Are you worried yet? Here's the latest from our overseas partners in the war on terror:
Armed police will use anti-terrorism powers to "deal robustly" with climate change protesters at Heathrow next week, as confrontations threaten to bring major delays to the already overstretched airport.
...."Should individuals or small groups seek to take action outside of lawful protest they will be dealt with robustly using terrorism powers. This is because the presence of large numbers of protesters at or near the airport will reduce our ability to proactively counter the terrorist act [threat]," the document says.
Note the clever excuse. No one seems to seriously believe that these protesters are either terrorists or plan to engage in terrorism, and normally any lawbreaking would be dealt with using ordinary police powers. However, the terrorism laws are said to apply here because the protesters — who object to a proposed expansion of the airport — "might reduce our ability to proactively counter" real terrorism. This is, needless to say, an excuse that could be trotted out for nearly anything more vigorous than sending a letter to the editor.
This is happening in Britain, not America, and it's not Armageddon. Which is a country where the top elected official can state that his predecessor's invasion of Iraq was a stupid idea, and still get elected. Rather unlike America.
So yes, it is rather Orwellian (especially the reason proffered), on a scale just as Orwellian as fenced-in Free Speech Zones (NY Repub Convention, LA Dem Convention) far from the political speech-making venues.
Still, when civil libertarian types start warning about slippery slopes, this is what they're talking about. Anyone who can't imagine how this stuff can be misused just isn't exercising their imagination.