American Gestapo?by Robert
There’s another Paul Craig Roberts piece at counterpunch that sounds the alarm, so to speak.
A provision in the “PATRIOT Act” creates a new federal police force with the power to violate the Bill of Rights. You might think that this cannot be true, as you have not read about it in newspapers or heard it discussed by talking heads on TV.
The portion in question, SEC. 605. THE UNIFORMED DIVISION, UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, reads in part:
There is hereby created and established a permanent police force, to be known as the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division’. Subject to the supervision of the Secretary of Homeland Security, the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division shall perform such duties as the Director, United States Secret Service…
(b)(1) Under the direction of the Director of the Secret Service, members of the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division are authorized to–
(A) carry firearms;
(B) make arrests without warrant for any offense against the United States committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under the laws of the United States if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed or is committing such felony; and
(C) perform such other functions and duties as are authorized by law.
Mr. Roberts’s reaction is nothing if not imaginative:
The obvious purpose of the act is to prevent demonstrations at Bush/Cheney events. However, nothing in the language limits the police powers from being used only in this way. Like every law in the US, this law also will be expansively interpreted and abused. It has dire implications for freedom of association and First Amendment rights.
We can take for granted that the new federal police will be used to suppress dissent and to break up
opposition. The Brownshirts are now arming themselves with a Gestapo.
So, the question before the house is: does the creation of a uniformed sub-set of the Secret Service signal the end of basic civil liberties in America? If so, why? If not, why not?