Several news stories have converged since Friday, and none of them are good news for the fight to protect our civil liberties and right to privacy.
Last week, the Departement of Justice Inspector General issues a scathing review of post 9-11 FBI “terrorism investigations” targeting various peace and social justice groups, finding that the “FBI improperly investigated some left-leaning U.S. advocacy groups after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Justice Department said Monday, citing cases in which agents put activists on terrorist watch lists even though they were planning nonviolent civil disobedience.” But on Friday, the FBI carried out raids on the homes of peace activists in the midwest in what appears to be a large scale and unfocused fishing operation against anti-war activists.
Then, via John Cole, on Saturday the Obama administration filed a brief urging the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by Anwar Awlaki’s father asking the court to enjoin the administration from assassinating his son, a U.S. citizen, without the benefit of due process. What’s particularly disturbing about the government’s brief is that it once again rests on states secrets–meaning the administration is asserting that the President has the right to order American citizens killed, without the benefit of due process, and those decisions will be shielded from all scrutiny–including judicial–because they are “state secrets.”
And we have two stories emerging today, the WaPo reporting that the administration “wants to require U.S. banks to report all electronic money transfers into and out of the country, a dramatic expansion in efforts to counter terrorist financing and money laundering.” That’s all transfers. Everything, whether the person transferring the money is under suspicion or not. Currently, banks are required to report transactions over $10,000. What’s particularly frustrating about this one, as Glenn points out isn’t that it’s just a continuation of Bush era excesses in surveillance–it’s a continuation of the inefficient and counterproductive collection of data “swamping the Government with more data than it can possibly process and manage.”
And that’s not even going into the feds and the NSA asking for new asking for new regulations to be able to easily wiretap the Internet.
I’ll say it before and I’ll say it again. If the Teabaggers were actually worried about real shit, this is the shit they’d be worried about!
Go. Read the links. Then pour yourself a stiff drink.
And then, if you can, toss a few dollars to the ACLU who are on the front lines of this fight.