What happens when we fail to draw moral lessons from history ?

We do not draw the moral lessons we might from history“. So wrote the great political philosopher and Irishman, Edmund Burke. “In history a great volume is unrolled for our instruction, drawing the materials of future wisdom from the past errors and infirmities of mankind.” [reference below]

The wisdom of Edmund Burke is timeless.

After the Second World war, the American Central Intelligence Agency built a gobal empire of espionage and covert operations. It not only gathered data for the US government; it also became a pro-active agent to control events in other countries according to US policy, fixed in accordance with perceived US interests –  too often the interests of large American corporations.

Thus US covert activity has precipiated serious problems in other countries – problems whose  dangerous and disruptive effects trouble the world today. Such activity became manifest in Iran in the 1950s and it has persisted ever since. In the 21st century we know that the CIA has indulged routinely in kidnap, torture and immoral detention. In 2005, the primary US POW camp in Iraq germinated Daesh. Guantanamo Bay was the ultimate desecration of western values as well as the ultimate source of powerful propaganda for their enemies  because if its very existence.

In the British Isles, British security services in northern Ireland connived with loyalist paramilitaries who shot a man 14 times in front of his family in 1989. David Davis spoke of this specific murder on the afternoon of 15th October 2020 as he argued for his amendment to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill. David Davis MP is a former Conservative minister in Her Majesty’s Government and is  highly experienced in matters of security and intelligence.

David Davis sought to stop the Bill authorising serious crimes like murder and torture. But his amendment failed, as did other amendments seeking to rein in the carte blanche powers to be given to undercover UK State operatives. The unamended Bill passed its final House of Commons stage by 313 to 98 at 17.02 on 15th October 2020.  It now goes to the Lords for review. A Bill to licence undercover agents to commit any crime at all on behalf of the British State took just 4 hours to pass through the Committee, Report and Third Reading stages.

310 of those 313 votes to approve a blanket licence for State sponsored criminality came from the Conservative and Unionist party – a party committed to the Union of Britain and Northern Ireland, and a party once committed to traditional values of family and Christian ethics.

One of the failed amendments endeavoured to limit the range of authorising State agencies to police, intelligence and armed forces. Surely matters of public security should be handled by those whose specific business is State Security ?

Yet that amendment was voted down. Perhaps I am stupid or lack worldly wisdom, but I fail to see how the Environment Agency or the Food Standards Agency need the facility to authorise undercover operatives to commit any crime, including murder.

This therefore begs the question as to the mindset of the people who want this measure.

I voted Brexit  for Britain to “take back control “- not for Her Majesty’s Government to pass that control over to an elite clique at the centre of the British State. I voted for the reassertion of traditional English conceptions of law, liberty and government. I voted to restore the primacy of Magna Carta of 1215 and of the Bill of Rights of 1689 whose purpose was to constrain the arbitrary inclinations of the Executive Power. I voted for democracy; I did not vote for some British variant of the bureaucracy-technocracy-in-league-with-plutocracy so characteristic of the European Union.  I voted to reject the deductive philosophical mindset of continental thinking which imposes an ideological framework to which all must conform. I voted  in favour of the inductive, pragmatic and evidence based approach which is traditional and characteristic of the mindset of the people of the British Isles.

The highly suspect mindset of those 313 Members of Parliament is an indication of the godless and man centred times in which we live.  By so voting, they  recognised no superior moral, religious or constitutional constraints. They ignored the historical record of abuse. They have exemplified the tyranny of party loyalty above every standard of common decency. They have ignored the reality of what happens when you give officialdom blanket powers. They have voted to defy the fundamental principles of our constitution.

Wittingly or not, they are laying the foundations of a Police State.

Ray Catlin

The reference to Edmund Burke is at paragraph 235 of Ray Catlin’s edition of Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France, available from Amazon at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Core-Conservatism-Edmund-Landmark-Definition/dp/1973685809/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=Core+Conservatism&qid=1584182058&s=books&sr=1-3

The speech by David Davis in the House of Commons starts at column 578 in the debate recorded on the Westminster parliament debate at https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-10-15/debates/ADEDB9E4-6D5F-4445-9971-D9F239FED9BD/CovertHumanIntelligenceSources(CriminalConduct)Bill

Note especially his comments which occured at 1.45 pm when he said:

I will pick an example which hon. Members from Northern Ireland will say cannot happen now—and they are right, but I want to use it as an illustration. The example is the murder in 1989 of the prominent Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, who was shot 14 times as he sat down for Sunday dinner with his wife and three children. It emerged that the loyalist groups responsible for the murder of Finucane had been infiltrated by UK intelligence operatives. The 2012 review of the killing found collusion by the UK state in identifying, targeting and murdering Mr Finucane. It also found that the state supplied the weapon and facilitated its disappearance following the murder. The inquiry also found that senior Army officers deliberately lied to criminal investigators and the Royal Ulster Constabulary. special branch was responsible for seriously obstructing the investigation. As a result, David Cameron, as Prime Minister, apologised for the actions of the British state.

Of course, that was not the only violation that occurred during the troubles, and we all know the terrible pressures that applied to everyone, even people in this House, during that time, but that is what we have to accommodate, from rendition to murder, not at the behest of the state but with the acquiescence of the state.

Each of the votes on amendments and the final vote are also to be found at the end of the debate in which David Davis made these comments, the link is at https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-10-15/debates/ADEDB9E4-6D5F-4445-9971-D9F239FED9BD/CovertHumanIntelligenceSources(CriminalConduct)Bill

To find out which MPs voted for and against the unamended Bill and send it to the Lords see the link at https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-15/division/277BBD75-52FE-41E9-9859-DD74F4B5165D/CovertHumanIntelligenceSources(CriminalConduct)Bill?outputType=Nameshttps://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-10-15/division/277BBD75-52FE-41E9-9859-DD74F4B5165D/CovertHumanIntelligenceSources(CriminalConduct)Bill?outputType=Names