it is compatable with common law? I honestly don’t know, and would like to be enlightened, especially as it is the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta next year…

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The Irish Explained it to me as it is

    This song often gets played at most of the occasional parties My Wife and I still Have..We ain’t Dead Yet…

    Often The Reaction..I Turn it Up…is Complete Silence as They Listen to The Song..and if it ain’t…I turn it up LOUDER

    “Dead Can Dance – The Wind That Shakes The Barley”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2-2lJnFM1c

    Tony

  • Ben-LA PACQUTE LO ES TODO

    “If so, how can a law just get passed by the House of Commons that ignores whether it is compatable with common law? ”

    Peacewisher; If you look at Common Law (US Constitution is based on CL) versus Admiralty Law, you will find they use whichever is more convenient for their purposes. Admiralty Law is more imperious (the Captain’s power) but has no legal foundation in non-maritime issues.

    E.g; Vehicle codes are not Law, but the State is happy to have citizens believe so.

  • Peacewisher

    Very close to tears, Tony. I didn’t know the real title. It is said that ladies with haunting voices like that still perform in pubs all over Ireland at the week-ends.

  • Andy

    Writing about the latest flap over NSA/CIA spying on Germany, today’s New York Times reported that, after the Snowden revelations last year, Berlin asked the Americans for a “no spy” agreement “similar to the one the United States has with the English-speaking victors of World War II: Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand”.

    Berlin claims that Washington promised to enter into negotiations over such an agreement, according to the NYT.

    “But…American officials say there never was such a promise, and that German officials blanched when they heard what kind of responsibilities they would have for intelligence collection and cyberoperations around the world if they ever joined that elite club”.

  • YouKnowMyName

    technologically speaking,
    The current unwarranted over-collection of citizen correspondence, content, meta-data and general interests puts us all into digital pigeon-holes. Correlated, machine-analysed, Bayesian profiled, the military industrial complex is able to keyword search an entire year’s stored internet use of a whole UK size country, looking for individual keywords, drawing up lists, statistics, victims. There are also many distributed boxes around the world that can make real-time digital signature analysis of live streaming internet, looking for specific “scarfing” triggers, selectors. These boxes exist everywhere, even Malawi, the interception market is booming! The American Navy is being re-trained as cyberwarriors…

    At present, these unwarranted systems are used, at best, in Germany 50% for the spooks & 50% for the police, in UK it’s more like 99% of the product for the spooks as the intel product remains “hearsay” in UK courts. US NSA has obviously been the lead, using FBI as a front-man, inserting their technology into our society since the 1990’s, with back doors, bugdoors in everything, devices, software & infrastructure – if you can think of ten ways they might attack the internet – then their clever engineers have actually already found thirteen ways of abuse!

    Currently, I think the only effect in our society of these UKUSA ‘mastery of the internet’ ideas – is to freeze the evolution of devices, systems & infrastructure – slowing the developments to the next generation of devices. e.g. Microsoft universal messaging which was delayed until the appropriate NSA/ZNIS monitoring was devised. Likewise what should be the 5th Gen telephone (a digital decentralised mesh network topology, cheaper, safer, greener) is as yet unavailable.

    There remains the danger that as well as freezing the evolution of technology, that they might freeze the evolution of society, denying, disrupting the future radicals, with soft assassinations or just a subtle deprivation of benefits. I’ve no evidence that that is happening in the UK, with our current fairly average politicians. UK is still a nice place, my friends in gchq, hmgcc, ukntac are honest hard-working people.

    The near Future, with these enormously powerful but not yet understood dual-use weapons available, and the eventual rogue politicians driving it is one of my biggest worries. PRISM, XKeyscore, FoxAcid are currently (mostly) gathering data – but they can equally be used for instantly re-writing data, “deep packet injection”, that is a scary time when you can no longer trust what you’re reading – you ask for a WWW page – but there’s no guarantee, no trust, that the page anyone might see is the page that they asked for. It could easily have been manipulated in any direction, pro-this-faction, anti-the-other, in fact the whole UK population in 2020 might all have completely different ideas about who won that year’s election. Hmmm. Ubiquitous Digital Canary time!

  • Mary

    Thank you Iain for the pro-forma. I will send it to my MP.

    In about three weeks’ time I will receive a cream 1st Class envelope bearing the embossed HoC stamp containing a letter in reply printed on matching stationery which will consist of meaningless balm and attached to it a central office hand-out this time from Mrs May more than likely.

    I have quite a collection! Must have cost a fortune. I write via e-mail but the postal reply is probably used to make it more difficult to disseminate the contents.

  • John Goss

    “There may be up to 400 dead in this strike. An awful way to go for the troops involved.”

    I agree and blame Yatsenyuk, Poroshenko, et al for these, as you say, military deaths. What a fine mess the US has got Ukraine into. I bet there is no decent person outside of Eastern Ukraine who would not want to go back to the days of Yakunovich. But the sad thing is Ukraine would have been a largely united country before western intervention and a senseless coup d’etat. Now Crimea is lost and very soon Eastern Ukraine will cede to and be accepted by Russia. When did the Yanks and NATO do any good, anywhere?

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