“A Culture Of Surveillance”
by Chuck Baldwin
April 28, 2009
It is truly amazing how much news the American news media chooses to ignore. If one wants to discover what is actually going on in the world, he or she often has to go to the foreign press. This has again been the case with a story that every American should be extremely interested in, but which has been totally ignored by the American news media. I found this story in Russia Today.
According to RussiaToday.com, "The personal computer may soon be not-so-private, with the U.S. and some European nations working on laws allowing them access to search the content held on a person’s hard drive.
"President Obama’s administration is keeping unusually tight-lipped on the details, which is raising concerns among computer users and liberty activists."
The report also states, "In extreme secrecy from the public, the United States is hammering out an international copyright treaty with several other countries and the European Union. Under the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (or ACTA), governments will get sweeping new powers to search and seize material thought to be in breach of copyright. But why all the secrecy?"
Russia Today quotes Richard Stallman, prominent American software freedom activist, as saying, "Democracy gets bypassed and they can do to us whatever they want. I can only guess that it’s going to be nasty, because if it weren’t going to be nasty, they wouldn’t need to keep it a secret."
The report also said, "Up until now, the breach of copyright has been a civil matter. The Obama administration seems to now want to criminalize it."
The report continued saying, "Some say modern America is being overtaken by a culture of surveillance."
A culture of surveillance indeed. What began in earnest under former President George W. Bush is now sharply escalating under President Barack Obama.
According to Ecommerce Journal, President Obama and his Big Brother fellow travelers in Congress are seeking power to "cut the whole world off the Internet." The report says, "Senators John Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe proposed the Cybersecurity Act that would create the Office of the National Cybersecurity Advisor. Its powers are detailed in the The Cybersecurity Act of 2009.
"If the President so chooses, he can call a ‘cybersecurity emergency’ and shut down or limit any ‘net traffic or a ‘critical’ network ‘in the name of national security,’ though the bill fails to provide concrete definitions on what is ‘critical’ or what constitutes an ’emergency.’"
The report goes on to say, "This new legislation seeks to give even more power to the government to regulate the Internet and, in future, the possibility to regulate content and usage. What begins as a method of defeating terrorism and protecting telecommunications, can quickly become a method to regulate ‘hate speech’ to assign ‘motive’ or ‘intent’ to harm and even to regulate and legislate the flow of information that is deemed by the ‘thought police’ to be inflammatory or counter-productive to their cause."
The report says that the new cybersecurity legislation can be a "framework for future, more invasive legislation. It is a first step to the loss of internet privacy, free speech and the free flow of information."
So, once again, the passing of a Republican Presidential administration and the advent of a Democratic Presidential administration have resulted in zero change in the overall direction of the ship of state. In the name of "national security," the federal government of this country continues to deepen its commitment to what can only be described as a police-state mentality. And, once again, the national news media in America chooses to ignore the story, and by so doing, shows willful compliance with this disturbing phenomenon.
I wonder how many Obama supporters are paying attention?
During the Bush years, my "conservative" brethren (especially the ones calling themselves Christians) repeatedly turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the myriad foibles and falsehoods, and frequent fraudulence of President Bush because he was a Republican. Now we will see how many Obama supporters will look the other way in order to protect President Obama because he is a Democrat. I suspect most of them will show themselves of no better character than the Bush supporters.
Consider: Obama promised to end the war in Iraq. But what has he done since being elected? He merely moved the major combat theater to Afghanistan. He is even in the process of escalating the war in Afghanistan to possibly include Pakistan. So, where are the "peacenik" liberals who supported Obama? Why do they not loudly proclaim their opposition, as they did when Bush was in office?
Furthermore, Obama criticized Bush’s undisciplined deficit spending, but what has he done since becoming President? He has deeply expanded Bush’s failed financial policy of excessive deficit spending. Again, where are all the loud voices of protest?
George Bush wanted amnesty for illegal aliens. Barack Obama wants amnesty for illegal aliens. George Bush supported the assault weapons ban. Barack Obama supports the assault weapons ban. George Bush wanted to limit the legal rights of certain people charged with crimes. Well, friends, Barack Obama also wants to limit the rights of people charged with crimes.
Just last week, an Associated Press report stated, "The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to overrule long-standing law that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant’s lawyer is present, another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights.
"The administration’s action–and several others–have disappointed civil rights and civil liberties groups that expected President Barack Obama to reverse the policies of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, after the Democrat’s call for change during the 2008 campaign."
So, where are Obama’s supporters who thought they were voting for change? Will they do nothing, as did Bush’s supporters, and accept this abridgment of personal liberty, simply because "their man" is in the White House? Probably.
In addition, George Bush created a Big-Government monster known as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Can there be any doubt that DHS is in the process of manufacturing a ubiquitous surveillance society that eavesdrops, snoops, and monitors virtually our entire lives? And what does Barack Obama do immediately after assuming office? He multiplies and expands the surveillance society to even greater degrees. So again I ask, where are all the Bush critics to denounce Barack Obama’s draconian anti-privacy, anti-freedom policies?
The Internet is the last best source of free and independent information left. Think where the liberty movement would be without the Internet. But even as we speak, President Obama and his allies in Congress are attempting to obtain the authority to censor information on–and curtail access to–the Internet. Plus, in the name of "cybersecurity," they are plotting to obtain the authority to monitor and seize anyone’s personal computer at will.
The Russia Today report is right: we do have a culture of surveillance. We also have a culture of cowardice by people from both sides of the political aisle who, in the name of partisan politics, are willfully accommodating and facilitating the demise of this constitutional republic.
© Chuck Baldwin