Thursday, April 13, 2006

Welcome to the Terrordome

The Terrorism Act has arrived today.

"(3) For the purposes of this section a publication is a terrorist publication ... if matter contained in it is likely-

(a) to be understood, by some or all of the persons to whom it is or may become available as a consequence of that conduct, as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism; ...

-- Part 1, section 2

"I pursue my enemies and overtake them;
I will not turn back till I have destroyed them.
I strike them down, and they cannot rise;
they fall defeated at my feet.
You have girded me with strength for the battle;
you have cast down my adversaries beneath me;
you have put my enemies to flight.
I destroy those who hate me;
they cry out, but there is none to help them;
they cry to the LORD, but he does not answer.
I beat them small like dust before the wind;
I trample them like mud in the streets.

-- Psalm 18

This is after a quarter of an hour flicking through a Bible, and adopting "terrorism" to infer violence. More time, and a wider definition (i.e. the legal definition), and I'm sure there would be reasonable grounds to have most things banned. An interesting exercise, I think.

(On a side note, is it illegal to encourage yourself to commit acts of terrorism? My own writing is certainly "available" to me...)


N said...

It's funny, I was just thinking along the same lines over my cup of tea this morning. I started to wonder to myself whether the encouragement of dissent that is now illegal under the Terrorism Act (see Brian Haw, Walter Wolfgang, Helen & Sylvia) would be classed as 'glorification of terrorism'?
A few weeks ago I had an idea to start a blog whose sole purpose would be celebration of selected acts of dissent - to let people like Walter, Helen & Sylvia, who are brave enough to stand up a protest about something important, know that they are not alone, and provide a central point where people can communicate their support and encouragement.
But now I wonder whether such a site would be classed as glorification... or maybe conveniently classed as such by a government that wants to silence dissent by singling out and seperating dissidents from the rest of society?

Scribe said...

The key point is that you really have to stop and think about it ;)

I think anything that keeps a list of the downsides of these "dual-use" laws is definitely worth doing, and am wondering about setting something up to catalogue the things that most people would think were obviously legal, but that could easily be interpreted, under the law, as illegal.

Legislation is getting sloppier - I don't know whether it's because the people that draw up the bills are being deliberately vague to prevent people from questioning decisions, or whether it's just desparate over-simplification to avoid the stress of working out what language to use in a time when things are changing so rapidly.

Either way, if the powers are there, they'll be abused, and publicity for such use is needed greatly.

Anonymous said...

The Terroism Act induces me to commit acts of terroism; other things haven't worked. I find that it is very likely that was to happen. Is it illegal?

Scribe said...

First rule of Discretional Politics - the Politics is never to blame.

N said...

Obviously I am not alone in my logic; William Heath repeats my point in his own way on the Ideal Government blog.