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Author Topic: Preventing dissent - How Britain’s new police state will radicalise us all  (Read 949 times)
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February 16, 2015, 01:39:27 AM
 #1

https://medium.com/@NafeezAhmed/preventing-dissent-27efd26191a9

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Police and security services will have enhanced powers of surveillance, including the ability to identify the devices that send communications over the internet.

But perhaps the most outrageous element of the CTS bill is the ‘prevent duty,’ the establishment of a statutory duty on all public sector workers — teachers, lecturers, nurses, GPs and other professionals — to prevent extremism in their institutions. They will have to do that by monitoring nursery children, school children, students, patients, and so on for signs of being at risk to radicalisation.

The ‘prevent duty’ puts the Home Office’s Channel Programme, a scheme coordinated by the Metropolitan Police in certain parts of the UK, on a national legal footing. Under the programme, individuals identified as extreme, or being ‘at risk’ of extremism, must be referred to Channel, which will make an assessment to determine whether the referred individual requires an intervention to deradicalise them, and the kind of intervention they will make.

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In 2011, the coalition government changed its ‘Preventing Violent Extremism’ (Prevent) strategy to focus not just on terrorism, but “also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit.”

The new definition of “extremism,” though, is so broad, it could include a range of views held widely across British society, categorised as ideas that “terrorists exploit” (especially scepticism toward British foreign policy):

    “Extremism is vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

This definition, though, which was criticised last year by Greater Manchester Police chief, Sir Peter Fahy, as being so vague it had turned police into “thought police,” opens the door wide to casting suspicion on anyone raising ideas critical of British policy.

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Charles Shoebridge, a former British counter-terrorism intelligence officer, expressed scepticism of the new powers:

    “The lack of any clear definition of ‘extremism’, and an understandable desire not to fall foul of legal obligations, are likely to mean workers erring on the side of caution and submitting reports on any adult or child expressing views not only that the worker himself considers ‘extreme’, but also that he considers anyone else might consider ‘extreme’ too. This could therefore conceivably include almost any expression of opinion not considered mainstream — and not only in relation to Islam, but to discussion of almost any aspect of political or religious discourse.”

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The government’s blanket equation of criticisms of government policy in the Muslim world with a propensity to violent extremism, leads experts to raise concerns about the unwarranted demonisation and criminalisation of political dissent. The Orwellian implication is that Britons who are critical of Britain’s policies in the ‘war on terror’ are extremists who must be shut down and deradicalised.

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Teachers in an area of London who have received recent Prevent training in preparation for the new law described the training as “very basic and vague.” One teacher told me on condition of anonymity that the criteria that was used to identify a pupil who might be “vulnerable” to extremism included watching out for issues like “social alienation, being withdrawn, or introspective,” as well as other issues like “abrupt changes in appearance.”

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“Referring and labeling children in nurseries and primary school as extremists, or even potential extremists, is completely opposed to British values,” he said. “This is not an evidenced-based initiative driven by real social issues. It’s a purely politicised agenda, motivated by the upcoming elections. We are sleep-walking into a police-state. Anyone who questions or challenges mainstream discourses can be labeled an extremist.”

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The new referral and reporting requirements would likely “swamp receiving agencies with information which, in almost every case, will be of absolutely no value in identifying or combating potential terrorist threats.” Instead, the government’s new ‘prevent duty’ will “massively increase the size of the information haystack in which the needles need to be found,” especially because “political extremism and terrorism are far from being the same thing.”

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The only likely beneficiary of this scheme according to Shoebridge is the “burgeoning publicly funded deradicalisation industry — the same industry that provided much of the ‘expertise’ upon which the claimed value of the legislation is predicated.”

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Jahan Mahmood, who for three years advised Home Office counter-terrorism czar Charles Farr on deradicalisation issues and participated in regular OSCT consultations with some of the most vulnerable members of Muslim communities up and down the country, said that the coalition government has deliberately ignored its own evidence on the root causes of radicalisation. In 2010, Mahmood was involved in an extensive Home Office research process based on interviews with vulnerable individuals, which culminated in a landmark OSCT report. The report documented three primary root causes of terrorism: first and foremost, grievances with British foreign policy; secondly, a perception of racism and Islamophobia toward Muslims in the UK; and thirdly, a profound sense of a lack of belonging to wider British society, reinforced by awareness of entrenched inequalities and poverty amongst British Muslims. But the report was removed from the Home Office website after the coalition government took power, and its recommendations buried.

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The incentive behind ramping up arrests of Muslims under the terrorism legislation, said Karmani, is precisely to vindicate pre-existing counter-terrorism policy. The large numbers are cited as empirical proof that the threat is real, and thus vindication of the policy and its approach. By seemingly proving the existence of an acute threat, they justify the growth of an already multi-billion pound security industry.

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Perhaps the strangest element of the CTS bill, though, pertains to who is exempt from ‘prevent duty.’

“The Counter-Terrorism and Security Act will make it a legal obligation on public sector workers to stop individuals from being drawn into terrorism. That is, except for the security agencies,” said Asim Qureshi, research director of the London-based human rights and advocacy group, Cage Prisoners.

Why would MI5 and MI6, the very agencies tasked with protecting British national security at home and abroad, be exempt from the statutory obligation to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism?

According to Shoebridge, there might be “sound operational reasons” for the exemption, namely the need to have human intelligence inside a terrorist group to learn more about it. But, he said, this may not be the only reason.

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Historians of MI5 and MI6 have documented that throughout their existence, entrapment has been a common practice used to foil plots that are to a significant extent laid out by the agencies themselves — often to target all sorts of democracy activists, from environmental protestors and antiwar campaigners, to nationalists and suffragettes.

According to Des Thomas, who during his career had investigated environmental and animal rights groups, Qureshi’s view could be correct. “The exemption of MI5 and MI6 is connected to the use of informants,” Thomas told me, in order to “infiltrate agents into organisations which contain political criminals.”

Much of this is to do with avoiding legal liability for potential consequences when the use of informants, or the effort to recruit them, backfires, as it appeared to do in the case of Lee Rigby. “There is nothing more treacherous than an informant,” said Thomas.

    “Imagine if the police arrested an informant, and there was evidence that he or she had played MI5 and MI6 for mugs, and as a result had managed to perpetrate a 7/7 atrocity. In short, the exemption is a get out of jail card for those who may be guilty of poor leadership and management at MI5 and MI6.”

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If these experts are correct, then far from making us safer, the new law will set Britain on the road to becoming a more paranoid and polarised society, vulnerable to another terrorist attack, where political dissent and freedom of speech are criminalised as threats to public safety.

Welcome to Great Britain.

Welcome to Prevent.

Welcome to the Police State.

There's nothing really I can add here. I just want to highlight the fact that, if you are a freethinker, there's no way to escape the label of being an 'extremist'.

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February 16, 2015, 03:34:53 AM
 #2

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world who thinks, "why don't folks chill out and play some video games?"

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BADecker
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February 16, 2015, 04:06:45 AM
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The outrageous part is the ignorance of the people. All the people need do is use the power that they already have at the base of their respective governments - U.S., Canada, the U.K. - to see that the way out of oppression is available. But the people better move fast. It may not always be available in the future.

http://www.unkommonlaw.co.uk/

http://1215.org/

http://voidjudgments.com/

http://www.myprivateaudio.com/Karl-Lentz.html

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February 16, 2015, 07:34:10 AM
 #4

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one in the world who thinks, "why don't folks chill out and play some video games?"

LOL believe me I'm exactly the same way, the problem is these pretentious assholes have started trying to mess with our games now too.

Also

Quote
Teachers in an area of London who have received recent Prevent training in preparation for the new law described the training as “very basic and vague.” One teacher told me on condition of anonymity that the criteria that was used to identify a pupil who might be “vulnerable” to extremism included watching out for issues like “social alienation, being withdrawn, or introspective,” as well as other issues like “abrupt changes in appearance.”

That's baffling because I'm pretty sure that describes about 50% of fucking students who hate going to school or find it incredibly boring, the problem here is, if you're not interested in school and your classmates are a bunch of assholes, you aren't going to want to interact. That's just normal because you're not there by choice and even if by some miracle you do like school and you're intelligent you're going to realise how full of shit the teachers are and that the majority of students you're forced to hang out with are either a bunch of elitist socialites or violent thugs and you're always stuck with a small group that's niether, inbetween these two groups and basically have to survive without drastically pissing off either one of them.

Even I thought that Stephan Molyneux might have been taking it a bit too much to the crazy level by suggesting that western countries were acting like the soviet union by saying anybody who criticises and doesn't like the current government system has a mental health problem but they genuinely seem ready to treat any discontent or even critical thinking as a criminal act, at least as far as mainstream politics is concerned anyway.
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February 16, 2015, 11:51:20 AM
 #5

BTW what the heck is extremism. Can someone define that? E.g. couple of years ago back in Hungary I was considered an extremist by some when I said benefit system must not be a "giveaway" but benefit claimers should be able to show some sort of progress or should do some charity work (if possible) in exchange for the community support.

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February 17, 2015, 01:46:58 AM
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BTW what the heck is extremism. Can someone define that? E.g. couple of years ago back in Hungary I was considered an extremist by some when I said benefit system must not be a "giveaway" but benefit claimers should be able to show some sort of progress or should do some charity work (if possible) in exchange for the community support.

These days it seems you are considered an extremist just by having a new or uncommon opinion, or by simply having one that differs from your government.  Sad

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February 17, 2015, 04:31:11 AM
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Sounds like Britain is following after their American masters with prior enhanced methods of policing. Britain does the socialist thing a decade ahead of America yet their gun culture has been erased whilst it hasn't in the United States. yet.
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