that’s our job

“The Tsarnaev Trial and the Rest of Us, with Noam Chomsky”

The role of terror and the rule of law in light of trial against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Charley Hebdo attack.

Kade and Noam BAFFLER from Mark Steele on Vimeo.

A Baffler Magazine panel discussion:
Kade Crockford, Director, ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project,
Noam Chomsky, Professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Title:
The Tsarnaev Trial and the Rest of Us, with Noam Chomsky
Location:
Lily Pad
1353 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
USA
Date:
22 Jan 2015
19:00 EST (UTC-5)

Those like myself whose sense of citizens’ rights, and the role of law enforcement are rooted in the ideals laid out in their high school civics classes, sense a great deal of understandable consternation as to how to explain seemingly arbitrary actions by intelligence and police as exemplified by the legal response to the Boston Marathon bombing.

It would seem that the shockingly obvious key to resolving our confusion is to be found in a short statement made by a former FBI Agent named Don Borelli during an interview with Boston, USA based journalist, Susan Zahlkind: Borelli’s statement (to be found between minutes 41 and 43 of the March 7th, 2014 broadcast on Chicago Public Radio, WBEZ’s program “This American Life” with the archive number 519).

Don Borelli states:

and maybe 3rd or 4 persons removed but that’s the nature of a terrorism investigation, you cast a very wide net. So yeah, if you can keep people out of the country that you think could potentially do harm or aid others in doing harm, or what ever, you know, even provide financing, for example, then you are obligated to do that. That’s your job.*

So whilst we are wracking our brains trying to find some secret, underlying, sinister logic in what to due-process and civil rights minded citizens may seem utterly inexplicable, the reality would seem to be, law-enforcement and intelligence agents are doing precisely what our preemptive anti-terror laws call for them to do. In Borelli’s words. “That’s your job [as law-enforcement agents] to do that!”

This will be a point for Europeans concerned about civil liberties to keep in mind as law-and-order politics try to further their cause in the wake of the Paris killings of 13 Nov 2015.

Another point i come away with after listening to Crockford and Chomsky speak is a delineation Prof. Chomsky makes between “wholesale” and “retail” terrorism (approx. minute 25:30 of the video of the Crockford/Chomsky panel discussion) as well as his recommendation as to how to considerably reduce terrorism world wide, namely to refrain from its perpetration.

* Susan Zahlkind Dead Men Tell No Tales. In: thisamericanlife.org (US > Radio Archive > 519). On: 7 Mar 2014. Url: http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/519/dead-men-tell-no-tales. Last viewed: 28 Nov 2015.

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