Terrorism. So much has been said about terrorism, and so much more will be said. Our wondrous leader, George W. Bush, is quoted as saying, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” What more needs to be said, right? Of course, I’m not a Bush supporter, by any stretch of the imagination, so I suppose that makes me “with the terrorists.” …
Terrorism… How scared can we make the nation? Hell, right after the 9/11 attacks there were people who covered their ENTIRE HOUSE in plastic! Why? Because our government said that chemical and/or nuclear attacks were a possibility. Yeah, and getting hit by a meteor is a possibility too. But that didn’t stop TIME magazine from publishing, almost a year and a half after 9/11, a how-to guide about “Living with Terrorism.” The Department of Homeland security regularly publishes information about being prepared for terrorism, though it’s not as “in your face” as it was just a few years ago. Still, a single click on their website brings you to the “Prevention & Protection” page where the first two items on their list are about chemical security, and reporting suspicious activity.
But the insanity doesn’t stop there! The government is regularly taking away our liberties, stripping away our privacy, all in the name of stopping terrorism. How can this be, you say?
Let’s look at FISA. FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, is a law that, in short, allows the government to “spy” on anyone (including American citizens) that are suspected of being engaged in espionage. Sounds reasonable enough… That is, until you see what has happened since 9/11.
First up, we have the USA PATRIOT act. The PATRIOT act allowed all manner of anti-terrorism activities including wiretapping, searches, and indefinite imprisonment. All this in the name of anti-terrorism.
Next, the Protect America Act came into being. The PAA was, arguably, a response to the warrant-less wiretapping that President Bush engaged in after 9/11. Its provisions opened up all electronic communications to wiretapping, both domestic and foreign, provided that the wiretapping wasn’t targeted at one particular person. It upheld warrant-less wiretapping, but provided a provision that required it to be reported to the FISA Court within 72 hours. Although, the notification could be sealed, only to be opened if the legality of the tap needed to be certified.
And more recently, we have the FISA Amendments Act. This act aims to expand the governments surveillance powers even more, and even includes provisions to provide immunity to the telecommunications companies that complied with Bush’s, arguably illegal, warrant-less wiretapping. The provisions in this law are absolutely staggering. States have been stripped of the ability to investigate telecommunications companies, or others, for warrant-less wiretapping. It allows the government to not keep, or even destroy, records of searches. Telecommunications companies have been given immunity for both past and future wiretapping, provided it’s for determining terrorist plans. Details no longer need to be given on why or what is being monitored, and allows monitoring to continue for 168 hours, more than double the previous 72 hours. About the only positive in this mess is that the act prohibits the government from superseding these rules in the future.
So, in other words, anyone can be put under surveillance, for any reason, at any time, and all the notification that needs to be given is a piece of paper in an envelope that can only be opened if the legality of the surveillance is questioned. And guess who voted for this. Obama. Mr. Obama, who I openly supported, voted for this Act. But at least he voted. McCain abstained from the vote, a cowardly move in my opinion. This seriously affects my own view of Obama… I will definitely need to take the time to re-think my position and who I want to see in office.
Regardless, this is all done in the name of terrorism. Which is great, because we don’t want any terrorism.. Right? Well, wait.. What the hell is terrorism anyway? According to the Federal Criminal Code, Chapter 113B of Part I of Title 18, it’s defined as the following:
“…activities that involve violent… or life-threatening acts… that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State and… appear to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and… (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States… [or]… (C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States…"
That’s pretty… vague? Looks to me like you can fit just about anyone into the role of a terrorist. And, once classified, you get to feel all the weight of these wonderful anti-terrorism laws… There’s a happy thought, eh?
So let’s look at this another way. Constant reminders about terrorism and the war on terror pop up every day. New laws are introduced and rushed through the system, all so we can stop the imminent threat against our country. Yet, in the end, these laws can be twisted and used against the very people they proclaim to protect. And each day, a little more of your independence, your liberties, and your rights is lost.
Stop being a sheep. Stop accepting these laws as necessary and giving up your rights. Speak out against these injustices and fight. As the saying goes, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”