It is sweet to see the liberals at Salon Magazine to attack an Obama booster like Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the way he demands everyone be accountable to him, but is offended at the idea of “his people” being accountable to anyone else.
In his article, “Suddenly, NYPD doesn’t love surveillance anymore,” David Sirota sets out the rationale for Police State watchfulness:
“The Big Brother theory of surveillance goes something like this: pervasive snooping and monitoring shouldn’t frighten innocent people, it should only make lawbreakers nervous because they are the only ones with something to hide. Those who subscribe to this theory additionally argue that the widespread awareness of such surveillance creates a permanent preemptive deterrent to such lawbreaking ever happening in the first place.”
If that is the case, points out Sirota, then we should advocate a system that allows for watching the police to make sure they are not committing crimes. By the logic of surveillance this will keep them honest. In fact there is a movement in New York City to get the police monitored (just as other cities monitor their police departments) since the NYPD are now operating as a self-styled “army” that is stopping and frisking people without warrants or probable cause.
“To appreciate the rank hypocrisy of Bloomberg and [Police Commissioner Raymond] Kelly opposing the creation of an independent police monitor, remember that they are two of the faces of the modern American Police State — and two of the biggest proponents of 24/7 monitoring of citizens.”
By their own logic, the fact that Bloomberg violently opposes monitoring his enforcers means that they are not innocent of wrongdoing—they must have something to hide. But Bloomberg is not moved by this. He does not believe his logic for the general populace is the same logic that should be used for his enforcers.
And Bloomberg’s hypocrisy is found everywhere. It is found in all the states where municipalities put up traffic cameras and install electronic eavesdropping on public transportation while at the same time attempting to criminalize and jail anyone who records what cops do in public on their cell phones. It is found in DHS’s push to use drones to spy on the nation while Janet Napolitano refuses to answer questions from Congress about the agency’s massive stockpiling of ammunition.
What is especially valuable about Sirota’s attack on Bloomberg is that it points out not just the hypocrisy of our “leaders,” but the intrinsic lie about the “security state.” Two things have changed together in our system since 9/11: Increased government surveillance (especially warrantless surveillance) and increased government secrecy. Obama not only changed his mind about rolling back the Patriot Act, but he has presided over the unprecedented punishments and persecutions of whistle-blowers. This is not a coincidence.
There seems to be a socio-political law or mathematical constant that determines that the more privacy the government takes from the citizenry the more secrecy it gives to itself. Ultimately, the security state means a hidden “officer” who you can’t see because he is watching you from behind a one-way mirror.
The state achieves “security” by making us feel naked and insecure.