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"Justifying or glorifying terrorism" becomes illegal in UK
August 6, 2005 2:57 PM   Subscribe

"Justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere" will become an offence in the UK under hastily-drafted new legislation. Will the police arrest historians who celebrate the French Resistance and the Warsaw Uprising, or Americans who claim that it's okay to bomb Cuban airliners? What form of words could you suggest for the legislation to use, that would define "terrorism" to include al-Qaeda and the pro-Aristide fighters in Haiti, but exclude the Miami-based ex-Cubans?
posted by cleardawn (117 comments total)

 
I'm thinking something along the lines of:

"Terrorism" is any violent act which opposes the current realpolitik foreign policy objectives of the Government, as defined by the unelected corporations who set its priorities.

That's what they really mean, of course, and no doubt that's how the judges will interpret it, too. But I'll be interested to see how the politicians word their definition, from a legal point of view.
posted by cleardawn at 3:05 PM on August 6, 2005


What about celebrating the past overthrow of a monarchist government using unconventional military means?

Will it become a crime for Americans in the UK to talk about their Founding Fathers?
posted by clevershark at 3:06 PM on August 6, 2005


Ooooh, I'm looking forward to a law which outlaws "Justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere" without a very, very specific and well-defined meaning of "terrorism" ... 'cos I suspect that'll last about five minutes before becoming subject to judicial review, either from our courts or the European Court. That whole pesky freedom of speech thing, don'cha know...
posted by kaemaril at 3:13 PM on August 6, 2005


Dumb statement...that's the problem with the left, they equate the muslim terrorists with noble causes. The terrorists who blew up the London Underground are not killing innocents for any reason other than hatred for the west and their own religious fanatacism. They have no goal other than the extermination of those with ideas different from their own. The Cuban exiles in Miami want the island to be free. The Warsaw Jews were being exterminated by the Nazis and fought back. The American founding fathers were fighting for their independence from the King....And don't give me that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" bullshit. We all know who the bad guys are.
posted by Durwood at 3:27 PM on August 6, 2005


Durwood: if the americans and brits are allowed to fight the muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, then shouldn't the muslims have the right to fight back in the USA and Britain?

Your argument is exactly why these rules are silly ones, because they are too relativistic.
posted by furtive at 3:43 PM on August 6, 2005


Uh-oh, sounds like the Wachowskis could be in trouble.
posted by homunculus at 3:43 PM on August 6, 2005


Uh-oh, sounds like the Wachowskis could be in trouble.

And suddenly, there's a slight lessening in the constant sense of unease that twists my spine every time I read the news...

Oh wait. It's back.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:52 PM on August 6, 2005


"We all know who the bad guys are."

If only that were true, what a simple world we would live in, Durwood. Is your life really that simple?

The fact that you claim there is a "problem with the left" indicates that you are probably one of the people who I, and many others, would classify as one of the 'bad guys'.

The fact that you claim bombing an airliner in Cuba (killing 73 people including the teenage Cuban Olympic fencing team) was an act done for a "noble cause" suggests you are completely out of your mind. You could also, amusingly enough, be prosecuted under this new legislation, if you're ever in the UK.

One of the scariest things about the new law is that it's retrospective. It includes the right to prosecute for existing statements already on the record - including on MeFi, presumably. So watch out, Durwood - you risk arrest when you support anti-Communist terrorists...
posted by cleardawn at 4:01 PM on August 6, 2005


They have no goal other than the extermination of those with ideas different from their own.

I'm getting confused here. Which side is "they" again?
posted by scottreynen at 4:04 PM on August 6, 2005




Lock up Nelson Mandela now!
posted by MarkC at 4:07 PM on August 6, 2005


"then shouldn't the muslims have the right to fight back in the USA and Britain?"

It may not be a right, but I guess you could call it a prerogative. At the same time, those nations they are fighting against must obviously enjoy the same prerogative to fight back. Using the law to gag and force these creeps to use political means for change rather then preaching violence makes a lot of sense to me.

Do you guys even bother to read what some of these imams are saying? They want you dead. They think you suck, and if you are a woman... boy you had better shut your big trap, and crawl under a sheet. These guys would turn back the clock 500 years if they could. Stop being so nambypamby. It's time for the Left to stand up and heap as much scorn on radical Muslims as we do on Christians.

Personally I say turf the buggers out on their ass if they are not citizens. They can preach their retarded interpretation of Islam in the dysfuntional nations they came from.
posted by Rusty Iron at 4:09 PM on August 6, 2005


It's interesting. Most people seem so polorized. Either you buy into right or the left dogma. Whatever happened to the middle?

Why can't we think that the war is a sham, and gitmo a travisty, while at the same time believe that we need to root out and imprison those who advocate the destruction of our civilization, and use the very freedoms we all enjoy against us?

For sure the West must bare some of the blame for the rise of radical Islamm, but what about those who preach this crazy shit? What about those who accept it? Are they just victims? I call bullshit.
posted by Rusty Iron at 4:19 PM on August 6, 2005


Rusty Iron, outlawing speech has never, ever worked. Why do you want to be all "namby pamby" about it and pretend that this is how the world actually works? Outlawing something makes it go away?

Of course I don't agree with people who "want me dead," just like I don't agree with people who hold certain views on evolution. Does that mean I want to outlaw what these people say? No, because I'm sensible enough to know that it won't do jack shit; people will think whatever they want to think, whether they're "allowed" to or not.
posted by odinsdream at 4:25 PM on August 6, 2005


Only fools outlaw concepts. There's a reason the idea of "thoughtcrime" is considered a joke and an emblem of the fascist ideal.
posted by FormlessOne at 4:39 PM on August 6, 2005


> Lock up Nelson Mandela now!

And Winnie Mandela retroactively.
posted by jfuller at 4:39 PM on August 6, 2005


I actually think it is okay if people want me dead. It's when they act on it that there's a problem. And I say legislate against the actions, hell, you can even legislate against plotting the action, but when you legislate against expressing the idea of the action is when you have crossed the line.
posted by maxsparber at 4:39 PM on August 6, 2005


Question. Wouldn't anyone who happened to call the bombings of the London underground a "wake-up call" be guilty of glorifying terrorism?

Personally, I think the left wing in the UK needs to start a pro-terrorist week, where ordinary white citizens discuss the benifits of terrorism. I think that would be a good demonstration of the absurdity of this law.
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2005


It isn't outlawing speech. These guys can say whatever they like... in their own countries. They can even post it to the internet for all to read. They just won't be allowed to spew their retardation as guests of the UK.

It's terribly cheeky to wander into somebody elses country and advocate killing it's citizens. Would you tolerate somebody showing up at your house for a party and suggesting to his friends that they start killing the other guests? I doubt you would.

I'm not sure if you know anything about Canadian history, but in the early 70's we went through the FLQ crisis. At this time French seperatists decided that they would use violence to bring about seperation. This involved bombings and kidnappings. Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (a huuuuge lefty himself) enacted the War Measures Act, and proceeded to kick ass all over Quebec. He suspended civil liberties, and crushed the movement in a matter of months.

As a result of this, seperatist decided to shift to political means to achieve their ends. Quebec is still a part of Canada. They may yet leave, but if they do, it will likely be the result of a civilized debate and referendum.

In this case a brutal crackdown on speech and actions actually worked to force a bunch of stupid young men away from violence, and channel their energies into more productive methods.
posted by Rusty Iron at 4:42 PM on August 6, 2005


"It's time for the Left to stand up and heap as much scorn on radical Muslims as we do on Christians."

Yes, by all means! Let's exile, kill and/or indefinitely detain Fred Phelps, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell too! After all, every one of them tried to justify the 9/11 attacks as God's way of punishing us for the specific sins of fellow Americans.
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:45 PM on August 6, 2005


"I actually think it is okay if people want me dead. It's when they act on it that there's a problem."

How's about when a leader figure tells a follower who is willing to do it that "it is your duty to kill max". That is pretty direct. In fact... it is basically plotting.

Don't get me wrong... I'm all over free speech, but I am against direct incitement. We don't tolerate people who say "kill fags". Why tolerate these guys?
posted by Rusty Iron at 4:48 PM on August 6, 2005


Well, I guess it's just evidence that everybody is in favor of freedom of speech right up until it gets to the point where we really don't like the speech.
posted by maxsparber at 4:50 PM on August 6, 2005


"Yes, by all means! Let's exile, kill and/or indefinitely detain Fred Phelps, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell too! After all, every one of them tried to justify the 9/11 attacks as God's way of punishing us for the specific sins of fellow Americans."

Unfortunately... they are American citizens, so you are sorta stuck with them. With the exception of Swagert who sorta said "I would kill a homo who came onto me", I don't think these guys advocate killing innocent people on buses.
posted by Rusty Iron at 4:51 PM on August 6, 2005


This isn't the same as ordering someone to kill another person. That's illegal in almost every country. But what would stop the government from declaring that anyone who roots for the Middle East over the invading West is promoting terrorism?
posted by Citizen Premier at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2005


Oh, and incitement is plotting, and should be illegal. However, were they to say, "Max is a jerk and I think its okay if somebody wants to kill him," well, who am I to disagree.
posted by maxsparber at 4:52 PM on August 6, 2005


realpolitik foreign policy

The invasion of Iraq was an example of realism and practicality? OK.
posted by raysmj at 4:59 PM on August 6, 2005


"It isn't outlawing speech. These guys can say whatever they like... in their own countries. They can even post it to the internet for all to read. They just won't be allowed to spew their retardation as guests of the UK."

You know, the London bombers were born in Britain.

"It's terribly cheeky to wander into somebody elses country and advocate killing it's citizens. Would you tolerate somebody showing up at your house for a party and suggesting to his friends that they start killing the other guests? I doubt you would. "

Tell that to the Israelis.
posted by MarkC at 5:01 PM on August 6, 2005


It isn't outlawing speech. These guys can say whatever they like... in their own countries. They can even post it to the internet for all to read. They just won't be allowed to spew their retardation as guests of the UK.

Of course, the bombers wern't "guests" but native born British Citizens. Or Subjects, or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 5:02 PM on August 6, 2005


We don't tolerate people who say "kill fags".

We don't? Fred Phelps runs godhatesfags.com, and the associated church, famous for protesting funerals of gay people beaten to death. Wikipedia says of him:

Phelps was the subject of nationwide controversy when his family proposed, in a referendum, the removal of workplace protection for homosexuals in Topeka. The measure was defeated, 53 percent to 47 percent.

Apparently 47% of us do tolerate people who say "kill fags."

But funny you should mention that, as Phelps also supports the recent terrorist London bombings.
posted by scottreynen at 5:04 PM on August 6, 2005


Not to mention that the extremists would be deported back to countries that torture and kill their prisoners. But that's okay, we'll get them to promise not to do anything bad, cross their hearts and hope to die...
posted by MarkC at 5:05 PM on August 6, 2005


It isn't outlawing speech. These guys(sand niggers) can say whatever they like... in their own countries of national origin. They can even post it to the internet for all to read. They just won't be allowed to spew their retardation as guests of the UK.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:05 PM on August 6, 2005


Rusty I'm not sure to whom you were responding there but the exchange between a superior and a willing subordinate doesn't really qualify as the mere expression of a thought. It is really a command. I'm sure you would agree that we could outlaw commands to commit illegal activities without that being a real restriction on our freedom of speech.
posted by oddman at 5:08 PM on August 6, 2005


Do I have this right? Since the Brits are killing Muslims in Iaq, then it is ok for Brits if Muslims to kill Brits. Fine. Then if the Catholics in Ireland kill Protestants in Ireland, or the reverse, then it is ok for me, in America, to kill Catholics here (or Protestants) since "my people": are being killed elsewhere. That helps me to understand things. Thanks.
posted by Postroad at 5:16 PM on August 6, 2005


Are you being sarcastic, Citizen Premier?
posted by Kwantsar at 5:18 PM on August 6, 2005


Yes, I was just re-writing what Rusty Iron said into what it seems like he meant.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:19 PM on August 6, 2005


It isn't outlawing speech. These guys can say whatever they like... in their own countries.

When you discuss laws, you automatically discuss something that has jurisdiction. Would you argue that outlawing free speech on the earth is not "outlawing speech" because people on the ISS aren't affected? Would anyone take you seriously? Stop being childish.

Would you tolerate somebody showing up at your house for a party and suggesting to his friends that they start killing the other guests? I doubt you would.

Yes, I would. I would not tolerate someone pulling a gun, of course, because that is an action, not vibrating air.

He suspended civil liberties, and crushed the movement in a matter of months.

I don't think this is disputed. Dictatorships are simpler to operate, but in civilized societies, we don't live in dictatorships, we live in a world of nuance, where people have human rights that cannot (should not) be violated. This is our reality, live with it. Your position is only possible under a dictatorship, where the dictator "knows who the bad guys are." Good luck with that.
posted by odinsdream at 5:19 PM on August 6, 2005


"We don't tolerate people who say "kill fags".

Actually, yes we do, routinely.

Not only have the followers of people like Fred Phelps advocated the killing of homosexuals, there are also numerous musicians whose lyrics have advocated killing homosexuals. This has been the case with numerous metal artists, and is especially the case with some of the latest reggae artists.

Of course, the standard being talked about isn't just telling people that they should kill ____, or that ______ should be dead. The standard is merely justifying such activities, such as by saying "The _______ deserved to be attacked, because their attacks on _______ justified it".

Lots of Americans made similar arguments in the aftermath of 9/11, and although they may not have been popular, I absolutely defend their right to say it.

After all, Americans also said "Iraq deserved to be attacked, because the attacks of 9/11 justified it". What's the difference?
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:20 PM on August 6, 2005


Whoa there Citizen Premier. Nobody called anybody a sand nigger, so get a grip on yourself. I am referring specifically to dudes like Bakri Mohammed. A radical Imam who has been living in the UK for 18 years and collecting welfare all while saying things like :

“I believe the whole of Britain has become Dar ul-Harb (land of war). In such a state, he added, “the kuffar (non-believer) has no sanctity for their own life or property.”

In his broadcasts, conducted through an internet chatroom, Mr Bakri Mohammed stopped short of calling for terrorist attacks in Britain. But he said that Muslims should join the jihad “wherever you are” and told one woman that she was permitted to become a suicide bomber.
posted by Rusty Iron at 5:24 PM on August 6, 2005


Sorry about the alteration, Rusty Iron, I was just poking fun.
But in seriousness, I routinely see advertisements that promote the joining of the army or the navy, and some of them even show military operations. I don't see how this is very much different. "Support our Troops" is a way of saying that it's ok for them to kill whatever Iraqis our military leaders see fit.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:29 PM on August 6, 2005


You will do me the justice to remember that I have always supported the right of every man to his opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right makes a slave of himself to present opinion because he precludes himself the right of changing it. The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.

-Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
posted by Relay at 5:34 PM on August 6, 2005


Relay, wasn't it also Thomas Paine who, after the American Revolution was completed, said that the Loyalists should be driven from the country for which they did not fight?
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:38 PM on August 6, 2005


Sorry I flagged you citizen premier. I didn't realize you were interpreting the rusty irons statements. For what it's worth I agree with your interpretation. Stupid idea for a law. Precrime anyone?
posted by nofundy at 5:41 PM on August 6, 2005


Flagged me? What mean this?
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:44 PM on August 6, 2005


Somehow I felt that the shrill tenor of the police procedurals issued after the second London bombings was going to end up in at least one event of hair-trigger madness...without adding to real security in the Underground.

Then there was the murder of an innocent guy running to work.

Blowback on this unnecessary uneffective law in three...two...one....
posted by Dunvegan at 5:48 PM on August 6, 2005


"But he said that Muslims should join the jihad"

Do you realize, however, that jihad, seen as a moral obligation by many in the Islamic world, does not just indicate violent resistance?

There are plenty of imams who believe that all of Islam should view jihad as an obligation, but they do not all necessarily believe that they should resort to violence.

Keep in mind that Jerry Falwell advocated that it was a Christian duty to fight in Vietnam, or, as it was sarcastically described by the protesters, "kill a commie for Christ". Christian leaders are still advocating that Christians have a duty to fight for their country.
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:59 PM on August 6, 2005


smokescreen

plunder = good
arabic = terrorism
oil = war

oh my, i can't go to the UK no more....
posted by Substrata at 6:00 PM on August 6, 2005


I agree with Rusty.

The imams who are preaching war are not Phelps-like yahoos.

Their freedom to express their hatred of the West is literally endangering our population: they have the power and influence to be effective in accomplishing their desired goals.

Like it or not, we do set limits on freedom of speech.

It is perfectly rational to set a limit which states that one can not promote/advocate violence against individuals or groups. It is especially rational when it has already been shown that this advocacy is resulting in people being killed.

It would be negligent were our governments to ignore this clear and present danger.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:00 PM on August 6, 2005


Well I just discovered the meaning of "flag." It's ironic that one of my comments would be flagged with an FPP like as this one.
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:01 PM on August 6, 2005



The imams who are preaching war are not Phelps-like yahoos.


Are you not aware of anti-gay violence, or do you somehow think it doesn't matter?
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:05 PM on August 6, 2005


But overthrowing the soverign government of Iraq (or supporting said violent overthrow) is "OK" in the UK?

I suppose this puts a bit of a kink in any plans for my celebrating the Fourth of July/Independence Day in London next year.
posted by Dunvegan at 6:07 PM on August 6, 2005


"Realpolitik - The invasion of Iraq was an example of realism and practicality? OK."

"Realpolitik" is, perhaps, still a disputed term.

I use it in the Strangelovian sense, as meaning that which nutcases like Kissinger or Rumsfeld believe (or claim to believe) to be pragmatic strategy - usually, senseless killing on the grandest scale they can get away with, justified by some utterly fallacious excuse ("the domino effect", "Iraq's WMD", "the war on drugs", "the war on terror", etc, etc).

As the Iraq example (and most of the rest of recent US history) amply demonstrates, such eminent and knowledgeable visionaries tend to be somewhat inaccurate in their strategic predictions.

Rightwing pundits use the term "realpolitik" to suggest that ethics, honesty, loyalty, compassion, and all other human virtues are irrelevant in the international arena. As history demonstrates, this argument is breathtakingly shortsighted, as much from the perpective of national interest as from that of the victims.

I therefore consider the term "realpolitik" to have no other meaning than as a sarcastic, pejorative term, much like "master race" or "lebensraum".

Sorry if that confused you, raysmj. :-))
posted by cleardawn at 6:08 PM on August 6, 2005


Their freedom to express their hatred of the West is literally endangering our population: they have the power and influence to be effective in accomplishing their desired goals.

So freedom of speech only applies to ineffective speech? Come on. The actions are what's illegal, not the speech. There are already laws against plotting and conspiracy to cover things like planning an actual bombing. It makes no sense to outlaw hatred.
posted by odinsdream at 6:16 PM on August 6, 2005


Could anyone with knowledge of British law describe the current standard for illegal threatening speech or speech that incites violence? In the U.S., from what I know, the standard is quite high: you have to demonstrate that the person charged with inciting violence issued a specific order to commit a specific crime (typically against a specific victim).

I'm curious how this might be interpreted in the context of contemporary terrorism, in which the targets are emphatically non-specific: terrorists rely on apparently random mass murder to generate a maximum of terror.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:17 PM on August 6, 2005


BTW I'm disappointed that nobody has yet come up with a better definition of "terrorism"...?
posted by cleardawn at 6:17 PM on August 6, 2005


Phelps would be in jail if he lived in Canada, or would at least be paying huuuuge fines. We dont put up with that sort of intolerance up here. Hate speech is tantamount to shouting fire in a crowded room.

As for overthrowing Iraq... yep. Bad move. Blair and Bush should both be on trial for violation of international law, and lying to their consituents.

See... you can swing both ways. You can despise western rightwing assholes, AND radical Muslims. Its not terribly hard. Too bad we couldnt send all these creeps to Mars where they could duke it out.
posted by Rusty Iron at 6:20 PM on August 6, 2005


"Their freedom to express their hatred of the West is literally endangering our population: they have the power and influence to be effective in accomplishing their desired goals."

What was that you said? That Christian fundamentalists and Jewish extremist's freedom to express their hatred of Islam literally endangered our population: they had the power and influence to be effective in accomplishing their desired goals?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:21 PM on August 6, 2005


PLANNED MEASURES
Home secretary to consider deporting any foreigner involved in listed extremist centres and websites;
Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence;
Automatically refuse asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism;
Examine calls for police to be able to hold terror suspects for longer before pressing charges;
Use more control orders against British terror suspects;
Create a list of preachers who will be kept out of the UK.


All of the above are ok by me. In fact I don't know why they're not already illegal. Threatening behaviour can be actioned by british police at the moment anyway - this seems to beef that up. I'm all for it. I'd also ask that imams and other suspected terrorists be allowed to preach in english only.
posted by dash_slot- at 6:25 PM on August 6, 2005


Imam jailed in the USA for hate speech.

Argues the prosecution: "When Tony Soprano says go whack some guy, that's not protected speech."

It's not "just words," people: it's incitement to act violently, and that must be stopped if we are to maintain a civilized society.

And, yes, I believe there are a few televangelists who should likely be prosecuted for incitement of violence, too.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:33 PM on August 6, 2005


Here's an interesting question... if British law says that they want to make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence, then what is to stop them from charging a U.S. citizen with such an offense and having them extradited to face imprisonment?

How would British citizens view it if the Bush administration made a similar law, which potentially allowed our country to do the same to them?
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:34 PM on August 6, 2005


Will the police arrest historians who celebrate the French Resistance and the Warsaw Uprising, or Americans who claim that it's okay to bomb Cuban airliners?

This is bad comedy.

Tell ya what cleardawn - why don't you offer all of those enlightened islamists amnesty over at your place. I'm sure they are stellar people to have around.
posted by wfrgms at 6:36 PM on August 6, 2005


White Christian supremacists clerics who advocate violence against non-Whites? Do they fall under this law also?

Any bets on whether any one other than Muslims will be procecuted in the UK under these new laws?

At barest minimum, if this law is pushed forward, this law must be strictly and evenly applied to escape the heavy taint of fascism.
posted by Dunvegan at 6:44 PM on August 6, 2005


How would British citizens view it if the Bush administration made a similar law

There's a difference between lawmaking and politics although most people involved in it seem to use one for the objectives of the other with no qualms.
posted by nervousfritz at 6:48 PM on August 6, 2005


How about they make this simple and just say...."If you are a radical preaching muslim that advocates violence against innocent people, get the fuck out of the UK".
posted by cpchester at 6:48 PM on August 6, 2005


cleardawn: Whatever. It would help in the case of Iraq to know what realpolitik really is, and how far the invasion was from it. And Kissinger, as ruthless as he was, didn't always stress policies that killed as many people as possible. See: "opening" China, and emphasizing detente during the Cold War, neither of which made him popular in many conservative circles. To say otherwise is to . . . well, let one know, rightly or wrongly, that you talk out of your ass.
posted by raysmj at 6:52 PM on August 6, 2005


Their freedom to express their hatred of the West is literally endangering our population

Unlike Phelps et al? One could certainly argue it is endangering a segment of our population.

In both cases, it is a question of tracing a line of causation back from an individual act to the speech that motivated that act. One could as easily argue that hate crimes have been motivated in the United States by prevalence of hate speech, some of it coming from people like Phelps, just as one could argue that Acts of terrorism are inspired by the anti-western rhetoric of Imams or calls to Jihad. Showing actual causation in either case seems somewhat difficult, however.

Note, however, that incitement to violence is already a crime in the UK (and has been for some time), while this extendsthe standard to include any speech that even condones terror, even i no direct incitement is involved. A staggering extension of the rule, and one that is going to virtually impossible to enforce in a non-arbitrary fashion.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 6:59 PM on August 6, 2005


wow. Need an editor for those last two sentences.
posted by Dr_Johnson at 7:08 PM on August 6, 2005


Inciting violence is already a crime in the UK, and has been for a long time. The problem here is the extreme vagueness of the concepts of "justifying" or "glorifying" terrorism (and, yeah, the extreme vagueness of the term "terrorism"). We all know that there's already a whole lot of people who have a problem distinguishing between the notions of suggesting a cause for something and justifying that thing - to pluck an example from the top of my head, Cherie Blair was accused of justifying Palestinian terrorism when she suggested that poverty and desperation might be part of the reason they act as they do. Does that count?

Of course, we all know that people like that won't be prosecuted. The law won't be applied equally, it'll be used as a tool to achieve specific, government-determined ends. This is supposed to be reassuring, I think. It's not. That's not what laws are supposed to be. It's a whole separation of powers thing, which is something we fought pretty hard for and is every bit as vital a principle of our governance as democracy.

And in any case, I'm confused. Haven't we been fighting a whole lot of wars around the world over the past few years because, we're told, terrorism is international, and the evildoers can plot our destruction from any country, any location? And yet now, the same people tell us, all we need to do is kick these people out of our country, and we're fine. Problem solved.

Frankly, I'd rather have these hateful fuckers where we can keep an eye on them.
posted by flashboy at 7:30 PM on August 6, 2005


Or, what Dr_Johnson said. Damn you, live preview.
posted by flashboy at 7:32 PM on August 6, 2005


> Lock up Nelson Mandela now!

> And Winnie Mandela retroactively.


And Winnie Cooper. In my room.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:33 PM on August 6, 2005


I love it when the libruls get their panties in a knot and feel they have to side with any minority, no matter what the circumstances.
posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:37 PM on August 6, 2005


Nobody's "siding" with anyone, Fielding. The issue here is what exactly are the definitions of "justifying," "glorifying," and "terrorism?" In fact, we libruls are concerned that laws such as this (if implemented in the U.S.) might impact you conservatives who, oh, I don't know, advocate the blowing up of the New York Times.

Laws like this in the U.S. get struck down as unconstitutionally vague. Not sure how things work in the U.K.
posted by schoolgirl report at 7:48 PM on August 6, 2005


Aw, man! I just now found out that my panties aren't supposed to be knotted up this way!
posted by Balisong at 7:48 PM on August 6, 2005


I love it when the libruls get their panties in a knot and feel they have to side with any minority, no matter what the circumstances.

Thank you.

PS. Why do you hate women so much that you could refer to an article of women's clothing as if it itself were a negative thing?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:06 PM on August 6, 2005


The argument is legally moot, because terrorism is defined in British law by criminal definition. That is, if a man guns down another man, it is a crime; but if a policeman uses a gun with deadly force authorized by law against a criminal committing some types of felonies, it is legal.

So it doesn't matter if you are talking about Islamists or someone who bombed a Cuban airliner. They could both be prosecuted. Whereas a soldier obeying the rules of war in Iraq or Afghanistan would not be liable for prosecution.

And yes, in British law, if there were still surviving Americans from the Revolutionary War, who had committed violent acts against British civilians, while not in uniform or under military command, they too could be prosecuted, if evidence and witnesses could be brought.

Incitement to violence is actually easier to prosecute than acts of violence. Much like the US "conspiracy" statute, it includes acts before and after the crime not part of the evidence of the actual crime.

Therefore "justifying" and "glorifying" actually do make sense in criminal law, if, and this is important, the justification or glorification are directed associated with a particular *contemporary* criminal act. The law recognizes that direct and indirect involvement in criminal investigations can make a person a party to a crime, "before the fact" or "after the fact".

For instance, if a person enters a marked police crime scene and tampers with evidence, it is a crime. But once the scene has been cleared, unless it can be proven that they both knew that something was evidence, and they knew they could interfere with the investigation by tampering with that evidence, could they be prosecuted. Almost impossible to prove.

"Justification", a European concept, could fit under the same legal concept as "Holocaust denial"; whereas "glorification" easily fits in the concept of "incitement".
posted by kablam at 8:06 PM on August 6, 2005


schoolgirl report: Generally, they end in farce.

In the late 80s, Douglas Hurd slapped an order on UK TV stations that said they could not broadcast direct statements from paramilitaries or their political representatives. The result was that the broadcasters would run tape of the spokesperson talking, while a talented mimic lip-synched an audio track.

I'm not clear whether how the new rules will apply to UK citizens, foreign citizens and those with dual nationalities. Does anyone know?

For anyone who thinks this is a dumb move, right up there with Thatcher's "deny them the oxygen of publicity" approach, you can look up your local MP's contact details, voting history and other neat stuff at publicwhip.
posted by Leon at 8:10 PM on August 6, 2005


    I love it when the libruls get their panties in a knot and feel they have to side with any minority, no matter what the circumstances. posted by FieldingGoodney at 7:37 PM PST on August 6
I know Fielding that you cannot possibly be referencing those of us who are questioning how this new law will be applied to not only "both sides" of the fence, but...heck...all parts of the sphere of political extremism: Right / Left / Up / Down / Over / and Out.

Including you.
posted by Dunvegan at 8:14 PM on August 6, 2005


Am I the only one getting that incitement/advocacy != justifying/glorifying?

Those of you who think this is a reasonable law, answer this question. Should saying, "Britain got what it deserved in response to its involvement in Iraq," be illegal?
posted by aaronetc at 8:26 PM on August 6, 2005


It's not "just words," people: it's incitement to act violently, and that must be stopped if we are to maintain a civilized society.

Okay, five fresh fish. In civilizations, incitements to act violently are bad. All incitements? All circumstances? All civilizations? Your statement is broad to the point of vacuity -- might want to refine your thinking.

Especially considering your call-out of an innocuous (and therefore rare) comment from PP, requesting that MeFis "be nice." Yep, hypocritical as all hell, but definitely not an incitement to violence. Yet you objected to it.

Odd, that. Not sure your filters are calibrated all that well.
posted by vetiver at 8:29 PM on August 6, 2005


MOSQUE ASKED FOR HELP

Dateline: Sky News
Last Updated: 16:06 UK, Saturday August 06, 2005


The mosque attended by one of the suspected July 21 bombers warned police he was dangerous more than two years ago.

Leaders at the Stockwell Mosque in south London wrote to a senior police officer urging asking for help to deal with a group of young extremists. The July 24, 2003 letter said the group had been "harassing" and intimidating the moderate Muslim community.

Hussein Osman - the alleged Shepherd's Bush attempted bomber currently fighting extradition from Italy - was named as a member of the group. Toaha Qureshi, one of the mosque's trustees, said they had made it clear they regarded 27-year-old Osman as a threat and a destabilising force.

He said: "We could not have been more explicit. It was put in such a manner that it should have been taken seriously."

According to Mr Qureshi, the letter said the gang had been "inciting racial and religious hatred in the community". It informed police they were spreading extremist literature and views, and had been targeting moderate leaders of the mosque for abuse.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: "We consider any correspondence we may receive as confidential. We don't discuss it."
posted by Dunvegan at 8:54 PM on August 6, 2005


Well, so much for Guy Fawkes Day.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:01 PM on August 6, 2005


Am I the only one getting that incitement/advocacy != justifying/glorifying?

No, I'm with you.

Apparently a lot of people here are completely missing the point by telling us you can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater, when the law in question is prohibitting you from saying, "I'm glad there was a fire in that theater."
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:19 PM on August 6, 2005


Make justifying or glorifying terrorism anywhere an offence;

I have little issue banning the glorification of violent attack, but banning justification could outlaw any serious attempts to discuss the root causes of terrorism.

This would be a far more interesting discussion if the proposed text of the legislation were available.
posted by mosch at 11:49 PM on August 6, 2005


the law in question is prohibitting you from saying, "I'm glad there was a fire in that theater."

That covers the word 'glorification', it does not cover the word 'justification'.
posted by mosch at 11:52 PM on August 6, 2005


It is perfectly rational to set a limit which states that one can not promote/advocate violence against individuals or groups. It is especially rational when it has already been shown that this advocacy is resulting in people being killed.

I don't agree. But if you were correct and we did impose such limits... it would then be illegal to advocate continuing the Iraq occupation.

Unless, of course, we're going to make one set of laws that applies to muslims and have another set for the rest of us.
posted by Clay201 at 11:52 PM on August 6, 2005


Civil_D,

This isn't the case at all. We are talking about religious leaders who are coming into the UK, and telling their followers that it is okay to use violence in order to achieve their ends. Ends which ultimately involve the Islamification of the West. Dude... we aren't making this shit up. This is what they are saying, and clearly they are making an impact on some not terribly bright young Muslims.

All we are trying to say is that a state should have the right to deport, or refuse entry to those who would tell their followers that it is not just okay, but desirable for them to kill their fellow citizens.

This is not to say that I don't think immigrants or visitors shouldn't enjoy the right to raise the rabble, but leaders who incite to violence... I think we Western countries would save ourselves a favour, and call them a cab.
posted by Rusty Iron at 11:54 PM on August 6, 2005


Am I the only one getting that incitement/advocacy != justifying/glorifying?

Those of you who think this is a reasonable law, answer this question. Should saying, "Britain got what it deserved in response to its involvement in Iraq," be illegal?
posted by aaronetc at 4:26 AM GMT on August 7


Indeed, and what would happen to this guy?
posted by lagavulin at 11:59 PM on August 6, 2005


We are talking about religious leaders who are coming into the UK, and telling their followers that it is okay to use violence in order to achieve their ends.

What about secretaries of state who go to the UN and announce that it's okay to use violence to achieve their country's ends?

Look, I'm not saying that statements like this aren't incredibly dangerous and threatening. They are. I'm not saying I don't see the logic in doing something about them. I do. (Though I don't agree that outlawing them is the right approach).

Rather, I'm saying that we're paying attention to the statements coming from those who threaten perhaps, ten or twenty thousand Americans or Brits and ignoring the statements that come from those who threaten hundreds of thousands or millions of middle easterners. And that's both immoral and insane.
posted by Clay201 at 12:12 AM on August 7, 2005


Hey...

I oppose the war in Iraq. It's clearly a sham. Bush and Blair should be on trial for violation of international law.

That said... the war in Iraq has removed a terrible dictator from power. Iraq could move forward, save for the fact that a bunch of radical Islamists would rather kill people then participate in a political process.

Radical Muslims are not out for equality. They are not fighting for their right to practice their religion in peace. They are trying to destabilize all governments in order to create chaos, because that creates a breeding ground for their followers.

Now... just because Bush and Blair are completely innept doesn't mean that we should do nothing about these other murdering creeps in our midst. Does it? Do we just roll over and say "oh well... we've handled things badly... do as you please."

Seriously. What would you have us do against people who want your either dead or converted to their very narrow way of thinking?

Now... please do not try and say "that is what the Americans are doing" cuz that just isn't true, or rather it isn't as simple. You can be a Muslim, or a Jew, or Christian, or Burning Man freak in the US. You just can't force others to do this under threat of violence.
posted by Rusty Iron at 12:23 AM on August 7, 2005


But... there are no Miami-based Cubans in the UK!
posted by funambulist at 12:32 AM on August 7, 2005


Dunvegan, that should be a first page post all on its own!
posted by Chuckles at 12:38 AM on August 7, 2005


Honestly, so far it does look ambiguous from the way they've presented it, but I would like to see the actual text of the proposed laws before drawing conclusions.

As a principle, I do agree with laws against overt incitement to violence. They are not a breach of the European convention of human rights, which allows for restrictions "as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others...".

They do need to be clear and specific enough to avoid possible abuses. There is a big difference between political opinions and statements no matter how controversial (ie. Galloway) and activities and preaching that directly and consistently incite acts of violence, and I cannot imagine any lawmakers wasting time worrying about people in the former category, that'd be insane. But why separate incitement to terrorism from incitement to violence in general?
Other European countries like France already expel radical Islamic preachers. As far as I know they didn't need new laws specifically against terrorism to do that, did they?
posted by funambulist at 1:08 AM on August 7, 2005


More about the story Dunvegan posted - the Channel 4 report, with video and full transcript.
Agree with Chuckles, that should probably be a front page post in itself?

(Technical question: when I click on anchors in threads, the linked comment is at the bottom so it looks like the comment at the top is the linked one, am I the only one to get this?)
posted by funambulist at 1:44 AM on August 7, 2005


Seriously. What would you have us do against people who want your either dead or converted to their very narrow way of thinking?

That's an easy one.

I'd take away their power.

Look, Al Queda and the gang are one small part of the vast Arab political landscape. Like the neo-conservatives in the US, they're an extreme right wing gang and a very small percentage of the actual population. They need the support of wealthy patrons and ordinary people in the street in order to do much of anything. Take away those two forms of support and you have just another bunch of maniacs with AK-47s forming militias and conducting live fire exercises in some godforsaken section of Michigan- er, Pakistan.

So how do you remove the support? That's easy. You remove the enemy. You end US support for the dictatorships in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. You withdraw the US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. You demand that the Israelis withdraw from the territories. Suddenly, there's no more great American Satan. And theres no more need for someone to fight that Satan.

The standard argument to this is "but that would be giving in, giving the terrorists exactly what they want." Actually, no. "Exactly what they want" is to rule the muslim world. Maybe the rest of the globe as well. We'd be denying them their shot at that. And even if we were giving them what they wanted... I still wouldn't see a problem with it. If a guy holds ten people hostage and demands that you take food to his starving family, the correct response would be to feed his family, make the best effort possible to free the hostages without shots being fired, then capture or kill the hostage taker.

Our actions in the middle east are wrong. The fact that Bin Laden is a nutjob with lots of blood on his hands doesn't change that.
posted by Clay201 at 2:01 AM on August 7, 2005


Iraq could move forward, save for the fact that a bunch of radical Islamists would rather kill people then participate in a political process.

Yes, the Iraqis should participate in the democratic process. As soon as there is one.

Actually, there are political parties and alliances forming in Iraq and they are very much taking part in politics. They're protesting, doing logrolling deals, seeking support, forming coalitions... you name it, they're on it.

However, possibly the single largest question in Iraqi politics is... will the US troops leave? Until that one is decided, all the others - oil policy, foreign policy, etc. - are pretty much moot. And the Iraqis aren't going to be allowed to decide the question of occupation with their votes. George the Dubya gets to make that call. So you can call it a democracy if you want, but it's a joke democracy.In fact, it's a lot like the Iraqi elections under Saddam, the ones in which there was only one candidate (or was there a second? I forget) and Saddam got all the votes. Sure, you can vote, but it means nothing.

And just to make sure the point here is clear... it's not Iraqis - fundamentalist or otherwise - who are obstructing the current. It's that goofy Texan in the white house.
posted by Clay201 at 2:17 AM on August 7, 2005


> Apparently a lot of people here are completely missing
> the point by telling us...

But clearly not as many as the number of people who can't
distinguish between the wording of a speculative media
report, and the wording of the actual proposed legislation.

Without the latter, all the discussion of possible specifics
and their pros and cons is really just so much hot air.

Does this apply to British citizens? People seeking entry
visas? What are the definitions of 'justifying' and 'glorifying'?

The Channel 4 story is an interesting one though. What did
the elders of the Stockwell mosque want the police to do?
Interfere with Osman's freedom of speech? Deport him
for his radicalism? There's nothing in the story that says
they were advocating terrorism -- their actions could have
just as easily have been interpreted as advocating a more
devout form of Islamic faith.

I can't help but think that had the police actually intervened
here, the same people who are criticising them now for
a failure to intervene would then have been criticising them
for Gestapo tactics.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:44 AM on August 7, 2005


Re: justification:

Explanation != justification.

To say that a paedophile may molest children because he
himself was abused as a child is an explanation, but it isn't
a justification. A justification would be to say that it's OK for
some people to molest children, because they were once
molested.

Clay2001:

Passing such a law would not require that it were
illegal to defend the war in Iraq, because to do so would
somehow be inequitable with regard to muslims. The
very basis of Western Civilization lies in the idea that the
state has a legitimate monopoly to perform certain kinds
of acts that individuals are not allowed to engage in.

Most of these things are around the legitimate use of
violence. We devolve those functions to the state precisely
so that we *don't* have anarchy. Ergo, it would be
perfectly proper and legitimate for people to debate the
validity of the state's actions, either for or against war
with any country. The religious leanings of that country's
population is irrelevant.

But as I've already said, it still isn't clear whether this is
intended to be a law aimed at the general population, or
a test for visa worthyness. Without more detail, it's all
somewhat moot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:59 AM on August 7, 2005


Re: justification:

Explanation != justification.

To say that a paedophile may molest children because he
himself was abused as a child is an explanation, but it isn't
a justification. A justification would be to say that it's OK for
some people to molest children, because they were once
molested.

Clay2001:

Passing such a law would not require that it were
illegal to defend the war in Iraq, because to do so would
somehow be inequitable with regard to muslims. The
very basis of Western Civilization lies in the idea that the
state has a legitimate monopoly to perform certain kinds
of acts that individuals are not allowed to engage in.

Most of these things are around the legitimate use of
violence. We devolve those functions to the state precisely
so that we *don't* have anarchy. Ergo, it would be
perfectly proper and legitimate for people to debate the
validity of the state's actions, either for or against war
with any country. The religious leanings of that country's
population is irrelevant.

But as I've already said, it still isn't clear whether this is
intended to be a law aimed at the general population, or
a test for visa worthyness. Without more detail, it's all
somewhat moot.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:01 AM on August 7, 2005


Peter: Osman and his group were reported for harassment and threats, including physical abuse, they beat up some members of the mosque. Usually that's more than enough for the police to intervene - not deport, just respond in the first place - , even when it has nothing to do with religious sites or extremism. They could have at least charged him with harassment if they had enough evidence from those who reported him, and then also looked into the activities of that group and at least monitor them.

The police have been saying they need more cooperation from the Islamic community and here's a case when they got it without even soliciting yet failed to act on it. It's just a little bit puzzling, that's all.
posted by funambulist at 6:01 AM on August 7, 2005


But as I've already said, it still isn't clear whether this is intended to be a law aimed at the general population, or a test for visa worthyness. Without more detail, it's all somewhat moot.

As yet, there isn't any detail. The proposed laws have not been drafted yet (hastily or otherwise) and Parliament is currently in recess: Blair has not recalled Parliament. Nor are there any white or green papers yet.

The source for the proposals is this government statement, and they are summarized here.

The language of the press release would certainly be unacceptably vague if it was put into law verbatim.

Given the way things usually work, I suspect the proposals will be watered down somewhat before being put into law. They expect to have to make some concessions to their opponents, so they usually ask for a bit more than they expect to get in the end.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 6:27 AM on August 7, 2005


Passing such a law would not require that it were illegal to defend the war in Iraq, because to do so would somehow be inequitable with regard to muslims. The very basis of Western Civilization lies in the idea that the state has a legitimate monopoly to perform certain kinds of acts that individuals are not allowed to engage in..


So what? If the law says that it's illegal to "glorify" violence, then that law has to apply equally to Muslims and Christians. The only other option would be to specify that it's okay to glorify violence carried out by the state but not that which is carried out by the state's enemies. Even if the state did have a "legitimate monopoly" on violence (and I don't think they should), it wouldn't make a difference. The law still says what it says.

the legitimate use of violence

What "legitimate use of violence"? You can't possibly be talking about the Iraq war, because that's brazenly illegitimate. The US was not attacked, so it wasn't defending itself. The UN refused to give permission for the invasion. It's a clear violation of international law and basic human decency. And there's no justification for it whatsoever.

Likewise you can't possibly be talking about the US's interventions in South America, the Viet Nam War, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories... or any other military actions undertaken or sponsored by the US post World War II.
posted by Clay201 at 6:42 AM on August 7, 2005


It will be interesting to see the proposed legislation, presently it looks like it could be pretty ambiguous and therefore easily abused.

The idea that a country currently prosecuting an illegal war and occupation should make illegal justification of terrorism in speech shows a certain amount of chutzpa.

But then, comong from a government whose leader repeats the idea that the recent London bombings are unrelated to their foreign policy, I don't suppose this should be a suprise.
posted by asok at 6:59 AM on August 7, 2005


"Iraq could move forward, save for the fact that a bunch of radical Islamists would rather kill people then participate in a political process."

But over 98% of the resistance is Iraqi resistance, and what you support is, in all effects, just a flip of the social pyramid, this time with a tyranny of the majority. It does nothing to address the fact that Iraqi Sunni are being disappeared, in much the same way that Iraqi Shi'a were disappeared for decades.

Most Sunni aren't pro-Saddam, but they're all going to get it in the neck if Iraq moves forward in the way that is currently proposed. Many of them can't even find work, because they're refused jobs... and often not just government jobs, but any job at all. This, to me, is incredibly counter-productive.

The best thing for most Iraqis, frankly, is for there to no longer be an Iraq. It was a bad idea poorly executed back at the birth of their country, and it's a bad idea now.
posted by insomnia_lj at 8:23 AM on August 7, 2005


when the law in question is prohibitting you from saying, "I'm glad there was a fire in that theater."

Er, I rather think it's more like making it illegal to say things like "Go start a fire in that theatre, and I promise you will be paid in virgins!" and "Those evil fornicating bastards watching Happy Gilmour must pay for their sins! Burn them all! The justice of the lord must be had!"

Especially considering your call-out of an innocuous (and therefore rare) comment from PP, requesting that MeFis "be nice." Yep, hypocritical as all hell, but definitely not an incitement to violence. Yet you objected to it.

Not an objection to what he said. Sheesh. Just pointing out the hypocracy, hoping to provoke him to think just a little, and not wanting to derail that thread. The guy is all-out abusive in any threads that are actually important, threads where the topic is about slaughtering civilians in an war based on lies, yet expects civil responses to his posts in threads that are inconsequential? What a horrific attitude.

posted by five fresh fish at 10:50 AM on August 7, 2005




True 'nuff, that. The mid-East countries are the result of ham-fisted border-drawing by, IIRC, British imperialists, with little to no respect for historical tribal boundaries.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 AM on August 7, 2005


fff: How is "Go start a fire in that theatre, and I promise you will be paid in virgins!" an example of justifying or glorifying (as opposed to incitement, which is already illegal) if "I'm glad there was a fire in that theater." or "That theatre deserved to burn" is not?
posted by aaronetc at 11:32 AM on August 7, 2005


Yes. By all means we should leave this volitile part of the planet to this small group of thugs. Allow Afghanistan and Iraq to fall into complete savagery. Allow the shitty gov in Pakistan to fall, and be replaced by the Wahibists. Then they'll quietly go away, and not bother any of their neighbours with all of those nuclear weapons.

You are kidding right? This is not just wishful thinking... its delusional.

The political process in Iraq Afghanistan may be deeply flawed, but at least there now is a political process. Look at Western nations... they have deeply flawed systems, BUT they clearly work to some degree. It can work there too, but not until those few savages who would derail it are either dead or too dispirited to fight.

I honestly don't know what will work, BUT just walking away isn't the answer. And finally... back to the original arguement... if these people want to follow their retarded interpretation of this religion, and preach violence, there may not be a lot we can do about it in the Middle East, but we can at least deny them the opportunity to spread this shit around our part of the world by simply refusing them entry.

Jeez... Zod forbid we tread on some asshole's right to collect welfare for 20 years from a state he is trying to destroy.
posted by Rusty Iron at 11:38 AM on August 7, 2005


Rusty Iron: You really seem focused on refusing entry and deportation -- you know that some radical Muslims are natural born citizens of the western countries in question, right?
posted by aaronetc at 11:56 AM on August 7, 2005


Aaronetc,

Yep. Not much you can do about them. They have a right as citizens to be here. But that doesn't mean we can't do something about people who aren't citizens. No reason we have to let anyone stay who advocates killing our citizens.

As I say... I don't think we should crack down on immigrants who dissent. They can bitch and protest all they want.
posted by Rusty Iron at 12:52 PM on August 7, 2005


Automatically refuse asylum to anyone with anything to do with terrorism

This is what is worrying me. What standard are they using to determine whether someone has anything to do with terrorism? Someone who has carried out a terrorist attack? A close family member of a terrorist attacker? A distant cousin of a terrorist attacker? Someone who happens to live next door to a terrorist? In the same street? The terrorist's daughter's best friend's babysitter?
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:16 AM on August 8, 2005


If glorifying terrorism is going to be a crime, I better not put together a web site about the abolitionist John Brown or I'll be on the wrong side of the law.
posted by alumshubby at 9:10 AM on August 8, 2005


Do we set limits to human speech? Yes.
Should we? In a very limited scope (shouting fire in crowded theatre) - yes.

But you'll have to work hard to convince me that the rhetoric of leaders of even the most devout sects create anything like automatic, irresistable behaviour in their subjects. We know that human individuation and autonomy can be somewhat overridden in a mob. Responses to preaching need to be that overwhelming before I consider it anything other than discourse.

But then, I live in a country who deported Zundel on a security certificate because we didn't like the stuff he was saying.
posted by dreamsign at 11:35 AM on August 8, 2005


Ok, just one request:

Let's have an iron-clad definition of terrorism.

Because I'm pretty sure that the U.S. and English admins have been doing a lot of justifying and glorifying of terrorist acts.
posted by dreamsign at 11:37 AM on August 8, 2005


As a rule, I think the important thing to do is to make so many laws that one cannot possibly live without accidentally or intentionally breaking one of them, so that the authorities can selectively prosecute anyone who they feel deserves it.

The innocent, of course, will have nothing to fear.
posted by davejay at 4:09 PM on August 8, 2005


But you'll have to work hard to convince me that the rhetoric of leaders of even the most devout sects create anything like automatic, irresistable behaviour in their subjects.

You never did what your mother told you to do? There isn't a phrase she can use or a tone of voice she can inflect, that causes you to take the bait? Remarkable.

Devout believers behave as if their leaders were their own mothers. Billy says send money, they send money. Jerry says vote republican, they vote republican. Imam says go to heaven as a martyr, they kill someone.

When someone is sending a message that it's a Good Thing to kill a bunch of people, we need to send a message that they'd best STFU or go to jail.

It'd be nice if we could apply that standard to our politicians, but small steps, small steps.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 PM on August 8, 2005


Tone of voice?!

There'd better be some greater measure of control to invoke the criminal justice system.
posted by dreamsign at 12:16 AM on August 9, 2005


Nice bit of missing the point there, dreamsign.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:56 AM on August 9, 2005


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