Reason's Hit and Run blog has excerpted a number of calls for the criminalization of the freedom of speech and the press in various newspaper editorials. Within the government, the Department of Homeland Security bureaucracy has, once again, revealed itself as the avant-garde in the movement to curtail such fundamental rights and liberties. The self-styled "Independent Democrat," Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, has successfully pressured Amazon.com to cease hosting any portion of the Wikileaks website. Glenn Greenwald writes:
That Joe Lieberman is abusing his position as Homeland Security Chairman to thuggishly dictate to private companies which websites they should and should not host -- and, more important, what you can and cannot read on the Internet -- is one of the most pernicious acts by a U.S. Senator in quite some time.Lieberman's act follows on the heels of calls to have Wikileaks labeled a "foreign terrorist organization" by his counterpart in the House, Rep. Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, as noted here the other day. Of course, given the Orwellian character of the national security state, perhaps this is only to be expected from officials within the DHS bureaucracy. The agency's motto is "Preserving Our Freedoms, Protecting America," after all.
In defense of DHS policy – as we saw, for instance, in the debate over the DHS/TSA's controversial attacks on the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution –, apologists of the national security police state are often quick to argue that we must "strike the right balance" between liberty and security. Yet, all-too-often, "striking the right balance" has come to mean giving up rights and liberties in the name of security (theater). Radley Balko writes at Reason:
Janet Napolitano said last month that we should expect to soon see tighter restrictions at bus, train, and marine transportation centers, too. Here's a report about TSA, Border Patrol, and local police setting up a checkpoint at a Greyhound station in Tampa. Note how quickly preventing a possible terrorist attack expands to include catching illegal immigrants, and preventing drug and what sounds like "cash smuggling." (It's hard to tell from the audio.) Note also the complete and utter reverence the local news report bestows on these government agencies, who after all are merely "teaming up to keep your family safe." . . . It's not difficult to envision the day where anyone wishing to take mass transportation in this country will have to first submit to a government checkpoint