Susan Lindauer is a former Asset Covering Iraq and Libya, and the second non-Arab American indicted via the Patriot Act.
No great civilization is ever destroyed or conquered by external forces, until it first destroys itself from within. America's leaders should have considered this before voting to extend the Patriot Act last week.
Unhappily, it's official. We the People are the enemy. We have dared to prod and examine government policy too closely. We have questioned government leadership when we should have obeyed without challenge. Some of us have exposed government wrongdoing and deceptions, expecting to hold Congress and White House leaders accountable to voters. Foolish us!
Breaking campaign promises to defeat the Patriot Act, Congress blocked hearings and debate on amendments that would fix problems in surveillance rules, and rammed a four year extension through on us. Only 31 Republicans and 122 Democrats voted against the Patriot Act in the House.
IMPORTING GESTAPO LAW
It's no exaggeration - the Patriot Act is more dangerous to our way of life than any foreign enemy. Most ominously, entire sections of the Patriot Act are verbatim identical to two of the most frightening laws in World History:
The 1929 Bolshevik Communist Criminal Act established Communist control in the age of Joseph Stalin. It created a security apparatchik unparalleled in its intrusion into the lives of ordinary, non-political families. For enforcement, it created the Gulags, which quickly filled with intellectuals and dissidents, poets and hard luck Russian people who got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was enough for a neighbor to point a finger secretly and one might "disappear" to the Siberian work camps for life. Secret charges, secret evidence , secret accusations figured prominently - identical to the Patriot Act.
It's hard to say if that's worse than Germany's Enabling Act in 1933. Despite the comforting words, "the Enabling Act" established the legal framework for Nazi Fascism. The Enabling Law lay the parameters for the Third Reich of Adolph Hitler.
According to historian Alan Batterman, the German word for "Gestapo " is an acronym of GEheim STAadt POlezi. Translation: "Homeland Security."
Sadly, Batterman is correct. Paragraph for paragraph, clause for clause, laws establishing fascist control over the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany are replicated in the Patriot Act today.
Like the iron fist of the Nazis and Communists, Americans must submit to "roving surveillance" and warrantless searches, without the required Judge's authorization. Surveillance laws are part of a larger arsenal of weapons against political dissidents and whistle blowers. Most Americans don't know the Patriot Act authorizes secret charges relying on secret evidence and secret grand jury statements. Under the Patriot Act, Americans have no right to know who has accused them of what criminal activities, or the dates of the alleged offense. They're not even told what law was broken. The government has power to lock up Americans on military bases or other prisons without a hearing or trial. We can be detained indefinitely without any rights of due process at all.
Perhaps it's fitting, therefore, that Nazi Leader Herman Goering should explain the New America to us, as we tread into this new age so dangerous to freedom:
"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy enough. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."
Powerful words, indeed. Think it won't come to that? It won't happen? It already has. It's what they did to me - not because I plotted some terrorist conspiracy, but because I opposed the Iraqi War.
Legalizing Government Deception
The Patriot Act has proven most valuable for legalizing government deceptions. When the government wants to hide from the people, the Patriot Act provides a framework for arresting those who know too much, and could expose government fraud and corruption. Leaders are thus protected from the consequences of their decision-making.