If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking... is freedom. - Dwight Eisenhower
The state represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the state is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence." -- Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi
Liberals were right when they attacked Bush and the Republicans on egregious abuses of civil liberties. However, the very same liberals and Democrats who were so rightfully outraged over Bush and Republican assaults on civil liberties are now quiet. Actually, they are worse than quiet and have stood by silently while Obama and Gang vastly intensified draconian Bush era civil liberty abuses with NDAA (a piece of legislation signed by Obama that provides for the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process), Attorney General Eric Holders loudly proclaiming that the regime can murder American citizens anytime and anywhere without cause and numerous other pieces of legislation. However, even among liberals, Democrats and their traditional organizations, dissent is beginning to surface as they are forced to face the stone cold reality that Obama is worst than Bush on civil liberties and that his administration is just building on Bush era civil liberty infringements.
The Patriot Act that was passed by Congress within weeks after 911 is a civil liberties slashing horror that effectively negated the 4th amendment by allowing warrantless searches. The government now has the right to invade our privacy, e-mails, telecommunications, financial records, phone conservations and much more – all without obtaining a valid warrant from a judge and showing probable cause. As far as the Constitution is concerned, knowledgeable observers understand full well that the Patriot Act violates the 1, 4th, 5th and 6th amendments known as the Bill of Rights.
While Democrats and civil libertarians objected to the Patriot Act along political lines because it was a perceived as a Republican initiative, few are even willing to admit that the roots of the Patriot Act go all the way back to Bill Clinton’s 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, another civil liberty slashing piece of legislation that followed the Oklahoma City bombing.
According to the website historycommons.org on April 25, 1996 “President Clinton signs the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which the New York Times calls “broad legislation that provides new tools and penalties for federal law-enforcement officials to use in fighting terrorism.” The Clinton administration proposed the bill in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City terrorist bombing…. In many ways, the original bill will be mirrored by the USA Patriot Act six years later…. Civil libertarians on both the left and right opposed the legislation. Political analyst Michael Freeman called the proposal one of the “worst assaults on civil liberties in decades,” and the Houston Chronicle called it a “frightening” and “grievous” assault on domestic freedoms…”. Read more here.
But Glenn Greenwald is far from the only person to chirp in on the government’s civil liberties abuses and advocacy for murder of anybody the government deems a terrorist. The John Birch Society (JBS), a very conservative organization that advocates for constitutional rule, said “Surveillance, torture and detention without jury trials have long gone hand-in-hand throughout all of human history. The Soviet KGB reputedly had listening devices everywhere they could, brought people for beatings and torture to the infamous Lubyanka prison in Moscow and then “disappeared” its prisoners to the gulag. The Nazi Gestapo also had an all-pervasive intelligence network, engaged in torture, and sent millions of detainees to concentration camps without trial. That's why constitutionalists have opposed the Patriot Act from the beginning. It is a stepping stone to a far more brutal form of government than Americans have historically known.”
“the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators….The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington….This localized intelligence apparatus is part of a larger Top Secret America….Today's story, along with related material on The Post's Web site, examines how Top Secret America plays out at the local level. It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11.” More here.
Another civil liberty slashing horror is the emergence of “Fusion Centers”, a Fedzilla initiative that merges local police departments with the military and the Feds, all in the name of national security of course. Civil libertarians have been all over the fusion center issue and grassroots groups have been formed to fight them. The fusion centers represent the emergence of a militarized police state.
Wendy McElroy explains the fusion centers, here, in an article titled An American Stasi?
What is a fusion center? The answer depends on your perspective...If you are privacy or civil-rights advocate, it is part of a powerful new domestic surveillance infrastructure that combines data from both the public and private sectors to track innocent people and so makes Americans less safe from their own government. In that respect, the fusion center is reminiscent of the East German stasi, which used tens of thousands of state police and hundreds of thousands of informers to monitor an estimated one-third of the population...
Fusion centers began in 2003 under the administration of George W. Bush as a joint project between the departments of Justice and Homeland Security. The purpose is to coordinate federal and local law enforcement by using the "800,000 plus law enforcement officers across the country" whose intimate awareness of their own communities makes them "best placed to function as the 'eyes and ears' of an extended national security community." The fusion centers are hubs for the coordination. By April 2008 there were 58.
The growth has continued under the Obama administration. Indeed, Obama has also continued Bush's concealment of domestic intelligence activity by threatening to veto legislation that authorizes broader congressional oversight or review of intelligence agencies by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). As a result of that threat, the GAO provision was removed from the Intelligence Authorization Act..”
A lot of civil liberty organizations on the left and the right have been documenting the growth and abuse of the emerging paramilitary state. Cato.org actually keeps a data base on botched police raids and the casualties resulting from such violent incursions into the homes of ordinary American citizens; the data base is available at http://www.cato.org/raidmap/. From 1985 to 2010, you can scroll through data state by state and year by year on: death of an innocent, raid on a non-violent offender, raid on an innocent suspect, other examples of paramilitary excess and even unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people. Radley Balko of Cato.org actually testified in 2007 before a House Subcommittee on Crime and his testimony was titled “Our Militarized Police Departments”. His testimony is here and includes:
Since the late 1980s, Mr. Chairman, thanks to acts passed by the U.S. Congress, millions of pieces of surplus military equipment have been given to local police departments across the country.
We’re not talking just about computers and office equipment. Military-grade semi-automatic weapons, armored personnel vehicles, tanks, helicopters, airplanes, and all manner of other equipment designed for use on the battlefield is now being used on American streets, against American citizens.
Academic criminologists credit these transfers with the dramatic rise in paramilitary SWAT teams over the last quarter century.
SWAT teams were originally designed to be used in violent, emergency situations like hostage takings, acts of terrorism, or bank robberies…. These violent raids on American homes, when coupled with the imperfect, often ugly methods used in drug policing, have set the stage for disturbingly frequent cases of police raiding the homes not only of recreational, nonviolent drug users, but the homes of people completely innocent of any crime at all….
800 times per week in this country, a SWAT team breaks open an American’s door, and invades his home. Few turn up any weapons at all, much less high-power weapons. Less than half end with felony charges for the suspects. And only a small percentage end up doing significant time in prison.As if the fear of a Swat Team busting down your door in the middle of the night isn't bad enough, Americans are also dealing with the revoltingly intrusive TSA searches that frequently constitute outright sexual assaults. TSA horror stories emerge almost daily as government goons humiliate and degrade human beings by probing their 'junk', body cavities and even subjecting folks with colostomy bags and various prothestics to embarrassing searches.
Finally, government is never about protecting us and is always all about forcing us to live in fear of the government. That the US government has embarked on a plan to dramatically ratchet up the humiliation and degradation of citizens is a test of how much we are willing to tolerate in our emerging Nazified Police State. God help us if we fail to rise up against this evil.