Anytime you think the US is bad, give a thought for England
The American police state is god-awful, of that there is little doubt. But as bad as things are in the United States just remember they are far worse under the Labour authoritarians in the UK. Basically the Blair-Brown regime had made tourist filming a crime, defined as terrorism. The crime is filming any "public" building which includes virtually all sites of interest to tourists. If you pull out a camera, considered a dangerous weapon by the moronic Laborites, you can be arrested under various anti-terrorism legislation, which makes it a crime to photograph a public building.
Simona Bonomo, an Italian studying at London Metorpolitan University was filiming in London when the police approached her demanding to see her film. The porky in blue said that he can look at any film "if I think it may be linked to terrorism." Porky then accussed Bonomo of cycling the wrong way down the street. She apologize and porky left to return with a whole rasher of bacon—another six porkies. She was searched and arrested. All for filming in public. I will try to upload the film in question. This will show porkies around the world to be pretty much brain-dumb. You can see how dumb the officer is. When she tells him she is an artist he demands identification to prove she is an artist. Who exactly issues "artist ID"? No one. Watch the video and you will see how he becomes progressively more demanding and accusatory even though the woman did nothing wrong.
In public the police announce there is no law forbidding people from taking photos of public building. Yet Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (and more acts of parliament are terroristic in one way or antoehr) sys that police do not need suspicion to stop and search people. In a contradictory statement a police spokesman said: "These are important yet intrusive powers. They form a vital part of our overall tactics in deterring and detecting terrorist attacks. We must use these powers wisely. Public confidence in our ability to do so rightly depends upon your common sense." so, the police have no such power, but thsee power are both "important" and "intrusive" and should be used wisely.
When the Guardian newspaper sent someone out to photograph the Gherkin building, a tourist attraction, he was surrounded by police in plainclothes who covered his cameral lens and said he was involve in "hostile reconnaissance." He was told two counter-terrorism police would arrive shortly to search him. A BBC photographer was harassed by police for photographing St. Paul's Cathedral. An amateur photographer was questioned for taking photos of Christmas lights in Brighton. Two Austrian tourists were forced by police to erase tourist photos they took and a photographer was arrested in Kent because he took a photo of a fish and chip shop. He was arrested under the Terrorist Act, as was architecture photographer Grant Smith when he photographed Christopher Wren's Christ Church building. When Smith was arrested a news crew from ITV arrived to film the incident and they were threatened under the Terrorist Act as well.
The great fraud of government power is that it is rarely used for the purposes which justify the existence of the power. They are almost wholly used for other purposes. The Patriot Act does very little to terrorists but it does control the American public. The Terrorist Act in the UK is used continually against innocent people. Politicians wait for every new crisis to pass sweeping new powers which do little to address the new crisis but which do expand the power and scope of the state bureucracy. If government stopped "defending" us so much we'd all be better off.
Labels: Surveillance state