Friday, March 1, 2013

Coup for Al Qaeda?

If the the goal of bi Laden and Al Qaeda was to destroy the American way of life, they have made significant progress. Oddly enough they have been relatively successful because the US (and the UK has reacted similarly) has facilitated that destruction by the fear of terrorism in the name of patriotism.

National security is patriotism or vice versa. This protection of the homeland has been assumed by Obama in the name of the executive branch. There is absolutely no justification in law or other precedent. If this president can justify, without congressional opposition, the assassination of Americans abroad what will the next president be able to do?

The Guardian UK in its story Bradley Manning: the face of heroism has this quote from a Harvard Law Professor: "what a coup for Al Qaeda" that the US has obliterated its core freedoms under the pretense of national security."

The professor Yochai Benkler is quoted by the Guardian UK from an article in the New Republic where he posits that radical theories are being used to prosecute Manning.
"Among other things, he explains that a conviction on the "aiding and abetting the enemy" charge "would dramatically elevate the threat to whistleblowers" and "the consequences for the ability of the press to perform its critical watchdog function in the national security arena will be dire". That, of course, is precisely why the Obama administration is doing it. That's the feature, not a bug."
Secrecy - that is the patriots watchword to protect our national security. And that protection involves not only the unfettered discretion to kill Americans without due process, but the secret surveillance of American citizens. This surveillance in the name of patriotism is reminiscence of efforts of East German's Stasi and that thought to have existed in the Soviet Union of old.

I call your attention to the Washington Post's 2010 Top Secret America report consisting of four articles. This is from Monitoring America: "The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. "

Not only are Americans encouraged to spy on each other even the smallest incident of absentmindedness is likely to result in the appearance of SWAT (financed in whole or in part by the department of Homeland Security) to often blow up a package left on a bus or a park bench. And air travel subjects everyone, except the privileged, to indignities that no free person ought to ever undergo.

The list of negative changes to our ordinary way of life found in the freedom of speech and freedom of association is nearly endless. Not only that, intolerance is routinely practiced by government at all levels singling out those who might just be extremists, i.e., Muslims, because the fear of terrorism and enhanced patriotism has led to a near crusade against them whether or not they are in fact extremists. And it matters not that they may be citizens.

I'd say that terrorist success with 911, success more to our security failings than to their cleverness, has been a coup for Al Qaeda. We are doing our best to undo our society and the principles upon which it is based by succumbing to irrational fears hyped and encouraged by politicians to enhance their own image.

Who would have thought that a Democratic black president would be the leader down the path of a police state?