Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Narco-terrorism: Are We Fighting Terra Next Door?

First a freak storm drove us from our favorite anchorage and back into the slip the other night. Then poor reception led to the the Fox show Cops being the only clear thing on the tube that dark and stormy night. I'd never seen it and was sure I never would again, when a segment caught my eye.

Recently the DEA found several large tunnels leading from Mexico to the United States near Tijuana. These tunnels had standing headroom, lights and ventilation (better than some of the boats I've owned). Who they belong to is still a mystery, but what they had been used for was certain, at least to the officers showing them. They were considered too large and professionally done for human traffickers, traffickers in human beings. These tunnels must be the work of narco-terrorists, dun dun dun.

At first I thought there must be some strange joke I missed having never seen the show before. Then I pondered the cruelty of humans being smuggled in dangerously hot container carriers while drugs received kid glove treatment in first class accommodations. But finally I realized the officer's tone bespoke the true meaning behind his words. Narco-terrorist, not drug dealers or traffickers, but terrorists on the border, and when we find them, whoa will they be in trouble.

Recent additions to the Patriot Act make the "manufacture, sale, possession with the intent to sell Schedule I and II drugs, or conspiracy to do any of the above "narco-terrorism" if it "directly or indirectly, aids, or provides support, resources or anything of value to: (a) a foreign terrorist organization; or (b) any person or group involved in the planning, preparation for, or carrying out of a terrorist offense." Terrorist do not receive due process. They can be held without charges, lawyer or cause. They need not be tried for years, can be beaten and abused, and of course fall into that category of Americans who can be spied against without warrant. The reason the DEA officer was so certain the tunnel was used by narco-terrorists was because that put them into a who new category our government has created to deal with people they just don't think deserve human rights.

Don't get me wrong, this is not some call for drugs to be legalized or softer penalties for addicts. I may believe in both those things, but this is not that post. In addition, trafficking is bad, be it in humans, drugs or arms; but people have been smuggling for centuries. Piracy, the slave trade and bootlegging are precursors to today's drug trade and all are vastly different in causual effect from terrorism. Likewise, the actions needed to curtail drug smuggling are very different from those needed to combat global terrorism.

This administration is too dogmatic and reckless. They react to every situation with the same arrogant abandon, without thought to the consequences of their actions. My fear is the administration may be fighting a war on our border in the same way they are fighting one overseas and treating even more people to the inhumane and unconstitutional abuses faced by those deemed enemy combatants. I fear the sound in that DEA officer's voice.


Monday, March 20, 2006

yeah, what digby sez

I'm sure I've said this before, but one of the best writers on the internets is digby of Hullabaloo. Whatever I'm thinking, however I'm feeling, whenever I plan to write something about the current state of affairs in this country and around the world, digby thought it first, felt it deeper, wrote it better than me.

Rather than giving me some sort of complex, it makes me feel oddly better. I wrote about how the silence of the Democratic Party Leaders gave me blogger laryngitis, digby says Don't Make Trouble. While we both bemoan the "conventional wisdom" that causes congressional dems to fear decision itself, digby points to the biggest problem facing progressives today,

If the Democrats lose in November, I'm sure she'll(Eleanor Clift) find
plenty of reasons to blame Democrats, but it won't occur to her that the reason
people didn't vote for the D's was because the party listened to people
like her and campaigned like a herd of neutered animals instead of listening to
their hearts, their minds, their constituents and their leaders who were
prepared to take a stand for what we believe in.
No, they'll blame the
"extremists" who want a safety net and a sane terrorism policy --- and leaders
who defend the constitution. It couldn't possibly be that their tired, stale
reflexive passivity is to blame when half the base fails to turn out
because they just. have. no. hope.

Makes you feel kinda special inside, a little sick, yet vindicated, like, so I'm not the only one...