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Oh Say Does that Star-Spangled Banner Yet Wave O'er the Land of the Free???

By       Message Kathryn Smith       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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Welcome to the USA. We are on code orange.

Just as deer hunters in New England hear a slight crackle and shoot before they look, since deer escape too quickly to be observed and effectively shot at, so there is a parallel in the anti-terrorism movement. And just as in New England the hunters dress in bright orange to broadcast their presence and avoid being the result of a tragic mistake, so too there is a parallel in the USA's "code orange". The figurative "deer" in the USA are being trailed by the "Huntsmen" in the Bush Administration who, clad in a cloak of alarm-screeching orange, would seem to be shooting at anything that moves:  Since when did feeding the homeless become a terrorist activity?" asked ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson. "When the FBI and local law enforcement target groups like Food Not Bombs under the guise of fighting terrorism, many Americans who oppose government policies will be discouraged from speaking out and exercising their rights." This declassified FBI document posted for public viewing to the ACLU's website shows the FBI's "Code orange" hunt in clear terms: "The Thomas Merton Center is....a left-wing organization advocating among many political causes, pacifism". Another declassified FBI document on the ACLU's website, investigating the Thomas Merton Peace Center on account of peace protests, is dated February 26, 2003 and titled "International Terrorism Matters". "This Document contains neither recommendations nor conclusions of the FBI. It is the property of the FBI....The above information is for your use (US Dept. of Justice) and any action deemed appropriate".

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Any action "deemed" appropriate? By the US Department of Justice? Because of a peace rally? In free speech America??? Before we get to the reasons why this is happening, let's see a few more statistical facts:  "On February 26, 2003, an FBI agent called me at my work place and questioned me about a donation that I had made to a charity called Help the Needy. "

And here is a website showing how it is not terrorists, but ordinary citizens like bird watchers and do-good'ers who are being affected:

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I will never forget the day when I myself received an e-mail from the forgiveness-oriented American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker anti-war group, stating that they had officially been dubbed a terrorist organization by the Bush Administration itself. And by golly, something very similar had happened to the non-partisan Common Cause: They received a call from the FBI on account of posting facts about the Patriot Act to their website. And darned if it doesn't state on the ACLU's website that Greenpeace also has been listed a "terrorist" organization. Later, I attended a town hall meeting in San Francisco with Anthony Romero (executive director of the ACLU), John Dean (former Nixon White House counsel and whistle-blower), and students of the University of California at Berkeley Against the Iraq War who testified, live and on camera, that they are being tracked by surveillance cameras, are being queried by police about speakers on campus, and are "piping down" out of fear of being put on some government black list.

It would seem that "Either you are with us or you are against us" : IE anything or anybody who is "against" the Bush Administration's tactics (and their morose business of war and oil profiteering) is considered a "Terrorist". No wonder the ACLU's website is full of references to the Administration's over-use of the claim "National Security matters" : It is indeed a matter of national security (to us and to our kids, that is) when a Great Dictator leads us to war based on lies, with nothing but more of the same pledged to be continuing without end.

They'd better keep the pretexts for all that a secret. You bet. Criminality doesn't like to see the light of truth, and profiteering must be protected. By secrecy. Is this the cornerstone on which the post-911 legislation is drafted?

Stung by my experiences of having lived next door to the Iron Curtain, in which it was dangerous for the ordinary citizen to even breathe the word "government" in a public café, I read up at length about post-911 legislation on the ACLU's website, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Common Cause, and even the conservative Gun Owners of America. Darned if they don't ALL agree in their analysis of the Patriot Act (the only violating post-911 legislation I will discuss here, but there are plenty more): Gun Owners of America's Patriot Act analysis  ACLU's Patriot Act analysis

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The Center for Constitutional Rights posts to their website: A district court judge declared an important provision of the USA Patriot Act unconstitutional because it is so vague that it "could be construed to include unequivocally pure speech and advocacy protected by the First Amendment."

According to virtually all of the organizations above, plus Common Cause and People for the American Way too, Section 215 of the Patriot Act grants the FBI the unilateral discretion to search our homes, absent a judge's warrant, to arrest us without probable cause or connection to terrorist activity, and contains an "over-broad definition" of "Terrorism" written in such a way as to sweep up religious, peace groups and activists in its net. Law professor and author Stephen Schulhofer writes in the book Liberty Under Attack that absent a judge's review or warrant, that the FBI agents "were merely required to self-certify that they were acting in good faith" . And the facts posted to the websites of the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights and Electronic Frontier Foundation would bear out the reality of that analysis.

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This quote summarizes the nature of my concerns and the content of personal experiences which stir my activism: "Necessity is the plea for every infringement on human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves". --Paul (more...)

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