Repress U

Postby draque » Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:42 am

http://www.thenation.com/docprint.mhtml?i=20080128&s=gould-wartofsky

Here’s a link to an article that I would highly recommend that anyone interested in anti-freedom measures being implemented by the US under the guise of “Homeland Security” read. Excerpts with my personal commentary are below.

Target dissidents. As the warfare state has triggered dissent, the campus has attracted increasing scrutiny--with student protesters in the cross hairs. The government's number-one target? Peace and justice organizations. [. . .]
At more than a dozen universities and colleges, police officers now double as full-time FBI agents, and according to the Campus Law Enforcement Journal, they serve on many of the nation's 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces. These dual-purpose officer-agents have knocked on student activists' doors from North Carolina State to the University of Colorado and, in one case, interrogated an Iraqi-born professor at the University of Massachusetts about his antiwar views.
FBI agents, or their campus stand-ins, don't have to do all the work. Administrators often do it for them, setting up "free-speech zones," which actually constrain speech, and punishing those who step outside them. Protests were typically forced into "free-assembly areas" at the University of Central Florida and Clemson University, while students at Hampton and Pace universities faced expulsion for handing out antiwar fliers, aka "unauthorized materials."


There are really two points in that chunk of text that seem important to focus on, and they’re both based on the same assumption. The first is the “free speech zone.” The free speech zone has been implemented at rallies and political gatherings for some time now, but for the first time, they’re being set up on college campuses as a matter of course.
The second point is the concept of “unauthorized materials.” The initial question is of course “Who provides authorization and by what authority does s/he back it?” The second question is “Hold on. Does anyone have that authority in the United States?” Both of the points are implemented with the underlying philosophy that free speech is a privilege , and that when “abused” (by saying things that are disagreeable), it should be revoked.
Colleges have been the bastion of free speech and a voice for dissident opinions for the majority of US history. It made people uncomfortable in the past (ever read Johnny Got His Gun? Not in the ‘50s, I hope…) and it will make people uncomfortable in the future. Pressing back against the suppression of free speech is something that’s been going on since the policy was adopted, and it seems like we’re going through a period when the thrust of censorship and thought policing is at a peak.

Student records have in recent years been opened up to all manner of data mining for purposes of investigation, recruitment or just all-purpose tracking. From 2001 to 2006, in an operation code-named Project Strike Back, the Education Department teamed up with the FBI to scour the records of the 14 million students who applied for federal financial aid each year. The objective? "To identify potential people of interest," explained an FBI spokesperson cryptically, especially those linked to "potential terrorist activity."

The objective of the FBI spokesperson was not entirely what he said there. In giving his quote, a portion of his objective was clearly simple intimidation. Given the careful wording of the quote, it’s clearly intended to be threatening. It’s a threat not of past actions, but of past interests. “You like studying chemistry. Huh. That’s very interesting. I’m not saying it’s bad. Maybe it’s good. We’ll be in touch.”

The database aims to amass and record information on foreign students throughout their stay inside the United States. SEVIS requires thick files on the students from the sponsoring schools, constantly updated with all academic, biographical and employment records--all of which will be shared with other government agencies. If students fall out of "status" at school--or if the database thinks they have--the Compliance Enforcement Unit of ICE goes into action.
ICE, of course, has done its part to keep the homeland security campus purified of those not born in the homeland. The American Immigration Law Foundation estimates that only one in twenty undocumented immigrants who graduate high school goes on to enroll in a college--many don't go because they cannot afford the tuition but also because they have good reason to be afraid: ICE has deported a number of those who did make it to college, some before they could graduate.


“Give us your poor your tired your huddled masses… we’re gonna kick their asses.”

OUP has also partnered with researchers and laboratories to "align scientific results with homeland security priorities." In fiscal year 2008 alone, $4.9 billion in federal funding will go to homeland-security-related research. Grants correspond to sixteen research topics selected by DHS, based on presidential directives, legislation and a smattering of scientific advice.


“Reality has a distinctly liberal bias. We would like you to use your magical powers as scientists to fix this.” And immediately afterward…

But wait, there's more: DHS has founded and funded six of its very own "Centers of Excellence," research facilities that span dozens of universities from coast to coast. The latest is a Center of Excellence for the Study of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism, the funding for which cleared the House in October. The center is mandated to assist a national commission in combating those "adopting or promoting an extremist belief system...to advance political, religious or social change."


Unapologetic thought control. If I decide to believe that all people of X race and Y religion should be burned alive, that is my right. More basic than the right to say whatever we like is the right to think whatever we like. If a religious extremist breaks laws or hurts others, s/he should be punished accordingly, but whether to hold the extreme beliefs and spread them is no one’s prerogative but their own. It is the most offensive thoughts that must be protected most fervently. There’s more in the actual article.
Again, I don’t see any of this as a new thing. Freedom of speech has been questioned and attacked since day 1 when it was implemented… but it’s only been able to stick around because people have been willing to press back. I typed up and sent off letters to the presidents of the two universities I attended as soon as I read the thing. Thoughts?
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Re: Repress U

Postby Tychomonger » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:39 pm

This is by far the most terrible thing I have read about Homeland Security yet.

This needs to stop. I don't give a fuck who bombs us.
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Re: Repress U

Postby Skatche » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:21 pm

Heyyyy, and I'm going to be in the States all summer. Sounds like fun!
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Re: Repress U

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:48 pm

Skatche wrote:Heyyyy, and I'm going to be in the States all summer. Sounds like fun!


Your guide to the NEW United States!

<> We are no longer a nation of laws, but instead are led by a 'unitary executive' - a king.

<> Forget our Constitution. It has been deemed 'just a piece of goddamned paper' by our king.

<> You can be arrested without charge and imprisoned indefinitely, at any moment. Good luck.

<> You can be searched, and your property seized, at any time, for no stated reason, and you cannot talk about it.

<> We are at war. With someone, somewhere. You'd better like it and support it.

<> On the plus side, our economy is collapsing, so your money will GO FURTHER!

<> Try not to fly. If you do fly, show no emotion, even during the cavity searches.

<> DON'T BE GAY. Or you won't be allowed to enter the country.

<> DON'T BE BROWN. You will be targeted.

<> Avoid the south, southern midwest, much of the midwest, the eastern parts of the west, and any city below 50K population. Basically stick to San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and Los Vegas. Venture to other places at your own risk.

<> Always have your papers ready. Always.

<> Welcome To America!
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Re: Repress U

Postby Anna » Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:17 pm

Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:
Your guide to the NEW United States!

NEW United States = NUS or NUSA?
Sounds for a german ear like "Nuss"= nut = nuts...
;]
Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:•••
<> Always have your papers ready. Always.

My papers?
That's usual for me, my identycard, everyone here has one, it's not a big problem, really...
And thanks to you US guys, we will have a passport filled with data of our body, fingerprints, and many more of such wonderfull stuff.
Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote: <> Welcome To America!

America the continent, or is it America just only the USA?
You guys do always do these irritating things... oh, that fears me ...
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Re: Repress U

Postby Jennifer Diane Reitz » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:28 pm

Shackler wrote:The cities are the worst parts of this country. Why would you want to stay there?


Because, while more lovely, the small towns of America are where the narrowness and bigotry grow in proportion to the reduction of population.

It's a funny thing I noticed, during my childhood, moving every three to six months until I was of college age - the smaller the town, the more narrow, religious,a and bigoted the people. The very smallest towns were the absolute worst.

A second factor I noticed was cultural diversity and proximity to ports. The closer to a port city, the more diverse the population, and the more diverse the population, the less the narrowness and bigotry. This seems to have a lesser effect than sheer population, but ports matter.

Also location clearly matters, because there seems to be regional cultures.

Type of employment is another big factor - the higher the education level, the better overall. Big effect here.

Thus, the most liberal, accepting, and nice place would likely be a moderate-sized city not overly far from a seacoast port metropolis, with a high-tech job base and a high level of education. Bonus for having a serious college in town.

The worst possible place would be a small (population 10,000 and under) town far inland with an almost totally white population of undereducated blue-collar workers. Bonus horror if there is a dominant single religion in the town. My vote for most horrible town in the northwestern quadrant of the USA would be Pocatello, Idaho. Fits all of these criterion to nine decimal places. Plus, having lived there for eight miserable months, I can testify from personal experience.

The nicest place in the same quadrant could arguably be somewhere near Seattle... Bellevue, perhaps. Besides, they do PAX in that region.

Olympia, where I am... is OK. Not great. OK. It'll do.

Basically, I see America as having the glow of tolerability shining thinly on the far edges, with a vast ruddy darkness filling the middle like the shadow of Mordor. Specks on the East Coast, a few larger pockets of light on the West. Everything else scary evil.

What kind of evil? The planet Cricket from the Hitchhiker's Guide - smiling, friendly people who sing and make the best food, and are just nice as pie as long as they don't ever find out anything about you. At least anything that conflicts with their narrowness. Then, they become dangerous.

That's my vision of America.
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Re: Repress U

Postby RaharuAharu » Wed Jan 23, 2008 5:59 pm

This makes me sad. >.<
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Re: Repress U

Postby Sparksol » Sat Jan 26, 2008 3:40 am

Personally, I'm attempting to learn some form of invisibility or intangibility. How to not be here.
...where's that bucket of paint and SEP field generator?
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Re: Repress U

Postby Alikat » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:20 am

Anna wrote:
Jennifer Diane Reitz wrote:
Your guide to the NEW United States!

NEW United States = NUS or NUSA?
Sounds for a german ear like "Nuss"= nut = nuts...

Funny you should mention Americans and Nuts, considering that you're German. I think it's funny because it has a historical basis: In the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, Brigadier General Anthony Mcauliffe of the 101st Airborn was sent a one-word message by the opposing German commander: "SURRENDER!" General Mcauliffe sent back his own one-word reply: "NUTS!"
!M!
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Re: Repress U

Postby Alikat » Sat Jan 26, 2008 4:25 am

Shackler wrote:I dunno. I like college towns here in the US. The only city I've been in and not felt unsafe on the streets is Portland. Some parts of San Francisco are pretty good too, but SF, aside from having completely insane gun laws, is full of lunatics and becomes a different sort of area altogether at night, even in the "nice places". To me, the small college town is what the United States is all about-- avoid the cities and their beggars and criminals, as well as the tedium of the farmland and the rural regions.

Well, if you're white, and you don't look queer, or like some kind of "lib'ral," you can pretty much blend into towns like Pocatello. But if you're a little bit brown, or a little gay-looking, or if you look like someone who knows how to interpret the funny markings inside the books, that's when you can't even walk around without getting yelled at or threatened or even hurt.
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