September 11th…Eleven Years of Losing Our Rights

It has been eleven years since September 11, 2001. After September 11th, the U.S. government launched two wars, which have taken the lives of millions of Iraqi and Afghan civilians and created millions of refugees. The fear that was used by the government to justify the wars was also used to attack Americans’ civil liberties. The government can now imprison U.S. citizens indefinitely, search your house, read your email and financial records, all without your knowledge. The government under Obama has even used the new security laws to justify assassination of American citizens overseas.
Old Tricks, New Wars
Manipulating the public is nothing new for the U.S. government. In 1898, the sinking of a U.S. battleship in Cuba was used to start a war with Spain in which U.S. business interests took control of the Philippines and Cuba. In 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese was used to get Americans to support entry into the Second World War. In 1964, the U.S. government lied, claiming that North Vietnamese ships had fired missiles at American ships in Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin. This was used as a reason to commit the U.S. to a decade of war against the people of that country.
It should come as no surprise that only 26 days after September 11th, the U.S. used the attack as a reason to invade Afghanistan under the pretext that terrorists were hiding there.  Eighteen months later the U.S. invaded Iraq claiming that the regime of Saddam Hussein was in league with the terrorists.
Our Rights Cut Under Bush
Just six weeks after September 11th, President George W. Bush signed the ‘U.S.A. Patriot  Act’ into law. This set of laws gave law enforcement agencies like the FBI or police the power to spy on American citizens and immigrants. They can secretly monitor all kinds of personal information. They can also imprison anyone without charge. In November 2002 the Bush administration created the so-called Department of Homeland Security, which brought intelligence and police agencies together under one roof and gave them massive funding for their intrusive surveillance programs.
And Continued Under Obama
Obama renewed some of the most controversial parts of the Patriot Act in May 2011. Use of extensive wiretapping was continued and law enforcement was allowed greater access to
personal information including Google, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The administration also used the Patriot Act to justify targeted assassinations including a drone strike in Yemen that killed the 16-year old son of an alleged terrorist, who was born in Denver. In other words U.S. citizens can be killed if they are suspected terrorists, without trial or due process.
Recently, the Department of Homeland Security coordinated the surveillance and  suppression of the Occupy Movement. From the president to governors, mayors and police chiefs they executed a strategy to break up all major Occupy camps across the country.
Who’s Their Real Enemy?
For the last eleven years, the U.S. government has claimed powers to fight supposed  terrorists, and turned those powers against ordinary Americans. The government knows that divisions between the rich and poor are growing very rapidly in this country. Their goal is to defend the wealthy and the corporations. Any movement that starts to question those  divisions, like Occupy, has to get nipped in the bud. Otherwise it could grow into something bigger that could actually threaten those in power today. Our rights are being taken because for the wealthy elite and the government that serves them, we are their real enemy.