Since September 11, The Bush Administration has taken advantage of terrorism
to hand the military and police extraordinary powers that undermine civil liberties.
It has also sought to hide its deeds - and misdeeds - behind a cloak of secrecy
that may soon impose itself over citizens of other nations.
Having been taken advantage of by [President] Bush in the name of “national
security,” a painful series of events has driven the judiciary and police,
in view of the 9-11 attacks and the resulting worldwide indignation, to countenance
a resurgence of the intelligence agencies in the United States. This has created
a dictatorial climate of political harassment that recalls the McCarthyism that
afflicted that nation after World War II.
Greenpeace and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), groups that champion
civil rights, accuse FBI officials of using the powers of the Patriotic Act [Providing
Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism] "to erase
the border that separates legitimate activities of civil disobedience from terrorist
activities, in an attempt to repress political opposition" (La Jornada ,
7/19/05). This is part of a systematic erosion of the Constitution and the establishment
of a state of emergency, giving the police and military exceptional powers under
that "Act," many clauses of which were set to expire this year. But
Bush, taking advantage of the 7-7 attacks in Britain, has sought to make them
AUDIO NEWS: House Passes USA Patriot Act Extension, July 21, 00:03:58
President Bush Signs Patriot
Act Into Law
Members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the source of the
much of this policy, occupy [or occupied] key positions in the Bush government
(Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, et cetera). It is important to remember
that the "main script" for the ascent of the new right was synthesized
in a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, drawn up by the PNAC
in September of 2000.
'Rebuilding America’s Defenses'
At the time, the PNAC presented the prospect -- and then in power expected
-- "a catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor,"
that mobilizes public opinion and allowed it to apply its theories and plans
of action (Rebuilding ... cited by Chalmers Johnson in The Sorrows of Empire,
Metropolitan, 2004, p. 229). For the PNAC, the events of Sept. 11 were propitious,
allowing the instigation of a putsch.
A few days after 9-11, Condy Rice interpreted the tragedy, with its more than
3,000 dead, as an "opportunity." Rice, then at the helm of the National
Security Council, summoned its members and asked them "... to think about
how to capitalize on these opportunities to fundamentally change United States’
doctrine and reshape the world, as a result of September 11," adding: "I
really think this period is analogous to 1945-1947," the period of harassment
during the Cold War, now denounced by Greenpeace and the ACLU.
At the moment, the ACLU is sounding the alarm by the making submissions to
a bipartisan legislature [The U.S. Congress] dominated by the Republicans, about
the President’s demands for the renovation and indefinite extension of
the Patriotic Act. To the accumulation of despotic acts (systematic torture,
incarcerations and secret military courts, etc.) two oppressive measures are
added: first, the silent maneuvering in the Congress for, in the words of The
New York Times ( NYT , 7/16/05), "to destroy one of the pillars of the
Constitution: the right to habeas corpus in federal court ... It is appalling
that lawmakers would visit such destruction on a basic human right that's been
painfully secured across three centuries of jurisprudence."
[Editor’s Note: A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison
official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined
whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should
be released from custody].
Four days earlier, the same newspaper of the establishment media informs us
that the autocratic presidency is accelerating in alarming fashion, extending
the dark and heavy cloak of "national security" over a vast number
of official documents, which are removed from public scrutiny for the tiniest
The dawn of this dangerous regression was mainly, although not exclusively,
detected after 9-11, in State files and drafts in regard to the "non-prevention"
of those attacks. The New York Times indicates that the government is classifying
documents to avoid public inspection "at a rate of 125 per minute"
with a tendency "that almost doubles the annual number of document concealed
from public view: more than 15 million last year was nearly double the number
that was classified in 2001." Behind the pretext of the campaign against
terror, the government vaguely categorizes documents to conceal them from the
population, under headings like "sensitive security information."
In the middle of this frightful process, it is significant that the person
leading those who complain of "excessive secrecy" is Thomas Kean,
co-chairman of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United
States. Kean noted that this concealment is counter-productive for security:
"The best ally we have in protecting ourselves against terrorism is an
informed public," and he indicated that the monumental failure of intelligence
before 9-11 had nothing to do with information leaks, but information barriers
between the public and the agencies responsible for security.
The White House is making a great effort to spread to the rest of the world
an extension of police and military power that will lead to the social climate
denounced by Greenpeace and the ACLU, and none of us [non-Americans] have any
say in the matter. Fox and Abascal, by means of the "Alliance," have
already included us, quietly, without any consultation.