Monday, February 17, 2014

A Most Wanted Man

Are there control agencies?
There are only control agencies.
Of course they aren’t meant to find errors,
in the vulgar sense of that term,
since no errors occur,
and even if an error does occur,
as in your case,
who can finally say that it is an error? 
--The Castle, Franz Kafka 

If my thought-dreams could be seen
They'd probably put my head in a guillotine 
--It's Alright, Ma, Bob Dylan 

I love this place.
I love the freedoms that we used to have!
I love it when it didn't take a major catastrophe
to get people to care for one another!
I love the fact that we're on camera all the time,
everywhere, from all angles! 
 --The American Dream,
George Carlin

Ranger just finished Le Carre's A Most Wanted Man, a thoughtful novel on intel operators in the War on Terror.  The author reveals the ease with which such people can construct a false file on an innocent person using data often provided by foreign nationals, indicting said person as evil incarnate.

Intel is not factual but rather a reflection of reality as interpreted by someone sitting behind a desk, a person usually all too happy to receive or interpret data to reflect what the boss wants to hear. Intel operators are not police and lack arrest powers yet, they too often produce damning dossiers based upon innuendo and assumptions which are then employed by highers up to function as judge, jury and executioner of the implicated. But intel and judicial requirements are worlds apart; legal evidence is based upon produceable fact.

While al Qaeda is a violent organization which needs to be countered and contained, this can and should be done legally lest our democracy be corrupted and superannuated. Simply: illegal terror violence cannot be countered by illegal governmentally-sponsored acts of terror.

An example would be the extrajudicial, Presidentially-ordered killings of Anwar al-Awlaki and his son, Abduhlramen, in 2011. Where was the trial and the evidence? What was the death offense committed? If the President can justify the murders of two American citizens, then no one can rely on his democratic safeguards.

A great nation does not kill people on the basis of affiliation, because they are Taliban or al Qaeda. When the U.S. kills, it should be because a person has committed an executable offense which can be proven in a court of law. The cases of OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh and Boston Marathon bomber DzhokharTsarneav are examples.

Ever since the beginning of the War on Terror and the suspension of the liberties and protections to which we had become accustomed, the usual psychological justification enlisted by the many has been, "I don't have anything to hide, so what need care I if my transmissions are secretly monitored?" U.S. citizens are naive -- the majority having been relatively safe from such fascist-type State intrusions -- and do not understand the slippery slope that is government overreach until they have been overreached.

The Bill of Rights concept of "probable cause" is seen as impossibly naive in a nation allowed unfettered State Secrets in its war against terrorists, which becomes de facto a war against your privacy. A people not accorded privacy is not a free people. The notions of secrecy and privacy are neither Republican nor Democratic (though it is usually the Republican electorate which is more willing to abdicate their rights, and the Republican leaders more willing to take them away.)

Only we can destroy our democratic principles, and the intel types are not always right. Those are the only givens in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©)

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