Monday, August 08, 2005

Anyone living in the UK atm will be starkly aware of the growing argument over the government's proposal to deport preachers of hate...

I don't approve of preaching hatred, but I believe in free speech - if people have grievances with our country then we must be prepared to listen - and if those grievances and maybe even their hatred are unreasonable, then we must prove them wrong, not sent them elsewhere with their hatred.

I'm not convinced that deportation works anyway. Surely it only goes to confirm the preacher's suspicion that they are not welcome in our country and surely their followers will rise up to take revenge. But then again, perhaps its easier to get rid of preachers of hate than to prove them wrong by acting with impeccable justice and generosity.

"But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them." ~ JESUS (Luke 6: 27-31)

"Make injustice visible". ~Gandhi


Twyla said...

Very good points. I really like that Gandhi quote.

Martin said...

As far as I can see, this is not a matter of free speech. Free speech has never and will never be a justification for the incitement of violence.

For instance, a little after Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (our most sturdy legal protection of freedom of expression, and even then with a substantial exemption clause) comes the often overlooked Article 17:

Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction on any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention

That includes using freedom of speech to encourage the violation of the right to life, which unlike freedom of speech is treated as an "absolute" right, i.e. there is no exemption clause. (I am not saying, incidentally, that it is treated as such in practice.) How we treat those who threaten and encourage murder and those merely with grievances are on two entirely different scales.

I am not sure if an equivalent exists in the US Constitution, but I would be very surprised if not.

Whether it works anyway or not is another matter, but personally I would not lose any sleep about the idea of telling someone who is preaching the indiscriminate killing of people of a particular nationality to leave the nation they are threatening.

That said, these supposed "bad egg" clerics are making a timely excuse for Mr Blair to deny any connection between his foreign policy and the ideological motives of those who murdered civilians on July 7th.

postliberal said...

I wonder who'll be the first to try and churck out Paisley?

But then, those who seek a reason to hate others will always have a reason to do so. In theory, I can see how imported preachers might be unhelpful to our society...more on this later...

Lorcan said...

Ah post liberal... you beat me to it. I envisioned a little island, say St. Helena, with a nice little cottage for Bush, one for Blair ( unless they wish to live together... all cozy... ) one for Mr. Saddam Husain, one for Mr. Ben Lauden... and let them fight or live in peace... but stop sending children to die for their silliness.

Bonny's away from his waring and fighting

He's gone to a place where not may delight him

... no more in St. Cloud will he appear in great splendor

nor step forth from the crowd, like great Alexander

He may look to the east to the great mount Diana,

While forelorn he does mourne, on the isle of St. Helena.

So you that have wealth, beware of ambition

for there's some twist of fate may soon change your condition

be steadfast, in time - what's to come, change you cannont

and maybe your race will end on the isle of St. Helena...

there is an idea in that!


Lora said...

I heard about that just this morning and was horrified. Sounds like what they are trying to do here in the U.S.

Makes you feel like a frog in a pot of water and somebody has turned on the flame.

Contemplative Activist said...

Jolly good point and after the raucous nonsense Paisley's crew made over the recent Pride parade in Belfast, I think they should well be deported.

I'll start the campaign!!!

Lorcan said...

I never thought I would be sticking up for that fellow, CA... but I don't think the point is to chuck out Ian... we should have tea with him, like Burnadette Devlin McAlisky did, she told me about it once... I think we need to all have a lovely wee tea party... on St. Helena???? Tony and George can get the tickets and I'll bring the tea...

Contemplative Activist said...

Tony, George, Ian, Osama and Saddam - who else is coming for tea? I'll bring the sandwiches...

Paul said...

Lora, Where exactly are they trying to do this in the US? I am really curious, especially considering the ACLU has already crushed the ability of law enforcement to profile when searching for terrorists.

Martin, there is nothing in the US Constitution which addresses this. There is the little known Alien and Sedition Act of 1797, but that expired in I believe 1798. As long as the preaching is not slanderous, you can pretty much say whatever you want. Prior to 9/11 I would have been against the deportation of those who preach hatred, unless they are in the US illegally, the problem is many of these imams are wanted in their former countries and have fled for one reason or another. If the situation exists, they shoudl be extradited and made to answer for whatever crimes in those countries.

Martin said...

Paul, now that you mention it, I'm not really all that surprised, given that the Constitution does tend to deal in absolutes (causing apparently no end of legal headache in the process!)

I'd be interested to know, and might go and find out, how the Supreme Court tackles the issue of deportation. In the UK we have only had an assertable right of freedom of expression in a British court for the past five years, and a European court for the fifty before that, so in terms of sorting the meaning of 'freedom of expression' out you've got nearly two centures on us!

I suppose what this issue really brings to mind for me is the European Court of Human Rights' case law on the far right and the legal stifling of various European states of neo-Nazi groups (in Germany and Austria particularly, as you'd expect). As far as I'm aware, every case brought to that Court by a far right group asserting a right under Article 10 of the European Convention has been dismissed either by recourse to the astonishingly broad exemption clause in Article 10(2) or Article 17 (see above), or some combination of the two. And I think also the non-discrimination clause in Article 14 as well in one of the cases.

So I am not aware of anyone successfully asserting a right to espouse hateful and racist ideology as part of the right of freedom of expression (and many have tried), and so I seriously doubt that any such right exists.

Paul said...

Unfortunately, hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Pnathers have hidden behind the First Amendment for decades. From what I know, the only time the Supreme Court has tackled free speech are for situations that have caused personal or property damage, such as shouting fire in a movie theater. The First Amendment is very board though and offers no limitation on the Freedom of Speech. Very thought provoking though and am also curious. Good resources are

RobertB said...

I would think copyright would be the most significant exemption from freedom of expression in the USA (assuming expression includes mimicry.) But that's expressly permitted in the Constitution.

Lorcan said...

Paul... I let it pass the last time you mentioned the Alien and Sedition Acts. In fact, they did not expire, they prompted a large number of people to approach Thomas Jefferson, with the intention to have him lead an revolution against the tyranny which enacted that legislation. Jefferson, instead, decided to run for president and many people in teaching Political Science , speak of that as the true beginning of American party politics. I don't know many today, who believe that the Alien and Sedition Act was not a violation of the balance of powers, as it gave the executive branch unusual power... well, I don't know many myself, though without acknowledging the counter-precident in American history, the Republican party has enacted much of the act, not through legislation, before the "Patriot" Act, but through court cases like Doherty v. Meese ( yup... judge made law... by the Republicans ) and by executive order, and the changing of extradition treaties with specific nations like Briton. The "Patriot" Act, passed by legislators that never read it, in a moment of hysteria, has placed enough power in the executive branch of government that no American is safe in his or her "castle... Kind of odd that a Republican president had the "Patriot" Act drafted and ready to go, before 9/11 ... no way it could be drafted as quick as it was... well anyway, we have now lost rights we had under Magna Carter, and if you think we are any safer, well, frankly, count up the dead we left on the battle field fighting against a nation that was not at all involved in the events of 9/11 ( hey whatever happened to the preemptive concept... went the way of - whoops - no WMV here folks!!!! the ones we gave Saddam to use on the Iranians... he already used on the Kurds... ) Oh well, enough from me... I'm a wee tad tired and sad.

Lorcan said...

PS Paul... re: "I am really curious, especially considering the ACLU has already crushed the ability of law enforcement to profile when searching for terrorists." No... the courts have found that one can't profile on grounds of race... being that you are White... I suppose the value of that might be lost, but many of my Black friends were somewhat releived by that decision... they were as happy about the ACLU defending their right not to be profiled as a Rush Limbow was happy they helped established rights of privacy when the prosicutors wanted his medical records... but that's life... one is anti-cop until ya need one, and then your anti defense lawyer until some guy who needed a cop sent one around to your door...

oh well

Paul said...

Let it be said here, I am against any judge, republican or democrat appointee who creates laws from the bench. We know they are both out there, and that is not their job. I also think the Patriot Act is among the most abominable acts of legislation in the history of our country.

I was under the impression that the original A & S Act had expired, I certainly could be wrong but agree with you the the Patriot Act goes way beyond that.

I do have a problem with law enforcement not being able to profile. White, Black, Asian, Arabic, whomever. It is an important tool law enforcement can use to prevent crime. Nonetheless it is a tool athat can be abused and if abused, those officers should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I am as white as they come, but when I was in college in the mid-ninties I drove a pretty beat up 1983 Chevy Malibu and was profiled in a ritzy suburb outside Philadelphia. I was closely tailed by police for over a mile, even had the light shined on my car. I did not feel insulted or annoyed, the cop was doing his job. Heck, if I lived in the neighborhood, I would wonder why such a banged up car was in the neighborhood. When there is evidence of Arabic men going straight through airport checkpoints, while old ladies are having their bags searched, there is a problem. The Airport security is afraid to stop and arabic man, for the fear they might claim profiling. It is a joke.

Lorcan said...

Hi Paul:

I've appreciated that you are not a programmed thinker. Here's something to consider about racial profiling, as opposed to profiling in general. Police have profilers who use a number of sociological and forensic tools to find a generalized category in searching for a specific criminal. This is quite different from the concept that a person can be out of place by reason of their race. When I was in law school, it was considered probable cause to stop a Black person in a predominately White neighborhood, the Black man on Park Ave. at night or the White man in Harlem at night. The problem is that cops never consider a White person out of place. For example, I worked in Harlem, at the State Office Building, ( where Bill Clinton now has his office ). No matter what time I left the office, I was OK with the cops. On the other hand, a Black court officer friend of mine, who drove a nice car, and had an Irish girl friend, numerous times, every year, in progressive New York City, would be stopped, told to get out of his car, several times a year with a gun to his head, and ever few years with unnecessary roughness, being slammed against the hood of his car... it get's rather old after awhile when you are a well off Black man.

These stops are inherently dangerous as the shooting of Amadou Diallo shows, a gentle and innocent man shot 41 times in his hall. I can only hope that the young Hispanic man, shot in the head by English police, was ONLY a case of racial profiling, not a case of the return to the "shot to kill" policy used in Ireland to murder soldiers in an insurrection (yes there is such a thing as murder in war, like the murder of wounded soldiers like Miread Ferril in Gibraltar... )

Well that's enough from me for the mo...

Cheers all, and I hope you are well healed from your surgery, Paul


Lorcan said...

Ah, Paul... in fact some eliments DID expire...

The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-05.

Alien and Sedition Acts

1798, four laws enacted by the Federalist-controlled U.S. Congress, allegedly in response to the hostile actions of the French Revolutionary government on the seas and in the councils of diplomacy (see XYZ Affair), but actually designed to destroy Thomas Jefferson’s Republican party, which had openly expressed its sympathies for the French Revolutionaries. Depending on recent arrivals from Europe for much of their voting strength, the Republicans were adversely affected by the Naturalization Act, which postponed citizenship, and thus voting privileges, until the completion of 14 (rather than 5) years of residence, and by the Alien Act and the Alien Enemies Act, which gave the President the power to imprison or deport aliens suspected of activities posing a threat to the national government. President John Adams made no use of the alien acts. Most controversial, however, was the Sedition Act, devised to silence Republican criticism of the Federalists. Its broad proscription of spoken or written criticism of the government, the Congress, or the President virtually nullified the First Amendment freedoms of speech and the press. Prominent Jeffersonians, most of them journalists, such as John Daly Burk, James T. Callender, Thomas Cooper, William Duane (1760–1835), and Matthew Lyon were tried, and some were convicted, in sedition proceedings. The Alien and Sedition Acts provoked the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and did much to unify the Republican party and to foster Republican victory in the election of 1800. The Republican-controlled Congress repealed the Naturalization Act in 1802; the others were allowed to expire (1800–1801). 1
See J. C. Miller, Crisis in Freedom (1951, repr. 1964); J. M. Smith, Freedom’s Fetters (1956); L. Levy, Legacy of Suppression (1960).

Paul said...

Lorcan, Thank you for asking, The surgery is well healed, and I am breathing better.

The situation you talk of with your friend is definitely profiling abuse. If he was ailed for a ew blocks, that's one thing, but to pull him out of the car for no violation is an absoltue abuse of power. In regards to the shooting in London, maybe I can be corrected if I was wrong. I heard the man was wearing a heavy coat in the middle of a hot day, and ran from police when asked to stop. Does that justify the shooting, absolutely not. But with the fears of another bombing, I can not blame the police for what they did if these previous points are correct.

I hope I don't ever come across a programmed thinker, I'll never be lock step with any political party. The only government program I believe in is the Consitution.

Benjamin L. Backus said...

You know, many in the muslim community applaud this action. It is different if you are a citizen of a nation. But if you feel that the nation that you SAUGHT assylum in is unjust, perhaps you shouldn't be the one to insight violence & hate, and then expect acceptance.
If my friend brings his dog into my house and that dog begins to urinate on my floor, I would remove the dog, if it were my dog, I would discipline the dog. It is the difference between a guest and a citizen, and no, I do not infer that muslims are dogs, just the only analogy I could think of.

Lorcan said...

Dear Benjamin:
Humans are not dogs. No one, should ever feel they cannot speak out against injustice anywhere.
Dear Paul:
As to the murder of Menendez by London cops... contrary to the cops, it turns out, he did not jump the turnstile, but took his time, used an electronic ticket and a denim jacket... not a heavy bulky coat... all the allegations, the "reasons" they shot him - turn out to be lies by the cops...

Contemplative Activist said...


The latest reports on the recent shooting in London are that

-One of the policemen monitoring the block of flats for suspected terrorists went for a pee and didn't get a photo of Mr Menezes so ordered him to be followed
-He was wearing a light jacket (not a heavy one) and from what I remember that day was warm but cloudy and this is England (i.e. no matter how hot it is, expect rain)
-He did nothing unusual, but when he saw his train was in the station, ran through the turnstyle to get to it before it left
-He had taken his seat on the train when he was restrained by a police officer
-He was shot multiple times in the head

It is unclear as to how the police tried to get him to stop.

I'm ashamed that I voted for a government (actually I didn't vote for Blair but I'm still part of this country and its political process) and that my taxes (ok, I don't pay taxes, but I will do soon) pay for a police force who act in this way.

Benjamin - I do not see assylum seekers as guests. They are part of our country and I wish to welcome them as part of the family. And if people protest against the activities of our government then I think they should be heard and listened to so that they are not driven towards violence. We have to remember the part that our countries have played in perpetrating the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in destroying innocent lives in Afghanistan and Iraq. Remember that many Muslims see fellow Muslims, no matter where in the world they live, as brothers and sisters so an attack on Afghanistan may be seen as an attack on Islam. How gutting to discover that the country you have fled to, is involved in perpetrating the violence and injustices that you have fled from. I fear we are reaping as we have sown.

Martin said...


I would urge discretion on the basis of what we have learned this week about the shooting of de Menezes. We've clearly seen very little of the IPCC's conclusions, filtered through a media agenda.

Lorcan said...

I would not say descretion, I would say it is a time for intense vigilance. There is a quote from the past, "the price of Freedom is constant vigilance". Lately this has been missused to justify the kind of police aciton that murdered this young man. It origionaly meant, DON'T TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT! Watch the way a good parent does... your government is your child, not your parent, you vote them in, they are responcible to you. Now, I realize, this is the difference between subject and citizen... but, well... Britian is an odd bird, almost a republic, but as you say, it is your Queen's government... well, the rest of that particular question is up to you all, I suppose, but Mr. Blair is answerable to you.
All the best

Martin said...

I think you misunderstood me, Lorcan. I don't know if it's maybe that you haven't realised that the recent media reports are based on a leak, which only gives part of the IPCC's overall findings and conclusions. The point I'm trying to make isn't "don't question the government or the police", it's "don't make unguarded accusations against the government or the police until the official IPCC report is released".

What I'm concerned about is not that people have unswerving devotion to the state, but that those with legitimate grievances don't undermine themselves or get undermined by others by making statements which cannot yet be corroborated. It would be a shame if claims of substance were undermined by some of the wild words we've had recently. So yes to eternal vigilance, no to speaking too soon.