Tony Blair’s Malevolence Is Unyielding

British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Newspaper headlines have been blaring news of Jamal al-Harith, a former British Guantanamo detainee, blowing himself up in a suicide attack against Iraqi forces in Mosul after having joined Islamic State. What happened here is tragic and horrendous, and the conclusion we should draw from it is obvious: if you don’t want people to hate you and to become sympathetic to extremism, don’t kidnap them, hold them incommunicado without charges in a dungeon, torture them and then finally dump them back in their home country without explanation or apology. According to al-Harith’s family, before 2001 he was a “peaceful and gentle person”, but after his captivity in Guantanamo he was “utterly changed… While sleeping he would cry out, ‘Don’t hurt me'”. According to his wife, he became increasingly radicalised after seeing atrocities committed by the Assad regime in Syria; his vulnerability to such radicalisation was undoubtedly compounded by his experiences of abuse in Guantanamo. The conclusion that papers such as The Daily Mail are drawing – that he should never have been released in the first place – is completely missing the point. Rather than abducting him, illegally detaining him, torturing him and then, despite realising that there was no evidence against him, refusing to release him, upon his release he should have immediately been given psychiatric help and other medical care by the British government, as well as a formal apology and compensation for the role they undoubtedly played in his ordeal; instead, al-Harith had to wait until David Cameron was in power before he received any compensation, despite being released in 2004.

It’s true that The Daily Mail has exhibited some hypocrisy here by condemning Blair for requesting al-Harith’s release despite having campaigned for it at the time; however, Blair’s response to that hypocrisy just sheds further light on what a sick, depraved individual he is. Blair’s statement reads: “The fact is that this was always a very difficult situation where any government would have to balance proper concern for civil liberties with desire to protect our security, and we were likely to be attacked whatever course we took. The reason it did take a long time for their release was precisely the anxiety over their true affiliations”. The fact that any journalist could print these words without collapsing into ridicule is mind-bending; the idea that Tony Blair was at all concerned about the “security” of the British public, and that this was the reason for his reluctance to request the release of Brits detained in Guantanamo, is a pathetic joke. This was the man who invaded Iraq despite his own domestic intelligence agency, MI5, predicting that such an act would greatly increase the risk of a domestic terror attack. Why would Blair be so unconcerned about the security of the British public that he was willing to attack and destroy Iraq, knowing that it would generate terrorism, but then suddenly develop a concern for public safety when it came to releasing Guantanamo detainees? The reason for his government’s complacency over, and complicity in, America’s torture program is that he was trying to please his masters in Washington so their praise could carry on feeding his ego, being the craven, power-hungry freak he is.

Moreover, Blair’s statement actually reveals his active complicity in the horrors unfolding at Guantanamo: “The reason it did take a long time for their release was precisely the anxiety over their true affiliations”. So despite knowing that these men were being illegally held in a torture camp, Blair deliberately delayed requesting their release because of “anxiety over their true affiliations”. Obviously, there was no “anxiety over their true affiliations”; Blair couldn’t care less if they were linked to al-Qaeda, being more than happy to turn Iraq into a sectarian wasteland filled with head-chopping extremists and to greatly increase the domestic terror threat. But even if he was, his statement is a frank admission that his government wasn’t at all willing to have these men released, revealing just how little he cared about human rights and freedom (despite pretending that he was on a divine mission to bring both of those things to Iraqis).

Blair remains a parasite in British political life, apparently not having yet completed his self-appointed task of sucking all the joy and happiness from the world. His intervention in the Brexit debate was equally facile and unwarranted, and his remarks were spectacularly hypocritical; daring to claim that voters in the EU referendum were misinformed about what they were voting for when his own government carried out one of the most intense misinformation campaigns in British political history, and suddenly pretending to care about the “will of the people” when he certainly didn’t care about it in 2003. His intervention was just another ill-disguised attempt to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. It’s unlikely that he’ll ever be dragged before the Hague in chains, but the sooner he disappears from public life, the better.

The UK’s 2017 Agenda: Expanding Control Over the Middle East

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RAF jet in Syria. Source: RT.

The UK Defence Journal reported on January 2, 2017, that the RAF had conducted airstrikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq through New Years Eve, ushering in a new era of death and destruction. The article quotes from a government press release referencing strikes in Mosul: “A Brimstone weapon was used in a precision attack to destroy a[n] Islamic State artillery weapon which was mounted on a truck. Tornado aircraft conducted thorough checks before each strike to ensure that no civilians were put at risk”. Despite the UK’s use of “precision strikes” and its meticulous care to avoid civilian casualties, the civilian death toll in Mosul continues to mount as a result of coalition airstrikes. The article goes on to state the following: “In December 2016, it was reported that the Royal Air Force is operating at its most intense for 25 years in a single theatre of operation which far outstripped the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan – RAF jets have dropped 11 times more bombs (1,276 strikes) on Syria and Iraq in the preceding 12 months than they had in the busiest year of action in Afghanistan a decade previously”.

The RAF’s savage, unrelenting bombardment of Iraq and Syria, which “far outstrip[s] the UK involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan”, is certainly being felt by the civilians on the ground; over 2,000 Iraqi and Syrian civilians have been killed by coalition airstrikes since the bombing began, and Mosul is beginning to resemble Aleppo as civilians there suffer endless aerial bombardment. The cost of these military campaigns, which are contributing to the destruction of the region and are inflaming extremism at home, is extortionate; “between August 2014 and the 31st of March 2016” the MOD “set the costs… at £265 million (£45 million in the 2014-15 financial year, and £220 million in the 2015-16 financial year)”. No doubt this money is being put to good use; the NHS and other public services that are under severe threat can receive funding from elsewhere. The same day, the UK Defence Journal ran an article proclaiming 2017 to be the “‘Year of the Royal Navy’”. The article opens with Michael Fallon, the euphemistically-titled ‘Defence Secretary’, declaring: “We are investing billions in growing the Royal Navy for the first time in a generation with new aircraft carriers, submarines, frigates, patrol vessels and aircraft all on their way. 2017 is the start of a new era of maritime power, projecting Britain’s influence globally and delivering security at home”.

The UK government will project its power and influence around the world in a variety of ways; for example, “The fourth Astute Class submarine will enter the water for its commissioning phase in spring; The keel for the seventh and final Astute-class submarine – as yet unnamed – will be laid in 2017 as work continues apace on the fifth and sixth, HMS Anson and HMS Agamemnon in Barrow; The opening of the first permanent Royal Navy base East of Suez in nearly half a century”. Aside from providing UK-based arms manufacturers with a fortune, these plans will consolidate and strengthen British military power in the Middle East; that is, the power to intimidate the people of the region into submission and protect the existing hegemonic order. Since the end of the Cold War, British military submarines have been deployed largely for symbolic purposes; they have not been involved in any actual warfare, and their positioning alongside US submarines around the world is merely to remind other countries of who is in charge. The article’s reference to the “opening of the first permanent Royal Navy base East of Suez in nearly half a century” is an allusion to the construction of a permanent Royal Navy base in Bahrain. The rulers of Bahrain have always been reliable clients; alongside creating a favourable environment in the country for corporate exploitation, they have dutifully carried out the task of suppressing the population and ensuring that democracy is not allowed to prevail, often with our direct assistance.

A revolution in Bahrain would be bad enough for the West in and of itself as it would topple a dependable dictatorship, but its real danger would be that it could trigger a similar revolution in Saudi Arabia, which would be an unmitigated catastrophe; we would no longer profit from Saudi oil, and a regime that obediently carries out Western orders would be gone. That is why the US and the UK supported the Saudi-led suppression of the Bahraini uprising in 2011; democracy is too dangerous for us to tolerate. The establishment of a permanent Royal Navy base in the country is a way for us to prop up the regime from within and allow it to more efficiently suppress the population by coordinating with it militarily and logistically. Unless democracy is also asserted here in the UK and we summon the will to impose constraints on our leaders, they will be free to do as they please over the next year.

British Foreign Policy Remains Largely Unchanged Since 2003

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Theresa May with Saudi King Salman bin Abulaziz Al-Saud at the Gulf Cooperation Council, 2016. Source: Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters.

British foreign policy has not changed that much since Tony Blair was in office. The only real difference seems to be that we are now outsourcing the terror and violence to other countries, so as to create the appearance that our hands are clean. For example, Saudi Arabia, the most fundamentalist Islamic country in the world and our favourite ally in the Middle East, is currently rampaging through Yemen, obliterating schools, hospitals, markets, homes and other civilian infrastructure, and has also imposed a crushing blockade on the country that prevents the most basic supplies from getting in; over ten thousand people have been killed, millions of people have fled their homes and are now on the brink of famine, hundreds of thousands of children are starving to death and much of the country has been entirely devastated. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have both found evidence that Saudi Arabia is deliberately targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure, and is thus committing war crimes.

However, the only reason that Saudi Arabia is allowed to continue massacring civilians in Yemen is that we allow it to do so; since the start of the bombing campaign, Britain has sold over £3.7bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, and an investigation by Sky News found that British military personnel are in the Saudi command centres when targets are being chosen and strikes are being launched. Amnesty International has found evidence that British-made weapons have been used by Saudi Arabia in attacks that have killed civilians, including several children, while Human Rights Watch has documented how British-made weapons have been repeatedly used by Saudi Arabia to target civilian infrastructure. As Angus Robertson, MP for Moray, pointed out in Parliament in 2015: “Thousands of civilians have been killed in Yemen, including a large number by the Saudi air force, and they’ve done that using British-built planes with pilots who are trained by British instructors who are dropping British-made bombs and are co-ordinated by the Saudis in the presence of British military advisers. Isn’t it time for the Prime Minister to admit that Britain is effectively taking part in a war in Yemen that is costing thousands of civilian lives and he has not sought Parliamentary approval to do this?”. We are direct participants in this ongoing assault on the people of Yemen, and not only does our role in this violate domestic British law, but it also violates international law; according to the Arms Trade Treaty, to which Britain is a signatory, no state is permitted to sell arms to a country that is likely to use those arms to violate human rights. However, the extent of our criminality goes much further than this; the fact that British military personnel are active participants in the coordination and commission of airstrikes means that we are co-belligerents alongside Saudi Arabia; David Cameron and Theresa May should both be charged with war crimes.

A key feature of Blair’s foreign policy was international terrorism; Britain was an active participant in the US-run extraordinary rendition program, whereby CIA agents went around the world abducting people and flying them to secret prisons where they would be tortured, many of them in countries run by brutal regimes, such as Libya under Gaddafi, Syria under Assad and Egypt under Mubarak. While the UK government has suppressed virtually all evidence related to the matter, it is extremely likely that the British-Indian island of Diego Garcia was home to one such secret prison, or ‘black site’, where prisoners were held without charge or trial and tortured. Furthermore, UK airports were routinely used by US rendition planes for refuelling, some of them even carrying prisoners at the time. In one of the most notorious and depraved cases, MI6 agents facilitated the kidnap and rendition of two Libyan dissidents and their families, including a child and a pregnant woman, in order to help Tony Blair ingratiate himself with Gaddafi. This was an extreme international terrorism campaign; imagine knowing that on any given day someone could break into your home, place a hood over your head, bundle you into the back of a van and transport you to a secret torture chamber, and that the same thing could happen to someone you love; you would be living in constant terror. The creation of an international campaign of kidnap and torture, one that even targeted women and children, was a way for the US to reassert its dominance after 9/11 and intimidate the world into submission and obedience, and Britain was a willing participant in this campaign, as was much of Europe.

While the extraordinary rendition program has been shut down (at least the most brazenly immoral aspects of it), it has been replaced by the drone campaign; a global assassination campaign that targets anyone who the US suspects of someday posing a threat to Western interests, along with anyone else who happens to be in the vicinity. This is also a global terror campaign; people in countries such as Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia fear the skies due to these flying harbingers of death; children are afraid to walk to school in the morning and people live not knowing whether their child or their grandmother will be incinerated in the next moment or whether their neighbour will be targeted for assassination. Britain has been an active and enthusiastic participant in this campaign; documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA base at Menwith Hill, UK, where activities are carried out with the “full knowledge and consent” of British authorities and where members of various UK intelligence agencies are stationed, is used to gather intelligence that enables these drone strikes to be launched. Therefore, not only should David Cameron and Theresa May be charged with war crimes, but they should also be tried for international terrorism. It is highly unlikely that this will ever happen; when you’re the leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world the law does not apply to you. However, we can still hold them accountable in the court of public opinion, and act to ensure that these crimes, for which we are all responsible, end immediately.

America Bombs Hospital in Mosul, Media Yawns

People run in panic after a coalition airstrike hit Islamic State fighters positions in Tahrir neighbourhood of Mosul
A coalition airstrike hits Tahrir neighbourhood in Mosul, November 17, 2016 (Source: Reuters).

Yesterday, the US military publicly announced that it had bombed a hospital in Mosul, which it claims (without showing any evidence) was an ISIS stronghold. Predictably yet depressingly, the British and American mainstream press have completely ignored this story, with a few minor exceptions, while continuing to scrutinise the Russian/Syrian onslaught against the people of Eastern Aleppo. It is estimated that 600 civilians have been killed so far in the US/British/French/Iraqi assault on Mosul, with almost 100 of those deaths being directly attributable to coalition airstrikes (although that is almost certainly a conservative estimate), including an entire family. Yesterday’s hospital bombing was just the latest grisly addition to this ongoing horror story.

What is so striking about this story is that unlike when the US military bombed an MSF hospital in Afghanistan in 2015 and then farcically tried and failed to excuse and then defend what it had done, there have been no official denials about what has happened this time; the US military has come right out and admitted that it intentionally bombed a hospital. The official justification is that it was used by ISIS as a base from which to launch attacks on Iraqi forces. The US military would only be willing to come right out and own up to committing a flat-out war crime if it was confident that the press would either ignore the story completely or obediently attempt to justify what had happened. And, because our journalists are so submissive to those in power, they have done just that; the media has totally covered up the incident, apart from The Guardian, NPRReuters and the International Business Times, and none of those outlets have described what happened as a flagrant violation of the Geneva Convention. It is illegal to target a hospital for bombing. When Russia and Syria bomb a hospital in Eastern Aleppo, we recognise that fact. In fact, our journalists and political leaders can’t stop screaming about it for the next several months. But because it’s our side that has now done exactly that in Mosul, there has been complete silence in the media. Even if it were true that this hospital was an ISIS stronghold, it wouldn’t be legally or ethically justified to bomb it anymore than it is legally or ethically justified for Russia and Syria to bomb a hospital in Eastern Aleppo that is being used as a base by al Qaeda. Civilian infrastructure is never allowed to be targeted, regardless of whether it is being used as a cover by militants. The Obama administration just committed a war crime.

Why would ISIS hide in a hospital (assuming that the US military’s narrative is accurate)? The only reason why they would choose that kind of building as a stronghold is if it were sure to be ram-packed full of civilians. So when US pilots quite happily walked into their trap and blew it up, it’s extremely likely that they murdered many civilians in the process, thus giving ISIS a decisive propaganda victory. Of course, figures about civilian casualties are ‘not known’ at the moment; we don’t bother to count our victims. This incident really sums up our war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria; no accountability for war crimes, no facts or figures about civilian casualties, and no interest shown by our ‘adversarial press corps’. Is it even worth wondering if anyone will remember this when discussing ‘Obama’s legacy’?

When Warmongers and Sociopaths Demand Civility

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Last night’s Question Time got pretty heated. About halfway through the programme, John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer of the Labour Party, was accused of being abusive towards fellow Labour members by Tory MP Anna Soubry (without evidence), while Blair’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell expressed similar sentiments about those on the “hard-left” of the party. In bizarre scenes, Soubry branded McDonnell a “nasty piece of work” and unleashed a vitriolic tirade against him and his “cronies”, before decrying the Twitter trolling of MPs and lamenting the case of Labour’s Ruth Smeeth, who has apparently been forced to live in a “safe-house” because of an angry Facebook post calling for her execution. The most absurd and laughable element of this isn’t that public figures literally get death threats and hate mail all the time, especially on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook, and so turning online trolling into some kind of ‘scandal’ or ‘crisis’ is such a dishonest and manipulative tactic; it is that the very people now crying out the loudest for ‘civility’ in politics are people whose actions tend to violate that same notion in the most extreme ways.

No one needs reminding of how this is true of Alastair Campbell, whose lies helped facilitate the killing, torture and displacement of over a million people in Iraq and who has since gone on to provide consultancy services to the Kazakh dictatorship. Campbell’s sheer audacity in lecturing others on decency is a testament to how skilful he is at deception; he has managed to blind even himself to the grotesque hypocrisy of his own actions. Anna Soubry, on the other hand, is undoubtedly one of the most sociopathic and sadistic politicians in Westminster; alongside consistently voting for the continued deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya (paving the way for that country’s destruction) and airstrikes on Iraq and Syria, she has also voted against the following: paying higher benefits to those too ill or disabled to work, spending public money to create guaranteed jobs for unemployed young people, and making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste. What kind of human being votes against making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste?

The fact that these two – a warmonger and a psychopath – are leading the way in demanding politeness in politics perfectly embodies the pettiness and warped morality of the political culture in general; you can launch aggressive wars that kill hundreds of thousands of people, support brutal dictatorships and oppress the poor and vulnerable in your own society, but when some anonymous troll sends unkind messages on Twitter, that’s what crosses the line. As Jesus Christ put it more than 2,000 years ago, “Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel!”.

More Proof That the Rule of Law Doesn’t Exist in Britain

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For anyone who has been paying attention to the so-called war on terror perpetrated by Western governments over the past fifteen years, what is obvious at this point is that there is a class of people in society which literally exists beyond the reach of the law. These people – statesmen, intelligence officials, military generals – can literally commit the worst crimes in the world (such as launching wars of aggression, constructing an international surveillance regime, kidnapping and torturing people, imprisoning people without charges, assassinating suspects and arming brutal dictators) and it is guaranteed that there will be no legal repercussions for them. It is for this exact reason that the US and its allies are able to continue unleashing massive violence and terrorism on the world; they are safe in the knowledge that they will never face justice for the crimes that they carry out.

New evidence has emerged of how intimately the judicial system in the UK is bound up with these lawless, murderous factions, despite its reputation as an independent entity which is able to impose constraints on the government. Cori Crider of the legal charity Reprieve recently published an article in The Guardian revealing that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided to uphold its decision that no one in the British government will face prosecution for UK complicity in the abduction and rendition to Libya of two Libyan families (including women and children) under the Blair regime. According to Crider, the CPS has refused to hear from any of the rendition victims, who were also subjected to torture, and it is more than likely that the investigators at the CPS charged with reviewing the case didn’t even read the police file attached to it (“With a police file of over 28,000 pages, they would have had to read 550 pages daily, seven days a week, just to process all the evidence. There is no real prospect that they even read the police file. This is the “careful and fully independent consideration” the Libyan renditions victims are thought to be worth”). One paragraph in Crider’s article is particularly revealing:

“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the single guiding principle at the CPS is to act exactly as those at the top of government would wish. During the investigation and afterwards, I spoke to former senior prosecutors and others for advice. All of them were clear: members of the security services are basically never put on trial in this country and, however shocking this case, they probably never will be. The CPS would always, always close ranks and defend MI6 officers, looking for any excuse, however flimsy, not to bring a single official to book”.

This ‘closing of ranks’ that Crider describes in order to shield the government and the security services from accountability is a tendency which can be found not just in the judicial system but in mainstream journalism as well, with countless examples of journalists adopting a tribalistic mindset when it comes to reporting on their government’s wartime policies, so that instead of those in power being held to account and aggressively questioned on their claims they are instead allowed to propagandise the public unchecked and unchallenged. Often, it seems as though the “single guiding principle” in many mainstream journalistic outlets is also “to act exactly as those at the top of government would wish”. There are countless examples of this, from the BBC’s former director of news Helen Boaden apparently sincerely believing that the goal of the Iraq War was to bring democracy and human rights to the Iraqi people to a Sunday Times reporter explaining the strategy behind publishing a false propaganda piece stating that Edward Snowden has spilled operational secrets to Russia and China: “We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government”.

It is because the rule of law is such a joke in the West that it is more important than ever that investigative journalism is not stifled and suppressed but is instead allowed to flourish unhindered by those in power. The courts cannot bring true justice and accountability while they continue to operate with such close ties to the very people they are supposed to be holding to account. Likewise, mainstream journalism has become little more than the propaganda organ of the state, operating behind pretences of ‘objectivity’ and ‘impartiality’ while actually pushing an agenda overtly biased towards power and corporate interests. Of course, the rule of law doesn’t exist, and the law courts are often rendered impotent; but the court of public opinion is one place where we, the people, still have the power to hold the government to account.

MI5’s Dystopian Powers Exceed the Limits of Legality and Morality

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MI5, Britain’s secret police force (or ‘domestic intelligence agency’), announced to the press recently that it has helped to foil up to 7 potential terror attacks in the UK through the use of its Behavioural Science Unit (BSU). This unit was set up in 2004 to monitor the behaviour of people suspected of plotting to engage in terrorism, and is made up of criminologists, psychologists and other academics. There are no court orders or warrants involved in this process. Anonymous officials in MI5 independently decide which members of the public they are going to secretly surveil, analysing their behaviour for anything which might arouse suspicion. So you could be being secretly tracked right now because someone in MI5 has decided that you might be planning to engage in terrorism, and so everything you do is being closely watched and monitored in case you do something abnormal or erratic, in which case the state will take an even closer interest in your life. There is no way you can challenge what is happening to you because you don’t even know that it is happening to you. But, like a microbe in a petri-dish, you could be being studied, examined, analysed by nameless, faceless figures who wield infinitely greater power than you do, and there is nothing you can do about it. The people MI5 are monitoring are suspects – not people who have been found guilty of doing anything wrong in a court of law; not even people who are reasonably suspected of plotting terrorist acts on the basis of evidence which has been examined by a jury. A judge does not need to issue a warrant for these people to be secretly spied upon; they are simply selected by anonymous officials to be subjected to all-encompassing, arbitrary surveillance, even if it turns out that they are completely innocent of having done anything wrong.

MI5 claims that it has stopped up to 7 terror attacks in the UK through the use of this authoritarian program. First of all, journalists should be highly skeptical of such claims from the security services and subject them to close scrutiny (instead of uncritically reporting them as if they are tantamount to the truth). The security services regularly make all sorts of unevidenced claims to the press that are designed to make the power they exercise in the dark appear justified. Until MI5 presents evidence that it has indeed stopped up to 7 terror attacks in the UK through covertly monitoring suspects, its claims of doing so should be treated with extreme caution. However, even if it is true that MI5 has actually helped to prevent terror attacks through the use of this program (even though it provides no evidence of having done so), there is no reason why simply working in conjunction with the law, instead of bypassing the checks and balances that are supposed to exist, will not produce similar effects. If there is actual evidence that someone is actively plotting to engage in terrorism, not simply a vague suspicion that one day they might do something bad, then there is no reason why MI5 members can’t simply go into a court of law and present evidence before a jury, which then decides whether or not it is justified for this person to have their life closely monitored. If it is decided that it is justified for such authoritarian measures to take place, then a warrant can be issued by the presiding judge and the program can go ahead. The fact that intelligence officials appear to be using these powers in a highly indiscriminate, unfettered way with no judicial oversight whatsoever (they decide who to target using a network of informants and alerts from members of the public) is extremely alarming, and probably not even effective.

The powers which MI5 is exercising, whatever the context for them, are inherently tyrannical; closely monitoring someone’s behaviour as a clue to how they think and feel, allowing the state to tap into how their brain works and to scrutinise their innermost thoughts, is totalitarian. Even though these powers might be applied selectively to begin with (although that too is questionable), they are bound to end up being abused. As with all broad, authoritarian government powers, especially in the context of the war on terror, what seem like sensible measures for combatting specific societal ills will inevitably turn into mechanisms for control and repression. Right now, it is probably the case that this ‘mind-reading program’ (as the press is labelling it) is limited to the UK’s Muslim population, and so the fact that it is a gross violation of civil liberties has aroused no general concern. However, as with NSA and GCHQ surveillance, it will inevitably expand to encompass all citizens, not just Muslims. Until the security services are constrained, not just by the judiciary (which is all too often utilised as an another arm of the establishment), but by the will of the citizenry to combat creeping authoritarianism, the already excessive power of the state will continue to grow at the expense of democracy and individual liberty. No one should be above the law; especially those who wield the greatest power.