Monday, October 27, 2008

Introducing: The Constitution Free Zone!

A report from the ACLU!

Expanding Border Powers Creating ‘Constitution-Free Zone’ That Covers Two-Thirds of Americans (10/22/2008)

CONTACT: (202) 675-2312;

WASHINGTON – The extraordinary powers of customs and border agents to invade the privacy of individuals at the U.S. border are spreading inland and creating what amounts to a “Constitution-free Zone” that covers fully two-thirds of the American population, the American Civil Liberties Union said today in a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

“The authorities can do things at the border that they could never do to citizens and residents inside our country under the Constitution,” said Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Yet the government is asserting that some of these powers extend as far as 100 miles inside the actual border. It is a classic example of law enforcement powers expanding far beyond their proper boundaries – in this case, literally.”

At the press conference, the ACLU released a map showing the 100-mile “border region” claimed by the government, and cities and states that fall within it. The map, which was created using the latest census data, shows that fully two-thirds of the U.S. population, including 9 of the nation’s top 10 largest metro areas, is within the border zone.

This map illustrates the scope of these powers:

Make no mistake, these powers are not simply being used to make a quick check of your license or passport for citizenship, or "Checking your papers," as they used to say in Nazi Germany. This is about your wife sobbing by the side of the road while enduring a complete shakedown, a jagoff Border Patrol agent screaming "Where are the drugs? What are you hiding?" while ransacking the belongings of your RV, looking for any example of possible wrongdoing... yet was so incompetent that he could not find the full-length shotgun at the foot of the tiny RV bed.

Ask me how I know.

Open your eyes and know that the police state is nigh upon us. The gold ring on that map is a noose that will close to leave us a disarmed, pacified and imprisoned American People, every Constitutional Right thrown away in the name of that oh-so-illusive wraith: security.

Take off the blinders and put together all the pieces that show how far we've fallen since 9/11:

* FREEDOM OF SPEECH: At both party's conventions your right to freedom of speech was offered from razor-wire topped detainment areas that were conveniently located a long way from everything else.

* EAVESDROPPING: The United States government now has the power to eavesdrop on Americans "believed to have ties to terrorism", an accusation that can be creatively applied to include anyone at all. We all know a prominent US Senator who stands thus accused from the mouth of the other candidate. How many thousands of people has Barack Obama alone met who may now be "tied to a terrorist" through a holistic interpretation of the eavesdropping standard?

And do you know the detailed histories of everyone you know or work with? Only today a tenured UGA professor was summarily dismissed when it was found he had a serious crime hidden in his past. He must have known hundreds and hundreds of people in his capacity as a departmental Graduate Coordinator and educator over the years. What random person in your life will provide the "legal grounds" to tie YOU to terrorism when they decide to come and get you?

Eventually it will be deemed most efficient to go ahead and keep track of all of our calls and emails, let an army of computers screen for evidence of criminal activity and - depending on the religious stripe of the executive in charge - perhaps even "moral" crimes.

* TORTURE: The United States abandoned all moral authority on the global stage with the decision to torture its enemies. Torture puts us in the company of such countries as China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Malaysia, Morocco, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, Turkey, Uganda, and Uzbekistan, as well as such all time greats as Stalin's USSR, Hitler's Germany and, ironically enough, Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It's a moral disgrace, an act of evil institutionalized. How much longer until your "ties to terrorism" are deemed sufficient to give you a turn on a waterboard?

* HABEAS CORPUS: Immigrants can now be held indefinitely, without charge, even if they are NOT found to have links to terrorism. As a human being you either have a right to a fair trial or you do not. Once again, a noose that will be drawn slowly tighter against all of us until one day it is completely gone.

The list of civil liberties lost goes on and on, but the combined threat to our freedom does not end there.

* PERSONAL TRACKING/SURVEILLANCE: The movies always told us that we would be chipped or implanted for purposes of tracking. Who would have ever guessed we would voluntarily carry around the cell phones that allow authorities to plot you on a Google map just as easily as they track the buses on the streets of Athens, Georgia.

At the same time the US spy drones fly over the Middle East and our towns and cities are watched by security cameras.

All of this technology is ready to help protect us.

* BLACKWATER: Unlike US troops they have not taken an oath to the Constitution, yet they were selected to perform key security functions in Iraq, including protection of US diplomats.
In practice they have answered to no one, and have been exempt from prosecution for their murderous actions.

This private, mercenary army only recently abandon efforts to build a remote "training center" near the border in the deserts of California and their presence was documented on the ground in New Orleans after Katrina. How much longer until this private gestapo force is ready to take on "enemies of the state" without those few boundaries still binding the action of the government?

The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world at 737 persons imprisoned per 100,000 (as of 2005).[15] A report released Feb. 28, 2008 indicates that in the United States more than 1 in 100 adults is now confined in an American jail or prison.[8] The United States has 5% of the world's population and 25% of the world's incarcerated population.[6]

For comparison, in 2006 the incarceration rate in England and Wales is 139 persons imprisoned per 100,000 residents, while in Norway it is 59 inmates per 100,000, whilst the Australian imprisonment rate is 163 prisoners per 100,000 residents, and the rate of imprisonment in New Zealand last year was 179 per 100,000.


No one ever thinks it can happen where they live, in their countries, in their lifetimes. But happen it does, over and over again in history. And unless we drive the new government to wholesale restoration of our Constitutional rights we may find that we have suddenly slipped past the point of no return, that we are a nation of concentration camps and reeducation centers where dissenters will be taught to be a member in good standing of the "Real America" that the GOP would have us use to measure up the nation.


Thanks to Ryan Singel at Wired BLOG and, most of all U-BOT!

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