Criminalising thoughts not the way to combat terrorism

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Theresa May’s “enough is enough” declaration was splashed across the front pages of the British dailies after the latest shocking terrorist attack. “Enough is enough” is a sentiment that resonates with the public, but many Britons are concerned about the new counter-terrorism measures the British PM is proposing.

Theresa May seems more interested on criminalising “extremist” ideas than improving community policing (as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has proposed).

The Guardian newspaper accused her of wanting to “police thoughts rather than acts” and said she was promoting “a form of thoughtcrime.”

There is a fundamental democratic principle that people should be allowed to hold whatever political views they like, however “extreme”, as long as they don’t resort to violence.

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The Guardian explained that “Mrs May’s policies exclude cooperation with the very people who might be best placed as discouragers of terrorism: those who hold similar ‘extremist’ beliefs but who are non-violent and opposed to the methods of violence. Mrs May plans to criminalise the eyes and ears you need to spot terror.”

Introducing more repressive measures and weakening democracy is not the way to combat terrorist acts.

Commonly terrorist acts are motivated (but not justified) by a feeling that Moslems are suffering discrimination in Western countries.

Prejudicial measures like Donald Trump’s travel restrictions on people flying in to America from certain Islamic countries are not helping.

New Zealand has the opportunity to tell the visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to his face that such bans are bigoted, anti-Islamic, anti-democratic and counter-productive.

It would be good if Bill English also told Tillerson that he has turned down the US request to increase its military involvement in Afghanistan. The chaos produced by the American wars in Afghanistan and various Middle Eastern nations has provided fertile ground for terrorist recruitment, resulting in many atrocious acts of the kind we saw in London last Friday.

16 COMMENTS

  1. They win when their very acts mean that law abiding citizens face more and more restrictions and more and more laws against their freedom.

    And good luck to you getting English or the National Party to speak out against anything except poor people.

    • That’s the whole point of non-random terrorist attacks. They are designed to provoke a response. These attacks have been designed to help the Conservatives stay in power. The question is who is telling ISIS what to do. Saudi Arabia is the biggest supporter and funder of ISIS (along with Turkey and Qartar). What would they stand to lose from a Labour government that took a more balanced approach to Middle East politics and arms sales (Britain being the second biggest exporter of arms in the world with many of them going to the Middle East).

  2. Total hypocrisy of May to decry the very same extremism her govt employed to further foreign policy aims of regime change(assassination)in Libya and Syria
    MI6 enabled and trained salafist elements in the UK and sent them merrily on their way to rape and pillage in Libya and Syria,allowing them to return to the UK for fundraising exercises and r&r,unimpeded.
    This notion of “radicalism” to be purged from the internet:who are the gatekeepers?
    Possibly any criticism of the govt could be construed as radicalism

  3. Enough should have been enough long ago, not a few days before the election.
    No mention of course that the Tories have systematically gutted the British Police in the same way that National have done here.
    Police forces that only LOOK like police forces are not real police forces, that’s when the crims and terrorists can run riot.
    And that’s what they have done.

    • And of course Theresa May gets credit for wanting to beef up police numbers.
      Actually only restoring them to what they should have been in the first place, but you won’t find much mention of that in the British MSM.
      Getting tough on crime is about boosting crime fighting resources so they can operate properly all the time, not quietly running them down over time and then opportunistically thundering about getting tough on crime.
      You are right, Mike, that’s what happens here all the time too.

      • “Theresa May gets credit for wanting to beef up police numbers.”

        Yes, but no. The numbers were reduced and the budget cut under her watch as Home Secretary.

        It’s a bit late to scream about the rats in the chook house when she, personally, is the one who took the mog to the vet to be put down.

        Corbyn has said ‘no deals’ before the election. If it’s a hung parliament, though, maybe he’ll do a deal with the Greens and even Lib Dems. Maybe.

  4. I completely agree with these sentiments.

    The first thing the UK govt can do is clamp down on the known suspects from taking “holidays” in Libya etc.

    The London Bridge killer was even featured in a Channel 4 documentary.

    Fix the problem at source, not the ability of people to talk about it, which will be the inevitable outcome of internet restrictions

  5. Commonly terrorist acts are motivated (but not justified) by a feeling that Moslems are suffering discrimination in Western countries./i> Really? That and what else?

    I don’t thick it bigoted to say that empirical observation leads me to observe only Islamic radicals committing suicide attacks. Empirical observation has me noticing these people are as likely to attack Islamics who don’t follow their particular creed as they are to attack Westerners. I have also observed that many of these young terrorists are born and raised in the West in far greater material comfort than in their parents homelands. Many appear well educated. You want to blame discrimination for a young man going out and murdering people? Observe all of those other discriminated against people in lots of societies and notice they aren’t out committing murder.

    So what can we observe? Young men influenced by a vicious creed that allows these young men to kill affirm aka us and promises them death as a martyr. They are all Wahabists. The young men are radicalized by this creed and it’s mullahs who themselves seem to remain alive leaving suicide and dying to the young men. And they are radicalized in the West.

    It’s time we got over this cultural cringe it’s our fault nonsense. Yes our societies commit great evil which we must stop. But that is no excuse for a cult of murder. Imagine a Christian priest in a slum advocating suicide murder attacks on an rich Islamic society. Would relative disadvantage be a valid excuse for murder?

    Call me a bigot but this is specifically an Islamic evil. In the same way murderous gulags were a Marxist issue and gas chambers a Nazi issue. In each case the victims are made internecine…unworthy of life because they are bourgeois, Jewish or now Kaffir. This is evil. Discrimination as an excuse just does not cut it.

    • I’d be more specific and say that this is an extreme interpretation of Islam propagated by Saudi Arabia via their missionary mosques throughout Europe, and also Eastern Europe
      And that it is the monotheistic religions that are most susceptible to extremism
      Chuck in some political agendas and it’s a toxic brew
      I still don’t get how westernised educated young muslims can go for it

  6. This proposed crack-down on internet freedoms will have been planned well in advance, these latest outbreaks of violent crime are simply being used as an excuse. Just as 911 was used as an excuse for the Patriot Act, which had been drafted long before 911 happened, and the invasions of Aghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, all of which had been planned well in advance of 911.

    If you want to understand the importance of internet freedom, and explain it in simple terms to others, it comes down to this; a webserver is the modern equivalent of a printing press. What’s at stake here is freedom of the press. Not to mention, as Keith points out, that May is proposing to put thoughtcrimes on the books, as the NZ Parliament did with the Harmful Internet Censorship Act.

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