Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

British government launches pre-dawn raids on free speech terrorists.

When British police arrested Abu Izadeen on charges of inciting terrorism in February, and when he was subsequently released on bail pending trial, one would've hoped that was the end of it, and that things would proceed in a civil manner, but apparently not...  

Last night, the police launched pre-dawn raids throughout London, capturing six Muslim men. The six, including Abu Izzadeen, were arrested under Terrorism Act 2000, which defines speaking about the potential for acts of terrorism as a form of terrorism itself, so long as such statements are made for the purpose of influencing the government, intimidating the public, or advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

So, really, although the people arrested can sometimes be pretty meanspirited, it's worth noting that there is an element of truth to what they are saying, and that these people are being arrested as terrorists -- and potentially being treated in a rather draconian, previously extrajudicial manner -- primarily for talking.

The worst part of it -- as least as far as I am concerned -- is that it establishes the fact that anyone can be arrested in Britain for saying, for instance, that future terrorist acts could potentially be avoided if the British weren't foriegn occupiers, didn't get involved in or otherwise help enable overseas wars, and were more politically balanced on the whole Israel / Palestinian issue... and as long as the British fail to change their ways, they are inviting the deaths of their citizens, both at home and abroad. 

So there, I said it... does that make me a terrorist too?! By strict definition of Terrorism Act 2000, it appears so. 

Is it safe -- or would it be allowed -- for me to visit Britain, a country where I am legally entitled to full citizenship? I don't know. Frankly, I'm wondering if I really want to bother finding out.

Fortunately, the British Government has the ability to deal with such a growing crisis. They absolutely have the ability to extradite me and the hundreds of millions of others around the world who feel the same way, if they so desire. I'm sure the Bush administration would sign off on the first few thousand extraditions, so long as it didn't ruffle too many people's feathers. After all, it's always so much easier to target "them", especially when most of us don't know any of "them" personally. 

It's not enough for us to, say, have a 60% chance of thwarting a domestic terrorist attack. We want to be, say, 65% secure... and so we will ruin the foundation of our nation's laws in order to make exceptions to those laws, so we can get "them". And, hopefully, "them" won't be us one day. But hey, you know how bureaucracies tend to be self-perpetuating. Really, arresting more of them makes good practical sense, because anti-terrorism is a big, growing business. And you, as a person who potentially has the audacity to say what you think, could find yourself on the cutting edge of that business... so to speak. 

Ultimately, this whole struggle comes down to us and "them", with "them" becoming an ever-larger circle of people, and with us painting "them" as the one-dimensional bogeymen we would like them to be, while ignoring the fact that none of us really know "us" any better than we think we know "them". 

By strict legal definition, the new terrorists of this world aren't "them". They are us, because we sometimes have the audacity to say what we think too. 


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