Making Greenwald's point for him
by David Atkins
I'm admittedly less concerned about civil liberties issues than I am about broader economics and climate change, and my view of civil liberties issues tend to be tinged with the idea that there should be a system in place whereby exposure of government overreach can happen without legally endangering whistleblowers. I also take an extremely dim view of libertarianism.
But I want to reinforce a point that Digby made yesterday: Greenwald's partner was detained on a terrorism statue. Terrorism.
If there's one overarching theme to the post-Patriot Act civil libertarian argument, it's that in the pants-wetting national reaction to the 9/11 attacks, the insane amount of authority the government has been given to secretly surveil and interfere with the lives of citizens is being used for far less defensible or frankly indefensible purposes. The potential for abuse of unlimited surveillance power is radically high, and the danger of a totalitarian society is quite strong when just about any abuse of power the government conducts is justified by "terrorism."
I've had my issues with Greenwald. But I don't care if you believe that Greenwald and Snowden are the embodiments of the Anti-Christ. I don't care what documents Greenwald's spouse was carrying, how classified they were, or whether you believe that Greenwald is a journalist. I don't care.
When a government detains someone who is very clearly not a terrorist for nine hours without access to an attorney under a terrorism statute, that government has proven every point Greenwald wanted to make. The argument is over right there.
And every "progressive" with a beef against Greenwald who attempts to defend the UK's actions does nothing more than prove Greenwald's point. Governments that detain civil libertarian bloggers and journalists as terrorists deserve every heaping of scorn they get, as do those who defend them.