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Warrantless Wiretapping — Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush issued an executive order that authorized the infamous National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wiretapping program.

This secret eavesdropping program allowed the surveillance of certain telephone calls placed between a party in the United States and a party in a foreign country without obtaining a warrant through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

[2] To quote Glenn Greenwald again: “A primary reason Bush and Cheney succeeded in their radical erosion of core liberties is because they focused their assault on non-citizens with foreign-sounding names, casting the appearance that none of what they were doing would ever affect the average American.

There were several exceptions to that tactic — the due-process-free imprisonment of Americans Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla, the abuse of the “material witness” statute to detain American Muslims, the eavesdropping on Americans’ communications without warrants — but the vast bulk of the abuses were aimed at non-citizens. “The most recent liberty-abridging, Terrorism-justified controversies have focused on diluting the legal rights of American citizens (in part because the rights of non-citizens are largely gone already and there are none left to attack).

The government has also engaged in the practice of rendition: secretly kidnapping people and moving them to foreign countries where they are tortured and abused.

It has been reported the CIA maintains secret prison camps in Eastern Europe to conduct operations that may also violate international standards.

The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships.

The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants.August 25, 2011 The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.Tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace-makers for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. Gary Orfield of the UCLA Civil Rights Project wrote in May 2003: “The loss of civil rights often begins with the reduction of rights in a time of crisis, for a minority that has become the scapegoat for a problem facing the nation.As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, the most disgraceful episodes in American history have been about exempting classes of Americans from core rights, and that is exactly what these recent, terrorism-justified proposals do as well.Anyone who believes that these sorts of abusive powers will be exercised only in narrow and magnanimous ways should just read a little bit of history, or just look at what has happened with the always-expanding police powers vested in the name of the never-ending War on Drugs, the precursor to the never-ending War on Terrorism in so many ways.Orfield wrote this while commenting on the plight of Arabs and Muslims who were the immediate target of Patriot Act provisions and other legislations in the aftermath of 9/11.

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