There’s going to be and have been a lot of posts today about 9/11, and terrorism, people saying ‘never forget’. Symbols of the American Flag, and Eagles and Patriotism are going to be and have been boundless. I’ve been mostly avoiding the internet today because I knew that this was all I was going to see.
Don’t mistake me;
It was awful.
It was disgusting.
It was tragic.
I, like many of you, remember exactly where I was on that day.
I, like you, remember watching what was happening in awe on live television.
I, like most millennials, was too young at the time to really understand what was going on.
But, now I’m a bit older, and I do understand.
I understand that something else happened that day as well.
It is equally awful.
It is equally disgusting.
It is equally tragic.
Before the bodies were even cold, the government used them as a stage, a soapbox, to start the process of eroding the essential human liberties that were once thought to be inalienable; They were to be protected by our constitution.
On 9/11, every year, people are damned angry (and rightfully so) about the lives lost in 2001.
On 9/11, every year, I am damned angry (and rightfully so) that people are not damned angry enough about having their independence and liberty siphoned away from them, deliberately and systematically, under the façade of “security”, a deliberately vague and emotionally provoking umbrella term.
Below is an overview of some [but certainly not all] of these “casualties”.
1st AMENDMENT FREEDOM OF SPEECH
• The Patriot Act broadly expands the official definition of
terrorism, so that many domestic groups that engage in
nonviolent civil disobedience could very well find themselves
labeled as terrorists.
• The Government may now prosecute librarians or keepers
of any other records if they reveal that the government
requested information on their clients or members in the
course of an investigation. It has become a crime for these
individuals to try to safeguard your privacy or to tell you
that you are under investigation.
1st AMENDMENT FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
• Government agents may now monitor the First Amendment-
protected activities of religious and political institutions, and
then infiltrate these groups with no suspicion of criminal
activity. This is a return to domestic spying on law-abiding
religious and political groups.
• You may now be the subject of a government investigation
simply because of the political, activist, or advocacy
groups you are involved in, or the statements you make
within these groups.
1st AMENDMENT RIGHT TO ACCESS
• A U.S. Department of Justice directive actively encourages
federal, state, and local officials to resist and/or limit access
to government records through Freedom of Information Act
• The Government has conducted immigration hearings in
secret behind closed doors. Such proceedings were once
open to the public. Hundreds, if not thousands, of immigrants
have already been deported in secret.
4th AMENDMENT FREEDOM FROM UNREASONABLE
SEARCHES & SEIZURES
• Law Enforcement authorities may now conduct secret searches and wiretaps in your home or office
without showing “probable cause.” They need only to claim that intelligence gathering is “a significant
purpose” of their intrusion, even when the primary goal is ordinary law enforcement. They may also
monitor where and to whom you send and receive e-mail, or where you go on the Internet, recording
every e-mail address and website you have been in contact with.
• Law Enforcement may now demand any personal records held by any source including your doctor,
employer, accountant, or library. All they have to do is claim that it is related to an investigation into
“terrorism.” The record keepers may not reveal that your records were provided to the government.
• Judicial oversight of secret searches has been effectively minimized. The Patriot Act directs judges to
consent to secret searches based only on the Government’s assertion that a “significant” purpose of
an investigation is gathering information related to “terrorism,” as the government defines it.
5th AMENDMENT RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS & FREEDOM FROM BEING
HELD WITHOUT CHARGE
• Americans can now be jailed without a formal charge & without the right to confront the witnesses or
evidence against them. American citizens are now being held in military jails without charge and with-
out a clear path of appeal for their indefinite confinement.
• Hundreds of Arab, Muslim and South Asian men were rounded up in the Ashcroft raids following
September 11, and held for weeks without charges until all were cleared of terrorism charges
6th AMENDMENT RIGHT TO LEGAL REPRESENTATION
• Hundreds of U.S. residents have been detained for months at a time, and denied access to the advice
and advocacy of an attorney. The Government may now monitor conversations between attorneys &
clients in federal jails.
• The Bush Administration filed papers in court that arguing that an American citizen held in a military
jail without charge should be denied access to legal counsel because such access would interfere with
the process of his interrogation.
6th AMENDMENT RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL
• The U.S. Government may now jail its residents and citizens indefinitely without charge & without a public trial.
8th AMENDMENT FREEDOM FROM CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS
• The U.S. Government has taken into custody individuals they identify as “material witnesses,” trans-
ported them across the country, and held them for months in solitary confinement without charge or
contact with their family.
• According to the Justice Department’s own Inspector General, immigrant men rounded up in the
Ashcroft raids following September 11 and held in the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY
were subjected to a pattern of “physical and verbal abuse.”
14th AMENDMENT RIGHT TO EQUAL PROTECTION
• Over 82,000 men from Arab, Muslim and South Asian countries registered with the Government
under the Special Registration program. Over 13,000 are now in deportation proceedings. None
have been charged with terrorism.
• The Citizens United ruling that tossed out the corporate ban on making independent expenditures
and financing electioneering communications. Corporations/Unions can now effectively buy elections,
because they can spend unlimited sums on ads and other political tools specifically endorsing or
• The Transportation Security Administration was created. Now citizens must go through what essentially amount to
customs checkpoints, and be intrusively screened by federal employees, with no probably cause, in order to make a domestic
flight. They aren’t even effective at stopping actual terrorism.
Food for thought.
God Bless America.