BORDC Executive Director Shahid Buttar recently gave an interview at Uprising Radio to discuss precarious trends in national security policy between the George W. Bush and Obama administrations. Criticizing the Obama administration’s failure to overturn Bush-era assaults on liberty, and observing an expansion of those noxious policies and practices, Buttar suggests that, in the realm of national security, both Republicans and Democrats carry on an agenda that further infringes upon privacy and freedom.
Buttar cites the continued operation of Guantanamo Bay to illustrate the depreciation of civil liberties from 2008 to 2012.
Instead of military detention at Guantanamo Bay we now have a statute signed by President Obama that authorizes military detention for anyone within the US, including journalists, activists, potentially any ethnic or religious minority. So the detention regime has gotten worse. The 2012 platform to its credit makes the point about how because of supposed respect for civil liberties that’s why the Obama administration stops torture. Except that it doesn’t explain that the Obama Administrations position on torture may actually be worse than the Bush Administrations…
Heightened authority for indefinite detention under the Obama Administration, which campaigned in no small part on a civil liberties platform, signifies a failed promise to the American people. Furthermore, Democrats perpetuating the violations of liberty committed by a much-maligned Republican regime suggests that our major political institutions share an interest in jeopardizing freedom for the purported purpose of increasing security.
The ramifications of increased surveillance diminished privacy affect not only alleged members or supporters of international terrorist organizations, but also domestic activists, journalists, and even ordinary Americans. Without legal policies to check and counter the government’s growing security enforcement capabilities, we risk allowing our nation to become the sort of suppressive police state we once stood against. No false sense of security is worth losing the right to rally against misguided wars or social and political inequality. Noting the convergence of national security policies across political lines, Buttar states:
[T]he warrantless wiretapping scheme by the NSA that continues, the regime of torture with impunity, massive and unchecked profiling, all of these things will continue regardless of who is in office. And I do think the real danger there, and this is the most disturbing point of all is that America is becoming at least for purposes for national security and civil rights, a one party state with all of the terrifying things that that implies.
One of the most “terrifying things” implied by such a state would be an American people left without a national organization to support its essential liberties.
Buttar’s analysis predicts a forlorn future for individual and collective liberties if the trend to aggrandize national security law and power continues. However, if our government and political institutions will not honor guaranteed liberties, the people must assume responsibility to preserve them. BORDC emphatically encourages community activism and grassroots organization for the unification of a national voice against oppression. Visit the BORDC website for critical resources on how to engage civil liberties issues and become involved in your community.
Read the transcript of Shaid Buttar’s interview with Uprising Radio here.