November 3, 2005
"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 United States" by
Larry Chin, GlobalResearch)
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 with the
unbridled authority of the supreme presidency. The country is slipping
inexorably towards the Orwellian nightmare; the National Security State.
Courtesy and Copyright © Mike Whitney