Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State
By Allan Uthman, Buffalo Beast. Posted May 26, 2006.
From secret detention centers to warrantless wiretapping, Bush and Co. give
free rein to their totalitarian impulses.
Is the U.S. becoming a police state? Here are the top 10 signs that it may
well be the case.
1. The Internet Clampdown
One saving grace of alternative media in this age of unfettered corporate
conglomeration has been the internet. While the masses are spoon-fed
predigested news on TV and in mainstream print publications, the
truth-seeking individual still has access to a broad array of investigative
reporting and political opinion via the world-wide web. Of course, it was
only a matter of time before the government moved to patch up this crack in
Attempts to regulate and filter internet content are intensifying lately,
coming both from telecommunications corporations (who are gearing up to pass
legislation transferring ownership and regulation of the internet to
themselves), and the Pentagon (which issued an "Information Operations
Roadmap" in 2003, signed by Donald Rumsfeld, which outlines tactics such as
network attacks and acknowledges, without suggesting a remedy, that US
propaganda planted in other countries has easily found its way to Americans
via the internet). One obvious tactic clearing the way for stifling
regulation of internet content is the growing media frenzy over child
pornography and "internet predators," which will surely lead to legislation
that by far exceeds in its purview what is needed to fight such threats.
2. "The Long War"
This little piece of clumsy marketing died off quickly, but it gave away
what many already suspected: the War on Terror will never end, nor is it
meant to end. It is designed to be perpetual. As with the War on Drugs, it
outlines a goal that can never be fully attained -- as long as there are
pissed off people and explosives. The Long War will eternally justify what
are ostensibly temporary measures: suspension of civil liberties, military
expansion, domestic spying, massive deficit spending and the like. This
short-lived moniker told us all, "get used to it. Things aren't going to
change any time soon."
3. The USA PATRIOT Act
Did anyone really think this was going to be temporary? Yes, this disgusting
power grab gives the government the right to sneak into your house, look
through all your stuff and not tell you about it for weeks on a rubber stamp
warrant. Yes, they can look at your medical records and library selections.
Yes, they can pass along any information they find without probable cause
for purposes of prosecution. No, they're not going to take it back, ever.
4. Prison Camps
This last January the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary
Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million to build detention centers in the
United States, for the purpose of unspecified "new programs." Of course, the
obvious first guess would be that these new programs might involve rounding
up Muslims or political dissenters -- I mean, obviously detention facilities
are there to hold somebody. I wish I had more to tell you about this, but
it's, you know... secret.
5. Touchscreen Voting Machines
Despite clear, copious evidence that these nefarious contraptions are built
to be tampered with, they continue to spread and dominate the voting
landscape, thanks to Bush's "Help America Vote Act," the exploitation of
corrupt elections officials, and the general public's enduring cluelessness.
In Utah, Emery County Elections Director Bruce Funk witnessed security
testing by an outside firm on Diebold voting machines which showed them to
be a security risk. But his warnings fell on deaf ears. Instead Diebold
attorneys were flown to Emery County on the governor's airplane to squelch
the story. Funk was fired. In Florida, Leon County Supervisor of Elections
Ion Sancho discovered an alarming security flaw in their Diebold system at
the end of last year. Rather than fix the flaw, Diebold refused to fulfill
its contract. Both of the other two touchscreen voting machine vendors,
Sequoia and ES&S, now refuse to do business with Sancho, who is required by
HAVA to implement a touchscreen system and will be sued by his own state if
he doesn't. Diebold is said to be pressuring for Sancho's ouster before it
will resume servicing the county.
Stories like these and much worse abound, and yet TV news outlets have done
less coverage of the new era of elections fraud than even 9/11 conspiracy
theories. This is possibly the most important story of this century, but
nobody seems to give a damn. As long as this issue is ignored, real American
democracy will remain an illusion. The midterm elections will be an
interesting test of the public's continuing gullibility about voting
integrity, especially if the Democrats don't win substantial gains, as they
almost surely will if everything is kosher.
Bush just suggested that his brother Jeb would make a good president. We
really need to fix this problem soon.
6. Signing Statements
Bush has famously never vetoed a bill. This is because he prefers to simply
nullify laws he doesn't like with "signing statements." Bush has issued over
700 such statements, twice as many as all previous presidents combined. A
few examples of recently passed laws and their corresponding dismissals,
courtesy of the Boston Globe:
--Dec. 30, 2005: US interrogators cannot torture prisoners or otherwise
subject them to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
Bush's signing statement: The president, as commander in chief, can waive
the torture ban if he decides that harsh interrogation techniques will
assist in preventing terrorist attacks.
--Dec. 30, 2005: When requested, scientific information ''prepared by
government researchers and scientists shall be transmitted [to Congress]
uncensored and without delay."
Bush's signing statement: The president can tell researchers to withhold
any information from Congress if he decides its disclosure could impair
foreign relations, national security, or the workings of the executive
--Dec. 23, 2004: Forbids US troops in Colombia from participating in any
combat against rebels, except in cases of self-defense. Caps the number of
US troops allowed in Colombia at 800.
Bush's signing statement: Only the president, as commander in chief, can
place restrictions on the use of US armed forces, so the executive branch
will construe the law ''as advisory in nature."
Essentially, this administration is bypassing the judiciary and deciding for
itself whether laws are constitutional or not. Somehow, I don't see the new
Supreme Court lineup having much of a problem with that, though. So no
matter what laws congress passes, Bush will simply choose to ignore the ones
he doesn't care for. It's much quieter than a veto, and can't be overridden
by a two-thirds majority. It's also totally absurd.
7. Warrantless Wiretapping
Amazingly, the GOP sees this issue as a plus for them. How can this be? What
are you, stupid? You find out the government is listening to the phone calls
of US citizens, without even the weakest of judicial oversight and you think
that's okay? Come on -- if you know anything about history, you know that no
government can be trusted to handle something like this responsibly. One day
they're listening for Osama, and the next they're listening in on Howard
Think about it: this administration hates unauthorized leaks. With no
judicial oversight, why on earth wouldn't they eavesdrop on, say, Seymour
Hersh, to figure out who's spilling the beans? It's a no-brainer. Speaking
of which, it bears repeating: terrorists already knew we would try to spy on
them. They don't care if we have a warrant or not. But you should.
8. Free Speech Zones
I know it's old news, but... come on, are they fucking serious?
9. High-ranking Whistleblowers
Army Generals. Top-level CIA officials. NSA operatives. White House cabinet
members. These are the kind of people that Republicans fantasize about
being, and whose judgment they usually respect. But for some reason, when
these people resign in protest and criticize the Bush administration en
masse, they are cast as traitorous, anti-American publicity hounds.
Ridiculous. The fact is, when people who kill, spy and deceive for a living
tell you that the White House has gone too far, you had damn well better pay
attention. We all know most of these people are staunch Republicans. If the
entire military except for the two guys the Pentagon put in front of the
press wants Rumsfeld out, why on earth wouldn't you listen?
10. The CIA Shakeup
Was Porter Goss fired because he was resisting the efforts of Rumsfeld or
Negroponte? No. These appointments all come from the same guys, and they
wouldn't be nominated if they weren't on board all the way. Goss was
probably canned so abruptly due to a scandal involving a crooked defense
contractor, his hand-picked third-in-command, the Watergate hotel and some
If Bush's nominee for CIA chief, Air Force General Michael Hayden, is
confirmed, that will put every spy program in Washington under military
control. Hayden, who oversaw the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and is
clearly down with the program. That program? To weaken and dismantle or at
least neuter the CIA. Despite its best efforts to blame the CIA for
"intelligence errors" leading to the Iraq war, the picture has clearly
emerged -- through extensive CIA leaks -- that the White House's analysis of
Saddam's destructive capacity was not shared by the Agency. This has proved
to be a real pain in the ass for Bush and the gang.
Who'd have thought that career spooks would have moral qualms about
deceiving the American people? And what is a president to do about it?
Simple: make the critical agents leave, and fill their slots with
Bush/Cheney loyalists. Then again, why not simply replace the entire
organization? That is essentially what both Rumsfeld at the DoD and newly
minted Director of National Intelligence John are doing -- they want to move
intelligence analysis into the hands of people that they can control, so the
next time they lie about an "imminent threat" nobody's going to tell. And
the press is applauding the move as a "necessary reform."
Remember the good old days, when the CIA were the bad guys
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