Paul Joseph Watson
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
President Barack Obama has once again betrayed his promise to restore liberties eviscerated by the Bush regime by pushing Congress to renew Patriot Act provisions that allow for warrantless spying on American citizens, even in cases where there is no link to terrorism whatsoever.
According to a Wired News report, the “Obama administration has told Congress it supports renewing three provisions of the Patriot Act due to expire at year’s end, measures making it easier for the government to spy within the United States.”
Obama’s support for the provisions should come as little surprise because he first voted for warrantless wiretapping of Americans in 2008 when he was an Illinois Senator, while also lending support for immunizing the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits charging them with being complicit in the Bush administration’s wiretapping program.
One of the provisions Obama is pushing to renew is the so-called “lone wolf” provision, enacted in 2004, which allows for the electronic monitoring of an individual without the government having to prove that the case has any relation whatsoever to terrorism or a foreign power. This is in effect a carte blanche for the government to use every method at their disposal to spy on any American citizen they choose.
The “lone wolf” provision is opposed by the ACLU, whose legislative counsel Michelle Richardson told Wired, “The justification for FISA and these lower standards and letting it operate in secret was all about terrorist groups and foreign governments, that they posed a unique threat other than the normal criminal element. This lone wolf provision undercuts that justification.”
Another Patriot Act provision Obama wants Congress to renew gives the government access to business, library and medical records, with the authorities generally having to prove that the investigation is terrorism related. However, since according to Homeland Security guidelines the new breed of terrorist is classified as someone who supports a third party, puts a political bumper sticker on their car, is part of the alternative media, or merely someone who disagrees with the authorities’ official version of events on any given issue, the scope for the government to use this power against their political adversaries is wide open.
The third provision Obama is pushing to renew allows a FISA court to grant “roving wiretaps” without the government having to even identify their target. This is another carte blanche power that gives the state the power to monitor telephone calls, e mails and any other form of electronic communication.
Barack Obama swept into office on a mandate of “change” and a commitment to restore liberties that were eviscerated under the Bush regime. Despite promising to do so, he has failed completely to overturn Bush signing statements and executive orders that, according to Obama, “trampled on liberties.” Indeed, despite promising to end the use of signing statements, he has continued to use them.
Obama has failed to close Guantanamo Bay or any other CIA torture “black site” as he promised to do.
Obama has failed in his promise to “reject the Military Commissions Act” and instead has supported the use of military commissions.
Obama has continued to allow the rendition and torture of detainees, while protecting Bush administration officials who ordered torture from prosecution and blocking the release of evidence related to torture.
Obama has gone even further than the Bush administration in introducing “preventative detention” of detainees, ensuring people will never get a trial.
In restating his support for warrantless wiretapping of American citizens, Obama has once again proven that his promise of “change” was nothing more than a hollow and deceptive political platitude to ensure his election. Since he took office, Obama has betrayed almost every promise he made and effectively become nothing more than the third term of the Bush administration.