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Reflections on 9/11 and the Patriot Act a decade later

W.A.T.E.R. 17 Special to the AmNews | 9/10/2011, 8:43 p.m.
Reflections on 9/11 and the Patriot Act a decade later

The economic and political landscape of the United States, if not the entire globe, has drastically changed since the World Trade Center unimaginably collapsed, crashing down in a fireball of molten and incinerated debris 10 years ago on Sept. 11.

On that tragic Tuesday morning, four commercial passenger planes were allegedly overtaken almost simultaneously by 19 hijackers with the supposed intention of flying the planes into certain structures throughout the Northeast. According to reports, three aircraft hit their intended targets during the coordinated attacks, while the remaining one did not. Two planes were engulfed by the Twin Towers, with another flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., while the fourth crashed into the ground near Shanksville, Pa.

A couple hours later, both towers, as well as a few surrounding buildings, disappeared from the New York City skyline in an area that later became known as "Ground Zero." Overall, approximately 3,000 people perished in lower Manhattan that day, with another 125 killed at the Pentagon. All 240-something passengers on board the four flights were also killed.

"America's economy has been in a nosedive ever since 9/11," observed conspiracy theorist La Meh Nua. "Also, we are currently operating under the Patriot Act, meaning that we have no constitutional rights."

Previous U.S. President George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into effect on Oct. 26, 2001, immediately nullifying the U.S. Constitution and the rights due to each and every citizen of the United States as agreed upon by its founding fathers.

The "USA Patriot Act" is an acronym for "Uniting (and) Strengthening America (by) Providing Appropriate Tools Required (to) Intercept (and) Obstruct Terrorism." According to a website pertaining to the Patriot Act, it is meant to "deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools and for other purposes." It effectively gives law enforcement personnel free reign over U.S. citizens with warrant-less arrests, searches and surveillance, plus a host of other suspect activities.

Computer records, cell phone conversations and records, emails, text messages and various other forms of electronic communication can be confiscated and used as evidence as well. Financial, medical and other personal records are not exempt either. Also, apprehended individuals can be detained indefinitely or deported by immigration officials if suspected of terrorist activities, all without being charged of any crimes.

The Patriot Act now also includes "domestic terrorism," expanding the definition of the term "terrorism" and enlarging the number of activities to which individuals may fall victim.

According to the article:

Sec. 202 gives law enforcement the "authority to intercept wire, oral and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses."

Sec. 209 pertains to seizure of voicemail messages.

Sec. 217 allows for interception of computer trespasser communications.

Sec. 503 addresses DNA identification of terrorists and other violent offenders.

President Barack Obama recently extended the Patriot Act for four more years on May 26, just as the previous provisions were set to expire the following day.

To read the complete Patriot Act, visit frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=107_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ056.107.pdf.