Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hey, The Olympics Are On - So We're Going to Watch Your Every Move

The Feds have announced that due to the Olympics, and the supposed threat of a terrorist attack, the government is going to be monitoring certain websites to gain "situational awareness" of what is going on, including: The Drudge Report, Facebook, Twitter, and The Blotter.

Why announce this to the world, including all terrorists?  The reason is that this isn't about terrorism at all, it is about desensitizing Americans to infractions of their civil liberties.  It is about trampling on the Constitution without fear of future investigative exposure adding to the public perception of impropriety. It is about gathering information on political dissenters, including conducting surveillance of so-called "right-wing extremists" who have the gall to believe in individual liberty, as many of us anti-statist bloggers can testify to personally. And ultimately, it is about intimidating people into self-censorship.

As a quasi-journalist who has worked in Russia, this last point shouldn't be overlooked.  Those who publish criticism of the Kremlin are always aware that the Russian intelligence services are watching.  Sure, you can technically criticize Putin or Medvedev, but you wouldn't want anything unfortunate to happen to you, your business, or your publication, would you?  Like tax and financial audits, unannounced building inspections, neck ties, contracts, high mountains - use your imagination.  And don't think that that sort of chill of free speech isn't exactly what Washington wants.  When I look at our nation's capital nowadays, I see the future Kremlin of the United States.

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