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Whitewashing the British State in the Name of "Multiculturalism" and "Tackling Racism"
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The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, has made public his opposition to the address made by President Ahmadinejad of Iran to the UN Conference Against Racism, known as the Durban Review Conference or Durban II, in Geneva earlier this week. Miliband branded the remarks made in President Ahmadinejads address offensive, inflammatory and utterly unacceptable and added that the fact that such remarks were made at an anti-racist conference was all the more shocking and outrageous. Similar comments have also been made by the Prime Minister, whose spokesman said that President Ahmadinejads remarks were unreservedly condemned by the government.
In his address, the President of Iran amongst other things criticised those countries such as the United States and Canada that have refused to participate in the conference on the grounds that the state of Israel might be criticised. President Ahmadinejad expressed the view that the big powers negate the rights of others countries by the imposition of oppressive laws and international relations and as a result of their domination of the UN Security Council. He specifically referred to the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of racism and discrimination or infringement upon the dignity and independence of nations. His comments were also concerned with Zionist Israel, which he said had been created by the big powers with settlers from Europe and elsewhere, at the expense of the Palestinian people who had been rendered homeless. He condemned the governments of Western Europe and the US, who support and defend the Zionist regime and its attempted genocide against the people of Gaza. He equated Zionism with racism and stressed that efforts must be made to oppose Zionism and its defenders. In conclusion, the President also condemned neo-liberal globalisation and called for a common global system that will be run with the participation of all nations of the world in all major decision making processes. In response to these remarks, the British delegate and other EU delegates staged a pre-planned walkout from the conference, while supporters of Zionism heckled President Ahmadinejad. The majority of delegates remained to hear the address and many applauded the Presidents remarks.
The Durban Review Conference which has been convened to review progress made on the programme of action agreed in Durban in 2001 has been beset by controversy and disputes even before it commenced, just as the previous UN conference was. In 2001 the US and Israel withdrew from the conference in protest against criticisms of the Zionist regime. Britain, the US and the other big powers opposed attempts by African countries and others to condemn the trans-Atlantic slave trade as a crime against humanity and to demand an apology from those countries that had been the main traffickers of human flesh. In Geneva the disputes over the condemnation of Israel have continued, resulting in a boycott of the conference by the US and other countries and the organised walkout during President Ahmadinejads presentation.
While condemning the presentation of the President of Iran the British delegate delivered a hypocritical speech in which he claimed that Britain had some of the toughest and most progressive equality and anti-discrimination laws in the world and that the government was committed to the elimination of all forms of racism and intolerance. This from a government that has institutionalised racism in immigration and asylum legislation and has been the main promoter of Islamophobia, a government that maintains a divided polity and a society in which all the social indicators show that minority communities are disadvantaged, marginalised and discriminated against. It can be said that the governments entire foreign policy is largely based on colonialist and racist logic, the imposition of Eurocentric values, and includes the defence of Zionism and the denial of the rights of the Palestinian people. The leaders of the Labour Party have publicly boasted of the alleged achievements of the British Empire and vowed to make Britain great again and refused to make any reparation for the crimes of colonialism and enslavement,
The events at Geneva have highlighted the fact that Britain, the US and their allies have adopted the most reactionary and hypocritical positions just as they did at the UN Conference in 2001. They are the defenders of all that is most backward in the world and the most zealous supporters of Zionist Israel. It is they who stand exposed and condemned by world opinion and by all democratic people.
From the Party Press:
Workers Daily Internet Edition, Year 2001 No. 151, September 4, 2001
The UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) is taking place in Durban, South Africa, from August 31 to September 7. The British delegation is being headed by Baroness Amos, the "Minister for Africa" in the New Labour government.
Baroness Amos addressed the Conference on September 2, saying that Britain "draws strength from its diversity". She said: "The multicultural nature of British society is one of the first things that you notice when you arrive in the UK. Our culture is born of the talents and creativity of many different groups - white, black, Asian and other minorities. In London alone, nearly 200 languages other than English are spoken. A quarter of London's school pupils speak a language other than English at home." She did not mention the recent remarks by the Immigration Minister, Lord Rooker, backed by the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, that all immigrants should receive compulsory English lessons.
This set the hypocritical and sanctimonious tone of Baroness Amos address in Durban on behalf of the British government. To hear the Minister for Africa, one would think that racism and the application of racist criteria were abhorrent to New Labour and the British state, and that Britain is extremely concerned to make a priority of "tackling racism". One would be led to the conclusion that the problem of racism in Britain lies in "young people of different ethnic communities" and that the causes of "disturbances" in Oldham, Bradford and Burnley are "deeply rooted in the structures of our society" and that the government is "doing everything we can to support local people in finding practical ways to bring communities together". The reality, as is well known, and as was attested to by a member of the Labour Partys own NEC, who was attacked and injured by the police, is that the peoples of these towns and cities have resisted the attempts of the state to develop "race riots" as they were called, and that the sentiment of the broad masses of the people is to unite in defence of the rights of all. The reality is that in Britain considerations based on national origin and colour of skin are the very basis of a racist division of the body politic and the creation of second class citizens arising from nationality or national origin. In this way, the notion of a society responsible for the well-being of its members is being made the priority for attack by the government. Far from it being the case that "government policies alone cannot defeat racism", the fact that the law of the land does not recognise all members of the polity as equals is the well-spring for the promotion of racism and gives an entirely unwarranted respectability to racism and racial discrimination, racist organisations and "institutionalised racism". It underpins the xenophobia being promoted by the government and the capitalist media against "asylum seekers" and "illegal immigrants".
The WCAR reflects the deep aspirations of the peoples of the world to provide the problems of racism with solutions. This includes dealing squarely with the legacies of the past and righting historical wrongs, as well as identifying and eradicating the source of racism today. Among the main themes of the WCAR are the "sources, causes, forms and contemporary manifestations of racism". The WCAR, among other things, is bringing to the fore the legacy of 19th century empire-building, and its ideology of liberalism and colonialism, in which everyone is to assimilate to the system of domination and espouse their values and aims.
The crimes of British colonialism and imperialism are too well-known to need reiterating in depth. But to the British government, this colonialist and imperialist history, with its subjugation and genocide of peoples, its inhuman trafficking in human flesh, known as the slave trade, its backing for the apartheid regime in South Africa, its empire on which the sun never set while its crimes against humanity are referred to as in the distant past, this history is called by sleight of hand a long-standing friendship between peoples.
When the demand of the peoples who were the subject of this genocide and subjugation demand reparations, a declaration that slavery was a crime against humanity, and that the British government, as other colonialist and imperialist governments, must take full responsibility for these crimes, Baroness Amos gives the fine-sounding words: "The Conference must also inspire. We want a strong statement which looks unflinchingly at the past. The European Union profoundly deplores the human suffering, both individual and collective, caused by slavery and the slave trade. They are amongst the most dishonourable and abhorrent chapters in the history of humanity. Such acts of acknowledgement, regret and condemnation will allow us to move forward in a spirit of hope and give us the basis on which to continue to tackle contemporary problems." This "spirit of hope" is nothing but a ploy to whitewash the British state and get the British government off the hook.
The British governments entire outlook is bogged down in such racist concepts as the "white man's burden", whereby British is to be the imposer of "civilised values", "universal values", on the benighted non-European peoples. These policies are a continuation, not a break, from the racist past. The British governments hypocrisy is an attempt to cover over the reality of this continuation, this chauvinism so deep that its exponents are unaware of its concrete existence, this insistence that if African and other governments do not follow its values, then they will be considered as pariahs. It is a refusal to break with the old conscience of the colonialist past in order to keep in place the block to the progress of society at this time. They are deepening the crisis in British society. Retrogression is being entrenched in the name of "endorsing the role of civil society".
WDIE denounces the British government's self-serving intervention in Durban. The government is striving to dismiss the crimes of the past in order to cover up the crimes of the present, and divert attention from the retrogression of the neo-liberal agenda.
The British working class has the honour and duty to settle scores with its class oppressors and make an indelible contribution to the solving of the problems of racism and racial discrimination on a world scale.
The Review Conference will review progress and assess the implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA).
Adopted by consensus at the 2001 World Conference against Racism (WCAR) in Durban, South Africa, the DDPA is a comprehensive, action-oriented document that proposes concrete measures to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It is holistic in its vision, addresses a wide range of issues, and contains far-reaching recommendations and practical measures.
The DDPA embodies the firm commitment of the international community to tackle racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance at the national, regional and international level. Recognition that no country can claim to be free of racism, that racism is a global concern, and that tackling it should be a universal effort, is an important achievement. Although the DDPA is not legally binding, it has a strong moral value and serves as a basis for advocacy efforts worldwide.
At A Glance: The DDPA
* The DDPA reasserts the principles of equality and non-discrimination as core human rights, thus transforming victims of discrimination into rights-holders and States into duty bearers.
* Assigning the primary responsibility of combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance to States, the DDPA also calls for the active involvement of international and non-governmental organizations, political parties, national human rights institutions, the private sector, the media and civil society at large.
* The DDPA calls for the universal ratification of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and its effective implementation by State Parties to the Convention.
* The DDPA adopts a victim-oriented approach to problems of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Specific recommendations are formulated to combat discrimination against Africans and persons of African descent, Asians and persons of Asian descent, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, minorities, the Roma and other groups.
* The DDPA recognizes that victims often suffer from multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination based on sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, social origin, property, birth or other status. It highlights the gender dimension of racial discrimination and attributes a key role to women in the development of programmes to combat racism and intolerance.
* The DDPA emphasizes the importance of preventive and concerted action, especially in the field of education and awareness-raising , and calls for the strengthening of human rights education.
* The DDPA calls for comprehensive national action plans to eradicate racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. It calls for the reinforcement of national institutions and it formulates concrete recommendations in the areas of national legislation and the administration of justice.
* The DDPA outlines measures to address discrimination in the fields of employment, health, policing, and education. It calls on States to adopt policies and programmes to counter incitement to racial hatred in the media, including on the Internet. It calls for the collection of disaggregated data, as well as additional research, as the basis for targeted actions.
* The DDPA urges States to adopt measures of affirmative or positive action to create equal opportunities for victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the political, economic, social and cultural decision-making spheres.
* The DDPA urges governments to provide effective remedies, recourse, redress and compensatory measures to victims and to ensure that victims have access to legal assistance so they can pursue such measures. It also recommends the creation of competent national bodies to adequately investigate allegations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia or related intolerance.
* The DDPA acknowledges that slavery and the slave trade are crimes against humanity, and should have always been so. It expresses regret over the fact that the slave trade and colonialism contributed to lasting social and economic inequalities. It welcomes the efforts of UNESCOs Slave Route Project.
* Concerning the Middle East, the DDPA expresses concern about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation and recognizes the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the right to an independent state. It also recognizes the right to security for all countries in the region, including Israel, and calls upon all governments to support the peace process and bring it to an early conclusion.
* The DDPA recalls that the Holocaust must never be forgotten.
* Last but not least, the Programme of Action spells out a number of strategies to achieve full and effective equality through international cooperation. They involve an effective international legal framework, enhanced regional and international cooperation, an active role for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the participation of a wide variety of actors, including civil society, non-governmental organizations and youth in the struggle against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.
(This is for public information purposes only and does not constitute an official summary of the DDPA)
(UN Web Services)
by Xinhua writer Li Bo
Do you think the days of racist apartheid and discrimination are over? Absolutely not. Racism is still rampant in many parts of the world and has become a common issue that needs global cooperation to eradicate it.
The week-long UN session in Geneva to evaluate progress since the 2001 UN World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR) has been filled with discord.
The April 20-25 conference started with boycotts, proceeded with bickering and walkouts, and eventually unexpected diplomatic rows.
The United States, Germany, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, New Zealand and Poland stayed away from the Geneva conference, citing concerns that the event would be "misused as a platform for ulterior interests", that is, criticism of Israel for its occupation of Palestinian territories.
When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad referred to Israel's "totally racist government", representatives from the European Union and other states walked out of the conference.
Israel on Monday recalled its ambassador to Bern for "consultations" following a meeting of the Swiss and Iranian heads of state ahead of the UN anti-racism conference.
The series of frictions are distracting global efforts to eliminate racism in modern times.
China has urged the international community to stop the bickering and focus on the conference's goals.
"We hope relevant parties can step up dialogue, eliminate disputes and concentrate on a consensus so as to combat racism with one voice," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said.
"Under the new circumstances, new forms of racism keep cropping up and the world is facing an unoptimistic situation in the fight against racism," she said.
China hopes that all parties could implement zero-tolerance policies toward racism on both national and international levels, she said.
On Tuesday, sirens sounded across Israel as the country marked the Holocaust of World War II.
It reminded people of the horrors and brutality of racism. To avoid a repetition of history, all countries should be seeking a common ground and fight against racism.
"Discrimination ... must be challenged. Otherwise it can become a cause of social unrest and violence," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
(www.chinaview.cn April 22, 2009)
Inayat Bunglawala, guardian.co.uk, April 22, 2009
The Home Office announced last night that nine of the 12 men mainly Pakistani students arrested in dramatic circumstances two weeks ago following terror raids in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire are now to be handed over to the UK Border Agency with a view to being deported. Another one of the 12 was handed over to immigration officials earlier this month.
You will recall that at the time of the arrests our prime minister, Gordon Brown, informed us that the raids were necessary because of "a very big terrorist plot". Note the bold presumption of guilt which then unsurprisingly was quickly taken up by sections of our media.
"Shops and nightclub were terror targets," read a Daily Express headline on 9 April.
"Al-Qaida terror plot to bomb Easter shoppers," claimed the supposedly upmarket Daily Telegraph on 10 April.
Even the BBC website had its correspondent Nick Ravenscroft telling us that he had been told by police "sources" that an attack could have taken place "within days or weeks".
Well, the media reporting a story in an overly sensational, alarmist and irresponsible manner is hardly novel, I admit. It is the government's behaviour in this matter that is most reprehensible though.
Not content with prematurely accusing the arrested men as being part of a very big terrorist plot, now that no actual terror-related charges have been brought against at least 10 of the 12 originally arrested, instead of offering an apology to them for what they and their families have been put through and releasing them with good grace, they are seeking to deport them while disgracefully attempting to attach yet another appalling smear to them.
"We are seeking to remove these individuals on grounds of national security. The government's highest priority is to protect public safety. Where a foreign national poses a threat to this country we will seek to exclude or to deport, where this is appropriate," said the Home Office in its statement.
What utter tripe. If the students are indeed a national security threat then surely the correct course of action is to properly charge them and bring the evidence before a court of law? Instead the government in what can only be viewed as a dishonourable attempt to save face compounds the hurt done to the students by seeking to deport them and placing them under a cloud of doubt. The government's behaviour in this matter shames our country.
It is understandable that the police may well from time to time mistakenly arrest someone and then release them if no evidence against them can be found. After all, not every intelligence lead or tip-off will prove to be accurate. That is the nature of police work.
What is not acceptable, however, and should never be acceptable is the underhand and cowardly manner by which the government is now attempting to ruin the education and careers of these Pakistani students in a desperate attempt to avoid looking incompetent.
by Craig Murray, April 15, 2009
The mainstream media is in a flurry of excitement over the Terror arrests of students in the North West of England. Linked to this is the media feeding frenzy over the resignation of Bob Quick, Scotland Yards anti-terror chief. It is important to note that the Quick incident only brought forward the arrests by a few hours. Yet in all the acres of coverage in the newspapers, and all the hype on TV, nobody seems to have noticed the real story.
It was an accident that Bob Quick had his secret document on display as he was photographed entering Downing St.
But it was no accident that he was photographed entering Downing Street.
No 10 is a Tardis-like building which is far more impressive inside than out, and which seems impossibly large. Its secret is that it links straight through to No 11 and, more importantly, through to the huge Cabinet Office building that runs along Whitehall. The Cabinet Office is the central secretariat of the British government and in effect the office of the Prime Minister. The separation of the No 10 staff and the Cabinet Office staff is a polite fiction. The governments major interdepartmental committees meet in the Cabinet Office, including the sexy Joint Intelligence Committee and its sub-committees. One of the fascinating things about the vast Cabinet Office building is that it incorporates parts of the original fabric of the Tudor Whitehall Palace.
In the first Iraq War I used to hand carry intelligence reports to No 10, and sometimes had to explain them personally to Mrs Thatcher. I never once took one in the front door. In fact I have only ever walked in the front door of No 10 when accompanying a foreign dignitary or attending a party. The front door is for people the government wants to be seen hence the permanent stand of photographers which captured Bob Quick. People arriving to brief on secret matters go in through the back door, or more likely through the Cabinet Office.
So why did the government want us to see that Bob Quick was entering No 10? The only possible answer is that, had things gone more smoothly in the arrest of the Terror suspects, the government would have paraded the footage of Quick entering no 10 as evidence that it was really Glorious Gordon and Genius Jacqui who had directed the operation and saved the world - again.
It is very, very wrong it violates the whole spirit of the constitution for politicians to be involved in arresting people. If the police had real evidence that these people are terrorists, then of course they should have been arrested when the Police felt the right moment had come. That moment is when they have sufficient evidence, and are not putting the public at risk by undue delay. That is a technical decision requiring skill, expertise and experience in operational policing.
It is a matter of the criminal law. It is absolutely not the business of Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown. But we know that under New Labour the politicians are deciding who should be arrested and when. We know that for sure because then Home Secretary John Reid said in terms that he decided when the arrests should be made in the farcical Bigger than 9/11, (though in the event non-existent), Liquid airplane bomb plot case.
If politicians are going to decide the timing of arrests, then they cannot be surprised or aggrieved if we suspect that the timing of arrests is political.
This was definitely the case in the Liquid Bomb Plot. I know for certain from my own sources that in that case the intelligence services believed they had been forced by politicians to act too soon. That was quite widely reported at the time.
The view that John Reid had acted too early appears proved by a complex series of verdicts brought in by the jury. Less than half of those arrested actually were brought to trial. The jury found that three of the accused did have an intention to commit terror, but had formed no definite plan and specifically cleared them of the charge of planning to down aeroplanes with explosives.
Why had Reid jumped the gun? Because the Americans asked him to. With Bob Quicks predecessor, the disgraced Andy Hayman, giving an official Scotland Yard view that the Liquid Bomb Plot was Bigger than 9/11 and involved plans to fly up to a dozen passenger jets simultaneously into different US cities, the resulting worldwide front page headlines were a Godsend for Bush in mid-term elections. They also enable the government to permanently ramp up the fear factor by the ludicrous toothpaste and shampoo searches that make flying so miserable.
In the liquid bomb plot do you remember the massive banner headlines the full front page of every single tabloid in the UK -about the evil Muslim mother who planned to blow up herself and her baby along with the plane? There was no media reporting at all when she was cleared and released. The Suspicious chemical which police announced they had found in baby bottles was, errr, baby bottle sterilising solution.
The reasons why these Terror raids might be the subject of political timing could not be more obvious. Both Jacqui Smith and Gordon Brown were getting a well-deserved media pasting over the outrageous ripping off of the taxpayer for personal benefit through expense claims. The Metropolitan Police were under extreme criticism for their unprovoked killing of Ian Tomlinson.
So this morning, instead of the news headline being the disgraceful fact that the policeman who launched an unprovoked assault from behind on Ian Tomlinson has still not been arrested, the headline is that the police have saved us all from certain death.
Let me be plain. I am not saying that terrorism does not exist. I am not saying that those arrested are innocent. I do not know. I am saying that Brown and Smiths involvement in operational police arrests, and the fact that less than 1% of those arrested under anti-terror legislation in the UK have ever been charged with anything connected to terrorism, gives me the right to be suspicious of what is undeniably, at the very least, politically very fortuitous timing.
It is also the arrest of alleged terrorists from Pakistan, at a time when the government is under both parliamentary and criminal investigation for participation in torture of terrorist suspects in Pakistan. The government has responded by arguing that intelligence from torture abroad is necessary to save lives in the UK. I have no doubt that we will find the government arguing that this terror plot justifies their case.
Because of this suspicion, I will be setting a high test for evidence that these arrests really were needed at this time. The accusation is that a bombing campaign was ready for this Easter i.e. now. If that is true, there must be explosives and detonators ready, or in the very final stages of preparation. We will see.
According to Sky News this morning, police searches so far have discovered photographs of leading buildings in Manchester taken by the students.
I studied Russian in St Petersburg. I have photographs I took of the Hermitage, of the Church on the Holy Blood, of the St Peter and Paul Fortress, of the bridges over the Neva, of the ornate underground stations. I studied Polish in Lublin. I have photographs of Lublin castle, of the main shopping street, of the Catholic University of Lublin...
I have, in fact, photographs of prominent buildings everywhere I ever studied. And photographs in bars and nightclubs.
Why do the police feel the need to feed out to the media the complete non-news of the non-evidence that they have discovered photographs of Manchester in Manchester? Why was it necessary for the Prime Minister to make a statement announcing the arrests? What does that do to the chances of a fair trial? Why was it never necessary to make a prime ministerial statement every time a suspected Irish terrorist and remember they really did blow up the Arndale Centre in Manchester was arrested?
There are many genuine and diligent people carrying out counter-terrorism work in the police and intelligence services, working the old-fashioned way with painstaking accumulation of evidence. They do save lives and they should be applauded and supported. They should be free from political interference and distanced from politicians.
They may have foiled a genuine plot here. If so they must be congratulated. The Home Secretary who has not foiled any plots - should have been briefed after arrests were made, and there should be no room for suspicion that politicians had interfered.
That would have stuck to the cardinal rule of only telling people who actually have to know about an operation - and the rule of not carting around secret documents for no purpose.
The photo leak which could indeed have jeopardised a security operation which may or may not prove to have been vital - was caused directly by the excessive and completely unnecessary involvement of the politicians in policing detail.
A police state is not a state where the police rule. It is a state where there is no distance between the politicians and police.
A police state is a state where a policeman can be caught on camera launching an unprovoked fatal assault from behind, yet not be arrested. A police state is a state where the police raid the parliamentary offices of opposition MPs. A police state is a state where it is the politicians who are making the decisions on who gets arrested and when.
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