Patriotic terrorism

Mikey 1 comment
  • Your rights
Patriotic terrorism

In what will be received as another unpopular move, the Bush Administration has asked a federal appeals court to restore their ability to force ISP's (Internet Service Providers) to reveal private information about their subscribers.

A year ago a U.S. District Judge denied the Administration the ability to secretly search communications records without the consent of a judge or grand jury. The reason given by District Judge Victor Marrero was the powers given to the Bush Administration by the (inaptly) named 'Patriot Act' in 2001 wrongfully bared legal challenges and imposed an automatic gag order on affected businesses.

If the Bush Administration gets their way, the first amendment is still upheld but Big Brother will be watching.

The only problem here, apart from the obvious, is the fifth amendment states "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized".

Roughly interpreted means a person has the right to privacy unless there is reason to believe the person has broken the law.

This begs the question: What laws have the subscribers of the ISP broken? When they signed their original contracts rest assured there would have been no mention of their personal information being compromised. On the contrary: Any reputable ISP will encourage you to read their rock solid privacy policy.

This is where the Patriot Act fails. The Bush Administration would have you believe there is only one type of patriotism, and that is to the greater good of the country. Have you heard of fascism? Fascism is defined as "A social and political ideology with the primary guiding principle that the state or nation is the highest priority, rather than personal or individual freedoms."

From 1933 to 1945 'German National Socialism' was famounsly known as a fascist movement. Today we call it patriotism.

Forget your individual rights. Before September 11 it would have been considered unpatriotic to share the personal information of all your subscribers to anyone. But the Patriot Act says you must do exactly that. The right to object is not an option and you are forbidden to talk about it. That would be considered unpatriotic.

It is easy to understand why Judge Marrero stripped the Bush Administration of this power. But with Patriot Act II being drafted there are more civil liberties at stake than ever.

Among other nasty scenarios, Patriot Act II will allow Government officials to:
  • Obtain personal information without judicial oversight;
  • Secretly arrest civilians;
  • Unfairly target immigrants under the pretext of fighting terrorism;
  • Further expand the reach of an already overbroad definition of terrorism;
  • Impose severe restrictions on the release of information about the hazards to the community posed by chemical and other plants;

The more I read about Bush and his minions the more I appreciate Australia. The age old saying 'The lucky country' has a whole new meaning during these chaotic times. If anything like the Patriot Act was ever introduced in Australia, I would be counting on my ISP to protect my privacy. Are you reading this, Bigpond?
Not a Member!

Mike T

Wednesday 1st June 2005 | 10:58 PM

Ain't it grand? When George Orwell first wrote "1984", a rather damning expose of a potential totalitarian state (later to give rise to the expression "an Orwellian society") I bet he never thought such a consciousness would come to pass some time in the immediate future - for his was a cautionary tale against just such a thing and reflective of what he was seeing in his own country, Great Britain. Yet here we are, sixty years later, watching from afar as America descends into just such an insular collective with its people being ruled by fear and restraint. I have my doubts that the Australian people would subscribe to such a bill as the Patriot Act, even if Little Johnny would (misguidedly) like us to become the titular 51st State of a juggernaut that will eventually fall to the encroaching economic and industrial revolutions happening as we speak (and type) amidst our Asian neighbours. The upcoming ASEAN summit proves that, as a major player in the economic growth of our region (Asia-Pacific), we simply can't ride on Dubya's coat-tails for too much least not without severely ticking off our neighbours whom we hope to form economic and trade alliances with. Remember the "Australia Card"? An Identity Card akin to those regulated and enforced by our South East Asian cousins? We the people voted unanimously against it on the grounds it was both a gross invasion of personal freedom and something that could ultimately be tooled in favour of ulterior motives. Out went that idea and in came the Tax File Number with the introduction of GST in this fair land - a numeric that keeps honest citizens like you and I more honest, but allows the powers that be to keep tabs on us via the social security and payroll systems regardless (face it, without a TFN you don't legally exist!). Australians are driven by their social and sporting alliances (where else in the world would a whole country stand still for a horse race or a football match?) - if our government tried putting a lid on all of the social freedoms that we've fought long and hard to maintain and be proud of, you can bet there'd be nothing short of an uprising in the streets. Hey Dubya, freedom does not equal living in fear - let's hope Johnny remembers that too. Or else desert island life may just become a little less fanciful, and much more attractive, than the alternative...

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