Many Americans not ready to give up civil liberties in name of national security

Stabroek News
December 28, 2001

Dear Editor,

After reading Mr Mike Singh's 'Hawk theory of power politics' (SN, 21.12.01), I couldn't help but ask in what capacity he is employed by the US government. Is he a spokesperson for the State Department, CIA or the Department of Justice? He kept referring to the US government agencies as "us" and "ours." He seems to be in high praise of the "newly expanded powers accorded the various US government agencies," including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) since the September 11 tragedy. I wonder if he realized that under these new measures that his citizenship (I'm assuming he's a naturalized US citizen) can be revoked and he can or will be deported under the slightest suspicion of being a terrorist. According to a recent NY Newsday article, of the 500+ or so people still in custody in the NY metro area since 9/11, eight of them are Guyanese. What relationship these eight people may have had to possible terrorist activities is beyond me. One can only assume that they were caught up in the police dragnet and are being held on violations of INS laws. Mr Singh further went on to endorse US Attorney General John Ashcroft's idea of dealing with the "menace from within," by tapping telephone conversations between lawyers and their clients - an idea that is opposed even by the most conservative right wing civil liberterians in this country, because it's a clear violation of lawyer/client privileges. If Mr Singh listens to the morning radio talk shows across this country he will know that many Americans are opposed to this McCarthyist idea of a police state. I don't know about you, Mr Singh, but I'm not ready to give up my civil liberties afforded me under the constitution in the name national security.

In closing, Mr Singh took a parting shot at Cuba, a nation he holds in contempt as noted in his previous letters to Stabroek News. Please let me state to Mr Singh that: Cuba is not (hasn't been for years) a "communist threat" to the United States or to any other country for that matter. Communism is dead Mike!!! (Except for China and North Korea.) Cuba is more a Socialist state. According to a recent CBS news magazine, 60 Minutes, free enterprise is alive and well in Havana. The US embargo is not really having much of an effect on Cuba in the way in which was intended. As a matter of fact, it's the contrary. Cuban exiles/immigrants are still allowed to send money back home to their families thereby inadvertently helping sustain the economy with the influx of US dollars. According to CBS, the US government was getting ready to have discussions on lifting the 40+ year embargo just before the 9/11 incident, but it was put on hold for a later time. Keep in mind, Mr Singh, the embargo has more to with 'saving face' and punishing Castro than it is about saving Cubans. No US president wants to leave office (no matter how good their intentions may be) with a legacy as the one who 'blinked' at Castro. While the government doesn't want to balk, (even though businesses in this country are waiting breathlessly to invest in that country) their neighbours to the north and south and Europe are taking advantage of the tourism and hospitality opportunities given them.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Woseley