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Hail, Oceania!

Apologies for a post that's marginally off-topic.  Attached is a pair of
stories that have the flavor of an urban legend, save for the reputation of
their sources (Independent and Guardian):  
1) "British protester charged with racist abuse for dragging US flag on
2) "Wearing a T-shirt makes you a terrorist: Anything with a slogan could
put you outside the law now"

Both carry obvious implications for the anti-sanctions movement.  In
addition (and in the spirit of MP George Galloway's recent concerns that his
calls were being monitored), I've attached a journalist's request for
anti-sanctions campaigners' experience with governmental monitoring.  The
focus is on monitoring in the U.S., but if others care to respond, the email
address is attached.

Drew Hamre
Golden Valley, MN USA

British protester charged with racist abuse for dragging US flag on ground 

By Severin Carrell 
20 February 2001 

An anti-nuclear protester has been charged with racial abuse against the
American people after she allegedly dragged a United States flag along the
ground during a demonstration against the Star Wars  missile defence system.

In an unprecedented case, the Crown Prosecution Service has accused Lindis
Percy of being motivated by  racist hatred of the American people when she
"trailed" the US flag on the road at the US military  eavesdropping base at
Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire. 

At a pre-trial hearing atHarrogate magistrates' court yesterday, the
prosecution claimed this offence,  which carries a 2,500 fine, caused
"harassment, alarm and distress" to US personnel driving out of the  base
during the demonstration last December. It is thought to be the first time
the new anti-racism  powers introduced under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998
have been used in this way. 

The demonstration, staged to coincide with the confirmation that George Bush
was officially  president-elect, was called to protest against Mr Bush's
expected support for "son of Star Wars", the  controversial ballistic
missile defence system planned by the US. 

Ms Percy, 59, a health visitor from Hull, was initially charged with
obstruction of the highway, as was  another senior member of the Campaign
for Accountability of American Bases, Anni Rainbow. 

The CPS added the racial abuse charges after its lawyers studied CCTV
footage from the base's security  cameras. The flag, which has "Stop Star
Wars" painted on it, has not been confiscated. 

Ms Percy is alleged to have draped the flag across the road at the gates to
the USbase. It was driven  over by a member of the American Legion, a
staunchly patriotic ex-servicemen's association based at  Menwith Hill. 

In the United States, ex-servicemen's groups and politicians have campaigned
for desecration of the flag  to be made a federal offence. 

The trial of Ms Percy, a veteran anti-nuclear campaigner, has been set for
late April. 

[[DH: For the above story pickled in bile and vitriol, see

Wearing a T-shirt makes you a terrorist 
Anything with a slogan could put you outside the law now

George Monbiot

Thursday February 22, 2001

Britain, Tony Blair announced at Labour's spring conference on Sunday, is on
the brink of "the biggest  progressive political advance for a century". To
prepare for this brave new world, two days before his  speech Mr Blair
bombed Baghdad. On Monday, the progressive era was officially launched, with
the  implementation of an inclusive piece of legislation called the
Terrorism Act 2000. 

Terror, in the new progressive age, is no longer the preserve of the
aristocracy of violence. Today  almost anyone can participate, just as long
as she or he wants to change the world. 

Beating people up, even killing them, is not terrorism, unless it is
"designed to influence the  government" or conducted "for the purpose of
advancing a political, religious or ideological cause". But  since Monday
you can become a terrorist without having to harm a living being, provided
you believe in  something. 

In that case, causing "serious damage to property" or interfering with "an
electronic system" will do.  Or simply promoting or encouraging such acts,
or associating with the people who perform them, or  failing to tell the
police what they are planning. Or, for that matter, wearing a T-shirt or a
badge  which might "arouse reasonable suspicion" that you sympathise with
their activities. 

In his speech on Sunday, Tony Blair called for a "revolution" in our
schools, and spoke of "noble  causes... asking us to hear their cry for help
and answer by action". So perhaps we should not be  surprised to learn that
you can can now become a terrorist by supporting government policy. 

British subjects writing pamphlets or giving lectures demanding a revolution
in Iraq can be prosecuted  under the new act for "incitement" of armed
struggles overseas. The same clause leaves the government  free to bomb
Baghdad, however, as "nothing in this section imposes criminal liability on
any person  acting on behalf of, or holding office under, the crown." 

By such means, our new century of progressive politics will be distinguished
from those which have gone  before. There will be no place, for example, for
violent conspiracies like the Commons Preservation  Society. The CPS
launched its campaign of terror in 1865, by hiring a trainload of labourers
to  dismantle the railings around Berkhamstead Common, thus seriously
damaging the property of the noble  lord who had just enclosed it. 

The CPS later split into two splinter groups called the Open Spaces Society
and the National Trust.  Under the new legislation, these subversive
factions would have been banned. 

Nor will the state tolerate dangerous malefactors such as the woman who
claimed "there is something that  governments care far more for than human
life, and that is the security of property, and so it is  through property
that we shall strike the enemy" and "the argument of the broken windowpane
is the most  valuable argument in modern politics". Emmeline Pankhurst and
her followers, under the act, could have  been jailed for life for damaging
property to advance a political or ideological cause. 

Indeed, had the government's new progressive powers been in force, these
cells could have been stamped  out before anyone had been poisoned by their
politics. The act permits police to cordon off an area in  which direct
action is likely to take place, and arrest anyone refusing to leave it. 

Anyone believed to be plotting an action can be stopped and searched, and
the protest materials she or  he is carrying confiscated. Or, if they
prefer, the police can seize people who may be about to commit  an offence
and hold them incommunicado for up to seven days. 

Under the new act, the women who caused serious damage to a Hawk jet bound
for East Timor could have  been intercepted and imprisoned as terrorists
long before they interfered with what Mr Blair described  on Sunday as his
mission to civilise the world. So could the desperados seeking to defend
organic  farmers by decontaminating fields of genetically modified maize. 

Campaigners subjecting a corporation to a fax blockade become terrorists by
dint of interfering with an  electronic system. Indeed, by writing articles
in support of such actions, I could be deemed to be  "promoting and
encouraging" them. Which makes me a terrorist and you, if you were foolish
enough to copy  my articles and send them to your friends, party to my

I don't believe the government will start making use of these new measures
right away: after all, as Mr  Blair lamented on Sunday, "Jerusalem is not
built overnight". But they can now be deployed whenever  progress demands.
Then, unmolested by dangerous lunatics armed with banners and custard pies,
the  government will be free to advance world peace by bombing Baghdad to
its heart's content. 


-----Original Message-----
From: []
Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 7:36 PM
Subject: [iac-disc.] Anyone been monitored by gov. for anti-sanctions work?

I received a most unusual request from a Canadian journalist today.  He
wanted to know what my experience was in regards to the US government either
monitoring or sabotaging my political activities, especially in terms of
computers, email and other potential avenues of "electronic warfare."  What
I definitely knew was fairly limited -- I know for a fact, based on my
access logs, that various US government agencies monitor my web site,  I know which pages they've visited, what day, and how long
they spent reading them.  But that's not much.

Has anyone else out there had experiences in this regard?  Please note that
the reporter is looking for things that can be proven, not wild rumors.

My specific agenda for asking members of this list is that I would love to
make the anti-sanctions movement a part of this journalist's work.  The more
coverage the better, I figure, especially since this reporter appears to be
very sympathetic to progressive issues.

Please email me direct if you have a relevant experience and I'll forward
the message on to the reporter.

Patrick Carkin, NH Peace Action

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