Sunday, November 27, 2005

Yes Virginia, it is a police state

The Bush administration assaults our freedoms in so many ways at once, it's hard to keep track of everything. As if sneak and peek tactics enabled by the Patrioit Act was not enough, today's disturbing development from the WaPo reveals the Pentagon is pushing to expand domestic surveillance even further over the lives of ordinary Americans.
"We are deputizing the military to spy on law-abiding Americans in America. This is a huge leap without even a [congressional] hearing," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a recent interview.
Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings already aptly analyzed the impact of this latest ploy, so I won't repeat it except to reiterate that the blurring of the line between intelligence gathering about potential crimes for the purposes of national security and the investigation of crimes already committed, a function reserved for domestic law enforcement agencies and the FBI, should be a matter of serious concern to anyone who values our civil liberties.

Meanwhile, Captain Ed doesn't see it as a privacy concern so much as bureauracy dangerously run amok. I think we should be concerned about both, but he hits home here.
All of this mischief started with the Commission's celebration of bureaucracy as the salvation of intelligence. Rather than demand a complete restructuring of the myriad intelligence entities in the US into two or three agencies -- one each for foreign, domestic, and military intel -- the Commission claimed that data-sharing was hampered not by artificial divisions of labor between bureaucracies but not enough layers of bureaucracy above the agencies themselves. It demanded (and received) two additional layers of management between the actual intel gatherers and the decision makers of the government.
A good point but Jo Fish finds the money quote.
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the data-sharing amendment would still give the Pentagon much greater access to the FBI's massive collection of data, including information on citizens not connected to terrorism or espionage.

The measure, she said, "removes one of the few existing privacy protections against the creation of secret dossiers on Americans by government intelligence agencies." She said the Pentagon's "intelligence agencies are quietly expanding their domestic presence without any public debate."
Not to mention operating without any public oversight. It's like I always say, facism doesn't arrive overnight. It creeps in by degrees and this takes us one step closer to Big Brother.
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Blogger Kathy said...

Libby, I just posted on another assault to our freedom. A woman in Colorado was arrested and charged with a Federal misdemeanor for failing to show her ID on a public bus. Pretty scary stuff, the goverment will soon be implanting chips under our skin so they can keep track of us.

3:12:00 PM  
Blogger Stacy said...

I know I am preaching to the choir here but it amazes me how the mainstream media gives only a cursory review of this issue. Do you think mainstream America has the slightest clue what is going on with the expansion of PATRIOT? At best they probably know that the administration is justifying everything it does on this front under the guise of "national security" and "protecting innocent americans" (but clearly not guilty ones- whatever that means).

6:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Libby said...

I know it sounds all tin foil hat but I see the signs every day that they're creeping closer to martial law. Thanks to the drug war and forfeiture, every little podunk town in America has a SWAT team and armored vehicles that they routinely use for ordinary busts.

Then they keep slipping these little amendments in to increase domestic surveillance powers - and using them for non-terrorist related "crimes"- and the public doesn't blink because we're in a "war on terror."

I'm genuinely concerned that they will pull something in the next three years. What have they got to lose?

6:41:00 PM  
Blogger enigma4ever said...

It is already started- The Patriot Act is already being used to surveil normal citizens like you and me- think it isn't possible- think again....BushCo are not rational-Are people still having to take off their shoes when they fly- all because one kook tried to light his shoes...

5:09:00 AM  

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