Within a relatively short period of time the United States has become an increasingly monitored and militarized society. The Patriot Act was the first major erosion of our civil liberties. Over the past decade this erosion has greatly deepened including surprising developments this last year – including passage of the National Defense Authorization Act and the signing of the National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order signed by President Obama. Among a variety of surprising authorizations, the NDAA now allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial any U.S. citizen that the government labels a terrorist or an accessory to terrorism… seemingly expanding the definition of terrorism to include citizen activists. The above executive order authorizes widespread federal and military control of the national economy and resources during “emergency and non-emergency conditions” as well as the right to install “government owned equipment” in private industrial facilities.
In addition to these overbearing new laws there have been surprising developments that seem to be moving us closer to the possibility of a national police state. The FBI just released a memo stating their agents have the ability to bend or suspend the law and impinge on the freedom of others. The National Security Agency is currently building a 2 billion dollar electronic intelligence compound in Utah – a vast complex that is shrouded in secrecy. Its purpose is to intercept, analyze, and store vast swaths of information for intelligence operations. This has challenging implications for U.S. citizens as the NSA will be able to collect data on everyone in ways never before possible. We must question where our country is heading and act to protect our rights. A time comes when silence is betrayal and right now it is our duty as American citizens to speak up and take steps to reverse these dangerous trends.
“Executive Order – National Defense Resources Preparedness,” The White House, March 16, 2012, http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/03/16/executive-order-national-defense-resources-preparedness
“Statement by the President on H.R. 1540,” The White House, December 31, 2011,
“Why I’m Suing Barack Obama”, Chris Hedges, Truthdig. January 16, 2012
“Read the FBI Memo: Agents Can ‘Suspend the Law’ “, Spencer Ackerman and Noah Shachtman, Wired. March 28, 2012
“FBI Taught Agents They Could ‘Bend or Suspend the Law’,” Spencer Ackerman, Wired. March 28, 2012 http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/fbi-bend-suspend-law/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_medium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=Previous
“The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say),” James Bamford, Wired. March 15, 2012, http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter
Student Researcher: Robert Usher, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University