Yet More Government Spying

June 27, 2006

Last week, the "New York Times" revealed that since 2001 the Bush administration has been secretly collecting and analyzing the financial records of thousands of Americans.

U.S. officials pressured a Brussels company, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift), to turn over millions of private financial records. The government did not get any court-approved warrants or subpoenas.

When this secret operation was exposed, the government reverted to its standard excuses, claiming that 1) the denial of rights is justified by the "hunt for Al Qaeda" and 2) any exposure of the government's activities helps "the enemy." Both excuses only show that the government openly proclaims that it will continue to trample on the inviolable rights of the people as well as the rule of law.

This massive invasion of privacy rights is only one of several clandestine government operations for spying on Americans, compiling dossiers, and carrying out subversion and suppression of political dissent. Since 2002, for example, the government has arbitrary closed down several Islamic charity organizations and imprisoned political activists under the excuse of "looking for Al Qaeda money." As part of the "war on terrorism," the government is also wiretapping phones, imprisoning Americans without charge, torturing prisoners, rounding up immigrants, infiltrating anti-war and other progressive organizations, attacking political protests, etc.

In sum, the government is building up a secret police state and using it to impose the program of war, exploitation and repression on the American people. We can have no illusions in this state. It must be dismantled from top to bottom and replaced by a new power which arises from and empowers the people themselves.