She led a charge to restrict the word “terrorism,” instead urging government employees to refer to the phenomenon as “anti-Islamic activity.”
She had been labeled a “pocket dictator,” with some of her practices referred to by media critics as “truly Big Brother stuff.”
She attempted to introduce a giant government database to track all citizen e-mails, phone calls and Internet activity.
Meet Jacqui Smith, the British home secretary who today made public a list of individuals banned from the U.K. since October, including radio superstar Michael Savage. She announced she decided to release the list so others could better understand what sort of behavior Britain was not prepared to tolerate.
In January, Smith oversaw a government program to adopt a new language for declarations on Islamic terrorism, urging all top government workers to refer to Islamic terrorists as pursuing “anti-Islamic activity.” There was no official ban on the word “terrorism,” but the new wording was an initiative Smith pressed for strongly.
“As so many Muslims in the U.K. and across the world have pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorize, nothing Islamic about plotting murder, pain and grief,” Smith said at the time.
“Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic,'” she claimed.
London’s Daily Mail referred to Smith’s strategy as attempting to portray Islamic terrorists as nothing more than cold-blooded murderers who are not fighting for any religious cause.
Two weeks ago, following strong public outcry over her proposal, Smith dropped a plan to allow the police to monitor and store on government databases information on citizens’ Internet use and e-mail messaging. Instead, however, she has asked private companies to store the information for the government.
In a January speech, Smith pointed out that communications data was used to help convict a local killer but that such information was not being routinely stored. She argued Internet and e-mail information should be saved and accessible to law enforcement agencies if terrorists and serious criminals were to be prevented from striking.
“It is essential that the police and other crime-fighting agencies have the tools they need to do their job,” she said during a speech to a London think tank.
“We recognize that there is a delicate balance between privacy and security, but to do nothing is not an option as we would be failing in our duty to protect the public.”
On April 27, she nixed plans for a giant government database but said she planned to ensure records of electronic communications made by Britons will instead be held by private companies at a cost of around $4 billion.
Internet firms will be asked to collect and store vast amounts of data, including from social networking sites such as Facebook, she said.
Smith acknowledged concerns over privacy while launching the private data collection proposal.
“My key priority is to protect the citizens of the U.K., and communications data is an essential tool for law enforcement agencies to track murderers and paedophiles, save lives and tackle crime. Advances in communications mean that there are ever more sophisticated ways to communicate and we need to ensure that we keep up with the technology being used by those who would seek to do us harm,” she said.
Under her new plan, every U.K. Internet user will be given a unique ID code and all their data stored by private agencies. Government agencies such as the police and security services will have the ability to access the data to investigate suspected criminals and terrorists.
Smith’s plan was heavily criticized by privacy advocates and pundits.
London Times columnist Simon David Jenkins questioned whether Smith was a “pocket dictator.”
“Is there no drop of liberalism in her veins, no concept of personal freedom, no fear of a repressive state?” he wrote.
He referred to Smith’s Internet storage plans as “truly Big Brother stuff.”
Smith is the U.K.’s first female home secretary. WND reported today that Smith has banned Savage as well as more than a dozen other individuals.
“I think it’s important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it’s a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won’t be welcome in this country,” Smith told Britain’s GMTV.
Also among those banned are Samir Kuntar Kuntar, who was released from Israeli prison last year in an exchange deal with the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Kuntar was serving multiple life sentences for murdering three Israelis, including smashing to death a 4-year-old girl with the butt of his rifle.
On April 22, 1979, Kuntar led a group of four terrorists who entered Israel from Lebanon by boat. The four murdered a policeman who discovered them when the first entered Israeli territory. The terrorists then raided an Israeli border town, breaking into an apartment and taking hostage 28-year-old Danny Haran along with his 4-year-old daughter, Einat. The mother, Smadar Haran, was able to hide in a crawl space above the bedroom with her 2-year-old daughter, Yael, and a neighbor.
Smadar accidentally smothered her daughter to death while trying to mute her cries. Kuntar shot Danny Haran to death and then beat to death Haran’s daughter with his rifle.
Also barred by Smith is Yunis Al-Astal, is a member of Hamas who actively promotes terrorist attacks, including suicide bombings. He has used the Quran to justify obligating women to carry out “martyr attacks,” which he has called for numerous times on Palestinian television.
Making the list was well is Mike Guzofsky, a leader of the ultra-nationalist Kahane movement, which seeks to ensure that Israel retains biblically-rich territories, such as the West Bank and Jerusalem. A BBC profile falsely claims Guzofsky is “actively involved with military training camps.” The only camps Guzofsky currently runs are to train dogs to protect Jewish communities in the West Bank. Dogs trained at Guzofky’s northern West Bank kennels recently prevented several terrorist attacks. Guzofsky previously was involved in leading workshops to teach self-defense to Jews. He has also pushed for Jews in the West Bank to cede from Israel and create their own state in the event the Israeli government seeks to evacuate that territory in a deal with the Palestinians.