Tuesday, July 23, 2002

This is the FBI. Back away from the pizza

As I write, I’m listening to the Senate hearings on Priscilla Owen, or St. Priscilla, as Mitch McConnell dubbed her. She doesn’t actually seem to be listening, which some would consider a problem in a judge. The number of times in which she answered a question that wasn’t actually asked, including the softball ones, and had to be herded back towards what was actually asked, suggested she wasn’t paying that much attention but was, perhaps, looking out the window, watching a squirrel frolic, or waiting for recess, or thinking about boys.

So how much information about us is being handed over to the government by companies we do business with? According to the Village Voice, one unnamed supermarket chain (actually a relatively low-level employee on his own) handed over data from those loyalty cards. So they can profile what a terrorist shops for. Hotels, car rental agencies, travel agencies have handed over information. They are trying to figure out what “normal” patterns are, and what marks you as a terrorist (ordering a lot of pizza delivered and paying with a credit card is a major indicator of terrorist activity. And if you want pineapple or anchovies on your pizza, you have no taste. According to the FBI.). The FBI was handed a list of 2 million certified divers. Without a subpoena even, because no one wants to be seen as uncooperative. Nor did the supermarket chain, or the travel companies or anyone, feel obligated to tell anyone what they did.

Today, a court in Florida finds Salvadoran generals responsible for torture and orders them to pay damages (if you pay for pizza the wrong way the FBI will be all over your ass, but don’t look for these thugs to be deported any time soon). Tomorrow, the US plans to block an enforcement protocol for the treaty against torture, because it might involve inspection of US prisons and detention centers, including Guantanamo.

Only Ariel Sharon would think it wise to call his assassination-by-air-strike a “great success” despite the deaths of 9 children.

Bush’s hubris grows. He now intends a “regime change” in Iran.

The new Right-wing Dutch government runs into a little trouble. The minister for emancipation and family affairs (!), a follower of the dead bald gay guy, turns out to have once worn a uniform and toted a gun in the militia on the former Dutch colony of Suriname, back when said militia was merrily murdering opposition activists. Not the sort of emancipation they had in mind. She has had to resign.

Remember the 1980 Iranian embassy siege in London? It was stormed by the SAS, which evidently had orders directly from Thatcher that there be no “problems” left over. In other words: take no prisoners. Or, as it turned out, execute the prisoners. No word on when Thatcher will be arrested.

No comments:

Post a Comment