Saturday, September 26, 2009

Snatch and Grab at G20

The G20 circus is back in town and no matter how many rings it has, it's all sideshow. Does this picture show US troops shoving a protester into a car? The security people claim that no, these were policemen wearing camouflage. There is a mix of National Guard and Policemen on the street in Pittsburgh to keep the peace, but it matters who did this and why, because the US Military can't make arrests and may not be used to enforce the law - oh wait - there's the Patriot Act.

Again, G20 security claims the man was removed because he was vandalizing stores. Can we be sure? The blog bulges with comments, some of which assure us it was all staged, or that it was an innocent bystander having his freedom of speech infringed upon - but who knows? There's the Patriot act - almost anything can be legal, either the death of Posse Comitatus or the spiriting away or arrest with no charges of anyone, or so it seems to many of us. Who can be sure what is happening here?

There's the Patriot act and many of its more egregious features are set to expire at the end of the year. Whatever it was that the picture shows, that legacy of George Bush will allow speculation of all sorts, legitimate and otherwise because it will allow things none of us want. As it is, the powers granted under the Patriot act have been used primarily to go after dope smokers, not terrorist suspects. A bill backed by two Democrats and an independent may be able to put the brakes on widespread abuses, although I would like to see the entire thing scrapped. Otherwise people who believe they really are planning to round us all up will be justified in worrying and none of us will ever be quite sure what's going on in Pittsburgh, Washington or anywhere else.

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