The Conservative party released its plan to scrap the Human Rights Act if it won the General Election. Secretary of State Chris Grayling said they’d also be prepared to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, unless they were allowed to veto judgements from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
They won and the plan is going ahead.
Included in the Human Rights Act are fundamental rights and freedoms that all individuals within the UK have access to – such as the right to life, the freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to a fair trial. But those rights extend much deeper than most people think.
After World War II, the UK was instrumental in devising a list of rights – along with representatives from the 47 other countries that comprise the United Nations – that everybody across the world should enjoy. This became the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created with the aim of never letting the atrocities of the Second World War happen again. A few years later, these rights were used to form the basis of the European Convention of Human Rights, which was drafted by the Council of Europe – the continent’s 47-strong human rights watchdog. This was led by a British MP and lawyer. This led to the establishment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and gave ordinary people a legal framework to work within, if they felt their rights had been violated.
Amnesty said “Any attack on the Human Rights Act poses a real threat to the freedoms we enjoy in this country – it must be defended.”
“Human rights are for everyone,” explains Sanchita Hosali, deputy director at the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR). “They’re not only for certain groups. They protect all of us. Relating human rights to specific groups is wrong. They’re for everyone. They’re for the people we like and the people we don’t like – that’s what it means to live in a democratic society where we have a rule of law and we have respect for life.”
The Act helps us hold the government to account. Without it, the government would be free to do as it pleased. And it is doing exactly that – doing as it pleases
In the speech launching the party’s manifesto, David Cameron made it clear that he isn’t worried about anything as petty as civil liberties. He said: “Other parties might be wary of causing offence, or of being criticised by those who see every single measure as an affront to their civil liberties.” That’s why he is promising to dismantle the powers of the individual against the state – something he’s been working on for the last five years, such as through cuts to legal aid, making the right to a fair trial something only for those who can afford it.
Now, workplace rights are under threat as well. Unite, the workers union urged the government just last week to abandon its Trade Union bill, warning that the legislation heralds a new era of divisive industrial relations ill-befitting a modern economy. Further, it would tilt power in an increasingly unequal Britain still further towards the rich and big business.
Condemned as ‘not fit for purpose’ by its own advisors, the bill has attracted widespread criticism from human rights’ organisations saying it will contaminate decades of work to improve industrial relations, forcing employers and trade unions into longer, more bitter disputes.
Meanwhile, the state has become more pervasive than ever when it comes to policing, therefore advancing its agenda. The Metropolitan Police claim an investigation into the possibility of prosecuting journalists for their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden will be kept secret. The revelation that information won’t be disclosed due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity” follows the relentless demands for information from journalists at The Intercept.
In July 2013 GCHQ turned up at The Guardian’s HQ and demanded the complete destruction of hard-drives that may contain any of Edwards Snowden’s encrypted files. As The Guardian themselves said “This extraordinary moment was half pantomime, half Stasi. But it was not yet the high tide of British official heavy-handedness. That was still to come”.
Julian Assang has never been charged in Sweden or the UK. The US Department of Justice is trying to prosecute him for “espionage”. This is the reason he was given asylum by Ecuador. He has been confined to the premises of Ecuador’s embassy in London, unable to see his family, because the UK refuse him safe passage to Ecuador. Julian Assange, like Edward Snowden is a whistleblower and there is no evidence that either divulged state secrets that we didn’t need to know. Policing the embassy costs £10,000 a day. And their human rights?
Straight after the Conservative election in May some who attended demonstrations against more austerity accused police of using violent tactics and of keeping peaceful protesters and even tourists caught up in the melee “kettled” for several hours.
“I have never experienced such extreme force of police violence,” said Daphne Wikken. “For me what is particularly scary is the fact that the government is already cracking down on dissent so badly just days after the general election.”
Staffordshire Police were accused of making a “heavy-handed” intervention during a protest outside an Israeli arms factory organized to mark the anniversary of last year’s Gaza conflict. An activist with London Palestine Action, told RT that the demonstration was meant to be a “fun, creative” experience, but was met with “aggressive and forceful police tactics.”
Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. This is a right closely linked to the right to freedom of expression. It provides a means for public expression and is one of the foundations of a democratic society. Or it used to be.
In Britain today, members of student unions are being told to sign gagging orders preventing any public criticism of the university. In other incidents student are threatened with the police for even taking about a protest and are arrested for being in one.
Where universities were historically places of free expression, for students, that now comes in the form of a crackdown on dissent.
Of course dissent is something that Britain’s home secretary, Theresa May, is an expert on. She recently won the backing of MPs for her controversial plan to strip British terror suspects of their UK passports. One should mention the salient word ‘suspected’.
Meanwhile, May insists that the UK isn’t a surveillance state, but she can’t tell you why, because revealing the secrets of the UK surveillance state might put the public at risk! She’s been pushing strongly for outlawing thought crimes, which would allow her to prevent people from sharing their views on the internet or at events, if she deems them to inappropriate. With new laws being enacted through parliament, if government doesn’t like you or what you believe, you will be silenced.
It is terrifying to read Theresa May’s speech delivered to the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism conference. Given the audience, perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that May would go off the deep end of Orwellian absurdity.
“Time and again we are seeing what we are now up against: the powerful allure of propaganda pumped out by ISIL and others to recruit and brainwash British men and women, the access social media and modern communications give terrorists to vulnerable people, and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life”.
At the end of the speech, she says that the best way to counter this threat is to highlight the “positive vision” of the UK and its “values.”
The idea that the way to counter Isis and its on-line propaganda through censorship, surveillance, threats, arrests and stripping citizens of passports, rather than direct engagement seems to confuse the message of claiming the UK is about “values”, freedom and democracy.
The Conservative party is promising to strip us of our freedoms and our rights, promising to snoop, investigate and scrutinise our lives in minute detail and crack down on non-violent protest and on the speakers allowed in colleges and universities.
The remaining ability of those on low or middle incomes to access legal rights and services are plainly being stripped away.
This crack-down extends to the broadcasters.
The definition of non-violent extremism will likely be formulated according to Theresa May’s assessment of ‘British values’. Suddenly, the home secretary is wielding a de-facto veto over who may appear in British current affairs programmes. Where would this end? Anti-terrorism laws brought in by labour 15 years ago are now being used to hunt down unpaid speeding and parking fines, dog fouling and even under age sun-bed use and smoking bans.
She is planning on granting herself powers to tell places of learning who they may or may not invite to speak. Amid the crisis of free speech on campus – both from students themselves and from authorities – the government’s only response is to worsen the situation and join the ranks of those who would limit thought and debate.
We have just witnessed Britain’s first cases of extra-judicial assassinations – irrespective of your thoughts on the two misguided individuals involved – these killings were illegal and brings the basis of democracy into question.
The powers of the individual against the state are being dismantled right before our eyes by a neoliberal party hell bent on a command and control vision of Britain.
Graham Vanbergen – TruePublica
First appeared at: http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/targeting-key-individuals-stifling-free-speech-arbitrary-detention-withdrawing-rights/
Post-colonial empires are complex organizations. They are organized on a multi-tiered basis, ranging from relative autonomous national and regional allies to subservient vassal states, with variations in between.
In the contemporary period, the idea of empire does not operate as a stable global structure, though it may aspire and strive for such. While the US is the major imperial power, it does not dominate some leading global political-economic and military powers, like Russia and China.
Imperial powers, like the US, have well-established regional satellites but have also suffered setbacks and retreats from independent local economic and political challengers.
Empire is not a fixed ...
As it appears Lithuania expects major changes in the near future. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius was on an official visit to the United States of America from the 20 to the 24 of February 2017. During a visit he said that Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of United States troops in its territory.
"We have requested stationing of military forces in our country on a more permanent basis - not only rotational but also more permanent," the minister told BNS in the telephone interview from Washington D.C.
Linas Linkevicius' call for the permanent presence of United States troops in Lithuania territory ...
The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established to prosecute culpable individuals for crimes of war, against humanity and genocide.
Its mandate calls for “end(ing) impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern.”
US and Israeli officials are guilty of the highest of high crimes. Yet none of their officials ever were held accountable – not by their own courts or the ICC.
The international body operates on the principle of complementarity. It can only prosecute when governments won’t or can’t – even against officials of non ICC-member countries like America and Israel.
On December 31, 2000, Bill Clinton signed the Rome ...
James Bovard is the author of Attention Deficit Democracy, The Bush Betrayal, Terrorism and Tyranny, and other books. Bovard is on the USA Today Board of Contributors
The presidential campaign has mortified millions of Americans in part because the presidency has become far more dangerous in recent times. Since 9/11, we have lived in a perpetual emergency which supposedly justifies trampling the law and Constitution. And the illegalities will not end after Tuesday’s vote count. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have signaled that they will perpetuate power grabs in the next four years.
For generations, politicians have touted voting as a magical process which almost automatically protects the ...
The Supreme Court’s acceptance of a case about the allocation of voting districts will have consequences far beyond the millions of U.S. taxpayers its ruling may deprive of representation. A decision that only counts voters, rather than all persons, will undermine the very foundation of the Republic.
The American Revolution was fought over “taxation without representation,” and those who wrote the Constitution carefully apportioned taxation and representation among the states “according to their respective Numbers . . . of free Persons . . . and . . . three-fifths of all other Persons.” The authors clearly equated We, the People with ...
Pearl Harbor Day today is like Columbus Day 50 years ago. That is to say: most people still believe the hype. The myths are still maintained in their blissful unquestioned state. “New Pearl Harbors” are longed for by war makers, claimed, and exploited. Yet the original Pearl Harbor remains the most popular U.S. argument for all things military, including the long-delayed remilitarization of Japan — not to mention the WWII internment of Japanese Americans as a model for targeting other groups today. Believers in Pearl Harbor imagine for their mythical event, in contrast to today, a greater U.S. innocence, a ...
The term Genocide derives from the Latin (genos=race, tribe; cide=killing) and means literally the killing or murder of an entire tribe or people. The Oxford English Dictionary defines genocide as “the deliberate and systematic extermination of an ethnic or national group” and cites the first usage of the term as R. Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, (1944) p.79. “By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or an ethnic group.”
The U.N. General Assembly adopted this term and defended it in 1946 as “….a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups.” Most people tend to associate ...
We, the undersigned, are Russians living and working in the USA. We have been watching with increasing anxiety as the current US and NATO policies have set us on an extremely dangerous collision course with the Russian Federation, as well as with China. Many respected, patriotic Americans, such as Paul Craig Roberts, Stephen Cohen, Philip Giraldi, Ray McGovern and many others have been issuing warnings of a looming a Third World War. But their voices have been all but lost among the din of a mass media that is full of deceptive and inaccurate stories that characterize the Russian economy ...
“Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear….”
So begins the official Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving Day, 2015, signed and issued by Barack Obama.
While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of ...
The American aristocracy want inequality of rights, with two basic polar-opposite classes: the ‘elite’, with themselves at the top of everything, and everybody else below them, as subjects to be ruled by them, in such ways as they (themselves, and their fellow ‘elite’) can agree to do. They are convinced that they have earned their high status, in one way or another, and they compete ferociously amongst themselves, to rise even higher within the aristocracy.
Many of the aristocrats think that they are ‘elite’ because they are the richest; many think instead that the ‘elite’ are the smartest or the most ...
The world is lectured frequently by the United States of America — the One Indispensable Nation — about how to behave, on the grounds that, as President Obama declared, «from London and Prague, to Tokyo and Seoul, to Rio and Jakarta... there is a new confidence in our leadership».
He didn’t mention Amman, Baghdad, Beijing, Beirut, Caracas or the capitals of so many other countries in which the majority of citizens, according to the Pew Research Centre and other pollsters such as Marketwatch, regard the United States as an aggressive and malign manipulator of world affairs.
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton went further than President Obama in glorifying ...
The reaction to the Syrian gassing incident shows that the U.S. ship-of-state is being piloted by fools.
Fool-in-Chief is President Donald Trump, who has duly followed the Neocon script by leaping to the conclusion that President al-Assad’s Syrian government is responsible when in fact there is no evidence of an intentional attack. Even if Syrian planes hit a munitions warehouse, the gas had been stored there by anti-government rebels /terrorists. It would be impossible and contrary to common sense that the Syrian government could have done this on purpose, if they did it at all.
Fool-at-the-Podium is Sean Spicer, helplessly trying to ...
A newly-released Hilary Clinton email confirmed that the Obama administration has deliberately provoked the civil war in Syria as the “best way to help Israel.”
In an indication of her murderous and psychopathic nature, Clinton also wrote that it was the “right thing” to personally threaten Bashar Assad’s family with death.
In the email, released by Wikileaks, then Secretary of State Clinton says that the “best way to help Israel” is to “use force” in Syria to overthrow the government.
The document was one of many unclassified by the US Department of State under case number F-2014-20439, Doc No. C05794498, following the uproar ...
A quick review of Ukraine, Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated is simple – this amazing work should be in everyone’s reading library. Anyone who cares to understand the situation of what has happened, and is happening in Ukraine needs to read this book. It covers the history of the dissolution of the USSR, the resulting creation of Ukraine, and the history of the U.S.’ attempts through various government and non-government organizations (e.g. Soros) towards the first failed colour revolution (Orange, 2004), then on towards the second attempt resulting in the successful installation of the noenazi puppet ...
The US, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and the Gulf monarchies have all in the recent past supported al Qaeda and/or the Islamic State (ISIS) with arms, money, and/or manpower.
The first example of this was in 1979 when the United States began covert operations in Afghanistan, six months before the Russians arrived, promoting Islamic fundamentalism across the southern tier of the Soviet Union against “godless communism”. All the al-Qaeda/Taliban shit then followed.
In addition to Afghanistan, the United States has provided support to Islamic militants in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, the Caucasus, and Syria.
The United States overthrew the ...
The corporate media don’t like Donald Trump. They used to like him a lot; in fact, Big Business Media are responsible for making this minor multi-millionaire into a household name. But Trump is on their hit list, nowadays, because the Republican presidential candidate insists on telling his own lies, rather than sticking to the list of official lies parroted by corporate media every minute of every day.
Donald Trump told a really “HUGE” – as he would put it – lie when he claimed to have watched thousands of Muslims cheering in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the World Trade Center ...
The weapons are foreign, the fighters are foreign, the agenda is foreign. As Syrian forces fight to wrest control of their country back and restore order within their borders, the myth of the “Syrian civil war” continues on. Undoubtedly there are Syrians who oppose the Syrian government and even Syrians who have taken up arms against the government and in turn, against the Syrian people, but from the beginning (in fact before the beginning) this war has been driven from abroad. Calling it a “civil war” is a misnomer as much as calling those taking up arms “opposition.” It is not ...
On March 23rd, Gallup headlined “South Sudan, Haiti and Ukraine Lead World in Suffering”, and the Ukrainian part of that can unquestionably be laid at the feet of U.S. President Barack Obama, who in February 2014 imposed upon Ukraine a very bloody coup (see it here), which he and his press misrepresented (and still misrepresent) as being (and still represent as having been) a ‘democratic revolution’, but was nothing of the sort, and actually was instead the start of the Ukrainian dictatorship and the hell that has since destroyed that country, and brought the people there into such misery, it’s now by far ...
The last open armed conflict in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – FYROM (former Socialist Republic of Macedonia as one of six federal republics of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) in the May 2015 was just an expected continuation of constant tensions between the ethnic Albanians and the Macedonian Slavs during the last quarter of century.[i] However, these tensions are time to time transformed into the open armed conflicts of the Albanian extremists, usually coming from Kosovo, with the Macedonian security forces.
The most notable conflict incidents in Macedonia after the Kosovo War in 1998−1999, when the Kosovo Albanians ...
America’s Imperial Empire: The Sun Never Sets But The Mote Remains In The Emperor’s Eye
Breaking the Constitution: Lithuania seeks the permanent presence of the U.S. troops on its territory
The International Criminal Court (ICC) Does Not Prosecute War Criminals
Twenty Years Of Dictatorial Democracy
Voting Discrimination In America
75 Years Of Pearl Harbor Lies
Thanksgiving for a Grateful Empire
What America’s Aristocracy Want
Wars, Killings, and the Greatest Country Ever Created
The Trump Administration: “Ship of Fools”
Clinton: Destroy Syria for Israel
Ukraine: Zbig’s Grand Chessboard – How the West Was Checkmated
Are You Confused By The Middle East?
The U.S. Military Interventions (1945- )
Israelis – Not Muslims – Cheered in Jersey City on 9/11
Syria: It’s Not a Civil War and it Never Was
What America’s coup in Ukraine did
The Destabilization Of Macedonia? Greater Albania And The Process Of “Kosovization”