Bending to Paranoia and Fear

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

   Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Ben would not be pleased with the government he helped create. Since before 9/11/2001, our rights had been slowly eroding, since then the notion of the rule of law and the Constitution seems quaint. “American’s don’t believe in shredding the Constitution to fight terror,” that was the headline of an article written by Greg Sargeant in the Washington Post‘s Plum Line. he points out a poll done by the Post that asked respondents:

Q: Which worries you more: that the government will not go far enough to investigate terrorism because of concerns about constitutional rights, or that it will go too far in compromising constitutional rights in order to investigate terrorism?

48% were more concerned the government would go too far; while 41% said it would not go far enough. While not a majority, it is still encouraging that there is a plurality that would like to see our Constitutional rights protected. Yet there are still those who would throw those rights away for false feeling of security. Fueled by the rhetoric of a terrorist in every Muslim community, some of our elected representatives and voices in the mainstream media have called for stripping the Constitutional rights of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, now charged with the bombings and deaths that resulted.

But the government and the media seem to be hung up on calling this incident, terrorism and labeling Tsarnaev a terrorist even before there was a motive or a connection to any terrorist organization. Writing at The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald wonders why Boston is ‘terrorism’ but not Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson and Columbine:

Over the last two years, the US has witnessed at least three other episodes of mass, indiscriminate violence that killed more people than the Boston bombings did: the Tucson shooting by Jared Loughner in which 19 people (including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) were shot, six of whom died; the Aurora movie theater shooting by James Holmes in which 70 people were shot, 12 of whom died; and the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting by Adam Lanza in which 26 people (20 of whom were children) were shot and killed. The word “terrorism” was almost never used to describe that indiscriminate slaughter of innocent people, and none of the perpetrators of those attacks was charged with terrorism-related crimes. A decade earlier, two high school seniors in Colorado, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, used guns and bombs to murder 12 students and a teacher, and almost nobody called that “terrorism” either.

In the Boston case, however, exactly the opposite dynamic prevails. Particularly since the identity of the suspects was revealed, the word “terrorism” is being used by virtually everyone to describe what happened. After initially (and commendably) refraining from using the word, President Obama has since said that “we will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had” and then said that “on Monday an act of terror wounded dozens and killed three people at the Boston Marathon”. But as (Ali) Abunimah notes, there is zero evidence that either of the two suspects had any connection to or involvement with any designated terrorist organization.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg added his opinion that in light of the Boston bombing, the Constitution needs to be “reinterpreted”:

“The people who are worried about privacy have a legitimate worry,” Mr. Bloomberg said during a press conference in Midtown. “But we live in a complex word where you’re going to have to have a level of security greater than you did back in the olden days, if you will. And our laws and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.” [..]

“Look, we live in a very dangerous world. We know there are people who want to take away our freedoms. New Yorkers probably know that as much if not more than anybody else after the terrible tragedy of 9/11,” he said.

“We have to understand that in the world going forward, we’re going to have more cameras and that kind of stuff. That’s good in some sense, but it’s different from what we are used to,” he said.

A noun, a verb and 9/11? Mr. Bloomberg wants us to fear those who would “take away our freedoms.” We should fear the Michael Bloombergs and Rudolph Guilianis of the world.

At a bedside hearing, Tsarnaev was advised of his rights and was appointed a lawyer. He freely answered questions in writing, denying that there was a connection with any terrorist organization and the idea was his brother’s. He also told the court that they were motivated by extremist Islamic beliefs. But does that justify calling this terrorist act and labeling the brothers terrorists? Even so, is there ever a justification for denying a person their Constitutional rights?

Glenn joined Amy Goodman on Monday’s Democracy Now to discuss the issues that surround this case.

Transcript can be read here.


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    • TMC on April 24, 2013 at 03:40
  1. having posted to your other diary, “A Message From A Bostonian,” but I posted there right along these lines, in essence.  

  2. the friendly Bostonian Police looking for the “suspect.”

    “Police perform house-to-house raids in Watertown MA ripping innocent families from their homes”

    oh, and this ever so cool video:

    Systematic House to House Raids in Locked-Down Watertown, Massachusetts

    I think I remember seeing some very similar cinemagraphic images in black and white somewhere  . . .. . !

    • banger on April 25, 2013 at 20:06

    As most people who know me know I believe in Deep Politics which to my mind are just politics as traditionally seen by the ancients who had no illusions and no ideological egg to fry. They just called it like it was. Essential to classical history are conspiracies and plots–governments, even when they are authoritarian, must keep public opinion behind them or they risk being stabbed in the back. There is no such thing as American Exceptionalism–this country and its leaders are as malevolent or benevolent as others in history–democracy does not by itself breed virtue.

    I’m not going to say that there is something fishy about Boston because I don’t know and I am not interested in pursuing that, but we do know that the brothers were under FBI surveillance and they were questioned more than once according to their families. Where these guys patsies like so many in the world of jihad? I have no reason to believe they were but it doesn’t matter. I assume the authorities are correct until it’s proven otherwise.

    But here’s the important part–we must assume that it is possible that governments will stage false-flag events which is precisely the reason we ought not over-react because if we do it gives the government incentive to create false-flag events in order to take dictatorial power. The authorities used the Cold War and deliberately exaggerated the Soviet threat in order to repress the left. They blacklisted the most creative people in Hollywood precisely because they were seen as a threat to give an alternate POV to government propaganda. Part of the severe reactions that occurred in the 60s came form young people who realized they had been systematically lied to about everything–thus the authorities learned, gradually, to be more subtle in their repression and open up the society to new points of view all the while continuing to regain a lock on political control which they did. The regime used much the same techniques the Chicoms used to keep power–give the people their material goods but keep a tight control on political power.

    Part of the reason that we have that 48% is the growth, particularly among young people on the right, of a deep suspicion that the government lies about everything–that we have to stay armed in order to keep them honest. This is a very important movement that gives us some breathing room. The current government is largely malicious and dangerous and does want to take power, not to “do good” but to enhance control of the corporate elites.

    At any time, without a deeply skeptical public, the ruling elite could stage a false-flag event and stampede the public into a totalitarian regime since the mainstream media has been prove, time after time, to just echo the ruling elite’s narrative with little interest in truth.  

  3. I hope I’m not losing it altogether because of the “gout.”  

    But I think I just had an epiphany moment, but it just dawned on me.  

    Aren’t the prospects for possible war with Syria and Iran being “racheted” up?  

    So, then, wouldn’t we also need to rachet up the anti-Muslim sentiments?

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