People's Issues

 
 


Flames of Fear

(Contributed by a retired construction worker)
 
The fear……...Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)
The outcome……....  Hundreds of thousands dead
The truth…….... Lies
The damage…….... The truth
CAN THEY EVER BE TRUSTED?
 
Two events of note occurred within a week of each other in London England recently. The outcomes of these events are as relevant to Australia and other similar countries as to England.
 
The first involved horrific acts of murder on the famous London Bridge by 3 frenzied knife wielding men now declared terrorists. Eight innocent victims died needlessly and dozens of others were injured for whatever misguided right-wing religious rationale drove these three culprits.
 
As a result of this and other similar declared terrorist attacks over the past decade or so, the British Government immediately went into a frenzy with Prime Minister May declaring, “enough is enough” while assuring the public her government was in control of the situation and will introduce even more legislation, more police, the armed forces and all other types of security measures required to stop this terror. Clearly, the vast amounts of money to pay for all this was not an issue so far as the government was concerned. The protection of the public against terrorism, in her view, was the first priority.
 
The second event of note and even more horrific than the occurrence on London Bridge, was the burning of the 25 stories ‘Grenfell Tower’ apartment building. Reports suggest the fire commenced on the lower floors and climbed its way to the top 25th level at unprecedented speed. Within this building, in the early hours of the morning, lived hundreds of innocent sleeping family members.
 
At the time of writing this article 80 people are assumed dead with 100s injured. It has also been confirmed by authorities that there was no act of terrorism involvement in this tragedy what-so-ever.
 
The cause of the fire (at the time of writing) has not been declared, but the evidence is mounting that none of the fire alarms had been working and no sprinkler system was even in place. Complaints about a fire risk of newly renovated outside wall cladding, costing millions of dollars and many other safety concerns, had not only been ignored by government officials and politicians, but the cladding was condoned. It was also reported that fire fighters were seriously hampered by the inability of their ladders and fire truck snorkels to reach the upper levels. Quite clearly the fire was a result of neglect, corruption, profiteering and abuse of power.
 
The initial response from the government was full of platitudes and wringing of hands and a belated declaration by Prime Minister May of a government inquiry to look into the facts surrounding the fire. Of course, we all know what happens when a government “inquiry” is put in place, people could wait years for a watered-down report but very little else except, justification for all the above suggested causes.
 
By any stretch of the imagination and as a matter of fact, ‘Grenfell Towers’ seriously outweighed the London Bridge attack as “tragic” just on the numbers of dead alone. But the initial reactions from the Government to each of these events would have us think otherwise.
 
No need of any such inquiry for the London Bridge attack, just straight into it based on one of these events being a terrorist attack and “priority” and the other not. “Enough is enough”, more police, use the armed forces, new legislation etc etc.
 
The ruling class wants us to be afraid
 
The promotion of fear of terrorism has become so invasive that the slightest suggestion of the word, “terrorist” results in hundreds of millions of dollars being thrown around like confetti by governments of the world, while at the same time we lose hard fought for rights at unprecedented speed without hardly a murmur from a panicked public.
 
It is understandable that terrorism must be taken seriously and combated, but equally, the day to day safety of the public must not be minimised to a level that any declared act of terror is deemed top priority by default and common right laws reduced to the level of lip service.
 
People throughout the world face greater dangers every day from avoidable disasters like ‘Grenfell Towers.’ Regardless of the public reporting and laying of complaints to government bodies of the potential for disaster, governments and private industry continually ignore them, especially when these bodies can refer to “risk management” to justify non-resolution of any potential disasters which could otherwise eat into any profit.
 
To make matters worse the pressure to reduce costs is so overwhelming governments now accept too much ‘red tape’ is a needless impost on business. It used to be called “good governance” and was accepted as a reasonable cost to protect the public from unsafe practices, shysters, corruption and other types of undesirable practices found in the community of profit seekers.
 
Of course, when you dig deep enough as to who is advising governments re risk management, you will always find the profit seekers and those who will profit the most from reduction of “red tape” regardless of the industry under discussion.
 
The point is, many more people are killed and injured from government inaction at the very best - or at the very worst, collusion - with the profit makers. Whichever option taken it is the people being ignored and their rights being removed who are ultimately the victims. Yet the concentration on the most minor of incidents re “terrorism” is blown way out of proportion compared to the calculated preventable injuries and deaths observed every day for the sake of maximising profits.
 
The use of fear is a great weapon to create confusion and distraction to control popular dissent against the terrors of capitalism in all its guises. 
 
Our rights and liberties under attack
 
In Australia, we now see governments introducing even more restrictions on peoples’ rights. The legal assumption that we are “innocent until proven guilty” has been under attack for some time.
 
Construction industry workers are now treated as guilty of breaching industrial relations laws if charged. Compelled under the threat of jail to give evidence against themselves and others if called as a witness. Now many other workers and the public, through an expanded interpretation of the Act covering the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), will be facing the same treatment if that interpretation is upheld by the courts.
 
We have all been brought up to believe fundamental tenets of western democracy like, ‘innocent until proved guilty”, define us as more civilised than others. But now the balance between peoples’ rights and public security has become more and more skewed towards the latter because the main government advisers, relating to security, are the security forces.
 
By definition the job of the security forces is to ensure security is primary, even at the expense of individual rights. The counter balance should be progressive social forces bringing enough pressure on leading lights in society and politicians to ensure individual rights are not removed by those intent on destroying the limited rights people already have. 
 
Following some recent declared terrorists’ attacks in Australia, some State Governments are proposing changes to state terrorist laws intent to reverse the presumption of “innocence” to ensure the security forces are given every right to arrest, detain and jail anyone suspected of being a terrorist threat to the community. These changes do not only affect the actual or suspected terrorists, but all of us lose our rights.
 
The divide expected in a “democracy” between civil forces and military forces is becoming blurred almost beyond recognition with the militarisation of police, security/emergency services etc. due to the fear of terrorism. The legal divide between these forces is seen as fundamental to protecting the integrity of a democratic system. Each force is specifically trained, one to deal with the public in criminal and civil matters, the other to deal with enemies of the State and war. Police officers and soldiers are not the same and never should be.
 
We now hear the Australian Prime Minister, Turnbull, explain why it is necessary to change laws, or re-interpret laws originally introduced to separate the roles of civil and military forces. Rules governing military forces operate in accordance with a chain of command hierarchy and totally differ from what’s considered the natural rule of law. It has been reported (New Daily 17-07-17) that,
 
“Similar laws in France and the UK have allowed the military to harass individuals, shut down peaceful protests and perform house arrests without a warrant, all in the name of fighting terror.”
 
This is a serious concern, especially considering the suggested reduction of peoples’ rights now appears to be limitless. The proposed changes by Turnbull also have no time limits or restrictions but appear to be forever.
 
During war, emergency measures for the protection of the public etc is not new in Australia or elsewhere, but emergency measures without time limits is unusual and raises serious questions as to why it is required when already 70 pieces of anti-terrorist legislation has already been introduced in Australia since the 9/11 attack in the USA.
 
A new super ministry has also just been announced combining Australian Federal Police, ASIO and the Australian Border Force under the control of Minister Peter Dutton. Minister Dutton, a former police officer is considered to be a very conservative right-wing member of parliament with many of his decisions lacking empathy for victims and going against the general public’s views on a “fair go”.  He is also well known for his views on security being priority.
 
Just another concern for those who believe their rights are being smashed day in and day out because the flames of terrorist fear are constantly fanned throughout society, diverting the public’s attention away from other resolvable causes of unnecessary deaths, injuries and destruction.
 
If it is really about protecting the public against terror, why not start with capitalism and the most dangerous accepted “terror” which goes on all over the world, day after day, unspoken, unabated and unpunished, like “Grenfell Tower”.

 

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