|Which way to the Coffee House?|
I had also read a post at 3QuarksDaily entitled How The Islamic World Gave Us Coffee Houses and Democracy.
So, the testimony of one of the Chicago Police Department undercover operatives (a.k.a. "domestic spy") caught my attention specifically because her testimony on the witness stand was about their spy techniques which they employ against citizens, even though they have no evidence or probable cause to spy on those citizens.
Except that those citizens happen to frequent coffee houses, and that particular type of Café.
Those Coffee House Cafés which are known for several hundred years now to harbor certain undesirables (wink, wink).
So, I could not resist making the following comment there:
“She was to go undercover to 'gather intelligence' at coffee shops …” – Kevin Gosztola(Dredd Comment @ Dissenter). Little did the neophyte officer or the Chicago Police know that their escapades have been practiced by despots for hundreds of years.
This spying on coffee houses is an ancient practice that goes back to the origin of coffee in the Islamic world, long before it made its subversive way to the West:
Douglas defends coffee by comparing its use in Europe to its history in the East. “The first publick Coffee-Houses,” he explains, were “from the beginning very little different from what it is in London and Paris at this day.” Oriental coffeehouses welcomed “persons of all ranks,” from students to “the Officers of the Seraglio … and others of the First Quality.” The coffeehouse gave all men the “opportunity of discoursing on all manner of subjects, without the least ceremony or constraint.” A place for entertainment, conversation, and debate, the coffeehouses fostered a new kind of sociability that threatened religious and political authority. Douglas celebrates their intellectual edge, observing that the coffee-drinking Sufis enjoyed “great Alacrity and Freedom of the Mind.” Coffeehouses were information exchanges where patrons discussed news, carried on business, and learned about the latest developments in art and science. Unsurprisingly, Douglas dismisses complaints about coffeehouses as “a great deal of noise and useless railing.” In a conspicuous swipe at Charles II’s attempt to close down London’s coffeehouses, Douglas recounts how “the Liberty” of the Ottoman coffeehouses led a Grand Vizier to disguise himself and secretly investigate them. He discovered “Men of Gravity and Character discoursing seriously concerning the Affairs of the Empire, blaming the Ministry, and deciding freely concerning things of the greatest importance. He had been likewise to visit the taverns, where he met only with People singing, or talking of their amours and warlike Exploits … and therefore he allow’d the Taverns to continue.” A King of England who tried to shut down coffeehouses, Douglas contends, would be acting like a tyrannical sultan.(How the Islamic World Gave Us Coffee and Democracy). “History repeats itself, and that’s one of the things that’s wrong with history”, said Clarence Darrow.
What makes it especially ironic is that the ancestors of the phantom "terrorists of Islam" they were seeking out had created the vestiges of democracy in their coffee houses long, long ago.
The very vestiges of democracy which those ignorant officers purport to protect by their witless operations to destroy it.
The Chicago Police are so wannabe NSA (cf. the Heartland Café which the Chicago PD "saved the world" from).
UPDATE: The jury quickly acquitted the NATO 3 of all terrorism charges (Jury Acquits ‘NATO 3′ of All Terrorism Charges).