Saturday, 24 June 2006

They hate our freedoms

We are gathered here to fight

When President Bush addressed the Joint Session of Congress and the American People in the aftermath of the terrorist strike of September the Eleventh 2001, all the civilised world was at one with America in compassion, in sympathy and in agreement.

We all could not afford to live in a world where a threat of this sort could approach suddenly one ordinary morning and wreak so much destruction in life and the symbols of a nation’s might.

This statement then became the rallying call to go after those terrorists, hunt them down and wipe them off the face of the earth.

“Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.”[1]

This is what we all hold dear and I list them in order.

+ We are a democracy

+ We have freedoms

+ We have the freedom of religion

+ We have the freedom of speech

+ We have the freedom to vote

+ We have the freedom to assemble

+ We have the freedom to disagree with each other

This all constituted the galvanising force of the War on Terror that has taken troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which are bordering on failed states despite the progress in democratic institutions.

The freedom to lose freedom

However, looking at the world today and the War on Terror we might find that we have become part of that target.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the speech that Dick Cheney gave yesterday when he condemned the press fro revealing that the US has been trawling the SWIFT for international transactions that might involve terrorists. [2]

We are given the notion that this activity lead to the capture of Hambali the notorious terrorist involved in the Bali bombings.

That itself is of some value, but if that is the only terrorist transaction that has been successfully pursued to a conclusion since 2001; albeit after the fact - then the War on Terror had already been lost and this transaction spoofing only helps to clear up the carnage - one would wonder what other means the terrorists use to move money globally.

There are many systems of moving money most especially using Western Union or Moneygram where sums running into billions would not even reflect on any spook radar.

Playing into the enemy’s hands

But, that is beside the point, Mr Cheney would have us believe that this operation was within the law of the land and was legitimate having tried without success to prevent this information from being published.

The further assertion that these secret activities of the United States government in prosecuting the war on terror from extraordinary rendition through the NSA eavesdropping to this filching or fishing through global transactions is playing into the enemy’s hands.

Bladderdash!

I would tell you what is playing into enemy hands – the fact that in a democracy we have the kind of transparency that would make the German Gestapo look like a window box.

The fact that we trumpet this who issue of freedoms and secretly ride rough-shod over these democratically assured freedoms on the premise of protecting the people from some undefined evil.

The fact that our freedom of religion and belief systems is usurped; to galvanise a political base whilst, dividing all others.

The fact that the freedom of speech in revealing clandestine operations of government in the public interest is railed against but the same people are culpable in revealing the identity of secret agents.

The fact that the democratically exercised will of the people of Palestine is ignored. They elected a government less favoured in the eyes of the West, and this has lead to their greater impoverishment.

And though we have the freedom to assemble, we do not have the freedom to disagree with the government without being called names.

Those are the things that play into the enemy’s hands and I am beginning to wonder who really hates our freedoms.

References

[1] President Declares "Freedom at War with Fear"

[2] Money-tracking leak angers Cheney

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