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Cheers - AE

Friday, 18 November 2011

New enemies in the war on terror?

From Wikipedia:
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion.
'Terror' itself being defined in Wiktionary as:
terror (countable and uncountable; plural terrors)
  1. (uncountable) intense dread, fright, or fear.
  2. (countable) specific instances of being intensely terrified
  3. (uncountable) the action or quality of causing dread; terribleness, especially such qualities in narrative fiction
  4. (countable) something or someone that causes such fear.
And coercion as
coercion (plural coercions)

  1. (not countable) Actual or threatened force for the purpose of compelling action by another person; the act of coercing.
  2. (law, not countable) Use of physical or moral force to compel a person to do something, or to abstain from doing something, thereby depriving that person of the exercise of free will.
  3. (countable) A specific instance of coercing.
  4. (computing, countable) Conversion of a value of one data type to a value of another data type.
So ignoring that last definition that relates to computing and thinking about that very first sentence in which Wikipedia suggests terrorism is simply the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion, I find myself wondering how broadly this applies and whether any organisation or organisations that use scare tactics in order to get their way, to see people cowed - terrified, in fact - into submission, would count as being terrorists. Specifically, I'm thinking about whether the BMA, ASH and so on could be seen as terrorists. Ridiculous? Of course it is. Absolutely ridiculous. I mean, most or all of these anti-smoking - and of course the anti-drinking, anti-drugs, anti... er, where are we up to now? Oh yes, anti-salt, anti-soft drinks, anti-red meat and/or junk food (like I even need to bother finding a link for that), anti-caffeine, even anti-muesli - anti fucking muesli for Christ's fucking sake, oh I wish I was making that one up - basically anti-whatever it is you do that you enjoy that might shave even a picosecond off your life according to anything that even passes for a scientific study in a bad light, most of these anti-whatever groups are either run by or partly funded by the government, or at least exist with their tacit approval. And clearly that legitimises them, doesn't it? How can they be terrorists with government approval and even funding, no matter how much they try to coerce people by means of fear?

Ummm, well, I didn't want to mention it, but...
State terrorism may refer to acts of terrorism conducted by a state against a foreign state or people. It can also refer to acts of violence by a state against its own people.
So depending on how broad a definition you want to use maybe they could be after all. Ah, but Angry, old mate, I hear you say, it's not like they're blowing anybody up, is it? They're not using force, are they?

Aren't they?
A former pub landlord yesterday became the first person to be jailed in connection with the smoking ban.
Nick Hogan, 43, was sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to pay a fine imposed for flouting the legislation.
Two years ago Hogan, who ran two pubs in Bolton, became the first landlord convicted of breaking the law for allowing his customers to routinely light up in his bars.
Tracey John, 48, from Pontypridd, was fined £350 by local magistrates plus £100 costs after refusing to pay a £75 on the spot penalty.
Ms John said: "They're making me feel like I'm a big criminal... it's not like I've done a massive robbery."
She was spotted smoking on the doorstep of her home in Maesycoed by a passing litter enforcement officer.
She claimed that despite picking up the cigarette she was given a fixed penalty notice.
The Health Act 2006 came into force in July 2007. The Health Act prohibits smoking in almost all enclosed public places, workplaces and even includes work vehicles.
Mr Minihan, a tanker driver from Liverpool, was seen flicking ash and disposing of a cigarette butt from his cab by council enforcement officers. Mr Minihan fought the charge by claiming he was using an Electronic cigarette.
I think a lot of people would argue that they certainly are using force and violence and the threat of same - the monopoly on force and violence enjoyed by the state whose ear the antis have long had and whispered into, Gríma Wormtongue style. That's about as forceful as it gets and the threat of state sanctioned violence is always in the air. Hangs around much longer than cigarette smoke too, which I very much hope all drinkers, salad dodgers, coffee lovers, Red Bull fans, salters, muesli munchers and anyone I've missed is by now noticing. Terrified? You fucking should be, though not for the same reasons the antis want you to be terrified.

Nor are innocent bystanders unheard of, and not just folks like the e-fag smoker up there:
A non-smoker was stunned to be given a £50 fine for throwing a cigarette butt out of her car window.
Gillian Leah has never had a cigarette and is vehemently anti-litter.
So the 46-year-old, of Hove Edge, Brighouse, thought the matter would soon be sorted after contacting council officials.
But her dispute has left her paying £50 for a crime she claims she didn’t commit.
The alternative was a fight through the courts with no guarantee of winning – and a legal bill running into thousands.
Ah, there's that monopoly on force, you see?
A RETIRED policeman was fined for dropping a cigarette end out of his car window – despite being a non-smoker and not even driving at the time.
Robert Marshall received a £50 fine from Nottingham City Council after a warden reported spotting him littering while driving along Hucknall Road, Nottingham.
But the council has now dropped the fine against the former officer after he told them he does not smoke and his car was in a car park at the time of the alleged offence.
The authority was also unable to confirm to Mr Marshall where in Hucknall Road the offence had taken place.
It has told him that a line has been drawn under the matter, after speaking to the warden involved.
A near miss, but (my bold)...
Mr Marshall, 48, of Moor Road, Bestwood Village, said: "The council have said they had a word with the warden, he said he was mistaken, and that is the end of the matter.
"This sort of thing is just unacceptable. I wonder how many others have been unfortunate enough to get this sort of ticket and have just paid the £50 fine because they cannot prove otherwise?"
So we've got an intention to coerce by scaring away resistance, a willingness to use force and innocent bystanders getting affected too. And now, this very week, the BMA - the British Motherfucking Authoritarians as Wolfers called them - are claiming that smoking must be banned in all cars (there's a poll on that article and you know what to do - vote early, vote often).
There is now strong evidence that smoking in vehicles exposes non-smokers to high levels of second hand smoke which is known to be damaging to heath, the BMA said.
Because of the small enclosed space inside a car, smoking creates 23 times more toxins than found in a smoky bar, it was claimed.
This is, of course, complete arse gravy and has not only been debunked by the likes of Chris Snowdon but, as he pointed out earlier this week, has even been repudiated by a Canadian Medical Journal.
The "23 times" claim is even more fun, because it involves a rare mea culpa from tobacco control. In a study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal entitled 'Second-hand smoke in cars: How did the “23 times more toxic” myth turn into fact?', MacKenzie and Freeman showed that the "fact" was entirely without scientific evidence and stemmed from a, obscure quote in a local newspaper in 1998 (as I had revealed on this blog two months earlier).

They concluded with the following unheeded recommendation:
We recommend that researchers and organizations stop using the 23 times more toxic factoid because there appears to be no evidence for it in the scientific literature.
Yet the BMA are still using it and assuming they're not ignorant of its complete lack of any authenticity it's not a huge leap to think that perhaps they're doing it with the intention of achieving their aims through scaring people. More terror. More coercion. More force. Fucking hell, some of them have even got the same kind of three letter initials: BMA, ASH... PLO, IRA.

Okay, I'm kidding - obviously that's not a fair comparison and lots of other organisations are known by TLAs. More importantly ASH, the BMA and so on don't use guns and bombs to scare people, but nonetheless their stock in trade is to try to scare everyone into submission and they're using the most powerful force inside any nation (often more than one nation). Dragging someone into the cells for failing to be an unpaid smoke warden in his own pub seems like violence to me, and not only are innocents already being affected we can all look forward to becoming as guilty as the smokers. And while they don't actually want smokers dead the same can't be said of their supporters, as a look through Dick Puddlecote's smoke psychosis gallery will tell you.

So is it terrorism? I don't know, I really don't. I suppose the day I feel genuinely afraid to do something I've always done and which was done peacefully by millions in past generations then I'll have my answer.

PS If you haven't already seen it there's a good op-ed piece in The Tele titled "All these smoking bans have left me fuming" and which has a particular go at the BMA over their proposed car ban.
And now, the campaigners are back: some people, they’ve noticed, have been smoking in their own cars. And other people might be in the car with them! So we need a new law, and a new set of criminals to prosecute – because, honestly, there’s nothing more important for either the political class or the medical establishment to be thinking about just now, right?
You might wonder how – were the ban to be introduced – it could be policed. Well, Oxford City Council has the answer to that. It plans to force CCTV into every taxi in the city, in order to record every conversation between driver and passenger. (I pity the official who had to review my conversations: it’s bad enough that the poor cabbie has to listen to me wittering on, without council officers having to listen in as well.)
Why not take it one step further, and insist on CCTV in every vehicle? Indeed, why stop there? (I doubt the BMA will.) Why not put cameras into every house, so that functionaries from the BMA’s Professional Activities Division can monitor our every move? You could even make it two-way, so that Dr Nathanson’s acolytes can bark out instructions every time some foolish little person tries to have a cigarette, or pours a second glass of wine.
Worth a read.
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