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"New terrorists" protest in front of Parliament

alien8 | 19.02.2001 16:03

Anti-genetics and Reclaim the Streets activists have today protested against the new Terrorism Act.

The redefinition of direct action, which the new act is bringing about, was today attacked by those who may soon be redefined terrorists.

Parcels containing genetically modified crops (GM 'time bombs') were delivered to the relevant offices of the instruments of state in the morning. Later, people gathered in front of Parliament, hung up banners and issued the following statement:

This action is taking place because today, as the Terrorism Act comes into force, political dissent has been redefined as terrorism. We wanted to show you a real terrorist cell, so we are returning these genetically modified timebombs here, to expose those who are causing a physical risk to the health and safety of the public - contradicting the very act of parliament they intend to use against us.

In Canada, the Royal Society - the leading scientific body of that country - has warned that GM foods could pose "serious risks to human health, of extensive,
irremediable disruption for the natural ecosystems, or of serious diminution of biodiversity". It declared that a key testing standard used in Britain to assess GM food should be abandoned as it offers inadequate protection to
health. Yet a three year European moratorium on commercial planting has now ended, torpedoed with the active support of our government against the wishes of the public.

We have already seen the interests of the oil industry put before the reality of climate change. Now the profits of the biotech industry are being given priority over nature. The biotech industry is attempting to claim the creation
of life itself as another new market to be exploited.

The Terrorism Act is designed to stop people taking direct action, to make us all powerless in the face of government and business. The severity of sentencing under this new act will not persuade the public to accept GE nor will it suddenly make them blind to human rights abuses or environmental injustice. The people working towards social and ecological justice, in defense of their lives, their communities and their environment will not be stopped by this legislation. It will mark the escalation of an audacious global movement to reclaim the world as a common treasury for all.



Hide the following 5 comments

Pot calls kettle 'black'

19.02.2001 18:50

The government has just called on Robert Mugabe to, "respect fundemental freedoms." Excuse me? A fundemental freedom is the right to protest against injustice and oppressive measures, like the 'New Terrorism' Law!


corp media

21.02.2001 09:07

Todays Guardian - John Vidal - Eco soundings - 21.02.01:

The new terrorism act may shape the face of future civil protest, but its passing into British law has been met with a deafening silence by Friends of the Earth, animal rights groups, Greenpeace and all the usual suspects. It was left to Reclaim the Streets - with whom these pages have had their spats over the years - to mark the occasion on Monday by hanging placards off statues of Emmeline Pankhurst and Nelson Mandela and others who these days would be liable to be declared terrorists. They also delivered GM plants to ministers and senior civil servants, and, in an historic move, talked to the press. John Vidal

Channel 4 news Video - looking at protestors and direct action on Monday 19/02/01:

other collected links to corp media terrorism act articles at


Action report

21.02.2001 11:53

Almost a dozen protesters braved February's freezing fog to leaflet from 8am those going to work at the Metropolitan Police's HQ at New Scotland Yard, the Home Office, where the law was drawn up, and MI5, the security service.
Over a thousand pieces of agit-prop, based on a subverted version of the police anti-terrorism posters, thus ended up in the heart of the state countering the official spin. While some police (& no doubt several CCTV cameras) watched closely, they did not cause any problems.

In the morning lab bottles containing GM plants were delivered to various government departments as examples of "state terrorism" (reference was made to the Royal Society of Canada's recent report on GMOs).

At 2.30pm activists gathered at Nelson Mandela's statute, South Bank, near Waterloo Bridge. At about 3pm after putting a placard marked "terrorist" on the statute, over 30 protesters moved off towards Parliament Square. Some old faces were seen walking along the Embankment, so it was no surprise to find a couple of carriers of TSG (riot police but not tooled up) waiting for us at Westminster Bridge. Despite not knowing why they were there, they managed to follow us, running at times en masse so as to look particularly stupid and to excite the media entourage clearly hoping for an early version of the alleged Mayday. At Parliament Square, a long black banner with "Terrorists" was unfurled and after the corporate media got more than its fair share of interviews and bemused tourists more than their fair share of leaflets (they cost money!!), it was time to move.

After watching another impromptu display of police running, the statute of suffragette Emily Pankhurst by the House of Lords was relabelled "Terrorist" by the activists who had had the same fate that day. After that it was time to relax...

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Text from leaflet handed out at actions

21.02.2001 11:55



The Spin
The Government has modernised anti-terrorism laws

The Reality
Emergency powers have been made permanent despite there being no emergency
A catch-all redefinition of terrorism has devalued the term and widened it extraordinarily

'I believe that we must have some confidence in the law enforcement agencies and the courts. If we look back at the past 25 years, we can see that the [anti-terrorism] powers have been used proportionately…'
Jack Straw, Home Secretary

Imagine a Britain where what you eat, what you believe in, where your family originate from or the websites you visit could result in you being treated as a suspected terrorist.

Imagine a Britain where you could be detained up to seven days without the right to a fair hearing and with no effective rights in the police station.
A Britain where anyone found near a demonstration could be arrested, fingerprinted and DNA sampled. A Britain where you could be treated as an outlaw and be searched on the street or have your home raided. All this if a police officer could demonstrate they had the slightest grounds to suspect you, even if they turned out to be wrong or mistaken.

It could be you
Since the Terrorism Act 2000 came into force on 19 February 2001, this can and will happen in Britain. The powers in previous anti-terrorism legislation, repeatedly condemned by UN bodies and judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, can to be applied to whole swathes of society thanks to the Act's reactionary redefinition of terrorism.

Operation “Pre-empt”, a controversial proposal for the police to treat anyone of Irish origin or descent as a suspected terrorist, was only withdrawn last Christmas after pressure and charges of racism. However next time a biotech firm pulls out after fields are decontaminated of GMOs, or an animal testing laboratory threatens to close after protests. Next time there are skirmishes in a far away land, fuel protesters bring the Government to its knees, or road building is successfully halted. Next time the police are under pressure to get results it could be you. If you eat organic or vegetarian, if you have relatives in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Ireland etc., if you've looked at direct-action websites you could be treated as a potential terrorist suspect.

Act of Terror
Whether you agree with their views or even their methods is not important. Real terrorists injure innocent people in random attacks to create fear amongst the general population for a political purpose. New Labour's “new terrorists” are not terrorists so they should not be treated as such, let alone worse than serial killers. Fred West, for example, would have escaped the powers of the Terrorism Act as he was not politically motivated.

A definition of terrorism that lumps together bombing of a women and her baby on a train and civil disobedience is morally offensive. It also devalues the term and weakens its effect on the bomber. Put simply, 'terrorism' should not become just another derogatory word.

The state gets the power to persecute
What the Terrorism Act has done is define terrorism so widely that it is basically up to the Government and the police to decide who they want to treat as a terrorist. While those other countries, such as New Zealand, that have emergency powers allow them only to be used in an emergency, our Government wants them permanently available for use and abuse.

This means a chilling effect on free speech and other basic rights:
journalists were frequently targeted under the previous terrorism laws, particularly when they tried to reveal misconduct by the state. The Act is so vast and vague that it will take years for its provisions to be clarified. For example, the meaning of the phrase “serious violence” first introduced into UK law in 1994 and now a key part of the Terrorism Act, has not even been tested in court yet.

Global problems need global solutions
That's not to say terrorism isn't a serious global problem. That's why we need global solutions such as the two new international conventions against terrorist bombings and financing, which should be the basis of our own law. They forced a hasty patch-up of the Act but made it look even more at odds with 21st century values and respect for human rights.

The Government has never explained why we need a definition of terrorism so extraordinarily wider than that in international law. What can we infer from their silence?

Moving towardsa police state - five facts about the Terrorism Act 2000

1 the redefinition of “terrorism” does not distinguish between bombing babies in buses and sabotage of weapons about to be used for genocide: both count if the Government or police want
2 the previous legislation led to some of the worst human rights abuses and miscarriages of justice in recent history
3 the Act recycles most of the discredited and out of date existing anti-terrorism offences and police powers
4 you could be arrested even if there are no grounds to suspect you of any specific criminal offence
5 the United Nation's Commission on Human Rights, among others, have called for it not to be brought into force

“The Government [should] repeal all provisions which are not in conformity with international treaties and standards, in particular emergency laws like the Prevention of Terrorism Act which have a chilling effect on the right to freedom of opinion and expression.” Abid Hussain, Special Rapporteur, UN Commission on Human Rights

The Network Against The Terrorism Act (NATTA) was set up to raise and co-ordinate effective opposition to the Terrorism Act 2000 as few have noticed it and even fewer have been noticed criticising it.

NATTA is non-hierarchical and open to anyone who shares our commitment to human rights and repeal of the Act and replacing it with a law implementing the two new international conventions that follows their definition of terrorism. The best way to find out more is to visit our website.

Network Against The Terrorism Act
tel: 0845 458 2966

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Caring is a crime.

02.03.2001 17:37

Sir Bob Geldof would have been arrested as a terrorist under this law for his idealogical belief in feeding the World.