For many years, I’ve forecasted that the US will evolve into a police state; that it will begin slowly; then as more and more freedoms are removed, the creation of the police state will accelerate.
We’re now seeing that acceleration, as more and more Americans are detained, questioned, and having their property confiscated than ever before.
As an example, in 2016, some 20,000 travellers in and out of the US were stopped, often at random. Typically, their baggage was searched, their documents photocopied, access codes to their electronic devices demanded and their files copied. In most cases, no explanation was given, but they were advised that if the search was refused, they would be detained indefinitely.
The following year, in 2017, the numbers of people detained rose by 50%, to 30,000.
It’s important to note that the travellers were not threatened with arrest, which suggests that the authorities were working on the basis that the Patriot Act of 2001 allows all of the above activities—without cause being given, without a warrant being obtained, without access to a phone call or legal representation being allowed, and that the individuals in question may be detained, indefinitely.
This, of course, is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states that people have the right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
However, when people travel, they are particularly vulnerable, so the travellers in question are extremely unlikely to refuse. They understand that, “indefinitely” means, “until a Supreme Court ruling is passed, overturning the Patriot Act as unconstitutional.” If it hasn’t happened yet and isn’t under consideration, it’s safe to say that the level of police state allowed under the Patriot Act is permanent.
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