Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Japan Prime Minister Abe’s secrecy bill to gag whistleblowers has passed the lower house and is almost certain to pass the upper house and become law. As far as I can tell, it establishes the right of Japanese ministers to classify anything they do as extra-special-super-secret if they deem it relevant to defence, diplomacy, counter-terrorism or counter-espionage. And it’s nothing to do with covering up government cock-ups. Any journalist (blogger? Tweeter?) who defies the gag by publishing anything the ministers don’t like will face five years confinement at his majesty’s pleasure.
So that would make illegal, oh for argument’s sake, tweeting revealing testimony of nuclear cock-ups at Fukushima, or anyone stating anything with any knowledge that is not the official line on, let’s say, those rocks in the ocean that China, Japan and Taiwan keep threatening war over. Stands to reason. Democracy can’t handle a free press going off message, can it?
Nothing to do with government cock-ups. Or NSA protocols. We’re safer if we trust the authorities to keep us safe and we won’t worry our pretty little heads about things we don’t know about. Because very soon now, it will actually be illegal to know anything about stuff that the higher-ups know about. If it isn’t already.
Best not to ask any questions. Questions only get you into trouble. Best to trust our leaders. Oh look, that nice Caroline Kennedy is here. Everything is fine. Everything is wonderful. We can trust the higher ups. When have they ever led us wrong? The less the authorities show us, the more we will trust them and the more in touch with the national interests they will be. Because that’s always how it works out when dissent becomes illegal, doesn’t it? Leaders govern more magnanimously, don’t they?