Total Surveillance Equals Total Tyranny

August 25, 2003

By Tom DeWeese

In the name of fighting terrorism a new kind of government is being implemented in Washington, D.C. We are witnessing the birth of a powerful multi-billion dollar surveillance lobby consisting of an army of special interest groups, Washington lawyers, lobbyists, and high-tech firms with wares to sell.

The personal rights of American citizens, protected until now by the Bill of Rights, are the farthest thing from their minds as they seek to fill their pockets while enabling government to monitor and control our lives to a degree unheard of prior to September 11, 2001. This army seeks riches as it pushes for laws and regulations to spy on and control the lives of law-abiding Americans.

The Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) reports that there are more than 100 federal entities involved in forging the largest conglomeration of government-private contractor interests since the creation of the Pentagon. GEIA represents hundreds of corporate members seeking to cash in on the Homeland Security-citizen-surveillance-spending spree.

GEIA told the news media that the “needed technologies include those providing digital surveillance, data mining, advanced encryption, smart cards, censors and early warning and profiling tools.” In September 2002, dozens of major high tech companies formed the “Homeland Security Industries Association”. A key objective of the association is to win a piece of the action for the creation of national ID cards for travelers.

The November 25 edition of Business Week reported that the SAS Institute is among many corporations scrambling to launch a whole new line of anti-money laundering software designed to help insurance companies, investment banks and brokerage firms spy on their clients’ financial activities on behalf of the government in compliance with the Patriot Act.

According to Bert Ely, the head of a consulting company for financial institutions, the new anti-money laundering provisions of the Patriot Act will do nothing to stop the financing of international terrorists. At best, he says, the new provisions will actually provide evil doers with a road map to avoid detection.

What the new Patriot Act provisions are really about, says Ely, is to have the United States fall into line with an international campaign being waged by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force against countries that serve as tax havens. The newly enacted regulations are being applied in the name of fighting terrorism, but are really about a different agenda.

In mid-September 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of Homeland Security held an exposition in Washington. Medium and small firms from across the nation were invited in to showcase the very latest in citizen surveillance wares. This tradeshow and others like it have attracted hundreds of corporations who’ve shown their high-tech products to top government planners responsible for creating and implementing new restrictions on privacy in the name of “national security.”

PoliticalMoneyline says that 444 groups and individuals have registered as lobbyists to deal with “terror” and “security” issues.

IBM has opened a “Government Solutions Center” in Vienna, Virginia. The high-tech Unisys Corporation has established a similar exhibition for inspection by federal surveillance planners, called the “Homeland Security Center for Excellence.” Both corporations are racing to cash in on billions of dollars for facial recognition systems at airports, and in anticipation of “trusted traveler” cards, a high-tech ID tied to extensive background checks and biometric identification.

In February 2003, it was discovered that the Department of Justice was drafting legislation to radically expand the reach of the federal government into the lives of every American citizen. The official title of the document is the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. It’s been given the nickname, Patriot 2. The bill has not yet been introduced in Congress and only a very few key government leaders including Vice President Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have reviewed it.

It is suspected by many that the delay in officially offering the bill to Congress is a direct result of public attacks on the bill by privacy advocates, but it is feared that the Justice Department would get very bold in rushing it through should another terrorist attack occur.

Here are just a few of the more frightening provisions of Patriot 2. By definition in the bill, almost any American citizen can arbitrarily be designated a terrorist. Section 101 of this act will give the executive branch the power to declare any American a “foreign power” and therefore not a citizen. Those designated will be exempt from the protections of the Constitution.

Keep in mind that the Patriot Act was passed by Congress, sight unseen, in the middle of an Anthrax scare. Every member of Congress was warned that if they failed to pass it then the next terrorist attack would be on their hands.

That’s why the Patriot Act allows for wiretaps without warrants. And it’s why all the other surveillance a-go-go is in full swing. In the name of fighting terrorism, our government has gained the ability to see our every movement, inspect every transaction, and walk into our homes without our knowing it.

For those of you who feel protected; who feel the government is just doing its job to defeat terrorism, I’m very sad to tell you that our government is not being honest with us. Terrorism is the excuse, not the motivation, for the massive drive toward Big Brother.

We are not being protected. We are being wrapped in a cocoon of tyranny. All of the signs are there. Consider the power which we have now granted to the federal government twenty years down the road, driven by more technological developments that we can’t even pretend to foresee.

Imagine the America that you are allowing the government to create for your children. What will their lives be like? Will they know freedom or oppression? We are making those decisions for our children today.

The only way to make sure that government doesn’t abuse its power is to not grant it in the first place.

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.