Tuesday, 14th August 2012
Last call for Democracy ?
by F oliva
Europe’s cumbersome and equivocal response to the ethical, moral and political dilemma posed by Islamist terrorism, which continues its unrelenting crusade to destroy western democracy, speaks volumes of the state of decadence and disarray into which our civilization has been plunged. A process that was set in motion long before the economic recession swept across the continent wreaking havoc on living standards and our once seemingly impregnable position in the world order.
Decades of economic growth and prosperity, of material affluence and high living standards have gradually turned Europe into an emasculated, smug, trusting, ingenuous political unit. Indiscriminate, free-for-all immigration policies coupled with four decades of the disastrously failed experiment of multiculturalism, the ideological jewel in the crown of European left leaning liberalism, created fertile ground for the proliferation of fanatically anti-western sentiments. These deep-rooted contradictions mercilessly pounded European sensitivities for many years to the point of implosion, the net outcome of which has been a collective desensitization to the long term consequences of what has, rather predictably, turned out to be a lethal combination. Paralyzed like a rabbit frozen in the headlamps Europe was transformed into a soft target from within, incapable of taking decisive action to counter its slow, stealthy, unremittingly devastating effects on our societies. In no small measure a scenario to which a generation of weak, cowardly and unremarkable European politicians have massively contributed. At times it seems as if we were being led to believe that September 11th had never really happened.
In more recent times countries like France and Germany appear to be leading some form of desire to fight back, a developing awareness in public opinion that democratic states have a legitimate right to defend and protect themselves from those who wish to wipe out our lifestyle, political system and everything we stand for, to preserve the values of freedom which is the west’s defining ideal. Time will tell whether we have not, regrettably, left it far too late to redress the situation.
Closer to home, news of the local connection to the Al Qaeda terror plot after the arrest of three suspects in La Linea and Ciudad Real has served as a wake-up call that the Rock is no less vulnerable to this modern day criminal scourge than any other city in the West.
For far too long we have thought of ourselves as existing in a safe sanctuary, that events happening across Europe and the world were just something to be watched over dinner on television programmes. The crude reality check, that professionals in the security services have been all too sharply aware of, has dispelled the fiction and should now begin to seep through.
The risk has existed for quite a number of years but it is only now, notwithstanding the gutter press sensationalism of the Daily Mirror and others of their sort who hover like vultures excited at the smell of ‘blood and guts’, that we have been able to put actual faces to the zealous determination and vicious criminal intent behind what had been a loosely perceived, distant threat.
The problem of disaffected youths who are lured to radical politics has been a long standing and recurrent bane of western societies, even if this type of terrorism is a rejection not just of ideological constructs as we understand it in the west, but a violent, brutal and fanatical religious based eradication of western values, beliefs and principles as a prelude to the physical annihilation of our civilization.
While overreaction and knee jerk responses are never good counsel in any situation, we cannot remain complacent any longer when examining how vulnerable Gibraltar can be to the type of home grown estrangement that has notoriously afflicted other western societies with disastrous consequences.
The Gibraltar Government through the Chief Minister and Minister for Justice, experienced lawyers and legislators in their own right, should seriously consider a review of existing anti-terrorist legislation available to local law enforcement agencies which, it is not hard to surmise, appears wholly inadequate and insufficient to counter the very real threat we are currently facing. This should include a process of consultation with the RGP and close coordination with other European Governments and law enforcement, security and intelligence services.
In response to the growing concerns of ordinary citizens, western European countries with immaculate democratic credentials have introduced greater powers to adequately equip their police forces with all the necessary instruments to counteract this deadly menace. The RG Police should not be an exception.
Interception of electronic communications including telephones, which is now a standard clause locally even in the most pedestrian of employment contracts, exists in many countries, yet this is still not available to law enforcers in Gibraltar. Powers of detention of terrorism suspects for sufficient time to allow the police to gather critical evidence is also severely curtailed at this present time.
In the light of recent events, there is a strong argument that the RGP’s ‘tools’ in dealing with and investigating terrorist and serious criminal offences needs to be brought into line with what already exists in other democratic European countries.
It should not be impossible for such an initiative to attract cross-party support in the Gibraltar Parliament and indeed from other parties outside it like the PDP, as this would be wholly in the public interest.
New Commissioner of Police Eddie Yome has successfully built upon the solid foundations laid by his predecessor, Louis Wink, to continue providing the community with an excellent service. The results of the neighbourhood policing plan for greater interaction between the force and the general public is producing good results. The initiative has in general terms been greatly welcomed because it is reassuring to see uniformed officers patrolling Main Street and Casemates at the various outdoor events organized throughout the summer. The presence of the RGP is both popular and gives the public an added sense of security and confidence in these difficult and uncertain times. The RG Police are working flat out to curb anti-social behaviour, violence and delinquency in order to ensure that Gibraltar’s streets are kept safe and from the point of view of the administration it is essential that no material resources should be spared to guarantee this overriding aim.
As usual this article is not intended to be followed on the toxic sewers of the social networks.