The government is criminalising legitimate dissent under the guise of fighting 'extremism', a word for which it has no definition
guardian.co.uk, Monday 16 February 2009
"....It is this kind of blurring of the distinction between political violence and non-violent protest that has seen catch-all anti-terrorist legislation routinely abused in recent years. That's exactly what seems to have happened over the weekend, when police arrested nine people on the M65 motorway near Preston allegedly on their way to join George Galloway's Viva Palestina aid convoy to Gaza.
Security sources said the arrests were in connection with a "potential threat of terrorism in the Middle East" — and it seems they didn't mean a renewed Israeli use of white phosphorus and heavy artillery shells against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza strip.
Six have already been released, but the operation instantly delivered a "Galloway aid convoy link to terror suspects" headline in yesterday's Mail on Sunday, casting a shadow over the 150-vehicle convoy, including 12 ambulances and a fire engine, which is intended to transport £1m worth of aid and highlight the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The crudely politicised timing of these arrests — "security sources" have been quoted as saying the three still being held had been under surveillance for two months – underlines how easy it is to play anti-democratic political games once the mantras of terrorism and national security have been invoked. But the net can be thrown far wider under the even more meaningless badge of "extremism"."