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Author Topic: Britain's Brown introduces the police state
Frustrated Mess
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posted 14 November 2007 12:42 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
New guidance will be sent to thousands of cinemas, theatres, restaurants, hotels, sporting venues and commercial centres, and all hospitals, schools and places of worship - and this will include advice on training staff to be more vigilant.

Up to 160 counter-terrorism advisers will train civilian staff to identify suspect activity and to ensure premises have secure emergency exits, CCTV footage used to best effect, and regular searches and evacuation drills.

From now on, local authorities will be required as part of their performance framework to assess the measures they have taken to protect against terrorism.


War is Peace - Work is freedom - Ignorance is Strength


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 14 November 2007 12:52 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
While there is a lot of bad politics around security, I don't think the tiresome re-evocation of Orwell is particularly helpful.

Some of these points are silly, but I personally think that having surveillance cameras in public spaces is a great idea.

Edited to add: Actually, I think the term I'm looking for is 'corny'. It was kind of cool to evoke Orwell, leading up to 1984 but it feels corny today.

[ 14 November 2007: Message edited by: Michael Hardner ]


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 14 November 2007 12:57 PM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think we could well need more security in future. Because the brown people will be hating us for our freedoms more and more.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
kropotkin1951
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posted 14 November 2007 01:08 PM      Profile for kropotkin1951   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Hardner:

Some of these points are silly, but I personally think that having surveillance cameras in public spaces is a great idea.
[ 14 November 2007: Message edited by: Michael Hardner ]

Silly me to think that privacy was a right in a democratic state.

And you are right that because Orwell was off in his predictions by a few decades we should never mention him again. After all its not like he had any serious message about totalitarianism that should be kept in mind in our modern context.


From: North of Manifest Destiny | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 14 November 2007 02:59 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Silly me to think that privacy was a right in a democratic state.

Yes it was. If you go outside, don't shriek in outrage if somebody looks at you.

quote:

And you are right that because Orwell was off in his predictions by a few decades we should never mention him again. After all its not like he had any serious message about totalitarianism that should be kept in mind in our modern context.

Hyperbole is fun.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 14 November 2007 05:20 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It seems there is always someone to defend the curbing of civil rights and freedoms. Usually someone who hasn't bothered to read the details.

And yes, the details involve asking British telecom firms to become censors deciding what is "too extremist" for the addled, childish, and suggestible British public.

And yes the laws are explicitly aimed at a religious minority guilty of being brown.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 14 November 2007 06:25 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
It seems there is always someone to defend the curbing of civil rights and freedoms. Usually someone who hasn't bothered to read the details.

I've read enough about these things, and especially I've asked many people about their objections to having public cameras. It usually comes down to a comic bookish fear of a future dystopia.

quote:

And yes, the details involve asking British telecom firms to become censors deciding what is "too extremist" for the addled, childish, and suggestible British public.

And yes the laws are explicitly aimed at a religious minority guilty of being brown.


It's not all bad, and it's not all good.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 14 November 2007 06:31 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A Google search returns over 1.8 million web pages containing the "corny" word "Orwellian".

George Orwell's remarkably prescient dystopia is one of the major recurring themes of present day social criticism. To call it corny is to betray a serious disconnection from progressive discourse.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 14 November 2007 06:46 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
A Google search returns over 1.8 million web pages containing the "corny" word "Orwellian".

And my Google search of the word "corny" returns over 5.7 hits.

quote:

George Orwell's remarkably prescient dystopia is one of the major recurring themes of present day social criticism. To call it corny is to betray a serious disconnection from progressive discourse.

George Orwell's book was quite relevant sixty years ago when the Soviet Union was using many of the techniques depicted in the book as a matter of daily operations.

To call it 'progressive discourse', is to admit being a dusty skeleton in a Victorian closet.

Maybe I'm overreaching a bit...


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 14 November 2007 06:53 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here's another example of overreaching...

Travelers leaving or entering the UK will be asked 53 questions !

Daily Mail

The headline refers to it as an 'inquisition', meanwhile the questions are innocuous.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
laine lowe
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posted 14 November 2007 08:37 PM      Profile for laine lowe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
From the Daily Mail article:

quote:
The information will be stored for as long as the authorities believe it is useful, allowing them to build a complete picture of where a person has been over their lifetime, how they paid and the contact numbers of who they stayed with.

The Home Office, which yesterday signed a contract with U.S. company Raytheon Systems to run the computer system, said e-borders would help to keep terrorists and illegal immigrants out of the country.


Isn't Raytheon Systems a key US Defense contractor? That's a little too much synergy in my view.

I would certainly avoid routing any overseas flights through any US or UK airports. Hopefully, other hubs won't follow suit. On the bright side, maybe it will curtail travel and help lower greenhouse emissions.


From: north of 50 | Registered: Dec 2006  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
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posted 14 November 2007 08:53 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
And in which country do you suppose Raytheon is going to store all these personal electronic dossiers? You can be sure they will be made available to Homeland Security.

This is all part of the US plan to amass a worldwide database of personal information about everyone, so that they will be able to victimize anyone at will.

The fact that Michael Hardner doesn't "get it" only goes to show how irrelevant he his.


From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Fidel
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posted 15 November 2007 03:26 AM      Profile for Fidel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Speaking of Daddy Warbucks, I think Bush senor has shares in Raytheon. The LibDems should impeach the jackals instead of cowering in the shadows. And Canada's official opposition should at least start faking it for the sake of appearance. I think Jack and the NDP are feeling lonely on the left.
From: Viva La Revolución | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 15 November 2007 04:39 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
And in which country do you suppose Raytheon is going to store all these personal electronic dossiers? You can be sure they will be made available to Homeland Security.

This is all part of the US plan to amass a worldwide database of personal information about everyone, so that they will be able to victimize anyone at will.


Again, the fear is dystopian future... science fiction...

Why is the US planning to victimize the millions of people in their database ? What's their motivation ? Is it even remotely possible that these measures are indeed to prevent acts of violence and terrorism ?

I do think that security and police need to be kept in check, but the fact that privacy issues are continually brought up in these discussions proves that these concerns are already top-of-mind.

quote:

The fact that Michael Hardner doesn't "get it" only goes to show how irrelevant he his.

I'm irrelevant ? Me personally ? What does that mean ?


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 15 November 2007 04:56 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For rail travelers there will be random bag searches. Imagine being on a Toronto subway and being forced to open your bag on demand? I assume Michael Hardener is lily white and therefore unperturbed by such intrusions.

I remember that for much of my youth, Britain faced an IRA campaign and was never forced to bring in a police state or to so intrude on privacy, human rights, and civil liberties.

And yet after one real terrorist attack and one random attack by angry men responding to the imperial and illegal war in Iraq that murdered 1.5 million people, suddenly Britain needs to enter into this Orwellian, police state.

And of course, there is always talk of "extremism" with no definition of extremism. It is the plans of the government to be able to secretly arrest people accused of "extremism" and hold them for questioning (torture?) for up to, I believe, 58 days without charge or without legal council. That is two months.

Are white supremacists and skinheads fearful of being labeled "extremists"? Is those British politicians who advocate for mass murder in Iran or the middle-east fearful of being labeled "extremists"? Of course not. It is a label that will be applied to Islamic people, people of color, human rights activists, and supporters.

But Michael, comfortable as he is in his skin and with the tightening vise of the police state around the throat of others, shouldn't be so comfortable at all. Neither should the skinheads and British white supremacists.

How does a nation like Britain justify such controls when more people die every year from weather, and domestic violence?

The controls being put in place today are premised on "terrorism", but really they are in preparation for a true dystopian future. A future of climate change, water scarcity, and depleted energy.

In other words, these are the initial preparations to control the British and have nothing to do with "terrorism".

Fascism creeps while the comfortable sleeps.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 15 November 2007 05:28 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
For rail travelers there will be random bag searches. Imagine being on a Toronto subway and being forced to open your bag on demand? I assume Michael Hardener is lily white and therefore unperturbed by such intrusions.

You don't know anything about me, or my history with the police so it's probably best that you leave me out of the argument.

Random bag searches are a fact of life for air travel. I don't think it's practical for subway travel, but for inter city rail it might be practical.

quote:

I remember that for much of my youth, Britain faced an IRA campaign and was never forced to bring in a police state or to so intrude on privacy, human rights, and civil liberties.

You are correct.

However, there are dangers in comparing a situation 30-40 years ago to today.

- The technology was different.
- Attitudes were different.
- The police got away with a lot more then, I think.

However, I think it's very useful to talk about what has changed over time, as it might tell us something about how we are today.

I lived in France during a wave of synagogue bombings in the 1980s, and you could be detained at any time by the police without charge.

quote:

And yet after one real terrorist attack and one random attack by angry men responding to the imperial and illegal war in Iraq that murdered 1.5 million people, suddenly Britain needs to enter into this Orwellian, police state.

And of course, there is always talk of "extremism" with no definition of extremism. It is the plans of the government to be able to secretly arrest people accused of "extremism" and hold them for questioning (torture?) for up to, I believe, 58 days without charge or without legal council. That is two months.

Are white supremacists and skinheads fearful of being labeled "extremists"? Is those British politicians who advocate for mass murder in Iran or the middle-east fearful of being labeled "extremists"? Of course not. It is a label that will be applied to Islamic people, people of color, human rights activists, and supporters.


Yes, all of these things are general concerns.

I'd rather speak about specific policies, though, because indeed some of them are a good idea.

What constitutes 'extremism' ? As a pacifist, I would say actions that could be reasonably viewed as part of an act of violence.

quote:

But Michael, comfortable as he is in his skin and with the tightening vise of the police state around the throat of others, shouldn't be so comfortable at all. Neither should the skinheads and British white supremacists.


How does a nation like Britain justify such controls when more people die every year from weather, and domestic violence?

The controls being put in place today are premised on "terrorism", but really they are in preparation for a true dystopian future. A future of climate change, water scarcity, and depleted energy.

In other words, these are the initial preparations to control the British and have nothing to do with "terrorism".

Fascism creeps while the comfortable sleeps.


Again, it's all hyperbole and alarmism.

Rather than fall back into familliar arguments, and paint a scary picture of the future, let's talk about the pros and cons of specific policies.

I think that public cameras are a great idea. Once the general public realizes that they are there, I would expect less acts of violence in public, which is better for the people. As to the danger of widespread abuse of power, I don't see it. It's that simple.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 15 November 2007 05:50 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You don't see it because you don't want to see it. Willful blindness we could call it.

Here in lily white Canada, the CBC is doing a series of stories on people who have been tasered by police. One, yesterday, was a 5', 90lbs, victiim of cerebral palsy who was repeatedly tasered. That is here in Canada. Imagine in a police state such as is emerging in Britain.

quote:
- The technology was different.
- Attitudes were different.
- The police got away with a lot more then, I think.

Yes, there is a lot more technolgy being employed today for surveillance. In what way are the attitudes different? The police, then, never put bullets into the head of an innocent suspect on a crowded subway.

quote:
I lived in France during a wave of synagogue bombings in the 1980s, and you could be detained at any time by the police without charge.

Were you? Who was?

quote:
What constitutes 'extremism' ? As a pacifist, I would say actions that could be reasonably viewed as part of an act of violence.

Again, a white perspective. Violence is advocated and carried out every day by the state. Our own general Hillier spoke of "killing the scumbags". In your mind Hillier is an extremist to be arrested without charge?

The state engages in brutal violence from Iraq to its prison cells. Extremists? If so, why do you defend the extremism of the state and support its efforts to enhance its abilities to take citizens of the street and subject them to violence?


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 15 November 2007 09:12 AM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
FM,

quote:
You don't see it because you don't want to see it. Willful blindness we could call it.

Point it out, then.

quote:

Here in lily white Canada, the CBC is doing a series of stories on people who have been tasered by police. One, yesterday, was a 5', 90lbs, victiim of cerebral palsy who was repeatedly tasered. That is here in Canada. Imagine in a police state such as is emerging in Britain.

I imagine being tasered would hurt in any country.

quote:

quote: - The technology was different.
- Attitudes were different.
- The police got away with a lot more then, I think.

Yes, there is a lot more technolgy being employed today for surveillance. In what way are the attitudes different? The police, then, never put bullets into the head of an innocent suspect on a crowded subway.


This is something worth exploring.

My impression is that people are more aware of privacy issues today, for one thing.

I also feel that the police bear more scrutiny than they have in the past. In my town, when I was younger, police would regularly harass young people, and put 'pressure' (i.e. beatings) on anyone who had a criminal record in order to get them to leave town. That doesn't happen any more.

I don't think you would disagree with me that attitudes are different today, though you might disagree in how they're different. I'm interesting in hearing your thoughts on this area.

quote:

quote: I lived in France during a wave of synagogue bombings in the 1980s, and you could be detained at any time by the police without charge.

Were you? Who was?


No. I don't know.

quote:

quote: What constitutes 'extremism' ? As a pacifist, I would say actions that could be reasonably viewed as part of an act of violence.


Again, a white perspective. Violence is advocated and carried out every day by the state. Our own general Hillier spoke of "killing the scumbags". In your mind Hillier is an extremist to be arrested without charge?


I oppose violence, including state-sanctioned violence. Unfortunately, our nation and many others cannot conduct their affairs without some degree of coercion, which is less than the degree they use now.

quote:

The state engages in brutal violence from Iraq to its prison cells. Extremists? If so, why do you defend the extremism of the state and support its efforts to enhance its abilities to take citizens of the street and subject them to violence?


I don't support it. I do think that some coercion is required to support order, however I oppose militarism. I am in favour of security.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 15 November 2007 09:34 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:

Point it out, then.


I can't point it out if you won't see. The forest for the trees, type of thing. Why don't we put it another way. In the last decade, how many Britons have lost their lives to terrorism? To air pollution? To domestic violence? Are the numbers comparable? If not, then why so many dollars directed at fighting "terrorism" and not other issues and how does further restricting civil rights and further intrusions of the state into privacy make people safer?

The London bombings, for example, were carried out in a city that already had CCTV cameras everywhere. And yet they still carried out the bombings.

So why would you agree to fewer liberties, less privacy, and subject yourself to random search and seizure without any assurances of results?

And even if some results can be demonstrated, is your security, as defined by the state, which is really their security from you, worth your freedom?

quote:

I imagine being tasered would hurt in any country.


Me too. But the point is that in Canada the police are operating under a greater degree of permissiveness toward violence even though Canada is not as far along the road to a police state as the UK and the US. We know the police feel far more empowered to use violence in the US and I am equally sure in the US. Police violence is an inherent side-effect of a corporate security state.

quote:

My impression is that people are more aware of privacy issues today, for one thing.

That is a perception betrayed by your one seemingly willingness to give up your own, or at least British, privacy.

quote:

I also feel that the police bear more scrutiny than they have in the past. In my town, when I was younger, police would regularly harass young people, and put 'pressure' (i.e. beatings) on anyone who had a criminal record in order to get them to leave town. That doesn't happen any more.


It doesn't? Of course it does. And again your expressing a perception. What is the reality? The reality is police violence is on an increase and the results is a more lenient and official attitude toward that violence.

If a minister attempting to attend a public hearing had his leg broken for his efforts ten years ago there would have been a public out cry. Today, there is barely an audible gasp of shock.

quote:

I don't think you would disagree with me that attitudes are different today, though you might disagree in how they're different. I'm interesting in hearing your thoughts on this area.



I do think attitudes are different in the sense people are more willing to sacrifice freedom, liberty, privacy, and protection from the authorities in exchange for security from the bogey man that has been hyped to be ever present and dangerous but in reality is dwarfed by the very real threats of ecological crisis, intrusive government, loss of democracy through supra-national agreements, and the rise of a police state.

quote:

No. I don't know.


Do you care?

quote:

I do think that some coercion is required to support order, however I oppose militarism. I am in favour of security.


How much coercion? What is security? Your neighbour looks suspicious. How much coercion should be applied to ensure he is not? You visit a radical web site, rabble.ca, so you would have no objections if you are pulled off the street for several days of interrogation? You might lose your job but on the bright side we will all be safer, won't we?

From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
HUAC
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posted 15 November 2007 10:51 AM      Profile for HUAC   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It wasn't bad enough when all we had to deal with were the true believers out there who wouldn't or couldn't see the forest for the trees. Lately there seems to be a whole new breed of them who deny the very real existence of forests and trees, per se.
Once again, a treasured quotation by Dr. Martin Luther King: "There is nothing more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity".

From: Ottawa | Registered: Aug 2007  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
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posted 15 November 2007 12:06 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Me too. But the point is that in Canada the police are operating under a greater degree of permissiveness toward violence even though Canada is not as far along the road to a police state as the UK and the US. We know the police feel far more empowered to use violence in the US and I am equally sure in the US. Police violence is an inherent side-effect of a corporate security state.

FM, I'm in the UK right now and although my evidence is anecdotal, I just don't see this "permissiveness toward violence" on the part of the UK police that you are talking about. In fact, I was just remarking today that I found the police here on the whole much more polite, friendly and generally not as thuggish as the police in Canada, let alone the U.S. I really don't think that you can take the shooting in London as representative of Bobbies on the whole. That happened under very exceptional circumstances and, if anything, didn't so much show the thuggery of British cops, as their lack of experience with deadly force. Under pressure, they panicked and overdid it and ended up killing an innocent.

I think the general deportment of most UK cops has something to do with the fact that they don't generally carry guns. They also don't, for the most part, carry tasers which are limited to firearms trained units and other special forces. Granted, the use of tasers has been expanded just this year and is on a 12-month trial to examine their use and effectiveness. As of now, however, your average cop responding to a disturbance, or walking a beat isn't carrying such a weapon and must rely on authority, brains, hand-to-hand training and sheer numbers to intimidate. They are far less armed than their Canadian or American counterparts.

One point I will make in regard to this newly-launched initiative is that I think it's largely for show and like most things in British society will fall pray to the "slack factor" and be payed lip-service more than blind allegiance. The service industry over here is comparatively inattentive, more-than-slightly disinterested and far more often than not just trying to earn a meager paycheque with as little effort possible. They won't be easily converted into Orwellian Storm Troopers of Safety... Also, in most major urban centres, a great percentage of the people in front line service jobs who will be trained in these techniques ARE brown. The race card won't be played as much as you might think.

[ 15 November 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
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posted 15 November 2007 12:41 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You may be right about the bobbies. But we have learned in recent years about British police practises with regard to N. Ireland and the support of para-militaries engaged in violence and murder.

But the British have always had a greater tolerance toward their own then others as has been demonstrated by their mis-treatment and often brutal abuse of native peoples (again see the Irish) or dark skinned people unfortunate enough to have fallen under British rule through conquest and colonization.

In fact, didn't we witness British brutality in Iraq?

And the police in Britain who could have up to 58 days to "interrogate" a suspect will not be handling suspected purse snatchers and neer-do-wells but "terrorists" who will likely be brown skinned, foreign, and who will be presumed to be plotting evil violence against nice, English people.

I think in Britain there is a general sense that "it won't be me" and so there is little opposition. But what was the cost of winning those rights, liberties, freedoms in the first place? And what will it cost when to win them back when the law is applied to nice English people because, suddenly, the world becomes a very different place.


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
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posted 15 November 2007 12:54 PM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm in agreement with you on a lot of points. In particular, I find this new detention standard to be really frightening. I also think you're right about the "it won't be me" attitude. That's the same most places, most times. And I'm a firm believer in freedom in theory - i.e. that the law be written in such a way that it errs even injudiciously toward individual rights and against state power. That's because in practice people with power have shown themselves ill-equipped to guard against flaunting the bounds of permissability.

However, what I think we need to do as "leftists" (if we can submit to being called that) is come up with policy alternatives that will address the palpable fear that the median voter has of terrorism and other security threats. Downplaying the threats, and telling average people that their fears are delusional is not going to "win hearts and minds". I don't believe that people in the UK, for instance, are afraid because they've been told to be afraid, but because there have been real events take place here that scared people sincerely. We have to ask ourselves, in the face of - however rare - frightening, surprise attacks against civilians in our countries, how do we assuage the fears of the masses without curbing civil liberties or creating a security state? What's a viable alternative, because simply standing by won't sell with the average voter.

And I don't mean a policy that takes the place of a comprehensive change in foreign policy that might alleviate some of the animosity towards "us" because I do think that is necessary. But, what should be done on the homefront to take away the right's ability to say "at least we're doing something."

[ 15 November 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]

[ 15 November 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
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posted 15 November 2007 01:10 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
FM

quote:
quote:
Point it out, then.


I can't point it out if you won't see. The forest for the trees, type of thing. Why don't we put it another way. In the last decade, how many Britons have lost their lives to terrorism? To air pollution? To domestic violence? Are the numbers comparable? If not, then why so many dollars directed at fighting "terrorism" and not other issues and how does further restricting civil rights and further intrusions of the state into privacy make people safer?


You're correct in your assertion that terrorism takes an inordinate amount of attention. However, better security isn't all bad, as I said.

I'd like to talk about specific issues, though. I don't think that's willful blindness, but rather, critical thinking.

quote:

The London bombings, for example, were carried out in a city that already had CCTV cameras everywhere. And yet they still carried out the bombings.


Is your assertion that cameras wouldn't improve security ? That's a different argument than saying they're an invasion of privacy.

Also, I thought the cameras were implemented to a large degree more recently than the attacks.

quote:
So why would you agree to fewer liberties, less privacy, and subject yourself to random search and seizure without any assurances of results?

Because I can make a reasonable assumption that it would be more difficult to carry off an attack if there were such searches, and I don't think that searching travelers is a prohibitive cost.

quote:

And even if some results can be demonstrated, is your security, as defined by the state, which is really their security from you, worth your freedom?

Again, you're speaking in such generalities.

What's my 'freedom' ? To me, it's my feeling about whether I can do what I like.

I don't feel that I'm un-free when I walk through downtown Toronto, surrounded by private security cameras.

My security to feel warm isn't prohibited by my lack of freedom from being indoors. Huh ?

quote:

quote:
I imagine being tasered would hurt in any country.


Me too. But the point is that in Canada the police are operating under a greater degree of permissiveness toward violence even though Canada is not as far along the road to a police state as the UK and the US. We know the police feel far more empowered to use violence in the US and I am equally sure in the US. Police violence is an inherent side-effect of a corporate security state.


True.

quote:

quote:
My impression is that people are more aware of privacy issues today, for one thing.

That is a perception betrayed by your one seemingly willingness to give up your own, or at least British, privacy.


My perception is that I'm exceptional in this regard.

quote:

quote:
I also feel that the police bear more scrutiny than they have in the past. In my town, when I was younger, police would regularly harass young people, and put 'pressure' (i.e. beatings) on anyone who had a criminal record in order to get them to leave town. That doesn't happen any more.


It doesn't? Of course it does. And again your expressing a perception. What is the reality? The reality is police violence is on an increase and the results is a more lenient and official attitude toward that violence.


Not in my town it doesn't. A friend-of-a-friend was the last person beaten under the old 'rules'. His lawsuit put an end to that practice.

I'll admit that my evidence is anecdotal.

I have heard people say that the 'Cherry Beach Express' stopped happening awhile back in Toronto, again as a result of legal actions and general evolution of police work.

quote:

If a minister attempting to attend a public hearing had his leg broken for his efforts ten years ago there would have been a public out cry. Today, there is barely an audible gasp of shock.

I don't know what you're talking about.

quote:

quote:

I don't think you would disagree with me that attitudes are different today, though you might disagree in how they're different. I'm interesting in hearing your thoughts on this area.


I do think attitudes are different in the sense people are more willing to sacrifice freedom, liberty, privacy, and protection from the authorities in exchange for security from the bogey man that has been hyped to be ever present and dangerous but in reality is dwarfed by the very real threats of ecological crisis, intrusive government, loss of democracy through supra-national agreements, and the rise of a police state.


On the contrary, every time I read an article about increased security there is a section about 'privacy concerns'. I think we have twin bogey men - the threat of terrorism, and the threat of state intrusion into our private lives.

quote:

quote:
No. I don't know.


Do you care?


Yes.

quote:

quote:
I do think that some coercion is required to support order, however I oppose militarism. I am in favour of security.


How much coercion? What is security? Your neighbour looks suspicious. How much coercion should be applied to ensure he is not?


This is another example of you stretching your examples from security to harassment...

Of course people looking suspicious shouldn't be harassed. Why bring up such bogeymen ?

quote:

You visit a radical web site, rabble.ca, so you would have no objections if you are pulled off the street for several days of interrogation? You might lose your job but on the bright side we will all be safer, won't we?

Your argument goes right off the rails when you mix such extreme examples in.

If I'm the one who is willfully blind, why am I also the one who keeps asking us to discuss specifics and not imaginative examples ? I want to see what's in front of me, not what is in your dystopian fantasies.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michael Hardner
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2595

posted 15 November 2007 01:14 PM      Profile for Michael Hardner   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
B.Zeebub

quote:
However, what I think we need to do as "leftists" (if we can submit to being called that) is come up with policy alternatives that will address the palpable fear that the median voter has of terrorism and other security threats. Downplaying the threats, and telling average people that their fears are delusional is not going to "win hearts and minds". I don't believe that people in the UK, for instance, are afraid because they've been told to be afraid, but because there have been real events take place here that scared people sincerely. We have to ask ourselves, in the face of - however rare - frightening, surprise attacks against civilians in our countries, how do we assuage the fears of the masses without curbing civil liberties or creating a security state? What's a viable alternative, because simply standing by won't sell with the average voter.

Yes, I agree.

I think one of the problems with the left, is that our bogeymen are hoary and old. I think that there is a huge opportunity to connect with the average person, simply by addressing their concerns in a restrained way.


From: Toronto | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 15 November 2007 01:21 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"at least we're doing something"

That battle can't be won without fighting on several fronts.

The fronts are foreign policy (the root cause), social policy (racism, alienation, and unemployment), and media.

Going in reverse, all recent statistics in Canada report that crime is on decline and has been for quite some time. Yet, many people are as obsessed with crime as always and the Harper-ites hope to gain traction with "tough-on-criminals (soft on prevention)" crime policies. Why?

Because police and crime reporting is cheap, easy for lazy reporters and editors, and fills column inches and broadcast time at the lowest cost. So there is a perception that crime is rampant despite the reality of safer streets and homes.

Part of that is just traditional, ambulance chasing journalism. Part of it is due to the concentration of media ownership and an over all decline in the quality and types of stories being covered.

In "terrorism", these becomes constant reporting on Al Qaeda and "extremists" and "terrorism" completely out of proportion with reality.

The second issue is social policy. The British policy provided by Brown, targets Muslim youth. Because they, and their mosques, and their religious leaders are the problems. They need to learn "British values". What values? Colonialism, racism, and genocide?

Where is the policy to teach the non-Islamic British values of tolerance, inclusion, and generosity? Why is only Islam, as a faith, an issue and not any other faith with fundamentalists sects and leanings? Why aren't ideological extremists such as supremacists and free market fundamentalists targeted? Why only Islam?

Finally is foreign policy which is too obvious to be stated but nevertheless seems to be missed by the politicians who talk about values and peace while waging war and practising genocidal policies.

For the right, it is like a mafia street battle. They attack the family of a rival gang and when the predictable revenge killings occur, they claim leadership, by virtue of their violent tendencies by offering a spiral of violence with the justification of "at least we're doing something."

But they are never the victims. The victims are always the by-standers. And they, the political mafia dons, never give up their freedoms, privileges, or privacy. The sacrifice is never theirs to be made.

So how does the left win? Not by adopting the language and tactics of the right, but by remaining principled and calling a spade a spade even if at first hearts and minds are not being won.

[ 15 November 2007: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8273

posted 15 November 2007 03:03 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Britain has more than four million CCTV cameras. The country's national DNA database, the largest in the world, is supposed to have 4.25 million people on it by the end of next year, or roughly one in every 14 inhabitants. According to the last published report, more than 400,000 official requests were made to tap phone calls and monitor e-mails from January of 2005 to March of 2006. A staggering 795 security, police and local authorities are entitled to make such requests. Need I go on? At the same time, bill after bill has chipped away at Britons' ancient rights in the name of combatting terrorism. For centuries, the right of habeas corpus meant you had to be charged or released after 24 hours. In 2004, that was increased to 48 hours; last year, it went up to 28 days. And the British police want to push it up again.

- Timothy Garton Ash in today's Globe


quote:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said airports and 250 of the busiest train terminals will get new blast barriers. The plan also calls for new baggage checks at major rail terminals, strict limits on cars dropping travellers off near departure gates, and, at times of heightened threat, frisking customers before they enter shopping malls.

-AP



From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 15 November 2007 07:13 PM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Please, M. Spector, enough of your dystopian fairy tales.

quote:
I don't know what you're talking about.

I'm certain you don't.

quote:
In an effort to gain Mr. Padilla’s “dependency and trust,” he was tortured for nearly the entire three years and eight months of his unlawful detention. The torture took myriad forms, each designed to cause pain, anguish, depression and, ultimately, the loss of will to live. The base ingredient in Mr. Padilla’s torture was stark isolation for a substantial portion of his captivity. For nearly two years – from June 9, 2002 until March 2, 2004, when the Department of Defense permitted Mr. Padilla to have contact with his lawyers – Mr. Padilla was in complete isolation. Even after he was permitted contact with counsel, his conditions of confinement remained essentially the same. He was kept in a unit comprising sixteen individual cells, eight on the upper level and eight on the lower level, where Mr. Padilla’s cell was located. No other cells in the unit were occupied. His cell was electronically monitored twenty-four hours a day, eliminating the need for a guard to patrol his unit. His only contact with another person was when a guard would deliver and retrieve trays of food and when the government desired to interrogate him.

His isolation, furthermore, was aggravated by the efforts of his captors to maintain complete sensory deprivation. His tiny cell – nine feet by seven feet – had no view to the outside world. The door to his cell had a window, however, it was covered by a magnetic sticker, depriving Mr. Padilla of even a view into the hallway and adjacent common areas of his unit. He was not given a clock or a watch and for most of the time of his captivity, he was unaware whether it was day or night, or what time of year or day it was.

In addition to his extreme isolation, Mr. Padilla was also viciously deprived of sleep. This sleep deprivation was achieved in a variety of ways. For a substantial period of his captivity, Mr. Padilla’s cell contained only a steel bunk with no mattress. The pain and discomfort of sleeping on a cold, steel bunk made it impossible for him to sleep. Mr. Padilla was not given a mattress until the tail end of his captivity. Mr. Padilla’s captors did not solely rely on the inhumane conditions of his living arrangements to deprive him of regular sleep. A number of ruses were employed to keep Mr. Padilla from getting necessary sleep and rest. One of the tactics his captors employed was the creation of loud noises near and around his cell to interrupt any rest Mr. Padilla could manage on his steel bunk.

Mr. Padilla was often put in stress positions for hours at a time. He would be shackled and manacled, with a belly chain, for hours in his cell. Noxious fumes would be introduced to his room causing his eyes and nose to run. The temperature of his cell would be manipulated, making his cell extremely cold for long stretches of time. Mr. Padilla was denied even the smallest, and most personal shreds of human dignity by being deprived of showering for weeks at a time, yet having to endure forced grooming at the whim of his captors.
A substantial quantum of torture endured by Mr. Padilla came at the hands of his interrogators. In an effort to disorient Mr. Padilla, his captors would deceive him about his location and who his interrogators actually were. Mr. Padilla was threatened with being forcibly removed from the United States to another country, including U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was threatened his fate would be even worse than in the Naval Brig. He was threatened with being cut with a knife and having alcohol poured on the wounds.


War is Peace - Work is freedom - Ignorance is Strength


From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
FabFabian
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 7496

posted 15 November 2007 08:08 PM      Profile for FabFabian        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In regards to the UK, I was there right after the bombings in 2005. The massive frenzy over finding any kind of terrorist was in full swing and as a result Jean Charles de Menezes ended up dead with 10 bullets in his head.

The fact of the matter is, that the powers that be are thriving on fear. They have everyone so scared shitless about the terrorist living down the block, that the public are willingly let their freedoms be eroded and making security firms very wealthy in the process. How many more innocent people are going to have to be tortured or killed before the general public says enough?


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
B.L. Zeebub LLD
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 6914

posted 16 November 2007 02:11 AM      Profile for B.L. Zeebub LLD     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by FabFabian:
The fact of the matter is, that the powers that be are thriving on fear. They have everyone so scared shitless about the terrorist living down the block, that the public are willingly let their freedoms be eroded and making security firms very wealthy in the process. How many more innocent people are going to have to be tortured or killed before the general public says enough?

Uh, you're talking about England, right? I'm sorry, but this hysteria you're talking about doesn't exist.

That doesn't mean there isn't concern about terrorism. But to suggest that the British public is sleeping with one eye open is just...well...poppycock.

What's closer to the truth is that there is a certain fear of terrorism, mixed with a very real racism against brown-skinned Muslims. You are more likely to hear a Briton go on about "them" stealing "our" jobs and sponging "our" welfare (of course Polish people are in for this criticism in the midlands, now...) then worrying about getting blown up in the Tube.

BTW, there's already been a strong backlash against the proposed 58-day detention from across the spectrum and within Labour ranks. You may recall that Tony Blair tried to get a 90-day pre-charge detention passed a few years ago and sufferred a serious defeat in Parliament largely because 49 of his own backbenchers rebelled. This isn't over yet.

[ 16 November 2007: Message edited by: B.L. Zeebub LLD ]


From: A Devil of an Advocate | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Frustrated Mess
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 8312

posted 16 November 2007 07:10 AM      Profile for Frustrated Mess   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here, read this.
From: doom without the gloom | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged

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