Our American Stasi

NYPD officers inspect a bag inside Grand Central Terminal. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
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When did America get a Stasi?  I cannot trace it to before 9/11, so it must be the result of the Patriot Act.  That established the Department of Homeland Security and put it in charge of the rest of the policing agencies.  TSA was put in charge of making sure that the skies were “safe”, which they have tried to do by either irradiating us or molesting us ever since.  Now the TSA has expanded it’s field of operations from airports to rail stations and bus terminals, and recently included truck stops.

TSA is seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct security-related assessments during site visits to approximately 750 owners and operators of highway transportation assets (such as long-haul trucks) as well as 140 public transportation agencies. Under an initiative known as the Highway Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) program, TSA will seek information that can help it develop policies and programs. “TSA’s Highway BASE program seeks to establish the current state of security gaps and implemented countermeasures throughout the highway mode of transportation by posing questions to major transportation asset owners and operators,” says a TSA notice published in the Federal Register on Nov. 30. Similarly, TSA wants to conduct on-site assessments with public agencies that run buses, rail transit, long-distance rail and less common types of service, such as cable cars, inclined planes, funiculars and automated guide way systems. The public has until Dec. 31 to submit comments about this TSA information-gathering request. Further information is available from Susan Perkins, of TSA, at 571-227-3398 or TSAPRA@dhs.gov.


A National Guard is stationed on the Amtrak level of Penn Station in front of a sign reading “Safe and Secure.”
Armed officers police Apple train stations033110security12rm122208-500x380

What happened to our Fourth Amendment Right to be free from searches of our persons and property?  What happened to privacy rights?  (Or do they only apply to abortion?)  What happened to Posse Comitatus?  [ http://www.democracynow.org/2008/10/7/us_army_denies_unit_will_be ]

Who were the Stasi?  They were the East German Secret Police, the inheritors of the mantle of the Gestapo.  Under Soviet domination, the Stasi were more to be feared than the CIA, NSA and even the KGB.  [ http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2010/10/phillip-lohoefener/  ]  The regular Polizei had the right to stop anyone and examine your papers, your belongings.  But the Stasi didn’t have to stop there.  They had the right to indefinitely detain citizens.  Without acknowledging they even had you.  Without giving you a lawyer.  Without trial for as long as they saw fit.  They could torture you while they had you.  Subtle psychological torture.  Drugs.  Or old fashioned “medaeval torture chamber” style physical torments.  And if you died, oh well.  If you died, then the State simply took your estate.  After all, you were a criminal, an enemy of the State, or they would not have arrested you.

But that could never happen in America.

Oh, the War on Drugs declared that if you were accused of drug violations, that you forfeited any property that might have been bought with that money.  [ http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/forfeiture ]

And the NDAA of 2012 did have a provision about Indefinite Detention without Rights, but you had to be an enemy combatant.  [ http://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/ndaa  ]  But wait a minute, FDR declared us to be the enemy, in the Emergency War Powers Act — the one that gives Presidents the right to give Executive Orders.  [  http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/12/95a  and http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/12/95b  ]  For an explanation in common English, http://www.barefootsworld.net/usenemy.html .

I guess it did happen in America.  So what are we going to do about it?


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