Europe wants to civilise US terror war
Brussels goes to Washington
Emissaries from the European Parliament arrived in Washington today with a message of restraint and fairplay for US crusaders in the "war on terror".
Worried the US zeal to hunt down terrorists is trampling over the rights of European citizens, members of the European Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will discuss with counterparts in the US Congress how they might civilise the US initiative.
They will dangle a carrot for security-minded Americans who want to create a biometric border to encompass all its allies.
MEPs will say they are prepared to build a transatlantic zone like its own fledgling area for borderless, visa-free travel among members of the European Union. Existing extradition and Open Skies agreements would form the basis of the proposed borderless zone.
But the European Parliament wants to see the US rein in its surveillance hunt for terrorists. They want a transatlantic agreement on data protection to protect people from excessive snooping by the state. The internet, the global economy, and the hunt for terrorists make this essential.
They also want the US to show Europe some respect. Current agreements are all very one-sided, MEPs will say.
They hope their visit might have some influence on the US revision of the Patriot Act, which brought about the introduction of the Automated Targeting System (ATS) and Passenger Name Records (PNR), two US programmes for snooping on foreigners that have irked European law makers. They also want the US to show some restraint when it snoops through European financial records when it tries to track terrorist funding.
MEPs are aware of the irony that while the US is starting to reconsider the Patriot Act, EU countries are building their own version of total security awareness. Though the parliament is keen to protect civil liberties, member states are busy mimicking the US take on homeland security enshrined in the Patriot Act. ®
It all sounds lovely :"Of course those at The Register enjoy free speech, which should be the right of anyone..." - oh no, off the rails and into the ditch - "... But it seems to me that those at The Register are taking unfair advantage of their captive audience ..."
Things are clearly different in the Land of the Free, because here in the UK I choose to read The Register when and as often as I wish, and don't feel any coercion when I do so. Also, just how is expressing an opinion or having a bias (real or perceived) in any way taking advantage? If The Register was tasked with the responsibility of educating gullible and formative young minds, I would agree there was a duty of care. But I'm a grizzled adult, with all my prejudices, bigotries and idiosyncrasies fully-formed and running smoothly. Plus, being an adult, I find I am capable of hearing and reading opinions which differ from my own without feeling the need to curtail someone else's right to express them.
It's a common error to assume that the right of free speech contains a right to be listened to. In fact it does not. If I don't like The Register or its tone, I would quickly look elsewhere. I suggest you apply the same principle. It's sort of like a free market, which is another thing the US doesn't fully understand. Don't get me wrong. I've lived in the US, and I like many Americans individually. But your government really sucks, and you claim, as a so-called democracy, that you voted for it. So you have to take some of the blame for that.
And to show our mature relationship with the US...
... we should immediately start fingerprinting all American visitors to the EU, force them to stand in long queues for indeterminate periods of time, ensure they fill out (in black *NOT* blue ink) appallingly laid-out immigration forms about the size of a postage stamp (complete with plenty of randomly-positioned easy-to-miss check boxes), subject them to bizarre questioning by a borderline (ahem) offensive immigration officials and THEN we'll have complete reciprocity between nations.
US crusaders? Yuh huh.
Well, anonymous poster, what else would you call it when a frothing zealot declares war on an ideology ?
From where I'm sitting, any news outlet that stops short of outright saying "Bush is a warmongering f***tard." is pretty well balanced and restrained. But then, I don't watch Fox "News", and I don't know what a "liberal media" is either.