Saturday, November 30, 2013
Death of a Thousand Cuts. Can You Feel It?
Around the world, civil, human and political rights seem to be in retreat. The rapid onset of our loss of privacy of all sorts is symptomatic of a larger threat. Corporatism flourishes but not without cost to individual rights and freedoms. The forces of inequality transfer not merely wealth but associated political clout from the many to the few. Individuals not in the club of the few are increasingly marginalized.
Japan is going through its own realignment. From The Japan Times:
If you’re living in Japan, you may be surprised to know that your right to know has been replaced by the right to remain silent. Shhh … don’t protest. It’s practically a done deal.
The first rule of the pending state secrets bill is that a secret is a secret. The second rule is that anyone who leaks a secret and/or a reporter who makes it public via a published report or broadcast can face up to 10 years in prison. The third rule is that there are no rules as to which government agencies can declare information to be a state secret and no checks on them to determine that they don’t abuse the privilege; even defunct agencies can rule their information to be secret. The fourth rule is that anything pertaining to nuclear energy is a state secret, which means there will no longer be any problems with nuclear power in this country because we won’t know anything about it. And what we don’t know can’t hurt us.
The right to know has now officially been superseded by the right of the government to make sure you don’t know what they don’t want you to know.
Reporters Without Borders also noted that Japan’s ranking in the press freedom index had taken a record fall of 31 places from its position in 2012 to a new low of 53 out of 179 countries.
If the state secrets law is passed, Japan’s press freedom ranking next year is expected to sink to nearly Uzbekistan or China levels. Welcome to the land of the setting sun. Let’s see how much darker it will get.