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May 2007
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Ubiquitous government

This comment from kaptinemo is worth repeating:

The goal was never to do the impossible, namely, eliminate illicit drugs from urban populations. The goal very simply was to gradually acclimate citizens to increased inroads into their civil liberties, numbing them to the ‘turn-o’-the-screw’ approach to the inevitable tyranny. The effectiveness of this approach is proven by the very distorted view provided by Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr.’s statement. He just can’t see that we are, for all intent and purposes, operating under martial law when there’s daily trampling upon the 4th Amendment courtesy of the DrugWar. Because it hasn’t bitten him on the arse yet, he thinks it can’t and therefore won’t.
For drug law reformers, who are in essence the ‘canaries in the mineshaft’ regarding civil liberties, we knew the country was in dire straits looooong before the Leftist blogosphere discovered the peril in having such niceties like habeas corpus suspended. We witnessed the long, slow slide into the pit, but no one wanted to hear about it from (dismissive sneer) ‘druggies’. We saw what was coming, warned about it, and were laughed at as being drug-addled alarmists…and we are being ignored, still, despite what we had warned about previously manifesting into reality. Being a modern day Cassandra is no less painful now as it was way back when…

I think this is an extraordinarily powerful comment. We have long been aware that the drug war is much more than drugs — it is a particularly useful tool of authoritarianism.
And the sad thing is that so much of the population eagerly invites it, looking for that fraudulently chimerical trade of liberty for security.
So this little bit of news is just par for the course…

Mexico is expanding its ability to tap telephone calls and e-mail using money from the U.S. government, a move that underlines how the country’s conservative government is increasingly willing to cooperate with the United States on law enforcement.
The expansion comes as President Felipe Calderon is pushing to amend the Mexican Constitution to allow officials to tap phones without a judge’s approval in some cases. Calderon argues that the government needs the authority to combat drug gangs, which have killed hundreds of people this year.

Yes. For the drug war. We can’t afford a Constitution when we have a war to fight. And the authoritarians in Mexico and the U.S. are happy to work together against their citizens to avoid any pesky remaining Constitutional issues.

It’s unclear how broad a net the new surveillance system will cast: Mexicans speak regularly by phone, for example, with millions of relatives living in the U.S. Those conversations appear to be fair game for both governments.
Legal experts say that prosecutors with access to Mexican wiretaps could use the information in U.S. courts. U.S. Supreme Court decisions have held that 4th Amendment protections against illegal wiretaps do not apply outside the United States, particularly if the surveillance is conducted by another country, Georgetown University law professor David Cole said.

Did you catch that? The U.S. gives money to Mexico to spy on its citizens and U.S. citizens as well. If Calderon gets his way, that will be without any Mexican judicial oversight. The results of that spying could then be given to U.S. prosecutors to use without any U.S. Constitutional protection, because it was another country that conducted the surveillance.
The air in the mineshaft just got a little more foul.

[Via Corrente]

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