Thursday, June 03, 2004

Conspiracy Theories

Fans of The Da Vinci Code and/or conspiracy theories might be interested in this article in the Village Voice. Gary Indiana has some information to pass along about the Opus Dei:

Opus members go in for self-flagellation and other rituals of self-inflicted pain. The organization has its own list of banned books and a hierarchy of membership levels, and is virulently opposed to abortion and gay rights. It endorses most of the other lunatic phobias of the ultra-right Christian Coalition. Opus Dei would not merit all that much attention, were it not for the fact that Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent/ Russian spy, was revealed to be a member, and that there have been plausible allegations that Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, along with Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, belong to Opus Dei too.
My brain is already whirling with implications, is yours? And to further fuel the conspiracy fires, the Village Voice has a good article by Nat Hentoff on the Patriot Act. Apparently the U.S.A. Patriot Act (which stands for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obsruct Terrorism--I feel so much better about it now, don't you?) is not doing so well in popularity contests. Chuck Rosenberg, chief of staff to James Comey, John Ashcroft's second-in-command at the Justice Department admitted "We're losing this fight." The article also quotes "Acts of Resistance", a great essay by Elaine Scarry in May's issue of Harper's. If you aren't convinced the Patriot Act is something to worry about, consider this little tidbit from Hentoff's article
...the Associated Press reported, "The number of secret surveillance warrants sought by the FBI has increased by 85 percent in the last three years, a pace that has outstripped the Justice Department's ability to quickly process them." They'll process these warrants, which are authorized by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the AP notes, for "wiretaps, video surveillance, property search and other spying on people believed to be terrorists or spies." And we'll never know if our records are being included in the databases. These are secret searches.
That means someone could be looking into what books you've been checking out from the library and you won't know about it until you are whisked away for a little friendly questioning. Are you paranoid yet?