Britain's New Statesman magazine has put together a powerful package of stories detailing how the government of George W. Bush's beloved disciple, Tony Blair, is "persecuting innocent people, tearing up our freedoms and undermining the judiciary." The basis of the stories is a new, blistering report from Amnesty International on the degraded state of civil liberties in the UK today.
The first NS story, Shamed, by Martin Bright, gives an overview of the Amnesty report. Two other stories are not available on the NS website, but your good Uncle Burlesque has kindly provided you with the texts.
The first of these, When Even Actors Aren't Safe, details the remarkable story of Rizwan Ahmed, who played a leading role in the award-winning new film, Road to Guantanamo. Ahmed played one of the Tipton Three, young Britons who were railroaded into Bush's concentration camp and held there for years, despite a plethora of evidence for their innocence. (I first wrote about them in March 2004: The Pentagon Archipelago: Trapped in a Net of State Terrorism). Ahmed was returning home to Britain after the film's celebrated showing at the Berlin Film Festival when he was nabbed at a UK airport and given the treatment. He was lucky not to have ended up in Guantanmo himself.
The other story, Squandering a Precious Heritage, is from Philippe Sands, one of Britain's leading human-rights lawyers (who, ironically, serves in the same law chambers as one Cherie Booth, better known to the world as Mrs. Tony Blair). Sands has also written an important new book, Lawless World, detailing the reckless destruction of the system of international law built up after World War II.
In many respects, Blair's Britain is actually more
publicly draconian than Bush's America. Of course, this is partly due
to the fact that Blair still feels bound to codify his degenerate
practices -- to actually put them into law -- while Bush has
decided that a president can blithely ignore any and all laws: so
what's the point of changing them? (Heck, let those anti-torture,
anti-aggression, Geneva Convention-type things stay on the books; they
look real good on paper, and you don't have to obey them nohow.) But
there is a fertile and sinister cross-pollination between these two
oh-so-Christian "leaders" as they drag their nations down into a dark
pit of lawlessness, repression, militarism and stinking fear.