Editorial: Restoring real safety and security

Let’s see if we have this straight. Let’s give unlimited powers of spying, harassment and imprisonment, targeting U.S. residents and citizens of other countries, to U.S. agencies which have committed documented acts of torture, jailed thousands for years without so much as an indictment, and compiled files on millions of Americans.

This against a backdrop of daily bombings in U.S.-occupied Iraq and accounts of U.S. military personnel abusing Iraqi civilians and treating the Koran like so much paper in the bottom of a birdcage.

We sure feel safer.

Immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush and cabal moved with lightning speed to jam through Congress the USA Patriot Act and several executive orders granting unlimited powers to the FBI and CIA to make us “safe” from “terrorism.” It was necessary, Republicans and many Democrats said, because “the terrorists” had declared war on the U.S.

Nearly four years later, after publication of the best-selling “9/11 Commission Report” detailing the failures of the FBI, CIA and other intelligence agencies, the very cops given every privilege under the sun are an “unmitigated failure,” in the words of Republican former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornberg.

The former 9/11 Commission concluded, in a report issued this week, that U.S. intelligence agencies need oversight independent of the administration and Congress. Sounds like a plan.

But as we write, sections of the USA Patriot Act scheduled to expire this year are being readied for congressional action to continue them indefinitely.

Slash and burn the Bill of Rights to empower and embolden out-of-control torturers, cops and snoops, spreading hate, fear and panic — is that the scheme to protect the general welfare and defend the homeland?

We can take action. During the Fourth of July celebrations, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC.org) is calling for local actions demanding restoration of the Bill of Rights are a halt to further Bushite erosion of the very definition of the U.S.

Controlling the FBI and other spy and cop agencies through an independent commission and upholding the Bill of Rights are a one-two punch to restore both freedom and security.