Category Archives: terrorism

Death to Traitors, freedom for Britain

It’s not exactly catchy, is it?  But then, the Breivik-wannabe[1] who murdered an MP and wounded a bystander had already shouted “Britain First”, only to be disowned and his act unreservedly condemned by the fringe political group of that name.  He seems to be politically-motivated yet to have (thankfully) no hint of political support.

I hadn’t heard of the victim Jo Cox before her death.  But I have to confess, I find the tributes to her unexpectedly convincing, and the sister’s speech today was lovely.  My inner cynic has nothing to say.

What a shame that’s the background to someone who appears to be doing a fine job of highlighting some of the absurdities of our judicial system with the full attention of the media.  There’s plenty of scope to disappoint, but to have stood up in court today and given his name as “Death to Traitors, Freedom for Britain” is a good start.  Strangely everyone concerned refers to him by a less-unlikely name, which kind-of highlights the absurdity of the court’s question.  After all, a defendant on a charge involving identity theft might easily tell a convincing lie.

Apart from giving us a welcome respite from referendum nonsense, this has raised the question of shielding MPs from the people.  The odious Luciana Berger, from the totalitarian wing of the Labour party, wants to make it an excuse to hide behind red tape and screen out unwanted members if the public.  I hope that level of contempt for her electorate puts her in a minority as small as the assassin’s: I certainly can’t see those who (like Jo Cox) actually care about people going down that kind of route.

I shall also be mildly interested to see how the courts treat this case in comparison to another recent politically-motivated killing.  If the killers of a military target, having gone to some lengths to make it clear that civilian bystanders had nothing to fear, could be given an (exceptional) absolute maximum punishment, there is no scope left to punish proportionally the murder of a civilian and serious wounding of a third party.  Will we see a shameful double standard of any lesser punishment for the greater crime?

[1] Or does he see himself as Gavrilo Princip or Yigal Amir, the assassins whose deeds unleashed war on the world?

I won’t be going to FOSDEM

Belgian cities full of trigger-happy armed troops, with orders to shoot to kill, and a recent track record of doing so.

In reality, probably a lower risk than regular vehicular traffic, even for those of us with an ample beard and a big backpack.  Though surely a far higher risk than the supposed terrorist threat.  But that level of security theatre is hardly welcoming to visitors.  Since I have the choice, I’m staying away, and withholding the support that might be inferred from my travelling to Brussels for a weekend in the near future.

It’s a bit of a shame: I missed last year’s FOSDEM too due to family commitments.  Maybe next year?

[edit] That last sentence is a bit disingenuous, insofar as it suggests this is a big change of plan.  In reality I hadn’t decided one way or the other.  I’ve been doing that of late: I only got around to signing up for ApacheCon in Budapest the day before it started!

Book burning

A nasty nutcase is convicted of terrorist offences.  His teenage son is convicted of possessing a book called the Anarchists Cookbook, available openly from Amazon.  And the judge says all copies of the book in the UK should be destroyed (link).

OK, if a man has been manufacturing ricin and intends using it to kill, then he needs to be locked up.  But the son is another story: he may have been complicit in a crime, but if so he should be put on trial for that.  Not for mere possession of a book!  His conviction is a grim reminder of how far we’ve slid into totalitarianism.

Perhaps someone should remind the powers-that-be that within living memory we were at total war with Nazi Germany, yet there were no restrictions on owning or reading Mein Kampf.  Once upon a time, Britain stood for freedom!

A sense of proportion

A week of ‘terrorist’ incidents: two cars in London (not exactly car bombs) that didn’t go off, and one driven into Glasgow airport. Now we’re on “critical” terrorist alert.

Three incidents. Not ‘professional’ terrorist incidents, but bumbling, ineffectual homebrew attacks: more Inspector Clouseau than anything else. Incidents on a level of sophistication (and danger) more akin to teenage ‘joyriders’ than to a serious terrorist organisation like the IRA or Al Qaeda[1].

Contrast the “nothing to worry about” attitude to equally (if not more) serious incidents such as this, which I find altogether more scary. And contrast the attitude to killer drivers, who are commonly given no more than a slap on the wrist, no matter how dangerous they are (and in this country, drivers kill more people in a week than terrorists have in total since the IRA stopped).

If there are serious terrorists out there, how likely are they to announce their intention to attack with a round of buffoonery like this?

Much more worrying: these were apparently completely off the police’s radar. At a guess, they really are just saddo kids, and have no affiliation at all to anyone the security forces are watching. Smells like the seeds of fear and distrust that The Liar has so abundantly scattered in recent years, coming home to roost.

[1] That is to say, the Al Qaeda of “9/11”. Nowadays the term seems to have become a general-purpose bogeyman for anything islamic and bad. Or indeed anyone we happen to kill in the occupied countries.