A Step Back in History!
By Karim Mohsen
Translated By Laura Napoli
8 July 2012
Edited by Tom Proctor
Algeria - L'Expression - Original Article (French)
The collapse of the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, began a remarkable acceleration of things, notably in the United States. Each thing accounts for a sharper regression of liberties under the pretext of protecting “liberties.” The attack against New York led to the emergence, under George W. Bush’s presidency, of the notorious Patriot Act, which permits the incarceration of foreign suspects for long periods without trial. Since then, it has been put to small use. Thus last December, President Barack Obama, who had just received the Nobel Peace Prize, renewed the Patriot Act and signed a new law, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which expanded this type of detention to American citizens “who [have] committed a belligerent act or [have] directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces” or groups identified who “[are] a part of or substantially supported al-Qaida, the Taliban or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
All this is without a trial or a time limit, as suggested by articles 1031 and 1032 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s legislation. In fact, the police state operates in the home of “habeas corpus,” this invention of democracy that proclaims that every man and woman is presumed innocent until proven guilty. With his smile and seemingly good intentions, Mr. Obama seems, in fact, more dangerous to individual and collective liberties than his predecessor, who didn’t exactly have a “light hand.” The Patriot Act did preview the possibility of its application to American citizens. However, George W. Bush did not cross that “red” line and was attentive to those same citizens’ freedoms that Barack Obama easily steps on.
Certainly, President Obama did take the “precaution” of saying that this is contrary to the meaning of the National Defense Authorization Act, but that didn’t stop him from signing, even though the Constitution gives him the possibility of opposing it by veto. He just didn’t do it. To each his own interpretation.
In this race to restrict freedom, an entire series of laws has emerged, like the Stop Online Piracy Act, PROTECT IP Act and Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. These undoubtedly barbarian acronyms pose a heavy threat to liberties. They are not only for Americans, but equally for other countries, since they concern piracy, the Internet and the general manner of electronic communication. Faced with an outcry, the U.S. Senate had deferred consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act, but that just seems like a postponement. In fact, once promulgated, the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act will permit web sites to be shut down without any court order for a whole list of reasons. And to top it off, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, negotiated in total secrecy by 39 countries — including the U.S., Morocco and the United Arab Emirates — would allow the government to monitor and censor the Internet without recourse.
In fact, the Occupy Wall Street movement and the crescendo of revolts in the U.S. make us fear the worst for those who hold power in the U.S. Obama has already bowed to pressure from the banks and Wall Street (those responsible for the global financial crisis) and has also surrendered when it comes to public liberties. That’s a little step back in history. This is just what Hitler’s fascism and dictatorship prescribed. Who recalls Hitler’s decree for “the protection of the people and the state,” which was signed by Hindenburg in 1933 after the burning of the Reichstag? Also, the best intentions, if they exist, can produce the worst results. We saw this in Germany. This is likely to recur today, where a vocal minority has the power (military, financial and technological) and controls the world, imperceptibly reducing the sovereignty of the people and the states. These people and these states, are they even aware of this?
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