film Spy Games reached a crescendo as retiring CIA officer Robert
Redford transfers $282,000 of his lifeís savings to an account in
the Cayman Islands. The money is supposed to help pay for the rescue
of Redfordís bureau protégé Brad Pitt, who has been
"burned" by his employers at the CIA for going solo. Pitt
turns rogue, when he has a revelation. He discovers that working
for the CIA is a dirty business. For years, Pitt manages to swim
in some very polluted waters until he becomes romantically entangled.
The object of his affections is a bitter British bit, who herself
is no stranger to blood sports. In one of her varied incarnations
as a human rights activist, this gentle soul blows up a building.
In the process, she kills the son of a Chinese diplomat. Unbeknownst
to Pittís love interest, the CIA offers her up to the Chinese in
exchange for an American captive operative. No great loss, says
I, but not according to Pitt, who attempts to rescue the girl from
this infernal pit. In the process, Pitt is captured, tortured, and
is about to be put to death, when Redford pulls a clever stunt.
the Cayman Island transaction is playing out on the screen, my mind
becomes tangentially but necessarily preoccupied. I confess, I can
easily become bored during a film, and am wont to tug at the sleeve
of my better quarter and, not unlike a two-year-old, ask questions:
"Iím not sure," I tell the wincing man, "that Redford
would be able to complete such a transaction now, not with the new
anti-terrorism laws." "Canít you leave me in peace,"
comes the poor manís tortured reply, a line he has commandeered
from Basil Fawlty of Fawlty Towers.
home, I attempt to search for the relevant information among the
sea of "Legislation Related to the Attack of September 11."
The contagion includes nine "Bills and Joint Resolutions Signed
Into Law, nine "Other Resolutions Approved," fifteen items
of "Legislation With Floor Action," and dozens of "Legislation
Without Floor Action." Sure enough, the protagonist not to
mention the screenplay writer in Spy Games would have found his
style cramped somewhat by the new USA PATRIOT ACT. Bankerís secrecy
agreements notwithstanding, Redfordís broker would probably be wise
to "file a report of a suspicious financial transaction."
An amendment to this act indeed mandates that a registered broker
submit a suspicious activity report.
bills that have already been signed into law have been exposed many
times over for their assaults on liberties, assaults that are not
commensurate with safety. The banking subterfuge is no different,
and neither is it new. As Veronique de Rugy of the Cato Institute
notes, "Financial transactions and bank accounts in the United
States have been monitored for some time now." Unfortunately,
this monitoring a spying game that the American Bankers Association
pegs at roughly $10 billion a year didn't detect the nine SunTrust
accounts used in Florida by the terrorists involved in the attack
of the World Trade Center.
USA PATRIOT ACT is indeed supposed to provide "Appropriate
Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism." In theory,
the Act could certainly make an alien with terrorist affinities
"ineligible for admission or deportable," that is if such
ties were readily traceable. The Act cannot void of vipers the many
U.S-based Jihad nesting grounds, set up for the purpose of funneling
ideological trainees into the terrorism trade, just as "French
laws monitoring bank accounts and illegal activities don't stop
Algerian terrorists living in France from regularly murdering people
by placing bombs in subways."
the existing votes-for-visas immigration policy were not bad enough,
Bill S1424 proposes to grant officials "permanent authority"
to confer an "S" visa on an alien if he can supply
critical information with respect to criminal or terrorist organizations.
The thought of bureaucrats freely using visas as bait to recruit
operatives for the intelligence community is chilling. Still less
confidence-inspiring is the notion of releasing into American neighborhoods
individuals who are in a position to rat out an al-Qaida member.
there are the Resolutions condemning any "discrimination"
against Muslim Americans. Aware as we are that freedom of association
has long been prohibited, and forced integration mandated does this
Resolution also condemn sensible security-related profiling? If
so, it is positively perilous to our safety.
not most bills have deceiving titles. The appellation of the "Air
Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act" masks a
bailout bill for the airline industry. Other bills like the one
proposed by, wouldnít you have guessed, "the Hildebeast,"
are worse than useless. Sen. Clinton spearheaded an increase in
funding to "mental health providers serving public safety workers
affected by the terrorist attacks of September 11." The de
reguer therapy used to "treat" such workers would be crisis
intervention and debriefing. This psychotherapeutic modality is
useless as far as efficacy goes, and may even be harmful to its
cursory perusal of the legislation related to the attack serves
as an intemperate and much needed reminder that the "work"
of the legislator is plain fatuous. What on earth are these people
doing by issuing "a joint resolution expressing the sense of
the Senate and House of Representatives regarding the terrorist
attacks launched against the United States"? Or how about a
joint resolution encouraging every United States citizen
to display the flag of the United States? Or one "condemning
any price gouging with respect to motor fuels during the hours and
days after the terrorist acts of September 11"? To paraphrase
journalist Barbara Amielís memorable words, government is keeping
out of our bedrooms, but what is it doing in every other room?
donít mean to sound callous, but being blown up by terrorists is
no reason to give victims awards for valor. The deaths are a result
of horrible happenstance; they are not conscious acts of bravery.
Yet there is a spasm afoot to confer the highest of honors on "civilian
employees of the Department of Defense who are killed or wounded
by a terrorist attack."
has not yet been given the Purple Heart for his olfactory contributions
to the September 11 rescue efforts. But one giddy Rep. by the name
of Benjamin Gilman wants Congress to recognize the Furry Brigade
"for their service in the rescue and recovery efforts in the
aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September
11, 2001." (What can I say? "Blessed Be the Cheese Makers
for They Shall Inherit the Earth." See "The Life of Brian.")
such consistently puerile notions in a private sector job, and you
stand to be fired, or at the very least examined for the presence
of a brain infarct. Hereís an idea for our parochial parasites:
Stop groping greedily and obscenely for the "Stimulus Package"
in order to revive the economy. Instead, resign. In pirate parlance,
"walk the plank"! Get a job! Do your patriotic bit for
Mercer [send her mail]
is a freelance writer. Please
visit her website.
2001 Ilana Mercer
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