September 11, 2015
(ANTIMEDIA) Today and every year, “NEVER FORGET” echoes through the neighborhoods, cities, and Facebook statuses of America. 14 years after 9/11, Americans still bear the cross of a nation victimized and scorned after the brutal attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. While Americans — and politicians who are still intent on capitalizing on the tragedy — vow never to forget the fateful day, far too many citizens forget the liberties they have relinquished as a result. Lest today’s valiantly waving flags, government ceremonies, and TV news specials replaying the plane crashes coax you into forgetting, these nine essential freedoms have been usurped since 9/11:
1. The liberty to not be spied upon: Essential to a free society — at least as the founders of the United States saw it — was the freedom to be left alone. In the not too distant past, government agencies suspicious of citizens had to obtain warrants to investigate private citizens. They had to prove to a judge why they deserved to violate a person’s sacrosanct privacy from the State. Though surveillance programs were in place long before 9/11, the tragedy enabled much more far-reaching impositions. Multiple federal agencies — most notably the NSA — are enabled to surveil citizens, all the time — all around the world. The government’s paranoid desire for total surveillance has only grown since 9/11. The FBI, which built the NSA’s foundation for dragnet spying, continuously throws temper tantrums over its inability to spy on encrypted communications. The Department of “Justice” argued just this week that it should have access to all Americans’ emails. A separate court recently ruled that a case challenging NSA bulk data collection could not move forward because the plaintiff could not prove — due to government secrecy — that he was being surveilled.
2. The liberty to not be harassed by law enforcement: The federal government’s total surveillance state is a direct consequence of 9/11 — or rather, the political exploitation of it. However, at the local level, police departments not only conduct their own invasive spying with secret technology provided by the federal government — they pose a far greater danger. Where police officers were once trusted to protect life, they now threaten it. Currently, the risk of being killed by a police officer is anywhere from eight to 55 times greater than being killed by a terrorist. In 2015, police are on track to kill 1,100 Americans — and since 9/11, have killed more than died that day. This year, it was revealed that Chicago’s Homan Square operated as a black site without due process but replete with torture. Other violations by police, constitutionally speaking, include a basic protection against unwarranted searches and seizures. This makes unauthorized cavity searches on the side of the road and civil asset forfeiture — a policy by which police have stolen millions of dollars from unaccused citizens — an egregious seizure of the freedoms Americans still drunkenly celebrate on national holidays. Checkpoints, anyone?
3. The freedom of movement and travel without being treated like a criminal: