The security and surveillance state is creating a hermetically closed system of power. It is doing this by rewriting laws to subvert the Constitution and grant itself the ability to criminalize all forms of dissent. The FISA Amendment Act, the Authorization to Use Military Force Act, the enhanced terrorism laws, the misuse of the Espionage Act to silence whistle blowers, and the National Defense Authorization Act, section 1021, which empowers the government to use the military to seize and detain U.S. citizens, strip citizens of due process and hold them in indefinite detention, are chilling examples of a new America, an America where liberty and freedom have become a hollow cliché.
Nearly all of the government’s actions and decisions, many of which violate our most cherished civil liberties and defy the Constitutional call for a separation of powers, are now effectively hidden from the public. These decisions are beyond the scrutiny of the press or the judiciary. At the same time, we as citizens have no privacy left. The government has handed to itself the capacity to carry out the warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eves dropping of tens of millions of citizens. Our personal data, correspondent, histories, employment records, private activities, phone logs, emails exchanges, travel and political views are stored in perpetuity in government supercomputers. We are the most monitored, spied on, photographed, listened to and watched population in human history. Our security and surveillance state now dwarfs the cruder forms of internal control of past totalitarian states, from Nazi Germany to the Stasi state in East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union. Anyone, including whistle blowers at the National Security Agency or the CIA, who attempts to bring to light government crimes, as we have seen with the Obama administration’s use of the Espionage Act six times to silence dissidents within the system, is hounded, persecuted and faces the possibility of long prison terms.
Those who have the skills and capacity to electronically enter these closed systems of information terrify the state. They are treated not as criminals but as terrorists. They are denied fair trials. They are imprisoned in conditions that can only be described as torture. They are subject to murky statutes and laws that make a mockery of democracy and have no place in an open society. And the state, when it confronts those who have this capacity, uses everything at its disposal to destroy these opponents.
We are not asking today for very much. We are asking for a fair hearing in a court of law. We are asking that Jeremy Hammond be permitted to present his case before a judge who does not have a personal involvement in his alleged activities, a personal involvement that will clearly prejudice the outcome. Hammond has enough stacked against him already. It at least deserves a chance at justice.
It is a sad commentary on U.S. society that it is we, the dissidents, who call for the rule of law while the power elite and the organs of the state distort and subvert the rule of law. Our society has been turned upside down. We need to resist in every way possible this gross inversion of democracy not only for Hammond but, finally, for ourselves.
Princeton, New Jersey
November 29, 2012