Monday, November 21, 2016

Lying in wait...

Way back in the year 2007, I was sounding the alarm about the unfathomable breach of Constitutional civil liberties enacted by the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act.

Quick update:

2009
The Military Commissions Act was revised by a Democratic Congress to remove the statute that denied detainees the right of habeus corpus; meaning that detainees must have the right to challenge their detention in a federal court.

While that fixed one major criticism of the law, the Military Commissions Act can still be used to classify a US citizen as an "enemy combatant" and thus be subject to a secret military tribunal rather than a public trial.

2013
Due to the whistle blowing intelligence leaks of Edward Snowden, government officials were forced to address the scope and breadth of NSA surveillance tactics used against every US citizen, surveillance which had previously been justified by the Bush Administration using the The Patriot Act. The drafting of the USA Freedom Act begins.

2015
On June 1st, most of the provisions of the Patriot Act expired.

On June 2nd, the USA Freedom Act was passed. Originally intended to replace the Patriot Act with safeguards to protect the civil liberties of US citizens from government overreach, the watered down version that was able to pass Congress offers very little to reassure anyone concerned about freedom in the USA.

For instance, the USA Freedom Act has a lot of provisions for "oversight." That sounds great, but who is actually in charge of overseeing these issues of surveillance and the secretive FISA court and who can and cannot be designated an "enemy combatant?" All that oversight, it turns out, falls on the shoulders of the Attorney General, who is a political appointee of the President.

2016
President Trump taps Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Mike Pompeo for CIA director.

But don't trouble yourself worrying about all this now. These are freedoms you lost almost a decade ago.

All that potential dictatorial power, lying in wait for a potential dictator...

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