Thursday, September 4, 2008
In America and England, citizens are being urged to report people taking pictures as potential terrorists.
Do you assume that that is an innocent attempt to stop would-be terrorists from casing out high-value targets, and for planning terror attacks?
Sorry, but the arrest of well-known journalists outside the Republican convention destroys that belief. The only thing the journalists was doing were filming peaceful protesters and their brutal treatment by the police. See this and this.
In Iraq, journalists are targeted and killed when they show what the military doesn't want shown. America and England are themselves now being treated like war zones. Anyone with a camera is being treated like a "foreign enemy combatant"and a terrorist.
Moreover, the protesters who were targeted in Minnesota were mainly those who were peacefully filming the protests. Indeed, a 2003 FBI memo describes protesters' use of videotaping as an "intimidation" technique, even though - as the ACLU points out - "Most mainstream demonstrators often use videotape during protests to document law enforcement activity and, more importantly, deter police from acting outside the law."
Clearly, what the FBI is objecting to is the use of cameras to document unlawful behavior by law enforcement.
So what should we do: leave our cameras at home? No. If we all bring our videocameras, cellphone cameras, and other photographic equipment with us wherever we go, we'll be able to document tyrannical behavior, and the police won't have the manpower to hassle all of us.