1984 in 2002

Senator Richard Shelby is telling us that another terrorist attack is “absolutely going to happen”.  In fact, he promises us it will be “spectacular”.  This interview is given the day before President Bush officially signs the Homeland Security Act into law.

This massive reorganization of the Federal Government, whispered to be headed by Tom Ridge, is to keep the United States safe from terrorist attacks. (Just like the color-coded warning system of Ridge’s kept us safe for the past year.)

The term “terrorism” finally receives a definition in the H.S.A.;The term ‘‘terrorism ’’means any activity that involves an act that is dangerous to human life or potentially destructive of critical infrastructure or key resources; and is a violation of the criminal law of the United States or of any State or other subdivision of the United States; and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

That sure cleared it right up for me!

There are certain provisions in the bill that I have to question exactly how they apply to protecting our National Security.

“Allows immunity from liability for companies that make faulty anti-terrorism devices or technology and would make it difficult to sue companies that make smallpox vaccinations if the vaccines cause illness. Thanks to Rep Dick Armey, it also specifically includes lawsuits over Thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine preservative that some parents believe has caused autism in their children.”  (This would also make cases already in the courts retroactive and most certainly dismissed.)

“It revises a provision that prohibited contracts with American offshore tax-evading companies, allowing the department to waive the ban in the name of saving American jobs and be eligible for contracts with Homeland Security Department.”

“Allows protection against liability suits for airline screening companies.” ß- What?? They allow a bomb to pass through and blow up an airplane but they cannot be held liable? Sorry—that one really gets me!

“Protection against liabilities for any business having a contract with the Homeland Security Department.”

“Protection has been cut back for Civil Service workers allowing them to be fired or transferred quite easily and there is another little ditty in there against whistleblowers”. ( I guess that will teach them FBI agents to speak the truth when it is not acceptable to do so. )

“The department would not be required to release information under the Freedom of Information Act. This would eliminate the agency's responsibility to answer questions from the public.”

What does any of this have to do with protecting American citizens against terrorists? It appears to have more to do with protecting corporations than in securing the vulnerabilities we are facing from the terrorists.  (Well, to be fair, there is an order to terminate third party visa’s of Saudi’s and to finish the 14-mile border wall in San Diego. Yep I feel safer already.)

“Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend — all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database." -- This is enough to even give right-wing fanatic William Safire the heebie-jeebies.

It is time we think about exactly what is the real threat to America. The very things purported to “protect” us may very well be our downfall.

If we are to believe Senator Shelby that an attack is “absolutely going to occur” what the hell are we wasting 35 billion of taxpayers dollars on a 170,000 employee Titanic-like new Department of Security that obviously will not prevent this “spectacular” attack from happening? Is it truly a guise for some other agenda other than to “protect us against evil terrorists”? And yes, the word evil is specifically used in the bill.

I read George Orwell’s book “1984” back in 1977 and never expected it to come true in 2002.



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