The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 along with its 239 passengers and crew has dominated recent news coverage. Hope for their survival has dimmed, and my thoughts and prayers are with the relatives of those on board. This incident is getting so much attention, though, not only because it involves a large commercial airplane and potential large loss of life, but additionally because of the mystery of what happened. There is apparently no trace of the plane; an oil slick and debris in the sea were apparently not related, and there was no mayday or other indication from the pilots of something going wrong (at least, not that’s been reported). Some sort of accident is possible, but the revelation that two passengers were traveling with stolen passports makes it quite plausible that this was a terrorist attack. Given that likelihood, I would like to suggest that this would be a uniquely devious and disturbing form of terrorism due to our current ignorance concerning what happened, by whom and why. Continue reading
Covertly filming shocking animal abuse in the meat industry (and other industries involving animals) is a common tactic of animal welfare charities such as the Humane Society, Mercy for Animals, Animal Aid, and PETA. The footage is generally obtained by workers for the charities who gain employment at slaughterhouses, farms, laboratories and the like; and it has been instrumental in prosecuting abusers and applying pressure on meat producers to improve welfare standards, as the New York Times reported at the weekend.
The same article also reports a disturbing response to this practice by several US states:
They proposed or enacted bills that would make it illegal to covertly videotape livestock farms, or apply for a job at one without disclosing ties to animal rights groups. They have also drafted measures to require such videos to be given to the authorities almost immediately, which activists say would thwart any meaningful undercover investigation of large factory farms.
Those who flout this so-called ‘ag-gag’ legislation may, among other things, be placed on a ‘terrorist registry’.
By Brian Earp
In this ‘hour’ of danger: Civil liberties and the eternal threat of terror
The U.S. government is legally justified in killing its own citizens overseas if they are involved in plotting terror attacks against America, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday.
“In this hour of danger, we simply cannot afford to wait until deadly plans are carried out, and we will not,” he said in remarks prepared for a speech at Northwestern University’s law school in Chicago.
Pay attention to Mr. Holder’s choice of words here. This hour of danger? Excuse me: an “hour” is a bounded stretch of time – and not very long. But terrorism is a threat with no border – it has existed always, and will continue indefinitely. The “war on terror” cannot be won: you can kill a terrorist, sure, but you cannot eliminate a tactic. So let us not talk about an “hour.” This sort of speech is insidious. We all know that an hour takes sixty minutes and then it’s finished. But terrorism will present a “danger” forever.