Most striking of all, the new Government (specifically William Hague, its conservative Foreign Secretary) just announced that "a judge will investigate claims that British intelligence agencies were complicit in the torture of terror suspects." More amazing still:The judicial inquiry announced by the foreign secretary into Britain's role in torture and rendition since September 2001 is poised to shed extraordinary light on one of the darkest episodes in the country's recent history.What an astounding feat of human innovation: they are apparently able to Look Backward and Forward at the same time! And this concept that an actual court will review allegations of grave Government crimes rather than ignoring them in the name of Political Harmony: my, the British, even after all these centuries, do continue to invent all sorts of brand new and exotic precepts of modern liberty.
It is expected to expose not only details of the activities of the security and intelligence officials alleged to have colluded in torture since 9/11, but also the identities of the senior figures in government who authorised those activities. . . . Those who have been most bitterly resisting an inquiry -- including a number of senior figures in the last government -- may have been dismayed to see the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition formed, as this maximised the chances of a judicial inquiry being established.
Most readers have likely been doing so already when reading these prior paragraphs, but just contrast all of this to what is taking place in the United States under Democratic Party rule. We get -- from the current Government -- presidential assassination programs, detention with no charges, senseless demands for further reductions of core rights when arrested, ongoing secret prisons filled with abuse, military commissions, warrantless surveillance of emails, and presidential secrecy claims to block courts from reviewing claims of government crimes. The Democratic-led Congress takes still new steps to block the closing of Guantanamo. Democratic leaders push for biometric, national ID cards. The most minimal surveillance safeguards are ignored. Even the miniscule limits on eavesdropping powers are transgressed. And from just this week: "Millions of Americans arrested for but not convicted of crimes will likely have their DNA forcibly extracted and added to a national database, according to a bill approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday" (h/t Dan Gillmor).
Can anyone even imagine for one second Barack Obama standing up and saying: "My administration believes that the American state has become too authoritarian"? Even if he were willing to utter those words -- and he wouldn't be -- his doing so would trigger a massive laughing fit in light of his actions. While Nick Clegg says this week that his civil liberties commitments are "so important that he was taking personal responsibility for implementing them, and promised that the new government would not be 'insecure about relinquishing control'," our Government moves inexorably in the other direction.
Plagiarism is the Second Most Sincere Form of Flattery
Glenn Greenwald has the goods, and they are good, The Tory / Lib-Dem Government endorses actual change: