To prison guards, airport security, police officers, intelligence agencies, immigration officials, military recon squads, or any school's vice principal, everyone is under suspicion. And the mistrust goes both ways.
It's a fact of life these days.
In response to recent announcements that Apple and Google have built into their new cell phones a default encryption that the companies themselves cannot decode, FBIDirector James Comey and GCHQ head Robert Hannigan have expressed concern that important information will not be available and called for public debate on terrorism and technology. It is disappointing, if not surprising, that they see a need for public debate only when new technologies may impair their ability to monitor us, and not when such technologies enhance their monitoring. A public debate is needed, but it cannot proceed without the kind of transparency that thus far the security agencies have obdurately resisted.
Of course, transparency has costs as well as benefits, and secrecy is sometimes necessary. But secrecy has significant costs, too—not just to human rights, but to democracy itself. As US Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith warned in 2002, in a case involving secret immigration trials, “Democracy dies behind closed doors.” We won’t have a chance to arrive at defensible policies on surveillance and targeted killing if the questions are not fully and fairly debated. When the balance between individual rights and security is struck in secret one-sided determination, as has been the case with both drone killing and electronic surveillance, as well as the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program, it will inevitably be skewed.
Increasingly, our governments seem to be insisting that our lives be transparent to them, while their policies remain hidden from us. For the sake of democracy itself, we must do all we can to resist that impulse.
—December 10, 2014
(The New York Review of Books, Must Counterterrorism Cancel Democracy? By David Cole, JANUARY 8, 2015 ISSUE ) http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2015/jan/08/must-counterterrorism-cancel-democracy/?insrc=hpmaProtection and security are vast obsessions of contemporary protectors and law enforcement. And now, with the political distribution of a particularly monied and elite ideology in place in Washington DC, it appears a new suspected class will be under greater scrutiny -- the poor, the middle class, and intelligent opposition to the unregulated use of power and money. A new set of battles will emerge, political and cultural. Most likely, militarized force will threaten to completely replace our moribund ability to converse, debate, disagree, and work out compromises.
We are going, in the words of the poet, into madness, "nobility of soul at odds with circumstance."
At least, thank goodness, there are poets:
(--Theodore Roethke, “In a Dark Time” from Collected Poems of Theodore Roethke, c.1963)
In a Dark Time
In a dark time, the eye begins to see,I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;I hear my echo in the echoing wood—A lord of nature weeping to a tree.I live between the heron and the wren,Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.
What’s madness but nobility of soulAt odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire!I know the purity of pure despair,My shadow pinned against a sweating wall.That place among the rocks—is it a cave,Or winding path? The edge is what I have.
A steady storm of correspondences!A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,And in broad day the midnight come again!A man goes far to find out what he is—Death of the self in a long, tearless night,All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.
Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.The mind enters itself, and God the mind,And one is One, free in the tearing wind.