Though well along earlier, the pace accelerated in the last decade. Obama has been as hard line as Bush, showing he's no different from America's worst-ever leaders. He may, in fact, be the most dangerous, because many liberals are loathe to criticize him, and because he has turned the rogue excesses of the Bush era into a bipartisan consensus.
Bush made America a police state; Obama hardened it. Some examples:
greater intrusive surveillance;
- unjustifiable preventive detentions;
- targeting American citizens for assassination, solely by presidential edict;
- invoking the "state secrets" doctrine to block litigation against rendition, torture, and warrantless wiretapping;
- opposing Net Neutrality;
- threatening free expression and the right to dissent, including online;
- prosecuting whistleblowers as well as journalists and others who protect their anonymity or publish their revelations; and
- making anyone against US extremism vulnerable to lawless political persecutions, especially anti-war and Muslim American activists as well as lawyers who defend them too vigorously.
The USA Patriot Act eroded at least four Bill of Rights freedoms:
- making anyone against US extremism vulnerable to lawless political persecutions, especially anti-war and Muslim American activists as well as lawyers who defend them too
- due process under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments;
- First Amendment free expression; and
- Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches, seizures, and as a consequence privacy.
Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called Fourth Amendment protections, "the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by a free people." Patriot Act legislation and today's sophisticated technology make unconstitutional intrusions easier than ever. Obama officials have taken full advantage, besides targeting other freedoms for destruction.
Chicago and Minneapolis State Terror
September 24 raids in both cities are the latest examples - police state terror against (supposedly) constitutionally protected speech, political activism, and right of free association. No matter, innocent people may be slapped with unsubstantiated charges, then criminally prosecuted for providing material support to terrorism.
According to an FBI spokesman, raids were aimed at people "providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support" to terrorist organizations, meaning, among others, Colombia's FARC-EP, Lebanon's Hezbollah, and Palestine's Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - no matter their legitimacy, and except for FARC, are part of their countries' governments.
Opposition to War and Occupation (OWO) is a Twin Cities-based education and solidarity group against America's imperial wars - abroad and at home by repressing activists who oppose them. On September 27, it issued the following statement:
OWO "wholeheartedly condemns the recent FBI house raids of social justice activists in Minneapolis and Chicago on Friday, September 24, 2010. These raids are part of the long history of coordinated government repression against those who fight against imperialism and exploitation and those working in solidarity with them."
Victims guilty only of supporting right over wrong are "systematically harassed, targeted, and even murdered in an attempt to undermine struggles for justice." As a result, front line activists must confront state terror "with steadfast resistance to war and occupation, and all forms of state violence," abroad and at home.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression named October 4 as a national call-in day to Obama and Attorney General Holder, demanding an end to state repression. The Committee also called for solidarity actions outside FBI and federal buildings throughout America on October 5, the first grand jury date.