Dr. C. Scott Ananian (cananian) wrote,
Dr. C. Scott Ananian

On Civil Liberties (and lack thereof).

With all the voices comparing the 9/11 attacks to Pearl Harbor, it's worthwhile to consider another WWII precendent: the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, which gave Hitler all the justification he needed to suspend civil liberties "for the Protection of the People and the State". (more)

In the face of this threat, the Left has unilaterally disarmed, pulling ads and suspending planned protests. And I understand this: the "Free Sklyarov" movement I lead in Boston also suspended its weekly protests after the bombings, and hasn't quite pulled itself back together yet. The AFL-CIO, Rainforest Action Network, the Sierra Club, the Rukus Society, and Friends of the Earth (just to name a few) have done the same.

Activists' silence could be called a mere matter of 'tact' if their voices weren't *urgently* needed at this time: NY state drafted "anti-terrorism" legislation that defines terrorism as any offense designed to "influence the policy of a unit of government" and provides for harsh penalties to those who harbor these "terrorists" or give them money. A host of new laws expanding electronic eavesdropping powers are being proposed: one by Bush, the Senate has already given the FBI the power to spy on the Internet without a warrant, Congress is mulling severe restrictions on the use of privacy-protecting cryptography (even though bin Laden doesn't use it anymore); the nefarious Carnivore device has already been installed at major ISPs (at *least* AOL and Earthlink). Draconian "security changes" have been proposed for Manhattan. See also "Bad News for Civil Liberties" on CBS News, "Civil Liberty the Next Casualty?" on Wired, and "Thousands dead, millions deprived of civil liberties?" by Richard Stallman. Remember, all this talk about "electronic intelligence" won't help the fight against bin Laden at all: although he reportedly has used strong cryptography in the past, the existing U.S. interception campaign has caused him to revert to "stone age" methods of communication, receiving and sending emissaries from his Afganistan base.

More info: The U.S. passed "safety and security in times of crisis" legislation in 1933 just like "Chancellor Hitler"; see this article; search for "1933". See this Slashdot article for ideas on what you can do about all this.


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