[imc-qc] News - Reflections from PREDA and Fr. Shay Cullen,
Philippines # 181
PREDA Information Office
predair at info.com.ph
Mon May 2 23:12:54 PDT 2005
We must defend our God given rights - or lose them
By: Father Shay Cullen
(Published in the UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, Philippines
and Worldwide by Internet)
Strong, reasonable and enforceable security laws are necessary to defend
society from terrorists. No one argues with that. The threat is there and
even if the belligerent and aggressive bullying of the American Empire¹s
greed for world economic domination has provoke it has to be defeated. We
all suffer because of the abuse of the few.
A strong defence is vital and duty and purpose of government but not at any
cost and certainly not at the cost of fundamental, freedoms and rights.
However in protecting society government agencies can be intoxicated with
power and abuse it. They in fact can harm the very people they are mandated
That is why civil society cannot relax its vigilance of government and must
resist the passing of laws that give excessive power that can be easily
abused. Some legislators nowadays want to limit the fundamental right of
the human person to due process. The most important right is that to life
and freedom and when those rights are being threatened by accusations one
must have the right to know the charges, challenge the accuser, examine the
evidence and defend oneself in a court of law.
Those who have never been victimised by security forces and their rights o
r those of their friends swept away will not be sensitive to the dangers
behind excessively strict laws. The less you have suffered or seen, the
less vigilant you will be in guarding fundamental rights and human dignity.
All you need to be plunged into a nightmare of abuse are a few powerful
individuals without a conscience striving to get promotion or cover up
incompetence. So if you are unfortunate enough to be innocently mingling
with the wrong people in the wrong place you can easily be arrested on the
suspicion of being a terrorist sympathiser and jailed indefinitely as is
the practice in the United States. The detention of hundreds of suspects in
US base at Guantanamo Bay has be declared illegal by a US court.
It easy for the authorities to abuse their powers. We heard how this
happened so easily to the Guildford Four jailed for 15 years for an IRA
Bombing of which they were later proven innocent. The prime minister of
Britain Tony Blair apologised recently for that abuse of state police power.
It really is a frightening thing to be told that there could be as many as
200 Osama Bin Laden trained terrorists in the United Kingdom especially at
a time when the government is trying to get public support for a Draconian
new anti-terrorist law that could indeed do untold harm to the very human
rights and freedoms that the law is supposed to protect.
I don't feel scared at the possibility of 200 terrorists being around I
feel scared because of the scare tactics themselves. They seem underhand,
unworthy of a true democracy, more a manipulation of the public
vulnerabilities and exploitation of fear. Desperate measures for desperate
times we are told. To protect and enjoy freedom we have to sacrifice it,
they say, but does that make sense? How can we enjoy it when it is denied
us? And how much do we have to give up to save the rest?
That cant be answered because the level of real and present danger is
classified at any given time and therefore the amount of freedom taken away
will likewise be unknown. The small print of the law will surely be
ambiguous. You will know it when you loose it. In other wards when a black
grey or white van pulls up besides you and bundles you in, claps you in leg
hand and body irons , pulls a sack over your head and throws you on the
floor you know you have lost your freedom. Yet you and your family may not
know it. That's because the very loss of your rights and freedom itself is
Have we so quickly forgotten the scare tactics deployed to justify the
invasion if Iraq? Despite all the so-called 'evidences' of weapons of mass
destruction that were ready and aimed at the heart of Britain not even one
wet ballistic squib existed after all?
The scare tactics used effectively by the Bush administration used
different colour coded danger alert levels that ratcheted up the fear
factor week by week. The message of the Bush administration being we and we
alone can protect and save you. The tendency of the people to gravitate
towards government and allow freedom-eroding laws to pass that normally
they would resist. This gave American security agencies licence to abduct,
torture and even kill and has plunged the United States into its darkest
period since the Vietnam War.
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PREDA Foundation, Inc.
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