Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bon Voyage, Civil Rights

"House approves changes in terror spy program"...San Francisco Chronicle.

What now?

I think we can abandon any expectation that our rights will be protected; they're essentially already gone.

And while those precious civil rights were almost an "accident" from a group of privileged men who wanted this constitution in place and agreed to them in order to do so, they have still been the basis of freedom in America.

So, say goodbye to your accidental freedoms, because the Democrats in Congress aren't going to protect the average American. With their approval, the government now has expanded spying powers, claiming needed coverage of technological advances originally not included (despite 8 updates since 9-11), and "heightened risk" (yeah, sure).

Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the bill allows wiretapping without warrants as long as it was “concerning a person abroad," therefore, the law could be construed to allow any search inside the United States as long as the government claimed it “concerned” Al Qaeda. Conclusion: Do not ever again write, speak, or refer to "AQ."

Here is what your government was already doing BEFORE the expanded bill, paraphrased excerpts of "You Have No Rights," by Mathew Rothschild.

Monitoring phone calls, e-mails, and opening your snail mail. (I have visions of Homeland Security awash in the holiday "confetti" so popular a few years ago.)

Monitoring large financial transactions, e.g., buying a house. (As a protester of this administration for a number of years, I'm safe! I have NO large financial transactions. However, since they are prone to "interpret" as they wish, they could include my large-financial-transaction-in-relation-to-income cable bill.)

Your home can be entered when you're not there, a recording device put on your computer, and you won't be notified for at least 30 days. (Of course, this could be another of those "I can't remember" issues.)

You are never to protest at a major public event or in a place where you can be seen by the president or vice president. (Interesting; but I have no plans to ever appear on FOX and as incomes shrink [mine just did thanks to outsourcing] major public events are off the budget.)

Political organizations can be infiltrated, and they aren't exactly known for their ability to discern true danger, e.g. Sears-7, Manhattan upriver flooding, etc.

They can track the material you've been reading and force the librarian/store owner to keep it mum, other than to seek legal advice, for a year or more.

You can be held in preventive detention for months on end as a material witness. (I wonder if they will let you know what it was you witnessed?)

If you're not a citizen, you can be deported on a technicality or for mere political association; you can be labeled an enemy combatant and be sent to secret prisons around the world. Even if you are a citizen, the government can label you an enemy combatant and hold you in solitary confinement here in the United States.

Under George W. Bush's interpretation of the president's powers during the so-called war on terror he can do just about whatever he wants. He cites the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill, which Congress passed on September 18, 2001, as the justification for this enormous leeway.

"Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn't prescribe the tactics," Bush said on January 23, 2006. He presumes those tactics are totally up to him.

Yes, the U.S. government has a primary obligation to protect us all from another attack. But who will protect us from our government?

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