Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Domestic Monitoring: The Beginning of the End?

By now I'm sure everyone has heard about the new domestic monitoring program that has recently came about as a result of the terrorists attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Nine years later the government has assembled an extremely vast domestic intelligence program to monitor and collect information about everyday Americans. Even everyday Americans, who have never been accused of a crime. This system is being called the largest and most technologically sophisticated in American history.

Made up of FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators, the goal of the program is to essentially filter all city, state and federal information regarding potential terrorists straight to Washington. By adopting many of the military tactics currently being utilized in Afghanistan and Iraq, the program will essentially fuel the FBI's counter terrorism program and ensure that each ship (city, state, fed) is sailing in the same direction. This will eventually close the gap of communication between agencies, basically making sure that nothing goes down without Washington knowing about it. And like most situations when the manifestations of how much of our freedom is slowly being ripped away, surfaces to show it's Dubya looking face, we remember that it is being done for our safety.

Since 911 over 900 counter-terrorism agencies throughout the country have surfaced and served in a number of different capacities, yet all centered around the valiant principle of combating terrorism. 

The Washington Post conducted an investigation into what they have labeled as Top Secret America.
Based on the information obtained during this month long investigation into this new intelligence coalition, here are some key points which arose directly from the post.

* Technologies and techniques honed for use on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan have migrated into the hands of law enforcement agencies in America.
* The FBI is building a database with the names and certain personal information, such as employment history, of thousands of U.S. citizens and residents whom a local police officer or a fellow citizen believed to be acting suspiciously. It is accessible to an increasing number of local law enforcement and military criminal investigators, increasing concerns that it could somehow end up in the public domain.
* Seeking to learn more about Islam and terrorism, some law enforcement agencies have hired as trainers self-described experts whose extremist views on Islam and terrorism are considered inaccurate and counterproductive by the FBI and U.S. intelligence agencies.
* The Department of Homeland Security sends its state and local partners intelligence reports with little meaningful guidance, and state reports have sometimes inappropriately reported on lawful meetings. 

Something else that stuck out about this story is that the Federal Government claims they don't know how much this program costs or how much money it has spent on what are known as state fusion centers, where information is brought and analyzed from various agencies within a state. The fact that no one has made a big deal about unknown amounts of money being spent, particularly given the alarming state of the economy, seems that this issue transcends party lines. Any issue centered around counter terrorism and domestic monitoring which transcends party lines is frightening. 

So what's the bottom line here? What's the big deal about domestic monitoring and why aren't we praising the government for taking such tremendous strides towards fighting terrorism? In order for an individual to understand why this program was created one most first understand that this domestic monitoring has nothing to do with combating terrorism. It doesn't take a genius to realize that more and more the privacy principles as well as other freedoms granted us by the Constitution are currently under fire. With no signs of any relief in the foreseeable future it is impossible not to wonder what could be next in this country's crusade to fight the evil terrorists. From Fort Knox at the airports to the new Jim Crow in Arizona and lets not forget about the infamous patriot act. At what point do folks distinguish safety from paranoia? Or worse....Control?

The Fed posted a great article a couple weeks ago about the fall of America. In the article he discusses how economics have played a roll in the decline of America and how viable it actually is for this country to fall, despite popular opinion. Some might argue that these conspiracies are just that...theories, while others choose to view historical data, spiritual/religious content as well as the  current state of affairs, as a sign that something is seriously wrong. The government is fully aware of the fact that they will never be able to eradicate terrorism completely, weather it be foreign, domestic, Muslim, Christian, black or white, yet these radical and unconstitutional advances continue. To quote a line straight from the new Yeezy album...."Who Will Survive in America?"
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