Nothing new here, this is old news but I’m going to cover it again because it’s 2009 and we have a new president who, sadly, is a carbon copy of the last one.
The U.S. Patriot Act’s provision for warrantless seizure of medical records got the ball rolling. President Obama and the NSA are committed to the spying provisions of the act. Will they follow through on the penalty provisions as well, as El Salvador did?
In 2007 El Salvador, under the control of the right wing ARENA party, used a version of America’s Patriot Act to arrest peaceful members of a peaceful resistance group for protesting the privatization of its water supply and public health system. The federal water supply had lately been distributed to municipalities which in turn sold it to private interests. Salvadorans complained of the high cost and poor quality of the water received from the private water distribution interests.
The government plans to try them under the country’s new anti-terrorism laws, which could make them the first political prisoners in the nation’s post-war era.
Several nurses were also arrested for protesting the privatization of the health care industry.
Charges were eventually reduced but many resisters served as much as nine months in prison. Upon release, one of the leaders of the opposition was murdered.
This case not only points up the problems with the growing cancer of globalization and privatization of essential resources but the way governments may react when they encounter opposition to their plans.
At the protest several persons were arrested under a provision of an anti terrorist act which converted misdemeanor acts of civil disobedience to felonies punishable by up to 60 years in prison. The provision of the El Salvador act was similar to the Violent Radicalization and Home Grown Terror Prevention Act.
VRAHTPA establishes a new federal commission tasked with investigating Americans with “extremist belief systems” and those who may engage in “ideologically based violence.” This effort is expected to cost $22 million.
You can get a feel for where this commission is heading in this excerpt from the legislation to create it, which has already cleared by the House of Representatives by a 404-6 vote and is now headed to the Senate:
he Internet has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorism process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.
What is ideological terror and how will they decide what one can believe? Who will be the terrorists in a world where the “war on terror” never ends, but expands into infinity? Nothing is clear cut with the Patriot Act. I feel uneasy about handing over my medical records to the worldwide pharmaceutical and health care industries just because they gave Obama and Pelosi a bunch of money. In fact, I feel downright pissed off. What would happen if we just refused to do it? Would we be left off of the medicare and health care grid? Would we be able to receive medical treatment? How about some types of social security?
Could we be arrested? Don’t know. And I sure don’t trust Obama and the oligarchs.