03
Apr
08

The Incremental Loss of Liberty

all-seeing-eye.jpg

Here is yet another news article that details how the government is doing grave violence to the U.S. Constitution and individual liberty. By incrementally eroding your rights (i.e. the fundamental right to privacy), the government is breathing life into George W. Bush’s famous words“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” (source)

Intelligence centers run by states across the country have access to personal information about millions of Americans, including unlisted cellphone numbers, insurance claims, driver’s license photographs and credit reports, according to a document obtained by The Washington Post. One center also has access to top-secret data systems at the CIA, the document shows, though it’s not clear what information those systems contain.

Through MSM articles detailing the daily assault on your individual rights, the feds seek to reduce your expectation of privacy. Their agenda is deliberate, and rooted in Supreme Court jurisprudence. In Katz vs. United States, so long as an individual can justifiably expect that his conversation would remain private, his/her conversation is protected from “unreasonable search and seizure” by the Fourth Amendment.

As articulated in Katz, The Fourth Amendment has a subjective component. The individual must personally expect that his communications would remain private. By slow-dripping news stories detailing the government’s Fourth Amendment violations, you become accustomed to their snooping into your private affairs. By beating down your expectations of privacy, the government’s goal is to deprive you of any legal claim against their Big Brother intrusions.

The full frontal attack on the individual expectation of privacy has an aggregate effect in the long run. The continual bombardment on your individual rights, coupled with the media’s dutiful reporting on these violations, will numb you to your loss of liberty. It is your obligation to keep them in check.

Dozens of the organizations known as fusion centers were created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to identify potential threats and improve the way information is shared.Though officials have publicly discussed the fusion centers’ importance to national security, they have generally declined to elaborate on the centers’ activities. But a document that lists resources used by the fusion centers shows how a dozen of the organizations in the northeastern United States rely far more on access to commercial and government databases than had previously been disclosed.

Since 9-11, the federal government has consistently relied on third-party contractors to do their dirty work (i.e., Haliburton, Blackwater, and Applied Research Associates, Inc.). Given that they are not formal government entities, it is difficult to hold the government accountable for their violations. One such company, Entersect, calls itself:

[t]he silent partner to municipal, county, state, and federal justice agencies who access our databases every day to locate subjects, develop background information, secure information from a cellular or unlisted number, and much more.

The state has an insatiable hunger for information about the serfs in its feudal pen. 9-11 was the predicate event that they desperately needed to justify surveillance of your communications and movements. When are we finally going to feel safe?

“There is never ever enough information when it comes to terrorism” said Maj. Steven G. O’Donnell, deputy superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. “That’s what post-9/11 is about.”

Should we be concerned about the wide-spread abuse of civil liberties and privacy in the post-9/11 era? Let us see what the experts think.

“Fusion centers have grown, really, off the radar screen of public accountability,” said Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonpartisan watchdog group in the District. “Congress and the state legislatures need to get a handle over what is going on at all these fusion centers.”

From 2004 to 2007, state and local governments received $254 million from the Department of Homeland Security in support of the centers, which are also supported by employees of the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. In some cases, they work with the U.S. Northern Command, the Pentagon operation involved in homeland security.

Well at least somebody is making money off our fears. That will help to grow the economy and vault us out of the impending depression, right? Should we not question our government and their motives? Whenever men organize, collude, and conspire in positions of power, they surely must have the little people’s best interests at heart, I promise you.

Hilarious quote of the day:

I don’t want to suggest we are going to sit on the internet and watch what everyone does ~ Michael Chertoff (Secretary of Homeland Security)


15 Responses to “The Incremental Loss of Liberty”


  1. 1 Quixo's Shrink
    April 3, 2008 at 12:52 am

    If we lost our liberties do you really think your site would still be up and running?

    Johnnypeeper’s response:

    Type my URL in your browser a year from now and let me know what pops up.

  2. 2 Quixo's Shrink
    April 3, 2008 at 12:55 am

    Why, can’t afford the rent here anymore?

  3. 3 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Quixo: I’m growing tired of your stupidity. Your inability to respond to the questions put forth in Johnny’s blog as well in the comments section with nothing but childish prattle is getting old. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to provide a detailed rationalization for the things you claim to believe in.

    Let’s look at a little history, okay? Johnny: this comment will be long. If you prefer not to post it, I’ll understand.

    Bill of Rights Under Bush: A Timeline
    By Phil Leggiere, writing for QuestionAuthority

    2001

    January

    Presidential directive delays indefinitely the scheduled release of presidential documents (authorized by the Presidential Records Act of 1978) pertaining to the Reagan-Bush administration. Link

    Bush and Cheney begin process of radically broadening scope of documents and information which can be deemed classified. Link

    February

    The National Security Agency (NSA) sets up Project Groundbreaker, a domestic call monitoring program infrastructure. Link

    Spring

    Bush administration order authorizes NSA monitoring of domestic phone and internet traffic. Link

    May

    US Supreme Court rules that medical necessity is not a permissible defense against federal marijuana statutes. Link

    September

    In immediate aftermath of 9-11 terror attacks, Department of Justice authorizes detention without charge for any terror suspects. Over one thousand suspects are brought into detention over the next several months. Link (pdf)

    October

    Attorney General John Ashcroft announces change in Department of Justice (DOJ) policy. According to the new policy DOJ will impose far more stringent criteria for the granting of Freedom of Information Act requests. Link

    September-October

    NSA launches massive new database of information on US phone calls. Link

    October

    The USA Patriot Act becomes law. Among other things the law makes it a crime for anyone to contribute money or material support for any group on the State Department’s Terror Watch List, allows the FBI to monitor and tape conversations between attorneys and clients, allows the FBI to order librarians to turn over information about patron’s reading habits, allows the government to conduct surveillance on internet and email use of US citizens without notice. The act also calls for expanded use of National Security Letters (NSLs), which allow the FBI to search telephone, email and financial records of US citizens without a court order, exempts the government from needing to reveal how evidence against suspected terrorists was obtained and authorizes indefinite detention of immigrants at the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities.

    NJ Superior court judge and civil liberties scholar Anthony Napolitano, author of A Nation of Sheep, has described the law’s assault on first and fourth amendment principles as follows, “The Patriot Act’s two most principle constitutional errors are an assault on the Fourth Amendment, and on the First. It permits federal agents to write their own search warrants [under the name “national security letters”] with no judge having examined evidence and agreed that it’s likely that the person or thing the government wants to search will reveal evidence of a crime… Not only that, but the Patriot Act makes it a felony for the recipient of a self-written search warrant to reveal it to anyone. The Patriot Act allows [agents] to serve self-written search warrants on financial institutions, and the Intelligence Authorization Act of 2004 in Orwellian language defines that to include in addition to banks, also delis, bodegas, restaurants, hotels, doctors’ offices, lawyers’ offices, telecoms, HMOs, hospitals, casinos, jewelry dealers, automobile dealers, boat dealers, and that great financial institution to which we all would repose our fortunes, the post office. Link 1 | Link 2

    November

    Executive order limits release of presidential documents. The order gives incumbent presidents the right to veto requests to open any past presidential records and supercedes the congressionally passed law of 1978 mandating release of all presidential records not explicitly deemed classified. Link

  4. 4 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 10:11 am

    2002

    Winter

    FBI and Department of Defense (DOD), forbidden by law from compiling databases on US citizens, begin contracting with private database firm ChoicePoint to collect, store, search and maintain data. Link

    Spring

    Secret executive order issued authorizing NSA to wiretap the phones and read emails of US citizens. Link

    Spring

    Transportation Security Adminstration (TSA) acknowledges it has created both a “No Fly” and a separate “Watch” list of US travelers. Link

    May

    Department of Justice authorizes the FBI to monitor political and religious groups. The new rules permit the FBI to broadly search or monitor the internet for evidence of criminal activity without having any tips or leads that a specific criminal act has been committed. Link

    June

    Supreme Court upholds the right of school administrators to conduct mandatory drug testing of students without probable cause. Link

    November

    Homeland Security Act of 2002 establishes separate Department of Homeland Security. Among other things the department will federally coordinate for the first time all local and state law enforcement nationwide and run a Directorate of Information and Analysis with authority to compile comprehensive data on US citizens using public and commercial records including credit card, phone, bank, and travel. The department also will be exempt form Freedom of Information Act disclosure requirements. The Homeland Security department’s jurisdiction has been widely criticized for being nebulously defined and has extended beyond terrorism into areas including immigration, pornography and drug enforcement. Link 1 | Link 2

  5. 5 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 10:15 am

    2003

    February

    Draft of Domestic Security Enhancement Act (aka Patriot Act 2), a secret document prepared by the Department of Justice is leaked by the Center for Public Integrity. Provisions of the February 7th draft version included:

    Removal of court-ordered prohibitions against police agencies spying on domestic groups.

    The FBI would be granted powers to conduct searches and surveillance based on intelligence gathered in foreign countries without first obtaining a court order.

    Creation of a DNA database of suspected terrorists.

    Prohibition of any public disclosure of the names of alleged terrorists including those who have been arrested.

    Exemptions from civil liability for people and businesses who voluntarily turn private information over to the government.

    Criminalization of the use of encryption to conceal incriminating communications.

    Automatic denial of bail for persons accused of terrorism-related crimes, reversing the ordinary common law burden of proof principle. All alleged terrorists would be required to demonstrate why they should be released on bail rather than the government being required to demonstrate why they should be held.

    Expansion of the list of crimes eligible for the death penalty.

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency would be prevented from releasing “worst case scenario” information to the public about chemical plants.

    United States citizens whom the government finds to be either members of, or providing material support to, terrorist groups could have their US citizenship revoked and be deported to foreign countries.

    Although the bill itself has never (yet) been advanced in congress due to public exposure, some of its provisions have become law as parts of other bills. For example The Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 grants the FBI unprecedented power to obtain records from financial institutions without requiring permission from a judge. Under the law, the FBI does not need to seek a court order to access such records, nor does it need to prove just cause. Link 1 | Link 2

    March

    Executive order issued which radically tightens the declassification process of classified government documents, as well as making it far easier for government agencies to make and keep information classified. The order delayed by three years the release of declassified government documents dating from 1978 or earlier. It also allowed the government to treat all material sent to American officials from foreign governments — no matter how routine — as subject to classification, and expanded the ability of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to shield documents from declassification. Finally it gave the vice president the power to classify information. Link 1 | Link 2

    March

    In a ruling seen as a victory for the concentration of ownership of intellectual property and an erosion of the public domain, the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft held that a 20-year extension of the copyright period (from 50 years after the death of the author to 70 years) called for by the Sonny Bono copyright Extension not violate either the Copyright Clause or the First Amendment. Link

    April

    In Demore v. Kim, the Supreme Court ruled that even permanent residents could be subject to mandatory detention when facing deportation based on a prior criminal conviction, without any right to an individualized hearing to determine whether they were dangerous or a flight risk. Link

    Fall

    The FBI changes its traditional policy of destroying all data and documents collected on innocent citizens in the course of criminal investigations. This information would, according to the bureau, now be permanently stored. Two years later in late 2005 Executive Order 13388, expanded access to those files for “state, local and tribal” governments and for “appropriate private sector entities,” which are not defined. Link 1 | Link 2

    Fall

    As authorized by the Patriot Act, the FBI expands the practice of national security letters. NSLs, originally introduced in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, enabled the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. This was extended by the Patriot Act to include permitting clandestine scrutiny of all U.S. residents and visitors whether suspected of terrorism or not. Link

  6. 6 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 10:17 am

    2004

    January

    The FBI begins keeping a database of US citizens based on information obtained via NSLs. Link

    Spring

    John Ashcroft invokes State Secrets privilege to forbid former FBI translator Sibel Edmunds from testifying in a case brought by families of victims of the 9-11 attacks. Litigation by 9-11 families is subsequently halted. Link 1 | Link 2

    June

    Supreme Court upholds Nevada state law allowing police to arrest suspects who refuse to provide identification based on police discretion of “reasonable suspicion.” Link

    2005

    January

    Supreme court rules that police do not need to have probable cause to have drug sniffing dogs examine cars stopped for routine traffic violations. Link 1 | Link 2

    June

    Supreme Court rules that the federal government can prosecute medical marijuana users even in states which have laws permitting medical marijuana. Link

    Summer

    The Patriot Act, due to expire at the end of 2005, is reauthorized by Congress. Link

    Winter 2005

    Senate blocks reauthorization of certain clauses in Patriot Act. Link

  7. 7 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 10:18 am

    2006

    March

    Senate passes amended version of Patriot Act, reauthorization, with three basic changes from the original including: recipients of secret court orders to turn over sensitive information on individuals linked to terrorism investigations are not allowed to disclose those orders but can challenge the gag order after a year, libraries would not be required to turn over information without the approval of a judge, recipients of an FBI “national security letter” — an investigator’s demand for access to personal or business information — would not have to tell the FBI if they consult a lawyer. New bill also said to extend Congressional oversight over executive department usage guidelines. Shortly after bill is signed George Bush declares oversight rules are not binding. Link 1 | Link 2

    June

    Supreme court rules that evidence obtained in violation of the “knock and announce” rules can still be permitted in court. Link

    September

    US Congress and Senate approve the Military Commissions Act, which authorizes torture and strips non- US citizen detainees suspected of terrorist ties of the right of habeas corpus (which includes formal charges, counsel and hearings). It also empowers US presidents at their discretion to declare US citizens as enemy combatants and subject to detention without charge or due process. Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3

    October

    John Warner Defense Authorization Act is passed. The act allows a president to declare a public emergency and station US military troops anywhere in America as well as take control of state based national guard units without consent of the governor or other local authorities. The law authorizes presidential deployment of US troops to round-up and detain “potential terrorists”, “illegal aliens” and “disorderly” citizenry. Link 1 | Link 2

    2007

    May

    National Security Presidential Directive 51 (NSPD-51) establishes a new post-disaster plan (with disaster defined as any incident, natural or man-made, resulting in extraordinary mass casualties, damage or disruption) which places the president in charge of all three branches of government. The directive overrides the National Emergencies Act which gives Congress power to determine the duration of a national emergency. Link 1 | Link 2

    June

    In “Bong Hits for Jesus” case Supreme court rules that student free speech rights do not extend to promotion of drug use. Link

    July

    Executive Order 13438: “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq, issued. The order asserts the government’s power to confiscate the property “of persons determined to have committed, or to pose a significant risk of committing, an act or acts of violence that have the purpose or effect of threatening the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq or undermining efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq or to provide humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi people.”

    October

    The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act passes the House of Representatives 400 to 6 (to be voted on in the Senate in 2008). The act proposes the establishment of a commission composed of members of the House and Senate, Homeland Security and others, to “examine and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States” and specifically the role of the internet in fostering and disseminating extremism. According to the bill the term `violent radicalization’ means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change, while the term ‘ideologically-based violence’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual’s political, religious, or social beliefs.” Link 1 | Link 2 | Link 3

    Other research sources

    James Bovard, Attention Deficit Democracy, 2007 Palgrave Macmillan

    Elaine Cassel,The War on Civil Liberties: How Bush and Ashcroft Have Dismantled t…, 2004 Lawrence Hill Books

    Anthony Napolitano, A Nation of Sheep, 2007 Thomas Nelson

  8. 8 Quixo's Shrink
    April 3, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    All these things were happening under Clinton as well, ever hear of Echelon? At least Bush has the gall to put it to a vote.

    Johnnypeeper’s resonse:

    Maybe you should stick with the number-crunching Quixo. Geo-politics and obvious constitutional violations do not seem to be your strong suite. Bush did not put illegal domestic NSA wiretapping to a vote. Bush did not put FISA target data sweeps to a vote.

    From this recent article:

    WASHINGTON (AP) – For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, the Bush administration believed that the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures on U.S. soil didn’t apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism.

    That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated Oct. 23, 2001. The administration on Wednesday stressed that it now disavows that view.

    The October 2001 memo was written at the request of the White House by John Yoo, then the deputy assistant attorney general, and addressed to Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time. The administration had asked the department for an opinion on the legality of potential responses to terrorist activity.

    The 37-page memo is classified and has not been released. Its existence was disclosed Tuesday in a footnote of a separate secret memo, dated March 14, 2003, released by the Pentagon in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations,” the footnote states, referring to a document titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.”

  9. 9 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Quixo: YOU FUCKING STUPID IDIOT! THIS ISN’T ABOUT REPUBLICAN/DEMOCRAT, YOU DICK-SMOKING MORON. THIS IS ABOUT VIOLATIONS TO THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS, WHICH PIGS LIKE CLINTON AND BUSH ARE SWORN TO PROTECT.
    ANYTIME SOMEONE POINTS OUT THE CRIMINAL ATROCITIES OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALL YOU PUNKS CAN DO IS SCREAM, “BUT CLINTON…WHAT ABOUT CLINTON…CLINTON’S PENIS IS BIGGER THAN MINE….WAH!!!!!! WAH!!!!!” LIKE A BUNCH OF GODDAMN CHILDREN. CONSERVATIVES ARE CHILDREN. IDIOTS. MORONS. HYPOCRITICAL SONS OF BITCHES DESTROYING THIS COUNTRY. BUY A FUCKING CLUE.

  10. April 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Presidents have slowly accumulated more and more executive power over the years. Domestic spying has a long history in the U.S. The current regime has taken more federal power and taken away more individual rights than its predecessors. The result is a government with more power than ever before in our history.

  11. 11 Anonymous
    April 3, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    I dont read posts in all CAPS sorry.

  12. 12 Manco
    April 3, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Anonymous: I have a feeling you don’t read much, period.

  13. 13 Glenn
    April 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    ………….the government is breathing life into George W. Bush’s famous words – “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face, it’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

    Did the Shrub really say that. I already have a hatred for both him and Cheney that has a proverbial life of its own. I don’t know if anything he says or does can compound that!

    Check this out; I believe you will appreciate it:

    Johnnypeeper’s response:

    Yes Glenn, George really said that. I even included a link to the article for you to independently verify my claim. There were others in the meeting that attested to his statement.

  14. 14 Glenn
    April 3, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Johnny:

    It’s kind of an ironic twist, but that might have been the first grammatically-correct English sentence that Bus$co has put together in 7+ years. Texasese doesn’t count!

  15. 15 Quixo's Shrink
    April 3, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    Hey, I was “anonymous, dont know why my name did not come through.


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Johnny Peepers

----> is a socio-pathetic degenerate with a penchant for cheap booze, ruphy-laden broads, and dim sum soup.

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