The Italian Vending Machines Control Law

Invasion Of Privacy "for The Children"

Click on the image to write to Gian Turci

July 14, 2003 - The new Italian law on cigarette vending machines is yet another symptom of the dangers of these times - dangers so great that it is unfortunate only a few can see them yet. Effective January 1st 2004, cigarette vending machines in this country will be shut down between 19:30 (7:30 PM) and 23:30 (11:30 PM) every day. Why? ...well, "to protect the children," of course. According to a fascist law dating back to 1934, those who are under 16 cannot buy cigarettes. Of course, Mussolini's Black Shirts pale in comparison with the White Shirts of today's "public health", which find that such an age threshold is way too "permissive" and "unhealthy" (the two new definitions to replace the obsolete concept of personal freedom). The White Shirts want to see a much older age threshold - indeed, no one is old enough to smoke, according to them. It is only logical, therefore, to expect that the age limit will be increased at least to 18 to "harmonise" with the "more advanced countries". This is, after all, a nation that because of its cultural inferiority complex is only too eager to lose its cultural identity to the EU Leviathan and to the US model. Moreover, such a smoking age increase would be a veritable bonanza for the health con artists, who will claim (as they did when they lowered the body mass index threshold for obesity) an overnight "epidemic explosion" of underage smoking, thus demanding more control, repression, surveillance, taxation - and public funds for their "non-profits". The government will be only too happy to oblige. In exchange for a few million Euros tossed in the pockets of antitobacco "non-profits", it would get billions in tax revenues, and greater, "socially acceptable" means to intrude even more into people's lives and privacy.

So far and all over the world, age limits for cigarette or alcohol sales have not worked because it is easy to get around them. All an underage person needs to do, in fact, is to ask his barely of-age friends to buy the forbidden goods for him -- and the friends (with a fresh memory of when they could not buy the stuff, either) are pleased to oblige. Conscious of that reality, Italian tobacconists have rightfully ignored the fascist law, and used their own judgement and common sense instead when selling cigarettes to young people. But, as we all know, common sense is a sun that has set, so everything is to be regulated, limited -- and controlled. Therefore, the only consequence of this idiotic vending machine limitation is that the minors will buy a whole carton instead of the occasional pack they bought before; it is better to stock up, in fact, in order not to inconvenience friends too much, and because of the less certain availability of the supply.

But all that is beside the point, as it is inconceivable that the minister of health is dumb enough not to see that reality. What is the real reason for this limitation, then? Well, here it is. In order to make sure that "children are protected", the machines will be provided with an electronic scanner for a digital identity card (already issued by City Hall for general identification provided the candidate submits to fingerprinting) to "make sure that the buyer is of age". The vending machine is connected via modem with a central databank, and identity is verified, then the purchase is logged. And here is where "health 'n safety", once again, becomes the excuse for privacy violations and population control. With such a technology, the state knows everything about the ADULT smoker: who he is, how old, and where he lives; what he smokes, how often - and even some of his movements within the country. But that's not all: the state knows if the smoker has children, and if the children live with him, through computer cross-reference with the local City Hall residential databank. With that information in hand, it will be possible to know (actually, to assume - but nowadays the two words are enmeshed) that children are "exposed" to passive smoking, for example. And since state propaganda and junk science say that passive smoke "hurts" children, it follows that ready-made lists of "child abusers" will be at the fingertips of the state. As child abuse is of course not acceptable, it is logical that the smoker will be visited by social workers first - and by the police later if the victim (oh, sorry, the "target", as he is called today by social engineers) does not give in to intimidation and scientific disinformation - and they will come into your house for the "best interest" of the child.

Once again, "health 'n safety" will be the key of the door of your home - as much as it has been the key of the door of your car, of your place of business, and of your favourite restaurant, just to mention a few. But what if you don't have children? No problem: do you live with somebody who may suffer from asthma -- or one of the many diseases that statistical junk science "attributes" to passive smoke? That's it then, computers work fast! A quick cross-reference with the hospital databases to check if the person you live with has ever been hospitalised for any of those diseases and --- bingo! - knock-knock... "health" officer, open the door!

Paranoia? Not at all; in this country hospitals are already mandated to ask (as a very first question upon admission): "Do you smoke?" If you say yes, you get into the database (and most likely you already know the "cause" of your disease as well); if you say no, that triggers another question: "Do you live with a smoker?"  If you say yes you are recorded as a "passive smoker"; if you say no, that triggers yet another question: "Do you work in a smoking environment?", and so on. If you refuse to answer, the computer simply does not allow the operator to fill the hospitalisation form -- that is, you cannot be hospitalised; and if you are in pain, hurt, or in need of an operation you can be easily "persuaded" to answer - and you are bound to answer "yes" to one of the long chain of questions sooner or later. Now, a similar chain is appearing for alcohol and food. Let's not forget: "public health" gangs must create "proof" of "tobacco-related" disease and mortality, and they can only do that with statistics, since it cannot be done with science. As the credibility of one branch of junk science wears out, "public health" replaces it with a more sophisticated branch, coming directly from the hospitals -- thus emotionally more "credible"; but the frauds are the same. So, once you answer yes, time will do the rest, as you will inevitably get sick and/or die - and the attribution will be ready-made in the majority of cases, adding to the "scientific" "mountain of evidence" about the dangers and mortality of tobacco use. But even if you live alone you are a potential target, as more and more "health" activists in this country advocate coerced "therapy" for smoking, drugs, alcohol, and a whole array of "pathological behaviours".

There is every reason to believe that what is described above will be applied to food, alcohol, soft drinks, communication, information - and in each and every case when "health 'n safety" is involved - that is, in every aspect of our lives. Antitobacco has always been the test bed for junk science, propaganda, taxation and population control. Also, there is every reason to believe that arguing and complaining with those who want to annihilate rights, choice and the property of the individual in the name of the collective "interest" is absolutely useless. For those people, the only thing that is "individual" is a thorough, capillary and unlimited control of individuals' habits, choices and behaviour, renamed "education" and "public health".

Thus, there is every reason to believe that the only way to stop and reverse what is going on is with direct confrontation through force - such as public demonstrations, lawsuits, tax strikes, category strikes, boycotts, the development of new, uncontrolled media for massive counter-information, never-ending education of the public - and absolutely no deal with (and no trust of) the tyrant. By definition, reforms are good when there is still something that can be fixed, while revolutions are there to plough under the unfixable, and rebuild again. And that is not a rhetorical hyperbole: it is either that, or succumb to never-ending oppression, total surveillance and absolute control - a thought that is unsettling indeed. But the sooner we start dealing with it, the better.

Gian Turci
FORCES Italiana, president
FORCES International
, C.E.O.

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