back to article Police told terror ads too terrifying offensive

The Association of Chief Police Officers has been told not to re-broadcast an anti-terror advert it ran on TalkSPORT radio. The advert urged people to call the "Anti-Terrorist Hotline" to report suspicious behaviour such as anyone paying with cash "because he doesn't have a bank card", or keeping his curtains closed "because …

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Oh yes,....

....Brazil, the film that 1984 should have been.

"Have you got a 27B/6?"

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Stop

let me fix that for you:

"The man at the end of the street doesn't talk to his neighbours much, because it's none of your business. He pays with cash because it's none of your business, and he keeps his curtains closed because it's none of your business"

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Acpo?

The significant thing about this is that the ads were placed by acpo. Wind back a few months and the government were right behind the police on creating a police state, the new government don't seem to support them at all. It smacks somewhat of the good old USSR doesn't it? Report your neighbours for not being conformists.

However don't they need reasonable suspicion to start surveilance. I don't think paying cash, keeping your curtains closed or not talking to your neighbours would be accepted as reasonable suspicion by the courts.

Remember the suss law? The police have been trying to bring that back for a long time.

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Unhappy

titular reminiscence

I remember the suss law very well.

During the late 80's and early 90's I used to play pen and paper RPG's at my friends house on the other side of town. It would not be uncommon to see me (long-haired and swarthy at the time) in the small hours of the morning carrying two document cases (much larger than briefcases). I would be stopped and searched quite regularly, and have my cases gone through.

It all verged on harrassment, but I could do nothing under the suss law.

Oh shit, I've just realised....I don't have a bank account, I keep my curtains closed due to sensitive eyes and have aspergers, so I have problems socialising. I must be a terrorist, so they were probably right to check my cases after all.

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Big Brother

Time to rein in ACPO once and for all...

ACPO really do need castrating. Under successive NuLabour Home Secretarys they were shamelessly over-indulged to the point of incredulity - their influence on policy and law making is staggering (most of it going on behind closed doors, well away from public inquiry, of course). They receive public money and proceed to use it to undermine civil freedoms, whilst actively seeking to criminalize ever-greater numbers of the population by inventing and promoting sinister new offenses (such as 'cartoon' pr0n). Offenses that in more sober times would get laughed out of court as bordering on the insane.

Yet still we indulge these uniformed clowns, still we allow them to weasel their way into policy making, into the legislative process.

And when we see all that bad law go into effect, the prison population doubling, we shake our heads and fancy we might just build more prisons since there are clearly so many criminals around. Pfft!

These adverts, banned or not, are what you get when you fail to control the authoritarian, self-promoting tendencies of your national police force. ACPO, along with other high-echelon police service organizations in the UK, all feel they can get away with this kind of malevolent propaganda - because the last lot in government proved to them they could. Hopefully this present Coalition will prove rather less amenable to their self-interested agenda.

Time will tell.

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Normal

What is the state of the country, when normal behaviour is considered suspicious ?

Oh wait ...

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Egads!!

That describes my entire street. I live in an area populatedmostly by students and night shift workers. Many of the neighbours are immigrant workers whicxh means they hardly pop out and say "what ho deary, nice weather" and most pay in cash for stuff as most of the shops round our way don't take cards.

I live in a terrorist hotbed. What am I going to do? If I don't act on my unreasonable fears, the terrorists win!

oh wait.

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Paris Hilton

OK then

Well, I never have any cash on me, and frequently wonder round in the all-together with the curtains open, so I must be OK.

Paris - loves being in the all-together too.

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OMG

"The following message is brought to you by TalkSPORT and the Anti-Terrorist Hotline. The man at the end of the street doesn't talk to his neighbours much, because he likes to keep himself to himself. He pays with cash because he doesn't have a bank card, and he keeps his curtains closed because his house is on a bus route. This may mean nothing, but together it could all add up to you having suspicions. We all have a role to play in combating terrorism. If you see anything suspicious, call the confidential, Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 XXXXXX. If you suspect it, report it."

I hadn't realised this OMG brilliant. I have phoned about at least five of my neighbours, obviously they are terrorists, I just though they was paedo's? There are six or seven teenage hoodies in the area as well does anyody know if the ACPO could get them lifted at the same time?

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Happy

"Yarp!"

When I read that I had images of the plod rounding up the local yobs and "making them disappear", then the local head-plod stating "It's all for the greater good."!

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Telephone Number

Is on the Met Police web site btw. Way to go fellow commentards. Have now finished reporting neighbours and am just starting on some of the more suspicious folks in the office. Should I report the dozy cow that short changed me? Or perhaps this is going a bit far?

Just told the nice policeman about the local hoodies and they agree with me entirely. Walking round the estate with a heavy sun tan, covering your face with your nike top but wearing jeans that are so obviously hand me downs because they hang below your arse is clearly suspicious behaviour ffs.

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Anonymous Coward

Somone in my local

Described my house as 'the one which always has its curtains closed' :(

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Terrorists have stolen the phone number?

Why did you blank out the terrorist hotline phone number Reg?

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Re Terrorists have stolen the phone number?

I don't think Sarah wants several armed plod smashing her door down at 6 in the morning, because an El Reg commentard has reported her for having offensive curtains or something.

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Grenade

The ACPO should be first against the wall

We need to take a more French approach to dealing with those who have put themselves in charge of this country. A history of mass guillotining seems to work as a strong deterrent to this sort of behaviour, perhaps making a suitable example of those responsible for this ad would serve the same purpose over here?

The terrorists ruining this country are not the few religious nutters who want to make exploding chippatis of themselves but the evil scum bringing forth a new world order that must have Orwell spinning in his grave and the Stasi green with jealousy.

Perhaps we can start by asking the CIA to "render" the ACPO to Uzbekistan where they can be suitably "questioned" until they freely admit their conspiracy to undermine democracy in the UK?

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Anonymous Coward

That French approach...

... ultimately saw France end up with more centralisation. It's still a fantastically badly run country full of silly bureaucratic cruft and whatnot. Beware of what you ask for, you might get it.

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Me too

I keep the curtains closed, can't see my PC screen otherwise.

I pay by cash, yeah, because I'm bankrupt, its easier than trying to persuade a bank to give me a card.

I don't talk to anybody, yeah, thats me too. I'm deaf, verbal communication is difficult and frustrating for me.

Anon because by that criteria, I must be a terrorist.

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1985

Plod - "So what's your neighbours name?"

Citizen - "It's Mr Buttle, with a B"

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Anonymous Coward

You're making jokes about this

I'd also laugh if it hadn't happened to me.

I'm a chemistry student, went back to my flat with a couple of textbooks when my next door neighbour saw me- (first time in the three years I lived here that I've met the neighbours).

Usually pay in cash to the local shop, as it doesn't take credit cards.

And what happens- the local police take me into custody for a little chat about terrorism, and confiscate my notes as they could be used for bomb making (yes, I'm studying about explosives for my course).

Now, every few days the Police come round "just to see how it's going".

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Big Brother

Gone way beyond a joke, mate

In a few years time, they'll be burning scientists like they used to burn witches. Civil engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists - all heretic sorcerers who dabble in Forbidden Knowledge.

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Alert

Re: You're making jokes about this

"Now, every few days the Police come round..."

Get yourself a lawyer mate. Take them to the fucking cleaners then move house pronto.

Sad that I had to add that last bit.

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WTF?

So denounce yourselves!?

So don't wait for your neighbor to denounce you, do it to yourselves first!

Also that would stick one in the eye of the system...

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Black Helicopters

Isn't this by the same bunch who....

...brought you the infamous "got 2 mobiles" - you're a terrorist, some years back?

ACPO Ltd...a bunch of twats.

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Black Helicopters

@Sarah

O Esteemed Moderatrix:

Yes, you're lucky - feel free to count yourself so, and enjoy it.

But the point here is that some people aren't - this ad doesn't exist in isolation, it's part of a bigger picture in which the Police feel free to assault innocent people without fear of punishment, and the gummint put people in prison or indefinite detention without a fair trial. Just because it hasn't happened to you (yet) doesn't mean it's not real, and if you really do care about civil liberties, you ought to be getting more airiated about it. The problem with feeling lucky and enjoying it is that it comes dangerously close to denying the reality of other peoples' genuine experience of injustice.

I'm lucky too, in that I've never been on the receiving end of anything as headline-grabbing as the Menezez debacle or the hundreds of anti-terrorist raids in which people have had their doors smashed in and their computers confiscated, only to be told a few days later "You are not a terrorist, now go home but don't expect even an apology, let alone any compensation for your busted door, loss of earnings, ruined reputation etc."

But I have been on the receiving end of police unreasonableness, under sus laws, public order, anti-terror etc - and it's very very frightening (in one case leaving me with post-traumatic stress for years), even when it doesn't result in a charge or a prosecution (as it never has with me). And I'm white and middle-class, so I can hardly imagine what it's like for those who match the typical terrorist profile.

(Though worryingly, as a regular user of both cash and curtains, perhaps I now do match the typical terrorist profile.)

But I have a top tip for avoiding most police unpleasantness - stay away from London. There may be other places to avoid too, but the Met do seem to be particularly at odds with their community, and I know that my local Bill in Staffordshire are just lovely - even winning a Stonewall award for being a gay-friendly employer.

AC because I wouldn't want my misspent youth catching up with me...

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Anonymous Coward

yep, it's fine when it happens to "the others"...

but when it's you getting dragged off to the cells accused of a serious offence and expected to essentially prove your innocence it's a different matter.

Luckily for me I remembered to ask for the duty solicitor, who promptly tore the bastards apart by pointing out that the git who made the phone call accusing me of child abuse was the same git I had been complaining about for years for harassing me.

Didn't stop the plod calling the Social Services child protection mob in and having me banned from my own home while the dozy bastards put 2 and 2 together.

One nervous breakdown and ongoing PTSD + depression + drink problems later and frankly, call me a sceptic, but I no longer trust ANYTHING or ANYONE connected to the police. And I live in an area where the cops are regarded as pretty reasonable. Sod living in the Met's patch.

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Unhappy

Joking aside

this is exactly how the Gestapo operated in Germany in the 30s - actively encouraging people to inform on neighbours who were deemed to have behaved in any way out of what was regarded as the "ordinary". This started off as meaning anyone who may be a spy but very quickly ended up meaning anyone who opposed the Nazi party and then anyone who was homosexual or a communist and then anyone who was Jewish.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIAFHjL3ZMg

Personally it scares the living hell out of me.

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No Joking is the answer

A fair while ago in this country we all lived under the threat of total Nuclear destruction. The government of the time published a document 'Protect and Survive'. So all the folks in the country started storing up brown paper and buckets of urine to build improvised shelters for indeed that was the advice in the official publications.

Yea right of course they did! OK now you are wondering how this is relevant.

Most people are fairly reasonable, even the police, and will eventually realise how stupid they are making themselves look. It is almost certainly true that serious restrictions on social liberties have been imposed, and resisting this is a good idea. But the levels of paranoia displayed by some of the commentators here are on the same level as the aforementioned publication. My advice to you and most of the others here is go, have a beer or two, get laid and smoke a fag. Chill out.

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teleworkers

Hmm, first the gov tries to get us to telework to reduce the congestion. Then some private company funded by backhanders from the police and gov decides to issue terrorist threats on the radio telling folks to panic about anyone who works from home.

Anyone found the original stazi or french ss poster version of this?

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Anonymous Coward

I was

I was sat on the train the other day and chuckled to myself about the unattended baggage thing as I was sat next to the pile of unattended bags in the unattended bag section next to the nice seat.

But yeah, I tick all 3 of those boxes, the only time the curtains is when my mum comes down from Scotland to check I'm still alive.

But yeah 1) I don't talk to the people around me becouse I'm anti-social, shy and, not at all a people person, when I smile and nod it looks more creepy then inviting so I don't do it. I also don't really like people, most of my friends say that I not so much have friends instead I have people I tolerate.

2) I pay cash becouse I'm paranoid of using the machine and it saying "unauthorised" then looking stupid and paniky, and probably having some psychological brake.

3) I keep my curtains closed becouse I don't particularly like glaring light, or the outside, and becouse I use the curtain rail to hang my idol tapestries.

People have very real social problems (myself for instance) and the ever growing fear that you may not fit in, and that people think you're weird, and that might mean they think you're doing something wrong, and then you may have the police and others persecute you. Fear upon fear upon fear building up and crushing you. So you withdraw ever more deeply.

My problems are borderline. I don't like interacting in large groups, or most open venues, I move towards social situations that are "safe" for me. I avoid clubs, bars, town centres. I prefer what friends I have to visit, or host events at their houses or somewhere private like kareoke boxes. I don't trust people, and can't connect. I'm caught in a constant paradoxical state of not wanting to be close but needing to be close. I've been worse, and I've been better. I go through cycles, and I obsess about things that have happend long ago that others would have long since forgotten about. But for the most I get by at work, and with my small social circle.

98% of people who do those things listed arn't dangerous, they're trapped. Another 1.998% are running dope farms or other dodgy establishments, and the last 0.002% may be wannabe terroistas who are going to blow themselves up and the old bill probably already know about them.

All in all if you have someone like that living near by, invite them to dinner and build up a friendship instead.

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Unhappy

Useful insight into Plod mindset & 'thought process'

This, in Plod terminology, is INCITEMENT or maybe even RACIAL INCITEMENT. But the insight into what passes for Plod thoughts is very interesting .. and useful.

Many people are unemployed and unlikely to become bank customers - they like people with money - and what if people choose to keep their curtains dawn.

Next thing the 'Englisman's Castle' will be required to divest their estates of all leafged shrubbery exceeding 6 feet in height. Maybe they should ban all those gause/chintz curtains that prevent plain view of house interiors.

Or could it be that due to Plod budget reductions means they are abandining police cars for surveillance and masses of detectives are riding around on the upper decks of buses peeping in windows.

They could ask Google to run two sets of cameras on heir Streetview cars: a lower one for Google and a higher one for Plod.

Then building regs will need rewriting banning bedroom windows not facing the road, in case some miscreant tries to commit his crime in private.

As for myself, I will continue to use cash because any supposed privacy connected with banking or cards of any type is totally illusory. And a closing hint for terrorists: use a debit card and your bedroom curtains open!

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Unhappy

Piss off Plod!

My Aunt refuses to have a passport, refuses to have a bankcard, does not have a driving license, suffers from cronic asthma, arthiritis and her vision is quite poor. She pays cash for everything, she has to have a bank account to collect her disabled benefits.

My mother-in-law is quite similar, she has a bankcard but has stashed in a drawer as she hates using it. She also has no passport of driving license.

Most old folks hate using cards, don't often have many mates left and more often than not will not have lots of official docs like passports and driving licenses.

So basically a large proportion of the over 60's with health problems are terrorists according to the thick-as-two-shorts coppers!

Is this a cunning plan by the "Gubmint" to bump off the OAPs to save on the pensions? "Sorry Guv, we brought the old biddy in after she was reported for being a terrorist but, oh dear, she fell down the stairs and never got up.".

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@Sarah

"contemplate how lucky I still am and will continue to be and how most of the rest of the world would probably walk over broken glass to be in my position."

Just because the rest of the world may be daft enough to want to be in your position, doesn't mean that your position is anything like "human sensible". Every one into a gas chamber would rather be at the back of the queue, I dare say. No matter where you are, you're still in the queue.

It's called "thinking beyond".

Peace.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: @Sarah

What a lovely positive outlook you have there.

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WTF?

Did you know...

...that in Holland, almost everyone leaves their curtains open all the time, even at night. One explanation of this is due to the Dutch national character - a spirit of openness and also one of order, i.e. the housewife would be ashamed to close the curtains as it would imply an untidy house. I also had another explanation (from a Dutch person) who suggested that during the war the Nazis made the Dutch keep their curtains open at night so they could be seen and the habit just stuck, i.e. "I have nothing to hide". Now that's just sinister!

No Nazi symbol unfortunately!

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Stop

Not the first time

They have run these adverts before - I remember last year there was one about keeping tabs on your colleagues at work - colleagues under suspicion are those who minimising their screen when you walk past, look at google maps and check flight times. Beyond belief, it really is!

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Didn't realise this

I have now reported the bloke who sits opposite me at work. Well for having a fairly heavy sun tan, and wearing a purple shirt. Oh and the 17 year old at the local coffee shop. She did try to do me out of nearly a 4 quid..... OK so I may have exaggerated a little on the phone, but it is pretty god damn obvious she is trying to obtain illicit funds for terrorist activities.

Gonna have a look round the office now and see if I can spot any of these terrorist screen minimizers . WTG Thanks for the tip Dazzar.

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Anonymous Coward

And you've still go hugely more chance of dying in a car crash.

And there's still no talk of banning cars.

Funny old world.

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Pint

If it's about risk...

The most dangerous thing that most people in the UK have to deal with is our kitchens. We should ban home cooking and make everyone live on takeaways.

Oh wait, they did that in Scotland and Glasgow Airport still got hit.

Booze icon because, well, used to live in Scotland.

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Title

But isn't the Red Dwarf quote going to become true soon with people ratting on their neighbours for claiming too much Benefits in order to win cash rewards?

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So...

I thought that when the ASA responded to complains from such small amounts of people it was over-reacting and pandering to a vocal minority. At least that's the impression I got from other ASA related threads here...

(NB: I think that the advert should have been banned, I just thought I'd say...)

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ASA will respond to a single complaint...

... none of their deliberation usually takes into account how many people complained, just how justified the complaints are.

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I was a Punk in London in the late '70s ...

The way I see things brewing, you lot are fixing to make Brixton, Handsworth, Toxteth & Chapeltown look like a tea party[1] ... Seriously, remember back when the sus laws were abolished? Remember WHY?

The more we forget history, the more we are doomed to repeat it ...

[1] Yes, I know, the irony is not lost on me ...

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I was a Punk in London in the late '70s ...

I seriously doubt, Jake, that many of the posters in this thread will ever take to the streets. They'll mostly stay at home and draw their curtains on principle.

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Blackpool

Hey Jake did you make Rebellion in Blackpool at the weekend? Funny the taxi driver was telling me on the way home that it is one of the best weekends for a night out in Blackpool. The punks never cause any problems. I was there for errrm my stag night btw.

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Anonymous Coward

The thing

The thing about "taking to the streets" against something like this is you need a leader that appeals across the board. There is no leader, there will be no taking to the streets. There are lots of bits and pieces here and there but nothing central.

I'm sure if someone could tie together all the different groups photographes, anti-centralised data and snooping, anti extreme terror law (20 odd day laws, secret evidence), anti unfair treaties with the US, ant-extreme porn law people, moderate muslim groups, anime fans, artists, comedians, anti war people and a host of others then something could change, but individually they are easy to marginalise fear of being accused of being a supporter of terrorists/soft on terror, soft on crime, a paedophile, a sexual deviant, a coward (contradictoraly).

There are no leaders, there is no movement, beyond the niche.

The elements are there but there's no focal point and for the past 30 years we've had our confrontational nature bred out of us. I remember at school it was all about being part of the group, not being in competition with each other, that kind of thing.

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@Sarah; @titus; @AC14:23

Sarah ... I'm afraid you are correct. That's what scares me.

titus ... I haven't been to Blackpool in over 15 years. I haven't even been back to Blighty in 10 or so. These days, I only fly when I'm at the controls (I don't like being treated as a criminal for the duration of the time I'm under the eye of airport so-called "security") ... and none of my aircraft can go more than 2200 miles or so without refueling ;-)

AC ... There were no "leaders" in the afore mentioned riots. People are animals, and when you push animals to the breaking point, they snap. Get ready. It's gonna git ugly ...

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Moronicus policicus

Every time it's suggested police should actually do more low-level things like "increase patrolling on foot", ACPO will offer up some jabberer to point out this would distract from important stuff like "fighting international terrorism". And that fight consists of this kind of tosh?...

The problem this story is scratching isn't so much the rise of our own stasi, but something way more prosaic (and alarming in its own way) - UK police are confusing their prized "operational independence" with just "independence", and are morphing into a spinning, market-researching, advertising and political campaigning body. Only, being a bunch of middlebrow Express readers, they are, by-and-large, incredibly bad at it - and probably can't be trusted to keep their policy positions and subsequent prejudices distinct from their policing duty. Ms May, while pushing for elected police chiefs, ought to be prohibiting police-led campaigning of all stripes. Eliminating ACPO, which appears to do little else, would be a grand start.

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Question

Not being versed in the classics like you are I'm not sure, but can something be both 'prosaic' and 'alarming'?

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FAIL

Google definition

Define: terrorism

"the calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear"

sound like any goverment you know? Seems like the taliban are just less subtle about it

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Paris Hilton

We paid for this....

We lucky taxpayers fund ACPO, and they are funding in their turn the creation of this ad. (And the broadcast slot, which probably wasn't cheap.)

(Paris because we haven't seen her much, and she does stuff behind closed curtains.)

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