The Null Device

Why negotiate when you can annihilate?

Naomi Klein on how the War on Terror has become a universal tool for smashing dissent, with everyone from unassimilated ethnic minorities to trade unionists becoming terrorists-by-association, and thus exempt from pesky human-rights considerations:
[Spanish PM] Aznar has resisted calls to negotiate with the Basque autonomous government and banned the political party Batasuna (even though, as the New York Times noted in June, "no direct link has been established between Batasuna and terrorist acts"). He has also shut down Basque human rights groups, magazines and the only entirely Basque-language newspaper. Last February, the Spanish police raided the Association of Basque Middle Schools, accusing it of having terrorist ties.

So Basque separatists are all tarred with the brush of terrorism now? I wonder whether we'll see Tony Blair or one of his successors cracking down on Plaid Cymru or the Scottish National Party in this fashion. Those pesky Welsh-speakers are probably all up to something...

Post-September 11, the [Indonesian] government cast Aceh's movement for national liberation as "terrorist" - which means human rights concerns no longer apply. Rizal Mallarangeng, a senior adviser to Megawati, called it the "blessing of September 11".

And then those who practice that most heinous form of economic terrorism, trying to sabotage the efficiency of export processing zones by agitating for workers' rights:

Last August, speaking to soldiers at a military academy, [Philippine president] Arroyo extended the war beyond terrorists and armed separatists to include "those who terrorise factories that provide jobs" - clear code for trade unions. Labour groups in Philippine free trade zones report that union organisers are facing increased threats, and strikes are being broken up with extreme police violence.

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