How the terror war took your rights
By M.L. Simon
How the terror war took your rights
This week, Im going to talk about how the terror war took your rights. I am also going to show that it really wasnt the terror war that took your rights. You already gave them away to fight the war on drugs. The terror war merely broadened the giveaway to all citizens. Those of us who have been fighting the drug war for a number of years warned Americans that this would happen. We begged America not to go down that road. We said that the drug war was only the first step, that the next step would be to get all Americans in the net. America told the anti-prohibitionists that the law couldnt be used against most Americans because most Americans dont use drugs. The anti-prohibitionists replied that they are only using the drug war as a prototype to see what America will stand for, to see how many of us have forgotten the Constitution and why we have one. It appears that the anti-prohibitionists were correct.
What rights have Americans been willing to give up to fight drugs? The first and foremost is the right to be secure in our houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizuresthe Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. We know that probable cause is no longer a requirement. Nowadays, mere suspicion will do. What happens if there is no suspicion that can be in any way articulated? We have secret informants. We have informants so secret that they no longer need to be produced in court. The requirement to produce the informant at trial was a feature of American justice only 30 years ago. What happened to your right to confront your accusers? The drug war ate it. But for the government, things are much better than that. No longer is it necessary to produce the informant; in addition, the authorities no longer need to even give the name of the informant. The powers that be need only say that the informant was a reliable source before. How can this fact be proved? Well, by current rules of evidence, there is no need. We take the policemans word. Does this lead to notional (nonexistent) informants? You better believe it.
The police have a name for this practice and other associated practices. It is called testilying. If there is no truth, how can there be any justice? These same tactics are now applied to terrorists. Who are the terrorists? Well, that is kind of vague. It could be someone who has a grudge against the government. Not necessarily a violent grudgejust any kind of complaint that might disturb the smooth functioning of the machinery. Someone who agitated against the drug war, for instance. Harboring the wrong opinion can get you under suspicion. Once under suspicion, all that is needed is the word of an informant, and away you go for 20 or 50 years. Dont believe me? There are people doing such time for what is called no dope dope conspiracies. A jail house snitch is recruited by the government and made to claim that these people were planning to manufacture or import drugs. Twenty years with no evidence other than that of the snitch, who benefits by reduced time behind bars. The terror laws will widen the net.
Every single usurpation that is being broadened to fight the terror war was initially used to fight the previous pariahs, the drug users. Every one of the proposals passed by Congress to fight the terror war was first proposed or passed to fight the drug war. Let us follow the money. The government does. We have been told for years that to fight the drug barons, we needed to get their money. And to get their money, we needed asset forfeiture laws. Those laws now work like this: If the authorities suspect the money had something to do with drugs, they can take it. What kind of evidence do they need? Why, none at all. A suspicion by an officer of the state is plenty good enough. Too much cash on hand? You must be a drug dealer. The cash is now the property of the police. These laws are now re tooled and added to for the terror war.
Let us take the drug manufacture and paraphernalia laws. Anyone caught with any number of common household chemicals or items such as iodine or pressure cookers or cigarette rolling papers could be charged with a drug manufacturing or intent to use offense. With the new terror law in place, scowl at the hardware store attendant while buying a utility knife, and you could be charged as a terrorist. Because the government has asked the shopkeepers of America to be vigilant for suspicious behavior and report it to the authorities. Just as they did for the drug laws. Since the drug laws were not objected to, why object to the new anti-terror laws? Go along to get along. I advise you to be on your best behavior all the time because you are a suspect.
This may come as a surprise, but the Constitution does not guarantee Americans any rights. If it did, then the unjust laws passed in the name of drugs and terror could not stand. The only guarantee of a right is the will of the people to oppose usurpations.
But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it.Lysander Spooner
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.Frederick Douglass
Saying of the week: Drug laws aid the police by making everyone a suspect.
If you want to get your rights back, ask a politician: Do you support drug prohibition because it finances criminals at home or because it finances terrorists abroad?
This weeks Senate Judiciary Committee politician:
Senator Edward Kennedy
M. L. Simon is an industrial controls designer and independent political activist.