The Online Citizen

Opinion: The War on Terror has also been a war on Human Rights

March 01
12:09 2012

~By: Saiful Saleem~

On September 11, 2001, a great crime against humanity was committed, with the loss of thousands of innocent lives in a series of devastating attacks in the United States. However in response, in the days, weeks, months and years that followed, great crimes against human rights were committed, and are still being committed to this very day.

With the aim of protecting their citizens from future attacks, the government of the United States and her allies began to enact and adopt various counter-terrorism measures and legislation.

The month after September 11, President George Bush signed into law the Patriot's Act, giving the government the right to intercept and eavesdrop on telephonic and electronic communications as well increased discretion in conducting secret searches of people's homes. [1] Simply put, the act contravened on civil liberties and gave the government an increased ability to legally spy on individuals. The act, originally set to expire after 4 years, was made permanent in 2006. [2]

More recently, 2012 has already seen the passing of two bills that further dilute the principles of liberty – namely, the Enemy Expatriation Act and the National Defense Authorization Act. The Enemy Expatriation Act expands the list of things for which an American citizen will lose his citizenship to include, “hostilities against the United States,” with the term “hostilities” remaining ambiguous. [3] Meanwhile, the National Defense Authorization Act contains wording that could potentially allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens. Also, through a provision in the act, it allows for an American arrested in the United States to be transported to the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. [4]

Even more devastatingly, President Obama ordered an assassination of an American citizen last year without making any effort to indict the individual for any crime. [5] Additionally, detention without trial has become a reality in many countries, often justifying draconian-like laws and policies as necessary to combat the asymmetric nature of terrorism. The United States, for her part, has Guantanamo Bay that is populated by prisoners who have yet to be charged with any crime. [6]

The reality now is that there is a possibility that an American citizen could be first spied on and detained under the Patriot's Act, then stripped of his citizenship for having supported “hostilities against the United States” by the Enemy Expatriation Act, and finally be detained infinitely under the National Defense Authorization Act.

While it is undoubtedly necessary for countries to take precautionary measure, the steady erosion of human rights in the name of counter-terrorism has been too great a price to pay. Deaths by terrorism are a mere fraction of deaths by AIDs, cancer, or natural disasters. Yet, spending on counter-terrorism shadows spending on preventive measures for AIDs, cancer or natural disasters. Either the United States over-reacted in her response to September 11, or there was a consensus somewhere that the climate after September 11 was ripe for exploitation. Either way, it is certain that the liberty and human rights are under attack in the United States. Unfortunately, the War on Terror has also been the War on Human Rights. If things do not change soon the United States will not be, for much longer, the land of the free.


[1] "New anti-terror laws for US." BBC News, October 26, 2001, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1620473.stm (accessed February 18, 2012).

[2] "House approves Patriot Act renewal." CNN, March 07, 2006, http://articles.cnn.com/2006-03-07/politics/patriot.act_1_patriot-act-renewal-controversial-provisions?_s=PM:POLITICS (accessed February 18, 2012).

[3] "Text of H.R. 3166: Enemy Expatriation Act." GovTrack.us (2012), http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h112-3166 (accessed February 18, 2012).

[4] "H.R. 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012." GovTrack.us (2012), http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-1540 (accessed February 18, 2012).

[5] "Islamist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki killed in Yemen." BBC News, September 30, 2011, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-15121879 (accessed February 18, 2012).

[6] "Military given go-ahead to detain US terrorist suspects without trial." The Guardian, December 15, 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/15/americans-face-guantanamo-detention-obama (accessed February 18, 2012).


This article first appeared in The Unoccupied Press.  TOC thanks the writer for allowing us to reproduce it here. 

  • lim

    The Patriot Act copied the ISA in some instances and is very wide-ranging. After Sep 11, the US toned down the rhetoric on the ISA as a result since it would hypocritical to criticise the ISA when the Patriot Act largely does the same. If either MY or SG ditches the ISA, one can be sure some version of the Patriot Act will replace it.
     
    The main difficulty in human rights is pre-emption. It allows people to be detained before they do something rather than after they do it. Therein lies the rub. No surprise Hollywood had a say in it with shows like Tom Cruise's minority report that deals with this issue. 

  • lim

    The Patriot Act copied the ISA in some instances and is very wide-ranging. After Sep 11, the US toned down the rhetoric on the ISA as a result since it would hypocritical to criticise the ISA when the Patriot Act largely does the same. If either MY or SG ditches the ISA, one can be sure some version of the Patriot Act will replace it.
     
    The main difficulty in human rights is pre-emption. It allows people to be detained before they do something rather than after they do it. Therein lies the rub. No surprise Hollywood had a say in it with shows like Tom Cruise's minority report that deals with this issue. 

  • 911 was carried out by USA

    there are so many inconsistencies in the 911 episode, there can be only 1 simple conclusion, this act was carried out by the US government so they could wage 2 wars on people who are least able to fight back.
    usa is the most evil country in the world, no country has wage more wars then them.

  • 911 was carried out by USA

    there are so many inconsistencies in the 911 episode, there can be only 1 simple conclusion, this act was carried out by the US government so they could wage 2 wars on people who are least able to fight back.
    usa is the most evil country in the world, no country has wage more wars then them.

  • iTRUSTnoONE

     
    911 was carried out by USA1 March 2012

    , this act was carried out by the US government 
    ……………………..   
    indeed so who is resposible? fox murder or numbskul skully? than again it might be the fringe laochiubo agent or if i am correct..it was maggi Q of nikita who was in fact a marikita agent

     

  • iTRUSTnoONE

     
    911 was carried out by USA1 March 2012

    , this act was carried out by the US government 
    ……………………..   
    indeed so who is resposible? fox murder or numbskul skully? than again it might be the fringe laochiubo agent or if i am correct..it was maggi Q of nikita who was in fact a marikita agent

     

  • son of s

    America has exempted itself from the norms of ethical behaviour in many arenas. It crushes the Palestinian right to Statehood and encourages Israel's  killing of them and robbing them of their lands. It attacks countries for oil like Iraq. It refuses to be a signatory for the Green Movement. Etc.Now it will stand by while Israel bombs Iran. World Powers come and go. Perhaps America is going.

  • son of s

    America has exempted itself from the norms of ethical behaviour in many arenas. It crushes the Palestinian right to Statehood and encourages Israel's  killing of them and robbing them of their lands. It attacks countries for oil like Iraq. It refuses to be a signatory for the Green Movement. Etc.Now it will stand by while Israel bombs Iran. World Powers come and go. Perhaps America is going.

  • economy first safety second

    But remember.. If u see any suspicious looking person,please call 999 or inform our staff.. Or u can just ignore and continue play smartphone.. Pregnant lady standing also never see,how to see suspicious people? So many new faces,see until cross eyed.

  • economy first safety second

    But remember.. If u see any suspicious looking person,please call 999 or inform our staff.. Or u can just ignore and continue play smartphone.. Pregnant lady standing also never see,how to see suspicious people? So many new faces,see until cross eyed.

  • RED-man

    The beginning of the new world order. After USA, it would follow-up with systematically weakening of Europe and Asia thru' finance crisis. And eventually bring the world to it knees! They call the NEW WORLD ORDER.

  • RED-man

    The beginning of the new world order. After USA, it would follow-up with systematically weakening of Europe and Asia thru' finance crisis. And eventually bring the world to it knees! They call the NEW WORLD ORDER.

  • Police state does not have human rights

    At least the US has human rights to start of with.  It is not a police state where the citizens lack basic freedoms (speech. peaceful assembly, free press, independent Courts).   

  • Police state does not have human rights

    At least the US has human rights to start of with.  It is not a police state where the citizens lack basic freedoms (speech. peaceful assembly, free press, independent Courts).   

  • Cynical SS

    Take a good look at our own selves first lar….here in SG the lack of privacy laws to protect individuals from trigger happy camera "snipers" of STOMP who are we to criticise the US for spearheading the war on terror?!
     

  • Cynical SS

    Take a good look at our own selves first lar….here in SG the lack of privacy laws to protect individuals from trigger happy camera "snipers" of STOMP who are we to criticise the US for spearheading the war on terror?!
     

  • Be Honest

    @ 911 was carried out by USA
    Sometimes I get asked questions about my religion.  Some of the questions are honest, some are malicious.  In all cases, I will still ask myself *honestly* what the answer is.  I will also check the Net for unbiased views.  A good and handy source is Wikipedia.
    There is no point in sticking one's head in the sand and protesting when one gets asked questions like "Why is religion X so violent?".  Just go to Wikipedia and check out "Criticism of Religion X".  Read it carefully and be *honest*, *really honest* with yourself.
    If possible, read other scholarly articles as well.

  • Be Honest

    @ 911 was carried out by USA
    Sometimes I get asked questions about my religion.  Some of the questions are honest, some are malicious.  In all cases, I will still ask myself *honestly* what the answer is.  I will also check the Net for unbiased views.  A good and handy source is Wikipedia.
    There is no point in sticking one's head in the sand and protesting when one gets asked questions like "Why is religion X so violent?".  Just go to Wikipedia and check out "Criticism of Religion X".  Read it carefully and be *honest*, *really honest* with yourself.
    If possible, read other scholarly articles as well.

  • Who Actually Did 9/11 ?

    Ever since the Creature from Jekyll Island (USA) in 1913, the Federal Reserve banks was created. These bankers were very sly & cunning to profit from wars they themselves created. Wars which the bankers made themselves behind the curtain, behind public knowledge. Since then we have witnessed lots of UNNECESSARY & UNJUST wars, courtesy from the bankers. 1914 World War I, 1929 The Great Depression, 1939 World War II, 1951 Korean War, 1968 Vietnam War, 1980 Iran-Iraq War, 1991 Gulf War, 2001 War on Terror, and hopefully not 2012 World War III (of which the Israeli are drumming the beats of War). Dear Brothers of Peace, never let these tyrant bankers to start World War III, because the bankers objective at the end of the war, is to implement a New World Order, with One World Government, One Military, One PAPer Currency to rule the world! Have you heard of ‘onemotoring’, ‘onemap’, ‘One Fullerton’ in your neighbourhood??

  • Who Actually Did 9/11 ?

    Ever since the Creature from Jekyll Island (USA) in 1913, the Federal Reserve banks was created. These bankers were very sly & cunning to profit from wars they themselves created. Wars which the bankers made themselves behind the curtain, behind public knowledge. Since then we have witnessed lots of UNNECESSARY & UNJUST wars, courtesy from the bankers. 1914 World War I, 1929 The Great Depression, 1939 World War II, 1951 Korean War, 1968 Vietnam War, 1980 Iran-Iraq War, 1991 Gulf War, 2001 War on Terror, and hopefully not 2012 World War III (of which the Israeli are drumming the beats of War). Dear Brothers of Peace, never let these tyrant bankers to start World War III, because the bankers objective at the end of the war, is to implement a New World Order, with One World Government, One Military, One PAPer Currency to rule the world! Have you heard of ‘onemotoring’, ‘onemap’, ‘One Fullerton’ in your neighbourhood??

  • pragmatic

    How many have knowledge of other countries and current affairs, besides rhetorics and hearsay ?  I thank msm.
    Interviews – Mark Klein, Spying On The Home Front
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html
    Except.
    quote
    So  I think you're asking this government – WHICH IS FULL OF PREVARICATIONS and MISLEADING STATEMENTS and NOT VERY TRUTHFUL and also a large component of simply incompetence – handing them the keys to everybody's private information. I don't trust them with that.
    I think THEY'RE FAR MORE INTERESTED IN JUST AGGRANDIZING POWER FOR POWER'S SAKE, and THEY'RE JUST USING IT AS AN EXCUSE – THE SO-CALLED WAR ON TERROR, WHICH IS THEIR EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING THEY DO.  EVERYTHING IS AGGRANDIZING POWER SECRETLY WITH NO OVERSIGHT…….."
    unquote
    Blair Prepares for Last Visit to Washington
    http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/world/1091-blair-prepares-for-last-visit-to-washington.html
    So what happen to the Occupy Wall Street protests ?  Anyone been or from US like to share ?

  • pragmatic

    How many have knowledge of other countries and current affairs, besides rhetorics and hearsay ?  I thank msm.
    Interviews – Mark Klein, Spying On The Home Front
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/homefront/interviews/klein.html
    Except.
    quote
    So  I think you're asking this government – WHICH IS FULL OF PREVARICATIONS and MISLEADING STATEMENTS and NOT VERY TRUTHFUL and also a large component of simply incompetence – handing them the keys to everybody's private information. I don't trust them with that.
    I think THEY'RE FAR MORE INTERESTED IN JUST AGGRANDIZING POWER FOR POWER'S SAKE, and THEY'RE JUST USING IT AS AN EXCUSE – THE SO-CALLED WAR ON TERROR, WHICH IS THEIR EXCUSE FOR EVERYTHING THEY DO.  EVERYTHING IS AGGRANDIZING POWER SECRETLY WITH NO OVERSIGHT…….."
    unquote
    Blair Prepares for Last Visit to Washington
    http://www.dailysquib.co.uk/world/1091-blair-prepares-for-last-visit-to-washington.html
    So what happen to the Occupy Wall Street protests ?  Anyone been or from US like to share ?

  • son of s

    The USA is known to be a State that exempts itself from normal International ethical behaviour. It is the State that supports  Israel's killing of the Palestinians and taking their land and does not support Palestines bid for Statehood. It is the State that wage war on  countries with OIL, like Irag. The USA supports a number of puppet rulers, Marcos, Shah of Iran, Suharto, Saddam Hussein who are enabled to wreck havoc on their own people by robbing them of their State wealth and by genocide.Most emphatically the USA exempts itself from Human Rights. The War on Terror is a War to control the OIL  flow of Iraq.Presently the USA is conducting a War on Palestine through Israel. If any population has its human rights trampled on it is Palestine.

  • son of s

    The USA is known to be a State that exempts itself from normal International ethical behaviour. It is the State that supports  Israel's killing of the Palestinians and taking their land and does not support Palestines bid for Statehood. It is the State that wage war on  countries with OIL, like Irag. The USA supports a number of puppet rulers, Marcos, Shah of Iran, Suharto, Saddam Hussein who are enabled to wreck havoc on their own people by robbing them of their State wealth and by genocide.Most emphatically the USA exempts itself from Human Rights. The War on Terror is a War to control the OIL  flow of Iraq.Presently the USA is conducting a War on Palestine through Israel. If any population has its human rights trampled on it is Palestine.

  • son of s

    The USA is known to be a State that exempts itself from normal International ethical behaviour. It is the State that supports  Israel's strangling of the Palestinian, taking their land and does not support Palestines'  bid for Statehood. It is the State that wages war on  countries with OIL, like Irag. The USA supports a number of puppet rulers, Marcos, Shah of Iran, Suharto, Saddam Hussei, Mubarack, Gadhafi etc who are enabled to wreck havoc on their own people by robbing them of their State wealth and by genocide.Most emphatically the USA exempts itself from Human Rights. The War on Terror is a War to control the OIL  flow of Iraq.Presently the USA is conducting a War on Palestine through Israel. If any population has its human rights trampled on it is Palestine.

  • son of s

    The USA is known to be a State that exempts itself from normal International ethical behaviour. It is the State that supports  Israel's strangling of the Palestinian, taking their land and does not support Palestines'  bid for Statehood. It is the State that wages war on  countries with OIL, like Irag. The USA supports a number of puppet rulers, Marcos, Shah of Iran, Suharto, Saddam Hussei, Mubarack, Gadhafi etc who are enabled to wreck havoc on their own people by robbing them of their State wealth and by genocide.Most emphatically the USA exempts itself from Human Rights. The War on Terror is a War to control the OIL  flow of Iraq.Presently the USA is conducting a War on Palestine through Israel. If any population has its human rights trampled on it is Palestine.

  • son of s

    The Singapore Government has also exempted itself from normal ethical behaviour. It argues that the State of Singapore is unique, so unique that everything goes to empower the Ruling Elites and keep them in Power.
    Its Ruling Elites furiously write their autobiographies and biographies, in a bid to cheat the future generations of the truth.

  • son of s

    The Singapore Government has also exempted itself from normal ethical behaviour. It argues that the State of Singapore is unique, so unique that everything goes to empower the Ruling Elites and keep them in Power.
    Its Ruling Elites furiously write their autobiographies and biographies, in a bid to cheat the future generations of the truth.

  • Byron

    Well said Saiful. I could not agre more and I believe the latter "there was a consensus somewhere that the climate after September 11 was ripe for exploitation." IN fact Obama's own council has been quoted something to the effect that a goverment shouldnt let a crisis go to waste. The United States is floundering – it is ashame.

  • Byron

    Well said Saiful. I could not agre more and I believe the latter "there was a consensus somewhere that the climate after September 11 was ripe for exploitation." IN fact Obama's own council has been quoted something to the effect that a goverment shouldnt let a crisis go to waste. The United States is floundering – it is ashame.

TOC TV

Archives