Copyright Janaury 27, 2259
EARTHDOME: In a recent address before the Human Heritage Foundation, President Clark defended his domestic spying program as both "necessary for our planetary security" and "fully in accord with the Earth Alliance constitution."
Three weeks ago, The alternative news source "the San Diego Crater" revealed that, since the death of President Louis Santiago, President Clark has authorized Psi-Corp to engage in "surface scans" in crowded public areas. Although the Clark Administration and Psi-Corp initially denied the story, other sources quickly confirmed the existence of the domestic psi-surveillance program under the joint supervision of Psi Corp and the newly-formed Ministry of Peace.
Since confirmation, President Clark and his defenders have vigorously defended the program and have confirmed it will continue for the forseeable future. Mr. Wells, spokesman for the Ministry of Peace, confirmed the President's commitment to the program at a public ceremony innaugurating the new "Nightwatch Program."
"Earth is at war," said Mr. Wells, before a supportive crowd wearing the black armbands of the Nightwatch. "Not a war against an obvious enemy, like the Minbari, that we can defeat with another Battle of the Line. We are at war against Martian terrorists and alien cultures that want to destroy our way of life. In times such as these, the Earth Alliance constitution authorizes the President to take protect Earth security by whatever means necessary." Mr. Wells added that critics of the President, while perhaps well-intentioned, only help the enemies of Earth and freedom when they demand details about the program or criticize it. "After the death of President Santiago, everything changed. We need to recognize we no longer live in the pre-12/31 world of 2258. The President's opponents simply don't recognize that we are now at war and the President has to protect us."
[The Nightwatch, like the Psi Scans, will monitor public areas to maintain security. For related story, please click here.]
No Threat to Privacy
Psi Corp Spokesman Alfred Bester, a P12 Telepath and Psi Cop respected for his work in protecting normal humans from rogue telepaths, reassured the public that the surface scans did not violate their privacy or personal integrity.
"At great personal risk to ourselves, we open our mind to the background noise of thousands of minds passing through public places," explained Bester. "With that much data, we can only feel strong thoughts and emotions -- the kind associated with terrorists planing an immanent attack or a deep loathing for human society and Earth values. When we read that kind of intensity, we go to a court and get a warrant. Those who claim we ignore due process are just wrong." In response to questions from the press, Bester clarified that Psi Corp goes to areas identified by the Ministry of Peace as "high traffic areas" for terrorists and other dangerous individuals, but could not provide other details of the program for fear of compromising its effectiveness.
Critics not mollified
But Senator Hidoshi, a long-time Clark critic, continued to express concern that the Psi Scan program "violates the fundamental rights of all citizens to be free of unauthorized mind scans and the guarantee of personal integrity" promised in the Earth Alliance consitution.
"The Psi Corp exists in order to prevent telepaths from doing exactly this, mingling with normal humans and scanning their thoughts without their knowledge. For the President to authorize such a program in secret, to subject humans to unauthorized scans on perhaps a daily basis, clearly violates the authority of the President and the Psi Corp." Hidoshi called on the Senate to launch a full investigation.
Support for President
But Senator Fristoff, the leader of the Senate, showed little interest in responding to Hidoshi's demands.
"I assure the Senate that Clark has briefed me and other Senators as appropriate to insure that the Psi Scan program does not violate the civil rights of any normal human," said Fristoff. Fristoff also accused Hidoshi of "playing partisan politics with our planetary security."
"Questions about this program just undermine the morale of our heroes in Earthforce and the Psi Cops who put themselves on the line every day to protect us," fumed Bob O'Ready, a pundit on ISN's popular new "Earth Talking" political analysis show. "People like Hidoshi are traitors to humanity. We ought to ship him and his 'blame Earth first crowd' off to Minbar, if they love aliens that much. Doesn't Hidoshi realize that Martian terrorists don't play by pre-12/31 rules?"
[Hidoshi, who has consistently favored closer relations with alien races, negotiation with Martian terrorist sepratists who renounce violence, and further investment in non-Earth projects like Babylon 5, faces a tough reelection fight and may resign. click here for related story.]
Senator Fristoff observed that the majority of humans support Clark's security initiatives.
Although polls show most humans in the Earth Alliance, particularly on Earth, support President Clark's efforts to protect security and reinvigorate human culture with traditional Earth values (see sidebar), calls for investigation and for an end to the Psi Scan program persist. Speaking at the Human Heritage Foundation, a Geneva-based think tank dedicated to promoting human excellence and and economic prosperity through reliance on traditional Earth values, President Clark vigrously defnded his security initiatives.
"Senator Hidoshi and his party of alien lovers is out of touch with the real humans they are supposed to represent," said Clark. "I sometimes think that the 'blame Earth First' crowd that Senator Hidoshi speaks for wish we'd lost the Battle of the Line. If it were up to them, we'd be shaving our heads and getting bone implants." The President received a standing ovation when he concluded "I will do everything in my power to protect the Earth and humanity from the twin threats of Martian terrorism and alien influences. In this war for the very soul of humanity, we must not shirk from our responsibilities. We cannot stop to dot every "i" and cross every "t" of legal process while terrorists and aliens plot to destroy our way of life. The constitution makes me responsible for protecting all humans, even those who abuse our freedoms and cripple our efforts at self defense. And if they want to blame me for saving their lives, I can live with that."
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