Friday, 9 September 2011

'Britain suffering from moral crisis' - Lee Jasper on Press TV

A prominent analyst says Britain is in a state of moral crisis as the government allows police abuse on the public while allowing the rich elite to enjoy impunity.

Press TV talks with Lee Jasper, an expert from Race Equality Campaign in London, to further talk over the issue.

Press TV: If we look at what Britain has done in terms of their officials, there was an inquiry last year by Prime Minister Cameron on the alleged complicity of UK Security Services in Torture. Human rights groups including Reprieve, and Amnesty International dismissed the inquiry as a white wash and a waste of money. Why would human rights groups at large dismiss this as white wash?

Lee Jasper: Clearly because the full facts of the matter weren't revealed and the government itself was complicit in trying to manufacture a cover up in order to hide the truth from the British public. It was clear what was going on and there were government officials and security officials seeking to manufacture and manipulate public opinion of giving the impression that everything was above board and within the law in relation to their activities abroad.

And clearly they were engaged in a brutal and sustained, it would seem to me, ongoing campaign of torture and brutality not just in Iraq, but in other countries as well and I think the process of extraordinary rendition; the complicit partnership with other state parties throughout the world facilitating that kind of brutal oppression should be a matter for the world court. In my view these matters should be brought before a world court in order that war crimes charges could be pressed.

Press TV: I would think that would dangerous if the accountability is not there - especially with the people at the top that usually don't get wrapped for it. But at the same time we (the public) are seeing time after time it has built through the years; we saw what happened with the unrest in the UK; about 9/11 the victims, Muslims in particular. But it just appears that it is being spread demographically across the scale and that perhaps it's not just the Muslims...
What do you think? And of course what has the reaction been by Prime Minister Cameron - giving more power to the police?

Lee Jasper: I think there are two things: It's true that most nations around the world - that they apply serious human rights abuses to a small unpopular minority whoever that might be. And once they've perfected their illegal human rights abuses on a particular minority, which is quickly spread to the majority.

I have to say though in the UK the abuse has been permanent to the black communities here in mainland Britain in that 'stop and search' figures have rolled relentlessly year on year. There's a notion that 'stop and search' was stopped - actually it's never stopped. It's a power that has been in place every since the abolition of the previous stop and search power, but it was replaced by a new power that gave equal discretion to police officers to stop anybody they liked.

And it's resulted in massive tensions between black communities and police. Yes the anti-terror legislation post 9/11 was focused on the Muslim community; but I have to say that even when the anti-terror legislation was brought in in relation to dealing with the troubles in Northern Ireland - I saw a report where the city of London police under that particular power to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland have stopped disproportionate numbers of black people.

Now, in the 70s and 80s there were very few black Irish people and there was no reason for that disproportionality other than the routine abuse of their power and the exercise of racial discrimination through these officers in stopping black people.

So I think you get state governments that perfect abuses on popular minorities, but the conflict that it has had on the vast majority of populations in those countries thinking, “Oh well they're black or they're Muslim they deserve” is quickly evaporating when they understand that those perfected abuses on minority communities are then transferred to the populace as a whole.

Let me say something else about the UK - we're in a state of not just economic crisis, but moral crisis. And the moral duplicity and hypocrisy that is demonstrated by those in power: example - Nick Clegg was an arsonist - he burnt down significant private property as a student in Germany, but his family had the wealth in order to get him off; sop he didn't have to face charges.

Here in the UK now, we're being told that young people who are caught up in the disturbances - I sat in a London Crown court for an entire say last week and a young boy who had picked up goods that were literally strewn on the street was refused bail and subsequently found guilty and given six months in jail; that is simply for walking down the street and picking up something that was there - and this is the kind of double standards that we're seeing from this government.

We've got a government that is committed to protecting the rich and jailing the poor; we've got a government that is committed to trying to scapegoat minorities for the economic crisis that they face.

But in this age of multimedia of Twitter and Face Book and so on, the duplicity and the hypocrisy of the state can't be hidden for long and therefore there is widespread understanding that it is one law for the rich and it's another for the poor.

(Originally posted at: