Feel the Fear: November 2002 (Part 2 of 2)
You are a Suspect
William Safire, NYTimes, Nov. 14, 2002
Safire rightly points out the consequences of the newly passed "Homeland Security Act":
Commentary: William Safire has not often opposed conservative administrations on many things (an exception being drug legalization to his credit). The fact that he can come out with this concerned salvo on the new, over-and-above powers now in the hands of government to conduct surveillance on even innocent citizens speaks volumes. The Prez says "If yer not fer us, yer a'gin us.” One then must ask the question: "Who is 'Us' and who is 'Them'?". To enact such measures in the defense of freedom is the definition of doublespeak.
Using Software to Find Terrorists
Mercury News, 10-11-2002
"According to the defense agency, the software would root out suspicious activity such as "companies who claim contracts incommensurate with their business history or size, companies who make unverifiable claims, persons who have 'missing periods in their background' and 'persons whose positions are inconsistent with their experience'"."
"Ari Schwartz, associate director of the non-profit Center for Democracy & Technology in Washington, D.C., views the Pentagon's software proposal as part of a broad and dangerous push after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to bolster surveillance and data gathering on civilians."
Commentary: The newly formed Information Awareness Office is going to take it upon themselves to decide who is suspicious and who is not, presumably by gathering so much information on everyone that they can pick out what is "inconsistent" with what they think is correct. To profile the business and personal lives of 280+ million Americans is what it will take, and most experts think that the operating habits of terrorists aren't well known enough to make it viable. Even if it fails, they get the added bonus of having everyone's information on file for future
They Know It When They See It
AP, November 16, 2002
"Airline passengers accustomed to having their bags, their pockets and even their shoes checked are now encountering state troopers trained to examine their heads."
Commentary: Now State Police are expected to judge people on whether they exhibit suspicious behavior, but refuse to define what that means. Is it making eye contact? Not making eye contact? Wearing odd clothing? Wearing average clothing? Looking too nervous? Looking too relaxed? This in essence is a blank check for them to single out anyone, anytime for no reason. What used to be called unjustifiable police harassment is now policy. This is supposed to make us feel safer? When pigs fly.
New Homeland Security Bill Authorizes Forced Vaccinations on Populace
Worldnet Daily, November 16, 2002
"A physicians' group is among a growing number of critics imploring the Senate to scrap portions of a proposed homeland security bill they say will seriously undermine civil liberties and grant the federal government unprecedented – and unconstitutional – power.
The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons said yesterday that one section of the legislation would allow the head of the Health and Human Services department to order Americans to receive potentially deadly smallpox vaccines against their will. "
Commentary: While a vaccination is probably a good idea if you are in the middle of a breakout, it is still like playing Russian Roulette since there is a small chance of dying or getting very ill from the vaccine itself. People should be able to refuse to be injected and not be forcibly quarantined unless they come down with symptoms. To mandate otherwise is an informal declaration that the State owns your body, not you. Once this is accepted as normal, what else will your government be putting into you for your own good? Doesn't matter, you will have lost the right to decide.
Turning Homeless Into Boat People
Erin McClam, Associated Press (via NewsDay.com)
Nov. 20, 2002
Desperate for ways to combat surging homelessness as winter nears; New York City is studying whether retired cruise ships could be converted into shelters.
This summer a judge blocked Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to use a former Bronx jail as a shelter. The city, bound by law to provide shelter for its homeless, has also considered converting empty convents and community centers. "
Commentary: The homeless population of New York, still reeling from the departing Giuliani administration's get tough policies, is apparently in for more of the same (if not worse) from the incoming gang. While nobody has even whispered the thought of putting them out to sea, it would get them out of sight and out of mind. Maybe the city can employ them to make "I Love NY" bumper stickers for 3rd world wages when they get 3 miles offshore. No, then they couldn't make them pay income taxes either.
Your Grocery List Could Spark a Terror Probe
The Villiage Voice, July 24-30, 2002
"They thought they were making routine purchases—the innocent, everyday pickups of charcoal and hummus, bleach and sandwich bags, that keep the modern household running. Regulars at a national grocery chain, these thousands and thousands of shoppers used the store's preferred-customer cards, in the process putting years of their lives on file. Perhaps they expected their records would be used by marketers trying to better target consumers. Instead, says the company's privacy consultant, the data was used by government agents hunting for potential terrorists. "
Commentary: Forget about the stories of East German Stazi in black trenchcoats following around suspected dissidents and writing down their habits in little books, everyone who uses those "loyalty cards" (nice double meaning there, eh?) has their own little electronic Major Hochstetter looking over their shoulders in the supermarket. What you buy could be hazardous to your health (and freedom). Remember my motto: "Cash and carry, never wary."
Pentagon Puts Electronic ID Tags for Every Internet User on Hold...For Now
C/Net via MSNBC, Nov. 22, 2002
"A Defense Department agency recently considered—and rejected—a far-reaching plan that would sharply curtail online anonymity by tagging e-mail and Web browsing with unique markers for each Internet user. The idea involved creating secure areas of the Internet that could be accessed only if a user had such a marker, called eDNA..."
Commentary: This is what is commonly called a "trial balloon". They have to keep pushing to see how far they can get people to go along with them in the name of security. Barely a few years ago even suggesting such a program would've led to an uproar. Its clear that they believe such a thing is inevitable and will no doubt bring it on later. Much like the "Know Your Customer" banking laws that were shouted down just barely a couple years back but are now in full effect under the USA PATRIOT Act (thank you to all of those incompetent and/or malicious members--and I do mean members--of Congress that rubber stamped that statist turkey without even reading it.). The ability to press a few keys and view your every click, email and use of the internet for an indeterminate period is as abominable as requiring one to wear a name badge to exercise your right to assemble or travel (facial recognition cams [cough], license plates...never mind).
Not a G'Day for Aussies: Their DNA Can Be Taken By Force
The West Australian, Nov. 20, 2002
"POLICE have been given far-reaching powers to take DNA samples from witnesses and victims of crime as well as suspects.
Under the Criminal Investigation (Identifying People) Act 2002, which became law at midnight, police can forcibly take a DNA sample when a person refuses to give one."
Commentary: Not a US issue as yet, but what the Brits and their former colonies inflict on their people we end up with eventually for the most part. Once again a State makes the outright claim that the bodies of its citizens belong to it and not themselves. Of course Australians are subjects of a former monarchy (to whom they still seemingly owe allegiance), but it’s clear that being a citizen in America doesn't make much of a difference in how the government views Americans. Look for similar actions in the US soon, after all, only the guilty should care, right? You can't just slap on an old pair of genes.
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