- "Those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms
of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid the terrorists
for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition
to America's enemies and pause to America's friends"
- -- Former Attorney General, John Ashcroft
- Did you know that under the terms of the new Patriot
Act prosecutors will be able to seek the death penalty in cases where "defendants
gave financial support to umbrella organizations without realizing that
some of its adherents might eventually commit violence"? (NY Times;
editorial 10-30-05) So, if someone unknowingly gave money to a charity
that was connected to a terrorist group, he could be executed.
- Or, that the Senate Intelligence Committee is fine-tuning
the details of a bill that will allow the FBI to secretly procure any of
your personal records without "probable cause" or a court order
giving them "unchecked authority to pry into personal and business
matters"? (New York Times, "Republicans seek to widen FBI Powers,
- Or, that on June 29, President Bush put "a broad
swath of the FBI"
- under his direct control by creating the National Security
Service (aka; the "New SS")? This is the first time we've had
a "secret police" in our 200 year history. It will be run exclusively
by the president and beyond the range of congressional oversight.
- Or, that on October 27, 2005 president Bush created the
National Clandestine Service, which will be headed by CIA Director Porter
Goss and will "expand reporting of information and intelligence value
from state, local and tribal law enforcement entities and private sector
stakeholders"? This executive order gives the CIA the power to carry
out covert operations, spying, propaganda, and "dirty tricks"
within the United States and on the American public. ("The New National
Intelligence Strategy of the US" by Larry Chin, Global Research)
- Or, that Pentagon intelligence operatives are now permitted
to collect information from US citizens without revealing their status
as government spies? ("Bill would give Cover to Pentagon Spies",
Greg Miller, Times Staff writer, "The Nation")
- Or, that within 2 years every American license and passport
will be made according to federal uniform standards including microchips
(with biometric information) that will allow the government to trace every
movement of its citizens?
- Or, that recent rulings, the DC District Court unanimously
decided in two different cases that foreign prisoners have no rights under
international law to challenge their indefinite imprisonment by the United
States and, (in Rumsfeld vs. Padilla) that the president can lock up an
American citizen "without charges" if he believes he may be an
"enemy combatant"? Both verdicts overturn the fundamental principles
of "inalienable rights", habeas corpus, and the presumption of
innocence; replacing them with the arbitrary authority of the executive.
- The American people have no idea of the amount of energy
that has been devoted to stripping them of their constitutional protections
and how stealthily that plan has been carried out. It has required the
concerted efforts of the political establishment, the corporate elite,
and the collaborative media. For all practical purposes, the government
is no longer constrained in its conduct towards its citizens; it can do
as it pleases.
- The campaign to dismantle the Bill of Rights has focused
primarily on the key amendments; the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th.
These are the cornerstones of American liberty and they encompass everything
from due process to equal protection to free speech to a ban on the "cruel
and unusual" treatment of prisoners. Freedom has little tangible meaning
apart from the safety provided by these amendments.
- At present, there's no reason for the administration
to assert its new powers. That would only dispel the widely-held illusion
of personal freedom. But, the existing climate of "well being"
will not last forever. The poisonous effects of war, tax cuts, burgeoning
budget deficits, and inflation indicate that darker days lie ahead. The
middle class is stretched paper-thin and disaster could be as close as
a hike in interest rates. The new repressive legislation anticipates the
massive political unrest that naturally follows a tenuous and volatile
- Is this why Congress has rubber stamped so many of the
administration's autocratic laws, or does Bush simply "hate our freedoms"?
- The members of America's ruling elite carefully follow
the shifting of policy in Washington. They have the power to access the
mainstream media and dispute the changes in the law that they oppose. Regrettably,
there's been no sign of protest from the bastions of the corporate, financial
and political oligarchy; just an ominous silence.
- Does this mean that American Brahmins have abandoned
their support for personal liberty and the rights of man?
- America is undergoing its greatest metamorphosis. It
has been severed from its constitutional moorings and is drifting towards
a police state. If Samuel Alito is appointed to the Supreme Court then
Bush will be able to solidify his "unchecked" power as executive
and 50 years of progressive legislation will be up for review. Everything
from abortion to Miranda will be reconsidered through the hard-right lens
of the new majority.
- Americans still seem blissfully unaware of the fundamental
changes to the political system. The cloak of disinformation and diversion
has successfully obscured the perils of our present course. Freedom is
no longer guaranteed in Bush's America nor is liberty everyman's birthright.
The rickety scaffolding that supports the rule of law has been replaced
by the unbridled authority of the supreme presidency. The country is slipping
inexorably towards the Orwellian nightmare; the National Security State.