US Continues Its March Towards A Police State
We all know how 9/11 changed the landscape of this nation overnight. Even if you have not read or watched any news, but have flown since, you have already noticed the difference at the airports. Not only a new Homeland Security Department was born, there have been multitudes of new laws passed that have changed life in this country as we know it.
These laws don’t affect terrorists so much. It was always illegal to set bombs in public places and kill people. If more police vigilance is what was needed, we wouldn’t need new laws. Besides, these laws, including two Patriot Acts and NDAA, as well as new – or new insofar as they are now publicly known – practices such as warrantless wiretaps and surveillance of citizens and reading their emails and monitoring their Web searches and eavesdropping on their private conversations and checking the names of books they purchase or check out or whom they call overseas, first and foremost, affect American citizens and their rights and their privacy.
But, it’s not even all about prevention of terrorism, even if one were to argue that giving up our freedoms and rights is worth the extra sense of security. If preventing terrorism was the main objective, it could be done through some very simple policy changes. For starters, it would help if they didn’t kill people overseas every day. It would also help if they didn’t aid and abet the genocide against Palestinians or impose or support brutal dictatorships, or attack or occupy foreign lands, etc. Giving these things up is not worth it for them because it would affect their profits. Instead, they’ll curtail people’s civil rights. That’s much more beneficial for them.
But, as I said, it’s not just about terrorism they’re concerned about. Their biggest concern actually is preventing dissent. They don’t want anything to get in the way of their plans for world domination for the sake of their transnational corporations, some of which have grown so big and powerful their yearly profits are bigger than the yearly budget of many countries. A government that answers to such corporations and their needs is a government that will go to endless wars in the name of fighting terror, but, it’s also a government which will try to stifle dissent. And to facilitate that, it will enact laws that give the security apparatus powers to contain dissent. A government that’s genuinely concerned about safety of its citizens and takes steps to improve it, would not try to hide massacring innocent people by its troops in Iraq and then jail a private (Pfc. Bradley Manning) on charges of espionage because he exposed the atrocity. A government genuinely trying to improve security would not try to punish whistle blowers like Julian Assange for making public its evil deeds. A government that does these is a government that is trying to prevent, not so much terrorism, but dissent because such whistle blowing can aid in the formation of a movement that could put a stop to their policies.
The two Patriot acts which Bush signed into law and Obama renewed or the NDAA which Obama signed into law on New Year’s eve of 2011 – not making this up, on New Years Eve, while his wife and daughters were getting ready to celebrate – were much more about preventing protests and uprising than fighting terrorism, especially when you consider that NDAA was passed in the aftermath of Occupy Wall Street movement.
In 2009, Representative Hastings of Florida, Democrat, introduced H.R. 645: National Emergency Centers Establishment Act which would authorize at least 6 military installations as sites for the establishment of national emergency centers to be run under the command of the Secretary of Homeland Security. The language in the Act was so vague that it would allow the Secretary to use the centers for anything he or she saw fit. Mainly, for that reason, that bill didn’t pass. But, a new version was reintroduced earlier this year that once again authorizes the Homeland Security to establish at least 6, and possibly more, camps that could house large numbers of people for an extended period of time, if and when the president declares a national emergency. And what would constitute an emergency? The president will decide that!
Recently, Attorney General Eric Holder, justifying the constitutionality of Obama’s kill list, said it didn’t violate due process because who will be killed gets discussed within the White House!
In an editorial, urging the closure of Guantanamo, London’s Guardian wrote that a government that reacts in such ways to terrorism is a government that had admitted defeat by them. I disagree. A government that uses terrorism to violate the Constitution and due process and all international laws is a government that never saw terrorists as the main obstacle to its goals. The main war was never with them to begin with. It was and remains with its own people. And in that war, they’re claiming victory.