Surveillance of the innocents

Aside

The other day I was asked in a comment on another blog, why people of other countries dislike the USA?
The latest scandal, about the internet surveillance, is one reason why. The US goes around the world lecturing every other country about human rights, democracy and freedom of speech. But when it comes to the crunch, in the name of national security, the US government violates all those fine sentiments.

The other day, when the news broke President Obama said, he could assure the American people that they are not being spied on. That is bullock ! This very comment I’m writing now will go straight into the files of the NSA and if I write this to an American citizen it  will be on his files too.

As far as the Government of the USA, or should I rather say the NSA, is concerned we are all potential terrorists. I must say when I see ‘ President Obama on TV  talking about the matter, he has a guilty looks about him.

Where is the moral dilemma? The NSA thinks they are protecting the USA and Edward Snowden thinks he is saving the world. Both have no moral dilemma.

I remember the shock horror when it became known that the East-German government was spying on its own people. Every facet of the daily life of the people was recorded. Now, with the internet, even more is known about us. Now, Snowden let the cat out of the sack and told us something we all assumed anyway. He did nothing but embarrass the NSA.

All countries do intelligence gathering, some more and some less. Now we learn, if we can trust the Guardian, that the UK government did even more spying than the USA. All the Anglo-Saxon countries are in it together. What a mess.

We in the West think we must control everything because we are afraid. When G.W. Bush said,
“Our way of life is not negotiable!” he declared war on the rest of the world. I don’t know who heard that, or who remembers that, but I assume that some silly people took offence.

As a Berliner, who grew up in Berlin during the WW II and after the war, I remember so much good the USA did for us after the war. Perhaps it was easier than to know who the enemy was. Check Point Charlie was the demarcation line. Today the enemy is lurking anywhere, even in cyberspace. Every PC becomes a hideout for an enemy. The hacker becomes a saboteur. The soldier on a console becomes a predator who kills innocent people hunting an enemy of the United States in the mountains of Pakistan.

A real nightmare. That is what I think.

My Life on Earth

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From Eternity I come,
I’m a stranger
here on Earth.
I wasn’t asked, but formed
at moment’s notice,

when molecules
and atoms
collided at my parent’s
orgasmic ecstasy
My life began.

It did not take long,
a nano second
in the scheme of things,
before I left my home
of nine good months.

I screamed of course
and could not breathe.
A well aimed slap
gave me lesson
number one:

Not much is achieved
without some pain.
As people struggle
to survive.
I grew up fast,

In another nano second or two.
I was dreaming
during school,
when I asked myself
a question:

Why do I learn so much,
when in another nano second or two
I will be dead and with it,
all the knowledge
I accrued?

With an inner urge to learn,
as much as learn I could,
my eyes marvelled at
the colours of the world,
the wonders of the stars.

I listened
to the songs of birds,
above the murmur
of a brook,
feasted on the mighty Bach.

I caught the fragrance of blossoms
in my nose,
drowned in a woman’s scent,
felt good, with skin on skin,
in my lover’s arms.

I took in the words
of the great bard,
read Faust
and sang
the Ode to Joy,

‘travelled many countries
of the globe,
studied history of wars and kings,
made algebra
my favourite toy.

 
I could’ve been a teacher in a school,
been good at passing on
and shared all I knew.
But I missed the boat
and time has passed.

I have learned my fill.
It seems my stay on Earth
comes soon to an end.
A string of nano seconds
have become my life’s events.

Where do I go from here,
with all I’ve learned?
Will all my efforts be in vain?
Could I lose the treasures of my mind?
Take knowledge to my grave?

I wouldn’t know with any certainty,
till I find out… or… not…
when I pass through the gates of death;
and I’ll get back …
To Eternity!

On a Mission

It is the very near future. The “Illawarra”, a patrol boat of the RAN, is patrolling the Indian Ocean between the coast of WA and Java to secure the Australian border against so called SIEV (Suspected Illegal Entry Vessel) boats. A boat has been sighted by a search plane and the skipper is talking to his crew.

Skipper: Men, a SIEV has been spotted and we should be rendezvousing with it within thirty minutes. You are all aware what is required of us. Firstly, our primary mission is “stopping the boat” and secondly, search those damned illegals for a suitable person or persons who can be of assistance to win the “Ashes” for us this year in London. It is our damn duty to assist the ACB (Australian Cricket Board) in this endeavour.

Is this understood ?

All together: Yes, Sir !

Half an hour later the “Illawarra” is side by side with the SIEV. Four sailors, with guns at the ready, jump on to the wooden fishing boat, which is packed with asylum seekers. There are men, women and a few children. They all look anxiously to the patrol boat and the men with their guns. They all know their future will be decided here on the high sea. While one sailor enters the wheelhouse the other three surround the asylum seekers and point their guns at them. From aboard the patrol boat all actions are being filmed.

Able Seaman (shouts): SIEV is secure, Skipper !

Skipper (shouts back): Can you see any body who looks like he could be a cricket player?

Able Seaman (now calling out to the passengers): Any of you playing cricket?

The asylum seekers look dumbfounded, don’t seem to understand.

Able Seaman : You know, CRICKET ? (He takes his HK417 and uses it like a cricket bat and repeats, now louder) CRICKET?

One woman on board lifts up her baby and pleads.

Woman: My baby hungry!

Skipper:      For Christ sake, Miller record it!  This might be another ‘Baby over Board’ incident! Canberra will go nuts over it.

When a sailor jumps to her to assist her the woman  instinctively pulls the baby  closer to her chest.

Skipper (looking over the people spotting a tall guy who had his arm raised):

Able Seaman, have a look what that man wants. He might be the solution to the ACB’s problem.

Able Seaman:   I don’t think so, Skipper. He looks more like a Taliban to me, with his black turban and his beard.

The Able Seaman goes to the bearded man, bends down to him and talks to him quietly. After a moment he comes up again and shouts to the Skipper.

Able Seaman:  Skipper, we are in luck. He is our man! Says he’s played cricket in Pakistan.

Skipper: Good work, Able Seaman. “The Ashes” is as good as in the bag.

Able Seaman (gestures to the man and when he reaches him tells him):
Your worries are over, Mate. You go straight to London with a new Aussie passport and win the “Ashes” for us. That will give the Poms a bit of a surprise. (He slaps the Pakistani man on the shoulder. He turns back to the other asylum seekers and tells them with glee)

And for you lot, it is Manus Island or back to Indonesia. What is it to be?

After helping the Pakistani man onto the patrol boat the sailors jump back on to their vessel.


Skipper:        Full steam back to Darwin!
(As he walks back to his cabin the radio operator sticks his head out of a porthole.)

Radio Operator:  Skipper the Admiral says, ‘Well done’ and the parliament is now in emergency session to pass a bill to turn our man into a sort of Aussie Imran Khan.

Skipper:   After a good shave he might just fit the bill!

As the “Illawarra’ speeds back to Darwin the wooden boat, full with desperate asylum seekers, bobs up and down in the light swell. Some women are leaning over the railing and vomit. One young Afghani man jumps over board and starts to swim.

copyright Peter Hannemann