Posted by: quiscus | August 19, 2011

August 19, 2011

1.  “A prime aim of the growing Surveillance State

The NYT article explored similarities between Swartz and Bradley Manning, another young activist being severely punished for alleged acts of freeing information without any profit to himself; the article quoted me as follows:

For Glenn Greenwald . . . it also makes sense that a young generation would view the Internet in political terms.

“How information is able to be distributed over the Internet, it is the free speech battle of our times,” he said in interview. “It can seem a technical, legalistic movement if you don’t think about it that way.”

He said that point was illustrated by his experience with WikiLeaks — and by how the Internet became a battleground as the site was attacked by hackers and as large companies tried to isolate WikiLeaks. Looking at that experience and the Swartz case, he said, “clearly the government knows that this is the prime battle, the front line for political control.”

This is the point I emphasize whenever I talk about why topics such as the sprawling Surveillance State and the attempted criminalization of WikiLeaks and whistleblowing are so vital.  The free flow of information and communications enabled by new technologies — as protest movements in the Middle East and a wave of serious leaks over the last year have demonstrated — is a uniquely potent weapon in challenging entrenched government power and other powerful factions.  And that is precisely why those in power — those devoted to preservation of the prevailing social order — are so increasingly fixated on seizing control of it and snuffing out its potential for subverting that order: they are well aware of, and are petrified by, its power, and want to ensure that the ability to dictate how it is used, and toward what ends, remains exclusively in their hands.”

2.  “Welcome to the Terrordome.

British Regime Jealous of America’s Savage Police

In the wake of rebellions that spread to much of urban Britain, the ruling Conservative Party government is not only sounding like their racist American cousins, they were at least toying with the idea of importing William Bratton, the former police chief of New York, Los Angeles and Boston, to put the fear of the law into the U.K.’s darker residents. On first examination, it seems counterintuitive that anyone would look to the United States for role models in the criminal justice arena. The U.S. is by far the most violent among the wealthy nations of the world. Gangs are endemic, the U.S. is the drug marketplace of the planet. Guns are everywhere, both legal and illegal. It’s a scary place to live. What could the British possibly find to envy about America, when it comes to law and order?

The United States is the Great Gulag Nation, the planetary prison dungeon, home to 25 percent of its prison inmates. One out of every eight imprisoned persons in the world is a Black American….

Wait a minute! That’s got to be the allure to the white racists in Britain. They are jealous of the absolute savagery of the U.S. criminal justice system’s treatment of Black people. They look with awe on American cops like Bill Bratton whom, they imagine, would punish British Blacks in London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester as he did it America’s big cities.

Not that the Brits aren’t trying to live up to American standards of racist law enforcement. Blacks in the U.K. are 26 times more likely to be stopped and frisked on the streets than whites, and seven times more likely to go to prison. But it’s all in the scale of things. The Americans stop, arrest, and imprison far larger numbers of people, both by percentage and in raw numbers. Whereas 150,000 people were stopped and frisked on all the streets of England and Wales in 2008, nearly 600,000 were stopped in New York City alone. Britain’s total incarcerated population is less than 100,000 people. The U.S. is only five times as large as Britain, but imprisons 24 times as many people: 2.4 million. And, when it comes to shooting Blacks and Latinos down in the street like dogs, nobody beats the American cop, in eagerness to fire his weapon or the number of bullets he’s willing to pump into a Black body.

The Brits, having a “special relationship” with the United States, know all this, but they want to follow in America’s bloody footsteps, anyway. Because, for white racists in Britain, just like their counterparts in the U.S., it’s not about efficient and effective policing, or any civilized notion of justice. It’s about hate. It’s about racial dominance. It’s about keeping Black people in their place.

It’s all so very familiar to us on the western side of the Atlantic, in the nation that was built on genocide, slavery and racial supremacy. To the Black people of Britain we say, “Welcome to America.” Welcome to the Terrordome. ”


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