A police state exists when federal and state political and police mechanisms:
The new Guidelines warn against searching "for information by individuals' names or other individual identifiers," but it's okay to search by names to locate "names of authors who write on the topic" that the agent is researching. Of course every citizen of the United States is a possible "author" of e-mail messages on a variety of subjects, so all U.S. citizens are potential "terrorism suspects" under these new guidelines.
The new Guidelines now encourage the FBI to snoop around looking for people who might be suspicious, creating files on anyone who catches their fancy. Agents can now investigate people, organizations, websites, chat rooms and forums for any reason or for no reason at all. They can enter your home without a warrant and are not required to inform you that they have invaded your home if you are not present.
All the records they create in their investigations will be placed in national databases available to all agencies now under the new "Homeland Security" umbrella. Never in U.S. history has there been such a monolithic surveillance mechanism with the terrible power to destroy American citizens' lives.
The 1989 and the new 2002 Guidelines expressly state that the FBI must not launch investigations "based solely on [citizens'] activities protected by the First Amendment or on the lawful exercise of any other [federal or Constitutional] rights." Do you see your local FBI agent as having a clear enough understanding of constitutional rights to keep him from investigating people whom he identifies as having "terrorist proclivities?"
Scores of U.S. cities are now using surveillance television camera systems to spy on citizens--shades of 1984. With video cameras perched atop buildings and poles, watching whatever American are doing, do you suppose there might be some potential for abuse in such systems? Christian Parenti's, article, "DC's Virtual Panopticon," in the June 3, 2002 issue of The Nation describes how "police in Detroit and DC have used CCTV [closed-circuit television] to stalk personal foes, political opponents and young women." Smile, you're on Kandid Kamera.
To justify its expanding obliteration of constitutional liberties, the Bush administration uses the most insane brand of logic--which should outrage American citizens:
Between 1956-1971, the F.B.I. conducted domestic "counterintelligence programs" ( COINTELPRO) to spy on, intimidate, and radicalize political dissident groups. The F.B.I. had carried out covert operations throughout its history, but the target of the COINTELPRO operations was radical political organizations. Since the F.B.I. spied on American political dissidents, not foreign agents, "counterintelligence" was merely a cover name for the FBI activities.
F.B.I., military, and police forces have a notorious record of illegally quashing citizen dissent. Frank Morales's article, "U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning," in the Spring-Summer, 2000 issue of Covert Action Quarterly exposed "Operation Garden Plot."
"Under the heading of 'civil disturbance planning', the U.S. military is training troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, 'Operation Garden Plot'. Originated in 1968, the 'operational plan' has been updated over the last three decades, most recently in 1991, and was activated during the Los Angeles 'riots' of 1992, and more than likely during the recent anti-WTO 'Battle in Seattle.'
"Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing domestic civil disturbance, including the training of National Guard troops and police, are actually part of a long history of American 'internal security' measures dating back to the first American Revolution. Generally, these measures have sought to thwart the aims of social justice movements, embodying the concept that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight, or at least be ordered to fight."
The American government has a habit of lying to its citizens when it wants to contrive a new war.
We know that the beginning stages of a police state exist in the United States when:
The US Patriot Act was enacted by a Congress that had not actually read it. The only thing representatives and senators got was a two or three page compendium from the White House press office. Nobody was actually given the time to read the provisions of the act. The White House intimidated members of Congress into passing the bill by telling them that if they refused to sign it, they'd be labeled as "unpatriotic"--something almost all members of Congress were frightened of at the time.
Lieberman, Daschle and Gephardt later wrote a memorandum stating that Congress had effectively given the Bush Administration "near dictatorial powers."
The signs are unmistakable; the Bush regime is waging a "war against dissent," rapidly moving the United States to a total police state.
American citizens had assumed that the Patriot Act and the FBI Guidelines assured that only foreign aliens could be placed in military detention centers, unprotected by the U.S. constitution. But on June 10, 2002, an American citizen was declared by Bush, without due process, to be an "enemy combatant" and to have no constitutional protections. This American citizen was thrown into a naval brig in South Carolina.
Of course, Abdullah al Muhajir, a U.S. citizen also known as Jose Padilla, has been branded a "known terrorist" with ties to al Qaeda, so almost no one is speaking out against this abrogation of constitutional procedures. A reputed "terrorist" who is said to have been building a "dirty bomb," Padilla, a New York-born man of Puerto Rican descent, is assumed to be beyond the pale, not worthy of judicial prerogatives. But what happens when Bush or the FBI brands you as a "terrorist" because you appear to be a dissenter, denying you your constitutional rights as a U.S. citizen?
Attorney General Ashcroft explicitly stated that terrorists do not deserve constitutional protections. all they deserve are "courts" of conviction, not justice. Unfortunately, in this creeping police state, who does and doesn't receive justice is determined by Bush and his underlings.
The Bush administration wants us to believe that we are in an actual state of war--and therefore must operate under restricted wartime civil liberties. You can't take a government seriously when it says we're in a state of war and yet refuses to reduce the record-breaking number of immigrants it's allowing into the country each day.
All the new oversight laws the Bush administration has passed concern domestic surveillance of the American population, not restrictions on immigration or tightening the screening process to examine new arrivals in America. A man like Ashcroft is laughable when he bulldozes constitutional liberties yet refuses to allow gun ownership records to be used in the "war on terrorism."
One of the most horrendous aspects of this incipient American police state is its portrayal as a benign patriotism. "We're going to make our nation safe from terrorists," Bush sneers. This is a part of the larger propaganda campaign to make Dubya appear a harmless dunce--someone who isn't smart enough to be a villain.
As we've seen in a previous essay the parallels between Nazi Germany and the Bush administration are striking. Bush's creeping police state is being ushered in through exactly the same means that Hitler used to overpower the German people. Along with the attacks of his brutal Gestapo thugs, Hitler achieved ultimate success when he got the people to spy and inform on one another.
So the Bush administration has recently given the new Neighborhood Watch Association and their new allies from the old AmeriCorp, $3.8 billion in government funds to create what Bill Berkowitz has termed AmeriSnitch. 1
The Bush regime's Thought Police was inaugurated by Ashcroft and Ed McMahon, with Ed portraying himself as a jolly buffoon.
But this is the farthest thing from a comedy. The American Civil Liberties Union quite correctly sees this new Neighborhood Watch initiative as part of an "ongoing pattern of erosion of basic civil liberties in America in the name of unproven security measures."
"By asking neighborhood groups to report on people who are 'unfamiliar' or who act in ways that are 'suspicious' or 'not normal,' our government is unconstructively fear-mongering, and fueling the already rampant ethnic and religious scapegoating," says ACLU President Nadine Strossen.
The most depraved aspect of this new initiative is the recruitment of young people into this reincarnation of the Hitler Youth. So in the upcoming months we'll see the buffoon-like pied piper, Ed McMahon, on TV enlisting youngsters into their friendly Neighborhood Watch Gestapo program.
Another Gestapo group jumping on the bandwagon is "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism," led by former Education secretary Bill Bennett. Representing themselves as crusaders for virtue and conservative values, this Gestapo group will wage holy war against those they brand as weakening America's resolve to fight terrorism. In his opening announcement, Bennett pledged to take this fight "to campuses, salons, oratorical societies, editorial pages and television."
"It's the height of paranoid insanity to claim we're moving toward a police state," the blissfully ignorant proclaim. "If there's a police state," they sneer, "where's the goose-stepping Gestapo in our streets?" You can see them if you look beyond the old manifestations of tyranny to the new forms. And staring you in the face are the civilian concentration camps that have already been set up.
Fortunately, we are only in the first stages of this new hellish police state and we can stop it in its tracks if we act now to form a unified, activist citizen taskforce.
There are many people in the world who support our efforts to preserve American freedom, including:
This isn't a matter of if we decide to stop this police state in its infancy; we either stop it now or it will inevitably germinate into a full-blown monster. Now that the cabal behind Bush have stolen the 2004 election--and put in place a system to steal all future elections--we must do everything we can to struggle against the Bush II police state. Certainly, we must have the courage to point out its reality and resist it in whatever way possible.
By Norman D. Livergood
1 Berkowitz, Bill, "AmeriSnitch," The Progressive, May 2002
by Rep. Ron Paul