New Laws To Criminalise Political Dissent

British National Party, August 23, 2006

In the last few weeks the entire nature of the laws that regulate the internet have fundamentally changed. Though the Police have long had the power to prosecute people for their actions on the Internet they have in the past been unwilling to do so. This policy began to change last year when individuals were prosecuted and jailed for posting information on a website that was considered to be part of a campaign of racial harassment.

Since then two individuals have been charged with crimes related specifically to posting illegal information on the internet. Mr. Simon Sheppard has been charged with ten counts of “Incitement to Racial Hatred” and Mr. Luke O’Farrell with two counts even though the website of Mr. Sheppard is hosted in the United States. This means that those individuals who post information on forums, bulletin boards and websites hosted in the US, can now be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred, incitement to violence and glorification of terrorism in the United Kingdom.

The time limit on the nature of what is considered as ‘terror‘ is not specified, so includes those who glorify the 1916 Easter Uprising , the Bolshevik Revolution, the Nazi era and Islamist violence worldwide.

Glorification

This law also covers those who wish to propagate and encourage political activities and actions that are based on following the methodology of those groups that used terror in the past as part of their political programmes.

Therefore those that seek to encourage people to follow the political methodology of political movements linked with violence and terrorism as defined by the CPS and the Attorney General, such as Islamic terrorism and Nazism, as part of a contemporary political programme, or who glorify or encourage such political methodology as part of a contemporary political programme, will now be under the scope of the law. It is not what ordinary people think, it is how the politically motivated operatives of the Labour government, the senior police chiefs, the CPS and the courts decide how the law should be applied.

No actions have to have taken place in order for the law to be triggered, all that needs to happen is that the words used can be seen as encouraging or glorification of violence such as against an ethnic group or religion. This includes the encouragement of people to follow political ideologies based on violence or that use violence as part of their political methodology.

In effect this law bans the promotion, glorification and encouragement of political ideologies that in the past have used violence, or applied violence, as part of their political programmes. It also applies to those political ideologies that have used violence as an integral part of its methodology or whose actual social and political manifestation would result in violence against groups in society. The nature of the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism are not defined and therefore include those that follow a political ideology with the intent that upon gaining power acts of terrorism directed against specific groups will follow.

Indirect encouragement

Indirect encouragement statements include every statement which glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of terrorism and therefore includes those who promulgate ideologies that have used violence in the past and who would use violence in the future. As the definition of commission or preparation of terrorism is not defined, it can include taking part in the political process itself if the ideology being followed has its basis in violence or been linked to violence in the past. It can also apply to those followers of violent historical ideologies who use non-violent means today in order to take power but whose ideology is rooted in terror in the past and also whose attainment of power would result in violence in the future.

The new laws on ‘ Encouragement and Glorification of Terrorism ‘ under Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 include the crime of Encouragement of terrorism (section 1): This prohibits the publishing of “a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences.” Indirect encouragement statements include every statement which glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances.” The maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment.

Disseminating terrorist publications (Section 2): Prohibits the dissemination of a publication which is either (a) likely to be understood as directly or indirectly encouraging terrorism, or (b)includes information which likely to be understood as being useful in the commission or preparation of an act of terrorism. The maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment.

Monitoring

We now know that a dedicated team of officers within the Police are actively monitoring and compiling information on those who run and post on various websites for future prosecution. The BNP cannot and will not tolerate any member who posts information on the internet that breaches race relations legislation or who facilitates the posting of such information on the internet. Facilitation can also be interpreted as moderation on sites where illegal information is being posted, or assisting sites where illegal information is being posted, or assisting or moderating on internet sites.

As a result of this new law the Internet will be used for entrapment, infiltration by paid security agitators mainly to destabilize and criminalize legitimate political organisations that follow and abide by the law. Our members are advised of these important changes in the law and that the luxury of expressing individual opinions on various public and visible forums must be balanced by their responsibility and loyalty towards the greater good of the party.


London—From his home on the northwest edge of this city, Muhamad al-Massari runs a Web site that celebrates the violent death of British and American soldiers. It is visited by tens of thousands of people every day, he said.

Mr. Massari maintains the Arabic-language site, tajdeed.org.uk, in the face of a strict new law aimed at curtailing violent speech and publishing. Just last week, the Council of Holy Warriors, a group affiliated with Al Qaeda, posted a declaration on the site praising a suicide bombing in Iraq that killed or wounded 55 people.

“If you kill our civilians, we kill your civilians,” Mr. Massari declared during an interview.

Mr. Massari’s Web site, and his public remarks, appear to violate of the Antiterrorism Act of 2006, which makes it a crime to glorify or encourage political violence. Inciting violence has long been illegal here but the new rules, drawn up after the London subway and bus bombings in July 2005, are intended to be much tougher.

The law’s underlying assumption is that speeches and publications by Britain’s more extreme Islamists may play a role in leading disgruntled young men toward violence. In addition to banning speech that encourages terrorism, the new law also criminalizes reckless speech that may have the same effect.

Yet despite the antiglorification law, and an array of other measures approved since last summer’s bombings, Islamist leaders like Mr. Massari persist, some of them declaring it the duty of British Muslims to kill in the name of Islam.

Some British leaders are beginning to publicly question why such clerics are allowed to continue. Last week, David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party, chastised the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair for failing to enforce laws intended to make it more difficult for political extremists to operate.

{snip}

“I do not believe that our government is doing enough to fight Islamist extremists at home or to protect our security,’’ he said. “Why have so few, if any, preachers of hate been prosecuted or expelled, with those that have gone having done so voluntarily?”

In addition to curtailing political speech, the British government outlawed 15 militant groups, most of them Muslim. It took a sterner attitude toward Islamists who had preached violence in the past, barring one well-known Syrian-born cleric, Omar Bakri Mohammed, from returning to the country. Earlier this year, it secured the conviction of Abu Hamza al-Masri, the country’s most militant cleric, for soliciting murder and racial hatred.

Yet for all those actions, the new measures do not appear to have silenced those either praising or calling for violence in the name of Islam. Some Islamist preachers have carefully scaled back their language, even if, in context, the meaning seems clear.

{snip}

Others, meanwhile, have carried on as before, speaking in support of political violence or publishing tracts that do the same.

One of them is Atilla Ahmet, leader of the Islamist group Supporters of Shariah. In meetings with supporters and in interviews, the British-born Mr. Ahmet speaks freely about what he considers the necessity for violent action, both here and abroad, to avenge what he considers unjustified attacks on Muslims abroad.

“You are attacking our people in Muslim countries, in Iraq, in Afghanistan,’’ Mr. Ahmet said, referring to the British and American governments. “So it’s legitimate to attack British soldiers and policemen, government officials, and even the White House.”

{snip}

“If you are going to kill a Muslim, then I will do everything in my power to kill you,’’ he said.

Mr. Massari, the Web site operator, said he approved of violence against British and American soldiers in Iraq, as well as against most of the governments in the Middle East. He said, for instance, that it “is legitimate for Iraqis to kill Tony Blair, the same with Bush.’’

The posting on his Web site about the Iraqi bombing said of the attackers, “We ask God to accept our brothers as martyrs.’’

Mr. Massari makes several distinctions that he says insulate him from being deported or prosecuted by the British government. He says, for instance, that he does not post any material on the Web site himself; he lets his members do that, most of whom sign up anonymously. The other important distinction, he said, is that he does not call for violence in Britain.

It does not appear that British law makes such distinctions. The law on the books defines terrorism as violence, or the threat of violence, to influence a government or further a political or religious cause. It does not limit the application of the law to targets in Britain.

{snip}

“Anyone who supports Tony Blair,’’ said Khalid Kelley, an Irish-born convert to Islam, “is not a civilian.’’

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