“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, 10-19-05)
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 economic situation.
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.