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Methinks he doth protest too much

Republican Senator Sam Brownback is introducing a resolution protesting actions by China. He is also urging Bush to not attend the Olympic opening ceremonies in Beijing. Why? Because hotels in Beijing (including foreign-owned ones) are being forced to install Chinese government software to monitor Internet use by hotel guests coming to watch the Olympic games, or face “severe retaliation”. Brownback says:

If you were a human rights advocate, if you’re a journalist, you’re in room 1251 of a hotel, anything that you use, sending out over the Internet is monitored in real time by the Chinese Public Security bureau. That’s not right. It’s not in the Olympic spirit.

Can we get any more hypocritical? How dare the Chinese force businesses to spy on people or face retaliation? Would we ever do such a thing? Ummm

The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program … USA Today reported in May 2006 that Qwest, unlike AT&T and Verizon, balked at helping the NSA track phone calling patterns that may have indicated terrorist organizational activities. Nacchio’s attorney, Herbert Stern, confirmed that Nacchio refused to turn over customer telephone records because he didn’t think the NSA program had legal standing.

Also note that Senator Brownback voted FOR the “Protect America Act” that allowed “massive, untargeted collection of international communications” (including email and phone) and also voted for this year’s FISA bill that allows our government to directly tap public telecommunications systems to monitor email and phone communications.

Don’t people realize that if we are going to illegally spy, torture, or start preemptive wars, it is going to make it very difficult for us to protest when other people do the same thing. Unless of course, we don’t mind being blatantly hypocritical.

Not to mention that what China is doing is not illegal (either under their laws or international law). After all, they don’t claim to be a free, democratic country.

From Glenn Greenwald in Salon.