Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Liberty and email privacy in the US

In launching the ICH blog as a sister site to his excellent Information Clearing House, Tom Feeley has informed readers that the blog URL has an ‘eu’ address because the server is located in Holland, which boasts some of the best privacy laws anywhere. This also serves as a bulwark lest privacy laws degenerate further in his native United States.

Tom has appended this caveat to his list notification, and I thought it would be an excellent addendum for email signatures in the US to promote awareness aboiut the roll-back of civil liberties. Here ’tis:

NOTICE: George W. Bush has issued Executive Orders allowing the National Security Agency to read this message and all other e-mail you receive or send—without warning, warrant or notice. Bush has ordered this to be done without any legislative or judicial oversight. You have no recourse nor protection save to call for the impeachment of President Bush and other government officials who are involved in this illegal and unconstitutional activity.

While not as far-reaching as the US “Patriot” Acts I and II, the Howard government in Australia has also enacted a draconian Sedition law in 2005, which threatens imprisonment for up to seven years for intention to commit seditious acts.

The 2005 Nobel Laureate for Literature, Harold Pinter, in his Nobel Prize acceptance address (8 December 2005) sets out well our compulsion as active and informed citizens to define the truth of our world and crucially, in our political envisioning:

“I believe that despite the enormous odds which exist, unflinching, unswerving, fierce intellectual determination, as citizens, to define the real truth of our lives and our societies is a crucial obligation which devolves upon us all. It is in fact mandatory. If such a determination is not embodied in our political vision we have no hope of restoring what is so nearly lost to us – the dignity of man.”

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"