A must-read. This sums it up.
Five Ways Bush’s Era of Repression Has Stolen Your Liberties Since 9/11 By Matthew Rothschild, The New Press. Posted July 24, 2007 at AlterNet.
From the new book You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression. Chilling stories of ordinary Americans whose everyday liberties have been violated since September 11.
One small bit:
The 1976 Levi guidelines prohibited the FBI from investigating the First Amendment activities of individuals and groups that weren’t advocating violence. And, mindful of the role of FBI agents provocateurs in the 1960s, the guidelines outlawed the disruption of groups and the discrediting of individuals engaged in lawful First Amendment activities. Domestic spying could occur only when there was “specific and articulable facts” that indicated criminal activity. Under the Reagan administration and that of Bush Senior, these guidelines were loosened somewhat. Then came Ashcroft. On May 30, 2002, he threw out the need to demonstrate any connection to criminal activity. Ashcroft’s guidelines allow the FBI “to engage in searches and monitoring of chat rooms, bulletin boards, and websites without evidence of criminal wrongdoing,” notes the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “Additionally, agents are permitted to visit public places and events to monitor individuals’ activities with no predicate of criminal suspicion. These powers are not limited to terrorism investigations.” What’s more, Ashcroft’s guidelines “allow FBI agents to use private-sector databases prospectively in order to predict terrorist acts. These databases may be used without any evidence of criminal activity or suspicious behavior. The FBI can now go on data mining ‘fishing trips.’”