Still, I can't help wondering why so many countries (other than the USA) manage to maintain better levels of homeland security with only a fraction of the obtrusiveness (and budget) the United States seems to feel it requires.
Are they better? The reason that the response is so heavy handed, I think, is that the U.S. before now through geography, both political and physical, is relatively free of such attacks. It's the same with waging war- for all of it's military superiority, when it comes down to it, the U.S. doesn't have the guts it takes to win wars like some others are fighting/have fought.
In the past that isolation has allowed the US to extend it's military hand far into distant places that had no real power to retaliate. The shrinking of the planet for normal people has put the US within reach not of countries, but of individuals, which fits the "terrorist" modus operandi. So, cynically speaking, this at long last has put the US within reach of the common rebel abroad.
The real terror is not from nations, which generally follow certain rules of war, but from individuals and organizations (that may be state sponsored) that do not follow those rules of war.
I remember seeing some statistics on civilian casualties in the 20th century:
WWI - 1:20 (civilian to military)
WWII - (far less, though I forget)
Korea - (Again, I forget, but it followed the trend here towards higher civilian casualties)
Vietnam - 20:1 (20 civilian casualties to every military casualty)
Modern warfare changed significantly over the 20th century.
WWI saw the advent of trench warfare due to the overwhelming superiority of defensive weapons (the machine gun).
WWII saw the advent of mechanized warfare, first demonstrated by Germany blitzing through Belgium into France with tanks paving the way.
WWII also saw the importance of air combat rise to a significant level.
The 60's to the 80's saw the importance of guerrilla warfare rise. This comes just before the rise of "terrorism".
The Gulf war in 1990's and 2000's finally saw air power finally being used as a replacement for artillery/heavy infantry weaponry (mortars, etc.).
BTW - that is very significant. What is the single most important factor in determining victory in warfare? Artillery/mortars, etc. Proof is throughout history. One example would be D-Day where 75% of all casualties are caused by artillery.
That is pretty standard stuff, but the scary part is the rise of guerrilla warfare, "terrorism", and insurgency. That changes the rules so that artillery isn't the determining factor anymore. How can you bombard an enemy that you can't find, and if you could find them, they'd be inside of a civilian population anyways? This is a very scary thought for generals who can no longer count on traditional wisdom to win wars.
So now you're stuck fighting an invisible foe. How do you retaliate? The enemy could very well be within the city walls already... The path to paranoia
and witch hunts
is a natural progression.
BURN THE WITCH~!
I can't help but go back to that link wraith808 posted (The Register):
Last week, for example, the PCeU contacted the ISP hosting Fitwatch, a website the Met alleged was offering illegal advice to student protestors, and had it taken down. Mirror sites and copies of the information it carried quickly sprang up across dozens of hosts, making the attempted censorship ineffective.
By working through Nominet, however, it would be much easier for police to centrally block such efforts by revoking the domain name of any website republishing the allegedly illegal information.
I believe this is what they considered illegal (source
is now back up):
Students who are worried should consider taking the following actions:
If you have been arrested, or had your details taken – contact the legal support campaign. As a group you can support each other, and mount a coherent campaign.
If you fear you may be arrested as a result of identification by CCTV, FIT or press photography;
DONT panic. Press photos are not necessarily conclusive evidence, and just because the police have a photo of you doesn’t mean they know who you are.
DONT hand yourself in. The police often use the psychological pressure of knowing they have your picture to persuade you to ‘come forward’. Unless you have a very pressing reason to do otherwise, let them come and find you, if they know who you are.
DO get rid of your clothes. There is no chance of suggesting the bloke in the video is not you if the clothes he is wearing have been found in your wardrobe. Get rid of ALL clothes you were wearing at the demo, including YOUR SHOES, your bag, and any distinctive jewellery you were wearing at the time. Yes, this is difficult, especially if it is your only warm coat or decent pair of boots. But it will be harder still if finding these clothes in your flat gets you convicted of violent disorder.
DONT assume that because you can identify yourself in a video, a judge will be able to as well. ‘That isn’t me’ has got many a person off before now.
DO keep away from other demos for a while. The police will be on the look-out at other demos, especially student ones, for people they have put on their ‘wanted’ list. Keep a low profile.
DO think about changing your appearance. Perhaps now is a good time for a make-over. Get a haircut and colour, grow a beard, wear glasses. It isn’t a guarantee, but may help throw them off the scent.
DO keep your house clean. Get rid of spray cans, demo related stuff, and dodgy texts / photos on your phone. Don’t make life easy for them by having drugs, weapons or anything illegal in the house.
DO get the name and number of a good lawyer you can call if things go badly. The support group has the names of recommended lawyers on their site. Take a bit of time to read up on your rights in custody, especially the benefits of not commenting in interview.
DO be careful who you speak about this to. Admit your involvement in criminal damage / disorder ONLY to people you really trust.
DO try and control the nerves and panic. Waiting for a knock on the door is stressful in the extreme, but you need to find a way to get on with business as normal. Otherwise you’ll be serving the sentence before you are even arrested.
It's counseling people to not get caught, which doesn't seem illegal.
It's very worrisome that things like that are now targets for paranoid governments
People are basically good. Letting governments censor people like this is like pouring oil on the slippery slope.
I for one do not want to have to look over my shoulder for the though police.