Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Be afraid - no, really, be afraid

GNU BRITAIN

Somehow I missed this story, but it shows how very scared we should all be. Yes, all of us.

[UPDATE: David Mery's story, to which I have here linked, is (it turns out) only one out of thousands of cases in which ordinary, law-abiding people have fallen victim to the government's increasingly paranoid and loopy anti-terror legislation. Section 44 of the 2000 Terrorism Act allows the police to stop and search anyone in certain designated areas - whether they believe that person to be acting suspiciously or not. It turns out that the whole of London is one of these 'designated areas'. Parts of Hampshire (Hampshire!) are another. Trainspotters have been arrested for writing down train numbers. A student was stopped and searched for photographing a motorway. Annie Mole, of the famous London Underground Tube Diary, was stopped for taking pictures of a Tube station for her blog (not, admittedly, under Section 44 - or, at least, the police didn't say so - but still...). Lord Carlile, in his review of the Terrorism Act, has said that at least 50% of these searches are unnecessary.

Today I took a video camera in a big black case onto the Tube, as well as my black rucksack which was full to bursting with videotapes and DVDs - why? Because I had a meeting with a director whose film I had been cutting, and I wanted to hand the stuff over to him. While I waited for him in Leicester Square, I was passed by several policemen. I was more nervous of being asked to account for all the material in my possession than I was of having it nicked by a thief. That can't be right, by any stretch of the imagination. I was just glad I wasn't wearing a jacket as well...

The BBC has a good report on how the police are mis-using their new powers. Frankly, if you're stopped by the police for any reason at all, I recommend you immediately put your hands in the air and request that they not shoot you. Just to be on the safe side.]

4 Comments:

Blogger hungbunny said...

This might be an apocryphal story, but a friend of a friend was on the tube recently when a large sweating Asian man got on with a rucksack. He sat down heavily and, noticing the worried stares of everyone in the carriage, removed his jumper to reveal a T-shirt which read "Don't Freak - I'm A Sikh".

7:19 pm  
Blogger Brownie said...

here in Australia the Idiots Elected are busy enabling all of that to happen here. It is the equal of going after Users of drugs instead of Dealers.eejits.

3:01 am  
Blogger Oscar Wildebeest said...

No doubt you've already read Gregory's summary of the anti-terror laws, Brownie. (See also Crooked Timber.

(The word verification for this comment is "ngundgg", which is presumably the sound of free speech being muzzled.)

10:37 am  
Blogger Annie Mole said...

Thanks for the link and comments

I wish I had known this at the time though

Section 44 Searches - Know your rights

2:28 am  

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