Against the ‘state of exception’, the crucial battle to save freedom of information

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The game of diplomatic bluff played out in the row between the Unites States and Russia over the asylum offered to former NSA computer analyst-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden disguises an essential issue that concerns all of us, writes Mediapart editor-in-chief Edwy Plenel. That issue, he argues here, is how a ‘state of exception’, symbolized by the US Patriot Act and which cites supposed security concerns above the just rule of law, is surreptitiously extending its already vast power amid hitherto widespread indifference. A battle is on to force its retreat, and it is being fought here, on the internet.

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A ‘state of exception’ is taking over from the state of justice and law, becoming the rule on a global scale, without borders or limits, and which wants to stamp itself as a universal standard. Our guilty indifference to what is happening is making it all the easier to impose.