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Is the West Building Its Own Iron Curtain? 337

New submitter pefisher writes "The British are apparently admitting that they track their citizens as they travel the world (through information provided by intelligence agencies) and are arresting them if they have been somewhere that frightens them. 'Sir Peter, who leads the Association of Chief Police Officer's "Prevent" strategy on counter-terrorism, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that those returning from Syria "may well be charged and investigated, but they will be put into our programmes".' The program seems to consist of being spied on by the returnee's cooperative neighbors."
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Is the West Building Its Own Iron Curtain?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 26, 2014 @07:46PM (#46076221)

    Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said "The objections to despotism and monopoly are fundamental in human nature. They rest upon the innate and ineradicable selfishness of man. They rest upon the fact that absolute power inevitably leads to abuse."

    Look at what happened to people's politicians like Tony Blair and Obama, or government goons like Clapper and Alexander who defile the Constitution and flip us the bird. History as far back as we know it shows absolute power is always abused, to the point now where politicians and government workers are never held to account. The answer is to roll back government to the bare minimum necessary: I have no need to be led. People have to stop letting those who abuse power off the hook so easily and to punish those who violate our rights severely and decisively with impeachment.

  • by Aighearach ( 97333 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @08:26PM (#46076471) Homepage

    The US is not "first and foremost," the UK has 100% information sharing with the US. We are fully and entirely the same team in this.

  • NSA Youth (Score:2, Interesting)

    by o_ferguson ( 836655 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @08:45PM (#46076597)
    Already a thing: []
  • Re:Iron curtain? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by greenbird ( 859670 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @09:05PM (#46076745)

    The notion of this being an Iron Curtain is a bit silly IMHO.

    You're right. What they're doing is far more oppressive and effective than anything the creators of the Iron Curtain ever dreamed of.

    However every country on Earth has laws against their citizens defecting to the enemy, and serving as enemy combatants.

    Those laws are supposed to be applicable when the country is at war, at least in a country with rule of law. I wasn't aware that Britain was at war with Syria.

    Why should Muslims get a free pass, because it's currently unfashionable to call them out on antisocial and illegal behaviour (under the rubric of "anti racism")?

    So now what you're saying is that "antisocial behaviour" is the equivalent of serving as enemy combatants.

    The Western Democracies are so far down the slippery slope people like you can't even see the top anymore. They've got their propaganda machines cranked up to a level that would leave Goebbels in a highly admirable daze.

    As someone further up posted, your chances of dying from choking on a grape are far higher than dying from a terrorist attack. Yet here you're defending the government monitoring and oppressing a group simple for have what you define as "antisocial behaviour".

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) * on Sunday January 26, 2014 @09:08PM (#46076765) Journal

    The counter argument is that governments have tended to take information they are given and when the right person is in power, or the right sentiment strikes the public, those programs are expanded and distorted beyond their original intent.

    You don't even have to look at surveillance programs to prove this point. My favorite example? The US Census was used to assist in the rounding up of Japanese-Americans for internment. It was also given to General Sherman during the Civil War and helped his Army identify productive areas of the South to destroy during the March to the Sea. Neither usage was condoned by the laws in force at the time the data was collected. The usage to track down Japanese-Americans wasn't even legal at the time and remained secret for decades after the war.

    I get my census form and they get one piece of information: X number of people live here. Race? "Other: American"

  • Re:No (Score:1, Interesting)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @09:24PM (#46076865)

    True.. the US did the dirty work of NATO, so europe could have someone to blame if/when it goes bad. The russians also tried their hands at 'nation building', and failed spectacularly as well.

  • Re:Iron curtain? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Sunday January 26, 2014 @10:32PM (#46077241) Homepage

    Why should Muslims get a free pass, because it's currently unfashionable to call them out on antisocial and illegal behaviour (under the rubric of "anti racism")?

    Because the vast majority Muslims who either enter or leave "the land of milk and honey" are not enemy combatants or terrorists or intending to fight any kind of war. For every genuine terrorist in the Muslim community, there are approximately 250,000 who have nothing to do with it. What you seem to be arguing is that we should oppress 249,999 innocent people in order to catch the 1 bad person.

    My guess is that you don't know any Muslims personally. I've known a few over my life, from a bunch of different areas of the mostly Muslim world (Kurdistan, Bosnia, Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, Pakistan, and home-grown American). They fundamentally want what you want: A nice place to live, a good job, education and opportunities for their children, political freedom, and hope that their lives will be better in a decade. And to think otherwise is simply bigotry.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @03:22AM (#46078433)

    Guilt by association is now okay?

    In a lot of places yes. In my city a librarian with no prior convictions has been locked up with bail refused because she was seen having a drink with a biker.

    It's why authoritarians are incompatible with democracy and the rule of law in general. They think such things as guilt by association is perfectly OK and that someone who is "one of us", as in not one of the plebs but an associate of the ruling party, should also get innocence by association. The best bits of Magna Carta do not make sense to these people - they think there are some that should be above the law and some that should be below it.

  • Re:No (Score:3, Interesting)

    by schnell ( 163007 ) <> on Monday January 27, 2014 @04:02AM (#46078545) Homepage

    The Iron Curtain kept people from escaping from oppressive regimes

    oh you mean like the united states government

    I know I shouldn't feed the trolls, but this just pissed me off way too badly. Whom has the US kept from escaping its regime? The US has had thousands of willing expatriates [] over the years to Communist countries.

    Do you seriously want to draw an equivalency between the NATO (US and European allies) policy on expatriation versus that of the Warsaw Pact countries? Are you utterly ignorant of the Refuseniks []? Do you really dishonor the memory of the Berlin Wall dead [] so badly in the name of your political hatred of the US?

    I grow increasingly ashamed of continuing to read Slashdot, based on the sadly decreasing quality of commenters.

  • Re:No (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dunkelfalke ( 91624 ) on Monday January 27, 2014 @05:17AM (#46078757)

    That particular conflict was just a turf war between two [] rival gangs []. When USA interfered, they took sides for one of the gangs. That caused problems later when this gang invaded a neighbour country [].

    So, it could have been even for the better altogether if US had just stood back - the gangs might have blooded themselves out.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell