May 25, 2008

"Academic freedom? A likely story...."

From the Guardian.

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

The case highlights what lecturers are claiming is a direct assault on academic freedom led by the government which, in its attempt to establish a "prevent agenda" against terrorist activity, is putting pressure on academics to become police informers.

As you can expect, I find such news pretty worrying, even though I somehow have managed to avoid arrest so far. I also think the point about turning academics into informants is dead on. Never mind that will cripple real investigation into terrorism, oh no. We've got to be seen to be "tough", even if we end up shooting ourselves in the fucking foot while doing so.

This country is retarded.

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