Thursday, February 16, 2006

1984 Redux

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has apparently taken a page from the George Bush playbook and has somehow managed to get his Parliament to pass a vaguely worded law that all but forbids freedom of speech in Britain. His new "anti-terrorism" bill includes a clause outlawing the "glorification of terrorism". In a country which has successfully outlawed the private ownership of firearms and made a pocket knife a criminal implement this is just one more step into dark and tyranical future. And, even tho this newest step in the long march to the police state is overshadowed and lost by the convenient release of new Abu Ghraib pictures and the Mohammed Cartoon controversy, make no is a pivotally important event for freedom lovers everywhere.

When any law containing vague language is implemented we know full well that the capacity for abuse is limited by the most ignorant of common denominators in the legal equation. Just ask any number of people in the United States who have found themselves on our vaunted "No Fly Lists" or under investigation by "The Authorities" for having a poster on their wall.

The new anti-terrorism act ostensibly contains the language it does for the following reason.
"I think that signal of strength is vital in circumstances where the threat that we face is not just from the individual acts of terrorism but the people who celebrate it, who try and entice other people or recruit other people into doing it."
The latitude for misuse and abuse of this act is phenomenal. I can think of a number of books that could be said to "glorify" terrorist acts in the eyes of the British Crown, many of them dealing with American history. Will we see the likes of Alan Moore thrown into prison for having written "V For Vendetta"? Will James McTeigue and the Wachowski Brothers find themselves extradited to Britain to stand trial as terrorism supporters? With such a poorly worded law and the interpretations of the statist mentallity it is entirely possible.

Britain is becoming the 21st Century testing ground for tyranical statism. With constant surveillance, RFID equipped car tags, disarmed and complacent citizens one is left to wonder when the tests will be over, declared a success and exported to their allies? Americans are already primed by the State, government schools and media to accept such things in the name of security. Look to the recent passage, via Congressional chicanery of the REAL ID Act for the prime example. Soon Americans will be able to be tracked wherever they go, via their "government approved and sanctioned Citizen ID card" or internal passport. Where was the outrage? It was lost amidst the rhetoric and propaganda of the frightened masses who allowed it to be implemented, (it was supposed to come into effect 3 years from passage but some Bush friendly states have decided that early implementation is the way to go).

The British have one more chance to halt Mr. Blair and his assault on speech, as it must still go through the British House of Lords and they have already spoken out against the "glorification" clause as an infringement on the few civil liberties they still possess.

One thing we can be sure of. If this does pass in Britain, it will not be long before a like measure comes to visit on our shores.

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