They Always Get What They Want
Credit: Seven, RTC Correspondent
Way back on January 18, 2012, the fight against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act had reached it’s end when the bill was unceremoniously dropped. The people had won. Led by major sites like Wikipedia and Google, blackening their pages in protest, and key people like Aaron Swartz leading marches and rallies, they had bombarded Congress with calls and letters. Fearing for their jobs (it was an election year), almost all support for the bill ended abruptly. The next day however, on the 19th, Megaupload.com was taken down by the FBI, and members of its staff were charged with copyright infringement.
Many members of Congress had been pushing SOPA and PIPA, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act, backed by the movie and music industries for whom sites like Megaupload had been a problem for years. The CEO, Kim Dotcom, and the site staff disavowed all responsibility for what their members uploaded and did precious little to appease these media giants or help in their fight to curtail piracy. Had these laws passed, this website and many more like it would’ve been shut down immediately, but they didn’t pass. Seeing their failure, authorities moved on a plan they already had in place anyway, regardless of it’s questionable legality and did what the failed laws would’ve allowed, had they passed.
It’s this “lose and win anyway” tactic the government employs that we find over and over throughout history, and now, it’s been brought to bear once again. On August 21, 2013, the Ghouta chemical attack in Syria killed anywhere from 281 to 1729 people, depending on the sources, and caused international outrage. The Syrian government claimed that rebels coordinated the attack, even though fifty-one of the dead were rebels themselves. In turn, the rebels blamed government soldiers. Leading members of our government, the loudest of whom was John McCain, pushed for airstrikes, and even further military action, in response.
The people however, weren’t ready for a third war after twelve years of continuous fighting. They poured out into the streets with “No War In Syria” signs, and along with admonishment from Russia, vast letter and call campaigns pushed the President and Congress to back down from their aggressive stance. John McCain and many other hawks in Congress were “disgusted” and called the administration “spineless” in it’s enforcement of the ban on chemical weapons.
A year after the chemical attack in Syria, almost to the day, on August 19, 2014, a journalist named James Foley was beheaded by ISIS militants. We’ve been bombing Syria ever since.
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