21 February 2006
In actuality, running the risk of being thrown in the slammer for ‘Glorifying terrorism’ is the least of our problems as the ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’ is already wreaking havoc on the citizens of this ‘cradle of democracy [sic].
From shouting out “nonsense” at the Labour Party Conference to attending film festivals or wearing a t-shirt that disses Blair, we are all subject to arrest and/or detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. And it’s clear that the police have been given orders to use it to intimidate and harass anyone who speaks out or behaves in a way likely to bring disrepute on our ‘glorious’ leaders.
“She [a police woman] asked me whether I intended to do more documentary films, specifically more political ones like The Road to Guantánamo. She asked ‘Did you become an actor mainly to do films like this, to publicise the struggles of Muslims?’”
A spokes woman for the Bedfordshire police said:
“The police officers wanted to ask them some questions under the counter-terrorism act,” she said. “All were released within the hour. Part of the counter-terrorism act allows us to stop and examine people if something happens that might be suspicious.”
Suspicious? So attending the Berlin film festival is branded as being suspicious!
Do people realise what they have let themselves in for? I doubt it. Do people realise that the police can stop anybody and demand that they submit to a search and a slew of questions which, if they refuse to answer, they can be detained at ‘her Majesty’s pleasure’?
The police don’t need ‘reasonable cause’ but wearing a t-shirt which for example calls Tony Blair a Fascist Cunt will definitely increase your chances of being stopped. Or merely being in the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ or being the ‘wrong colour’, wearing the ‘wrong’ clothes, attending a meeting or a movie.
These laws are designed with only one purpose in mind, to harass and intimidate opponents of the imperial state and all done in the name of the ‘war on terror’ or to give it its new branding, ‘the Long War’.
The “rules have changed” alright, but I put it to you (to use one of Blair’s favourite expressions), that we have no one to blame but ourselves because we have allowed these corporate fascists to change the rules that enables them to suppress any and all dissent under the catchall of fighting the ‘Long War’.
But I doubt that the corporate state will catch many terrorists but you can guarantee that such draconian laws will deter many people from going on demonstrations or even writing to their MP. In fact dissent of any kind will be suppressed under these laws, that is after all, the main objective. Real terrorists are unlikely to want to draw attention to themselves by going around and advertising the fact that they ‘glorify terrorism’ or even revel in the idea.
Dark days indeed and without rubbing it in, it’s something that we have been warning about for some time. Step by inexorable step, the corporate state has been enacting laws with each one closing down all the available avenues of free expression that we have fought for over so many generations.
Glorifying terrorism is in reality, a blanket term that covers not only the present and future, but also the past. For a number of years I worked for an organisation that was branded by the British state as “terrorist”, the African National Congress. So if I now relish (glory) in the ANC, which I did in a manner of speaking (not that anybody outside of 10 Downing Street actually uses such dumb-arse language), am I breaking the law? And who wants to find out? Not your ‘average’ person that’s for sure, or even the tens of thousands of people who attend demonstrations or oppose the policies of Blair’s corporate, security state.
Meanwhile, John Reid (Dr), our minister of war, warns us that al-Qaida:
“sees the free western media as a virtual battleground in itself – where the swaying of public opinion away from support for our campaigns, can be the path to a swift victory, a quick way of undermining our public morale.”
Free Western media? What’s free about a media that’s in lockstep with the state’s view on the ‘war on terror’; that refused to publish the latest obscenities committed against the Iraqi people? That still consistently reports the beating up of people by the British army as “apparently” even when it’s on video for all to see?
Seen in the context of the battle for hearts and minds, Reid’s little outburst, petulant and desperate though it is, reveals the weakness of a state reeling from the massive defeats it has received in its attempts to ‘pacify’ Iraq.
Reid builds all kinds of assumption into his words such as the “swaying of public opinion away from support for our campaigns”, when clearly public opinion has been resolutely opposed to his campaigns. Note also Reid’s comment about a “swift victory”, as if the resistance to the occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan is being led by ‘al-Qu’eda’.
It should not escape the notice of the reader that it’s a mere hop and a skip between defending the Iraqi resistance’s right to kick the invaders out and ‘glorifying terrorism’. How long before those who oppose the illegal occupation of Iraq are rounded up under the Prevention of Terrorism Act?
Will supporting the Iraqi resistance struggle be ‘re-branded’ as ‘glorifying terrorism’?
What is worse is the almost total lack of response from our so-called “free media”, aside from the odd article such as the one in Scotland’s Sunday Herald (www.sundayherald.com/54216). Titled ‘Parliament’s failed us, so let’s challenge Blair’s police state ourselves’ and penned by Ian Macwhirter, who writes:
“Self-censorship will have a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Whenever any person speaks on any liberation struggle , hanging above them will be the threat of prosecution for glorifying terrorism. This is thought crime.”
And indeed, John Reid (Dr), is on record as saying that it’s not what anyone says but what’s in someone’s mind! Yes indeed, thought crime sums it up perfectly.
Macwhirter’s article ends with the following, already come to pass reality of what is to all intents and purposes, a de facto fascist state:
“Perhaps someone should compile a list of “beastly beatitudes”, glorifying freedom struggles across the world, and read them out at the Cenotaph in Whitehall. Except, of course, that the last person to do that, Maya Ann Evans, who read out the names of Iraq war dead, was arrested for demonstrating within half a mile of parliament.”
Well folks, you can’t say that you haven’t had fair warning; for the umpteenth time, I have to repeat the words of the German anti-fascist, the Reverend Martin Niemoller:
“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”