statism watch

Archive for February 15th, 2010

Bruce Anderson: We not only have a right to use torture. We have a duty

Monday, February 15th, 2010

This journal takes no pleasure in printing this disgusting screed, but since it has appeared in a major British daily, it demands a reply. And the reply is simply this: that, philosophically, there is no dichotomy between fact and value. There is no daylight to be found between the failed pragmatic calculation Mr. Anderson makes and its absolute immorality. Let us leave aside for the moment the knowledge that much of the terror being carried out today is backed by Western governments, which wholly moots Anderson’s factual assertion of some vast Islamic threat. Torture is still wrong because it is the opposite of human value: the sort of coercion that will destroy a man’s ability to control his bodily functions, to control the operation of his mind, to make him state that 2+2=5, will be of no practical use because the victim will simply tell you what he or she thinks you want to hear in order to stop the torture. You have no verifiability, you will fail in achieving your end, and you will destroy the moral basis of your nation’s existence in the process.

War is a dirty business to be sure, but it remains that the only justification for the use of force is its employment in the service of self defence. This however is not the nature of torture. Torture is naked destruction for its own sake. If it is your interest to stop a man’s actions, you do not torture him: you restrain, incapacitate, or kill him. If it is your interest to engage his mind, it is not destructive force that you employ. This is the wrong tool: brute physical coercion is the opposite of the free choice required for the use of one’s mind, and the only way to obtain the knowledge you want is through the cooperation of your prisoner. You require, at least, for them to believe they wish to cooperate with you. It is persuasion via interrogation, not torture, that is the appropriate tool here. Under the ‘life or death’ scenarios outlined below, deception, drugs, or psychological manipulation might be acceptable to create a cooperative situation in which the prisoner volunteers the information you desire. But even here, your prisoner could simply lie. If electronic mind reading techniques were ever be perfected, it is conceivable that technology might remove such a need for persuasion. But in the absence of such a technology, Bruce Anderson has created a moral case study in which there are no solutions. His entire argument is deceptive, perhaps deliberately so. And for this scumbag to suggest it is either practicable or moral to torture someone’s child in order to secure their cooperation is the worst sort of deception. To express it in print is to lay bare a naked evil on the page. Anderson’s torture apologia fails: it is torture, not terror, that is the threat to our way of life and our civilization.

Flashback: MI5 chief denies cover-up claims over detainees | UK Top judge: Binyam Mohamed case shows MI5 to be devious, dishonest and complicit in torture | Britain reveals details of Binyam Mohamed torture | US magazine claims Guantánamo inmates were killed during questioning | PM Harper downplays detainee torture scandal, prorogation | Ottawa won’t release Afghan torture documents | MPs vote public inquiry into Afghan detainees, Tories ignore majority motion | UK: Rights watchdog reveals Pakistani spies pressed by British to torture detainees | Colvin’s testimony true: former Afghan MP | UK: Move to withhold evidence in MI5/MI6 torture collusion claim | UK: New evidence in Binyam Mohamed torture case | UK: Secrets of CIA ‘ghost flights’ to be revealed | UK: CIA ‘put pressure on Britain to cover up its use of torture’ | Revealed — the secret torture evidence MI5 tried to suppress | Guantanamo’s closure window dressing — overseas CIA ‘black sites’ to stay | ‘If I didn’t confess to 7/7 bombings MI5 officers would rape my wife,’ claims torture victim | MI5 faces fresh torture allegations | UK: Government makes ‘unprecedented’ apology for covering up Binyam torture | Obama administration: Guantanamo detainees have ‘no constitutional rights’ | Tortured Guantanamo detainee set free | UK agents ‘colluded with torture in Pakistan’ | Obama backs Bush: No rights for Bagram prisoners | U.K. resident held at Gitmo alleges Canadian involvement in torture | Senior judges attack US over ‘torture evidence suppression’ | 24 star Keifer Sutherland opposed to torture, questions role of series in inspiring interrogations

Bruce Anderson, The Telegraph
February 15, 2010

Torture is revolting. A man can retain his human dignity in front of a firing squad or on the scaffold: not in a torture chamber. Torturers set out to break their victim: to take a human being and reduce him to a whimpering wreck. In so doing, they defile themselves and their society. In Britain, torture has been illegal for more than 300 years. Shortly after torture was abjured, we stopped executing witches: all part of a move away from medieval legal mores and their replacement with the modern rule of law. Until recently, at least in the UK, torture and witch-finding appeared to be safely immured in a museum of ancient atrocities.

Yet men cannot live like angels. However repugnant we may find torture, there are worse horrors, such as the nuclear devastation of central London, killing hundreds of thousands of people and inflicting irreparable damage on mankind’s cultural heritage. We also face new and terrible dangers. In the past, the threat came from other states. If they struck at us, we knew where to strike back. Now, we can almost feel nostalgic for mutually assured destruction.


UK Police use spy drone for first domestic arrest – without airspace clearance

Monday, February 15th, 2010

You know you’re living in a police state when…

Flashback: Future police: Meet the UK’s armed robot drones | UK police plan to use military-style spy drones | US Domestic Espionage Alert: Spy Drone Discovered | US Air Force confirms new ‘Beast of Kandahar’ drone | Clinton confronted by Pakistanis over attacks by aerial drones | UN: Drone attacks may violate international law | Kandahar spy blimp raises privacy concerns | US drone ’shot down over Somalia’ | Canada’s military peers into future, sees drone patrols, draft, insurgency | 250-Foot Long Hybrid Airship Will Spy Over Afghanistan Battlefields in 2011 | Military spycraft patrols Ontario border from Fort Drum | Homing chips are CIA’s latest weapon against ‘al-Qaida’ targets hiding in Pakistan’s tribal belt | CIA: Our Drones are Killing Terrorists. Promise | Pentagon plans blimp to spy from new heights | Remote-controlled planes could spy on British homes | Predator drones patrolling border irk Manitoba MLA | Report: CIA runs secret bases in Pakistan | U.S. set to launch Predator drones to monitor Manitoba border | Military Tech on the Home Front: Predator drones to begin surveillance of Canada-US border | Hoverdrone to be deployed to Iraq | Kids to Help Create Drones, ‘Fuzzy’ Line to Be Drawn between Military and Civil Spheres | Canadian military acquiring new helicopters, drones | Unmanned spy planes to police Britain | Austin police testing unmanned spy drones | Nunavut taken aback by military plan for drone patrols | U.S. to patrol Manitoba border with drone aircraft

Paul Lewis, The Guardian
February 15, 2010

Merseyside force trumpeted success but did not have permission to use surveillance drone

For Merseyside police, the “eye in the sky” arrest was a landmark moment in policing history. The force had managed to track down and apprehend a teenager who had fled from a presumed stolen Renault Clio, senior officers revealed, by using a remote-controlled flying robot equipped with thermal imaging cameras.

But the attempt to claim credit for the UK’s first arrest using a surveillance drone backfired tonight after it emerged the force itself could face prosecution because officers flew the surveillance aircraft without permission — a criminal offence.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), which regulates UK airspace, confirmed it was investigating Merseyside police over the apparently unauthorised use of its drone to pursue the 16-year-old after he fled from a suspected stolen car in Bootle. It is one of three UK forces using the drones.

Officials from the regulator’s Aviation Regulation Enforcement Department (ARE), which investigates and prosecutes alleged breaches of airspace, are investigating the incident, and Merseyside police has told regulators the drones have been grounded with immediate effect.

The CAA was tipped off by the Guardian after Merseyside police released a statement to the media last week declaring it had broken new ground by making an arrest using its newly acquired Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).

Police used the drone to pursue two suspects in the Clio on 26 January. Officers arrested a 20-year-old at the scene, and used the rotor-propelled drone to track the 16-year-old after he had sprinted off in the dark and hid in some bushes some 100 metres (300ft) away.


Global security to top agenda of G8 foreign ministers

Monday, February 15th, 2010

…because the world needs more of the sort of ‘security’ the Western powers have proven themselves so adept at delivering. Cameras everywhere, militarized police strike forces, civil rights destroying ‘Patriot Act’ legislation in every national jurisdiction, drones flying around everywhere… Now, where shall we build the next Imperial garrison?

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press
February 15, 2010

Canada is putting global security, including the volatile Afghan-Pakistan border situation, at the top of the agenda for next month’s Group of Eight foreign ministers meeting.

Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, who is chairing the late March meeting, said he believes Canada has credibility on the Afghan issue even though it is withdrawing from a combat role next year.

In an interview, the minister disclosed the agenda for the meeting being held in Gatineau, Que., for the first time.

He said there will be three major topics under discussion — the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border used by Taliban fighters to evade NATO forces, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and strategies for dealing with “vulnerable states.”


Five civilians killed in Nato rocket attack in Afghanistan

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Don’t run! We are your friends!

Flashback: NATO’s novel battle tactic spawns opposite effects as 12 civilians killed | German army chief resigns over Afghanistan air strike | NATO pledges probe of deadly Afghan air strike; civilians killed | Afghan Airstrike Video Goes Down the Memory Hole | New Afghan mission commander vows to protect civilians | US air strikes kill dozens of Afghan civilians | NATO denies air strike killed Afghan civilians

James Meikle, Declan Walsh, Stephen Bates, The Guardian
February 15, 2010

A Nato airstrike against suspected insurgents has killed five civilians in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan today.

A Nato statement said a joint patrol of Nato and Afghan troops saw individuals digging along a path in the Zhari district of Kandahar province today and mistakenly concluded that they were planting an improvised explosive device. Two civilians were also wounded in the strike.

The incident follows the deaths yesterday of 12 Afghan civilians, who were killed by two stray Nato rockets in neighbouring Helmand province.

Major General Michael Regner, Isaf’s joint command deputy chief of staff for joint operations, said: “We regret this tragic accident and offer our sympathies to the families of those killed and injured.

“Our combined forces take every precaution to minimise civilian casualties, and we will investigate this incident to determine how this happened.”


5 Muslims jailed for Australian terror plot

Monday, February 15th, 2010

It’s incontrovertible that this was another case of police terror working in concert with the sort of militancy being pumped out of ISI run training camps in Pakistan – the police even provided and demonstrated the bomb. Propaganda works equally well to create enemies where necessary as it does to indict them. But why let a little thing like entrapment get in the way of producing the propaganda required to justify our glorious wars against the infidel in the middle east and the concomitant restriction of domestic civil rights?

Flashback: Despite provocation taint, absence of plan, five men convicted of ‘terror plot’ in Australia’s longest trial | Australian Army Base Terrorism Case ‘Exaggerated’ | Evasive Australian police quizzed whether covert operative was planted among terror suspects | ‘Imminent’ terror strike foiled in Australia | How MI5 blackmails British Muslims | New York “Terror Plot” Another Government Provocateured Set-Up | All 11 men arrested during anti-terror raids released without charge | Toronto 18 Terror case: RCMP agent Shaikh was instigator who broke law: defence | Five muslims face life for Fort Dix ‘terror plot’ orchestrated by FBI | Third Mole Surfacing in Toronto Terror Trial? | Australian ‘Terror Plot’ Case Bears Remarkable Similarities to ‘Toronto 18′ | FBI Informant in British terror trial given immunity, proceedings raise question of what MI5 knew about 2005 London bombings | Terror accused refuses to discuss links to Pakistan secret service, family threatened | British ‘Terror Suspects’ Were in Contact With MI5

Toni O’Loughlin, The Guardian
February 15, 2010

Gang had stockpiled explosive chemicals and firearms, New South Wales court hears

Five men convicted of a terrorist conspiracy were today given sentences between 23 and 28 years after the longest trial in Australian history.

The men were found guilty in October on a range of charges including possessing bomb-making instructions and explosive chemicals.

Prosecutors said the men had stockpiled chemicals and detailed instructions for making bombs capable of causing large-scale death and destruction, but the details of the plot and its intended target were never specified. All five men had pleaded not guilty.

Justice Anthony Whealy said the men had been inspired by “intolerant, inflexible religious conviction” and remained unrepentant.

“These men will face many years in jail …but they appear to wear their imprisonment like some badge of honour,” he told the court in Sydney.