DHS Fusion Center Admits Spying on Anti-Government Citizens

April 2nd, 2013

In the United States of America, citizens expect blind justice and the right to freedom of speech. Since robust debate is a major part of our democratic republic’s functionality, opposition viewpoints have always been considered “protected speech.” It’s fundamentally unlawful for the government to categorize people based on political views or to apply the law differently on someone based on their opinions. If it weren’t, every administration could just use those powers to silence the opposition’s voices and remain in office forever.

Civil liberties activists warned that merging state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies into one amorphous blob, run by Department of Homeland Security and called a fusion center, could have serious consequences. Such Cassandras were once ridiculed as paranoid for warning that political activists may find themselves facing intense scrutiny by law enforcement as a result. Fast-forward to the present, as local Arkansas media outlet NWAHomepage.com just published comments by Arkansas State Fusion Center Director Richard Davis that confirm the fears of civil liberties activists — fusion centers are being used to keep track of Americans with anti-government views. Going further, Richard Davis also implied that citizens who oppose government policy may not be, according to his analysis, citizens at all.

Richard Davis’ Nuanced Understanding of Citizenship

Arkansas State Fusion Center Director Richard Davis claims that his facility is not used to spy on American citizens, “There’s misconceptions on what fusion centers are. The misconceptions are that we are conducting spying operations on US citizens, which is of course not the fact. That is absolutely not what we do.” However, he also admits that his fusion centers have not provided information on international terrorists.

To the contrary, his facilities have only managed to piece together data on domestic anti-government groups. He went on to contradict his previous statement, “We focus a little more on that, domestic terrorism and certain groups that are anti-government. We want to kind of take a look at that and receive that information.” Americans have a fundamental right to hold anti-government views. Doing so and pronouncing them does not revoke one’s citizenship. However, by claiming that Arkansas fusion centers do not target citizens but do target Americans with anti-government views, it would appear that Davis is trying to imply that Americans with anti-government views are not citizens. The Constitution does not grant Arkansas State Fusion Center directors the power to dictate who is or isn’t a US citizen based on an individual’s use of protected free speech.

Separation of Powers Creates Safer Streets

Law enforcement officers are only supposed to enforce the laws at their own level of government. This is by design, as local, state, and federal governments are completely different organizations, and sometimes there are conflicts between them. Local and state law enforcement agencies are the closest to the people and are the type that should enforce criminal laws. In fact, if federal agencies were required to enforce only those laws that were derived constitutionally, there wouldn’t be much need for federal agents in the local community at all, unless someone were accused of something like piracy, treason, or counterfeiting money.

It’s impossible to predict in advance who will or will not become a terrorist by monitoring political speech. However, doing so violates the rights of American citizens. In fact, one could argue that any measure of harassment that the government engages in against citizens who are exercising their freedom of speech is itself a violation of the law with intent to silence political activity AKA an act of terrorism according to its understood definition.

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About the Author: Barry Donegan

is a singer for the experimental mathcore band , a writer, a self-described "veteran lifer in the counterculture", a political activist/consultant, and a believer in the non-aggression principle.