In January 2015, following the Paris Charlie Hebdo attacks, I wrote a column headlined “Following Paris, Police States Grow as Economies Shrink”. I pointed out that those attacks:
Ten months later, I wrote the column “Paris Attacks II = Police States Growth II”. I emphasized that, with the tragic, highly publicized November Paris attacks, we again saw the increased efforts to grow police/military states as the global economy continued to dissolve.
Now, with the recent Brussels attacks, Hillary Clinton has joined the Police State parade, calling for increases in surveillance and police to fight terrorism. On Tuesday, March 22, in a TV interview on CNN, she said:
We have to toughen our surveillance, our interception of communication…We have to also toughen, as you say, ‘soft targets,’ with greater police presence — there is no getting around that.
The most worrisome thing about Clinton’s pronouncement: its generality. Standing on its own, surveillance and police presence to protect Americans sound sterling. But what Clinton is specifically doing is continuing the effort in the U.S. to put all Americans under more surveillance and to increase police-state powers.
With her very general statement, does it mean she agrees with Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler? Last November, he called for expanding wiretapping laws to combat the likes of the Paris attacks. Privacy advocates opposed the idea, calling it a radical departure from legal precedent.
Does her desire for more surveillance go beyond the new censoring-surveillance law, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA)? Congress stuffed through its fourth attempt at the legislation last year by quietly slipping it into the omnibus budget bill, which President Obama signed.
Then let’s ask: what is Clinton’s view of the massive surveillance and police powers already present in America? I covered most of these in my columns “July 4: Our Independence Versus Today’s Emergency Powers” and “None’s Well That’s Orwell”.
You might, unfortunately, expect Republican presidential candidates like Ted Cruz to play on Americans’ fears immediately after the Brussels attack with a fascist proposal such as his call to begin surveillance of all Muslims in the U.S. And you might expect Clinton to criticize such a proposal, which she did.
[pullquote align=”left” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Clinton is playing on fears.[/pullquote]
But Clinton has experienced Washington politics up close in the White House, Senate and the State Department, and has seen the years of increased surveillance unfold. As a potential president, you’d think she’d push to protect human rights and the Constitution rather than play on fears by proposing more police-state generalities.
How did her opponent Bernie Sanders respond to the Brussels bombings? He issued a statement calling the attacks “another cowardly attempt to terrorize innocent civilians…Today’s attack is a brutal reminder that the international community must come together to destroy ISIS. This type of barbarism cannot be allowed to continue.”
That, too, is pretty general. But at least it calls for uniting the international community, rather than ramping up more surveillance and police power.