Bastions of Free Speech

August 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

This Sunday past, the 18th of August to be precise, the world witnessed yet another act of intimidation against free speech by a repressive state. A journalist, or rather a partner of a journalist, was detained for a whole nine hours to be questioned by police. I’d always heard of these types of things in the past, where a completely innocent person is detained for long periods of time, and wondered:

“What kind of questions do they ask?

Because to be held for a length of time as substantial as nine hours, you’d think there’d be some probing, cutting questions. Of course I still wonder what questions were asked, but not with the same sense of mystery as I once did. For starters, these detentions were the kind of thing that mainstream media outlets assured us only ever happened in horrible nasty evil strange places like Iran, China, Russia or North Korea. How should I know then what a North Korean interrogator would ask? This kind of thing never happened here and if it did it only happened to nasty people that want to attack our very way of life(!)

The mystery disappeared for me at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv (except it’s not really in Tel Aviv), when my wife was subjected to a four hour ‘detention’. It was a bit strange how it all happened really. I was let through straight away without any issues or even any questions asked, but my wife was immediately questioned: “Where are you from? No where are you from? What’s your father’s name? What’s your grandfather’s name? What are you doing in my country? Why don’t you go to Spain?’ I could say something about how the answers must have been the wrong ones, but it was clear that it was actually the skin colour and religion that was wrong.

Anyway, taken away to a little room she was ‘detained’ for four hours, subjected to hourly 10 minute sessions of aggressive interrogation that made me wonder: ‘Does this ever actually work?’. I mean, you’d have to be a really bad terrorist to crack under the heat of repetitive questions that began with ‘Why are you visiting Israel?’ and ended with ‘I SAID WHY ARE YOU VISITING MY COUNTRY, WHAT DO YOU WANT HERE? YOU KNOW YOU CAN GO TO SPAIN?’ What’s the fascination with Spain, I wonder? Do the Spanish Tourist board pay the IDF commission?

I imagine David Miranda, being the partner of a journalist who has dared to confront the greatest (by greatest, I mean largest and meanest) powers of our time for partaking in less-than-legal activities, was probably subjected to a far tougher line of questioning than my wife. Though if he were asked the same question ‘Why are you visiting my country?‘, aside from the obvious ‘I’m not, I’m just changing flights‘ I’d have been tempted to say ‘I have no f**king idea mate. It’s sh*t, it’s always f**king wet and the people have a strange sense of self-importance when really these pathetic little Islands are a spent force, periodically sucking American d**k to earn a few brownie points.’

Whatever David was asked, I think Scotland Yard’s claim that his detention was ‘Legally Sound’ is completely irrelevant. It may well have been legally sound, so to speak, but it was definitely not morally sound. In fact, it was morally repugnant. A complete disgrace. It’s pretty clear that this guy was targeted, this was no coincidence, and he was targeted because his partner is engaged in a campaign to reveal some rather inconvenient truths that may or may not affect the public’s view of not only the NSA and GCHQ but also the US & British Governments too. It’s rather easy to shoulder the blame and mistrust onto the security agencies, but they are only following orders.

Even the legally sound bit is becoming a bit irritating actually, because it’s also legally sound to stop ethnic minorities (particularly black males) and search them at will, the only justification required? ‘They looked suspicious guv’. Must be a bit of a shock to bone-headed bobby to discover things like ‘A Brief History of Time’, a violin or even just a pen in a black male’s satchel instead of some weed, a gun or a knife. Probably just carrying it for a white friend or something. ‘I’ve got my eye on you.‘ So the legally sound thing is pretty meaningless, besides the guy was detained under terror laws. I mean really? He doesn’t even have a Muslim Face, for Christ’s sake.

So the upshot of all this is our government just looks worse than it already did before (a spectacular achievement in all fairness as they look like a shower of c*nts as it is), because all this sorry little episode has done is show the British public that in all actuality we are merely slaves to the States. It’s clear that any secrets revealed by Glenn Greenwald will show the UK in a negative light, a seedy light. They will show that GCHQ and by extension, our Government, are whoring out their services to the US in a bid to impress them, to stay in favour. They will show that we fully support everything they do and our most recent actions show that we will support them in trying to suppress the truth too. What our Government must realise though is that, like all whores, once the US has paid us for our services they will have no hesitation to discard us for a more attractive proposition.

Now Russia, Iran, North Korea and China may not exactly be bastions of free speech and democracy, but it seems that neither are we. That’s not to say that whenever a repressive regime commits an immoral or grotesque act of injustice we should remain silent. Definitely not, but in the case of David Miranda and Glenn Greenwald, the UK has destroyed any credibility it may have once had. The next time Putin imprisons one of his political rivals on weak (or non-existent) charges, our voice of condemnation will be even more meaningless than it already would have. Whereas before Putin would have just swatted us away like the irritating fly that thinks it’s an Eagle, now he’ll merely laugh at how ridiculous we look.

Because the way to stop ‘terrorism’ is to confiscate games consoles. Obviously.