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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 ground" 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. Regards, Drew Hamre Golden Valley, MN USA === http://www.independent.co.uk/news/UK/This_Britain/2001-02/flag200201.shtml 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 <http://22.214.171.124/justin/j022101.html>]] === http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4140043,00.html Wearing a T-shirt makes you a terrorist Anything with a slogan could put you outside the law now George Monbiot Guardian 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 crime. 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: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Tuesday, February 20, 2001 7:36 PM To: email@example.com 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, ProActivist.com. 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. Thanks, Patrick Carkin, NH Peace Action -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org Full details of CASI's various lists can be found on the CASI website: http://www.casi.org.uk