Real Cost of War

What war does to people and nations. 'Cost' is much more than a monetary valuation. War really costs most of us our Humanity!

Monday, July 11, 2005
On this day:

Control Orders and their real affect

If you are one the enlightened few who really do feel that what happens to any one other person also happens to yourself, you are probably in the vast majority in this world.

However, if you are, and you have enough within yourself to empathize with those who are being mistreated in many ways daily, and of course, even being torture and killed, the following article reproduced from Signs of the Times will no doubt elicit some of that empathy being spoken of.

True, this man is not being 'overtly' tortured, but psychological torture may even be more devastatingly painful than physical torture in some ways.

Here is the article:

Control order flaws exposed

First interview with ex-detainee reveals a regime that leaves him in despair : Ex-detainee exposes flaws in terror control orders
Audrey Gillan and Faisal al Yafai
Thursday March 24, 2005
The Guardian

The bizarre world of the government's controversial anti-terrorist control orders was yesterday revealed when one of the 10 men who had been detained in high-security institutions for more than three years walked into the Guardian offices without any security escort.

Highlighting the stark contradictions in the control orders, Mahmoud Abu Rideh, who had been detained without charge and trial in Belmarsh prison and Broadmoor psychiatric hospital, is kept under house arrest at night, but is able to roam freely under tagging during the day.

The Palestinian refugee, who was held for three-and-a-half years, says he cannot understand the double standards of the order, and said it was further exacerbating his psychiatric difficulties. He has been diagnosed as mentally ill.

In the first interview from any of the 10 detainees placed under control orders, he said: "I go everywhere now - on the underground, buses, the mosque. But I must be home by 7pm. People think I am dangerous, but I am not dangerous. The government is playing games. If I am a risk to security, why are they letting me out to be with people? I wouldn't do anything silly. I am not a dangerous man."

Mr Abu Rideh's control order says he is a key UK-based contact and provider of financial and logistical support to extreme Islamists with connections to al-Qaida. It says: "You belonged to and have provided support for a network of north African extremists directly involved in terrorist planning in the UK, including the use of toxic chemicals."

Mr Abu Rideh denies this is the case.

The control orders were rushed through parliament earlier this month in the face of widespread opposition. The contradictions inherent in them are clear from Mr Abu Rideh's experiences since being released on bail almost two weeks ago:

* He is not allowed to make arrangements to meet anybody, but he can drop in to see anyone if he does so unannounced;
* He cannot attend any pre-arranged meetings or gatherings, but was present at the anti-war demonstration at Hyde Park last Saturday. He says he stumbled across it while playing football in the park with his children;
* He is banned from having visitors to his home unless they are vetted in advance, but he is allowed to arrange to attend group prayers at a mosque;
* He thinks he is being followed on the tube, but if he calls a taxi, no one tails him.

Mr Abu Rideh told the Guardian that his confusion over how the control orders work, and his lack of support, led him to take a drug overdose last weekend. He was taken to Charing Cross hospital after he swallowed 35 tablets and was not released until Monday evening. He says he cannot bear to live under the conditions imposed by the home secretary.

He said: "I only want to kill myself. I don't want to kill anybody else. I am not a danger to anybody else, but this government has made me a danger to myself. It is just as bad to be free with a control order as it is in Belmarsh prison or Broadmoor hospital."

The control orders authorised by the home secretary, Charles Clarke, caused a parliamentary crisis two weeks ago and were only shunted through after 30 hours of ferocious tussling between the two houses and a compromise on the part of the government.

The 10 men include Abu Qatada, the Islamist preacher who has been described by a judge as a truly dangerous individual who was "at the centre of UK terrorist activities associated with al-Qaida".

At the time of the parliamentary debate, the Home Office said that the 10 released men were still a risk to national security. This week, lawyers for Mr Abu Rideh and the other men began a legal challenge to the control orders. They told a high court judge that the orders were confused and difficult to work with, saying: "It has been continuous crisis management for the past 10 days."

Yesterday, Mr Abu Rideh explained some of these problems. "The conditions are too complicated and they don't work. The Home Office emergency number doesn't work. I phoned Fulham police station and they said it's not their problem," he said.

He claims that the voice recognition system operated by the tagging company, Premier Monitoring Services, does not work and the Guardian found that the Home Office control order hotline was an answering machine.

Mr Abu Rideh is so frustrated that he has threatened to take direct action similar to Fathers4Justice. He said: "I will go to Big Ben and make a demonstration, I will chain myself to the railings of the high court or the House of Commons. My lawyer has told me not to, but if I don't get justice I will."

The transition from being in Belmarsh and then in a hospital with the criminal mentally ill to being at home with his wife and five children is proving to be fraught. "I think they will arrest me again. My kids worry that when they get back from school I will be gone and they might not find me again. My wife can't sleep. She is asking me not to go out."

Surprise searches by Scotland Yard officers leave his family on edge, he said, and his wife sleeps fully clothed in case of any eventuality. He complained that officers rifled through his wife's underwear drawer. "That's wrong in anybody's culture," he said. "I asked them, What are you searching there, do you think I have a bomb in my house, do you think I would kill my kids?"

But the most frustrating thing of all is that, despite being called an international terrorist by the government, he has never been told where he crossed the line.

He said: "I want to talk to whoever locked me up. Talk to me. Tell me, why? See my face, see my body. But I can't find anybody to talk to me."

A spokesperson for Premier said the company could not discuss individual cases.

Comment: Abu Rideh's experiences sound like they were written by Franz Kafka. He lives in a netherworld where he is neither innocent nor guilty, subject to apparently contradictory rules, with no one on the other end of the line to explain to him the unfathomable logic.

If conditions develop along the lines of force currently dominant, we'll all be wearing electronic bracelets one day. Already our movements can be tracked through our credit card and bank card purchases the GPS chips in our car. Our thoughts and interests can be tracked and noted through our use of the Internet.

We're all on someone's list.

We have flipped into a society where everyone is considered guilty until they can obtain Top Secret clearance...and even then, they'll be someone with Above Top Secret clearance who will continue to watch.

Utopias are easy to imagine yet impossible to build; dystopias are both easy to imagine and easy to create. We are collectively creating such a dystopia -- truth be said, it is already here, only the pretty wrappings haven't quite been enough removed to make it apparent to those who are too caught up in their daily affairs to notice. This dystopia, a corporate fascism where capital and business legal individuals have more rights than individuals of flesh and blood, has been slowly but steadily manifesting since the dry run in Germany and Italy seventy years ago. Those in power have been studying society with great care to find a way of making us willing accessories, and they are succeeding.

Step by step, drop by drop, with the occasional unexpected shock to our collective nervous system for good measure, we are being imprisoned with legal restrictions, with fear, with ideology and dogma, with prejudice against those who do not dress, speak, walk, or look like us.

The slogan "We are all Londoners" was seen after last week's bombing. But we are also all Fallujans, we are all Palestinians, we are the Americans who died on 9/11. We are all being manipulated and set against each other to serve aims of which we have no conception, of which we can only discern by carefully reading between the lines, by seeing the overall pattern that emerges from a study of history, of science, of geology and archaeology.

To get an understanding of what we are referring to, we point you to The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive.


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