SPECIAL ALERT- 9/11 BILL may be MUCH worse than
Patriot Act II !
WHAT'S IN THOSE 41 9/11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATIONS THAT CONGRESS IS
RUSHING TO TURN INTO LAW?
UPSETTING THE BALANCE OF POWER IN THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT,
ENDING THE RIGHT OF PRIVACY FOR ORDINARY AMERICANS, PAYING LIP SERVICE
TO CIVIL LIBERTIES WITHOUT REALLY DEFENDING THEM, CREATING THE ILLUSION
OF EFFECTIVE FEDERAL ACTION IN A TIME OF PERCEIVED DANGER
In late July the 9/11 Commission published 41 recommendations for
sweeping change in the structure of the federal government, empowering
the Executive Branch in a way never before seen in our history.
At first it looked like just another report to be shelved like all the
rest. Then in an unusual turn of events, members of Congressional
committees began returning from their summer vacations and began holding
hearing after hearing with the idea of drafting legislation based on the
9/11 Commission's recommendations and legislating those changes before
the end of 2004. Both President Bush and Candidate Kerry endorsed the
9/11 recommendations in whole or part. Now the rush is to on legislate
before the end of the year.
What's in the 41 recommendations of vital interest to you and me:
Biometric identifiers for you and me and probably, in the end a national
ID card as well:
Congressional hearings this month and last make it all too plain. They
intend to legislate biometric standards for drivers' licenses and birth
certificates. Eventually those biometric identifier documents will
probably be replaced by a national ID card committee after committee has
been told. How can they presume to legislate an idea resoundingly
rejected by Americans the last time they tried this 8 years ago? "The
American public is becoming more and more agreeable to intrusiveness,"
said 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton at a recent hearing.
Data mining to a degree beyond your wildest imagination:
We are exploring the limits of data mining a federal expert told the
Congress. "We are trying to identify the universe of information that
has any relevance," said John Brennan, director of the Terrorist Threat
Integration Center. "122 data mining projects are ongoing in our federal
government," said John Marsh, Defense Department Technology and Advisory
And what are they mining for? Your financial, travel and possibly health
information and scariest of all, what you think. "As to US citizens, we
are dealing with their belief system. That's what is difficult. We need
to understand their actions and their views and ideas and to deal with
them," said General Patrick Hughes of the Department of Homeland
No fly/ no travel based on expanded lists:
And what are they planning to do with all this data? Expand the no
fly/the no travel lists. They are growing now and will get even larger
when the TSA takes control, "when the government owns the lists," said
Asa Hutchinson, Under Secretary of Homeland Security.
Massive Power Shift to the Executive Branch:
Our government was founded with due consideration for the old adage that
power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Founders
built three precautionary ideas into the very foundation of the
government. One was that there be a division of power between the states
and the federal government. A second was that there be limits on the
power of the
government over the average citizen. Those are embodied in the Bill of
Rights. And a third, at the federal level, was that powers be divided
among three branches of government so that the three Executive,
Legislative and Judicial be engaged in a constant struggle for power
among themselves thus checking or diluting the power of each through the
actions of the others.
The power of the states has been under attack for some time. That's old
news. The Bill of Rights has been under attack for some time too. Most
recently quite ferociously in things like the USA Patriot Act and in the
more subtle removal of powers from the reach of the courts to review.
The balance of power among the three federal branches has been hit hard
through consolidation of power within the Executive Branch in the
Department of Homeland Security. Now the doctrine of balance of power is
to be dealt a death blow by bloating and expanding the powers of the
Executive Branch over American citizens through creation of the National
Counter Terrorism Center and the new post of National Intelligence
Director. "We have recommended strengthening government power over
individual lives," said 9/11 Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton.
What the 9/11 advocates are hoping you won't notice is that the new NID
will have a lot more powers than just fighting the war on terrorism. He
or she will hold power over a data collection and an analysis system
merges domestic and foreign data and foreign and domestic intelligence
gathering, that mines data on issues far, far afield from terrorism or
even intelligence and counterintelligence, that supervisory powers will
include criminal and narcotics supervision and all "the rest" as well.
[See page 412 of the report.] The NID would have budget authority, hire
and fire authority as well as planning authority.
Never in human history has such a potent mix of powers coupled with new
technologies for surveillance and data analysis been proposed. All of
the powers accumulated in a few hands by the totalitarian states in the
past look weak when compared to this new model. They all turned out
badly for the average citizen even without modern technology and data
mining. We can only assume that current proposal will create the worst,
repressive regime in human history making the abuses of the past pale by
Advocating ineffectual pseudo-protections for civil liberties in the
form of a Civil Liberties Board within the Executive Branch:
The 9/11 Commission report contains a brief and vague recommendation
that a civil liberties board be created within the Executive Branch as a
'defense' of civil liberty. [See page 395]
This idea is ludicrous for several reasons. First, this Executive Board
if created will exist within a classified system. Data will go in but it
won't come out. Indeed, experts believe that under the Need-to-Share
system of classification recommended by the 9/11 Commission and the
secure data network that is to be created, we will have even less access
to government data, even data about ourselves, than we have now.
Right now FOIA is a flop. Expert testimony this week from within the
government said appeals of FOIA rulings to the judicial system no longer
work. Judges just presume the Executive Branch is right. Yet no
reinvigoration of FOIA has been recommended by the 9/11 Commission.
Searches against Americans will be handled through the FISA court, that
is the secret judicial body that deals solely in classified data and
requests. No relief for the ordinary American here either.
Congressman Kucinich pointed out in this week's hearings that American
citizens and their attorneys are getting blind-sided in regular courts
too, as government attorneys claim a National Security defense for their
information thus guaranteeing that neither the victim nor his attorney
will ever see the information upon which the government's case is based.
Nowhere in the 9/11 recommendations are these civil liberties problems
addressed nor are any real solutions proposed.
Why the rush in Congress? To look good, to look like they have done
something before the next terrorist attack:
Congress was told last December to expect a terrorist hijack of an
aircraft returning from Europe with possible use of dirty weapons. Now,
this summer they are being told that another attack is imminent. Expect
one before the November election.
They all know that nothing they do now can cause the slightest benefit
in preventing such an attack. That's because effectuating major
legislative changes on the ground takes 10 to 20 years.
In an unusually frank exchange this week, Congress talked about why they
must act now - to protect their jobs not our lives and liberty. "It will
be awfully hard to stop the blame game, if we have done nothing, said
9/11 Commission member Slade Gorton. "Very insightful," replied Rep.
Chris Cannon. "[We must] not look like we are dragging out feet."
Oh, but isn't it better to face the terror of a runaway government than
to face the terror of the terrorists, you may ask?
Ironically expert witness after expert witness appearing before Congress
this week and last has said the 9/11 recommendations will make us less
secure in the face of terrorist and other national security threats, not
more secure. " Confusion, ambiguity and fragmentation", that's what the
9/11 recommendations will bring said Lt. General William Odom, former
director of the National Security Agency who was joined by a chorus of
experts who said essentially the same thing. "In all candor, you have
powerful case against the proposal" commented Senator Jim Talent, R-
When must we act? Why haven't we heard this before? What must we do?
Will it do any good?
Time is short here. We must act now before it is too late. Legislation
is being written now. If all goes according to plan, it will be enacted
into law before the end of the year.
Although the press has covered some of the Congressional hearings
discussing the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, ironically in
each day's reporting they seem to focus on the least informative ones.
attention is diverted in a variety of directions like "the swift boat
Will it really matter who is elected president after the foundations of
our government have been destroyed?
This information black-out whether accidental or intentional, makes it
all the more important for you and your friends to act now. Spread the
word before it is too late.
While no one can promise you that acting now will do any good, not
acting now guarantees that our liberties will be lost. A mass public
campaign launched and executed by ordinary citizens may stop this
juggernaut since it is premised on the assumptions that: we don't really
know what is happening in Washington and will just assume that what they
are doing now is for our own good, we will not resist the loss of our
liberties, we will just buy into the idea that loosing them is the price
we have to pay to be safe, and that those of us who care about liberty
will buy into the
deception that a civil liberties board will protect us from abuses of
power and that we don't realize that nothing they legislate now can
protect us in the short term.
What we must do now:
Write to both of your senators and to your representative. A short post
card or e-mail is best. Take any part of the points raised here and put
those points into your own words in a short message.
Call the local office of your congressman and tell him that what they
are selling you are not buying.
And thank the few members of Congress who are standing up for the
Constitution. It's a short list. Here are a few names:
It's important to make the few members of Congress who are standing up
for the Constitution know that you have heard them. Sometimes members of
Congress give up when they think no one is listening. Conversely, they
can gain converts to their positions if they can show other members that
their positions are gaining support among the American people.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski
D - Pennsylvania
*Compared the powers that would be conferred on the NID under the 9/11
recommendations to the powers of Lavrenty Beria in the Soviet Secret
Police (NKVD) in the 1930s.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich
D - Ohio
*Asked if anybody in Congress remembered that they had taken an oath to
defend the Constitution; pointed out the dangers inherent in a
Rep. Ron Paul
R - Texas
*Told Congress we are giving up our liberties too easily.
Rep. Christopher Shays
R - Connecticut
*Told two cautionary tales about the dangers of over classification, how
it endangers the lives of ordinary Americans and wrecks Congressional
Senator Jim Talent
R - Missouri
*Reminded Congress of the intelligence abuses of the 1970s.
Rep. John Tierney
D - Massachusetts
*Told two cautionary tales on the dangers of over classification
especially after-the-fact classification of data already in the public
domain and how it wrecks Congressional oversight; criticized Congress
for abdicating its oversight powers.
For Health Freedom,
John C. Hammell, President
International Advocates for Health Freedom
556 Boundary Bay Road
Point Roberts, WA 98281-8702 USA