When a Turk can lose his liberty for publishing Chomsky, maybe it is logical for God to see Blunkett as Moses

No matter what politicians say about the need for them, anti-terror laws hardly ever work. They normally decrease the civil liberties that they are designed to protect and, as was the case in Northern Ireland, give people another reason for joining terrorist organisations. However, draconian as internment is, you really know that things are going pear-shaped when David Blunkett introduces laws to prosecute religious hatred. What kind of a God would have Blunkett as his voice on earth?

If we are talking about a supreme being who created heaven and earth, I just don't see how God would want a mealy-mouthed northerner doing his work. If Blunkett is working for the Lord, and man is made in the image of God, then we can only conclude that God is a twat (substitute for the word God any one of the following that you would find more personally offensive: Allah/Vishnu/Buddha/Jah/A N Other).

States have invariably used anti-terrorist laws as a loophole to dodge their obligations under international conventions on human rights. The latest and most bizarre case occurred in Turkey. Yes, I am aware that I mention Turkey a lot in this column, but Blair and his corporate-minded government do manage to excuse the most vile human rights abuse while peddling just about every munition known to man to that country's regime. The utter barbarity of the Turkish state, its ruthless oppression of the Kurds, and a dodgy kebab I once had in Haringey have hardened the way I view that particular regime.

In November, the European Union praised Turkey for introducing laws that will protect the right to freedom of expression, Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, the EU does not mention Turkey's use of anti-terror laws, which directly contravenes the convention and undermines those newly passed laws enshrining freedom of speech. Citing Article 8 of the anti-terror laws - outlawing "propaganda against the indivisible unity of the State of the Turkish Republic with its territory and nation" - Bekir Aldemir, the state prosecuting attorney, has just charged Fatih Tas, the owner of Aram Publishing in Turkey, at the Istanbul State Security Court for having the audacity to publish American Interventionism, a collection of writings by Noam Chomsky. Fatih faces a year in prison if found guilty.

To launch a prosecution over words written by one of the world's leading linguists seems a tad obscene. In concentrating his prosecution on a chapter in the Chomsky book entitled "Prospects for Peace in the Middle East", Aldemir compounds the obscenity. The words that rock the foundations of the "indivisible unity" of the Turkish state and could result in a man going to jail for a year are these: "Throughout the 1990s, this place [the Kurdish region of south-east Turkey] saw the most serious crimes against human rights, a still ongoing process . . ." That's it. Those are the words. You can rearrange them in any order you like, but that is as dangerous as they get. For those words, a man could lose his liberty. And yet, by justifying these as emergency anti-terror laws, the Turkish state has sought to avoid prosecution at the European Court of Human Rights for these most blatant abuses and acts of censorship.

In a world where a man can go to jail for printing such words, but no international government raises a murmur, I guess it is entirely logical that God should choose David Blunkett to play Moses.

It is possible that Blunkett gets his inspiration from America: after all, the US has recently imprisoned 1,100 people without trial or access to a lawyer. In fact, it could have begun the process of privately executing those it deems to be guilty.

Without wishing to sound like a certain bearded cave-dweller, maybe there are some comparisons to be made with both the US and a certain demonic ex-angel expelled from heaven who had an unhealthy attachment to the number six.

You may say: how can you accuse the US of being the great Satan? For a start, if the devil has all the best tunes, why has America ended up with Paul McCartney, spewing out the political equivalent of "The Frog Chorus"? (Which, after it was used by CNN and the other PR outfits for globalisation, should be renamed "Talking About Free Trade".)

On 7 December, the US Senate passed another bill that is bound to help the flag-burners keep warm through the winter months ahead: namely, Senator Jesse Helms's American Service Members' Protection Act. The bill sought not only to block the US ratifying the International Criminal Court, but actually to prevent the court's creation.

The court will be prosecute individuals for war crimes. Strangely, the US wants none of this. Maybe that's because the prospect of its own countrymen and -women appearing in the dock is slightly higher than for other countries. Helms's original bill sought to prohibit military aid to any Nato or "major" non-Nato country if it ratified the court. This move was meant to ensure that the prerequisite number of signatory states - 60 - which would guarantee the creation of the court, was not reached. Although this part of the bill has gone, it still gives the president the right to invade any country that holds US military personnel under the court's laws, as well as any foreign or non-military personnel working for the US.

Basically, anyone who wants to get Kissinger into court for war crimes will be invaded by America - and that includes the host country for the International Criminal Court, the Netherlands . . . Still worth a go, though.

The trial of Fatih Tas is scheduled for 13 February 2002

This article first appeared in the 17 December 2001 issue of the New Statesman, The ignorance of the Islamophobes