The Government of Navarra (an autonomous region of Spain where I live) is running an emergency alert drill for all cellphones in the region at 1pm Spanish time today (Thursday, 20th April). Spokespersons for the Navarran government have assured us that these alerts will be used “exclusively” for “extraordinary catastrophes” like wildfires and floods. We are supposed to press "accept" when we receive the alert. A similar emergency drill will be held in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 23rd April, designed to alert citizens “if there’s a life-threatening emergency nearby.”
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Good luck to them.
For my part, I will be powering down my phone and disconnecting my laptop from the web between 12:50pm and 1:30pm today to make sure I am not included in this drill. This is the same government that confined us to our homes to confront the "emergency" of a respiratory virus in early 2020, required us to wear masks in parks, shops, and restaurants, mandated an experimental vaccine for health workers, and excluded those of us who refused their experimental shot from bars and restaurants, in response to the "Covid emergency."
If you, like me, see these sorts of measures as one of the most catastrophic and abusive over-reactions to an “emergency” in modern history, then you will probably not be surprised that I have no interest in legitimating their little "emergency drill" with my participation.
Under ordinary circumstances - for example, if we had level-headed and sensible people running the government - I could probably just go along with such a drill. Indeed, I would probably take them at their word that it was only for the purpose of managing genuine “catastrophes.”
But to hold an emergency drill so soon after a string of extraordinary abuses of emergency powers is quite another story. The timing for this drill could not be worse. It comes just a couple of years after governments all over the world used an “emergency” that was actually an infectious disease for which health services were ill prepared, to justify an all-out attack on citizens’ basic rights, including the right to protest, right to informed consent to medication, right to breathe freely, freedom of movement, and freedom of expression.
The reason I refuse to participate in this drill at this time, is because the authorities that are running it have forfeited their right to be trusted to honestly and competently declare emergencies without stoking up needless panic and fear in the population. I simply no longer trust these people to tell me when I need to run for cover. In fact, I am more afraid of them than I am of any emergency they might declare.
I hope that trust is restored soon. In the meantime, I will be steering clear of the government’s emergency drills.
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Thanks David. Well done for switching off for their drill.
Have you seen SuperSally's post regarding compulsory registration of all existing mobile phones in the Philippines? If that isn't the evil Big Brother hand at it's most evil. I'm a whatever you want!
More power to you. I'm sure they'll be doing this in every country soon. They want us anxious at all times, waiting for the next disaster. I'd rather take chances than trust any of them.