The USA PATRIOT Act is neither American nor is it patriotic. It is, however, a sign that the United States has out-sovieted the former Soviet Union. The American people have allowed it to happen. Public opinion polls claim that 80% of the American people are prepared to give up their civil liberties, or “whatever it takes” in the fight against “terrorism” because it’s the “patriotic” thing to do. Why? Because George Bush said so.
Then Attorney General John Ashcroft, the Gauleiter of the Beltway, has spoken about the new limitation on citizens invoking their Fifth Amendment privilege. Under this bill, the citizen’s right to invoke his privilege against self-incrimination is substantially narrowed.
If the government states that the alleged commission of a crime should prove injurious to State Security, then the citizen cannot invoke Fifth Amendment privilege to remain mute. He can be compelled by “whatever means necessary,” (Ashcroft’s own words) to divulge what he may know. Furthermore, under the new national security seal, the government doesn’t even have to tell the suspect, or his counsel, or the court, what he’s being charged with.
In addition, even Ashcroft has admitted that this USA PATRIOT Act has watered down (and effectively gutted) the Fourth Amendment privilege against unwarranted search and seizure. This refers to the vastly expanded power the government now has in seizing an American’s assets. For the first time, the government has the power to seize a citizen’s assets even before the citizen has been charged with a crime. That is completely unprecedented.
Thus the citizen has no judicial recourse to go into court to try to get his assets back – because he hasn’t been charged with a crime yet. Then when he’s actually charged with a crime, if that crime has anything to do with “State Security” (and “State Security” is whatever the State says it is), then the State doesn’t have to tell the suspect what he’s being charged with. And the court cannot order the release -- or force the government to give the assets back.
Meanwhile the Mainstream Media has said nothing. In order to remain “Pro-Government” and “Patriotic,” the Media have told the people nothing. Therefore, a news vacuum was left open, which the White House was able to exploit because the Media wasn’t informing the people. Thus the further expansion of State power continues.
There has also been a weakening of the persona non grata statutes. The government now has the power to expel even an American citizen who was born here. They can do it now even without judicial review. If law enforcement, for example, feels that a person is acting in a capacity contrary to “State Security,” he or she can be deported and stripped of citizenship without judicial review.
The government has also begun mixing the word “terrorist” with the word “detainee,” “suspect” and “citizen.” It’s not all “terrorist “ anymore. That’s done on purpose. They want to do it gradually, so the people don’t understand, all of a sudden, or overnight how much of their rights they’ve given up.
As long as it’s a gradual process couched as “Patriotism” and “State Security,” a year from now, everyone’s going to be happy – with their new National Identity Cards.
Meanwhile the administration has quietly given the go-ahead to the Oracle Corporation to compile a database of American citizens. As publicly reported before, Oracle has offered to do this for free – as a “public service” -- as long as they’re given exclusive marketing rights for what will be the most valuable database in America.
Looking at the bigger picture, the American government’s unrestrained spending fits in with the new anti-terrorism act, which transfers more of the American people’s rights back to the government -- more than has ever been done before in the history of the republic.
This massive increase in spending, which will benefit the top three percent of the population is just another transfer of power and wealth. All of this spending (eventually the American people will have to pay for it) lessens the people’s economic power. And it increases the power of those who rule, who govern, who control, and who constitute the backbone of the Republican Party.
First, there is a massive loss of people’s rights, which have been transferred back to the government. Second, in this unrestrained spending, a huge amount of the people’s money is being transferred back to government, and therefore back to the businesses and industries, which represent the top three per cent of the nation’s wealthiest people, federal contractors and so on, who in turn are the most ardent supporters of the Republican Party. This, then, is a transfer of both control and money.
With this so-called anti-terrorist legislation euphemistically named the USA PATRIOT Act, George Bush has been given the power of Caesar. The implication is that anyone who disagrees with it is “unpatriotic.” The American people have, in one fell’n swoop, given George Bush the power of Caesar – and the control of the public purse beyond the proverbial dreams of avarice.
When you consider the existing power of the President, and then you add the powers of the 1995 Anti-Terrorism Act, and the further extension of those powers by the 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act, George Bush and all his successors have been given dictatorial powers.
Bush has also signed a bill, wherein the United States no longer has to provide a civilian trial for anyone who should stand accused of committing a terrorist act against the United States. Instead the government will now try said individuals in a “special closed military court.” In this trial, the defendants will not even be allowed to present any exculpatory evidence that the adjudicating military body should deem “contrary to the security of the State or the domestic tranquility of the people.”
In fact, this executive order establishes military tribunals or kangaroo courts, which directly violate due process of law. It is, as of now, probably the most unconstitutional of all the unconstitutional laws that have been passed and incorporated into this new USA PATRIOT Act of 2001.
The language doesn’t even mention the word “terrorism.” The pro-government media uses the word to maintain ratings from a naпve flag-waving population. The way it is written, the bill can be interpreted that the government has the ability to prosecute any individual who disagrees with State policy. Or anyone who represents a threat to the naпvete of the American people. Anyone, then, could essentially be prosecuted under this bill.
This military court, or tribunal, is not a defacto star chamber. It is the absolute raw and naked abuse of power by government. A star chamber, simply put, is any extra-legal and/or extra-constitutional body formed by government to pass judgment on the actions of private individuals.
This law then could be interpreted, so that the prosecutorial power of the government could be extended essentially to anyone who disagreed with State policy.
In other words, this latest authority bill constitutes another nail in the coffin of the US Constitution and further strengthens the argument that, as of now, the people of the United States have allowed their government to be a democracy in name only. The people of the United States have not only abdicated any authority over the power of their own government, but they have also abdicated their personal liberties and freedoms.
With the passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, we have effectively militarized law enforcement in the United States. Thus the ensuing and inevitable economic downturn and its consequences, such as an increase in civil strife and political tension that will result from this legislation, can be more easily handled by law enforcement.
The stationing of National Guard internally abrogates the Posse Comitatus Act, which was enacted to prevent the use of military forces on American soil. It is being ignored and the Posse Comitatus is just a hollow shell.
After the Bush Administration has passed all the legislation it wants, it will consolidate its newly found power and then the hype will begin to cool down. The first sign that the Bush Administration has absolute dictatorial authority will be when they no longer hype the situation – because they don’t have to.
What the Administration is doing, in concert with pro-government media, is creating a new class of American people. This new class of American citizen does not exist on racial or religious or national origin or creed or even sexual orientation. A new class of “unpatriotic” citizen is being created in the minds of the people.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, "Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless... the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is [now] while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war, we shall be going downhill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will remain on us long, will be made heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion."
As in the last days of the Roman Empire, there is a growing fire at the Imperial Palace, i.e., the White House. But this time, it is not Nero who’s fiddling; it is the American people.
AL MARTIN FOR PRAVDA.RU
AL MARTIN is America’s foremost whistle-blower on government fraud and corruption. A retired US Navy Lt. Commander and former officer in the Office of Naval Intelligence, he has testified before Congress (the Kerry Committee and the Alexander Committee) regarding Iran-Contra. Al Martin is the author of “The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran Contra Insider” (2001, National Liberty Press, $19.95; order line: 1-866-317-1390) He lives at an undisclosed location, since the criminals named in his book have been returned to national power and prominence. His column “Behind the Scenes in the Beltway” is published regularly on Al Martin Raw: Criminal Govt. Conspiracy (http://www.almartinraw.com)