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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  • Mary

    I am not smearing Avnery. At the root of it, he is a . Stop putting words into my mouth.

  • technicolour

    Even the writer of that article attacking Avnery omits children from the list of those to blame, unlike you. Even the writer of that article ends by quoting Avnery and his desire for “Israel to be a state belonging to all its citizens, without distinction of ethnic origin, gender, religion or language; with completely equal rights for all”. Even the writer of that article ends by concluding that Avnery may have the right idea.

    Going back to your attempt to demonise the whole of the Israeli population: anything to say about the Shministim? Anything to say about the Israeli Women in Black? Anything to say about the majority who did not vote for Likud? Anything to say about people who were born there? No?

  • N_

    @Fred

    Considering nowhere in Gaza is more than 7 miles from Israel and the destruction zone of even a small atomic bomb has about a 30 mile radius I think we can safely assume those are just idle threats.

    You are mistaken. The destruction zone in Hiroshima didn’t go out anywhere near that far, and nuclear weapons can be far smaller than the one they dropped on Hiroshima, called “Little Boy”. Take a look here.

    Nukes go down to about 10-20 tonnes of TNT equivalent. Little Boy had a yield about 1000 times bigger, at 16 kilotonnes. For scale, the highest-yielding nukes ever built go up to about 3000 times bigger still, at 50 megatonnes.

    The Zionists also have the neutron bomb.

    It’s not just moderated comments at the Jerusalem Post. Avigdor Lieberman, the Zionists’ current Foreign Minister and probable next Prime Minister, has threatened to nuke Gaza before.

    Remember that nowadays most wars have big propaganda value. The Zionists do not want peace, any more than the Nazis did.

    Google – surprise surprise – has openly taken sides in this massacre.

  • technicolour

    “We’re part of a club, and we paid a very expensive membership fee to get in,” said Rami Elhanan, an activist with the Parents Circle, which includes both Israeli and Palestinian families who have lost loved ones to the conflict. His daughter Smadar was killed in a suicide bombing in 1997.

    “We are not going to let them use our pain to enlarge this club,” he said.

    Elhanan pointed out the other dozen activists — this one lost a mother, this one a brother, this one a son.

    “Every one of the people here has on their back a very heavy weight,” he said. “We paid that price and we know how important it is not to have other people join.”

  • technicolour

    Protests took place in Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Francisco, among other cities, according to Rabbi Alissa Wise, a a member of the group’s rabbinic council. Jewish Voice for Peace is allied with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.

    Read more: http://www.jta.org/2014/07/11/news-opinion/united-states/protests-blame-israel-for-escalating-violence-call-for-boycotts#ixzz37LqqJpt9

    http://www.jta.org/2014/07/11/news-opinion/united-states/protests-blame-israel-for-escalating-violence-call-for-boycotts

  • technicolour

    The attempt of Netanyahu to use the deaths of the Israeli teens as the pretext for stepped up aggression against the Palestinians, and the racist agitation of pro-settler elements, prompted some 3,000 mostly young Israelis to stage a rally for peace and tolerance on [July 2]. The rally was organized by Tag Meir, a pro-peace coalition of 43 organizations. USA Today quoted one of the participants, Jonah Clarfield, 25, as saying, ‘This is a response to the racist march that took place last night.’ Marchers held hand-made posters reading, ‘We Are All Human Beings’ and ‘Light, Not Terror.’

    http://my.firedoglake.com/lauraw/2014/07/07/israeli-voices-for-peace/

  • Clark

    N_, that app was developed by RustyBrick.com, not Google. RustyBrick develop for iOS and Android as well. Google’s development method makes use of a lot of contributions, so which apps get developed is down to the contributors, not Google.

    Someone developed a drone-strike app for iOS; it would show the locations of drone-strikes in real time. Apple refused to host it in their App Store.

  • technicolour

    Hilleli, Women of Peace: “We believe that this cycle of violence must be ended, and it’s definitely not going to be ended by more violence and by more bombs on Gaza, and it’s not going to help the people in the south and neither the people in Tel Aviv that have been subject to missiles in the past few days.”

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/10/headlines

  • Clark

    Technicolour, your points illustrate another aspect of propaganda; I expect Phil will agree here – our corporate news frequently repeat the official Israeli narrative (usually without challenge), but where are the reports of protest from within Israel? Remember when the Occupy protests began, there was a huge camp in Israel; it was reported a bit, but somehow it seemed to be dealt with separately from the rest of Occupy and then it was just forgotten. I don’t even know what became of it.

    Failure to report popular Israeli opposition to Israeli government policy contributes to the impression that all Israelis are racist – so the corporate media contributes to divide and rule, as usual.

  • technicolour

    Clark, yes, of course, thanks. One would hope that people who are au fait with the internet and message boards and so on would look beyond the corporate media, rather than just seek to reinforce hate and prejudice, but.

    Occupy another striking example, I agree. It was global – from Japan to New Zealand. But it was silenced, and crushed.

  • Clark

    It must be really frustrating to be a progressive Israeli activist. Ignored by all sides and dismissed as hopelessly contaminated, non-existent or a contradiction-in-terms by non-Israeli activists.

  • technicolour

    Right, Arsalan. So all the wars which happened before the creation of israel were just – what, exactly?

  • Iain Orr

    Phil at 12 July 8.58 pm: You have the knack of using the right bait to get a rise out of me – attributing to me language and values that I have not used or espoused. From false assumptions just about anything can be deduced. However, let’s look at your suggestion that I am “stuck with writing letters you know will be ignored”. If I accepted that the minimal criterion for writing to my MP being a useful activity was that she reads it – far less acts on it – you would be right. Indeed, I have sufficient experience of parliamentary letter-writing (myself and others) to consider it unlikely that Tessa Jowell will read my letter. However, what makes the activity marginally useful (more useful than sticking pins into a Tessa Jowell doll, even though that might be of mild therapeutic value; but less useful than exchanging views with you here on creating a better political system) is that far more is involved than engaging Tessa’s eyes or brain.

    First, sending the letter to my MP means that I am responding positively to a general Liberty request to campaign on the issue of this “emergency” legislation; and to a specific request from a good friend who shared the letter he had sent his MP. It’s part of social bonding and it also makes me engage with the issue more seriously than if I were simply to say: “Just what I’d have expected of this lot, but nothing I can do will make any difference”. Second, the effort of making the letter a personal one, rather than just topping and tailing the one my friend copied to me meant I was able to develop a point that is often overlooked – that collecting email mega-data is not adapting to a new technologies but is abusing them to snoop in ways that would never be acceptable, morally or legally, with snail mail. That’s useful for me – getting my thoughts sorted out – even if I never sent the letter to Tessa.

    Third, having sent the letter, blind copied it to friends who share my concerns about this legislation, and later copied it to this blog, I have made sure that even if Tessa does not read it, someone on her staff will as will others who can then improve, amplify or disagree with my arguments. I may not have snared Tessa as a reader, but I have snared two who matter far more to me than her – the friend who urged me to send a letter and you, dear Phil, who urged me to recognize the uselessness of doing so.

    There’s a final useful outcome. I now have the opportunity to invite you, before all these witnesses here, to pen three suggestions for useful actions by those of us who wish to discredit this legislation and render it inoperable and an albatross around the necks of MPs who support it even if the legislation gets approval from this rump parliament.

    There, an open goal – I’m sure you can score a hat-trick well before the match starts this evening. For a gifted forward like you, delivering philippics on target is why you are so valuable for the FC Utopia team.

  • Clark

    Technicolour, I feel sorry for Mary in this. Her attitudes appear to me to have hardened, but anyone’s would have under the sustained barrage of personal abuse, distortion and innuendo she’s been subjected to for years here on this blog. Someone even posted a comment under her name on the Stormfront fascist website, then linked to it here; various critics of Mary treated it as genuine. And even you, Technicolour, recently criticised comments from Mary as anti-Jewish, but didn’t mention more offensive anti-Muslim comments from Jemand which were just above it…

    …on which basis I could leap on the “Technicolour is Hasabra” bandwagon which has also been proposed on these threads – the flip side of the “Mary is anti-Semitic” bandwagon. But I oppose such polarisation as unproductive, a microcosmic element of those human traits that tend to escalate conflict. I prefer the model that, in each case, certain dynamics led to certain behaviours, because this model is susceptible to change, whereas “such-and-such is a bad person / are bad people” perpetuates distrust and animosity.

    If we can’t get on with each other amicably here on these threads, what hope for resolving any entrenched conflict?

  • ------------·´`·.¸¸.¸¸.··.¸¸Node

    Mary mentioned the high blood pressure Highlander who was ranting on Question Time on Thursday. He screamed that he was prepared to “lay down his life in defence of the Union,” which of course has received much publicity in the media, including from the Scottish Daily Record.
    However there’s a comment from a member of the audience below the Record article:

    “As a member of the Audience, I witnessed first hand how this bloke was used by BBC. They had chance to get rid of him in the dummy run we had before the panel came on…The subject was making some drugs legal…..The highlander , with a twist of irish accent did a 3min rant referring to hell,jesus,etc……myself and my partner , and the rest of Audience were expecting him to be thrown out.Never happened, and then he gets Air time twice…?….Reason,because he was spouting about being British….”

  • OldMark

    ‘Mary, you seem to be blithely brushing over your attempt to smear Uri Avnery and your suggestion that all people in Israel, even the children, are somehow to blame.’

    Technicolour’s conclusion is (for once) spot-on here. It is unforgivable of Mary to suggest that, simply by stating the facts about Israeli law and East Jerusalem, Avnery is simply a ‘Zionist’ to be lumped in with the likes of Netanyahu or Leiberman.

  • Clark

    Iain Orr, 2:13 pm: thanks for that. One of my contributory skills in this world (“gainful employment” to you, Anon) is making people’s computers work right, so that they can reliably manipulate information. Thank you for describing how manipulation of information can affect the influences upon people in a structure.

  • fred

    “You are mistaken. The destruction zone in Hiroshima didn’t go out anywhere near that far, and nuclear weapons can be far smaller than the one they dropped on Hiroshima, called “Little Boy”. ”

    I don’t think so, even small nukes produce a lot of radioactive dust. The Israeli government would not risk it raining strontium 90 onto Tel Aviv. No government would use nuclear weapons so close to their own inhabited areas.

  • amanfromMars

    [craigmurray.org.uk – your comment is linked here:]

    http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2014/07/the-absence-of-liberalism/comment-page-1/#comment-466225

    Hmmmm?????

    The following, which was I am pretty near darned certain, earlier positioned in this thread circa 12 Jul, 2014 – 11:58 am, appears to have been spirited away/been disappeared. Such tells us all what you should really know, for it be hard core fact rather than soft porn fiction?

    Or maybe I was mistaken. Oh well, let’s see if we can learn more with another try and trial submission of a tale with red hot trails which burn like hell if denied, Craig, for such denials would be from those not in the loop and completely unaware of planes of future events, dear boy, and planned future eventing.

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

    The herd of stampeding elephants in the room, Craig, are intelligence services flexing new muscles and field testing IT Virtual Power Control. Or are y’all here of the opinion that established and Establishment spooky default services are as cowed cuckolds and mindlessly status quo dependent rather than rapid and even rabidly active and extremely stealthy revolutionary independent special operation forces?

    And whoever would one ask to know, and for it to be, however plausibly, implausibly denied, for as is being increasingly recognised and discussed here, is the System rattled by something way beyond both its practical and virtually remote command and control.

    amanfromMars 1 Sat 12 Jul 06:56 [1407120656] commenting on http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2014/07/10/google_ventures_opens_new_fund_in_london/

    Condor Flight Path for Vulture Rich Pickings/Rich Vulture Sit-Ins/Venture Capitalisation

    It has long been known, Martin S, that practise makes perfect and perfect is great practice and for Glorious Command Head Quarters and Remote Vital Virtual and Virile Virtuous Control of Global Operating Devices, on and in Dark Web Enterprises with Black Watch AIdVenturers, is it IT Par for every course.

    Is any and every bet and event move, which can be in any way perceived as being against and in aggressive negative competition to, rather than in simple surreal support with and sublime encouragement of, SMARTR Virtual Machines and InterNet Working Infrastructures …. ITs XSSXXXXoSkeleton ……. a crushing hammer blow to failing dumb systems and corrupted perverse executive administrative persons of particular and peculiar interest and/or waned influence?

    And would such be a Front Facing AI in the Virtual Field and CyberSpace Place and Forward Operating Base of MIComplexIT only the Dire Rich and Retarded Foolhardy would Dare 42 Win Win against in order to Fail Fundamentally and Crash Catastrophically in CHAOS ….. Clouds Hosting Advanced Operating Systems ……. Astute Active Alien Systems of Operation with Exotic and Erotic Universally Attractive and Addictive Projects for Man Management in a Reputable ReProgramming of Heavenly Assets and Earthly Bodies/Persons and Agencies?

    Take Care, IT’s a Mined Mind Field out there ……

    A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction.

    Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

    Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations.

    This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

    and is gravely to be regarded. ….. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

    PS …. Condor is four strokes under par and therefore in the context used above an incredibly fast track to that which is chased and called wealth by both the many and the few.

  • Clark

    OldMark, 2:51 pm; I doubt Mary objects to “Under Israeli law, East Jerusalem is not occupied territory”, which is a simple statement of fact. But the next bit, “It is a part of sovereign Israel”, is open to interpretation; I take it that Avnery here continues to speak on behalf of Israeli law, as would be explicit had Averny continued with a comma. But Averny used a full stop and a capital letter, so “[East Jerusalem] is a part of sovereign Israel” can be read as Averny’s own opinion, and it seems that Mary interpreted it that way.

    The brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the ongoing Israeli abuse of Palestinians have made Zionism a dirty word. In principle, Zionism should seem no better or worse than other nationalism movements.

  • Iain Orr

    Clark – the link you sent Phil at 3.11pm contains ideas (allowing for a few typos in its text)applicable to many disciplines and activities besides systems engineering. Education, health, foreign policy, economics, journalism and all forms of political activism should take account of this positive insight:

    “16 Any small unit committed to qualitative action can affect radical change on a scale outside its quantitative measure.”

    Visions and values are the weapons to use to combat the trigger-happy – and internally unstable- world of quantitative targets.

  • technicolour

    Well, Clark, I appreciate the need to share and exchange views, which is why I took back the word ‘hollow’ and asked Mary to shine a light on why she would blame an entire population, including children, for the atrocities perpetrated by its minority government. I’d like her response.

    As for tackling Jemand’s latest anti-Muslim witters, I don’t bother reading him any more (it’s rather harder to avoid reading Mary, I find). If, however, you look back at the merry abuse I’ve had from him in the past, you’ll note that it’s because I’ve challenged his views/’facts’ before.

    AmanfromMars – I saw that post.

  • Clark

    Technicolour, sorry, I didn’t mean to seem critical of you. Rather, I’m trying to highlight that often, interpretations are unjustified by the information that suggested them, that we are all prone to such errors of magnification and oversimplification, and this simple human tendency, so common that we don’t even notice it, generates the seed-crystals of conflict, some of which grow to global proportions.

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