Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Point of the Spear?

A Yahoo! AP Headline by Pat Milton notes “FBI worries about an Osama-mobsters link.” Note well the portentious appearance of the word “yet” in the article’s second paragraph:
Though there is no direct evidence yet of organized crime collaborating with terrorists, the first hints of a connection surfaced in a recent undercover FBI operation. Agents stopped a man with alleged mob ties from selling missiles to an informant posing as a terrorist middleman.

It has been well noted that last week’s heartbreaking, history-making Congressional cave-in to the ongoing Bush Administration executive power-grab not only dispenses with the foundational principle of habeus corpus, “legalizes” torture and indefinite detention in the name of the President’s interminable, indefinable “war on a tactic,” but it also opens the door to the arbitrary assignment by the Executive Branch to citizens as well as to non-citizens of the slippery status of the so-called “enemy combatant.” You can be sure that the first citizens to suffer this catastrophic re-assignment will not be such presumably enticing figures as Amy Goodman and Keith Olbermann, but precisely the sorts of criminals and unsympathetic figures we are least pleased to discover sharing with us the frustrating procedural protections of legitimate law. However distasteful the prospect may be we will have diligently to observe and likely to resist the ways in which a “terrorization” of criminality unfolds, as it is very likely to be the point of the spear of an ever-broadening “terrorization” that will soon enough engulf legitimate citizen protest and then citizen participation altogether.

By way of conclusion, let me note in passing and without comment that those diligent readers who make their way through to the close of Milton’s article will be rewarded with another rather intriguing claim at the very end: “The Internet has become the new Afghanistan, allowing terrorist sympathizers to promote their radical ideas and to recruit and train followers right their home computers. That makes it far more difficult for investigators to identify them.”

They’re making their list, no more need for checking it twice, they’re gonna declare who’s naughty and nice... As Mike Malloy would say: Watch your backs, people.

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