Sickening: Police & Surveillance State Apologists Leap At Charlie Hebdo Opportunity To Advocate For More Spying, Less Freedom

from the surveillance-state-opportunists dept

In the wake of the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris yesterday, many people have been talking about various issues related to free speech and satire. We didn’t have much to add to that discussion so we stayed out of it, but it’s concerning to see that those who wish to suppress other civil liberties are jumping at the chance to use the attack yesterday as a jumping off point. Here are just a few examples. The NY Post ran an article saying that this proves the NYPD shouldn’t have stopped its “Muslim Mapping” program:

…we believe the city should revisit its decision to dismantle the NYPD?s ?Muslim Mapping? intelligence program.

The program was designed to provide exactly the kind of intelligence that would have been useful to police in Paris once they identified their three suspects in Wednesday?s terror attack. Namely, where they might go to find shelter or assistance.

If you don’t recall, this effort was recently disbanded after multiple reports noted that it was completely useless, with not a single useful piece of evidence coming out of the entire program. As Julian Sanchez points out, there’s something terrifying to the logic of “all evidence shows this project was totally useless, but we have to keep it going because of all these threats!”

And yet… the same thing is happening in other arenas as well. A year ago, both a court and the specially appointed task force set up to review the intelligence community’s use of bulk metadata collection under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act noted that there was absolutely no evidence at all that the bulk metadata collection was ever used to stop terrorist attacks.

And yet… former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden went on cable news on Thursday morning to use the Charlie Hebdo attack as an excuse for why the program was so useful. After spending about four minutes talking about how these kinds of random small attacks are likely to be the new way terrorists attack, he then defends metadata collection:

Let me add another thought here too: You know, I was talking to you guys about 12 months ago, about these massive amounts of metadata that NSA held in storage. That metadata doesn’t look all that scary this morning and I wouldn’t be surprised if the French services pick up cell phones associated with the attack and ask the Americans, ‘where have you seen these phones active globally?’.

Actually, no, that metadata does still seem pretty scary, because it also includes a hell of a lot more than just those responsible for the attack. And, it’s not like law enforcement and the intelligence community can’t go back to the operators currently responsible and ask them for that data. There’s still no reason to believe that the NSA needs to just be sitting on this data all the time. And, of course, it doesn’t seem like all that metadata helped prevent any attack, now did it?

Either way, it’s kind of sickening to see this kind of opportunist crap, seeking to strip civil liberties and privacy rights from people, at the same time so many people are focusing on the other side of the story, about protecting free speech.

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Comments on “Sickening: Police & Surveillance State Apologists Leap At Charlie Hebdo Opportunity To Advocate For More Spying, Less Freedom”

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71 Comments
Lawrence D’Oliveiro says:

The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

For once, I would like to see a response to this kind of mass murder that consists of nothing more or less than anger against the perpetrators, not fear of them or others like them.

Because they are not worth being feared. Their victims did nothing wrong. I would like to think that, if we could ask those cartoonists whether they would do it again, they would say “yes”.

Let us hope that this disgraceful act only spurs even more people to come forward and exercise their rights to free speech and satire. And yes, even blasphemy. Because blasphemy is not a crime in any civilized country.

Oh, and on behalf of New Zealand, I would like to apologize for the existence of Derek Fox.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

WRONG. The proper response is unity with those who agree that what was done was wrong in the Islamic community. A good number of imama believe that the satire was wrong, but they also agreed that the response (the shooting in Paris) was utterly wrong-headed and only innflames anti-Islamic sentiment.

Yes, there are grievous issues with the Islamic faith, but the wrong response is anger and hatred.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

Not to mention Christian-on-Muslim violence.

You keep trying to paint all faiths as equally bad – but that is as misleading as too say that because all parties in ww2 had blood on their hands the Nazis were no worse than the British and Churchill was as bad as Hitler.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 ou keep trying to paint all faiths as equally bad


Religion is a purely subjective matter of personal belief, but morality cannot be.

So where does morality come from?

Attempts in the 19th century to produce morality independent of religious belief (not that there is such a thing – because atheism is itself a religious belief) spawned Communism and Nazism.

Like it or not your morality is almost certainly a legacy of your Judeo-Greco-Romano-Christian heritage.
Rahter than to try to construct something new it is much simpler to ask which of the religiously derived moralities is most likely to be tolerant of others.

Any religion which holds to the precept “Love your enemies” is a good candidate and you will find some common ground between Christianity and Buddhism on that point (of course Christians and Buddhists don’t always practise this but that is not the point).

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

“You keep trying to paint all faiths as equally bad”

No, I keep trying to point out that every religion has extremists that do evil things. It’s important because other keep trying to imply that Islam == evil and Christianity == good. The reality is neither so block-and-white nor so simple.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

I’d say we should pity them. Because if their faith is so weak that they are offended by some satire to the point of killing other people then it should only inspire pity. In any case pity isn’t the best response either. Tolerance is. Still, I agree with you that anger is slightly better than fear. At least an angered person won’t be passive about the issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

In any case pity isn’t the best response either. Tolerance is.

Tolerance of people yes, but not tolerance of an intolerant ideology.

We beat communism by demonstrating that it did not produce the paradise it advertised but instead produced an economically backward totatlitarian state that was not nice to live in.

It is worth noting that the mockery of the North Korean leader only produced a cyberattack – No one was killed.

Islamism should be addressed in the same way that communism was – by demonstrating that our system is better and having the courage to say so loudly and at every opportunity.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

“Islamism should be addressed in the same way that communism was”

I disagree. If the only way communism was “addressed” was through rhetoric (as you imply), then you’d have a point. However, in the US, the fight against communism descended into a parade of horribles such as punishing people for beliefs rather than action, physical violence, the abuse of governmental powers to punish people who committed no crimes, blacklists, etc.

We should never allow that sort of stuff to happen. The days of the “red menace” are not proud days for the US.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The Only Proper Response Is Anger, Not Fear

I disagree. If the only way communism was “addressed” was through rhetoric (as you imply), then you’d have a point.

That was my point. I was only talking about the things that actually worked.

That rhetoric (together with a much more effective economy) was certainly the only way in which communism was successfully addressed.

The other things you mention were actually counter-productive as well as being disgraceful.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Why snooping fails

Actually, I would say that with all the spying going on, we now have a haystack in which no needles can be found. IE Targeted spying can lead to results, but generally spying on everything leads to none.

They claim that it was miscommunication and lack there of that led to them not suspecting Tamerlan Tsarnaev. I would suggest that it is that there are so many suspects and the list are so large that in fact everyone is practically a suspect now. So handing the next 2 billion names to local authorities isn’t going to help anymore than not telling them anything.

RadioactiveSmurf (profile) says:

That is some real arrogance there. My thoughts on unconstitutional data collection have not changed just because of one terrible tragedy. To suggest that is saying ” I was right and you were wrong ” without ever proving you were right. There is zero evidence that anything about this would be different with tons of data collected. Just look at the Boston Marathon bombing. It didn’t prevent it, and didn’t help track the men responsible after it happend. To use a tragedy as a way to promote an agenda is shameful and way out of line.

Anonymous Coward says:

Unbelievable. If they alredy spy on them like that then why cant they see it before it happens? They break hundreds of laws and for what? So they can point fingers AFTER something happens. Who cares who helps them hide if they cant prevent it even after actively monitoring exactly those people who did it?

Ofcourse, there is always the possibility that they knew it will happen and they thought: Hey it seems like we dont have enough public support, lets show them how bad these people are by letting them butcher down a few dozen plebs.

btw, just by watching a couple vids on liveleak on how they do it in syria i find it hard to believe that these two were in any way releated to them.

Anonymous Coward says:

To date, these security agencies are yet to prove that all their actions, all their efforts, all the new laws they’ve gotten placed, have done anything to actually catch terrorists.

So far what we’ve learned is that we are becoming exactly like the places supporting these violent methods of acting. Yet none of it helps in the stopping of the acts.

False flags have to be raised when looking at all these, especially the 9/ll scenario where a president was window shopping for the reason to go to war; not one war but two at the same time.

Given how much lying has been going on, how much stonewalling of releasing data, and how much the government has relied on National Security as the be all excuse to prevent data coming out, I’ve reached a point I don’t believe most of what I hear coming from authorities. I am even less inclined to believe given that the Smith-Mundt Act has been rescinded as well as giving propaganda to the US citizens is now enshrined in the NDAA entirely nulling any barriers to feeding it’s citizens propaganda.

mattshow (profile) says:

The news reports I’ve read said that the two suspects were already known to police and were under surveillance. For example, this Reuters article states:

The fugitive suspects are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and already under police surveillance. One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell. Police said they were “armed and dangerous”.

What kind of information was a broad, untargeted “mapping” program going to reveal that targeted surveillance hasn’t?

Dave Cortright says:

Laws must punish ends, not means

I just got into a discussion with a colleague who was advocating a breed-specific “pit bull” law to deal with the fact that pit bulls have a greater tendency to maul people/children than other breeds.

Here’s the crux: do we really care about what breed caused the damage? Why not just legislate “if you have a pet and it harms someone, you are responsible”?

Same goes here. Why do we care that these are Muslim extremists? What if we determined the attackers weren’t actually Muslim, but were some splinter religion that mainstream Muslims are distancing themselves from? And who gets to decide if they are “real” Muslims or not?

And ultimately, who really cares? Some sociopaths killed a dozen people. Let’s punish them for that and not get into trying to legislating away the crazy by conflating it with other traits. Even if—and this is just a hypothetical—there was a .99 correlation between Muslim and terrorist, it still would be a shitty law because it would wrongly implicate innocent people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

This is absolutely correct. Monitoring Muslims would not have prevented the Oklahoma City bombing, or the Atlanta Olympics Bombing, or the Unabomber. Just in 2014, it wouldn’t have caught the terrorist in Austin, or the ones in Vegas, or the one in Kansas.

I do think that the government has a vested interest in preventing further terrorist attacks. The problem is that most of the things that could actually ameliorate the situation are politically unfeasible. Public mental health care would be a good start, as would stricter gun control laws. There’s no way those policies could ever be enacted, so we’re stuck with a never-ending string of tragedies followed by the government doubling down on its ineffective policies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

…mainstream Muslims are distancing themselves…

When the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina publicly condemns these actions, and the mainstream media publishes such condemnations, then I will believe that. Maybe ordinary Muslim citizens are distancing themselves, but what’s needed are the political and religious leadership to cast these folks out, and do so publicly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

but what’s needed are the political and religious leadership to cast these folks out, and do so publicly.

Difficult for them to do when the Quran contains many verses that can be used to justify such attacks. Mainstream Muslim opinion in the west is somewhat different from what you will find in countries where Islam is the majority religion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

When the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina publicly condemns these actions,

You mean the king of Saudia Arabia?

and the mainstream media publishes such condemnations

From the Guardian, 7 January:

Saudi Arabia called it a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”.

Good enough for you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

Tangentially related, a lot of people don’t seem to realize that saying “Muslims” is the same is saying “Christians”, or “Catholics”.

Sunni and Shia may be the two most popular by far, but that’s hardly the end of it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_schools_and_branches

So by “mapping” muslims for the actions of terrorists, you could easily be doing the equivalent of “mapping” a bunch of Roman Catholics for the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church. Or for the actions of the Irish Republican Army during the Troubles.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

Same goes here. Why do we care that these are Muslim extremists?

You mean as opposed to all the Christian extremists who are bombing schools? And all the Jewish extremists who are beheading people? Or the Buddist extremists who are crashing planes into buildings? Oh wait…

And ultimately, who really cares?

People who are grounded in reality. The inconvenient truth that nobody wants to acknowledge for fear of being called racist is that Islam breeds more fanatics than any other religion in the world. While not every Muslim is a terrorist, the entire Middle East is full of “peaceful” Muslims who would be screaming for your head if you were to utter a single disparaging word about Islam. Seriously, insulting Islam is a capital crime in some Middle East countries.

Even in countries like the U.S., insulting Islam would probably get you killed. You can walk into any church in the U.S. while a service is in session and yell “Jesus was a pedophile!” and you’ll get yelled at and told to leave. Walk into a mosque during prayers and yell “Muhammad was a pedophile!” and you probably won’t make it out alive. Even if you do, you’re likely to get your throat cut a couple days later when one of the peace-loving Muslims tracks you down to deliver holy justice to your infidel ass.

If such attitudes were confined to the Middle East, nobody would care, but they’re not. They’re spreading to other countries like a cancer. When Muslims immigrate to a country, most don’t assimilate. They want all the benefits of living in that country while still imposing their values and their way of life on others.

See, “tolerance” when used in relation to Muslims means you have to respect everything about Islam and walk on eggshells lest you offend them, but they don’t have to respect anyone else’s culture or customs, like having freedom of speech or freedom of expression.

Frankly, I don’t give a shit if they want to spend half the day kneeling on a prayer rug observing some archaic ritual. What I do care about is when my way of life is being impacted because a large portion of the Middle East is practically a fanatic factory, turning out bat-shit crazy extremists at an alarming rate and nobody wants to acknowledge the problem because it wouldn’t be politically correct.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Laws must punish ends, not means

Even in countries like the U.S., insulting Islam would probably get you killed. You can walk into any church in the U.S. while a service is in session and yell “Jesus was a pedophile!” and you’ll get yelled at and told to leave. Walk into a mosque during prayers and yell “Muhammad was a pedophile!” and you probably won’t make it out alive. Even if you do, you’re likely to get your throat cut a couple days later when one of the peace-loving Muslims tracks you down to deliver holy justice to your infidel ass.

The funny thing about this is that The Great Prophet PBUH did actually marry a 12 year old girl…

Anonymous Coward says:

A small statistics, for comparison

8 days into 2015, Baltimore has been the location of 5 homicides. At that rate, it will easily pass 12 by the end of January.

But of course those won’t happen all at once. And most of the victims will be unrelated. And the perpetrators won’t be ZOMG MUSLIM TERRORISTS!

Yet I don’t see anyone suggesting that we should dismantle the Constitution in order to stop what appears at this point to be close-to-inevitable.

Only cowards would suggest such a thing. Only traitors would suggest such a thing. Only exploitive, manipulative, greedy assholes who want to profit from mass surveillance would suggest such a thing.

justme says:

Don't forget. .

J. Edgar Hover kept his job, solely because president’s feared what his private files might contain. So how easy will it be coerce politician’s with a database that contains everything?

If this can’t be stopped in the court’s, they will eventually create the domestic terrorists(freedom fighters) that they so fear. Fear and Anger, should never guide your actions!

Anonymous Coward says:

Since the US is currently in a state of never ending war against terrorism. They can pretty much do whatever the hell they want, they just have to think up a way of justifying it so their populace doesn’t revolt all at once.

Why Snowden is such a threat to them, he woke people up to what their “elected” leaders are doing to them from behind the curtain

techflaws (profile) says:

If you don’t recall, this effort was recently disbanded after multiple reports noted that it was completely useless, with not a single useful piece of evidence coming out of the entire program.

They already hedged their bet cause they know it wouldn’t work anyway:

The program was designed to provide exactly the kind of intelligence that would have been useful to police in Paris once they identified their three suspects

Anonymous Coward says:

Gun control


The problem is that most of the things that could actually
ameliorate the situation are politically unfeasible. Public mental health care would be a good start, as would stricter gun control laws.

Oh no, gun control does not work.

In a society where law abiding people are denied arms, only criminals and the (ineffective and corrupt) police have arms.

Note that France like the UK have succeeded in disarming the population, and that only the police is supposed to be armed.

Look how well it got in France.

Anonymous Coward says:


Which is why an over the top response is the worse possible response, creating fear in the Muslim community will only create more terrorists. 

Sure and other religious communities are killing cartoonists for the same reason.

No they aren’t, only Muslims are doing that.

And the reason for that is very simple: The so-called prophet of Islam ordered the killing of poets ridiculing his message.


Saudi Arabia called it a “cowardly terrorist attack that was rejected by the true Islamic religion”.


Good enough for you? 

Saudi Arabia is the source of the whahaabist ideology which endorses murdering of people critizizing
Islam.

Saudi Arabia is one of the Muslim nations officially mandating death for apostasy from Islam.

All this is a matter of public record.

jim says:

police state

Everyone should stop, and demand our money back from the police state failure. The police state is already here. They failed again. They failed to stop the bad guys, therefore they allowed them to do the bidding of a “master”. So they are not working for the worlds taxpayers, but some ” master” who must be called mamon, like the old and new testament proclaim, the old god of greed.

John Kirkman says:

Useful Idiots

Every minute that the American people do not step forward and voice their rejection of these so called government intelligence gathering tactics is a minute longer that they remain useful idiots. These abuses of our civil liberties and violations or our privacy cannot be stopped until it is made clear to our leaders that they will no be stood for! God bless you all!

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