"The structure in question (misleadingly called a fence or barrier) is in fact an ingeniously designed system of population control that includes 4-metre deep trenches on either side of a concrete wall or coiled wire through which an electric current runs, trace paths to register footprints, a two-lane military patrol road, and watchtowers at regular intervals. In other words, a maximum security prison in which an entire population is trapped.
Israel's stated reason for building the wall is to prevent attacks from suicide bombers. One wonders then why Israel did not build the wall along the Green Line. In fact, Israel's wall is clearly designed to help Israel grab Palestinian land and to make life so intolerable for Palestinians that they will be forced to emigrate.
Future generations will wonder why so many people remained silent for so long while Israel adopted a policy that slowly destroyed a nation. This month marked the 14th anniversary of the fall of the hated Berlin Wall. Why does the world watch in silence as Israel builds a much crueler wall in the West Bank?"
(Ida Audeh, 28 November 2003, RamallahOnline.com)
"The prison operates through the production of norms to divide the population into prisoners and non-prisoners. Since the goal of the prison is to return prisoners to the status of non-prisoners, there must be a criterion, one carefully and comprehensively elaborated, to recognise the non-prisoner, the prisoner, and the developmental stages in the change from the one to the other. There must also be a detailed regimen to effectuate the change. There must finally be a method or system of keeping track of the change in each prisoner. Foucault borrows from Bentham the term Panopticon (one who sees all) to denote the entire apparatus of defining the norm, disciplining the negative term, observing the change from the negative to the positive and studying the whole process so that it can be perfected. But there is a difference. For Bentham the Panopticon was an artifice that deflected the criminal's mind from the irrationality of transgression to the rationality of the norm. It imposed social authority on the prisoner in a constant, total manner. The prisoner's actions could be monitored by guards at any time but without his ever knowing it. The prisoner would, in Rousseau's phrase, be forced to be free. With no escape or reprieve from the Panoptical eye, the prisoner would accept the authority of the norm with its rational system of pleasures and pains. For Foucault the task is to see the system as an imposition of a structure of domination, not as a rational, humanist intention.As we know, the Panopticon, evaluated on the standards of liberal and Benthamite theory, is a failure. Foucault's aim is to grasp the workings of the Panopticon outside the liberal framework: if it does not reform prisoners, what does it do? What are the effects of the social text of the prison, of Panoptical discourse? His argument is that the prison, in the context of a liberal capitalist society that celebrates the anarchy of the marketplace, the chaos of free monads pursuing infinite wants, the rationality of the unhindered subject - the prison in this world imposes the technology of power, the "micropolitics" of the norm. In capitalist society, regulation takes the form of discourses/practices that produce and reproduce the norm. The school, the asylum, the factory, the barracks to greater or lesser degrees and with considerable variation all imitate the Panopticon (see figures overleaf). In modern society power is imposed not by the personal presence and brute force of a caste of nobles as it was in earlier times but by the systematic scribblings in discourses, by the continual monitoring of daily life, adjusting and readjusting ad in finitum the norm of individuality. Modern society may be read as a discourse in which nominal freedom of action is canceled by the ubiquitous look of the other. It may be interpreted semiologically as a field of signs in which the metadiscourse of the Panopticon is reimposed everywhere, even in places in which it is not installed. We may suggest that the free individual requires a repressed other, a sort of external super-ego, an absent father if only to guarantee his or her freedom."
(Mark Poster pp.90-91)
Poster, Mark. 1990 The Mode of Information: Poststructuralism and Social Context, Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. ISBN: 0745603262
"In futuristic Washington, D.C., a system is established that can accurately predict when criminals are going to commit murder or violent crimes. This system, known as 'Pre-Crime', was set up by the respectable Lamar Burgess (Max von Sydow) and uses the abilities of a set of 3 special individuals known as 'Pre-Cogs'. These individuals, through visions or dreams, can see into the future and give a prediction of when a violent crime will occur, usually accurate to the second.
However, John Anderton (Tom Cruise), the head of 'Pre-Crime', is envisioned to have committed the future murder of a man he has never met before, and before he can be apprehended, he sets out headstrong to solve the mystery of this murder before it inevitably happens. As precious time ticks away, and consistencies with the 'pre-cog' visions become more and more prevalent, Anderton realises that the only way he will be able to solve the mystery, is to get the 'minority report' from the female pre-cog Agatha (Samantha Morton).
The 'minority report' is a vision that only one of the pre-cogs can see. In the system, all 3 pre-cogs see the same vision the vast majority of the time, however, on occasion, the female Agatha, who has been found to be the most talented of the 3, sees something different than the other 2, but this is usually disregarded in order to preserve the credibility of the system."