The US isn't alone in attempting to curtail coverage of environmental and anti-corporate action. We've had this creepy bullshit here in New Zealand for a decade now, beginning with the farcical Urewera clusterfuck, a typically bungled attempt by police and intelligence factions at two sinister objectives- to install the concept of a domestic terrorism threat in popular consciousness and to legitimise the detention, intimidation and legal persecution of journalists and activists.
I wonder if a lot of people understand the real mechanisms in this kind of fuckery. It's not the handcuffs that matter any more.
In this country, our politically naive human biomass has been groomed to believe that protestors are troublemakers; NZers, broadly speaking, are deeply trouble-averse and inclined toward hostility at disruptors of any status quo, regardless of its nature. Your average local unit believes, either secretly or otherwise, that punitive actions are the logical consequence of disturbing the fragile balance of conditions they depend upon. They gladly traded equity and will definitely surrender freedom for permission to keep mooing into the buckets over their heads and juggling their phones and credit cards in peace. They have little curiosity regarding what looks to them just like eternal threads in the mysterious fabric of idealogical conflict, and no idea how this cliched drama is being used to disguise new forms of arbitrary sanction and oppression.
Though they often seem so... how do I say this nicely... unsophisticated, our local police have become increasingly emboldened to employ their punitive attentions however the hell their local hierarchy sees fit. Sometimes it feels like someone's district commander has just been watching too much Scandi noir with all the curtains drawn. But their aggressive off-reservation shit is becoming a mallet wielded with sinister political purpose. 'Visiting' participants in notified, benign and entirely legal protests. Conducting illegal searches of journalists' homes. Using roadblocks to identify and intimidate people attending voluntary euthanasia meetings, for fuck's sake, and these are just a few of the instances that have actually been flagged by national attention.
Journalists and activists are just regular people. They don't operate in some sort of rarified impunity ether- they depend on freedom of speech, travel and association to effectively investigate and oppose the seedy garbage exploits fired at our society and environment every fucking hour of the day. Just like everyone else, they have incomes and debts and personal obligations. With the retreat of formal, accredited journalism and the encroachment of employer regulation into our personal lives, arrest, detention and even notoriety can render them (and any of us) unemployed/unemployable, uninsured, homeless and bankrupt, unable to travel internationally and even alienated from the friends and family who will be tarred with the same inexorable brush.
While it might sound trivial and even titillating from a distance, a little bit of police attention- legal or otherwise- in our digital record can go a very long way toward shutting people up forever, about everything that matters. Any drift toward arbitrary police and state involvement in the affairs of those who question their conduct is a terrifying assault on all of our fundamental freedoms.
The Nazis weren't particularly intelligent and did not enjoy our contemporary technological advantages so they have limited value as an explicit comparison to our own situation. But they didn't kick shit off with Krystallnacht in '38.
They did it with bullshit civil service legislation five years before. Most Germans didn't really know what was coming. What's our excuse?