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Immediately after 9-11, comic Bill Maher lost his job hosting ABC's "Politically Incorrect" for saying this on air.....
“We have been the cowards, lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That’s cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building, say what you want about it, it’s not cowardly.”
What Maher said was absolutely true.....but even if what Maher said was not factually true, he still had a legal right to express it. After all, Maher is an American.....and Americans often boast about their nation's great freedoms.....one being freedom of speech.
The dickish Ari Fleischer, George W. Bush's press secretary at the time, responded to a question about what Maher had said....
"....it's a terrible thing to say, and it's unfortunate. And that's why—there was an earlier question about has the President said anything to people in his own party—they're reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is."
"Americans...need to watch what they say."
No criticisms of the military....and no criticisms of the Commander in Chief were permitted in the wake of 9-11. Americans.....whether comics or journalists or neither...had to "watch what they said."
And for the most part....they did....."watch what they said." The result was Iraq. The Bushies, operating under "people better watch what they say" terms, successfully intimidated 'major media' into rolling over in total support of the Bush/Cheney war crime in Iraq.
Today, Americans still have to "watch what they say"......lest they receive an unwanted visit from Secret Service or Homeland Security goons...or other unknown 'freedom inspectors.' But today, as the following story illustrates, Americans need to also "watch what they Google."
The Catalonas of Long Island, N.Y. were paid a visit one morning last week by six investigators. It appears now that Mr. Catalona had used the Google search terms "backpack" and "pressure cooker" from his work computer.....and was reported to authorities for doing so.
"They asked if they could search the house, though it turned out to be just a cursory search. They walked around the living room, studied the books on the shelf (nope, no bomb making books, no Anarchist Cookbook), looked at all our pictures, glanced into our bedroom, pet our dogs. They asked if they could go in my son's bedroom but when my husband said my son was sleeping in there, they let it be."
In a statement, the office of the county's police commissioner said:
Suffolk County criminal intelligence detectives received a tip from a Bay Shore-based computer company regarding suspicious computer searches conducted by a recently released employee. The former employee's computer searches took place on this employee's workplace computer. On that computer, the employee searched the terms 'pressure cooker bombs' and 'backpacks'.
Mrs. Catalona included this in her account....
They (the investigators) mentioned that they do this about 100 times a week. And that 99 of those visits turn out to be nothing.
More freedom spreading.....I gather.....only this time not because of "what you say", but "what you Google."
I have no doubt, and especially so now with Edward Snowden's leaks, that the Surveillance State has been eavesdropping, recording, and vacuuming up all U.S. communications since shortly after 9-11. And naturally, all in the name of security.
Which leads me to ask: Are you careful about what you search for on the Google? Should you be? Do you think that the Catalonas experience couldn't happen to you?
More importantly....if innocent and/or random Google searches can result in a visit from six authority figures....how free are we?