A well-known and highly respected Yemeni anti-drone activist was detained yesterday by UK officials under that country's "anti-terrorism" law at Gatwick Airport, where he had traveled to speak at an event. Baraa Shiban, the project co-ordinator for the London-based legal charity Reprieve, was held for an hour and a half and repeatedly questioned about his anti-drone work and political views regarding human rights abuses in Yemen.
When he objected that his political views had no relevance to security concerns, UK law enforcement officials threatened to detain him for the full nine hours allowed by the Terrorism Act of 2000, the same statute that was abused by UK officials last month to detain my partner, David Miranda, for nine hours.
Shiban tells his story today, here, in the Guardian, and recounts how the UK official told him "he had detained me not merely because I was from Yemen, but also because of Reprieve's work investigating and criticising the efficacy of US drone strikes in my country."
The notion that Shiban posed some sort of security threat was absurd on its face. As the Guardian reported Tuesday, "he visited the UK without incident earlier this summer and testified in May to a US congressional hearing on the impact of the covert drone programme in Yemen."
Viewing anti-drone activism as indicative of a terrorism threat is noxious. As Reprieve's Cory Crider put it yesterday, "if there were any doubt the UK was abusing its counter-terrorism powers to silence critics, this ends it."
~ from UK Detention of Reprieve Activist Consistent with NSA's View of Drone Opponents as "Threats" and "Adversaries" by Glenn Greenwald ~
If you are Muslim and you hold views that are counter to the US/UK, you better keep such views to yourself! That's the message of this detention and others cited by Greenwald. In fact, when it comes to an opposition to the use of drones, you don't even have to be a Muslim! You represent a "threat," nonetheless.
If anyone STILL thinks that this mass surveillance apparatus is focused strictly on anti-terrorism, your head must be so far up your arse that you will never be able to extricate it. In recent months, it has been revealed that the NSA (and GCHQ) regularly spies on journalists, the UN, long-time allies, state-run corporations (i.e., Brazil's chief oil company), leaders of sovereign nations (e.g., Brazil and Mexico), and just about everyone else. Unless we all are considered potential terrorists, it is more than obvious that this ubiquitous spying isn't tied to terrorism at all.
Conservatives have long been concerned with a nonexistent blueprint of the UN to create a world government. The fear is that such a world government would deprive red-blooded Americans of the freedoms (i.e., the right to own as many guns as humanly possible) they hold dear. To counter this fear, such conservatives have been ardent supporters of the military-intelligence-industrial complex.
It is more than ironic that the very institution these folks cherish is the one that is trying to create a quasi world government in secret. When you know what everyone else is up to, it makes it that much easier to control and/or manipulate them. You don't have to declare yourselves as a de facto world government, but it leads to much the same result. You get to call the shots and anyone who opposes you is quickly threatened, bribed, blackmailed, detained, imprisoned, tortured or dispatched with by one means or another.