20:03 GMT01 August 2021
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    The UK’s Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act, which was granted Royal Assent in February, bestows on British law enforcement officers new powers. What are these powers and what are the offences?

    Adam Garrie, a geopolitical analyst and director at Eurasia Future, based in the UK joins the program.

    Adam describes the new law: "…This law is very stupid because it is overly broad in its approach and it has enforceability issues that are frankly quite insane. It criminalises the general population at the expense of using resources to target actual violent extremists….When it comes into force, someone who merely clicks or views a video or written content deemed to be glorifying terrorism will be persecuted as a terrorist. If people do not understand that this is a problem, it is because there is an Orwellian atmosphere which has already destroyed people's ability to think logically. It is really one step away from a science fiction like thought crime where just looking at something is going to be compared to supporting it, which of course is ludicrous."

    There are ancient laws which make it clear, Adam says, that making a threat against anybody in writing or using physical violence is illegal. "…This law is not needed. This law makes criminals out of ordinary people while ancient laws have long ago made the promulgation of terrorism and violence illegal. Those have never been legal. So, there's no need for this legislation."

    There is a problem with the definition of ‘terrorism.' Adam says: "Every country in the world has its own definition. We see the US and the UN sometimes going on about what is and isn't terrorism. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

    The important point here is that we are talking about limitation of freedom of ordinary people to view content, but there has been no public discussion about whether the adopted approach is right or not. As Adam, points out, knowing who your enemy is, is part of the battle against terrorism, and there is an argument to support the attitude that viewing such footage is important to galvanise support amongst those groups which are fighting terrorism. As Adam says: "In the 1980s, they were trying to censor heavy metal rock music in the US. It wasn't just heavy metal; it was Madonna as well and people like that. They said that it doesn't matter if you enjoy it or not, they said that if you just listen to it you are going to turn into some savage killing raping being from the outer regions of hell, which was nonsense then and the argument is totally nonsense now."

    There is another clause in the new law which introduces the possibility of charges being brought against people who travel to ‘designated areas'. There is, as with ‘terrorism', no clear definition of what a ‘designated area' is. ‘People who are independent journalists and photographers could fall under a provision that is meant to catch war criminals and obviously there are already provisions in the [existing] law to catch war criminals."

    Host John Harrison says that he doesn't think that the present government in the UK would use this law to instigate mass arrests, but once legislation is on the statute books, even if it is not applied, it is dangerous. The political environment could change, and any government can then say: but, according to law whatever it is… we hereby arrest you. Adam comments: "Absolute power can corrupt absolutely, and this kind of legislation is a gateway for that kind of power."

    The issue of implementation is brought up, as even in countries like China where the government does control internet usage, it is still possible to circumnavigate control procedures by using VPNs. Implementing this new law will cost a lot of money. As Adam says: ‘How many nurses could be hired using the same amount of money that people are going to spend on funding the terrorist thought control police. It's ridiculous." 

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    United Kingdom, Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act, law enforcement, Terrorism
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