Thursday, July 28, 2011

Norwegians: They're Not Like Us

The reaction to the heinous Oslo attack by Norway's political class has been exactly the opposite [of American politicians to similar situations]: a steadfast refusal to succumb to hysteria and a security-├╝ber-alles mentality.

[...]

Similarly inconceivable for American political discourse is the equally brave response of the country's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, whose office was the target of the bomb and whose Labour Party was the sponsor of the camp where dozens of teenagers were shot:

He called on his country to react by more tightly embracing, rather than abandoning, the culture of tolerance that Anders Behring Breivik said he was trying to destroy.

“The Norwegian response to violence is more democracy, more openness and greater political participation,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg insisted at a news conference. . . .

Stoltenberg strongly defended the right to speak freely -- even if it includes extremist views such as Breivik’s. We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that’s completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence,” he said in English.


Norway's government understandably intends to investigate what happened and correct any needed gaps in security, such as slow police response; but what it refuses to do is transform itself into a closed, secret surveillance state.

  Glenn Geenwald

Clearly they need CIA intervention.

Top be fair, however, if the 9/11 attacks had turned out to be perpetrated by “right-wing extremists” instead of “Islamic terrorists,” there would have been a very different response here, too.

The American Revolutionaries were long revered in our political culture because -- by risking everything, including their lives, to wage war against the most powerful empire on Earth -- they chose liberty and freedom from state intrusion over personal security.

[...]

All of this has given way -- among the political class in the U.S. -- to a supreme fixation on safety at the expense of every other value: a fixation that is in equal measures cowardly, authoritarian and exploitative. Patrick Henry's long celebrated tribute to courage has been turned on its head by the degraded cowardice of GOP tough-guy leaders -- such as Pat Roberts, John Cornyn, and Rush Limbaugh -- shrieking that civil liberties are worthless if you're dead: i.e., that safety is the paramount goal. Meanwhile, as virtually every other country that suffers a horrendous Terrorist attack puts the accused perpetrators on trial in their real court system in the city where the attack occurred -- the subway bombers in London, the train bombers in Madrid, the shooters in Mumbai, the Bali nightclub bombers in Indonesia -- it is only the U.S., the self-proclaimed Home of the Brave, that is too frightened to do so, instead concocting military tribunals and sticking accused terrorists in cages on a Caribbean island, as members of both parties spew base fear-mongering to bar trials on American soil.

Yeah, well, you got me there.

So drowning in secrecy is the National Security State that the Obama administration refuses even to explain how it interprets and applies surveillance powers enacted by Congress. [...] As a new ACLU report documents -- one co-authored by former FBI agent Mike German -- "We are now living in an age of government secrecy run amok."

And, Glenn would like to set me straight on the US record…

[The] U.S. Government most certainly did pursue vastly increased security powers in the name of McVeigh's attack: the Clinton administration, citing the Oklahoma City attack, demanded a full-scale prohibition on all computer encryption that the Government could not access, as well as significantly increased domestic eavesdropping powers, while Congress -- by an overwhelming majority -- enacted the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 that severely infringed due process rights, created new Terrorism crimes, and vested the government with a litany of vast new prosecutorial powers -- all galvanized by the McVeigh attack

I stand corrected. We are totally fascist, heading toward totalitarian fascist.

....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.

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