Why Britain's 'Extremist Disruption Orders' should scare the ever living shit out of you

ISIS Fear-Porn Fallout: UK Home Secretary Wants to Ban "Extremists" from Social Media and Public Speaking

Why Britain's 'Extremist Disruption Orders' should scare the ever living shit out of you

The Telegraph reports this morning:


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Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives.

They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, under the new Extremist Disruption Orders.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will lay out plans to allow judges to ban people from broadcasting or protesting in certain places, as well as associating with specific people.

The urgency for EDO's, according to the Telegraph, is clear: the threat of ISIS.

The UK’s terror threat level was raised from “substantial” to “severe” at the end of August in response to conflicts in Iraq and Syria.

The Scotsman provides further detail about the need to combat this "new era" of terror:

“I want to see new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the existing laws relating to terrorism,” Mrs May said.

Of course, if history is any guide, like all anti-terror legislation, these orders will rarely, if ever, be used against "terrorism". As this 2011 New Yorker infographic about the uses of the Patriot Act illustrates:

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But, unlike previous "anti-terror" legislation, this piece of fear exploitation at least gets credit for being open about its nebulous intent. Ms. May is quick to add that EDO's are not just designed to disrupt "terror", but also its less 9/11-y cousin: "extremism"

“It will aim to undermine and eliminate extremism in all its forms - neo-Nazism and other forms of extremism as well as Islamist extremism and it will aim to build up society to identify extremism, confront it, challenge it and defeat it.”

What is an "extremist"? This is not made clear by either May or any of the press reports. But we do have some sense of what the British authorties consider "terrorism".

From a December 2011 Yahoo News report:

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City of London Police have sparked controversy by producing a brief in which the Occupy London movement is listed under domestic terrorism/extremism threats to City businesses.

Also a terrorist? Glenn Greenwald's partner David Miranda who was held for nine hours at Heathrow Airport in London under a 2000 "anti-terror" law on suspicion he was in possession of leaked NSA documents.


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Time will tell of course how these proposals, if passed into law, will invariably be abused. But what we do know, for now, is that their driving justification is the new, Worse-than-al-Qaeda™ threat from ISIS:

Mrs May also paid tribute to the Scottish hostage David Haine, who was murdered by IS terrorists.

Condemning the “deadly terrorist threat we face”, Mrs May added: “David Haines was a tireless humanitarian worker who helped Muslims - not just in Syria - but in Bosnia, South Sudan and Libya. Two weeks ago he was murdered by terrorists simply for being British.”

As the great Rahm Emanuel once said, "you never want a serious crisis to go to waste".

h/t @SheffieldUncut1

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