Saturday, June 24

SWIFT justice

"Dear Pundita:
Does SWIFT fall within your area of expertise? The oddest things make front page news these days.
Dave Schuler"
The Glittering Eye

Dear Dave:
Dan Riehl at Riehl World View has links to interesting opinion on the SWIFT controversy and the ACLU stand with regard to laws specifically related to US national security issues.

For now I've sworn off reporting on GWOT issues so I won't add my comments.

However, Pundita notes while rolling on the floor with laughter that there are uses for SWIFT surveillance other than fighting terrorists. Give us a moment to wipe the mirth from our eyes and clamber back on our chair....

The uses include catching US companies creating undocumented offshore shell corporations, international crime syndicates doing money laundering, and rogue regimes purchasing stuff for nukes.

Yes indeed, it’s not only the terrorists and the ACLU who are huffy about US surveillance of SWIFT.

The controversy is part of the wider picture about the limits of globalization and democracy. So I dunno, Dave; it’s a question for the majority of US voters. What's certain is that when it comes to globalized money laundering the bad guys are always way ahead of the good guys. The question is how much civil liberty the citizen in a democracy is willing to sacrifice in order to level the playing field.

With regard to the odd headlines – I think they’ve been terribly odd since Bush first signaled the US intention to invade Iraq. Since 2002 much GWOT-related reporting has really been a window on the Beltway Wars: factions at State going after factions at the Pentagon, factions at CIA trying to run Bush out of the White House and run Rumsfeld out of the Pentagon, factions at the Pentagon going after State, factions at the DoD fighting with other DoD factions and trying to run Rummy out of the Pentagon. And everybody doing the CYA jig.

Maybe the Dewey Decimal System should be expanded to include a “CIA-State-Pentagon CYA” category.

That would be a big help to historians digging through the mountains of "We hate to tell you this" books published in the decade following 9/11.

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