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Indybay Feature

Home Wars

by Challa Tabeson
Why Bush Administration is Stirring Things On Civil Liberties
Why Bush Administration is Stirring Things On Civil Liberties


At president Bush's political campaign swing through the state of California last month, during his historic stop in Stockton, John Ashcroft-the president's strong armed man for Homeland Security--couldn't help finessing their republican campaign rhetoric, calling the media inquiries about the mounting tensions toward war with Iraq a "frenzy".

Already, we've noticed the government's modifications on not a few federal Web sites, reclassifying public information, hence violating the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Ashcroft has further instructed federal agencies to conceal public records for Freedom of Information Act.

Now comes the president's new Bill of Rights, he recently signed into effect, under the USA Patriots Act, which permits ruthless detention and deportation of non-citizens who give assistance to lawful activities of a any group the government suspects as a terrorist organization.

As we speak, some 5000 non-white U.S. citizens are being detained and facing relentless interrogations under direct orders from the attorney general based on a memo on, of men, women and their children between ages 18-33 years old. We know that some 1200 US citizens who entered the country before 2000 and who immigrated from "countries" where the al-Qaeda are being suspected of harboring terrorist presence or activities have been detained indefinitely.

Under intense scrutiny, the Arab-American communities throughout the nation are busy tearing off their hairs as a direct result of the endless constitutional violations of their civil rights as free and law-abiding citizens. Here in the Bay Area, where an on-going battle ensues among the longstanding American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is based, we learn that a foremost Arab American civil rights leader gets ostracized for allegations of incompetence.

Since the tragic events of September 11: our constitutional civil rights are slowly becoming the real victim-in Bush's war against terrorism. Local cops are now playing INS roles. We've read statements from the Justice Department issuing legal opinions stating that local police officers have "inherent" powers to enforce the nation's immigration laws. Asshcroft has been implying that dissent means disloyalty; he later stated that who question his policies "aid and abet" terrorism.

In his latest Act of Aviation and Transportation Security, the president authorized non-citizens dismissed at all U.S. airports, leaving thousands of well-trained, experienced screeners unemployed. Usually progressive government representatives like Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) agrees with Bush's unreasonable approach to a national crisis-that racial profiling is okay as long as the government is fishing for terrorists.

Civil rights leaders remind America that those whose lives were lost at the collapse of the World Trade Center lives on September 11 were a diverse crowd of American non-citizens and citizens alike. Since that unfaithful day, people who look like Arabs or Muslims have been harassed, assaulted, and even killed. "When wars are fought to save Democracy, the first casualty is usually democracy itself"... War Times-Sept. 2002.

President Bush may get his way with wedging war against the Iraqis, dismantling the country's infrastructures and liquidating thousands of its helpless peoples. He will eventually have to face the real, economic, budget crisis here in the Homeland.


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