They swoop to kill dissent"Everyone knows by now (or should) that the Patriot Act allows the FBI to conduct surveillance on Internet and email usage. Using so-called National Security Letters (NSLs), the FBI directs Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to provide passwords and identifying information that will allow the government to target people who are plotting terrorism or who are otherwise potentially dangerous to national security. I am sure that many of you reading this (and I, likely) have the government in our computers."
So begins Elaine Cassel's deeply troubling report in Counterpunch on the US Government's current efforts to suppress dissent, The Secrets of Surveillance. According to the ACLU's own report, these include "a broad gag order on any entity that receives a National Security Letter, or NSL.
"The gag provision silences those who are most likely to oppose the Patriot Act," ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said in his affidavit to the court. "It is particularly troubling" he said, that while the ACLU has been gagged from discussing the Patriot Act power, "President Bush and representatives of the FBI and Justice Department are engaged in a public campaign in support of the Patriot Act."See ACLU website for more background.