Nobody seems to have noticed, but in the nearly two and a half years of the Obama administration at least three commonplace phrases of the George W. Bush era have slipped into oblivion: “regime change,” “shock and awe,” and “imperial presidency.” The war in Libya should remind us of just how appropriate they remain.
Allowing government officials to shield their own conduct from transparency and even judicial review ensures that National Security State officials (public and private) can do whatever they want without any detection and (therefore) without limit or accountability. That is what the Surveillance State, at its core, is designed to achieve: the destruction of privacy for individual citizens and an impenetrable wall of secrecy for those with unlimited surveillance power.
Top congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act, the controversial law passed after the Sept. 11 attacks that governs the search for terrorists on American soil. The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner calls for a vote before May 27, when parts of the current act expire. The idea is to pass the extension with as little debate as possible to avoid a ...
Indefinite detention. Ubiquitous torture. Secret courts. Special authority for police interventions. The complete absence of privacy, even in one’s own home. Astute followers of American politics might think those items a dog whistle, evoking the worst civil liberties abuses permitted by the USA PATRIOT Act and other “emergency” provisions passed in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001. They are, in fact, just a few of the powers claimed in an Egyptian “emergency” law passed in 1958, that goes even further than the controversial American security provisions.