Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1984!

I really hate my species. We are scummy idiots and deserve to be just as royally SCREWED as we have allowed ourselves to become.

The Americans have sunk to a new low. I guess it shouldn't surprise me, but it does anyway. A sign of naivety or of continuing mental health? It certainly doesn't help me to answer the burning question: what is wrong with people??!

Many will answer that this isn't problematic for them, because 'surveillance isn't anything you ought to have a problem with if you aren't doing anything wrong'. But it's not that simple. What we're seeing now - because this isn't just an American problem. They have the Patriot Act and now this. But the Swedish Parliament recently passed a law that allows ALL electronic signals that pass through Swedish territory to be monitored. In Finland there's talk of a nationwide fingerprint archive that every single resident is to be registered in. The UK is literally covered with CCTV cameras - I read recently that an average Brit can expect to be caught on 300 different cameras in the course of a normal day. But where was I.

What we're seeing now is the undermining and gradual collapse of one of the most fundamental principles of our legal system. ('Our' = the Western world.) Any citizen of any Western democracy is innocent until proven guilty. That has been, up until now, an essential part of our personal freedom. But now our governments are taking that away from us - now they are slowly working to make us all guilty until we can prove ourselves innocent. And guess what - the real criminals are going to pay their way out of trouble every time regardless.

But in the bigger picture, does that even matter anymore? This new wiretap bill is not, as I'm sure the great majority of US citizens believe, an effort to combat terror or to 'make America safer' (I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth when I typed that). It's not about that. What it is is the biggest and most blatant espionage project in history. This law makes US industrial espionage legal. Non-American companies that are doing research and development in competition with American companies can now be spied on electronically - all legal and aboveboard. US authorities can gain access to all electronic communications between stockbrokers all around the world, all kinds of communications between companies and the authorities in the countries where those companies operate. An enormous mass of information that can and will be exploited in the American attempt to get economically ahead of Europe.

Sounds unlikely, not gonna happen? Things like that don't decide policy? Ya think? OK, so why did the US invade Iraq? What did Saddam do just then that was so bad that they just couldn't leave him in place as ruler of the Middle East's most highly functioning and secularized state? How about this: he was going to start selling Iraq's oil in euros instead of dollars. Let him rule as dictatorially as he wants, let him imprison and torture and assassinate his political opponents, let him gas the Kurds - let's give him the gas to do it - but oil for euros, that is going too far. It's a rich man's world, and no one can ever get rich enough.

This new wiretap law is about industrial and financial control, it's not about protecting anyone against 'terror'. Any terrorist worth his salt is going to be using couriers anyway. Who is seriously too stupid to realize that?? The US Senate, obviously. I want to say that the Americans deserve it for electing them. But on the other hand: who's next ... ?


Seabee said...

Sadly, too many people agree with these increasing examples of government-out-of-control. I was in the UK recently, when the 42 day detention without charge law was passed. The general response of people I talked to was "good, we need to get these people into jail". 'These people' they said, assuming guilt before even a charge had been laid.
We have every reason to be very afraid.

Seabee said...

On the CCTV cameras in the UK; I read that there is now one camera for every fifteen people, with even more being installed!

Leisha Camden said...

'These people' they said, assuming guilt before even a charge had been laid.

And assuming, of course, that something like that could never happen to themselves. I'm sure they figure that things like that only happen to 'other people'.

But when we realize that when you get right down to it we may all be equally at risk, it'll probably already be too late.

One CCTV cam for every fifteen people!! That is INSANE!!! I can't for the life of me comprehend why people put up with that. And it is being abused - did you hear about the person somewhere in England who was being basically spied upon by some municipal employee because they were sure that this person wasn't picking up the poo when s/he was walking the dog?? :-o

If it can be misused, it will be. I don't understand how so few people seem to realize that. :-(