The essential expression of the American Surveillance State: we can and will know everything about what you do, and you will know virtually nothing about what we do. In a healthy society, that formula would be reversed: the citizenry would know most everything about what their government does, while the government would know nothing about what citizens do in the absence of well-grounded suspicion that they have done something wrong. Yet here we have the NYPD wandering outside of its jurisdiction in order to spy on the innocuous activities of a religious minority, and the most disturbing part of it all is how common it now is.
For much of the day yesterday, the featured headline on The New York Times online front page strongly suggested that Muslims were responsible for the attacks on Oslo; that led to definitive statements on the BBC and elsewhere that Muslims were the culprits. The Washington Post‘s Jennifer Rubin wrote a whole column based on the assertion that Muslims were responsible, one that, as James Fallows notes, remains at the Post with no corrections or updates.
Ever since the FBI claimed (for a second time) that it had discovered in 2008 the identity of the anthrax attacker — the recently-deceased-by-suicide Army researcher Bruce Ivins — it was glaringly obvious, as I documented many times, that the case against him was exceedingly weak, unpersuasive and full of gaping logical, scientific, and evidentiary holes. […]
Virtually every major newspaper account of the killing of Osama bin Laden consists of faithful copying of White House claims. That’s not surprising: it’s the White House which is in exclusive possession of the facts, but what’s also not surprising is that many of the claims that were disseminated yesterday turned out to be utterly false.
The killing of Osama bin Laden is one of those events which, especially in the immediate aftermath, is not susceptible to reasoned discussion. It’s already a Litmus Test event: all Decent People — by definition — express unadulterated ecstacy at his death, and all Good Americans chant “USA! USA!” in a celebration of this proof […]
There is simply no limit on the manipulation and exploitation of the term “terrorism” by America’s political class. Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell support endless policies that slaughter civilians for political ends, yet with a straight face accuse Julian Assange — who has done nothing like that — of being a “terrorist.” GOP Rep. Peter King is launching a McCarthyite Congressional hearing to investigate radicalism and Terrorism sympathies among American Muslim while ignoring his own long history of enthusiastic support for Catholic Terrorists in Northern Ireland; as Marcy Wheeler says: “Peter King would still be in prison if the US had treated his material support for terrorism as it now does.”
The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who — with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI’s own undercover agents — allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon. Media accounts are almost uniformly trumpeting this event exactly as the FBI describes it.