Targeting Key Individuals, Stifling Free Speech, Arbitrary Detention, Withdrawing Rights

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/

RELATED POSTS
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
Syria is being bombed as part of a “counter-terrorism campaign” allegedly against the Islamic State, an elusive “outside enemy” based in Raqqa, Northern Syria. While the ISIL is said to be “threatening the Western World”, the evidence confirms that the Islamic State is supported and financed by the Western military alliance, together with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.  Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including the Islamic State Caliphate Project are creations of Western intelligence. Moreover, whatever the justification, the bombing of a sovereign country is an illegal and criminal act under international law. It constitutes a war of ...
READ MORE
Investment Оpportunities in Kosovo, America’s “Mafia State” in the Balkans
True, the majority of investors are Americans who bore a relation to the “democratization” of Yugoslavia that was carried out at the end of the 90s of the last century. Among them is the former commander of NATO forces in Kosovo retired general Wesley Clark, who is determined to invest more than 5.5 billion dollars in the former Yugoslav republic. Experts say that Washington’s strategy could be characterized by the following slogan: “Conquer and plunder”.His closest supporters say that Wesley Clark is a great strategist. He wrote the book “Winning Modern Wars” that was published in 2001. In his fundamental ...
READ MORE
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović About The Situation In Ukraine
Professor Vladislav B. Sotirović, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer of: “Middle East Studies” at the Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania; “Mediterranean Studies;” “Ethnicity, Multiculturalism and Globalisation;” “Balkan Nationalism and Ethnic Conflicts”and “Europeanisation: Process and Results.”Prof. Dr. Sotirović is a distinguished expert on the History of the Early Byzantine Empire, 330–846”, Comparative History of Central and South Eastern Europe and Ottoman History, History of Lithuania and Ukraine. He is well known abroad for his influential books and popular lectures about Lithuania, Russian Federation, the Balkans and Baltic Nations and the Multiculturalism.Professor Sotirović has studied at the Central European Summer University, Budapest, ...
READ MORE
Death And Destruction In Iraq, Extensive US War Crimes: Apocalypse In Mosul In The Guise Of Bombing ISIS
 “The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants.” (Albert Camus 1913-1960.)On 1st May 2003, George W. Bush stood in a dinky little flying suit on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and in a super stage managed appearance told the lie of the century: “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” (1)The illegal occupation and decimation of Iraq continued until December 2011. In June 2014 they returned to bomb again ...
READ MORE
9 of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
The 2017 Global Peace Index has declared Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and South Sudan to be among the “least peaceful” countries in the world. Incidentally, all four have been targets of U.S.-led destabilization efforts that were used to pursue economic interests that suit the U.S.MINNEAPOLIS– The annual Global Peace Index, recently released for June 2017, has found that while the world is more peaceful now than last year, violence has increased significantly overall in the past decade.Although the situation has improved in many countries, the ten lowest-ranking nations – known as the world’s “least peaceful” countries – have shown little change ...
READ MORE
US Serbs, Angry About Being Bombed By Bill, May Have Cost Hillary The Election
The reason Hillary Clinton was crushed in the electoral college during this election is because she lost Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania . The reason behind the unprecedented loss can be summed up in two sentences. We will not forget. We will not forgive.These three states are home to the Serbian-American community. For most of them, their traditionally Democratic ticket vote turning Republican was a clear repudiation of Hillary Clinton's role in the Balkan genocide."An American Serb generally doesn't vote FOR anyone, but AGAINST a Biden, a Clinton, a McCain, against whoever Madeleine Albright supports, against whoever bombed Serbia, recognized Kosovo... Wait, was Dubya a ...
READ MORE
Deconstructing Russophobia
Imagine that Vladimir Putin were not a murderous autocrat and kleptocrat who has spent his fourteen years in power living up to his KGB past and dragging Russia ever back towards Communist autocracy, illiberalism, and expansionism. Imagine that instead he were one of the greatest leaders that Russia has had, whose policies have helped produce a massive rise in living standards and life expectancy, recuperation of national pride, and enforcement of the rule of law, who has tackled kleptocrats and gangsters wisely and well, whose foreign policy has on balance been realistic, diplomatic, and conducive to peace, who has presided ...
READ MORE
How the US Empire Was Made in North Korea
Over the past 15 years, fighting-talk has periodically flared over ‘what to do about that alleged “crazy Asian dictator”   in North Korea. Today’s round of brinkmanship by the US/Western ‘deep state’ against North Korea will – in all probability – unfold the same way as in previous episodes; it will fizzle out. China is a guarantor of North Korean security, so the US will not go to war with North Korea. Period. The battle between Trump and the Washington Crazies for control of the reins of empire continues, however, and the ‘Krazy Korean’ is relevant to that. I hope ...
READ MORE
The Vietnam War is not History for Victims of Agent Orange
Watching the Ken Burns-Lynn Novick 18-hour series, “The Vietnam War,” is an emotional experience. Whether you served in the US military during the war or marched in the streets to end it, you cannot remain untouched by this documentary. The battle scenes are powerful, the stories of US veterans and Vietnamese soldiers who fought on both sides of the war compelling.The toll in human terms caused by the war is staggering.  Nearly 58,000 Americans and 2 to 3 million Vietnamese, many of them civilians, were killed in the war. Untold numbers were wounded. Many US veterans of the war suffer ...
READ MORE
U.S. Crimes of Genocide Against North Korea
The crimes committed by the US against the people of Korea in the course of the Korean War but also in its aftermath are unprecedented in modern history.“We Killed Off – What – Twenty Percent of the Population. We Burned Down every Town in North Korea…”The above quotation is from General Curtis Lemay, who coordinated the bombing campaign (1950-53)Who is a Threat to Global Security? The US or the DPRK?The public perception of the entire population of  North Korea is that the US is a threat to their national security.During the Korean War, the DPRK lost more than 25% of ...
READ MORE
US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships
Source: Rich WhitneyRich Whitney is an attorney, actor, radio commentator and disk jockey, Illinois Green Party activist and former Green Party candidate for governor.
READ MORE
Twenty Years Of Dictatorial Democracy
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 ContributorsThe 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 ...
READ MORE
“Yugoslavia” Again: Terrorist 007
The US media has done it again. In a breaking news story on Fox News on Friday, September 28, 2007, Fox reporter Catherine Herridge used the term “former Yugoslavia” twice in the Fox story “Terrorist 007”. The term Yugoslavia was used deliberately to conceal the fact that the Al Qaeda terrorist known as Terrorist 007, or Irhabi 007 in Arabic, Younes Tsouli, had ties to Bosnia and to Bosnian Muslims who planned terrorist attacks.Fox News sought to conceal this Al Qaeda connection to Bosnia by using the term “former Yugoslavia” in place of “Bosnia”. This was deliberate and planned. Someone ...
READ MORE
The US Independence Day
The 4th of July is Independence Day for the United States of America and commemorates the 4 July 1776 Declaration of Independence for America, the key passage of which is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Unfortunately American racism has grossly violated the proposition that “all men are created equal” and the worst form of racism involves invasion of other countries. The US has invaded about 70 countries since its inception ...
READ MORE
The Trump Administration: “Ship of Fools”
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 ...
READ MORE
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
Few people know that, in fact, in those years, overseas aircraft inflicted an unpunished blow on the Soviet territory. It happened in the Far East in October 1950.On October 8, 1950, at 4.17 p.m. local time, two Lockheed F-80C Lockheed "Schutting Star (Meteor)" violated the state border of the USSR and, having deepening into the territory for almost a hundred kilometers, attacked the Soviet military airfield Suhaya Rechka 165 kilometers from Vladivostok, in the Hasan district. As a result of firing by the US Air Force seven Soviet squadron aircraft were damaged, one completely burnt  in the parking lot.That autumn ...
READ MORE
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
The Ruling Class Reserve TagOne of the many irritating things about the dominant United States corporate media is the way it repeatedly discovers anew things that are not remotely novel. Take its recent discovery that Donald Trump isn’t really the swamp-draining populist working class champion he pretended to be on the campaign trail.The evidence for this “news” is solid enough.  His cabinet and top advisor circle has been chock full of ruling class swamp creatures like former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn (top economic adviser), longtime top Goldman Sachs partner and top executive Steve Mnuchin (Secretary of the Treasury), and ...
READ MORE
The Anti-Trump Protesters Are Tools Of The Oligarchy. Their Objective: Delegitimize Donald, Install “Madam President”
“Reform always provokes rage on the part of those who profit by the old order.”  Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.,  The Crisis of the Old OrderWho are the anti-Trump protesters besmirching the name of progressives by pretending to be progresives and by refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential election?  They look like, and are acting worse than, the “white trash” that they are denouncing.I think I know who they are. They are thugs for hire and are paid by the Oligarchy to delegitimize Trump’s presidency in the way that Washington and the German Marshall Fund paid students in Kiev to ...
READ MORE
Tito Disappeared In 1937, Yugoslavia Was Led By A Russian Agent – FBI Documents
On April 20 1955, Marijan John Markul entered the FBI’s Los Angeles office and told a shocking story. The man who then introduced himself as Marshal Josip Broz Tito was not actually him, but a Russian agent who assumed the identity of Tito after Josip Broz disappeared in Russia in 1937. This is stated in the FBI’s report from the beginning of May 1955, writes daily newspaper “Kurir”.Secret FBI reports from the fifties were recently opened and released to the public.Marijan Markul was born in Livno in 1909. He moved to the United States in 1936, and received citizenship in ...
READ MORE
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?
Neocon 101: What do Neoconservatives Believe?“Neocons” believe that the United States should not be ashamed to use its unrivaled power – forcefully if necessary – to promote its values around the world. Some even speak of the need to cultivate a US empire. Neoconservatives believe modern threats facing the US can no longer be reliably contained and therefore must be prevented, sometimes through preemptive military action.Most neocons believe that the US has allowed dangers to gather by not spending enough on defense and not confronting threats aggressively enough. One such threat, they contend, was Saddam Hussein and his pursuit of ...
READ MORE
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
Investment Оpportunities in Kosovo, America’s “Mafia State” in the Balkans
Prof. Vladislav B. Sotirović About The Situation In Ukraine
Death And Destruction In Iraq, Extensive US War Crimes: Apocalypse In Mosul In The Guise Of Bombing ISIS
9 of The World’s 10 Least Peaceful Nations Were all Targeted by U.S. Intervention
US Serbs, Angry About Being Bombed By Bill, May Have Cost Hillary The Election
Deconstructing Russophobia
How the US Empire Was Made in North Korea
The Vietnam War is not History for Victims of Agent Orange
U.S. Crimes of Genocide Against North Korea
US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships
Twenty Years Of Dictatorial Democracy
“Yugoslavia” Again: Terrorist 007
The US Independence Day
The Trump Administration: “Ship of Fools”
How the United States Bombed the USSR on October 8, 1950
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
The Anti-Trump Protesters Are Tools Of The Oligarchy. Their Objective: Delegitimize Donald, Install “Madam President”
Tito Disappeared In 1937, Yugoslavia Was Led By A Russian Agent – FBI Documents
Pax Americana: Who Are the Neocon Imperialists?