Your Most Trusted Source of Foreign News and Views About the United States
By John Saxe-Fernández
July 21, 2005
Having been taken advantage of by
[President] Bush in the name of “national security,” a painful series of
events has driven the judiciary and police, in view of the 9-11 attacks and
the resulting worldwide indignation, to countenance a resurgence of the
intelligence agencies in the
Greenpeace and the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU), groups that champion civil rights, accuse FBI
officials of using the powers of the Patriotic Act [Providing Appropriate
Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism] "to erase the border
that separates legitimate activities of civil disobedience from terrorist
activities, in an attempt to repress political opposition" (La Jornada ,
7/19/05). This is part of a systematic erosion of the Constitution and the
establishment of a state of emergency, giving the police and military
exceptional powers under that "Act," many clauses of which were set to
expire this year. But Bush, taking advantage of the 7-7 attacks in
Members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), the source of the much of this policy, occupy [or occupied] key positions in the Bush government (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bolton, et cetera). It is important to remember that the "main script" for the ascent of the new right was synthesized in a document called Rebuilding America’s Defenses, drawn up by the PNAC in September of 2000.—Read: 'Rebuilding America’s Defenses' [PDF File]
At the time, the PNAC presented the prospect -- and then in power expected -- "a catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor," that mobilizes public opinion and allowed it to apply its theories and plans of action (Rebuilding ... cited by Chalmers Johnson in The Sorrows of Empire, Metropolitan, 2004, p. 229). For the PNAC, the events of Sept. 11 were propitious, allowing the instigation of a putsch.
A few days after 9-11, Condy Rice interpreted the tragedy, with its more than 3,000 dead, as an "opportunity." Rice, then at the helm of the National Security Council, summoned its members and asked them "... to think about how to capitalize on these opportunities to fundamentally change United States’ doctrine and reshape the world, as a result of September 11," adding: "I really think this period is analogous to 1945-1947," the period of harassment during the Cold War, now denounced by Greenpeace and the ACLU.
At the moment, the ACLU is sounding the alarm by the making submissions to a bipartisan legislature [The U.S. Congress] dominated by the Republicans, about the President’s demands for the renovation and indefinite extension of the Patriotic Act. To the accumulation of despotic acts (systematic torture, incarcerations and secret military courts, etc.) two oppressive measures are added: first, the silent maneuvering in the Congress for, in the words of The New York Times ( NYT , 7/16/05), "to destroy one of the pillars of the Constitution: the right to habeas corpus in federal court ... It is appalling that lawmakers would visit such destruction on a basic human right that's been painfully secured across three centuries of jurisprudence."
[Editor’s Note: A writ of habeas corpus is a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering that an inmate be brought to the court so it can be determined whether or not that person is imprisoned lawfully and whether or not he should be released from custody].
Four days earlier, the same newspaper of the establishment media informs us that the autocratic presidency is accelerating in alarming fashion, extending the dark and heavy cloak of "national security" over a vast number of official documents, which are removed from public scrutiny for the tiniest excuse.
The dawn of this dangerous regression was mainly, although not exclusively, detected after 9-11, in State files and drafts in regard to the "non-prevention" of those attacks. The New York Times indicates that the government is classifying documents to avoid public inspection "at a rate of 125 per minute" with a tendency "that almost doubles the annual number of document concealed from public view: more than 15 million last year was nearly double the number that was classified in 2001." Behind the pretext of the campaign against terror, the government vaguely categorizes documents to conceal them from the population, under headings like "sensitive security information."
In the middle of this frightful process, it is significant that the person leading those who complain of "excessive secrecy" is Thomas Kean, co-chairman of The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Kean noted that this concealment is counter-productive for security: "The best ally we have in protecting ourselves against terrorism is an informed public," and he indicated that the monumental failure of intelligence before 9-11 had nothing to do with information leaks, but information barriers between the public and the agencies responsible for security.
The White House is making a great effort to spread to the rest of the world an extension of police and military power that will lead to the social climate denounced by Greenpeace and the ACLU, and none of us [non-Americans] have any say in the matter. Fox and Abascal, by means of the "Alliance," have already included us, quietly, without any consultation.
[Editor’s Note: Asegura Carlos