November 14, 2005
-- by Dave Johnson
Under Bush the government can arrest and imprison (and torture?) "enemies" without a trial or even seeing a lawyer or a judge. You might ask, "So what? These people are terrorists."
How easily could this become a tool of political repression? Could we become a country where if the Republican Party says you're a "terrorist" then you're going away?
For an indication that this could head in that direction, let's look at who is the "enemy" right now. Who is being tracked by the government for suspicious activity? Who could be on that "terrorist" list one of these days? From Profiling: How the FBI Tracks Eco-Terror Suspects, an arrest of an "eco-terrorist" suspect. The "profile" that got him arrested?
Agents placed the commune under surveillance and developed a political profile of the residents, discovering the owner of the house and his father "have posted statements on websites opposing the use of fossil fuels," one doc reads. Another says the owner had ties to a local chapter of Food Not Bombs, an "anarcho-vegan food distribution group." Among activities flagged in bureau docs: the father of the owner had conducted a "one man' daily protest" outside a Toyota office, was interviewed for an article called "Dude, Where's my Electric Car!?" and posted info on a Web site announcing "Stop Norway Whaling!" [emphasis added]FYI - the person they arrested wasn't the person they were looking for.
Why is the FBI collecting information like this about Americans? Why does this profile so closely fit the profile of Ann Coulter's far-right fantasies?
Critics say such info has been increasingly collected by agents since the then Attorney General John Ashcroft relaxed FBI guidelines in 2002.Yes, the same Justice Department that would not investigate the leak of a CIA agent's identity. The same Justice Department that demoted a prosecutor for looking into the activities of Jack Abramoff. This is pure ideological profiling from the John Birch Society, Richard Mellon Scaife wing of the far right here, as government policy. Remember, recently the IRS started an investigation of a church because of an anti-war sermon. And the FBI recently said that the top domestic terrorism threat is animal rights and environmental activists. That is how close we are. And there is no Congressional oversight, no accountability, and soon even the courts will be completely under Party control.
Will the right-wingers turn this into a crusade against what they perceive as the enemy within? There's nothing to stop them.
Watch your backs!
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Allow me to quote from the so-called USA "Patriot" Act.
This clearly unconstitutional act creates an entirely new category of criminal known as a "domestic terrorist." This is defined a anyone who "tries to change government policy by threatening the government."
What exactly does it mean to "threaten the government?" First, you understand that the government, like any other institution, is not buildings, ideas or reams of paper. It is people, and above all it means politicians.
So, to threaten a politician means to threaten the government. What constitutes a threat to a politician? How about threatening to make him lose his job in the next election. How about threatening to have him thrown in prison by investigating his criminal behavior. How about threatening to upset his feelings by badgering him.
In short, complaining to a politician about the lack of a traffic light on your street corner could make you a domestic terrorist.
"Oh, that's absurd, our political leaders would never be so petty." Oh, sure. but if the politicians did not mean to be petty, then why did they choose the word "threatening" instead of say, "committing acts of violence?" Which, by the way, is already more than adequately covered by other statutes, including the text of the Constitution itself.
Knowing this, can you wonder at the behavior of the FBI, which is an arm of the executive branch of the federal government?
Wake up, people. The key to our salvation is the restoration of the Bill of Rights. It's our only hope.
Posted by: Daniel Van Riper at November 14, 2005 4:15 PM
Hello FBI domestic spy guys!
How do you like my bedroom now since I cleaned it up a bit?
Do you like the hot chicks on the porn sites I download?
Sorry about that bounced check last month to one of my credit card companies.
You know what? You guys have such boring jobs!
Posted by: Kevin Schmidt at November 14, 2005 6:14 PM
At last some in blogsylvania are noticing the real threat to what defines America, and that is the Patriot Act. My reading of the statute means that any agency of the U.S. government engaged in any investigation relative to "homeland security" may compel the production of pertinent records from any private or public entity who has ever transacted any business with the subject of said investigation. This sounds innocent enough, to the uninterested, but there is no requirement that judicial review be provided either prior to said request (a la the boilerplate search warrant), or after said request, or at any subsequent point in time. There are no safeguards whatsoever, and that's the real danger. From an administrative standpoint, the compiler of these records would keep them organized by subject and purpose, one would expect, to aid in pursuing an investigation, but there is no guarantee that the reasons for requesting the records would ever be discoverable. Therefore, the records could themselves of course vanish, when it became expedient to do so (for example, during a turnover of the Administration after an election year).
Again, this in itself may not be alarming, especially if you can accept on faith that the government will act like a gentleman, and only conduct investigations of true "terrorists." But what if the hysteria whipped up after the next terrorist attack means that dissent alone is a threat to internal security? Given the Administration's abysmal record of human rights, with regard to prisoners held at Guantanamo, is it not logical to assume that all of its enemies are potentially "threatening" to the government? By Presidential fiat, could not all of his "enemies" be rounded up and held without trial? And who would even know?
I'm just asking.
Posted by: jonnypravda at November 14, 2005 7:25 PM
And now they're trying to pack the Supreme Court with a Yes-Man (or a Yes-Woman, Harriet Miers) so if the Republi-scumbags loose control of both the House and Senate next year, then everytime the Democrats demand documentation from the White House, the Republi-fascists will claim "executive privilege," and the neo-con ruled Supreme Court will always rule (5-4) in favor of the Republi-communists in the White House!!!
Which will mean that the only way to get to the bottom of what the Republi-bottom feeders have been doing in the White House is elect anyone but a Republican for president in 2008.
And, hopefully, the main platform of any Democrat, or any other candidate running for president, will be a pledge to uncover the corruption of the Bush White House, and root out all the Republi-communists and their crony friends in all the departments perverted by the neo-cons.
We shall see.
Posted by: The Oracle at November 14, 2005 9:00 PM
Just a nit:
the same Justice Department that would not investigate the leak of a CIA agent's identity
If you're talking about the Plame affair, the Justice Department DID investigate. When the CIA requested an investigation, Ashcroft recused himself because of the potential conflict of interest, and Fitzgerald was appointed as special prosecutor.
Me, I'm GLAD that they're investigating the "anarcho-vegan food distribution" network. I always knew there was something shifty about those ne'er-do-well lettuce-eater types--you see them all the time at Farmer's markets, blatantly subverting the rights of our poor, downtrodden Multi-national Agribusiness firms. Think of the children!
Posted by: DG at November 16, 2005 10:41 AM
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