Investigators now only need to pull out one of these national security directives and voilà – in no time at all, business, educational, Internet, consumption and other personal data are released without a -153-
well-founded suspicion or even just an intelligence necessity would have to be proven. In other words, the FBI can spy on and monitor anyone – Ashcroft refuses to say who they are spying on – without Congress having a chance to investigate. But that’s not all. In the meantime we have kept so many people in secret detention without a court judgment that many a banana republic might have become jealous of us. Around 5,000 young people, mostly students, were “interviewed” by the FBI. Suffice it to say that their nationality was unclear or that they came from the Middle East. Another 1,200 people were arrested and locked up without trial and without specifying the length of detention, mostly for minor violations of immigration regulations, which previously no rooster would have crowed. Of those arrested for violating immigration and residence regulations, 11 percent sat behind bars for more than six months before being released or deported. About half were detained for over three months. In a very critical report, even the Inspector General of the Justice Department complained that inmates held in a federal prison in Brooklyn were subjected to “systematic physical and verbal pressure” and suffered from “excessively harsh” conditions, including 23-hour closure, cells lit around the clock, a communication barrier and excessive use of handcuffs, leg irons and heavy chains. The report also accused the FBI of “hardly bothering to distinguish” between immigrants with possible links to terrorism and the vast majority of those (many were online by chance -154-
The investigators advised), which apparently had no links to terrorism. It is un-American to incarcerate a large group of people unless there is good reason to believe that they are dangerous. Worse still, some of the detainees were secretly and quietly put into motion for deportation proceedings. Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, immigration courts started countless secret trials across the United States. Court clerks were forbidden to even confirm these events. Now some of my readers may say to themselves that, as good US citizens with an identity card in their wallet, they are safe from Bush’s terror. Don’t be too sure about that. In terms of its larger goals, the Bush administration has never been hindered by law. Bush is of the opinion that as Commander-in-Chief he has the power – that is to say, regardless of the applicable laws of the country – to define any person as an “enemy fighter”, to lock them behind bars, to lock them and then to throw away the key .