Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Homeland Security State (Part II)

Nick Turse in TomDispatch. Via Working For Change. Our post on Part I is here. The articles detail the whole range of surveillance, intelligence-gathering methods, and laws that threaten and invade our privacy in many matters, as far as Mr. Turse knows them. The "War on Terror" seems to spreading out to include all of us. It's long, but go read.
Today, freedom -- to be spread abroad by force of arms -- is increasingly a privilege that can be rescinded at home when anyone acts a little too free. Today, America is just another area of operations for the Pentagon; while those who say the wrong things; congregate in the wrong places; wear the wrong t-shirts; display the wrong stickers; or just look the wrong way find themselves recast as "enemies" and put under the eye of, if not the care of, the state. Today, a growing Homeland Security complex of federal, local, and private partners is hard at work establishing turf rights, garnering budgetary increases, and ramping up a new security culture nationwide. And, unfortunately, the programs and abuses highlighted in this series are but the publicly known tip of the iceberg.

Imagine if this last program were integrated with any of the aforementioned ventures -- in our increasingly brave new (blurred) world. Yet, for all their secret doings, vaunted programs, futuristic technologies and their powerful urge to turn all American citizens into various kinds of tractable database material, our new Homeland Security managers require one critical element: us. They require our "Eagle Eyes," our assent, and -- if not our outright support -- then our ambivalence and acquiescence. They need us to be their dime-store spies; they need us to drive their tracking device-equipped cars; they need us to accede to their revisions of the first amendment.

That simple fact makes us powerful. If you don't dig the Homeland Security State, do your best to thwart it. Of course, such talk, let alone action, probably won't be popular -- but since when has anything worthwhile, from working for peace to fighting for civil rights, been easy? If everyone was for freedom, there would be no need to fight for it. The choice is yours.

Why is our government afraid of ordinary citizens exercising their constitutional rights? Most people never see it that way. They're just living their lives.

Look, if I see anyone doing something that I think might be a precursor to any act of terror, damn right I'll snitch 'em off. It's my civic duty. Same with a major crime (unless I did it, of course!).

When they come to ask (or tell) me to simply spy on my neighbors, I'm gonna tell 'em to get fucked. Or perhaps I'll signify agreement by snapping to rigid attention, clicking my heels, extending my arm straight out, and saying "Heil Bush!" Yeah, maybe when pigs fly.

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