Sep 24, 2001
Congress is considering a new law proposed by the Bush Administration. Its aim – supposedly – is to give the government weapons to combat terrorism. Under this law, immigrants not yet citizens of the U.S. could be detained and imprisoned simply on the order of the Attorney General with no real evidence of wrong-doing by the imprisoned individuals, and no charges placed against them. And the person so detained or imprisoned would have no right to ask for a hearing in the courts to review the case. In other words, a person can be imprisoned without proof, without a trial – exactly as in a police state.
It would become legal for the FBI and other law enforcement officials to tap almost any phone call or Internet communications – of citizens or non-citizens. They would not have to demonstrate to a judge, as they now are required to, that they have reasonable cause to suspect that the person to be spied on has been involved in a crime. They just have to say they are carrying on an “investigation.” We know how they carried out investigations of Martin Luther King, for example, even when they had no legal right to do this. We can imagine what would happen when they had the legal right.
The proposed law would dramatically expand the government's right to perform secret searches of anyone under surveillance without informing them that a search was being conducted – that is, they could go into your home or business when you weren’t there and never let you know they’d been there. It would also allow the government to seize the property of almost any accused person BEFORE proving that person to be guilty of anything.
It’s just like after the Oklahoma City bombing when a whole series of measures were rushed through under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Those measures had almost nothing to do with terrorism, but they did give the police many more rights against ordinary people.
Now, once again, in the name of fighting terrorism, the police and other law enforcement agencies are to be given further means to intimidate and control the whole U.S. population.
We know how such means were used in the past even when they weren’t legal: against workers who organized and led strikes, against black people who fought to get rid of Jim Crow, against people who opposed U.S. wars around the world.
This is how they will be used again. The government simply wants to be freer to openly act as a police state!