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.

Filed Under: attack, charlie hebdo, charlie hebdo attack, free speech, metadata, michael hayden, muslim mapping, muslims, ny post, nypd, paris, surveillance


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jan 2015 @ 6:25pm

    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.

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