by Emilie Oblivión.
“Yet again, politicians resort to high talk and rushed legislation in an attempt to look tough in the face of terrorism. Another chilling recipe for injustice and resentment by closing down the open society you seek to promote.” —Shami Chakrabarti, Director of human rights organization Liberty.
Late last November, British commuters were faced not only with delays and bad weather but also with police officers handing out leaflets as part of “Counter Terrorism Awareness Week”. The leaflets gave “advice” on what to do if one found oneself in the highly unlikely context of a gun-toting terrorist attack at a train station or airport.
It would be forgivable to believe that although the chances of getting caught up in a fanatical killing spree are practically negligible in England’s capital, it might be worth taking a look at these fliers: better safe than sorry. You could argue that it would be beneficial for all people to be made aware of what to do in the event of an attack; except you’d be wrong. The campaign’s main motto for “if you hear gun fire or weapons attack” is to Run, Hide, and Tell. It’s the kind of advice you wouldn’t even bother telling a child or a small animal because it is hard-wired instinct.
Critics on social media sites like Twitter widely blasted the leaflets for being a transparent attempt to ratchet up domestic fear rather than actually inform commuters of anything genuine. Frightened voters are more likely to allow the state to wave through draconian new powers without question. It is without coincidence that during Counter Terrorism Awareness Week, the U.K.’s Home Secretary Teresa May announced a new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill. This will be the seventh major counter-terror law since 9/11, and May wants to rush it through parliament before the general election next spring.
The bill follows up on Prime Minister David Cameron’s announcement in September that he wanted to ban from reentering the U.K. anyone who had …
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