The tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks has now come and gone. We’ve seen a lot of media focus on patriotic flag waving and memorials for the dead. That’s fine in itself, but something was missing. Something very serious was virtually ignored by the corporate media, that is, besides the Bush war of aggression based on falsehoods around al-Qaeda, Saddam and non-existent WMD’s.
We may survive that war, but it’s a real question whether the formerly free democratic republic of the United States of America will survive the anti-Constitutional over-reaction by politicians doing their best to look tough on terrorism. The Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the Warner Defense Authorization Act, the FISA Amendment, and who knows how many executive orders have been implemented and locked into our government’s expanding abuses of power.
There was little media mention of an incident at Detroit's airport on this past September 11th.
Someone apparently got nervous on an inbound plane.
After the plane landed it was routed to a vacant area on the tarmac and greeted by heavily armed and armored officers with dogs.
An innocent woman and two men she didn’t know were shackled by machine gun carrying officers and shoved off the plane. They were taken by the SWAT team for interrogation. The rest of the passengers were also taken away by bus to be interviewed at police headquarters. Nothing was found and there were no charges against the three passengers.
Why? Who knows? No explanation was given. Some frightened passenger or crew member saw two Indian men and the woman sitting in the same row and panicked.
The woman’s name is Shoshana Hebshi, an American citizen with a Saudi father and a Jewish mother. You can read her account here.
Apparently, all it takes for fear to seize hold of a citizen in the land of the free and home of the brave is a brown passenger or two with accents on a plane.
Are we turning into a nation of cowardly sniveling snitches? Not entirely, but fear, combined with politicians’ utter disregard for the Bill of Rights is killing our country faster than al-Qaeda could have done with a thousand more attacks. If we lack the courage of our convictions and founding principles, our country we knew all our lives is doomed.
The corporate lock on our politicians is bad enough. If the voters wake up we can change that. But nothing will change for the better when we react at the highest and lowest levels out of simple fear. FDR’s words ring vividly true today, “All we have to fear is fear itself”.
And that fear is being reinforced by authorities and politicians. Mayor Bloomberg has advised New Yorkers, “When you see something, say something!"
“Like what?” asks Nat Hentoff in his piece at Cato.org. Just what is "suspicious activity"?
They won’t say.
This call to report to police or the FBI suspicious behavior by anybody has led the American Civil Liberties Union to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit (ACLU.org, Aug. 25) "challenging the government's failure to release documents about the FBI's nationwide system of collecting and sharing (with other intelligence agencies) so-called 'Suspicious Activity Reports' from local, state and federal law enforcement agencies."
I make a point of following debates and releases among Republican 2012 presidential aspirants, and never once have I heard any concern about this omnivorous tracking of, as the Constitution begins, We The People. What does Gov. Rick Perry think of it? President Barack Obama, of course, thoroughly approves of this obliteration of our privacy to protect national security — without any of us being told we've been targeted.
This eGuardian program, begun in 2009, explains the ACLU, "allows the FBI to collect information about vague and expansively defined 'suspicious activity' from law enforcement and intelligence officials across the country, as well as from the public."
Yes, from the public. If one of us utterly detests a neighbor or someone where we work, why not report him or her to the authorities for "suspicious activity"?
There's never been a better time to support the ACLU, folks. Please consider it your patriotic duty. I do.
We have now entered the Orwellian nightmare of a nation of fearful snitches running to the Thought Police whenever they imagine someone to be “suspicious”.
This is our national tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. Neither Obama nor the Republicans are even mentioning what is happening to our civil liberties.
You know what? I think the Democrats and Republicans are both guilty of “suspicious activity” and should be taken away for interrogation. In order to be released they will need to recite for us the Bill of Rights and be reminded of their oath to defend them. And if they fail to do so, send them away for indefinite detention. They are not on our side.