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Civil Society vs. Government. Guess Who Wins The Battles AND The War?

If you`ve ever had the impression that our civil society has actually achieved anything under the Obama administration, it`s only because the government wants you to believe that. It`s not that the ones fighting for our rights and our freedom are not doing a good job.

They`re doing the best job they can. They go through trials that last for years and years, they gather evidence and bring witnesses and, from time to time, they get to win.They get to protect us from government abuse. I can only imagine the satisfaction they get when their hard work shapes into victories. But how long do these victories last?

Unfortunately, when it comes to big issues, the government has the last word. Especially when it comes to the so-called “national security” they use to justify every abusive decision they make. So even if civil liberties defenders do enjoy their occasional victories, it`s just a matter of time until they`re shamelessly robbed of them.

 

CISPA resurrected

source: stream.aljazeera.com

It`s been less than a year since the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) bill suddenly vanished from Capitol Hill`s interests list. Now it`s back again. The two lawmakers that proposed the bill last year (and received approvals from an astonishing number of congressmen, too) decided to try their luck one more time and resurrect the act.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act allows the government and private companies to share information about Internet users without any warrant whatsoever. This means that any webpage you visit goes into your own personal Internet record that the government monitors. If you`re checking your e-mail, the government knows it. If you`re buying something online, the government knows. If you click on an online advertisement… well, you got the point.

After all, it`s not been described as “worse than SOPA” for nothing… If this bill passes, all the companies you give your data to will be forced to share your record with the authorities. So if you order something on the Internet, the company you`re buying from is obliged to keep a record of everything you buy and show it to the feds, if they believe there might be something “suspicious” there. So my friendly advice is to think twice before ordering a chemistry set for your kid or grandkid, as you may be accused of terrorism. Let`s not even get to soapy bubble guns! Buy one of those and you`ve got your name on the Most Wanted list.

Talking about “Most Wanted”… remember that long, lost promise that Guantanamo Bay will be closed? That happened in 2008, during Obama`s first electoral campaign. What do you know, it`s 2013 and after years and years of fighting over civil rights, America`s civil society gets sucker-punched again:

Guantanamo

source: rt.com

According to RTAmerica, “The US State Department has effectively closed down the office responsible for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center by relieving a top diplomat of his duties.

Ambassador Daniel Fried has been released from his post, where he was charged with resettling the camp’s prisoners. The diplomat will now be tasked with managing the State Department’s efforts to pursue sanctions against countries like Iran and Syria. 

Fried’s “former responsibilities will be ‘assumed’ by the office of the department’s legal adviser,” The New York Times cited an internal personnel memo as saying. A source provided by AFP, however, has confirmed that Fried will not be replaced, effectively closing the post.”

So they`re not closing down Guantanamo, but they did close down the office responsible with closing down Gitmo. Just like that. That`s Obama`s excuse: I can`t close it now, because there`s no one to do the job. Oh, I fired him? Well, it was for our national security.”

Obviously, the controversial “Stop and Frisk” program was restarted for the same reasons: citizen safety and security. Even though it`s been challenged in court because it violates American`s right, “a Manhattan federal judge temporarily reversed her own decision to ban New York City police from making trespass stops outside of private Bronx apartment buildings” (parkslope.patch.com). Suddenly, it`s not unconstitutional anymore. On January 7, Judge Shira Scheindlin thought it violated civil rights. On January 23, she changed her mind.

Because that`s how the justice system works in the U.S. One day, you`re an American citizen, the next you`re a terrorist suspect on the run, chased by incompetent NYPD officers and surveilled 24/7. Thank God there are so many ignorant Americans out there, otherwise no one could get a good sleep at night anymore, knowing their lives depends on a random definition of “suspicious”.

 

By Alec Deacon

 

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