British civil liberties endangered again

This video from the USA is called Unconstitutional: The War on Our Civil Liberties.

Britain: CIVIL liberties campaigners and unions described plans to allow post offices and pharmacies to act as enrolment centres for the government’s ID card scheme as a “farcical, expensive mistake,” on Wednesday: here.

CLEANERS on Eurostar trains have voted to boycott “Big Brother” staff fingerprinting machines for clocking on and off after complaining that it made them feel like criminals: here.

ANTI-WAR campaigner Milan Rai appeared in court on Thursday in connection with an alleged unauthorised demonstration: here.

1 thought on “British civil liberties endangered again


    Obama Out-Bushes Bush on Preventive Detention

    By Glen Ford

    Created 05/27/2009 – 07:19
    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
    Click the flash player below to listen to or the mic to download an mp3 copy of this BA Radio commentary.

    Constitutionality aside, Barack Obama’s preventive detention proposal is “damn near criminally irresponsible” and “like lighting a match in a room full of gasoline.” The United States was founded on the principle that “lesser” or “dangerous” peoples should be “detained” for the good of the nation – on reservations or in slavery. Were it not for “rampant race hatred directed against Arabs and spilling over to all Muslims…there would be no serious discussion of preventive detention in the United States, today.” The nation’s first Black president is provoking a racial whirlwind.

    “Calling for preventive detention in the United States is like lighting a match in a room full of gasoline.”

    If George Bush had had the gall to propose changing the laws of the United States to allow people to be detained for long periods without even the intention of putting them on trial, progressives across the nation would be howling that the fascist hordes were at the gates. And they would be right. Even the do-nothing, scared-of-nearly-everything Congressional Black Caucus would be up in arms. George Bush and Dick Cheney empowered to imprison people without trial? Progressives everywhere would be justified in crying out against the threat to civilization as we know it. But when Barack Obama last week proposed the very same thing [2], preventive detention without trial, there was relative silence. People pretended it was just another Wednesday.

    The best thing that can be said about President Obama’s preventive detention remarks is that they are damn near criminally irresponsible. Calling for preventive detention in the United States is like lighting a match in a room full of gasoline. No nation in the industrial world has a history more entwined with detention of whole classes of people, than the U.S. More Americans are incarcerated than any other inhabitants of the planet — in raw numbers, and as a percentage of population. African Americans alone make up one out of every eight prisoners on Earth, as a direct result of decades of deliberate public policy. Japanese Americans were detained for no crime but their ethnicity. Native Americans — those that were not killed outright — were forcibly “detained” on reservations that were in fact open-air prisons. Slavery was the greatest detention of all — a lifetime of house or field arrest, at hard labor, with no prospect of escape for oneself or one’s children — detention without trial for centuries.

    “Slavery was the greatest detention of all.”

    It was the deeply ingrained belief among whites in the necessity of lifetime Black detention under slavery that conditioned Americans to tolerating — or demanding — the harshest criminal justice system in the developed world. Race saturates the American criminal justice conversation — so much so, that one’s race has more impact than one’s crime on whether or not one is ultimately detained in a U.S. prison. Were it not for rampant race hatred directed against Arabs and spilling over to all Muslims, and to those who are mistaken for Muslims, there would be no serious discussion of preventive detention in the United States, today. We would not have witnessed the spectacle of almost the entire U.S. Senate [3] figuratively jumping on top of tables, screaming in terror at the prospect of a few Guantanamo Bay inmates being transferred to maximum security prisons in their states. These senators were exhibiting a kind of primal fear that is both irrational and racist in nature — and a lot scarier than any combination of detainees pacing in a cell. This is America, land of everlasting detention, and preventive execution — where evidence has never been necessary.

    Is President Obama aware of the racial whirlwind that he is unleashing with his talk of preventive detention? Or does he care? On thing is certain: on this issue, Obama has proven himself to be worse than George Bush.
    For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to [4].

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [5].


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