June 18, 2014

Christopher Hitchens on mass, warrantless surveillance


In 2006 the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in Detroit against the NSA. They accused the NSA of violating the US constitution by eavesdropping on people without court oversight. The case represented the first legal challenge to the surveillance programme. It sought an immediate end to wiretaps, saying they violate constitutional rights to privacy and free speech. 

The ACLU suit included Christopher Hitchens. He said in a full written statement and published on the ACLU website:
"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. 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."
He also said here, and echoed the bold words above:
"[It is] imperative that we do not take panic or emergency measures in the short term, and then permit them to become institutionalised."
He spoke briefly of the lawsuit in a speech here
"I am currently a plaintiff in a lawsuit brought by the ACLU against the National Security Agency, for doing what it knows how to do, which is bug American citizens instead of doing what it appears not to know how to do which is how to predict terrorist attacks in the United States."
My previous posts on Hitchens on Northern Ireland here, on segregated schools here and on the "parasitic class" here. On Albert Camus and "the rats" here. On Northern Ireland's "barbaric, sectarian leaders" here. His comment that anti-semites are "mentally and morally unwell" here. On Vaclav Havel here. On the US First Amendment here, on the US as an empire and class-based society here, and on how to succeed here. On women and poverty here. On the US Declaration of Independence here. Christopher Hitchens explained that he left the UK in part because of the libel laws, see here. Christopher Hitchens spoke here about the authority of bloggers and online writers (7m30s) (original video in full here). Hitchens on "being bored" as the worst sin here. On why Hitchens is such a compelling writer here. On cliché here. On socialism here. On Iran's "Baby Boomerang", here. On the need to defend the principles of the Enlightenment here. On thought crimes here. On the "encouraging signs of polarisation" here. On feeling "envious of someone who is young and active and starting out" here. Christopher Hitchens on the anti-Columbus movement. On opinion polls here. On the term "political spectrum"here. On Obama's Nobel Peace Prize here. Hitchens on how writing is hard, here. Hitchens on how a writer can never really stop, here. Hitchens explains why he is no longer a socialist, here. On the "some Christians fell into error" excuse here.
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