It has today become illegal to keep pigeons in areas with a high concentration of Muslims. This follows a revision of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) of 2000, to include ‘other means of illicit communication’.
Apparently, the government’s powers to intercept internet-based communications of terrorists and other serious criminals are being thwarted by homing pidgeons, a form of message-sending which was popular with the British Army during World War 1, with over a 100,000 pigeons being used to deliver sensitive war information.
There was a 95% chance of successful delivery, and it is thought that these impressive statistics have convinced some terrorists and criminals to use pigeons as a means of private communication, especially when becoming aware that the Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) of 1914, Regulation 21a, stated: ‘Killing, wounding or molesting homing pigeons is punishable under the Defence of the Realm Regulations by six months imprisonment or £100 fine. The public are reminded that homing pigeons are doing valuable work for the government, and are requested to assist in the suppression of the shooting of these birds’. The message was and is, pigeons work.
The new legislation makes it an offence to keep pigeons within 5 miles of a mosque, and those suspected of doing so will be handed a Section 51 notice, demanding that the suspect informs the government of the exact location of their pigeon loft, and that they hand over the keys to it, so that ‘tagged’ pidgeons can be released and their destination recorded. Failure to comply with this order will result in a 2 year prison sentence.
Under the revised legislation, ‘suspects’ can be handed a Section 54 notice preventing them from revealing that they are subject to this part of RIPA, with failure to comply resulting in a 5 year sentence.
Academics are pointing out that this legislation is flawed, because terrorist and other serious criminals would much rather serve a few years for refusing to hand over the keys to their pigeon loft than potentially incriminate themselves. Unlike the USA, there is no UK equivalent of Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate yourself.
The government has also augmented its ability to eradicate ‘pidgeon-messaging of harmful material’ by announcing an increase in its laser-drone fleet. All pidgeons flying over or from designated areas will be liable to be shot without the need for a warrant, as they will be deemed party to an ‘arial communication attempt’, which is external of the internet.
A spokesman of an influential London mosque said; “We feel that Muslims are being discriminated against. Why can’t ordinary, law abiding Muslims keep pigeons?, after all, the Queen is the patron of the Royal Pigeon Racing Association, and has 250 birds on her Sandringham estate, and no one would accuse her of being a terrorist”.
Tom Everloft, spokesman of the Bradford Pidgeon Alliance, was also quick to comment about the new legislation, telling Al Jazeera News: “The rights of thousands of ordinary and decent pidgeon lovers are being trampled on, just to catch a few criminals who pigeon-message”. An animal rights spokesperson commented: “Pigeon lasering is a horrific and brutal act of animal cruelty”.
These comments follow news that China has designated pigeons as ‘harmful wild animals that damage lives and property’, leaving the way open for their eradication. Other governments may follow this lead, but a leading defence analyst commented: “It is important to leave open (and develop) the means by which terrorist communicate, so that they can be trapped. The eradication of pigeons may be counter-productive, and may just drive terrorists to other forms of communication, which may be even more difficult to police”.
This expert was clearly talking about dogs, which were also used as effective messengers in World War 1. A trained dog was very fast, was less of a target to a sniper, and could travel over the roughest of terrains, this making them particularly suitable to deliver messages between deprived London housing estates. The development of dog-mail would clearly be of exteme concern to the government, given the vast number of dogs kept as pets in the UK, though it can be noted that the best dog-mailers would be confined to certain breeds, which could be prohibited within 5 miles of a mosque.
The governments revised legislation is also coming under fire from civil liberties groups, for it includes restrictions on who can report offences. As with DORA,the government plan to have a prescribed list of journalists to report offences, and will use columnists from those newspapers enlisted in their service in 1914 – the Daily Telegraph, Daily Express, Daily Mail, and The Times. Major television and internet news networks will also be prescribed, with all alternatives banned.
In 1916 the Clyde Workers’ Committee journal, The Worker, was prosecuted under DORA for criticising the war, with its editor, John Muir, being gaoled for a year. The 1918 publication of A. T. Fitzroy’s ‘Despised and Rejected’was banned, its publisher being successfully prosecuted for sedition.
This is the terrorist message being sent.
lenin nightingale 2014