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28th April
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War on Terror

How ID cards would stop a terrorist attack

Signals from the government indicate that proposals for ID cards could be published within a month in order to help stop terrorists. Given the controversy around ID cards, DeadBrain looks at how they would help in the fight against terrorism.

Professor Douglas Ramsbottom, an expert in counter-terrorism, says that ID cards would be "invaluable" in preventing a terrorist attack on the UK. "Our current counter-measures consist of concrete blocks outside Parliament and a few policemen with batons," he told DeadBrain. "Now the concrete blocks will go a long way in stopping an attack, largely because any terrorists wandering about the place would fall over them, but they won't stop a determined fanatic who looks where he's going."

"In these cases," he continued, "ID cards would come into their own. All a policeman would have to do is ask someone who looked like a terrorist for his ID card, and if he couldn't supply it on the spot then he must have something to hide. There's therefore a strong possibility that he might be a terrorist, or at the very least a criminal."

However, questions remain over what would happen if a terrorist carried an ID card, fake or otherwise, while on his or her way to carry out an attack. "That would be very sneaky," Professor Ramsbottom conceded. "Yes I can see how that would be a problem. But I have a solution – all we have to do is stamp all the terrorists' ID cards with a big yellow box saying ‘terrorist'. That way they would be easy for the police to identify."

Responding to our reporter's points that terrorists would have to be identified first, stickers could be removed, ID cards misplaced and so forth, Professor Ramsbottom cycled through various ideas before hitting on what he described as "the ultimate" anti-terrorist proposition. "It's quick, simple and cost-effective: branding," he said. "It works on farm animals to identify them, so there's no reason why it can't work on terrorists. We would of course have to track them down first, and naturally there'd need to be proof of some sort against the terrorist, and I agree there are some human rights issues, but these are dangerous times and they call for dangerous measures."

Our reporter countered this by suggesting that if there was already sufficient proof against a terrorist that he or she was in fact a terrorist, then surely rather than holding him or her down and attacking him or her with a hot branding iron before letting him or her go, perhaps it would be more effective to arrest the aforementioned terrorist, or at the very least place him or her under surveillance. Unfortunately Professor Ramsbottom had an urgent appointment "somewhere else" and was unable to answer the suggestion.

Undeterred, our man in the dirty raincoat went on to the Home Office, where he spoke to someone who described herself as "a senior source" but may in fact have been a cleaner. Describing Professor Ramsbottom's suggestions about yellow stickers and branding to her, the senior source immediately replied by saying that the government was considering something much more high-tech. She said that David Blunkett is considering embedding electronic chips into the ID cards, which would issue electric shocks to the bearer if he or she came into contact with explosives or went too close to a potential terrorist target, such as Downing Street. "Politicians and people working for them would obviously be exempt," she said. "Or at least ministers would be, Blunkett thinks that some Labour backbenchers could do with electric shock treatment."

The source also showed our reporter a new anti-terrorist device, which looked suspiciously like a bottle of toilet duck.

Further details on the government's counter-terrorism plans are expected shortly.

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