The American people are under attack and the enemy is right here at home…disguised as the federal government.
By Julien J. Metzmeyer, Opinion Editor
On 9/11 America was under attack but the real threat came 45 days later when President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act though Congress when many members admitting they hadn’t even read it. That day turned out to be the beginning of a shock and awe campaign on civil liberties here at home.
Bush declared on C-SPAN, “This bill met with overwhelming agreement in Congress, because it upholds and respect the civil liberties guaranteed by our constitution.”
Is that so, or is it another lie from a politician?
Under the PATRIOT Act, FBI agents are allowed to request “tangible” items such as books, records and papers. They may also request other documents including materials checked out of libraries or purchased from bookstores if it’s believed that this information may protect the country from terrorism.
Former FBI agent Mike German stated during a 2011 Viewpoint interview that Americans were not safer when they compromised constitutional rights and civil liberties for national security interests. He said that they were less safe because government had moved away from having a rational, factual basis for targeting an individual toward suspicionless investigation. The FBI also is no longer required by law to specify the person they are investigating. Ben Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
The Fourth Amendment states, “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The Founding Fathers would’ve been horrified to find out what the government have been doing to its own citizens and the Constitution, fortunately there is people out there who decided to fight back.
One of them is whistleblower Edward Snowden who tried to inform the American public that the National Security Agency (NSA) has been spying on American citizens by intercepting Americans’ phone calls and Internet communications. And not just on terrorist suspects but on all Americans. These surveillance activities are in violation of the privacy safeguards established by Congress and the US Constitution.
A top secret NSA program called XKeyscore allows analyst to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.
“I, sitting at my desk,” said Snowden to The Guardian UK, could, “wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email.”
Snowden recently told the Council of Europe, “This technology represents the most significant new threat to civil liberties in modern times.”
Often politicians use the argument that if you don’t have anything to hide then you have nothing to be worried about but when the tables are turned, it’s a different story. Several senators such as Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a staunch defender of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to have violated federal law to spy on Congress.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R- S.C.) told reporters, “This is Richard Nixon stuff, this is dangerous to the democracy. Heads should roll, people should go to jail if it’s true. If it is. The Legislative Branch should declare war on the CIA.”
But wait a minute, I thought if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to be worried about? Does that mean senators have something to hide?
President Barack Obama went even further than Bush on Dec. 31, 2011 by signing The National Defense Authorization Act, authorizing the indefinite detention, without trial or indictment, of any U.S. citizens designated as enemies by the executive. In other words, it’s end of Habeas Corpus for U.S. citizens.
The Obama’s administration has been tackled down very hard on freedom of speech and free press. The most recent case is about a foreign policy reporter called James Risen who’s been battling with the government for refusing to give up the identity of an anonymous CIA source.
Risen told The Independent Sentinel, “the greatest enemy of press freedom that we have encountered in at least a generation.”
The government is now considering to change the Shield Law that could affect all bloggers by defining the term “journalist.” If they succeed, it could mean bloggers could be easily sued or worse.
Do Americans still live in the land of the free? Yes, but like the good old Dr. Thompson once said, “Freedom is something that dies unless it’s used.”
But when it comes to it, American people have become apathetic and the government is thriving on it.