The current War on Terror which is broad -- and now has come to target everything from anti-Euro-American resistance abroad to environmental protests, animal welfare actions, and anti-GMO stances -- appears to copy a great deal from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
In both the War on Terror of today and the entrenched Slaver Economy of early 1800s the obvious similarity is that the draconian and anti-egalitarian, anti-humanitarian actions exist for the purpose of protecting a method of profit. Then the method of profit was slavery. Today the method of profit is inbridled corporate license. Then the Slavers fashioned the Fugitive Slave Act to protect their interests. Today the entire mechanics of the War on Terror protects the global interests of the multinationals.
For instance, today the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act as created by Diane Feinstein and friends exists to block efforts to protect animals from brutal treatment and to block consumers from receiving information for making choices about products that come from animals; the Feinstein Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act exists only to protect exploitation and profiteering from animals. (Hmmm. Evidently, it is okay for profiteers to terrorize little animals and helpless livestock as part of their profiteering, but if an animal welfare activist steps forward to point that out, that act of communicating the facts brands the animal welfare activist as a terrorist!)
Of course, in our culture, animals are not "free".
But in our society, all people are supposed to be free with certain inalienable rights, yet the new terrorism laws completely wiped away all such human freedom at home and abroad in the name of waging the War on Terror in the Globalized Corporate System. It doesn't matter if you live in Wichita or Waziristan -- if you in any way are impugned with the label 'terrorist', your freedom is in jeopardy, if not removed completely, using new Homeland (Fatherland) Security anti-terrorism laws (for instance, The Patriot Acts) or even the power of lawless assassination by Executive Branch decree.
In this sense, the War on Terror is definitely a way to reinstitute the Slavers' upperhand.
What caused me to make the comparison between today and the past are these paragraphs from the book "Millard Fillmore" by Paul Finckelman (pages 86-88):
"Anyone who aided or harbored a fugitive slave or interfered with the rendition process, for whatever reason, was subject to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. In addition, they were subject to civil damages of $1,000 to be paid to the owner of a slave for each slave who was not recovered. Many northerners found these provisions particularly obnoxious because, if literally enforced, a farmer could be fined, sued, or jailed for giving a cup of water to a black person walking down the road. The harsh penalties and the minimal standards of proof could force northern whites to assume that all blacks they saw were fugitives, even though in 1850 there were more than 150,000 free blacks living in the North. The new law not only imperiled the liberty of free blacks but also undermined their relationships with their white neighbors. Even a free black in the North might be reluctant to hire another black for fear the person was a fugitive, and the very act of hiring could be a violation of the law. ...
"These provisions punished free people -- white and black -- if they helped fugitives. Even more obnoxious were the procedures for returning a slave. Under the law, the alleged slave would get a summary hearing before a federal judge or commissioner. The court was precluded from even considering a writ of habeas corpus. This was the first time the U.S. Congress had suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and it was done in violation of the constitutional provision holding that 'The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended' except in response to an invasion or rebellion."
"The law required that a commissioner or judge 'hear and determine the case' in 'a summary manner,' without a jury. The claimant had only to present 'satisfactory proof' that the person claimed was a fugitive slave, and this could be done by 'deposition or affidavit, in writing, to be taken and certified' before any judge or magistrate in the home state of the slave owner. The potential for fraud, or even mistaken identity, was huge. A master could send his agent to a city in the North to bring back a slave the agent had never seen before. The agent might seize any black person who fit the description in the 'deposition or affidavit,' bring the individual before a judge, and demand the right to remove the person as a fugitive slave.
"The most outrageous and unfair aspect of the law involved the testimony of the alleged fugitive. According to the law, 'In no trial or hearing under this act shall the testimony of such alleged fugitive be admitted in evidence.' Under this law someone could be dragged south as a slave and never be allowed to offer his or her own voice as evidence that he or she was free. ...
"A northern white could be fined, jailed, and sued for helping a black person who he mistakenly thought was free, but a southerner would face no sanction for seizing a free black and fraudulently or mistakenly claiming him or her as a slave."