from First Rebuttal:
This is a piece I wrote last year for Ron Paul’s Voices of Liberty. Now although mainstream media has all but put a gag order on 9/11 memorial coverage, I believe this article’s message has never been more relevant and so I’m posting again at what is obviously poignant time. I find it odd that we have 10 Hollywood blockbusters made each year about the holocaust 75 years on, but only 14 years after the event American media will no longer discuss 9/11, even upon the anniversary. It is perhaps the most telling phenomenon about the secretiveness and mystery surrounding the horrific tragedy.
It was the sixth week of my first job fresh out of college. I was still eagerly excited for each new day. Having moved stateside from a small town in Canada to finish up university and then on to the big city of Chicago, I was still in awe of America. I was working in the north building of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on the corner of Madison and Wacker.
It was early morning and I was on the phone with Paul Salvio from our New York office when the phone went dead.
The day was September 11, 2001. Our New York office was on the 92nd floor of the World Trade Center Tower 1. None of the employees who had arrived to work that day survived. It is a moment that elicits strong emotions within me to this day and I know I’m not alone.
In the days and weeks that followed, while the world came together to mourn those lost and to condemn those responsible, our policymakers in Washington were working feverishly to find opportunity in this tragedy. Forty-five days after 9/11, President Bush signed into law the U.S. Patriot Act.
The implication of the ironically titled bill is well described by a report published in March 2009 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The report, called “Reclaiming Patriotism,” suggests that the Patriot Act “fundamentally altered the relationship Americans share with their Government.”
Politicians took advantage of a moment of extreme duress for the American people to push through a bill that not only breached the spirit of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights but also directly contradicts the rights guaranteed under the 1st and 4th Amendments. The Patriot Act gave powers to the executive branch of our government it was never meant to have. Such restriction of powers was mandated by the founding fathers through the legal framework of which this nation is governed; a legal framework of which each legislator is sworn to uphold upon taking office.
The ACLU’s 2009 report provides an interesting and unintended perspective on the fundamental dangers of the Patriot Act because it was published prior to revelations made by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Note the following excerpt from the ACLU 2009 report:
“Worse, it authorizes the government to engage in this expanded domestic spying in secret, with few, if any, protections built in to ensure these powers are not abused, and little opportunity for Congress to review whether the authorities it granted the government actually made Americans any safer.” ͥ
But such fears were repeatedly calmed by those who were handed the authority over and entrusted with such powers.
And so, we see, concerns about Patriot Act abuses at the time of the ACLU report were only hypothetical and thus easily and reassuringly refuted by those in charge of the surveillances being done under the authority of the Patriot Act.
And then Edward Snowden entered the room….
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