Thursday, December 27, 2007

Every Tool is a Weapon if you Hold it Right

Ani DiFranco sung those words. Wes Enzinna from the Nation Magazine, who interviewed me and others from Tacoma Port Militarization Resistance, used Ani DiFranco's lyrics to point out the power of YouTube as a tool in the fight against imperialist wars and exposing counter-protest measures taken by powerful governments dedicated to eradicative, anti-opposition tactics.

Ezinna recently wrote an article about a Patriot Act look-alike in El Salvador. The new law

"establishes a special terrorism tribunal and allows for anonymous witnesses and undercover agents to participate in those trials. It also criminalizes acts such as public protests, street blockades and "publicly justifying terrorism" with punishments of up to eighty years in prison."

El Salvador, a War on Terror ally, is giving a glimpse into the new counter-terrorism and anti-radicalization process. Human Rights Watch outlines a number of misuses of the counter-terrorism law against protesters. A number of people who have been blacklisted under the new law have fled. Journalists have been arrested as well. (Journalism is a weapon if you hold it right too.) No doubt the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act and bills like it are used as political weapons everywhere. The Bush and Saca Administration in El Salvador have close ties. The Nation Magazine writes,

"El Salvador is the only Latin American country with troops still in Iraq and was the first to sign the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The country receives $461 million over five years in US aid through the Millennium Challenge Corporation and is home to the controversial US-run International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in San Salvador."

Still, the US does not condemn the use of counter-terrorism laws in El Salvador. Douglas Barclay, the US Ambassador to El Salvador, said that "whatever step a government takes against terrorism is an appropriate step." Last January Barclay was also urging the Salvadoran government to increase the use of wiretapping, increase police wages, and to introduce a "security tax".

It isn't difficult to see where a lot of El Salvador's legal advice comes from, since most of El Salvador's laws are modeled after US laws. And if US ambassadors are suggesting the police-state solution to its allies, it isn't difficult to see what the US would like to see done with its own radicals. The internet is a weapon if you hold it right also, and this is why the internet is the focal point in bills like HR 1955. YouTube is a weapon, and even free speech is a weapon if you hold it right too.

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