The UK has approved it’s first secret trial of two suspected terrorists. It will not be the last because despite large scale media coverage and outrage the acts supporting this were started with the anti-terror Islamophobic rhetoric in the post September 11 world. The one which saw politicians talk about the war against evil and you are either with us or against us.
I witnessed it when a “terror suspect” was shot dead after the July 7th bombing in the UK. As it was broadcast on the radio my work place erupted in cheering and clapping.
My heart sank and I almost cried, this was public reaction to a summary execution carried out by the Police in the UK. History had taught us nothing. The public, the people of Britain had forgotten their own history of struggle to gain their freedoms. They forgot the History of Europe too.
The dead man was an innocent Brazilian electrician running for a train. He was not a terrorist. No one minute silence for him.
What if the inquest was held in secret do we all have confidence that we would have found out about his innocence. If you believe yes, then recall the first police reports. They claimed he was a wanted Islamic terrorist, they claimed he stood up and had a weapon and was about to shoot. Witnesses claimed he was executed while sitting down without warning. What if reporters were prohibited from publishing or asking questions or seeing evidence. He was a Christian and a Brazilian, hard to cover up. Not so easy to prove his innocence if he was Pakistani and a Muslim.
Another clue of our failure is in an amnesty poll which found that 44% of the British public rule out prohibiting torture altogether in the UK. The battle for media, law, politics and military is a constant pendulum that we needed to watch and protect against moving to the extremes. We failed because the public was being prepared to swing right ten years ago.