Looking back at big brother cameras is also terrorism
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
A new London Metropolitan Police anti-terrorism campaign is encouraging law abiding citizens to look through each others’ bins to check for “suspicious” items such as chemical bottles, and to report any troubling findings to the police.
“Don’t rely on others. If you suspect it report it,” the Metropolitan Police press release states.
“Londoners are being asked to trust their instincts and report suspicious behaviour to help combat terrorist activity.”
The posters will be displayed in newspapers, at tube and rail stations as well as on the back of buses. A suitably Stasi-like radio ad has also been produced.
A second poster has been produced outlining how returning the ever-watching gaze of one of the 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK should also be considered suspicious behaviour.
Staring back at big brother is a no-no, the authorities can watch you but you cannot look back at them – you must practice cognitive dissonance or engage in “doublethink” as Orwell called it, pretending that the cameras are not even there.
This is somewhat difficult to avoid, however, considering there is one camera for every 14 people in Britain.
A post on BoingBoing.net highlights the insidious and disturbing nature of this campaign:
Even worse, though, is the idea that you should report your neighbors to the police for looking at the creepy surveillance technology around them. This is the first step in making it illegal to debate whether the surveillance state is a good or bad thing. It’s the extension of the ridiculous airport rule that prohibits discussing the security measures (“Exactly how does 101 ml of liquid endanger a plane?”), conflating it with “making jokes about bombs.”
The British authorities are bent on driving fear into the hearts of Britons: fear of terrorists, immigrants, pedophiles, children, knives… And once people are afraid enough, they’ll write government a blank check to expand its authority without sense or limit.
The Met Police campaign follows a similar line of previous anti-terror initiatives, encouraging citizens to become Stasi-like operatives, mistrustful of everyone around them and ready to report each other at the drop of a hat.
A 2007 campaign, which we covered in detail, urged the public to be mindful of anyone who uses a phone, carries a bag, drives a van or takes pictures with a camera, because they may be terrorists.
A 2006 campaign consisted of five different posters designed to drill it into the minds of all Londoners that anyone they know could be a terrorist and they should report anything they don’t like the look of to the authorities.
(Article continues below)
These kind of campaigns would be fitting in Stalinist Russia or Cold War East Germany.
Even before the London bombings, we were subjected to the same kind of propaganda.
In 2003 We were treated to the “Watchful Eyes” campaign with all seeing eyes in the sky above an iconic London bus. We were told that Big Brother was watching and keeping us all safe.
In March 2004, I wrote “It seems that London is gearing up for a major terrorist attack very soon.” as it became increasingly apparent that the fear factor was being upped considerably.
The “Life Savers” campaign featured a number of different posters, one for each different race, that encouraged us to report any suspicious activity. It also rather ominously directed our attention to the London Underground and unattended bags.
Just over a year later in 2005, the July 7th Transport bombings took place.
Once again I feel the same kind of pervading atmosphere all around the city.
Headlines warn of an impending dirty bomb attack, with the Home Office urging that the country is at an increased risk of attack from nuclear and chemical devices.
The Home Secretary has stated that an event is very likely to occur soon, while revealing the details of a major new initiative, known as CONTEST TWO, which will see 60,000 security guards, train conductors, store managers and the like trained by MI5 as part a civilian network of “terrorist” spotters, a practice the security services have been engaged in for sometime previous to last weekend’s announcement.
These anti-terror campaigns do nothing substantive to prevent terrorism and only encourage fear and suspicion of everyone and everything amongst the British public. They are a huge waste of funding and above all are community dividing and socially destructive.
POLITELY and INTELLIGENTLY voice your complaint with the London Metropolitan Police here.
This article was posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 11:56 am