For the dwindling number of Americans who know enough of our history to remember Patrick Henry’s immortal words in 1775 urging revolution against England, “Give me liberty or give me death,” there is a later equally important quote to consider.
In 1788, after the Revolutionary War had been won, the issue was what sort of national government America would have. Each of the 13 states held conventions to consider ratification of a proposed new Constitution. Many respected leaders, including Henry, feared domination of the states by a central government far removed from the individual.
On June 4, 1788 in a speech before the Virginia Ratifying Convention, Henry was prescient in his remarks: “Show me that age and country where the rights and liberties of the people were placed on the sole chance of their rulers being good men, without a consequent loss of liberty! I say that the loss of that dearest privilege has ever followed, with absolute certainty, every such mad attempt.”
Guidelines from Hell
Certainly Patrick Henry could not have envisioned the likes of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder having the power, but last week these “good men” perpetrated yet one of the “mad attempts” this Founding Father anticipated.
Holder imposed 32 pages of “guidelines” that without a warrant, greatly expand the U.S. government’s powers to collect and store private information about you and me and every individual who is not suspected of any crime at all.
This is another radical expansion by the Obama administration that entrenches the unconstitutional government spying on the American people that began under the George Bush administration.
Since the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government secretly has compiled vast databases containing private information on Americans. This includes telephone conversations, personal emails, visited web sites, Google searches, text messages, credit card transactions, mobile phone GPS location data, travel itineraries, Facebook activity, medical records, traffic tickets, surveillance camera footage and online purchases.
The vast quantities of information collected and stored by the U.S. government far exceed that gathered by the most infamous historic police states, such as the Nazis, East Germany or Communist Russia.
The Obama-Holder guidelines permit intelligence officials to use these secret databases to profile and track Americans who have no connection to terrorism for up to five years. The previous guidelines, issued in 2008 by Bush administration limited the retention of information to only 180 days.[adcode]
Total Information Rape
And don’t kid yourself that this information won’t be used by used against “terrorists only” as was promised with the PATRIOT Act. You can be certain the IRS, FBI, CIA, Homeland Security (Immigration, Customs), Justice and every police agency will have access eager to manufacture criminal charges in any given case.
The new guidelines are expected to result in increased collection and “data mining” of information on ordinary Americans by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). This is nothing less than a major revival of the Total Information Awareness program of the Bush administration supposedly banned by Congress years ago.
What I am writing here should be read in conjunction with my article (“Big Brother Is Watching You” March 23) revealing that the Obama administration is constructing a secret facility of unprecedented size in Bluffdale, Utah to store and process all the information being gathering on Americans. The new data center will link to the National Security Agency (NSA) electronic eavesdropping facilities already operating around the country.
We Are All Suspects
I do not wish to be an alarmist, but if one reads the news media it is evident that there has been a massive use of not so secret police surveillance of not just potential “terrorist” groups, but all sorts of dissidents.
Just released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) internal manuals make clear that the agency is closely monitoring political discussions on social media sites such as Facebook. On December 31, Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, giving intelligence agencies and the military the power to abduct any person anywhere in the world, including U.S. citizens, and imprison them indefinitely without charges. This was followed by Holder’s speech asserting secret presidential power unilaterally to assassinate U.S. citizens without judicial process.
This unprecedented abrogation of our constitutional rights is aided and abated by the deafening silence of the political elites of Democrats and Republicans who permit the “consequent loss of liberty” Patrick Henry predicted 224 year ago.
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