Friday, June 23, 2006

What will W. & Co. do for their second act?

When is enough, enough? When is it finally going to down on us that our government is out of control? (Or "government at its best" as Tony Snow sees it.) As we find more about what this administration has been up to the past five years, the picture is getting darker and darker. Today, in yet another revelation in the NYT about W.'s 'war on terror' and the lengths he'll go to fight it, we learn that the Treasury Department and the CIA have been sifting through the financial comings and goings of possibly millions of people around the world including inside the US.

The Times writes that Treasury has used "broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift." Not surprisingly, "Treasury officials did not seek individual warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions." The Bush administration never has in the past, after all, so why would they in this case?

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or Swift, sends electronic messages for direct financial transactions that are worth about $6 trillion dollars a day to 7,800 institutions worldwide, according to the Times. You add the information the government has access to in this program to the possible trillions of phone log records and internet searches and email messages they have been snooping into since 9/11 and one begins to understand the staggering amount of power this government has in their hands.

With this access to information on everything thing we do: where we shop, where we travel, who we talk to (who they talk to), how we surf on the net, all our financial transactions, our medical records, our entire lives, they are building a complete dossier on every American; not only for this administration, but for every other one that follows fully at at their disposal.

It's so far beyond anything that's ever happened before in history that it is truly revolutionary. And along with all this power there are no checks or balances. At this point, Congress and the courts are mere facades propped up to provide a patina of democratic legitimacy.

Anyone who thinks Congress or the courts is going to save them is dreaming. There are no roadblocks, no laws, that this administration doesn't just roll right over as it engulfs and devours our liberties and freedom. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

When you consider that this government has given itself the right to kidnap, render, torture and lock up foreigners from all over the world in total secrecy without any legal authority, one begins to wonder what they'll do for a second act.

Sooner or later, they'll turn on us, the American people, as has happened before during WWII when 120,000 Japanese-Americans were rounded up and sent to camp for three years. Is it so far fetched to think that a government who has this power won't eventually use it? This administration in particular has a penchant to utilize the military for pretty much all its problems, from spreading democracy around the world to border security to even thinking about using it to quarantine the bird flu!

Some day our battle hardened troops are going to come back from Iraq and they'll have the perfect training and experience to put down any "domestic insurgency" that might arise in the fevered imaginings of the Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal. There are twenty year-old plans under the code name REX-84 Bravo that have been recently been updated by the Army to provide "civilian labor camps" built on unused military bases to house insurrections, or "massive civil unrest," here at home. (We're watching you Cindy Sheehan)

Former Maryland Senator Tim Ferguson, wrote recently that these camps, 800 of them, in fact:

[Are] “fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and even surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are to be operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should Martial Law need to be implemented in the United States and all it would take is a presidential signature on a proclamation and the attorney general's signature on a warrant to which a list of names is attached…The camps all have railroad facilities as well as roads leading to and from the detention facilities. Many also have an airport nearby. The majority of the camps can house a population of 20,000 prisoners. Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive mental health facility and can hold approximately 2 million people.

They already have their templates at Gitmo and Baghram; now all they need now are the inmates. The question isn't whether this administration or another down the road might resort to locking up its domestic "enemies" this, but when.


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