Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hitchens joins authors to challenge NSA wiretap

From the Guardian:
"The British writer Christopher Hitchens, one of the most reliable allies of the US administration's conduct of the war on terror, has joined a lawsuit seeking a ban on a domestic spy programme authorised by President George Bush.

In two lawsuits filed separately yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union in Detroit and the Centre for Constitutional Rights in New York City, the National Security Agency is accused of violating the constitution by eavesdropping on people without court oversight.

They represent the first legal challenge to the surveillance programme, which has outraged members of Congress and led to charges that Mr Bush has overstepped his authority as president.

In the ACLU suit, Hitchens joins other writers, Greenpeace and the Council on American-Islamic Relations in seeking an immediate end to the wiretaps, saying they violate constitutional rights to privacy and free speech.
(...)
Hitchens and the other plaintiffs said they feared their email and telephone calls were monitored, compromising their contacts in the Middle East. "People will say it's wartime and we have a deadly enemy, and I agree with that. I was in favour of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan very strongly, but it is even more important in such a time that we don't give away power to the unaccountable agencies that helped get us into this in the first place," Hitchens told the Guardian. "It is extremely important we know what the rules are and there has to be a line drawn. You mustn't turn emergency or panic measures into custom or practice."
Brothers and sisters, friends and comrades - it's been a very very very silly ding-dong we've had in the blogosphere with regards to the antics and pronouncements of our respective anti and prowar 'dudes' but can we now all declare a winner and be done with all this shit? On aesthetic grounds at least?

If one can once again try and recapture the spirit of intellectual seriousness that we've all maintained in the last eighteen months or so in one's words because the results are now in: our dude is way cooler than your dude. Like, totally. Our's is suing the US government on libertarian grounds. Publicity stunt? He's a flawed character so he's perfectly capable of such a thing just to piss people off - especially to piss people off - but in this case there's absolutely no reason to think so.

Yours, on the other hand, is being observed by millions losing his damn mind on what an old friend of mine described with a phrase I'll never forget: colosseum TV.

Childish, I know - but the whole damn thing was childish, so are we done with this now? I for one don't blame anybody for forgetting JM Barrie's aphorism: "There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make." He said that before the invention of reality TV, of course.

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