Thursday, August 16, 2007

Look, Up In The Sky! It's A Bird . . . It's A Plane . . . It's Your Government Spying On You!

In what may be the most egregious affront to privacy rights in at least the last week, both the Washington Post and Fox News are reporting that the Bush Administration has approved plans to allow domestic agencies access to data from U.S. spy satellites. Approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security, state and local law enforcement officials will soon be able to utilise imagery from systems that have largely been restricted to foreign surveillance and occasional scientific study. The systems are believed to be sophisticated enough to penetrate clouds, buildings and even underground bunkers.

Now here's the REALLY interesting Part . . .

Oversight of the imagery data will come from officials in the Department of Homeland Security and from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That's right, no court obtained warrants and no approval from Congress. But don't let that worry you. According to Charles Allen, the chief intelligence officer for the Department of Homeland Security, "We can give total assurance" that Americans’ civil liberties will be protected. "Americans shouldn't have any concerns about it."

Well the executive branch of government has never lied to us. Wait, reverse that.

It is clear to me that Congress's latest passivity with regard to renewing the warrantless wiretapping has emboldened the Bush Administration. In no part of the United States is it legal for the police to just knock down your door and search your premises. Yet this technology provides law enforcement the ability to do just that. But it's not our local law enforcement departments you should be concerned about. Most are comprised of men and women of good faith. The problem goes a little higher. Consider this: In 1972 members of the Nixon Administration had the audacity to orchestrate a burglary of Democratic Party Headquarters. Had they access to this type of technology might they have gotten away with it?

Make no mistake about it: This is the type of activity that was condoned and utilised by the German Nazi government, by the Soviet Union, and by Communist China. It is antithetical to every principle upon which the United States of America was founded.

The idea that honest people have nothing to worry about is no longer, if it ever was, a valid response to this latest action. The administration has broken faith with the people whose rights it pledged to uphold and protect. If you have sat silently while civil liberty after civil liberty has been peeled away in the name of security, you can afford to sit no longer. You can afford to be silent no longer either. Our nation is in peril and the danger is coming as much from within as from without. You must act. You must raise your voice in protest, write letters to your paper and put placards in your yard. You must call your Congressional Representative and demand action. You must call the White House and voice your opposition.
These are the imperative actions that each of us must take.

And if that doesn't get their attention then WE must march on Washington until the only sound that can be heard is that of our voices raised in protest and in defense of our most cherished freedoms.


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