Monday, February 8, 2010

The Daily Bell: Terror for Domestic Repression

The Daily Bell
Terror for Domestic Repression
Friday, February 05, 2010
by Staff Report article link

... Republicans and Democrats are basically equal opportunity offenders when it comes to the alarming erosion of civil rights and privacy in the United States. While damage to the protections provided by the Constitution to US citizens accelerated dramatically under the Bush administration, the Obama administration has acceded to the trend (which continues unabated) - not surprisingly given that there is little difference between the two parties at this point.

The establishment of Homeland Security, the endless false terror alarms and the constant pressure for more and quicker spying on criminals and terrorists is turning the US into a kind of quasi-police state. The FBI's warrantless wiretapping, where large swathes of the public may be serially wiretapped and not know it, could well destroy what is left of the market-based entrepreneurial spirit of that country. In the past it was said of even the least regulated Western countries that "anyone could be arrested for anything." But these days the authorities in America have the means as well as the law to destroy almost anyone they wish. It is never enough, however. ...

The convergence of public policing and corporate resources is an inevitable sign of civic degradation. It means that all levels of society have been turned inward - on themselves - to facilitate the deterrence of criminal malfeasance. The result, unfortunately, is that the state can criminalize almost any activity and now has the wherewithal, increasingly, to enforce even the maddest conceits. Whether it is white-collar crime, the war on drugs or terrorism itself, the ability to gather endless amounts of evidence in order to find something - anything - that is provable in court is facilitated by this dismaying trend.

There is more of course. The recent insistence of American government intel spokesmen that Americans abroad can be targeted for assassination if they are deemed supportive of terrorism (and thus migrate to the status of "enemy") can be seen as part of a larger strategy aimed at suppressing DOMESTIC dissent. Those who are anti-war, or even against the current economic reign, may eventually find it prudent to move abroad given the wiretapping and other intrusive security arrangements increasingly being pursued domestically. But in such situations, US citizens (and eventually those from other countries) will face the uncertainties that stem from the US government's continued use of rendition and no doubt even more harassing activities. Again, it would seem, the mechanisms (illegal or not) purportedly developed to fight the war on terror inevitably are turned against those who would voice disapproval within the ambit of their own societies.

Conclusion: Yet, having written all this, it remains our humble estimation that the rapid degradation of civil liberties in America and in the West will eventually be counteracted. Unlike past episodes of repression, the current environment must contend with the liberating effects of the Internet, which is constantly and inevitably exposing the justifications that are being used to install the foundations of a surveillance society. Of course many still do not believe that the Internet will truly have an impact on what's occurring, especially when it comes to the erosion of civil liberties. We think it will.

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