Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
|photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty images|
Since 9/11, Americans have willingly sacrificed constitutional rights, personal freedom, billions of taxpayer dollars and lives in order to feel safer from terrorist acts. The horrific bombing in Boston is an ugly reminder that such sacrifices are not keeping Americans safer.
Even though the suspects were found within days after the bombing, the surveillance and police state that Americans have allowed to be created utterly failed on April 15th, 2013.
Indeed, over 250 years later, the words of Benjamin Franklin ring true.
Some are questioning the official narrative of the Boston Marathon bombing and the ensuring events in the five days that followed. That is to be expected when the official story seems so improbable in light of all the anti-terrorism measures that have been enacted over the past 12 years. If one believes that story, however, it should become clear that all of the rights that Americans have sacrificed, all of the tax dollars spent, and all of the lives lost in the “war on terror” have done nothing to keep Americans safer from terrorist attacks.
The American people are told that they need Echelon, the CIA, the NSA, the DHS, the TSA, fusion centers, tracking devices, RFID chips, drones, spy satellites, militarized police armed like Marines, and a defense budget that accounts for over 41% of world military spending – more than the next 10 highest spending nations combined.
Americans are told that they need indefinite illegal detention, illegal torture prisons that provide no reliable intelligence that can be acted upon, gun control, pre-crime arrest, a stifling of freedom of speech and expression, a means to bypass Miranda rights, control of every channel of communication, censorship of the media, complete control of the Internet, etc. – all in order to prevent terrorist attacks and keep them safe.
Americans are told they need to make sacrifices in taxes, Social Security, Medicare, health care, education, jobs, infrastructure, and even lost lives in the military in order to keep them safe from “terrorists.” As a cowed and misinformed population willingly makes these sacrifices, the constitutional rights of common Americans are being shredded, their freedoms disappear and the nation is spent into bankruptcy as an all-powerful police state is expanded in an Orwellian fashion.
Despite all the sacrifices, two seemingly ordinary young men, ages 26 and 19, acting independently, were able to elude hundreds of police, federal agents, bomb-sniffing dogs, surveillance cameras, Internet surveillance and even their own family and friends in order to allegedly set off two makeshift bombs that killed three people and wounded over 200, evading capture for almost five days in a city of 650,000 people.
Before the suspects were caught, it took a plea to the public from the F.B.I. to identify them from a grainy department store surveillance camera still shot, a manhunt during which hundreds of rounds of gunfire were unleashed in a crowded city, a virtual martial law lockdown of thousands of Americans, house-to-house searches (see video below) and a cost of an estimated $333 million in expenditures and lost income in Boston.
Many details have been reported and later contradicted about the events between April 15th and April 19th, the background of the suspects and the manner in which authorities handled the situation. The full truth may never be known.
One thing certain, however, is that at least one of the suspects was on the F.B.I.’s radar before the bombings. The F.B.I. originally denied first meeting with one of the bombing suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, two years ago, but finally admitted that they had interviewed him after CBS published the information. There have been several allegations that the F.B.I. interviewed the elder alleged bomber multiple times.
At the very least, that would mean that the F.B.I. would have run a background check on him and run his name and photos through all the available surveillance databases that federal agencies have created with taxpayer funding. Reuters reports that was done and that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was put on a terrorist watch list. Yet the public was asked for assistance in identifying him, which raises some questions.
There are only two possible conclusions based on those facts: Either the F.B.I. was utterly incompetent in preventing a terrorist attack by someone they monitored, or they are covering up that they were instigating and handling the bombing plot, like they have done with many others in the past, and this one got out of hand. Perhaps even a combination of both.
Another certainty is that a lot of security was in place at the bombing site before the bombs went off. Three of the security measures that have been documented to have been used at the finish line are bomb-sniffing dogs, a bomb drill and extra security provided by the National Guard, including the Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team (CST).
So much security, in fact, that many “conspiracy theories” that the bombings were staged can be found on the Internet. Along with the many unanswered questions, that is not surprising. The only way to prove that the official story is fabricated, however, would be through a serious investigation entailing filing state records act requests, Freedom of Information Act requests at the federal level, as well as obtaining the search warrants, affidavits and a whole lot more. Since authorities are obviously unwilling to release such information at this time, it is best to simply stick with the facts that are available.
The available “facts” are that despite a plethora of security, foreknowledge of the potential of one of the bombers to have a propensity for terrorism, billions of dollars of spending on homeland security, a 26-year-old and a 19-year-old were supposedly successful in committing a terrorist act that killed and maimed innocent Americans. Then they managed to cause a large city to be transformed into a virtual martial law war zone after one was killed and before the other one was captured.
That can only be described as a failure of the surveillance, police state that Americans have made so many sacrifices for.
The real questions to ask may be: Where is this going to take America from here? Is the nation going deeper into the abyss of defense spending, more surveillance and further loss of constitutional liberties? Is homeland security designed to protect Americans under constitutional law or is it designed to protect the establishment’s power over the Constitution? Will over 200 years of laws and legal precedents be scrapped whenever a suitable event occurs or an excuse can be contrived? Who benefits from that, defense contractors, security firms, weapons and surveillance technology manufacturers, the elitists who run police states, or common Americans?
Obviously, the victims in Boston did not benefit from that. If the police state was designed to protect average Americans, then it has failed.
See additional photo slideshow HERE
Gregory Patin writes for the Examiner where this article first appeared. Patin earned a B.A. in political science from U.W. – Madison and a M.S. in management from Colorado Technical University. He is currently a freelance writer residing in Madison, WI who considers himself politically independent.