Monday, September 11, 2006

Concerning Reid's Plead

We can well appreciate the difficult position of John Reid, who in recent commentary

. . .complained that as home secretary he was “in a very difficult position”, unable to always prosecute individuals due to the difficulty of obtaining “sufficiently cogent admissible evidence for a criminal trial”, while facing legal bars against deporting or detaining them.

What I personally find far more upsetting than the hackneyed Liquid Explosives plot is the lack of qualifiers for the individuals to be prosecuted above. Though doubtful, it is as if the Guardian article from which the unsettling excerpt was copied were sounding the alarm of a Home Secretary who openly bemoans the inconvenience and bureaucratic drain of having to present sufficient evidence when imprisoning “individuals”—any individuals. Even granted that, presumably, we are to infer that the individuals in question are terrorist individuals—though nothing contextual in the article implies this distinction—, such exhortations to tighten the belt of liberty at a time of media-induced crisis are anything but coincidental. The red flag of Stalinism here is that Reid would waste no time whatsoever in redressing the balance between state and individual:

“As we face the threat of mass murder, we have to accept that the rights of the individual that we enjoy must and will be balanced with the collective right of security and the protection of life and limb.”

Must and will! How would he know? Chilling, but true: Cold War analysis of Stalinism often provides a not merely apt, but perfect framework for understanding contemporary political practice in the West:

But there is ample evidence that the stress laid in Moscow [Washington, London] on the menace confronting Soviet society [the “free” world, democracy in Iraq ] from the world outside its borders is founded not in the realities of foreign antagonism but in the necessity of explaining away the maintenance of dictatorial authority at home.

The internet is also to be brought under control. While the concrete proposal to “start blocking Web sites that disseminate bomb-making information” is debatable in terms of the limitations of free speech, Reid’s vagueness implies outright state censorship of dissent when he says Europe must “make the Internet a hostile environment for the terrorists.”' As usual nowadays, everything, particularly state power, hinges on who goes into that expansive database labeled “the terrorists.” For example, would the present commentator, in confidently asserting that Israel’s recent invasion of the Lebanon was unjustified and despotic, be filed as a Hezbollah sympathizer? Reid’s dictum clarifies neither the nature nor the object of the hostility, which is just how the game is played in these secretive times.

Please observe with equal horror the clamor with which the appropriate sections of the media pie, both US and UK, have taken their cue to tout Reid’s manly shepherding in Blair’s leisurely stead, thus revealing one aspect of the Liquid Explosives Affair to be a dramatic public promotion of the Home Secretary’s bid for leadership of the Labour Party.

I cannot help but shudder at the creepy notion that the emphasis on the alleged plotters of the projected Liquid Explosives atrocity being “homegrown,” in conjunction with the alleged scale of the atrocity, is quite possibly a major step forward in dismantling the elementary legal protections bestowed upon all British citizens, regardless of their “horticultural” specifics.

I for one would pray for Her Majesty’s authority in this regard to continue to exceed that of the latest rumor-peddling shyster to come along, for we have no credible reason to believe that international terrorism is necessarily about Muslims.


Blogger Mike said...

Another good one out of the UK I just recently read, but can't find a link at the moment (sorry), was that they wanted to remove the chance of finding accused criminals not-guilty because of so-called procedural error by police or investigators when the court can be convinced that the suspect is certainly guilty. As if the current level of police brutality and misconduct isn't way over the top.

3:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home