By Maidhc Ó Cathail
It would be hard to think of anyone who has done more to undermine American freedoms than Joseph Lieberman.
Since 9/11, the Independent senator from Connecticut has introduced a raft of legislation in the name of the "global war on terror" which has steadily eroded constitutional rights. If the United States looks increasingly like a police state, Senator Lieberman has to take much of the credit for it.
On October 11, 2001, exactly one month after 9/11, Lieberman introduced S. 1534, a bill to establish a Department of Homeland Security. Since then, he has been the main mover behind such draconian legislation as the Protect America Act of 2007, the Enemy Belligerent, Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010, and the proposed Terrorist Expatriation Act, which would revoke the citizenship of Americans suspected of terrorism. And now the senator from Connecticut wants to kill the Internet.
According to the bill he recently proposed in the Senate, the entire global internet is to be claimed as a "national asset" of the United States. If Congress passes the bill, the US President would be given the power to "kill" the internet in the event of a "national cyber-emergency." Supporters of the legislation say this is necessary to prevent a "cyber 9/11" – yet another myth from the fearmongers who brought us tales of "Iraqi WMD" and "Iranian nukes."
Lieberman's concerns about the internet are not new. The United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which Lieberman chairs, released a report in 2008 titled "Violent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat." The report claimed that groups like al-Qaeda use the internet to indoctrinate and recruit members, and to communicate with each other.
Immediately after the report was published, Lieberman asked Google, the parent company of You Tube, to "immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations." That might sound like a reasonable request. However, as far as Lieberman is concerned, Hamas, Hezbollah and even the Iranian Revolutionary Guard are terrorist organizations.
It's hardly surprising that Lieberman's views on what constitute terrorism parallel those of Tel Aviv. As Mark Vogel, chairman of the largest pro-Israel Political Action Committee (PAC) in the United States, once said: "Joe Lieberman, without exception, no conditions … is the No. 1 pro-Israel advocate and leader in Congress. There is nobody who does more on behalf of Israel than Joe Lieberman."
Lieberman has been well-rewarded for his patriotism – to another country. In the past six years, he has been the Senate's top recipient of political contributions from pro-Israel PACs with a staggering $1,226,956.
But what is it that bothers Lieberman so much about the internet? Could it be that it allows ordinary Americans access to facts which reveal exactly what kind of "friend" Israel has been to its overgenerous benefactor? Facts which they have been denied by the pro-Israel mainstream media.
How much faith would American voters have in the likes of Lieberman, who claims that the Jewish state is their greatest ally, if they knew that Israeli agents planted firebombs in American installations in Egypt in 1954 in an attempt to undermine relations between Nasser and the United States; that Israel murdered 34 American servicemen in a deliberate attack on the USS Liberty on June 8, 1967; that Israeli espionage, most notably Jonathan Pollard's spying, has done tremendous damage to American interests; that five Mossad agents were filming and celebrating as the Twin Towers collapsed on September 11, 2001; that Tel Aviv and its accomplices in Washington were the source of the false pre-war intelligence on Iraq; and about countless other examples of treachery?
In his latest attempt to censor the internet, does Lieberman really want to protect the American people from imaginary cyber-terrorists? Or is he just trying to protect his treasonous cronies from the American people?
Maidhc Ó Cathail is a writer and educator. Born and raised in Ireland, he has been living in Japan since 1999. In addition to writing a monthly column for a popular Irish language magazine, his work is regularly published in Antiwar.com, Dissident Voice, Foreign Policy Journal, Islam Times, Khaleej Times, Pakistan Observer, Palestine Chronicle, Salem-News.com, Tehran Times, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and many more.
Maidhc Ó Cathail is a widely published writer based in Japan. To read more of his writing, go to Maidhc Ó Cathail: Writing and Analysis.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.