In many of the Hollywood “B” movies made about WWII, you could always count on a scene where two arrogant Gestapo thugs, wearing dark trench coats, would demand of a hapless German, walking on a street or seated as a passenger in a railroad car, “Let me see your papers!” Fear on the face of the nervous citizen was the typical response to such a question. Then, the subject in the scene would be seen stumbling around looking inside his jacket for his credentials while mumbling to himself. No papers! Well, that meant the suspect was going to be hauled downtown to police headquarters for a good beating or worse. Well, thanks to the cowardly members of the U.S. Congress, in 2005, and at the explicit direction of the Bush-Cheney Gang, the above scenario could become part of our national nightmare.
The Homeland Security Agency is the mother of all domestic bureaucracies, with 170,000 employees. It will be in charge, inter alia, under S. 2845, "The Intelligence Reform Act of 2004," of standardizing all birth and death certificates and driver licenses. If this sounds like the beginnings of the “Brave New World” of Aldous Huxley, well, then it is. Kids will not be able to go to school unless they have a Homeland Security registered birth certificate. A separate ID or an “Internal Passport” will soon be needed by anyone trying to board an airplane for commercial travel. I’m confident that other means of public transportation, like trains, buses and ferries, will shortly be added to that category by our rubber stamp Congress. If your name shows up, no matter how, on a “No Fly” or “Watch List,” you may have to walk home! The ACLU rightly denounced that provision, and others, which call for the creation of national database systems, for laying the foundation for a “de facto national id card” (supra., cnn.com, 12/10/04).
Buried in the over 3,000 pages, S. 2845, and unread by a majority of the members of the Congress or a mostly complicit media, were other draconian provisions (http://thomas.loc.gov/). The Bill was passed, with little or no public input, on Dec. 9, 2004. The U.S. Senate voted 89 to 2 for the measure, while the House gave its approval by a 336 to 75 margin. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WA), along with Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK, were the only dissenters in the Senate. Byrd, a throwback to the halcyon days when that body was led by giants like Henry Clay of Kentucky and Robert LaFollete of Wisconsin, objected because “Patriot Act-styled law enforcement provisions” were added to it. He railed against the “rush to judgment” (cnn.com, 12/10/04, “Inside Politics”). As with the original Patriot Act, fake Liberals, such as Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD, Charles Schumer (D-NY) and John F. Kerry (D-MA), decided to go along for the ride. The main pusher for S. 2845 on the Senate side was perpetual windbag, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), an Iraqi War Hawk with close ties to the shadowy Neocons. (Shouldn’t that Cheshire catlike smirk on Lieberman’s mug be against the law?)
The so-called "Intelligence Bill" was also pushed by that whitewashing "9/11 Commission." The new law centralizes 15 U.S. intelligence agencies under a super czar – a national director. I expect Rudy Giuliani, the ex-mayor of NYC, or someone with his police state mentality, to get that post. President George W. Bush, however, might even pick (double gasp) Elliot Abrams, a Neocon and a former notorious Contragate figure for that spot. He is now hiding out on the staff of the National Security Council (http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Elliott_Abrams).
The powers of the Feds to place citizens under surveillance, or on "Watch" or "No Fly" lists, and/or to possibly charge an individual with giving “material support” to terrorists, have also been greatly enhanced under the terms of S. 2845. The mere fact that you were associated with moral and legal issues- like the Anti-Apartheid Movement with respect to South Africa, or opposing the “Death Squads” in Central and South America, or objecting to the crime of British colonialism in the north of Ireland, or speaking out against the evils of the Israeli Occupation of the lands of the Palestinians- could easily place your name in a secret government file, or database, and mark you down for special treatment. Those now out in the streets opposing the World Trade Organization and/or the Iraqi War, please take note.
Sen. Mikulski’s record in protecting civil liberties, like Lieberman’s, has been atrocious! I suspect that she didn’t read S. 2845 before signing onto it, just like I believe that she didn’t read the first USA Patriot Act. Mikulski also voted for the Homeland Security Law. Although, she technically voted against the Iraqi War Resolution, she has failed miserably to speak out against that conflict or against the serial lies of the Bush-Cheney Gang that led us into it. Nevertheless, Maryland voters returned her to the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 2nd election, for a fourth term by a wide margin over a nonentity of a Republican candidate. Mikulski has been labeled as, “a champion of the underdog.” I submit nothing could be further from the truth.
S. 2845 also states, “Individuals who act entirely independently of the foreign terrorist organization to advance its goals or objectives shall not be considered to be working under the foreign terrorist organization’s direction and control." It also provides that, "Nothing in this section shall be construed or applied so as to abridge the exercise of rights guaranteed under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States," Question: How can you trust that bureaucrats in Homeland Security or some other federal agencies, looking to increase their personal powers and/or their bosses’ reputations, are even going to bother to read or abide by these exculpatory provisions?
If you’re so unlucky as to be charged with a terrorist offense or aiding a terrorist group, via S. 2845, the burden will shift to you and not the federal government to prove that you’re entitled to bail. This means that, if you can’t overcome that unfair presumption of law, while your case is making its way through the federal court system, (which can take years), you will be housed at one of the many federal detention centers. Now a growth industry, they are located in all the major urban areas. If you live in New York City, think the "Metropolitan Detention Center" near City Hall.
Finally, as a result of this measure, once secret Federal Grand jury testimony, which is normally the worst kind of hearsay evidence, since it comes out of an ex parte proceeding, can now be shared with cops at the state, federal and city levels by U.S. Attorneys at their discretion, If they, the Feds, don’t have any qualms about sharing hearsay Grand Jury testimony with others, what is to stop them from using hearsay evidence, (read lies, gossip, unsubstantiated charges, anonymous hate mail or an off-the-wall letter to the editor), to build up their central databases?
I think you can safely say that on Dec. 9, 2004, when this disgraceful police state scheme, (S. 2845), was passed by the U.S. Congress, our civil liberties and freedoms, took another damaging and direct hit. At a minimum, this new law, when signed by President Bush, will have a "chilling effect" on citizens exercising their First Amendment rights of protest and association. It may also, at its worst, set the stage for a national nightmare!