L. Neil Smith's
Special to TLE
Our once Free Republic is slowly but surely morphing into a police state. At one point in time, the idea of a national police force was anathema to any thinking American, but sadly, that time is passing if it's not already gone. The implications of a recent press release from John Ashcroft's Justice Department are chilling.
The Bush administration is using the unconstitutional USA PATRIOT act to destroy the ideals of freedom laid down by our founders and its chief agent is Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Ashcroft is using the so-called "War on Terror" as a blunt instrument to beat our remaining civil liberties to death and the very technology you're using to read this column is his greatest ally. But perhaps, his greatest ally could turn out to be his downfall and your salvation.
"Information is the best friend of prevention," said Attorney General John Ashcroft. "The September 11 attacks demonstrate that the war on terrorism must be fought and won at all levels of government. To meet this continuing threat, law enforcement officials at all levels -- federal, state, and local -- must work together, coordinating information and leveraging resources in the joint effort to prevent and disrupt terrorist activity."
In order to accomplish this, Ashcroft is attempting the previously unthinkable. A national law enforcement database, supposedly targeted at "terrorists", but in reality it's targeted directly at your individual freedom.
The real kicker is in clause three of this infamous power grab:
3. Establish Secure System for Information Coordination with State and Local Partners. Effective information coordination requires sophisticated mechanisms for expanded database searches using methods other than a name search.
Well, that can't be so bad, right?
What we're looking at here is a sophisticated computer database (which Larry Ellison of Oracle is already advocating, no doubt looking for fat federal contracts) that will eventually contain all of your personal information at the beck and call of our federal masters. You're also looking at the dreaded National Police Force, perhaps de facto to start with, but assuredly, not for long.
But this will just be used to track those nasty Arab foreigners!
A decade or so back, RICO, The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was originally written to target organized crime. It allowed the law enforcement to attack "enterprises" that engage in a "pattern of racketeering." Since then however, RICO has been expanded to allow corrupt attacks on many different facets of American society, by unscrupulous prosecutors seeking to bump up their conviction rates.
Don't doubt for a single minute that the federal government won't pervert the powers granted it under the USA PATRIOT act in the exact same fashion to attack your freedom as an American citizen to speak freely. They will, and it's already started. Any data they gather will eventually be used against you, not just Abdul, the funny looking guy down the street, but YOU.
America's Himmler, John Ashcroft, is leading the charge.
So, what can be done?
Luckily, we can at least currently use the existing computer networks to fight back and keep informed. Websites like LewRockwell.com, Antiwar.com, Libertarian Enterprise and my own Elkins.org are attempting to keep the torch of Liberty lit, as are many others. However, as the government crackdown expands, all freedom-loving websites will need your support. They are truly the samizdat of our generation.
Another thing to consider is using encryption in your personal emails, especially those that may have political content. GNU-Pgp is an excellent choice for this and it's free besides. It provides a level of privacy that will pretty much guarantee that any jackboot email snooper will be stumped, unless he has a massively intelligent computer system to dedicate to cracking your single email. Currently, it's not that intuitive a program to use, but it gets better daily. Grab a copy and play with it. It might well just secure your online freedom of speech.
Finally, please speak out!
While I'm no great believer in the corrupt election scam we have running today, if you are, let your local politicians know that you're a lover of freedom and you won't tolerate the power-grabs being run at all levels of government. My personal inclination is to boycott the election process and allow the lower and lower turnout to let the politicians know with what regard they are held by their slaves. However, if like me you believe that elections are a scam, don't buy into the old canard that if you don't vote you don't have a right to speak. You do, and if you value your freedom, now is the time to speak loudly.
Time is running out.