Sunday, September 24, 2006

Londonistan: The British police go to Muslims on bended knee 

If you hunt through the world's newspaper's for the most depressing story of the day, it would be hard to do worse than a story from the Times of London, "Police to brief Muslims before terror raids."

Police have agreed to consult a panel of Muslim leaders before mounting counter-terrorist raids or arrests. Members of the panel will offer their assessment of whether information police have on a suspect is too flimsy and will also consider the consequences on community relations of a raid.

This is, of course, the single worst idea in law enforcement since Prohibition. For starters, why wouldn't the principle behind it, if it can be said there is a principle, extend to all groups? Did the British meet with the Irish before raiding the IRA so as to avoid offending Irish sensibilities? If this concept is valid in the country that gave us our legal system, it is hard to see why American police shouldn't meet with Italians and Russians before raiding the Mafia, Columbians before busting cocaine dealers, and a panel of CEOs before pursuing Sarbanes-Oxley violations. Otherwise there might be consequences for "community relations."

Of course, it would never cross the mind of the police to consult a panel of ordinary Londoners, the past and future victims of successful terrorist attacks, to see if they think the evidence in hand before a raid is too "flimsy."

Now reductio ad absurdum arguments are easy to make, especially when political correctness influences the decisions of bureaucrats. There are also numerous obvious practical problems with this idea, including that it runs huge security risks (notwithstanding promises that the panel members will be vetted) and that it gives a particular ethnic group a quasi-veto over police operations designed to interdict crimes that -- like it or not -- are almost always organized within that ethnicity. There are, however, two specific philosophical problems with these consultations that should be extremely troubling to anybody concerned with prosecution of terrorism.

First, we have people who are supposed to determine whether evidence is too "flimsy." They are called judges, and they are expert in applying the law consistently. The British police have obviously decided that judges are not nearly smart or independent enough to declare evidence "flimsy" -- they need a panel of amateurs to do that. Well, if judges are not competent to judge the worthiness of evidence before the issuance of a warrant to raid suspected terrorists, why are they competent to do so in other contexts? By agreeing to a second level of "ethnic" review, have not the British police destroyed the credibility of judges in weighing evidence in any situation? If I am wrong, please explain why in the comments.

Second, the British police are destroying their own credibility with non-Muslims. As Melanie Phillips points out in her oustanding book Londonistan, heretofore the British police have gone to absurd lengths to declare that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam or the Muslim community. While it is in your interests to read the entire book, this lengthy excerpt gives you the core Phillips' argument regarding the police:
The first line of defense against terrorist attack is the police. But the British police have become a symbol of a society that has lost its way. Britain has been progressively crippled by a "victim culture," in which minority groups effectively use moral blackmail against the majority on the grounds of its alleged oppressive behavior. Ever since a watershed case in the 1990s, when the police werre branded "institutionally racist" following the bungled investigation into the murder of a black student in south London, they have been paralyzed by the fear of giving offense to any minority group and being tarred with the lethal charge of prejudice.

The anathema that was pronounced upon them of "institutional racism" delivered a near-terminal blow to an institution that was already on the ropes. A succession of corruption scandals and miscarriage-of-justice cases back in the 1970s and 1980s had profoundly undermined police self-confidence; and this was exacerbated by the reaction of successive governments, which tied them in red tape and official directives. As a result, police professionalism took a dive and one high-profile criminal investigation after another became mired in incompetence.

In this lowered state, the charge of racism had a shattering effect. From being the thin blue line against disorder, the police now transformed themselves into the coercive arms of state-enforced virtue. Instead of preventing offenses being committed, they now gave priority to preventing offense being given. Displaying an obsession with minority rights, they devoted disproportionate time and resources to prioritizing the agendas of the fullest possible range of self-designated victim groups such as gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender people, disabled people, Gypsies, women and of course ethnic miniorities, and training themselves to do nothing that could conceivably give offense to any such group.

A proper concern to be respectful to cultural differences thus turned into the wholesale adoption by the police of victim-culture mentality, the pursuit of radical grievances against the majority population. So great was the grip of this mindset that officers' freedom of maneuver was often hampered by the fear that if they inadvertently offended a victim group, they would find themselves on a disciplinary charge accused of discrimination.

This was dramatically illustrated when Britain's leading police officer, the Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair, was himself rebuked by an employment tribunal for "hanging his own officers out to dry" to prove his antiracist credentials. The tribunal found that he had racially discriminated against three white officers who weree disciplined aftger alleged racist remarks at a training day, in which one of them had referred to Muslim headwear as "tea cozies," mispronounced Shi'ites as "shitties" and said he felt sorry for Muslims who fasted during Ramadan. The disciplining of the officers had been grossly disproportionate. Yet Sir Ian responded to this finding against himself by declaring that he was "unrepentant," repeating that the remarks were "Islamophobic" and declaring that the Met had to "embrace diversity."

As this case indicated, Muslim sensitivities were uppermost in police minds. The charge of "Islamophobia" was one that the police would go to almost any lengths to avoid. This near-pathological sensivitity was heightened still further by the government's instruction, first after 9/11 and then again after the London bombings of 2005, to avoid doing anything to alienate Britain's Muslims, in accordance with government strategy to bring the bulk of them on board. But since Muslims tend to be alienated by any action that suggests there is anything wrong with their community or their religion, this meant the police had to deny the nature of Islamist terrorism altogether.

This was why, on the day that four Islamist suicide bombers blew themselves and more than fifty London commuters to bits, the Met's deputy assistant commissioner, Brian Paddick, stood before the television cameras and made the noteworthy comment: "As far as I am concerned, Islam and terrorists are two words that do not go together."

He amplified this by saying that while the bombers may have been Muslim the crime was not Islamic because Islam forbade the taking of innocent life. That may well be so; but across the world, hundreds of thousands of innocent lives have been ended by terrorists who are doing so under the banner of Islam, find justification in Islam for their deeds and are told by Islamic religious authorities that such actions are a religious duty. At a stroke, therefore, this senior British policeman had denied not only the nature of the atrocity on British soil but the whole basis of the war against the West.

This was not a rogue comment. For the British policy say they do not use the phrase "Islamic terrorism" or even "Islamist terrorism." They use other phrases instead, such as "international terrorism." They say that it is misleading to talk about Islamic terrrorists as it would be to refer to the IRA as Catholic terrorists. But this comparison reveals a major category confusion. True, the IRA were Catholics and their adversaries were Protestants. But their cause was not Catholicism. It was a united Ireland. They did not want to impose the authority of the Pope upon Britain. They wanted their own authority over Ireland. There is simply no comparison to the agenda of the Islamists who want to defeat the West in the name of Islam, impose Sharia law and re-establish the medieval caliphate throughout the world. That is a religious war, a jihad transposed from the seventh century to today. And that is what the police and much of the British establishment are desperate to deny. (bold emphasis added)

The problem is, the British police have destroyed even that fiction by agreeing to vet raids designed to catch terrorists with Muslims in advance of carrying them out. If Islam and terrorism have nothing to do with each other, why seek the approval of Muslim leaders? The only thread that ties together the "multiculturalist" position of the police with today's decision to consult with Muslims is the political requirement to appease a minority group. The British police have done so, on bended knee.


By Anonymous Whitehall, at Sun Sep 24, 01:48:00 PM:

The big question to me me is, what is the institutional structure of the Met police? Is the chief a political appointee of Parliment? If so, then Blair's policies seem not to have trickled down. Perhaps the chief reports to the Mayor of London or some subsidary political division?

If there is proper political accountability, what citizens are tolerating such self-defeating political correctness?

Somebody should have an enlightened opinion on this. (I do remember a Steyn column many moons ago on roughly this topic.)  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 24, 02:20:00 PM:

Not to mention what this BS will do for Muslim intelligence gathering. All evidence means all evidence, right? That means that this panel would have to be briefed on sources and methods. If they don't get them, then obviously the evidence was too flimsy to go on. If this policy is in effect, the US MUST stop sharing any and all intelligence info with the British government at any level.

These people are insane.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Sep 24, 05:47:00 PM:

What this means is, people who don't want to be blown up, or beheaded, have only themselves to look to.

I expect various Soccer clubs to form the nucleus of vigilante anti-Muslim groups to defend against Jihad. Anyone familiar with European history should be concerned.

A more deliberate attempt to create informal vigilante groups morphing into their own "identity" groups (i.e. Native Britons) could be be imagined. It is what it is.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Sun Sep 24, 09:28:00 PM:

Imagine that you are one of the vetted, moderate Islamists who is presented with the information for a go/no go raid scenario. Would you give the thumbs up and put yourself and your family at risk?  

By Blogger Purple Avenger, at Sun Sep 24, 11:10:00 PM:

Perhaps the chief reports to the Mayor of London or some subsidary political division?

With the mayor being "red" Ken Livingstone, that would be most unfortunate.  

By Anonymous Fred, at Mon Sep 25, 07:48:00 AM:

To be commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is the peak of a British police officers career. Uniquely the candidates are appointed by the Home Secretary (Minister of the Interior) usually from one of the assistant commissioners or one of the Chief Constable's of a major city or county.

In theory all other police officers are appointed by elected local councillors. I say in theory because all candidates are required to have passed the governments police command course at Hendon Police College and candidates for this course are strictly vetted. Even then the short lists for major police appointments have to be approved by the Home Secretary.

In our wonderful democratic system however liberals have a nice way of torpedoing any politically incorrect Chief Constable who might get the job. About 20 years ago one Chief Constable was a hate-figure for all Liberals and particularly the BBC. This might have been due to the fact that he was an outspoken Christian but what really upset them was he thought homosexuals lived in a sink of depravity. Unwise. His integrity and ability as a police officer could not be challenged so they made him into a figure of ridicule.

But just to make sure the BBC sent a team to interview him and record everything he said. In the course of the two hours he was asked “What measures would you take a in the case of a serious terrorist threat?”. He outlined various measures including the introduction of identity cards and at every point breaking off to say this was in case of a very serious threat. At an appropriate time the BBC ran a story on the main news saying that he had come out in favour of identity cards, which are such an anathema to British politicians they are still dithering about them today.

In a two-hour interview they used just two minutes and presented it in such a way to suggest he was in favour of "repressive policing". After that he made it a policy only to give live interviews and who can blame him. But with that and other slanted reporting the BBC and their friends and made sure he never got the top job.

By the way the present Commissioner of the Met is Ian Blair and a model of political correctness, therefore fireproof.  

By Blogger Fabio, at Mon Sep 25, 09:40:00 AM:

Oh boy, the idea of leaving London has never sounded so good.

Not that PCness is unknown in Italy, but we're nowhere near these levels.  

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