Since the birth of the Information Age, largely being ushered into America and the West with September 11th, many have been ranting and raving about the erosion of civil liberties through mass surveillance. In terms of data sets, one can draw interesting conclusions from what this “terrorist” attack has brought to the home-front through war profiteering and fear mongering, and how there are many other textbook examples that can already be seen throughout American history. More than some sort of false flag operation, these points of data can be considered a launching pad for the governmental erosion of civil liberty through majority ruling over a minority—which in terms of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is an inherent violation, as the point of these documents was to protect any citizen against potential harm from their own government. Any talk of bureaucratic proof of the Postmodern American Government’s inherent infringement on its citizens’ liberties is often painted as nothing more than “conspiracy theory.” In actual comparison to the original documents that America was founded upon, the U.S. government has been operating as a rogue government agency unquestionably since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, relatively speaking.
In a recent lecture given at a college university with students abroad, Glenn Greenwald discussed a detailed analysis of the original axioms of civil liberties that were founded through the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, as well as the current state of affairs for these liberties. There was no press, this was not a big event, and it is simply a lecture that was posted on YouTube:
The points driven here were so pertinent that it seemed necessary to help toss them further out into the internet, and are the basis for this article.
Since America was founded by what started out as a minority number, and since history has repeatedly shown that these dedicated minority groups bring about fundamental social changes, the corresponding founding documents of the U.S. are intrinsically built around protecting the minority from the majority. The England that the American colonists were looking to break away from obviously had an incredible imbalance between the minority of power and the majority of it, which was consolidated within the royal blood lines. So in a very real sense, all the nuts behind Scientology, Westboro Baptist Church, the KKK and other misanthropic organizations, are currently allowed the same freedom of speech that all Americans enjoy, only in the sense that they allow for the legal capacity of philanthropic organizations to thrive as well. Without the laws that protect the ignorant minds, society would not have the great minds; the lanterns of American social revolution like Martin Luther King, Jr. for instance.
In reference to Greenwald’s lecture, the American lawyer and journalist’s first article with Assange of WikiLeaks heavily advocated the organization and urged people to donate to them. While many of those Greenwald corresponded with were excited by WikiLeaks, they were afraid that any sort of donation to the organization would result in them being put on a government harassment list. Constitutionally speaking that is completely absurd since neither WikiLeaks nor Assange have ever been charged with or convicted of any crime (which eventually led to Paypal denying any donations to WikiLeaks, presumably through the government’s request). However, the fear of these donations being put on a list was a very plausible one, and the very plausibility of this in American society inherently describes an atrocious erosion of civil rights.
Greenwald continues in his lecture to describe his further correspondence and journalism of WikiLeaks, and how the vast majority of current and former WikiLeaks contributors tend to live outside of America. Reportedly (and not surprisingly), the overarching reason as to why there are concerns for current contributors, and why most former contributors have left, is not because of fear of their own countries’ governments taking legal action, but out of the possibility of being extradited to the United States and being engulfed in its un-checked national security system. Some of the clear reasons for this are, the post-9/11 Patriot Act and the administration of the outdated Espionage Act (which was written to apply to government agents leaking classified information to other governments—not the media). The former can be noted within the aforementioned main set of data, which can be easily seen throughout the last century of American politics.
As stated by Greenwald, some of the most serious abridgments of constitutional rights have been the ones that were justified by appealing to war. The First Word War led to critics of the government being arrested and heavy restrictions on war journalism. The Second World War led to the clearly unconstitutional Japanese internment camps. The Cold War led America into the McCarthy Witch Hunt, and now the War on Terror has given Americans the surveillance state, which brings up the main point: The War on Terror by definition will always be intrinsically unconstitutional and will continue to steal what few liberties the government hasn’t gotten their hands on yet.
The broad context in which the word “terrorism” can be used is commonly understood, and because of this, it has created an “ill-defined war” Greenwald described. Until this point, all prior wars have been fought against a defined enemy, and have been fought against the enemy government’s military—not its people. On top of this, these wars used to have finite goals, and it seems that with the War on Terror, the U.S. government has decided it unnecessary to keep up appearances anymore. Since the entire economy is funded by war profiteering anyway, why not make an endless war that the economy can rely on? In the long run, this is exactly what the War on Terror is, and it has been defined by the U.S. government as having no isolated area of warfare, but that the battlefield is the entire world; the enemies need no registration or uniforms, and can literally be anyone now, even non-partisan journalists, and it has absolutely no political endgame in sight.
Not only has the War on Terror been the latest in a long string of graph-points where the government has used fear and war to strip citizens of their civil liberties, but it has also been the most gratuitous, egregious, and wide-sweeping of these civil erosions. Now Americans have a War on the Homefront, fought in both an electronic capacity and human capacity. There are too many people looking for answers, and too few who know where to look. Ironically, the things that have increased the severity of the surveillance state have also given U.S. citizens some of the only hope that is left to reclaim these liberties. Organizations and individuals such as WikiLeaks, Anonymous, Ed Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Barret Brown and others continue to remain the men and women on the front lines of this war, in some cases sacrificing their own civil liberties to allow the average citizen a better chance of maintaining their own, which is relieving, because the current situation looks bleak enough as it is. It is important to remember that the sole reason these people are risking their own liberties is so that others can further understand their rights and how to use them before it is too late. So perhaps it would not be inaccurate to say that apathy will be the first real enemy of any American in the Surveillance State.