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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Homeland Security: The Untold Story
David Goldschmidt on Tue, 2 Oct 2001 03:57:50 +0200 (CEST)


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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Homeland Security: The Untold Story


thanks kermit for the great email ... should we fear bin laden or ourselves.
honestly, sometimes its like the blind leading the dumb (or is it the dumb
leading the blind?).  and just a few minutes ago i was feeling soooooo
optimistic.

david goldschmidt

----- Original Message -----
From: "Kermit Snelson" <ksnelson {AT} subjectivity.com>
To: <nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net>
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2001 8:05 PM
Subject: <nettime> Homeland Security: The Untold Story


> Early this year, a commission chaired by former US senators Warren Rudman
> and Gary Hart presented to the US Congress a report entitled "Road Map for
> National Security: Imperative for Change."  This commission, the US
> Commission on National Security/ 21st Century, was chartered by Congress
to
> produce "the most comprehensive examination of the structures and
processes
> of the U.S. national security apparatus since the core legislation
governing
> it was passed in 1947."  Here's a passage from that report, presented to
> Congress several months before the WTC attacks:
>
>     "The combination of unconventional weapons proliferation with the
> persistence of international terrorism will end the relative
invulnerability
> of the U.S. homeland to catastrophic attack. To deter attack against the
> homeland in the 21st century, the United States requires a new triad of
> prevention, protection, and response. Failure to prevent mass-casualty
> attacks against the American homeland will jeopardize not only American
> lives but U.S. foreign policy writ large. It would undermine support for
> U.S. international leadership and for many of our personal freedoms, as
> well. Indeed, the abrupt undermining of U.S. power and prestige is the
worst
> thing that could happen to the structure of global peace in the next
quarter
> century, and nothing is more likely to produce it than devastating attacks
> on American soil."
>
> The report also includes a sophisticated analysis of how recent
> technological developments require a radical revision of 20th-century
> military doctrine:
>
>     "In the Internet age, for example, information technologies may be
used
> to empower communities and advance freedoms, but they can also empower
> political movements led by charismatic leaders with irrational premises.
> Such men and women in the 21st century will be less bound than those of
the
> 20th by the limits of the state, and less obliged to gain large industrial
> capabilities in order to wreck [sic] havoc. For example, a few people with
> as little as a $50,000 investment may manage to produce and spread a
> genetically-altered pathogen with the potential to kill millions of people
> in a matter of months. Clearly, the threshold for small groups or even
> individuals to inflict massive damage on those they take to be their
enemies
> is falling dramatically."
>
> The report then proposes solutions that go far beyond a simple
> reorganization of the Coast Guard and Border Patrol.  The report outlines,
> in effect, a new vision of national security based on protecting, not
> weakening, parliaments and civil liberties:
>
>     "Congress is crucial, as well, for guaranteeing that homeland security
> is achieved within a framework of law that protects the civil liberties
and
> privacy of American citizens. We are confident that the U.S. government
can
> enhance national security without compromising established Constitutional
> principles. But in order to guarantee this, we must plan ahead. In a major
> attack involving contagious biological agents, for example, citizen
> cooperation with government authorities will depend on public confidence
> that those authorities can manage the emergency. If that confidence is
> lacking, panic and disorder could lead to insistent demands for the
> temporary suspension of some civil liberties. That is why preparing for
the
> worst is essential to protecting individual freedoms during a national
> crisis."
>
> It also calls for a defense of the nation-state against the vision of
> "Globalism Triumphant:"
>
>     "But the Globalism Triumphant scenario divides opinion, partly because
> it is the hardest to envision, and partly because it functions as a
template
> for the projection of conflicting political views.  Some observers, for
> example, believe that the end of the nation-state is upon us, and that
this
> is a good thing, for, in this view, nationalism is the root of racism and
> militarism. The eclipse of the national territorial state is at any rate,
> some argue, an inevitable development given the very nature of an
> increasingly integrated world."
>
>     "We demur. To the extent that a more integrated world economically is
> the best way to raise people out of poverty and disease, we applaud it. We
> also recognize the need for unprecedented international cooperation on a
> range of transnational problems. But the state is the only venue
discovered
> so far in which democratic principles and processes can play out reliably,
> and not all forms of nationalism have been or need be illiberal. We
> therefore affirm the value of American sovereignty as well as the
political
> and cultural diversity ensured by the present state system. Within that
> system the United States must live by and be ready to share its political
> values-but it must remember that those values include tolerance for those
> who hold different views."
>
> The full text of the Hart-Rudman report is available at the US House of
> Representatives Web site at:
>
http://www.house.gov/reform/ns/107th_testimony/road_map_for_national_securit
> y.htm.)
>
> The response of the US media to these authoritative, profound and shocking
> statements by a distinguished commission given a charter of historic
scope?
> Nothing.  They went entirely unreported. On September 13, Arianna
Huffington
> wrote in Salon.com: "At the time the report came out, the media were too
> busy ferreting out the latest info on the supposed defacing of the White
> House by Gore loyalists and, later, on Gary Condit, over-age Little
Leaguers
> and shark attacks ... But after Sept. 11, it seems fair to say that the
real
> danger to Americans isn't shark attacks. And the sad fact is that the
media
> should have known what the real danger was -- and should have told us ...
In
> our modern, information-drenched times, the power of the media has
increased
> as dramatically as the number of people wielding that power has shrunk. We
> are at their mercy. They set the agenda, they decide what we as a nation
> should be concentrating on. The First Amendment wasn't intended as a
license
> to make billions. It was there to guarantee that the people stay informed.
> And when the media fail at this job, we all suffer."
> (http://www.salon.com/news/col/huff/2001/09/13/media/index.html)
>
> Kermit Snelson
>
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