As we reported yesterday, the U.S. Senate is poised to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act today with little debate. In effect since 2008, the FISA Amendments Act supersedes the 4th Amendment right of the people against unreasonable search and seizure by granting the U.S. Government power to search through and seize people’s communications and other papers without any probable cause warrant.
As long as we have been discussing the FISA Amendments Act, there have been people who ask us why anyone should care. After all, even if the government’s surveillance, search and seizure authorities are unconstitutional, even if they invade our privacy, isn’t that a reasonable price to pay to attain the end goal: stopping terrorists?
Documents obtained this week by the Partnership for Civil Justice answer that question: unconstitutional “anti-terrorism” powers aren’t being used to stop terrorists. They’re being used to stop political protest.
Visit this page to review government documents obtained under Freedom of Information Act requests by the Partnership of Civil Justice. They document that…
… a Domestic Security Alliance Council forged by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security shared information about upcoming non-violent Occupy protests with corporate security officers that it declared secret from the American public, insisting that “such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know”. Intelligence regarding non-violent protest was “information meant for use primarily within the corporate security community.”
… The Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force was deployed to inform state university officials in New York about anti-corporate protests on the campuses.
… “Domestic Terror Briefings” and “Domestic Terror Liaisons” in Florida collected and disseminated information about Occupy protests in Daytona, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Ocala, Polk County, St. Petersburg and Tampa.
… Another Joint Terrorism Task Force was used to “pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies” of the Occupy movement in Richmond, Virginia.
… The Joint Terrorism Task Force of Jackson, Mississippi was used “to document… the Occupy Wall Street Movement” in the name of “counterterrorism.”
The “counterterrorism” powers granted to the government are being used to protect the rich and powerful against the protests of the poor and powerless. That’s why you need to pay attention to details like the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act.