Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Clarke 'flexible' on terror laws

Well apparently so, anyway. I personally haven't talked much about the detention period, I guess I oppose extending it so much, but I have had other things on my mind. Nevertheless:
"I am ready to look for flexibility to achieve agreement," he told Today, adding: "I don't think 28 days is long enough to meet the concerns that the police have set out, but of course I think it is necessary to see what agreement can be reached."
Whilst this is of course good news I can't help but feel that these are cosmetic measures, designed to curb the waiverers, so as to pass some of the frankly terrifying legislation on the 'glorification' of terror. And of course the hegemony of anti-terror rhertoric guarantees people will fall into line.

I mean look at the accusation that was levelled against the Lib-Dems, they are apparently:
"[W]eakening the common front of democratic politics against terrorism"
Heaven forbid that one might object to the word of the Lord Home Secretary. Again, however, some people are seeing that this law will either entail mass criminalisation or huge amounts of discretion and political targetting:

Mr Clarke has said existing laws covered somebody urging people to attack a particular Tube train.

But the new offence would target those urging attacks on the Underground network in general, he says.

Critics of the measure say the new offence has been drawn too widely.

They question whether it could have been used against those praising Nelson Mandela when his African National Congress was using armed struggle against apartheid.

Not only those people however, because as I have tried (repeatedly I might add) to drive home, terrorism is:

"terrorism" means the use or threat of action where-

    (a) the action falls within subsection (2),

    (b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

    (c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-

    (a) involves serious violence against a person,

    (b) involves serious damage to property,

    (c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,

    (d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

    (e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

Which rather destroys Charles Clarke's idiotic bumbling:

He said he could not "think of a situation in the world" where terror was justified for political change.

Committee chairman John Denham said this "presumably" meant Iraq was "the war to end all wars".

Mr Clarke replied: "It's not terrorist violence. This is about terrorism, not about violence used in the way that you describe.

So apparently, the Iraq war did not involve 'the use or threat of action', that 'advanc[ed] a political cause', and we all know it didn't involve violence, damage property, endanger life, create health and safety risks or interfere with an electronic system. Either that or Mr. Clarke doesn't understand his own legislation.

Maybe someone should prosecute the government as soon as this Bill is passed, though we know it would never be allowed to go to court, it would still be fairly fun, and entirely within the bounds of the statute.

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