Eroding Freedom in America

Stephen Lendman

US democracy is illusory. America never was beautiful. It's not the land of the free and home of the brave. It wasn't created that way. More than ever, it's not now. Freedom is a four-letter word. It's fast disappearing. It's an endangered species. Wealth, power and privilege alone matter. America's war on terror priorities advance them. International, constitutional and US statute laws are spurned. Rogue state ruthlessness replaced them.

Boston's unprecedented lockdown suggests what's coming. It covered a two hundred square mile area. An important threshold was crossed. Martial law terrorized city residents. Constitutional rights were suspended. Perhaps it was prelude to what's coming. It can happen anywhere across America. It can show up nationwide. Thousands of heavily armed militarized police, National Guard troops, FBI Swat teams, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operatives, Drug Enforcement Administration agents, and perhaps other federal, state and local enforcers showed what full-blown tyranny looks like. Defying public diktats risked arrest or getting shot. Helicopters hovered low over neighborhoods. House-to-house searches ordered pajama-clad families outside. Without probable cause, some were handcuffed and/or placed face down on sidewalks. Others were publicly strip-searched. Imagine what's coming next time. Freedom in America's on the chopping block for elimination.

What's ongoing already includes:

• numerous police state laws;
• waging war on humanity;
• indefinite detentions without evidence, charges or trials;
• forced disappearances;
• targeted assassinations;
• torture and other forms of abuse;
• Big Brother surveillance;
• warrantless searches;
• other privacy invasions;
• false flag national security abuses;
• war on terror fear-mongering;
• military commission trials, including for US citizens;
• domestic military force deployments;
• secret FEMA concentration camps;
• racial profiling and persecution;
• militarized local police;
• criminalizing whistleblowers; and
• targeting non-believers for supporting right over wrong.

Tyranny isn't in the eye of the beholder. It's escalating in plain sight. It's just a matter of time until it's full-blown. Washington's bipartisan criminal class plans it. It's hard-right, unbridled, reactionary, and pro-corporate. It's anti-democratic, anti-dissent, anti-freedom, anti-civil and human rights, anti-social justice, anti-environmental sanity, and anti-government of, by and for everyone. It's dangerous living in America at the wrong time. Supporting right over wrong is threatened. Anyone can be targeted for any reason or none at all. Guilt by accusation is policy. Diktat authority has final say.

The National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF) includes national and local organizations. Its mission is:

"To educate the public about the erosion of civil and political freedoms in the society, and the abuses of prisoners within the US criminal justice system especially after 9/11, and to advocate for the preservation of those freedoms and to defend those rights according to the US Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and its related UN Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions."

Civil liberties are threatened, it warns. Public safety at the expense of freedom assures neither. Post-9/11, thought crime prosecutions followed. Individuals and groups were targeted for "their beliefs, thoughts, or associations." Doing so violates constitutional protections. First Amendment freedoms are compromised. They're fundamental. Without them, all others are at risk. They include free speech, a free press, free thought, culture and intellectual inquiry, assembly, freedom to practice the religion of one's choice, and to petition government for redress of grievances.

The Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) "defend(s) the rule of law and rights and liberties challenged by overbroad national security and counter-terrorism policies."

(It) "support(s) an ideologically, ethnically, geographically, and generationally diverse grassroots movement to protect and restore these principles by encouraging widespread civic participation; educating people about the significance of our rights; and cultivating grassroots networks to convert concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action."

Its "Campaign for the Constitution" headlines: "Building a Movement. Restoring Rights. Reclaiming Our Constitution." At issue is restoring lost rights. Bipartisan complicity compromised them en route to eliminating them altogether. Rule of law protections "withered under warrantless surveillance, rampant racial and religious profiling, and torture - and even human experimentation - with impunity."

The ACLU highlights lost digital age civil liberties. New technologies compromised existing protections. Post-9/11, they've undergone serious erosion.

Web site visits are tracked. Cell phones log our movements. Emails and social network communications are monitored and stored. Warrantless spying is policy. "Things we once thought could only happen in far-away enemy states or distant dystopias are suddenly happening here in America" said ACLU. Privacy laws haven't kept up with technology. War on terror priorities matter most. Protecting civil liberties in the digital age requires "ensur(ing) that expressive, associational, and privacy rights are strengthened rather than compromised by new technology."

It's also about "protect(ing) these core democratic rights against intrusive corporate and government practices that rely on new technology to invade these rights." They're being systematically destroyed. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Washington "consistently (doesn't) recognize the protections afforded by the US Constitution and international law, and in doing so, it has failed in its responsibility to maintain a democratic society that is both open to, and accountable to, the people."

Government is shrouded in secrecy. Checks and balances no longer matter. Bill of Rights freedoms are fading. They're fundamental in democratic societies. War on terror priorities breached First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment freedoms. At issue are search and surveillance authority, indefinitely detaining citizens and non-citizens uncharged, and undermining free expression, due process, and equal protection.

Washington's criminal class is bipartisan. Ahead expect much worse. Old time radio listeners recall a memorable Jack Benny skit. "Your money or your life," a robber asked? After a pause, he was asked again. He responded saying "I'm thinking it over." Today no one's asked. It isn't either-or. It's both.

A Final Comment

Fixing America's dysfunctional system demands fundamental change. It starts by reforming the nation's sham electoral process. Throwing out bums assures new ones. Both major parties are two sides of the same coin. Not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process.

Duopoly power rules. Party bosses chose candidates. Big money owns them. Voters have no say. They get the best democracy money can buy. It happens every time. The entire process was constitutionally flawed by design. Over time, things got worse. Bipartisan politics serves serves wealth, power, and privilege. Popular interests go begging.

Money power runs America. It games the system. It does so destructively. Controlling money, credit and debt for private enrichment assures speculation, booms, busts, inflation, deflation, instability, crisis, recessions and depressions. It assures transferring enormous amounts of wealth from ordinary people to corporate giants and super-rich elites already with too much.

Washington is Wall Street occupied territory. What financial giants want, they get. They're waging financial war on humanity. They're more powerful than standing armies. Economies are strip-mined for profit. Communities are laid waste. Ordinary people are impoverished and left out. Vital needs go begging.

Money power in private hands and democracy can't co-exist. Complicit politicians betray the public trust. They do so for benefits they derive. Social injustice defines official policy. Class war rages more than ever. America's on a fast track toward tyranny. Stopping it requires free, fair and open elections. It's also about returning money to public hands where it belongs.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He has devoted his time and efforts to progressive causes and organizations, all involved in working for a more humane and just world for all people everywhere, but especially for the most needy, disadvantaged and oppressed. His efforts since summer 2005 have included writing on a broad range of vital topics ranging from war and peace; social, economic and political equity for all; and justice for all the oppressed peoples of the world like the long-suffering people of Haiti and the Palestinians. He also co-hosts The Global Research News Hour, gives occasional public talks, and appears frequently on radio and at times television. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. Also visit his blog and listen to The Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening. His new book "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War" can be ordered HERE. He can be reached at

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