One of the ways is which ordinary people are intimidated is by the government passing all manner of laws that violate basic rights and then selectively using those laws to go after those they dislike or are powerless, while exempting the elite classes from prosecution. This has the effect of making people, especially political activists, constantly have to be on the alert in case they violate this or that law passed in the war on terror.
Glenn Greenwald today shows how the Obama administration successfully argued before the US Supreme Court (with then-Solicitor General and now Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan presenting their case) that anyone providing ‘material support’ to a designated terrorist group (where the phrase was interpreted very loosely) could be found guilty of a felony and punished with up to 15 years in prison. As the dissenting justices in the 6-3 decision warned, this ruling was a tremendous erosion of free speech rights and would criminalize such things as “the communication and advocacy of political ideas and lawful means of achieving political ends.”
As a result, several ordinary people have been prosecuted and jailed under this ruling.
It now turns out that a group of what Greenwald labels “Washington’s high-powered terrorist supporters” have been providing ‘material support’ to just such a designated terrorist group and making a lot of money by doing do. But of course this well-connected and bipartisan group of the elites (which includes Rudy Giuliani, Howard Dean, Michael Mukasey, Ed Rendell, Andy Card, Lee Hamilton, Tom Ridge, Bill Richardson, Wesley Clark, Michael Hayden, John Bolton, Louis Freeh, and Fran Townsend) will not be prosecuted.
Laws only apply to the serfs, not the nobility.