Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
6 August 2005
Filed under:Current Affairs (UK),Privacy at9:41 pm

When fighting a ruthless enemy there is always a danger that democracies can lose the moral upper hand through over-reaction. The Abu Ghraib prison scandal was bad enough but the latest UK government anti-terrorism proposals (full statement here) seem to be going a long way too far in an attempt to curb terrorism. Making “justifying or glorifying” terrorism anywhere an offence and “automatically refusing asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism anywhere” seem OK on the surface but are rife for misuse. As our mayor Ken Livingstone points out, twenty years ago these laws could have been applied to Nelson Mandela and his supporters.

The fact that some of the proposed rules may be applied retrospectively is also very alarming. And while many of the most draconian restrictions are applied to non-citizens resident here, Blair envisions the extension of powers to strip existing citizens of their citizenship for being “engaged in extremism”.

As with all such rash laws they may well be used initially to target people most of us would consider dangerous or distasteful (and the blurring of the distinction between the two is an important part of the problem). However there is no guarantee that such laws would not be misused by a future administration.

There has been a lot of alarm raised (by the BBC among others) about sites and people who publicise and glorify the terrorism of Al Qaeda and its ‘fellow travellers’ but rather than trying to stamp them out (probably a hopeless task) and criminalise writers and readers shouldn’t we be keeping an eye on those who are already involved and (as I noted earlier) shouldn’t we be trying to minimise legitimate Muslim grievances so the radicals eventually lose their moral ‘ammunition’?


  1. Yes you would think so wouldn’t you?

    But that is where it becomes so apparent
    that this “war on terror” has absolutely nothing
    to do with defeating terrorism. Its about
    making money for your political pals and
    removing our democratic freedoms in
    preparation for “the main event”, and I
    dread to think what that is going to be.

    Comment by Alex — 17 August 2005 @ 12:09 pm

  2. Would be useful to have guidelines on exactly what subjects will become illegal, so you will know you are breaking UK law when writing for websites. Living outside Europe (Ship me somewheres east of Suez…) gives a little more confidence to blog on verboten subjects. The 04.00 unannounced visit by the UK Morals Police or a snap Inland Revenue audit seem unlikely, and extradition back to Police State UK in order to deport would seem the height of folly. Although that’s not to say it won’t happen. Little confused here; foreigners can be deported, Brits. can de made subject to detention order or house arrest, so what if you’re a Brit. that’s already flown the coop? Maybe the Embassy will refuse to issue a new passport, although that would leave you stateless. So perhaps Noddy’s best mate Big Ears could give his considered opinion regarding the following subjects:
    – Enoch was right
    – Multiculturalism was Britain’s suicide note
    – Tony Blair should be tried for treason (taking the UK to war on lies and deception)
    – War crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the United States in Iraq and elsewhere render the UK, as American’s bagman and coattail holder, equally culpable. If the US is forced to pay reparation, presumable Britain will have to chip in.
    – Blacks and unfashionable Asians are treated like Jews in Nazi Germany. If the raciest thugs don’t get them the raciest police will
    – It’s far better that innocent non-entities be jailed than the public lose faith in the criminal justice system (government policy as outlined by Lord Denning, MR)
    – Theft is a form of wealth redistribution. Low level criminality is a disguised cry for help, and the criminal classes are Labour voters. So police should give theft low priority.
    – Main stream media (media whores) are in the government’s pocket. The government owns media, the media controls public opinion. You just haven’t realised it yet.
    – BBC News is government’s propaganda department
    – Government is seeking the justification (pornography, justifying terrorism) to control the Internet. Gratifying to know that alternative Internet news sources have become such a thorn in authority’s side.
    – Tony Blair was advised of the 7/7 bombings before they happened.
    – Speed cameras are a stealth tax on motorists.
    – The National Lottery is a stealth tax on the poor.
    – Former Labour cabinet member paedophiles were protected by Tony Blair and Jack Straw (100-year D-notice on Dunblane Report).
    – Peter Mandelson is Tony Blair’s bitch, or have I got that ass about face?
    – UK government considers the majority of Thai and Filipina women come to UK for prostitution, which is why Embassies are reluctant to issue spouse visa, fiancée visa, etc.
    – If British men were free to marry non-Muslim Asian women, Britain’s cultural profile would be changed permanently.
    – British women are one of the least attractive options for British men, and British men are one of the least attractive options for British women.
    – Police corruption, brutality and racism are endemic. Well over 1,000 deaths in police custody since 1969, and no police officer has ever been convicted for unlawful killing, etc.
    – Government policy is encouraging the middle class to emigrate while allowing immigrants to enter UK, thus Labour is importing its own voters. (no, I don’t read the BNP website).
    – Britain in general, and London in particular is outrageously expensive, and represents poor value for money on a country-for-country comparison.
    – Britain operates a low-income economy thus to keep people poor, in debt and voting Labour.
    – Excessive alcoholic beverage consumption British style is a symptom of a clinically depressed society in terminal meltdown

    Would be helpful to know just what subjects are taboo, then I can really concentrate on them.

    Comment by Andrew Milner — 6 September 2005 @ 2:21 pm

  3. […] where peaceful protesters against military recruitment are attacked by police. Also see my earlier post-Abu Ghraib musings on a similar theme… But hopefully with that out of my system I ca […]

    Pingback by Blog.org by David Brake academic, consultant & journalist — 20 December 2005 @ 3:26 pm

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