One would have thought that with Osama bin Laden gone forever from the scene that the Obama administration and Congress would have stepped back from the continued use of fear of a terrorist attack to whittle away at our freedoms. Apparently, Osama’s demise has actually led to an even greater increase the assault on American’s Constitutional freedoms. Glenn Greenwald enumerates the increased assaults on civil liberties that have been taken since bin Laden’s “summary execution one year ago”:
*With large bipartisan majorities, Congress renewed the once-controversial Patriot Act without a single reform, and it was signed into law by President Obama; Harry Reid accused those urging reforms of putting the country at risk of a Terrorist attack.
* For the first time, perhaps ever, a U.S. citizen was assassinated by the CIA, on orders from the President, without a shred of due process and far from any battlefield; two weeks later, his 16-year-old American son was also killed by his own government; the U.S. Attorney General then gave a speech claiming the President has the power to target U.S. citizens for death based on unproven, secret accusations of Terrorism.
* With large bipartisan majorities, Congress enacted, and the President signed, a new law codifying presidential powers of worldwide indefinite detention and an expanded statutory defintion of the War on Terror.
* Construction neared completion for a sprawling new site in Utah for the National Security Agency to enable massive domestic surveillance and to achieve “the realization of the ‘total information awareness’ program created during the first term of the Bush administration.”
* President Obama authorized the use of “signature” drone strikes in Yemen, whereby the CIA can target people for death “even when the identity of those who could be killed is not known.”
* The U.S. formally expanded its drone attacks in Somalia, “reopening a base for the unmanned aircraft on the island nation of Seychelles.”
* A U.S. drone killed 16-year-old Pakistani Tariq Aziz, along with his 12-year-old cousin, Waheed, three days after the older boy attended a meeting to protest civilian deaths from U.S. drones (another of Tariq’s cousins had been killed in 2010).
* NATO airstrikes continued to extinguish the lives of Afghan children; in just the last 24 hours, 5 more Afghan children were killed by the ongoing war.
* The FBI increased its aggressive attempts to recruit young Muslim-American males into Terror plots which the FBI concocts, funds, encourages, directs and enables, while prosecuting more and more Muslims in the U.S. for crimes grounded in their political views and speech.
President Obama now has power that Bush never had, earning the damning praise of war criminal in retirement, Dick Cheney, “He’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate.” The United States is rapidly becoming a surveillance state with no protections for its citizens, thanks to a Democratic administration. Who would have dreamed?