Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Truest statement of the week II

George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act in 2001. The Act gave US intelligence agencies the resources and powers to spy on the communications of every American with impunity. President Obama renewed the unpopular bill in 2011. In 2012, President Obama signed a five year extension of the FISA Amendments Act which continues to give US intelligence agencies such as the NSA the right to wiretap telephone calls and emails of private citizens. In Obama's first two years in office, wiretaps increased by 34 percent.
Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and the courageous individuals who released the WikiLeaks documents have played a large role in uncovering Obama's support for Washington's enormous spy dragnet. However, Obama's assault on civil liberties has not been limited to mere spying. In 2010, the homes of 20 anti-war activists around the country were raided by the FBI. The investigations of the activists were all directed by the Obama Administration's Joint Terrorist Task Force. None of the activists have been charged with any formal crime to this date. By 2012, Obama had prosecuted more whistle blowers such as Manning under the Espionage Act than any other President in US history combined
These attacks are part and parcel of Obama's total war on civil liberties. The first "Black President" is also the first President to possess a personal "Kill List" of potential drone targets to be assassinated by Presidential decree. Obama also signed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2012. This Act expanded Presidential powers to include the indefinite military detention of citizens without trial or cause. It also included a provision that birthed the Conflicts Records Research Center. The newly created think tank signed off by Obama gave the Department of Defense an additional arena to collect intelligence on each and every person the US deemed to be a threat to its "national security."

Obama has stabilized and expanded the National Security State to a size and scope not seen in history. The National Security State, as explained by former Black Panther Party leader Dhoruba Bin-Wahad, has labeled every person in the US a potential terrorist. From this framework, Obama has transformed the executive branch into a heavily militarized arm of US imperial repression. Whatever democratic rights existed for “citizens” in the US prior to the War on Terror have been nearly extinguished in the Obama era.  

-- Danny Haiphong, "The Obama Legacy Part V: Waging War on Civil Liberties" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

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