educational

Dwindling Liberties v. The War On Terrorism

Jubin Sharifi

In light of the recent tragedy of September 11, 2001 and the war against the terrorism, that the United States and its allies have waged against Afghanistan and all the terrorist networks around the world, United States' Congress has been busy enacting new legislation to deal with the "new" threat to our country.

Many of the proposed legislation was faced with opposition by the civil rights groups such as the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and other Washington leftist liberals. Among the many proposals, the one piece of legislation that passed through both Houses of Congress with virtually no opposition by any of the members of the Congress, was U.S.A. Patriot Act.

Strangely enough, this is one legislation that is strongly opposed by groups, on both ends of the political spectrum. ACLU, the voice for civil rights and liberties, on the left, and the N.R.A. (National Rifle Association) the advocate for gun rights and the Second Amendment, to the right, have both expressed their concern and discontent with the broad implications of the USA Patriot Act.

As a compromise and to curb the opposition to this legislation, Congress has put in place a four year limit on the USA Patriot Act. This means that unless Congress enacts an extension to this legislation, it will automatically expire and no longer be in effect.

The provisions that specially should concern all of us living in the United States, both as citizens and lawful immigrants, are ones that allow federal law enforcement to conduct secret searches, using warrants issued by the Foreign Intelligence Court. Foreign Intelligence Court, despite what its name may suggest, is not much of a court at all.

This "Court" is housed in the basement of the United States Justice Department, meets in secret, does not allow public access, uses secret evidence to issue warrants, and has never refused a request for a warrant by the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations). This Court by its nature of operation, goes against every safe guard that our Federal Constitution has put in place to guarantee a fair and unbiased Judiciary.

Other controversial provisions, provide that the Federal law enforcement do not need to knock and announce their presence, when serving warrants. This means that every time a person walks into his house or apartment and sees his door knocked down and his belongings missing, he needs not to worry. It is possible that he has been a subject of a secret warrant by the FBI, and not a burglary.

As outrageous as the new broad powers granted to the Federal authorities maybe, most Americans are willing to go along with them to ensure national security and to restore safety of our country. What we need to consider however, is that once we have overcome the terrorist threats, all of the might and enormous powers granted to the Federal law enforcement is still going to be available to them and probably going to be directed towards other Federal agendas. ...you can be sure that they will find another "Evil" to pursue.

Once all the newly hired Federal Agents do not have their hands full with chasing Usama Bin Laden around the world and have brought down the terrorist networks, you can be sure that they will find another "Evil" to pursue. Traditionally both local and Federal Authorities have found easy targets in the adult entertainment industry. Once it is settled law that warrants can be issued based on secret evidence, in certain circumstances, we will be that much closer to having Federal Raids on film studios based on secret tips to the police, stopping publishers from putting out certain articles based on evidence that government is not inclined to disclose and whatever else the government deems to be appropriate.

So please, lets unite and be vigilant so we can win the war on terrorism as soon as it is humanly possible; and once we are done with that, lets demand to get all of our Constitutional Rights restored immediately. The only way to enjoy being an American is to enjoy Freedom, and lets not forget that!

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