Is America gradually becoming a police state, similar to the erstwhile USSR at the end of its historic existence? Sadly, the activities of the American intelligence agencies are creating an atmosphere of Islam-phobia which is metamorphosing the land of the brave and the free into a land of the scared and the enslaved.
American lives and privacy are not sacred anymore, as far as federal security agencies are concerned. Like the USSR of the Cold War-era, the America of today is moving away from the dreamland of inalienable fundamental rights into a state where there is complete disrespect for human rights, take the case of Trayvon Smith for instance. The bitter reality is that citizens of America are no longer ensured freedom of thought, of expression and of association as enshrined by the founding fathers in the constitution. Today, one must think twice before speaking out or writing about the present situation because some government spy maybe ready to pounce and to arrest citizens for being unpatriotic.
In a recent program on CNN, California Senator, Dianne Feinstein (D) and Republican Congressman, Mike Rogers (MI) were of the view that America today is in imminent danger from Al-Qaeda and its subsidiaries. These representatives of the American public believe the intelligence apparatus is not ready to tackle this danger. Feinstein and Rogers are advocating more powers for the intelligence agencies; in other words, they were pushing to place more limitations on already truncated American liberties. Are they adding to the fears of an already scared populace or are they speaking the truth? Only time can tell, but one certainty is that the security agencies have transformed America into a police republic, that derogatory term America once used for authoritarian states around the world.
There is no doubt that 9/11 heavily influenced the changes to America’s happy-go-lucky life style. One must go back in the American history to the moment when the Big Brother attitude became part and parcel of the psyche of the American democratic state. The chain stretches a long way back in history, but for reference sake the assassination of JFK can be cited as a starting point.
The assassination of JFK and the conspiracy theories surrounding it, circulating doubts and suspicion about J.Edgar Hoover. The FBI and CIA cropped up time and again in this sorry saga. Later on, the Watergate scandal reinforced the fact that the government was involved in secret activities endangering the privacy of its innocent and unsuspecting citizens. Nixon, was spared the humiliation of impeachment, but his clandestine activities badly scarred the national psyche. His self-serving actions took America closer to becoming a police state.
The Snowden controversy, and the recent tapping of phones of European leaders, Angela Merkell of Germany, in particular is a timely reminder of the surreptitious acts the security agencies are involved in, not only inside the borders of America, but also overseas. There are no two views that in order to safeguard the national heritage, integrity and sovereignty it is necessary for the intelligence agencies to carry on a war against terror. They are trusted to nip the threats to America in the bud before they can become an ugly, malignant sore as did the Taliban in Afghanistan. It is also the responsibility of our security agencies to counter Al-Qaeda and its network but the important question is: at what cost. Is it really necessary to turn free America into a police state to achieve this objective?
Editorial by Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada
The Wichita Eagle