For many years, I and countless others have been screaming from the rooftops that a society should never trade civil liberties for security. Life on earth has always been dangerous for us humans, and what has historically separated free and noble civilizations from stunted tyrannies is a willingness to acknowledge such a precarious existence while at the same time demanding and defending one’s dignity and liberty. In the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11 (seemingly carried out by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia), the American public has demonstrated no such strength of character or historical maturity, thus allowing a corrupt, deceptive and lawless government to run roughshod over freedom with very little resistance.
Well now the chickens are coming home to roost. The tyrannical powers granted to government in order to stop foreign terrorists are rapidly being turned inward against an ever servile and apathetic American public.
As Radley Balko at the Washington Post notes:
A while back, we noted a report showing that the “sneak-and-peek” provision of the Patriot Act that was alleged to be used only in national security and terrorism investigations has overwhelmingly been used in narcotics cases. Now the New York Times reports that National Security Agency data will be shared with other intelligence agencies like the FBI without first applying any screens for privacy. The ACLU of Massachusetts blog Privacy SOS explains why this is important:
What does this rule change mean for you? In short, domestic law enforcement officials now have access to huge troves of American communications, obtained without warrants, that they can use to put people in cages. FBI agents don’t need to have any “national security” related reason to plug your name, email address, phone number, or other “selector” into the NSA’s gargantuan data trove. They can simply poke around in your private information in the course of totally routine investigations. And if they find something that suggests, say, involvement in illegal drug activity, they can send that information to local or state police. That means information the NSA collects for purposes of so-called “national security” will be used by police to lock up ordinary Americans for routine crimes. And we don’t have to guess who’s going to suffer this unconstitutional indignity the most brutally. It’ll be Black, Brown, poor, immigrant, Muslim, and dissident Americans: the same people who are always targeted by law enforcement for extra “special” attention.