Philobiblon: The laws for terrorists?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The laws for terrorists?

In Britain, Australia and the US laws have been brought in to deal with "terrorists", sweeping away civil liberties in the process. But these were only for terrorists, we were told.

So who's been caught?

The latest, in Britain, is an an "over-enthusiastic" A-level chemistry student.

In Australia this week, it was entirely innocent, indeed random, bus passengers and car drivers, on routes heading towards Sydney beaches where there have been racist clashes that no one has suggested have anything to do with "terrorism". Police were confiscating their mobile phones and reading through the text messages. So much for privacy.

And of course there's is the US, where the situation is even worse, since George Bush is not even bothering to try to get a law or legal backing for wire taps, instead employing the Louis XIV-style of government.

Finally, however, I get the feeling that the pendulum is swinging. It is not just those who pay reasonably close attention to issues such as human rights who are starting to get concerned, but the general public. Of course the problem is that it is a lot harder to get rid of laws than bring them in.


Elsewhere, while I don't believe in the death penalty, it is hard not to give a little cheer at the end of a Japanese "groper", chased by a group of men after his woman victim had the courage to speak up. (He had a heart attack and died in hospital.)

I doubt there's a woman - at least a woman who's lived or visited a city - who hasn't suffered from this sort of assault. It is the sort of thing that makes women feel they are living in perpetually hostile, male, spaces.

And hopefully this event will empower more Japanese women to speak up and protest.


Anonymous Chameleon said...

I endured an extremely unpleasant incident on a crowded bus in berlin once - it gives me the shudders to read about the Gropers' Guilds in the article.
Although I haven't had time to read it yet, I couldn't help noticing the headline in today's Independent. The other link about the terrorists reminded me of it. The scope for blunders and abuse is huge, the argument that the law-abiding need fear nothing has never convinced me. The sheer scale of the new surveillance operation heralds a new era of state interference and intrusion (historically unique) given the technology.
It was also a dark day for Europe when the data retention laws were passed by the European Parliament (it wouldn't have met such enthusiasm had Charles Clarke not offered the "bribe" of dealing with it under co-decision, shifting it from the inter-governmental pillar where the EP simply rubber-stamps legislation without powers to amend, hinting that the EP might be permitted greater influence in future). Liberty has not been subjected to such a sustained attack for many a year and the apathy of my average compatriot never ceases to amaze...

12/22/2005 04:43:00 pm  
Blogger Mimi said...

Unfortunately, the US population has reacted like a rhino reacts to a gnat.

12/22/2005 07:14:00 pm  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Unfortunately, the most likely result of the Tokyo incident is not a more aggressive (defensive?) stance on the part of women as much as greater hesitation in confronting assaulters on the grounds that they don't really want anything bad to happen.

12/23/2005 06:20:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Yes Mimi - I suppose I was thinking about the UK and Australia, where I do suspect - or maybe hope - there is a shift occurring.

And Ahistoricality, well perhaps you are right. It might frighten a few of the male offenders, maybe?

12/23/2005 10:56:00 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home