Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: The United Police States of the UK and USA

30 September 2005

The United Police States of the UK and USA



Here's a handy do-it-yourself, dot connecting demonstration.

Start, by defining - in your own time and in your your own words - the meaning of 'police state'.

Then, if you live in either the US or UK, try truthfully telling This Old Brit that your own country isn't already just such a state.

Try telling anyone for that matter. But show no surprise should they snigger.

Because - and you'd better believe it - from the first day George Bush and Tony Blair bonded, all regular Americans and ordinary Britons were well & truly buggered -- as far as genuine democracy and/or personal freedom was concerned.

The United States and the United Kingdom are both now fully fledged police states.

To attempt to deny it any longer is merely to declare most definitely that one is a downright dimwit. Be it by accident or by design.

Ask yourself the question[s].

Apart from a police state, where else would such worthy and worldly-wise, frail old men be manhandled in the manner which Walter 'Wolfie' Wolfgang was at Brighton -- for voicing one single simple word of dissent at New Labour's latest mutual admiration society's shameful, sycophantic shindig?

Incidentally, Walter's latest own words are well worth reading, here: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article316115.ece

And where else would GW's storm troopers so easily be able to segregate thousands of law abiding citizens behind wire fenced, caged in 'arenas' classed as free-speech areas -- whenever the cowardly so-called Commander in Chief condescends to come calling, in any American city?

And where else would those cages in question be carefully constructed so far away from the 'emperor's' prescence - or even his miserable massive motorcade's proposed path?

And why else would so many special British police powers be being brought into force, almost by the bloody hour?

Similarly, why should it also be so in the States?

And where else other than a totalitarian police state would a perfect gentleman of a veteran, traditional Labour politician like Great Grimsby MP, Austin Mitchell, have his camera snatched and his perfectly harmless pictures deleted -- by the police -- other than in a state where they hold such sweeping sway?

Read Mr Mitchell's personal report here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4291424.stm

Moreover, where else would so many long suffering souls be incarcerated in so many 'detention camps' - for so long - without any adequate access to proper legal advice or representation? And why else would so many of said enslaved, still be stuck in in actual shackles?

And why else would today's Guantanamo Bay still be the obscene scene of such serial mass starvation -- by so many already driven half mad, hunger-strikers?

What in the world , one can't help but wonder, will it take to awake some people from their current comatose state?

A barrel full of bullets in the brain?

A fate as sickeningly savage as the one so recently suffered by a perfectly innocent young Brazilian, in the carriage of a London tube train?

Eh?

At this particular point, it's perhaps appropriate to point out that This Old Brit is far from alone in how he sees our shared trans-Atlantic, present predicaments.

See this scorcher of a story from today's daily Mail: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=363946&in_page_id=1770

Also today, even the UK's own Attorney General Lord Goldsmith issued warnings to his old pal Tony's ministers - regarding their increasingly alarming further plans & plots.

See what he said for yourself, courtesy of the BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4299114.stm

However, in the final analysis it's perhaps only fair and balanced to point out that maybe we are all 'guilty as charged' -- that is -- as proven aiders & abetters.

Just as the pre WW2 German people once did, for better or for worse, we all watched it coming for a while -- and now it's arrived, we're accepting it.

Fait accompli ?

I fear it may be.

27 Comments:

Anonymous prm said...

Anyone remember at what point the U.S. and Great Britain merge to become "Oceania" in Orwell's 1984?

Are we getting close to reaching that point or have we passed it?

2:21 am  
Blogger DaliWood said...

Unquestionably, the US is a police state. Off the top of my head, I can think of several examples:

Coporate-owned, gov't-controlled media/propaganda outlets;
No competitive bidding for contracts involving hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars;
Arrest and imprisonment for life without charges and with no evidence of a crime, coupled with no access to an attorney;
Secret courts and tribunals accountable to no one;
Wire taps and home searches without warrants;
Detention camps with a proven record of unimaginable torture (and some of the inmates were children when captured);
Confiscation of property without conviction for a crime (seizure laws);
Unqualified, arrogant jackasses with connections in high places appointed to gov't offices;
Convicted felons placed in sensitive gov't positions;
Friends of Bush shielded from prosecution for their crimes;
An illegal war in Iraq that has killed more civilians than soldiers and more children than terrorists;
An attorney general who defends the use of torture;
"Extraordinary rendition" used to ship prisoners to other countries for torture;
Gov't agencies refusing to obey court orders, ignoring the rule of law;
A constantly increasing income gap between rich and poor;
Transfer of public lands to private corporations for unlimited profit and exploitation;
Diversion of gov't resources for the elderly to the war in Iraq, with billions disappearing in the corrupt process;
Persecution of "whistleblowers" who expose corruption;
Criminally revealing the identity of a CIA operative to punish her husband;
Allowing millions to die of starvation or genocide in Africa while lavishing gov't money on American corporations;
Allowing lobbyists and corporate executives to write all legislation in the Congress;
Criminally negligent homicide in New Orleans, including shoot to kill orders.
Money laundering by elected officials.

The biggest and most damning evidence for a police state in the US, however, is the American public. Try getting more than a handful of people here to give a damn about anything other than their own comfort. America has the gov't it richly deserves. I am deeply sorry, however, that the ones least responsible for that gov't will pay the highest price for it.

10:48 am  
Blogger Richard said...

prm,

At best, I think we've certainly arrived "at" that point.

1:44 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

daliwood,

Strewth! When you actually list things that way, it really drives home the point.

How and why, in God's name, were things allowed to get so bad?

Rhetorical question of course, because you've covered that too. Too much 'me' and not enough 'we'.

1:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys/gals outside the USA want to see how it works? Ask any African-American in any ghetto in any city in America. Listen/watch what happened/is happening to the 67% of the population of New Orleans (may she rest in peace).

2:33 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Agreed, anonymous.

It's so obvious [to most intelligent people] and sadly, so typical, too.

Yet still, the ostrich syndrome spreads.

5:32 pm  
Anonymous ed said...

You know Richard, I should've given my name. It is ed, and I live in NY.
Anyway, I love your blog and still have a bit of hope. I also wish I had a ticket to Belize just in case, but I guess I'll just stay and fight.

pax

7:10 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

ed,

I'm glad you like the blog, and I'm glad to see you here.

I'm glad you're another fighter, too - the more, the merrier. Eh?

8:11 pm  
Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

And...Able Danger is in the news yet again! Note the name: ENable Danger...which was, to let Atta carry out his scheduled attack.

So now we are fucked.

9:38 pm  
Blogger D.F. Facti said...

Oceania indeed.

There are many days lately when I believe that Americans, at least, would gladly give up democracy, the Constitution, as long as they can go to the mall or the equivalent for their income bracket. A new car every year. Glamorous vacations. Invitations to swell social functions. Pravate "security" goons - mkes then feel so important.

This is awful.

4:43 am  
Blogger St!ff M!ttens said...

While it is all too true that a great many Americans have gotten far too comfortable to be bothered with anything outside of maintaining their own lifestyles, it should also be pointed out the American media has been disastrously subverted by large corporate interests over the past couple of decades and has thus become a shameless apologist to power. The American people couldn't do much about something that they didn't really realize was happening. Up until recently (with the advent of the blogosphere and pervasive broadband internet) it was really hard work to stay truly informed. Now that more people (still not enough, unfortunately) are catching on to what's really going on it's too late.

10:01 am  
Blogger markfromireland said...

One of the things I've noticed, I'm sure you have too, is how frightened the right wing extremists are becoming and consequently how vicious they're becoming. Their policies have been shown to have failed the people they govern so they lash out.

A point that has to be tackled is that they don't give a damn about anybody other than their base. They don't give a damn about democracy because they aren't democrats [note small "d" please Amercian readers :-)] they're extrem right wing authoritarians. Debate? Forget it. They're not interested in debate. They're interested only in howling you down. If they can't do that they vilify you. If they can't do that they'll trump up some charge or another.

It's time we started calling them what they are.

3:00 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

PS: I'll add that they may have underestimated something, there are few things quite so nasty to be on the recieving end of, as what people whose standards of decency have been outraged dish out.

Couple that with the real hardships that many who thought they were immune are going to endure come the downturn that is only now beginning and there may be hope for us all yet.

3:12 pm  
Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

Many of us (click on our names here, you will see our blog addresses!) have talked about all this for some time.

The American technological/cheap fossil fuel bubble is about to burst.

8:27 pm  
Blogger St!ff M!ttens said...

I agree that bubble is about to burst, but I fear that is only going to make matters worse. Then the ultra-conservative crowd will have a crisis justification for their policies, lending them more credence. And without scrupulous mainstream media scrutiny, enough of the American people will fall for that (an uninformed public opinion is an easily manipulated public opinion). I think there are two things that are absolutely essential for the situation in the US to improve. One is the widespread dissemination of honest skepticism--a mainstream media unconstrained by corporate (and therefore big money, and therefore governement) hegemony. The other is radical campaign and electoral reform. There are a lot of very smart people who are also honest and hardworking that just don't have the resources to run a successful political campaign. Dissenting voices are being squelched and excluded.

8:54 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

AWOL apologies, again.

Been visiting the sick - but glad to say Helen's getting better by the day.

So, what's left to say? It seems everything's been flowing fine without me. What a team, eh?

Thanks for all your invaluable input -- everyone. Really.

10:08 pm  
Blogger Friendly Fire said...

Good Blog. Came here via James Wolcott.

10:24 pm  
Anonymous blair is an arse said...

Rick,

I hope your daughter is getting better.

I think it is quite funny really. I come from a 'classical' police state (Saudi) where we all knew what the deal was with the government. The "wazir al-dakhaliah" (ministry of internal affairs) was not ashamed of its tyrannical hold of the population and its control over every aspect of life.

Here in the UK, we are offered an Orwellian vision dressed in jingoistic words such as "democracy is on the march *vomit!*", aimed at bending reality. And it's working! I have more respect for a government that is open about its policies than one that relies so heavily on psy ops.

11:36 am  
Blogger Richard said...

b.i.a.n,

Thanks - Helen's hoping to be home in a day or two.

As for states being 'open' about their faults - I agree with you.

Whatever 'stuff' they do - insulting one's intelligence [any dissent is unpatriotic, etc] merely rubs salt in our wounds.

3:58 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

friendly fire,

Thanks. Your own's a good blog, too.

9:10 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a great piece everyone agreeing with you should read.

Protest is criminalised and the huffers and puffers say nothing

Link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1584140,00.html

5:06 pm  
Blogger Gert said...

It seems the only resistance to both police states are a few bloggers and some independent media.

Amongst most of the common gardeners at least in my "circle" few see any cause for alarm.

The bog papers that are being passed as "anti-terrorism" laws are rarely seen for what they are: ineffective pieces of deformed legislation, "replacing" laws that worked fine in the first place.

Our ineffective and unaccountable clowns at MI5 and MI6 continue to be "glorified" as nation-savers in US-style drivel like "Spooks".

The Wolfie incident provided a powerful insight in what is to come. Anybody see copies of the coppers' "Stop and Search" forms? This exceeds Orwell, but fact always outguns fiction.

And the Coalition of the Conning seems now prepared to take the "war or terror" to Iran... Blessed be the meek, for they will probably die in their sleep while I'm tapping away.

8:47 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Hello, Gert.

Good of you to drop by. I see we sing from the same hymn sheet.

I briefly looked at your blog, and liked what I saw. I'll have to check it out in more detail, later - as there certainly seems to be stuff well worth reading.

1:22 pm  
Blogger Gert said...

I found your blog on James Woolcott's site (blog): that's quite a reference!

My main worry is that all this scribbling isn't amounting to all that much and that I can't come up with anything more useful.

These Anglo-American developments are really frightening and things just seem to go from bad to worse. Yet the good but rather comatose people of Britain don't seem to be worried at all: the shops are well stocked, "unemployement is down" and the pubs still sell plenty cold beer... Not a care in the world... Happy as Larry... Pigs in muck...

5:19 pm  
Blogger Gert said...

BTW Richard, you should use Technorati tags for extra readership, many Americans.

5:21 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

gert,

Good to 'see' you here, again.

Unfortunately, these days the 'scribbling' is about all I can do. I just have to keep on believing that, as the old lady who peed in the sea, said -- every little helps.

As to the pigs in muck - too true. Ignorance and apathy appear to be [to far too many] bliss.

Incidentally, re: Technorati. I found them and registered there a few weeks ago. I finally cottoned on to the 'tag' idea, and set some up, just a few days ago.

Also, my sitemeter stats show that over 55% of Old Brit readers are in USA. About 25% in UK - then 10% Canada - with the other 5% across elsewhere in Europe - then the remaining 5%, pretty evenly spread through the other continents - Asia, Australia, India, Australia+NZ and even Russian Federation.

Heh. I even spotted a reader from somewhere I'd never even heard of - a South Pacific island called 'Vanatua'.

Last but by no means least - I take another trip to your site, and find that while I've been putting today's Old Brit piece together - you've published the same story. Er ... great minds? :^)

10:03 pm  
Anonymous Ally said...

Wait a second. Has anyone you know been rounded up and put in the camps? Have you been arrested for speaking truth to power? Don't panic! And don't undermine the meaning of a police state. The U.S., at least, is not there yet. I have access to more information than I have time to sort through. I can travel where I wish, buy semi-automatic weapons, have an abortion, vote in dubious elections, protest on the street, find good pot, run for the school board, go to school, get substandard medical care, and so forth. This differs from 50 years ago how? Well, okay, the pot wasn't as good, but still. In many ways the U.S. has improved from 50 years ago. Yes, the unions are weaker, but the problem of race has improved. Yes, we freaked out and locked up a few of our own people without charges, but it ain't the internment camps of WWII. I promise you that I am as angry as you are at the injustice of the government's behavior, but what passed guilded age are you all lamenting? After 9/11 America freaked out. We're starting to settle now, and hopefully we will learn that making rash and illogical decisions isn't, in fact, the best course. But, Jeez, calm down. If you think America 2005 is comperable to Germany 1938 I strongly suggest further research.

10:07 am  

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