US surveillance state expands with new rulings

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Safar 24, 1435 2013-12-27

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Far from being the shining light on the hill, the US is a police state in which there is no rule of law. The average citizen is not safe from the intrusive conduct of state organs. Even courts have succumbed to the demands of the police state. The latest blow to people's rights was delivered by a federal judge giving the government unfettered right to spy on people through the NSA.

Washington DC,

December 27, 2013, 17:24 EST

In a controversial ruling today (Friday, December 27), a US federal judge said that the NSA spying program does not violate the law. The ruling was delivered on the lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.

Despite admitting that the NSA programs exposed by Edward Snowden "vacuums up information about virtually every telephone call to, from, or within the United States," Judge William Pauley decided that there was no evidence that the NSA had used any of the information that it had collected except “investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks”.

According to experts, Pauley’s decision is a victory for the Obama administration, which is likely to take it as a mandate to keep the NSA’s controversial massive surveillance program intact.

Major US media outlets did not give this controversial ruling much exposure; and even if they had, it is doubtful whether the US public would have been able to put up any resistance to the ruling.

Earlier this week, in a Christmas message, Snowden stated: “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished.” He went on: “I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself.”

The US surveillance state won another victory in the courts that will justify its expanding dragnet of surveillance and coercion that whittle away the essential rights of US citizens. Recently, another US judge ruled against the lawsuit pressed by a former student who was detained by federal agents at the Philadelphia International Airport because he was carrying Arabic flashcards.

Nicholas George alleged that the TSA agents violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights when they arrested him as he tried to board a flight from his Philadelphia home to Pomona College in 2009.

George claimed that after the first two officers discovered the cards, they swabbed his person and cell-phone for explosive residue, then called a supervisor. According to George, when the supervisor arrived, she subjected him to aggressive interrogation. Among the questions queried by the law enforcement agent included, “Do you know what language [Osama bin Laden] spoke?” and “Do you see why these cards are suspicious?” This reflects the climate of paranoia and Islamophobia that has been cultivated inside US governmental agencies since 9/11.

Chief Judge Theodore McKee ruled that despite the fact that George clearly had the right to carry the flashcards, the TSA agents were “at the outer boundary” of justifiability in detaining him.

In other words, harassment, discrimination, racial profiling, etc. are acceptable as long as they are in service of the ambiguous, never ending “war on terror.”

END

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