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It's kind of a curious notion...
Yes, I understand. Free speech and all that.
But we have laws against some kinds of speech.
"Shouting fire in a crowded theatre"
Libellous and defamatory language.
Sharing state secrets.
Conspiracy to commit a crime.

And yes... inciting a riot.

And well, there was this war we had. Apparently still have.
Against terror. Well, it wasn't really a war except on the business end
because we didn't want to treat captives
with the due process of being P.O.W.s.

No, we wanted to put them in cages and
Make them listen to Barney for hours
whether they were kids or not,
and waterboard them and shock their genitals,
sic dogs on them, threaten them with rape and death....
All those things you can't do to a P.O.W.
So we called them "Illegal combatants,"
So we could have our war-cake and eat it, too.

Sometimes you could become an illegal combatant
simply by inciting violence against us,
and sometimes, we'd send you to Syria or Libya
to be really good and properly tortured
even though sometimes we got your name wrong.
Sorry about that, and please forget
that we were being friendly with Bashar and Muhamar
when they were useful. We're trying to fix that.

So, I wonder. Can you hold people responsible
for inciting a riot in another country?
It's a pretty open-and-shut case, where they've
admitted to intentionally trying to provoke violence
to prove their point.

I suppose an extradition request could be made
through Interpol. But I think there's precedent
and legal frameworks established during Dubya's term
for simply whisking into their houses
in the middle of the night and flying them
in a straight-jacket and hood to an undisclosed location
to be tortured for years until they reveal
names of all the fundamentalist militants they know,
and the attacks they were planning.

After all, what's sauce for the gander
Is sauce for the goose, isn't it?

Or do you really think that brown people
with beards and hijabs
don't deserve the same degree of justice?


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
Very, very full of food for thought, and brings up everything I hate most about the timeline we lurched onto after 9-11, and I want to respond, but first I want to finish reading the thing you sent me yesterday. I didn't get a chance to respond because I was away all afternoon, and then I spend all my time answering LJ comments when I got back (very grateful for all those comments).

So: back shortly...
Sep. 15th, 2012 10:52 am (UTC)
The anger at American actions: torture, shipping people offshore for torture, that sickening stuff--this, I totally get.

But I'm not sure about your linking that constellation of stuff--evil actions of a government--with issues of responsibility for speech and reactions to speech. The people who made the hateful video were out to make trouble, and have been successful, but they're not the origins of American policy on torture and extraordinary rendition, except in the most broad sense that we're a society that produced both.

I haven't decided where I think the limits of free speech should be drawn--and in a way, it doesn't matter what I as an individual or even we as a polity decide, because what we decide doesn't dictate what other people (meaning: other people in other countries) are going to decide.

I think it's a tricky thing, though. I haven't seen the film, and I never saw the Danish cartoon, back in the day. I'll assume for the sake of argument that they're horrible and patently offensive. But what do we do about things like The Satanic Verses (which I also haven't read)? And what about things like Zombie Jesus icons on LJ? I think they're pretty funny, but I imagine they are pretty upsetting to some people. But. . . how do we draw the lines? Not a rhetorical question. I really wonder.

Edited at 2012-09-15 02:54 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
Yes. I AM being tongue-in-cheek here. It's a little like what Cara Sposa is facing. No, I'm not advocating this action in any way, but making a satire out of it.

No, it's just the discrepancy I was pointing out in my usual snarky fashion. Whose law gets enforced and where is a big issue. The so-called war on terror justified things like kidnapping and illegal detention with no legal precedent. Now that that genie is out of the bottle, why is it that it can't be turned around. Why can't Cairo or Islamabad, for instance, make the same justification for kidnapping and illegally detaining such turdful people as Rev. Jones?

The U.S. and some of its closest allies have a long history of turning on or off their observance of international law based on whether it suits their political agenda or not. It's a part of privilege to think that your outrageous violations of international law are justified, but when the tables are turned, it's somehow absurd and barbaric.
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Now that that genie is out of the bottle, why is it that it can't be turned around. Why can't Cairo or Islamabad, for instance, make the same justification for kidnapping and illegally detaining such turdful people as Rev. Jones?

Oh completely!
Sep. 15th, 2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
FWIW, I don't know that the government will be able to prosecute the guy for 1st Ammendment reasons...

....but I have my fingers crossed that the Jewish Anti-Defamation League will go after him for slander (or libel) for his claim that he was from Israel and that 50 Jews paid 1Million each to fund his hateful little film.

ETA: I checked...the claim was actually that 100 Jews paid a total of 5 million. Sorry about getting those wrong.

Edited at 2012-09-15 05:15 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2012 02:05 pm (UTC)
It just boggles the mind that people think they can get away with claims like that. But then again, it boggles the mind that people think like these guys in the first place, so scratch that thought.
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:44 am (UTC)
And no, I didn't think you were advocating this; I understand it's just rage over the hypocrisy of American policy. It's just that the issue of what the American government does in its foreign policy seems a different kettle of fish from our cultural norms on free speech and where we put the limits--even if those two kettles are bubbling on the same stovetop--with very poorly sorted lentils.
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:49 am (UTC)
One thing that occurred to me this morning, whilst taking my spleen out for an early morning venting, was how Islam was really one of the first Globalization movements. The emphasis on equality, universal applicability, submission to the law, not the King.

A lot of people shy away from the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric, but I think there's something there. It's two kinds of globalization vying for legal domination. One via trade agreements and property laws derived and re-interpreted via treaties and courts/parliamentary assemblies, one on complicated traditional laws derived and re-interpreted from a long sacred poem.

Perhaps, from the perspective of seeing our own planet as alien, the science-fiction qualities show more lucidly.
Sep. 15th, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
Perhaps, from the perspective of seeing our own planet as alien, the science-fiction qualities show more lucidly.

I've often thought this.

And I absolutely agree with your characterization of the two civilizations; it's one of the pithiest and accurate statements out there.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )