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Judicial "Enabling Act" in US Federal Courts

By kwertii in Op-Ed
Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:03:31 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The government filed a brief in federal appelate court today asserting that "declared enemy combatants in the war on terrorism have no right to counsel and can be held indefinately". The Justice Department also declared that the civilian courts have no competency to intercede in cases involving arbitrarily declared 'enemy combatants'. The brief additionally stipulates that the government may declare anyone at all to be an enemy combatant, without presenting any evidence whatsoever, regardless of whether they were captured in battle or anywhere else.

Reminds me of Germany in 1933...


From the Washington Post story: 'This is really an astounding assertion of authority,' said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor. "It's not just that you have no right to a lawyer, it's that you have no right to even have a hearing. . . . If that is true, then there is really no limit to the president's power to label U.S. citizens as bad people and then have them held in military custody indefinitely.'

It is truly frightening how many people in this country go along with this sort of thing. "Oh, well, as long as it means they can stop terrorists, they can do whatever they need to. I'm not a terrorist, so why should I be worried?"

The Enabling Act. The situation? A bunch of nebulous "terrorists" destroyed a public building. The government passed a law letting it detain people indefinately with no lawyer or hearing before a judge, allowed the government to intercept telephone and telegraphic communications (cf. the PATRIOT Act), search homes without a warrant, etc. -- all in the name of fighting the terrorist menace that threatened to attack again.

And the public went along with it. Why? "Oh, well, as long as it means they can stop terrorists, they can do whatever they need to. I'm not a terrorist, so why should I be worried?"

I'm sure we all know what happened after that..

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o the Washington Post story:
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Judicial "Enabling Act" in US Federal Courts | 254 comments (228 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
Two links to add (4.85 / 20) (#2)
by wiredog on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:11:12 PM EST

The actual DoJ Brief

While I don't want to disturb your, or anyone else's, ideological views that all in the US, especially the press, are jingoistic sheep who do as they are told, I feel I should bring an editorial from the Washington Post to your attention.

If this is correct, any American could be locked up indefinitely, without a lawyer, on the president's say-so. You don't have to believe that Mr. Hamdi is innocent to see grave peril in this. The Constitution's checks and balances don't contemplate blind trust in the wisdom or good faith of the president. And the courts must not acquiesce in Mr. Bush's claim that they are powerless to ensure the lawfulness of presidential behavior.


Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
Sadly though (4.16 / 6) (#31)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:39:35 PM EST

nobody else appears to have noticed; it's not in the Times, the Journal, the other Times, or any of the SF Bay Area papers.

Of course, it's local news for the Post, so maybe the other papers need another day or two to notice?

[ Parent ]

Tomorrow (3.20 / 5) (#34)
by wiredog on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:00:18 PM EST

The other papers will jump on it. I am surprised the NY Times isn't on it though. Maybe they're taking a day or two to do something major?

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Lets hope they do.. (5.00 / 5) (#124)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:36:01 AM EST

This is the most sweeping challenge of the Magna Carta since it was introduced.

This is essentially an effort to abandon the fount and foundation of most of our laws for an arbitrary system based on the whims of the Executive branch of our government.

I hope it is challenged vigorously in our media. I not only hope that is challenged vigourously by our media but I also hope that it is challenged strenously by all of us!! I am not holding my breath though. The media in the U.S. seems to rubber stamp whatever Bush decides.

Has Martial Law Been Declared?



[ Parent ]
They wont. (3.25 / 4) (#126)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:00:44 AM EST

The media in the U.S. seems to rubber stamp whatever Bush decides.
Of course; to do otherwise is to be a terrorist. I thought that was commen knowledge.

[ Parent ]
This is between me and you of course (2.00 / 1) (#127)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:34:09 AM EST

This is between me and you of course?
Shhhh....??!??!?!!?

[ Parent ]
Something to add: (4.00 / 4) (#142)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:59:19 AM EST


Apropos recent events, in case you're wondering what will become of all the unemployed KGB men in the event of a change of regime in the USSR, I was talking to a German friend recently and asked him what had become of all the former Stasi secret policemen of East Germany.
"Oh they're all taxi drivers now," he said, "it was the obvious solution."
"Why is that?" I asked.
"Simple," he said, "you just give them your name--and they know where you live."

Source

[ Parent ]
Time is valuable (none / 0) (#161)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:30:26 AM EST

Care you expand of the relevance of that link? I don't really have time to read the whole thing in order to understand the point your trying to make.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
relevance (5.00 / 1) (#208)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:09:05 PM EST

I was being somewhat semi sarcastic with that link.

The stasi were the secret police of the East german Government.

The, shhh!!??!!, was a semi-facetious way of denoting a paranoia that exists in police states.

Do you see where I am coming from now?

 

[ Parent ]

Shades of korematsu... (4.50 / 16) (#6)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:28:21 PM EST

Reminds me of the supreme court case back in the 40s regarding japanese internment. Similar arguments.

Problem is, korematsu has since been regarded as one of the worst decisions handed down, ever. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

better yet (4.42 / 7) (#11)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:53:28 PM EST

korematsu was overturned by the same supreme court less than two years later.

I would be shocked if any court upheld the administration's interpretation of things.

[ Parent ]

That depends... (4.88 / 9) (#22)
by eLuddite on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:18:24 PM EST

on how the war on terror goes. If terrorists start penetrating fortress America in earnest spectacle, American popular opinion will be hard to circumvent and I'd be surprised if any court did not uphold the administration's interpretation of things. I'm not saying the vast majority of Americans worship the Presidency, although they do, I'm saying they're prone to particuclarly nasty falls off their high horse when the terrain gets bumpy.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

one of the main things is (4.40 / 5) (#46)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:45:53 PM EST

is that this is mostly untreaded territory. Even in korematsu, that was a US citizen.

The SC hasn't handled a whole lot of military cases, and when they have, they've almost always been in times of crisis. As such, the SC tends to defer to the military.

Reading through the above document submitted by the DoJ, they acknowledge that there hasn't been a test for determining due process of enemy combatants, and that the past courts have simply deferred.

[ Parent ]

If that does happen... (4.66 / 3) (#83)
by Stretch on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:51:02 PM EST

Why not declare a state of war or emergency or something that does give the president these types of powers, *gasp* legally!  I am sure we (America) dealt with citizens committing espionage in WWII so there must be a system in place to handle these issues properly.

Like others have mentioned, assuming we trust W not to abuse these, currently, unchecked powers, we still can't always trust the future Nixons, ahem, presidents.

[ Parent ]

the most logical administration ever (3.64 / 14) (#9)
by eLuddite on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 01:48:11 PM EST

Engaging in (alleged) terrorist activity makes you unlawful in the sense that your crime is outside the scope of law. if you kill someone over a crack deal, OTOH, you are a lawful criminal. You have to understand, this isnt rocket science, there are criminals, and then there are criminals. Similiarly, there are citizens, and then there are citizens.

---
God hates human rights.

A "crime outside the scope of law"? (4.57 / 7) (#23)
by kwertii on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:21:02 PM EST

crime Crime (krimacm), n.F. crime, fr. L. crimen judicial decision, that which is subjected to such a decision, charge, fault, crime, fr. the root of cernere to decide judicially. See Certain. 1. Any violation of law, either divine or human; an omission of a duty commanded, or the commission of an act forbidden by law.
If an act is not prohibited by law, it is not a crime. Conversely, if an act is contrary to law, it is, by definition, a crime. The concept of a crime outside the scope of law is nonsensical.


----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
*chuckle* (4.18 / 11) (#25)
by eLuddite on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:26:13 PM EST

The concept of a crime outside the scope of law is nonsensical.

Yes, you have correctly answered the skill testing question. Tragically, this disqualifies you from a position in the Bush administration.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

The Daisy Problem (none / 0) (#63)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:52:42 PM EST

as in "Please don't eat the daisies". Jean Kerr thought she had everything covered with her kids, but she hadn't actually told them not to eat the flowers in the centerpiece.

You could argue (and people did, and continue to do so) that Hitler (we've already been through Godwin, so what the hey) violated no laws -- his conduct was legal under German law, and yet most of us feel that he and his government committed an horrific crime. Maybe it just hadn't occurred to us to say, "Oh, and no trying to wipe out entire peoples", but we certainly knew that it was wrong. (And note that the crime was "genocide", not six million counts of murder.)

[ Parent ]

In which jurisdiction? (5.00 / 3) (#113)
by bodrius on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:29:46 AM EST

If I remember correctly, the Nazi regime was judged through international courts in international law. Which means that a jurisdiction was created in order to deal with a crime that affected more than Germany, crimes against humanity (genocide).

Now, if you claim the terrorists are genocides AND that their crimes are outside the legal scope of US law, they should be tried in international courts too.

If you really really want to try them in US courts, you can pass new laws that say "killing 5000 people is not murder, it's a greater crime". But I'm not sure that's not already present in US law.

You don't create a third legal system that covers "whatever is not covered above", because that "whatever" is excessively vague. If we trusted governments to decide on-the-spot what is and what is not a crime, sensibly, we would not need laws in the first place. Just submit everything to the judgment of the government.

We had that for thousands of years. It didn't work. That's why we have laws now.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

killing 5,000 people is not murder (3.00 / 2) (#123)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:32:23 AM EST

If you really really want to try them in US courts, you can pass new laws that say "killing 5000 people is not murder, it's a greater crime".
So ... does that apply in wartime as well? What if it's one of your soldiers doing the killing? What if it 5,000+ civilians? Is it going to be retroactive (like the Nürenberg trials)? Then what happens with the people who nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki? And what of the people who authorized it?

[ Parent ]
Good points. (none / 0) (#209)
by bodrius on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:11:00 PM EST

That's why you have to consider throughly whether you "really really want" to do this.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]
Semantics (none / 0) (#199)
by virg on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:48:27 PM EST

There seems to be a big mix-up of terminology, so I'll break it down.

First, the statement, "The concept of a crime outside the scope of law is nonsensical" has nothing to do with right or wrong. It means that the word "crime" connotes a violation of law, so if the action is outside the scope of the law, it's semantically incorrect to use the word "crime" to describe it.

Second, things that are wrong but are not a violation of law are offenses, but not (again, semantically) "illegal" since that implies the rule of law has been broken.

> as in "Please don't eat the daisies". Jean Kerr thought she had everything covered with her kids, but she hadn't actually told them not to eat the flowers in the centerpiece.

This example merely proves my point. Eating the centerpiece may have been improper, but Ms. Kerr would be remiss to punish the kids for breaking a rule for doing it.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
Godwin's Law: Now Repealed! (4.43 / 23) (#15)
by ip4noman on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:03:13 PM EST

Whomever first cries Godwin's Law automatically invokes Ip4noman's Assertion: Godwin's Law can not be used to silence criticisms of modern governments which may have begin to behave like Nazis.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
The sad thing is (4.88 / 9) (#18)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:08:45 PM EST

that your assertion is just that. Godwin's Law can be used to silence criticisms of modern governments which may have begun to behave like Nazis.

Of course, that's our fault --- the whole point behind Godwin's Law is that the 'Nazi' label is overused in political discussion, and that this has cheapened the term to the point where it's more or less meaningless. Which is a problem: what term do you use when it really is appropriate?

I don't know that it is, here; while there are some ways in which the Bush administration is pushing a totalitarian-fascist agenda that is at odds with our Constitution, I have a hard time seeing them emulate the Nazis. But every new step they take in that direction surprises me, and i'm rapidly losing faith.

[ Parent ]

Technically, Godwin doesn't apply (4.90 / 11) (#19)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:14:32 PM EST

From the FAQ:

Godwin's Law: "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Godwin's Rule: "Any off-topic mention of Hitler or Nazis will cause the thread it is mentioned in to an irrelevant and off-topic end very soon; every thread on UseNet has a constantly-increasing probability to contain such a mention."

It's hardly off-topic if it's mentioned in the lead article defining the topic. Godwin's Rule is a good rule-of-thumb to end discussion when it gets overheated and irrational, but I don't think it's meant to prevent all discussion of the history of Nazism, or even historical parallels to current events.

[ Parent ]

Yes, but people use Godwin as if it were (5.00 / 11) (#52)
by ip4noman on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:09:47 PM EST

I mean how it is commonly used, as mentioned in the Hacker's Jargon File:
"There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress".
Someone mentiones Hitler or Nazis, then someone jumps up and shouts, "Godwin's Law!! Godwin's Law!!" as if the had just won at Bingo, meaning, "STFU! This thread is dead", as if to say we can never talk about these things ever again. Well to them, I say foo. Ip4noman's Assertion (when applicable) trumps Godwin's law.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
it's not so hard to imagine (4.25 / 4) (#94)
by speek on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:16:18 PM EST

First, they pass this, and it goes through without much complaint. This gives them confidence, and soon, plans go ahead for a full-scale invasion of Iraq. Once a real war is on, Arabs on American soil are interned more and more frequently, and then held in camps. Unlikely they will be "gassed", as there is no eugenics campaign or anything, but, that's small consolation.

--
God needs money from you
[ Parent ]

Ip4noman - I think you may become famous ... (3.83 / 6) (#64)
by pyramid termite on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:53:10 PM EST

... I, for one, will be saving this and using it when appropriate.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Godwin himself speaks... (5.00 / 5) (#131)
by beak on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:03:08 AM EST

Mike Godwin describes how and why he developed "Godwin's law" to attempt to counter the over-use of the Nazi analogue in this Wired article: Meme, Counter-meme:

It was back in 1990 that I set out on a project in memetic engineering. The Nazi-comparison meme, I'd decided, had gotten out of hand [...] - the labeling of posters or their ideas as "similar to the Nazis" or "Hitler-like" was a recurrent and often predictable event.

[...] And, invariably, the comparisons trivialized the horror of the Holocaust and the social pathology of the Nazis. It was a trivialization I found both illogical and offensive.

So, I set out to conduct an experiment - to build a counter-meme designed to make discussion participants see how they are acting as vectors to a particularly silly and offensive meme...and perhaps to curtail the glib Nazi comparisons.

I developed Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies: As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. [...]



[ Parent ]
At least... (4.40 / 10) (#21)
by Lord of the Wasteland on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:15:08 PM EST

At least they finally submitted a brief, bringing things to a head. If the courts uphold this (which I doubt) or the administration just ignores it, it will be a signal. I'll drive five hours down to Mexico and get out before Ashcroft turns the country into something from The Handmaid's Tale.

Failures of criminal justice system (3.66 / 9) (#24)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:21:06 PM EST

What we're running into now is a result of a criminal justice system that is remarkably bad at preventing crime.  It can catch criminals after the fact, but it's not very good at preventing crimes from happening: the "War on Drugs" is a dismal failure in terms of actually preventing drugs from entering the country; many Mafia figures, for example John Gotti or Al Capone, were known criminals for years before the criminal justice system finally got them.

So when faced with a situation where a failure to prevent a crime results in thousands of deaths, there isn't a whole lot of reason to believe that criminal justice is up to the job.  Hence the certain amount of grudging acceptance that something like these extreme measures might be necessary.

Certainly, they are going too far at the moment.  Lawmakers need to seriously sit down and work out how to handle it... certainly the military having the power to declare anyone an "unlawful combatant" without any legal recourse is very wrong; but I don't think most people will accept known terrorists running free for years until someone finally catches them on some technicality like tax evasion.

--
IMHO

On the contrary (4.76 / 13) (#26)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:27:59 PM EST

I don't think most people will accept known terrorists running free

If we catch them doing something, the criminal justice system will work fine. If we don't have any actual evidence of them committing acts of terrorism, they're not "known terrorists." They're just suspected terrorists, and personally I don't want to throw away my presumed innocence.

[ Parent ]

Depends on how you define "known terrorist&qu (3.00 / 3) (#32)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:48:37 PM EST

Obviously, it's wrong for some guy that just happens to have an arabic name to become a "suspected terrorist".  But what about someone who was observed training in Afghanistan and has been asking about crop dusters and taking flying lessons without asking about how to land?  At what point does someone "commit an act of terrorism"?  At what point, and what level of evidence, do we actually get to call it a "conspiracy"?

Basically, at what point could they have stopped the Sept. 11 hijackers?  Are illegal visas the only thing we can hold them for?

If we let them actually commit the act of terror, it's too late - they (and their victims) will likely be already dead.  And if we insist on trying to "catch them in act", we're leaving a very thin line of defense.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Catching Terrorists (4.33 / 6) (#51)
by wierdo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:09:31 PM EST

I would rather accept the risk of being killed prematurely by terrorists than accept the risk of being labeled an unlawful combatant on the current regime's say-so. One must remember, the current regime has already accused those of us who partake of certain medicinal herbs and other recreational activities involving ingestion of certain substances of supporting terrorism. How long is it before we are labeled unlawful combatants and thrown in the brig without recourse? I seem to recall several recent occurrences of people who have taken no action toward terrorizing people, but merely pontificated the subject having been arrested, and further detained as unlawful combatants. I wouldn't have such a problem with this if there was a "bright line" definition of what one must do to be declared an unlawful combatant, so I can avoid such a designation.

While I hate the phrase "slippery slope", I feel that it has some utility describing the current situation. As other posters have indicated, I too did not believe that things would progress as far as they have, but with each passing day I live in more and more fear of my own rights being taken away. And with each passing day, I find yet another reason to justify that fear.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Also.... (3.50 / 4) (#33)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 02:55:22 PM EST

If we catch them doing something, the criminal justice system will work fine. If we don't have any actual evidence of them committing acts of terrorism, they're not "known terrorists."

John Gotti and Al Capone were known criminals long before they were convicted; they used violence, intimidation, and legal weaseling to keep the judicial system from finding enough evidence to convict them, even though everyone knew they were crooks.  It's the difference between the ideal and the practical: the criminal justice system does not work fine.

The difference between the mafia and terrorists is the amount of death and damage that could take place while the legal system is trying to find enough evidence to convict them.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Fair enough (4.75 / 4) (#37)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:09:20 PM EST

the US justice system isn't currently set up to deal with prevention of terrorism. However, the solution to that should be to devise some system which is and which still provides some sort of guarantee of protection against arbitrary unjustified action.

The whole point to the separation of powers is that allowing the executive to act without some sort of check on its exercise of power is dangerous; even if the current administration is entirely trustworthy, setting the precedent that the administration can apprehend anyone it wants without judicial oversight opens the door to tyranny. If there is no way for an independant authority to verify the administration's claim that person [x] is an enemy combatant, there is nothing to prevent those who are in power from using the claim speciously in order to go after someone they don't like for other reasons.

I don't think the current administration would do that. But eventually someone will; the history of attempts at democracy are full of such slow changes over time (perhaps the best, and most applicable to the current situation, example is that of Venice: a true republic at the start of the second millenium, it had turned into something of a police state by half a millenium later --- by way of gradual evolution that eroded the liberty and power of the masses). And the possibility would be too tempting; without judicial oversight, anyone can be disappeared on the word that "he's a terrorist!".

A better solution would be to have Congress establish a special court system (there are multiple court systems already --- tax issues go through a special court system, for example) consisting of civilian judges with security clearances, subject to Senate confirmation like all judges, and delegate the power to hear habeous petitions and, if necessary, trials for enemy combatants to that court. This would provide an independant check on the power of the executive to hold "enemy combatants", while still preserving the integrity of the intelligence data the administration is worried about compromising in civilian court.

[ Parent ]

Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#44)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:31:23 PM EST

If there is no way for an independant authority to verify the administration's claim that person [x] is an enemy combatant, there is nothing to prevent those who are in power from using the claim speciously in order to go after someone they don't like for other reasons... A better solution would be to have Congress establish a special court system....

Exactly; the problem right now is that, since such a system does not exist, the administration has to choose between using the "unlawful combatant" loopholes or letting the suspects go free in the current justice system.  

New rules and procedures definitely have to be established, but the problem can't just be swept under the rug by saying "the current system can handle it and any variation is a violation of rights".  The trick is working out a new system that respects human rights while still taking into account the concern of preventing terrorism...

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

not the issue (none / 0) (#53)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:10:12 PM EST

or letting the suspects go free in the current justice system.

That actually isn't the problem; RICO allows prosecution for just about anything under conspiracy laws, and every US citizen they've arrested to date could be prosecuted under that statute. And held without bail, i'm sure.

The real issue is that to successfully prosecute such individuals, the government has to reveal sensitive intelligence information, which could easily lead to a breakdown of intelligence gathering capabilities. To release the information required to convict the "dirty bomber" in a public trial would risk compromising all sorts of operatives.

That said, i'd much rather have that happen than establish the precedent that the state can hold anyone it wants with no checks on its authority; in an either-or situation, the former is much preferable to the latter. The former imposes serious risks of harm from outsiders, now and in the immediate future; the latter imposes serious risks of more painful harm from ourselves in the long term.

That said, I'd prefer a third alternative, and will be writing my Congresspeople to request one. I suggest everyone reading this thread do the same.

[ Parent ]

Agreed (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:33:33 PM EST

I should've (meant to<g>) say: since such a system does not exist, the administration has to choose between using the "unlawful combatant" loopholes, letting the suspects go free, or revealing sensitive information in the current justice system.

Since the administration obviously doesn't want to let the suspects go free, and obviously doesn't want to reveal sensitive information, the only option left to them is the "unlawful combatant" option.  The only reason for them not to choose the "unlawful combatant" option is a fear that they'll go over the line or set a precedent... obviously, they trust themselves... even if none of us do.

It's up to Congress to give them more palatable options - and perhaps close the whole "executive branch can declare anyone an unlawful combatant" loophole.

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Re: Loopholes (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by wierdo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:40:50 PM EST

Exactly; the problem right now is that, since such a system does not exist, the administration has to choose between using the "unlawful combatant" loopholes or letting the suspects go free in the current justice system.

First, I'd like to say that, in my opinion, what Bush is doing is not using a loophole, it's more like raping it. But that is neither here nor there. The current system demands that people be given a right to a speedy, public, and fair trial. I don't see any of these folks we have detained being afforded any of those rights. In other words, they are being deprived of them. If we consider ourselves to be any better than them, the only just course of action we can take is to release all of those who we cannot bring to trial for lack of evidence, and prosecute the remainder. What we are doing is no better than what the real terrorists have done. We are depriving people of their lives and liberty, without the recourse of a trial. This is not war, any more than the "War" on Drugs is, and what we are doing is morally and socially equivalent to the Soviets throwing dissenters into the gulag.

That said, I too would like to see some sort of system by which those thrown into the deep, dark hole known as unlawful combatant status can have a hearing before a public court to determine whether that designation is just, preferably with a jury to decide. I just have a hard time believing National Security trumps Personal Security, since the purpose of the state is to protect the person. Therefore, I have a problem with all the "secret evidence" the current regime claims to have on all of these people. If the regime were truly just, they would allow this so called evidence to see the light of day.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
It works fine (3.50 / 2) (#39)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:16:19 PM EST

"Everybody knew" doesn't cut it. Actual evidence does. That rule is the critical difference between a free society and a totalitarian one. I'm not willing to make that transition because of 19 guys with boxcutters, one moron with plastique in his shoe, and one more person who was accused of thinking about trying to build a type of bomb that no military power on earth has successfully deployed.

[ Parent ]
Crossing the line (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:22:45 PM EST

I'm not willing to make that transition because of 19 guys with boxcutters...

Well, if you're going to say that, you should at least be honest about your "because"; the correct phrase is "I'm not willing to make that transition because 3000 people we killed, and it could perhaps prevent thousands more from being killed."  The boxcutters aren't the important things; the important things are the lives that were lost.  Bringing up the "19 guys with boxcutters" is just a cheap rhetorical trick. ;)

Anyway, your point is still valid: far more people have been killed in totalitarian societies like China or Stalin's USSR than in any forseen terrorist attacks.  (With the exception, perhaps, of a Smallpox epidemic, assuming something went wrong with the vaccine...)

However, I'm not saying that we should dispense entirely with the rules of evidence or civil rights; just that we perhaps need more effective rules and laws so that the system can't be abused to let criminals, quite literally, get away with murder.

Moreover, the important point isn't what I think or what you think, simply that it's an influencial point of view that the criminal justice system isn't effective enough to stop terrorism; simply holding the view that "it works fine" and "we can't touch it because any modifications cross the fine line between a free society and a totalitarian one" isn't going to convince anyone.  

It doesn't work fine.  If you acknowledge that, you can then offer constructive ideas on how to improve it without crossing the line; if you don't acknowledge that it's an imperfect system, then your input will be ignored and the perhaps that line will be crossed...

[Also, perhaps no one's successfully deployed a dirty bomb (mostly because countries tend to concentrate on more useful weapons, a dirty bomb is mostly a terror weapon)... but no one had successfully killed 3000 people by hijacking four planes and knocking down one of the tallest buildings in the world, either...]

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

No tricks (5.00 / 3) (#61)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:13:21 PM EST

You make some good points, and I think we mostly agree. A few responses:

1) "19 guys with boxcutters" is not a rhetorical trick. Highly technical terrorists with real nukes or bioengineered smallpox, that's scary. 19 guys with boxcutters could have been stopped by putting revolvers in the cockpits, as was routine prior to 1970. The only reason they had such success is that we've so thoroughly disarmed ourselves. The idea wasn't even original, it was in a Tom Clancy novel.

2) The problem with dirty bombs is that you either shield it so heavily you can't move it, or you die quickly by being in close proximity to so much radiation, or you don't have enough radiation to do more than very slightly increase people's lifelong cancer risk. Either Iraq or Iran (I forget) tried to build one, and gave up. But my main point here is that the guy didn't actually build one, didn't even have the materials to do so, hadn't done any research beyond browsing the web, hasn't been proven in court to have done even that much, and even if he did try he almost certainly would have failed. It sure sounds scary, though.

Which is pretty much how everything's been since 9/11. A few schmucks get lucky, and we never hear the end of all the horrible things that might happen. They buy a few tickets, board with legal carry-ons, and succeed at first because for years we've been telling passengers not to resist. That doesn't make them nuclear physicists or military geniuses. Out of five attacks total, the last two were defeated by unarmed civilians. Frankly I'm losing faith in the seriousness of the threat.

I'm glad you don't think we should do away with all rules of evidence. I just wish the Bush administration agreed with you.

[ Parent ]

Presumed innocence (3.00 / 3) (#68)
by maozo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:48:10 PM EST

While the principle of presumed innocence is certainly of importance, the situation we find ourselves in is a far more complicated one.

The civilian judicial system has evolved to serve the purpose of convicting criminals, while protecting innocent people from being wrongfully convicted. So important is the idea of protecting the innocent to the desgners of this system, that occasionally a crime may go unpunished, and a criminal set free. Such is the price that we pay, and we pay it willingly.

Keeping in mind that goal - protecting innocent civilians - the very same system finds itself in a dilemma:

  1. The second you find out about a suspected terrorist organization you do whatever it takes to prevent them from ever carrying out their intentions
  2. or wait until they actually do it before acting, in which case you may not have anyone left to punish, and possibly also many innocent lives lost

A situation where foreign or domestic agents are found to be conspiring to commit military acts of mass murder on an innocent civilian population? This is not a clear-cut case of "he didn't do anything yet, so we can't get him".

And if you are willing to blindly apply civilian judicial practices to what is a murderous military threat... well... would you also be willing to live in the building that those "suspected terrorists" are planning to blow up? Cause most of us aren't.

[ Parent ]

Simple solution (3.50 / 4) (#73)
by RandomPeon on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:05:03 PM EST

Conspiracy charges take care of most of this problem.

Here's the deal: the idiots who pass for the FBI et al need to get break out of their law-enforcement mindset. Wars are not about justice and never will be.

Here's the solution to your dilemma:

1. Arrest them on conspiracy charges. Plot is foiled. It is possible that the charges will be thrown out, likely that sentences will be less harsh than if the act was actually committed, and very likely that the death penalty will not be an option.

2. Wait, arrest perpetrators, charge with many counts of heinous murder, convict on capital charges, execute.

The first solution achieves the important goal - protecting people. The second solution sacrifices it in favor some perverse notion of "justice". This is not hypothetical. The FBI's HQ refused to authorize a search warrant for Moussai's laptop on the grounds that the evidence might be tainted in a legal proceeding. These people are so obsessed with obtaining convictions that they will do so at the expense of protecting the American people.

[ Parent ]
Let's not get carried away by rhetoric! (5.00 / 2) (#114)
by phliar on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:34:31 AM EST

Wars are not about justice and never will be.
Yes; and this is not a war and never will be.
Wait, arrest perpetrators, charge with many counts of heinous murder, convict on capital charges, execute ... sacrifices [the important goal - protecting people] in favor some perverse notion of "justice".
"Perverse notion of justice"? I'd say raining bombs on a country and flattening it qualifies as a perverse notion of justice.

Separate, in your mind, the notions of "justice" and "revenge."

It certainly is an important goal that we protect innocent people from terrorists. It is also an important goal that we not kill or hurt people who are not terrorists and have nothing to do with them. Remember, there are innocent people among "them" also; let us not neglect to protect the people who don't look like us.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

I've tried (2.00 / 2) (#136)
by Lacero on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:19:32 AM EST

Separate, in your mind, the notions of "justice" and "revenge."

I really have tried, you couldn't give me a pointer could you? Justice just seems to be revenge with slicked back hair and 2 million in an off shore bank account.

[ Parent ]

Hanging vs. Horses (none / 0) (#137)
by grout on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:26:05 AM EST

"Men are not hanged because they steal horses.
Men are hanged so that horses may not be stolen."

The former would be revenge.
The latter is justice.

On the other hand, justice is an ideal that can be targetted and approached but never systematically achieved. "Law is to justice as medicine is to immortality."
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 0) (#249)
by Lacero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 08:33:21 PM EST

I guess the idea of revenge to me is only justified in that it helps stop the crime happening again. This is why I have trouble telling the difference.

So it's only in cases where stopping people do it again involves helping them that the difference is anything but intent?
And most justice systems work almost purely on punishment, that seems a very ambiguous thing to have as the basis for order in society. Might be best most people want revenge rather than justice really.

Anyway that's off topic, thanks for the reply, and good quote

[ Parent ]

I am (4.66 / 3) (#86)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:13:25 PM EST

I'm an innocent American civilian, and hence one of the targets of these terrorists. And I'm not impressed by them. I'd much rather take my chances with a scattered network of primitive troublemakers, than with an extremely powerful and sophisticated government that thinks it has the right to point a finger at anyone it chooses, call that person a "combatant," and throw him or her down a hole and throw away the key, without anyone challenging them.

[ Parent ]
Thats not how it works (2.50 / 2) (#88)
by maozo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:46:44 PM EST

Terrorism as a tactic works by creating terror among the population. Quite obviously they haven't made much of an impression on you.

On the other hand, they may only just be getting started...

If you don't like the way things are being handled, fine, thats your perogative. But ignoring this particular problem will only allow it to get worse.

Make no mistake: effective terrorism is a weapon directed squarely at the very fabric of a society. And it is a weapon which we have alarmingly few defenses against.

[ Parent ]

Unfortunately (4.66 / 3) (#90)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:13:54 PM EST

Make no mistake: effective terrorism is a weapon directed squarely at the very fabric of a society. And it is a weapon which we have alarmingly few defenses against.

If the court accepts the arguments set forth in this brief and abdicates its authority of review the terrorists will have struck their first major victory.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
There are better ways (4.33 / 3) (#93)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:49:11 PM EST

I'm not saying we should ignore them. Our response in Afghanistan was entirely appropriate. Sending special ops teams to mop up the rest, wherever they are, is appropriate. Getting CIA people on the ground talking to people again would be appropriate - we have one American citizen who managed to get into Al Qaeda, according to the administration, so why not a few more who report back to Langley?

But let's not exaggerate what these people did. Let's not freak out about what they might do, or imagine that they're James Bond supervillains. They're not. They've demonstrated very little technical competence. They had nuke-building instructions that turned out to be a spoof from the internet. Their shoe-bomb guy failed because he forgot to bring a working lighter. One of their airplane-bomb attacks was thwarted by unarmed civilians, and the others probably would have been too if we hadn't trained everyone not to resist.

Ie., we have plenty of effective solutions. For offense we have special forces and the CIA, for defense we have all of us - a decentralized defense for a decentralized threat. Just look at Israel - a suicide bomber the other week was taken out by an armed civilian before he could do any harm. Why can't we do that? Why is it that in Israel, a country with much more experience with this sort of thing, citizens have been asked to carry concealed firearms and keep alert, while in America, we've been asked to keep shopping and grant unlimited power to the executive branch?

[ Parent ]

That's the only way to win (5.00 / 2) (#116)
by phliar on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:43:39 AM EST

Terrorism as a tactic works by creating terror among the population.
And the only way to attack them is to not succumb to that threat; to not be terror-stricken in the first place, and then to not sacrifice your principles, everything your country is based on, just to stamp out some vermin.

Make no mistake: effective terrorism is a weapon directed squarely at the very fabric of a society. And it is a weapon which we have alarmingly few defenses against.
We may have few defenses against them if you restrict yourself to guns, bombs, and other macho chest-thumping and posturing. Deal with them by not losing your own humanity. Examine root causes (if any). Perhaps this means that after we have dealt with this round of murderers we reduce our dependence on oil and stop supporting puppet regimes in far-off lands.

When a mother feels that it is ok for her children to kill themselves in doing us a little harm, we have fucked up really badly somewhere.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

But if (5.00 / 4) (#100)
by inerte on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:47:22 PM EST

The government doesn't have to prove someone is a terrorist, if things can be done in silence, without the other branches of the government knowing it, or the population, how can you be sure?

Do you believe they will always be right? They will always know for sure? Then democracy is over, because we will not need a new election.

--
Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
Plato
[ Parent ]

I'll take The Presumption Of Innocence for $1000 (5.00 / 3) (#112)
by phliar on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:25:14 AM EST

The civilian judicial system has evolved to serve the purpose of convicting criminals, while protecting innocent people from being wrongfully convicted. So important is the idea of protecting the innocent to the desgners of this system, that occasionally a crime may go unpunished, and a criminal set free. Such is the price that we pay, and we pay it willingly.
You bet!

I am much more afraid of judgments that set precedent and the government than I am of some random madman who might kill me and/or my loved ones.

If we wait till they act, thousands of innocent people might die! And if we don't wait till they act, thousands of innocent people might be convicted and executed. A civilized society must accept the former -- much better that we die for our beliefs than that we kill other people out of fear and hatred.

This is not war. The "War On Drugs" is not war. War is declared by Congress against a foreign state.


Faster, faster, until the thrill of...
[ Parent ]

Thugs, Officers, Old Ladies and Bingo Money (4.83 / 12) (#40)
by BackSlash on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:18:44 PM EST

Crime Prevention has little in common with the Pre-emptive military strike. 'Get him before he gets me' doesn't apply.

Crime prevention consists of denying opportunity - not a preventative arrest.

Let's take the classic thug wants to rob the old lady's purse, for example.

1. Old lady is walking in a well-lit, public area. Thug thinks the risk/reward ratio is too great, and decides to find himself some weaker prey. - CRIME PREVENTED

2. Old lady turns down a darker side-street. As thug walks casually down the street he sees Officer Friendly down the block. Again risk/reward too great - CRIME PREVENTED

3. Old Lady turns down the alley to her house and finally Thug thinks he has a shot. Thug bum-rushes old lady only to be staring down the barrel of her .45 - CRIME PREVENTED

Now, suppose that Officer Friendly saw Thug following Old Lady, 'spidey senses' that something is amiss and proceeds to beat down and arrest Thug. Does preventing one crime against Old Lady justify committing a crime on Thug?

Is it justified to lock Thug away and deny him basic rights of citizenship?

What if Thug wasn't going to rob one Old Lady, but was planning on going to Bingo Night and robbing hundreds of Old Ladies at the same time?

Should we also arrest those who look like Thug, come from similar backgrounds, know people in common or visit similar places? There probably is, after all, a vast conspiracy to rob heathen Old Ladies of their dirty, dirty Bingo money..

The wonderful thing about principles is that they should be constant. They apply to things that are very small, as well as things that are very large. A crime isn't a crime, no matter how large or how petty, until it has been committed.

[ Parent ]

Defining what's the crime (4.28 / 7) (#49)
by mech9t8 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:01:58 PM EST

[You didn't mention perhaps the most effective Crime Prevention element: "Thug remembers that he can go to jail for robbing Old Lady, decide to find other line of work"... but that, of course, really doesn't apply to terrorists...]

Crime prevention consists of denying opportunity - not a preventative arrest.

Not necessarily.  You can be arrested for, say, "Conspiracy to commit murder".  And there are preventative laws... guns laws, for example, aren't there to prevent the actual carrying of guns, but the crimes that can be commit with said guns; driving laws are there to prevent accidents; etc.

So if Thug went away to "How To Rob Old Ladies" school in Afghanistan, then came back and started following the "Preparing to Rob Old Ladies" playbook step-by-step, he'd probably be arrested for "Conspiracy to Rob Old Ladies".

And a bunch of Thugs all came back from "How To Rob Old Ladies" school in Afghanistan, and we caught one of them preparing to rob old ladies, we'd probably want to hold him and use whatever information we could get out of him (through humane means, of course) to catch the others.

The problem, perhaps, is that we don't have an adequate system set up with properly balanced preventative laws against terrorism, and a court system that can deal with such cases when they have sensitive evidence and whatnot.  So that the system can determine which suspects actually went to Robbing Old Ladies School and are preparing the Rob Old Ladies, and which ones just look like Thugs.

(And if that still doesn't sound serious enough to warrant pre-emptive action, perhaps change "Robbing" to "Killing"...)

Crime Prevention has little in common with the Pre-emptive military strike. 'Get him before he gets me' doesn't apply.

Of course, when dealing with military-type organizations with military-level threats against the population, perhaps the stakes are great enough that more of a military 'Get him before he gets me' mindset is needed...

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

"most effective"? (3.00 / 5) (#75)
by krkrbt on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:13:21 PM EST

[You didn't mention perhaps the most effective Crime Prevention element: "Thug remembers that he can go to jail for robbing Old Lady, decide to find other line of work"... but that, of course, really doesn't apply to terrorists...]

Yeah, it's too bad we don't have jail terms for other "bad" things, like selling drugs, murder, white-collar-crime, burglery, grand theft auto, bribery, extortion, kidnapping, or harming the environment. It'd be nice if our politicians could get off there asses, pass some laws with jail terms, and nip these societal problems in the bud. Because only terrorists have no respect for "the law". [damn, I guess that means I'm a terrorist, because I respect "common law", and none of the drivel that comes out of the capitol buildings.]

[ Parent ]
Er, yes (none / 0) (#202)
by mech9t8 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:57:47 PM EST

Note that I didn't say 100% effective.

The most important consideration for most criminals is not "can I actually perform the act", but "will I get caught afterwards."  Performing most criminals acts is generally easier than getting away with them - more often than not, there isn't a cop around to stop you during the act itself.

Whereas terrorists (and other classes of criminals, like, say, psychopaths) probably don't really consider the risk/reward ratio.  If you're willing to blow yourself up, you're perhaps less likely to be intimidated by a fine or jail sentence after you succeed.

[I thought that would be fairly self explanatory, but evidentally not for some people...]

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Attempted Conspiracy and the Grand Jury (none / 0) (#246)
by BackSlash on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 02:43:44 PM EST

Crime prevention consists of denying opportunity - not a preventative arrest.

Not necessarily. You can be arrested for, say, "Conspiracy to commit murder". And there are preventative laws... guns laws, for example, aren't there to prevent the actual carrying of guns, but the crimes that can be commit with said guns; driving laws are there to prevent accidents; etc.

There's murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder. How about "attempted conspiracy to commit murder"? Most conspiracy cases occur after a crime has been attempted or successfully committed. Conspiracy charges are necessarily difficult to prove.

'Loose Talk' != Conspiracy

The problem, perhaps, is that we don't have an adequate system set up with properly balanced preventative laws against terrorism, and a court system that can deal with such cases when they have sensitive evidence and whatnot.

We do have an adequate system that can deal with sensitive evidence. It is called a Grand Jury. Grand Juries are always held secretly, and are never revealed to the public. The defendant appears without representation, but is present to hear the evidence against him. The prosecution presents evidence, optionally may present witnesses all to the 'preponderance of evidence' burdon.

With an indictment, the accused can be held almost indefinately - at least until the end of the conflict. The government of, by and for the people must not think it can trust 12 American citizens to secrecy for each 'enemy combatant' case they want to present. Either that or they are planning to throw many, many people into the 'enemy combatant' category.

bs

[ Parent ]

Everyone misunderstands their opposition (3.94 / 19) (#35)
by godix on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:03:33 PM EST

The big problem here is two opposing ways of looking at this situation are conflicting.

Bush and his advisors view is that these people are prisoners of war and subject to military laws. Military laws are quite different from civil laws and mostly allow the government to do the things it is. There is some irony here since in some cases they claim these aren't POWs and shouldn't be treated under POW rules.

The alternate way to look at it is that we aren't in a declared war. We aren't even in an undelcared war like Vietnam was. Because of this people who are arrested on american soil should be treated in civil courts instead of military law. Anything else is an abuse of our rights.

That's the whole conflict right there. Most people don't understand that's the conflict which leads to people on one side thinking this is a power grab and people on the other thinking their opposition is pro-terrorist. I think Bush is sincerely worried about another attack on America and doing all he can to prevent/prepare for it. I also think people speaking against his policies think we're going to far in violating rights in the cause of safety. Neither side seems to understand the arguements, or even intent, of the other.

Oddly enough I think Bush has hit closest to how things should be done. This isn't a conventianal war so not all the rules of conventianal war should be applied. This is a major threat to America though so it requires something less lenient than civil law. There needs to be a whole new set of rules made for terrorist which addresses the fact that at times the government needs to detain people suspected of terrorism for the common good but still put checks on it to keep the government from abusing their abilities. In essence I think the best thing would be for America to have 3 legal systems; civil, military, and unconventional law (I prefer we don't get stuck with the emotional and limiting terrorist name). Unfortunatly this would require congressional action to define an entirely new system of rules and that's unlikely to happen since they're too busy grandstanding and making political points at the expense of the CIA and FBI.

grandstanding (4.90 / 10) (#38)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:15:38 PM EST

Because of this people who are arrested on american soil should be treated in civil courts instead of military law

Not just because of that; the Constitution guarantees all citizens a right to a trial by a jury of their peers, and the right to a habeous corpus petition if they are held. The trick is to design a parallel legal system which meets those constitutional requirements and is deferential to the military nature of the situation. The administration's current arguments fail to do that.

but still put checks on it to keep the government from abusing their abilities

This is the crux of the issue. Bush, etc, are proposing legal theories which fail to do this. Hopefully the courts will tell them no.

I think Bush is sincerely worried about another attack on America and doing all he can to prevent/prepare for it.

So do I. The problem I'm having is that his proposed solutions entail creating an administrative power which can easily be abused in the future. Even if I trust him absolutely (which I don't, but I trust him within reason), that is something to be worried about.

this would require congressional action to define an entirely new system of rules and that's unlikely to happen since they're too busy grandstanding and making political points at the expense of the CIA and FBI.

It's not just grandstanding, and it has to happen: the FBI dropped the ball big time. The questions are why, and how can we ensure that they don't the next time --- and the Congressional investigation is part of the process by which the questions are answered.

[ Parent ]

Elaboration (4.71 / 7) (#55)
by godix on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:26:27 PM EST

Ok, my pervious post was stating the situation as I saw it and what I think the ideal solution is. Here's my take on what's actually going on instead of the ideal solution. Mostly I'm in agreement with you here.

I do not like what Bush is trying to do and hope he gets his hand slapped. I have no problem with detaining suspected terrorist, my complaint is the attempt to deny them legal representation and access to the courts.

Prisoners captures in Afganastan are prisoners of war. As such they are suject to military laws and not the civil courts. This includes any American citizen that is caught on foreign soil and planning to fight against American troops. This isn't relevent to this particular story, but it is relevent to the topic in whole since we still have the case of Lindh to deal with.

In regards to my third court option, the biggest differences would be lowering the burden of proof and eliminating potential security. I imagine a court where all present, including lawyers and judge, would have security clearence. This is because most evidence that would be coming from CIA, FBI, or other groups that we don't want their info becoming public knowledge. Since a trial by 12 people with security clearence could hardly be called 'by your peers' I suspect jury trials would not be done. At the court the government would not have to provide as much proof as a civil conviction would require, but would have to show that there's enoguh probable cause to hold the person for a short while. After a set period of time (the length of which can be debated) then the government would either have to try the suspect and meet the same proof as a civil conviction would require or let the suspect go (this would still be done under the security conditions however). There, that's my basic idea on how to create a third court to treat suspected terrorist in while still providing checks on government power. I freely grant this would violate some constitutional freedoms, but the military court already does that with American citizens so there is precident to base arguements on.

There needs to be an investigation into the FBI and CIA, that's true. I just wonder if a congressional panel that has politicians running around telling the press 'See, the FBI didn't do this' or 'Bush knew beforehand and didn't do anything' can be described as an investigation or grandstanding. The best way to go is a secret investigation like they're doing now, not a public one like they're planning on doing or leaking to the newspapers like earlier.


[ Parent ]

Re: New Courts (5.00 / 2) (#72)
by wierdo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:03:38 PM EST

First, let me say that I think that your plan has much merit, and I agree with most of what you say in your post. However, I do find some problems with your "plan."

Since a trial by 12 people with security clearence could hardly be called 'by your peers' I suspect jury trials would not be done.

This statement in particular I take exception to. Abiding by the Constitution requires that we allow those who choose to have it a trial by jury. I see no reason to change this. If the lawyers and judge had a security clearance (although I disagree on principle with restricting who an accused person may choose as a lawyer), any questions as to the source and admissibility of any particular evidence could be conducted in a closed courtroom, in an effort to keep our sources of intelligence confidential. However, any evidence to be used against a defendant should, by nature, become public, so that we can ensure that these people are getting a fair trial. Chances are, if the evidence itself cannot be disclosed to the public, the source is unreliable at best.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Secrets (5.00 / 2) (#106)
by godix on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:03:39 AM EST

Let me make sure I understand what you mean here. You're basically saying that the methods and sources of our information should be kept secret, but the information itself should be made public? If so, I have no real problem with that in the majority of cases that would probably come up. There should be a way that reliable evidence that would give away our methods should be hidden though. Bin Ladens phone would be an example. In the closed courtroom it could be decided that information gathered from his phone calls would tip him off that his phone is tapped so that information could be used but kept secret. Other than allowing that possability I do like your modification, as many FOI requests show quite often secrecy is used to hide embaressing things instead of state secrects.

As for the jury or defense lawyer have security clearence, I'm not really that concerned about it. My main goal in proposing that was to keep our intelligence methods secret, I'm sure that could be done with a jury and without limiting a choice of defense, it'd just require one hell of a penalty for breaking secrecy and a constant reminder within the process of what can and can not be discussed publically.

[ Parent ]

More Secrets (Also: Conspiracy Theories) (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by wierdo on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:09:30 AM EST

I'm sure that could be done with a jury and without limiting a choice of defense, it'd just require one hell of a penalty for breaking secrecy and a constant reminder within the process of what can and can not be discussed publically.

The only problem that I see with this is that to really get the best defense, one must choose a lawyer with a clearance. Otherwise, the defendant will have no opportunity to confront the credibility of the evidence. My belief is that the reason the government is choosing not to prosecute these people is that most of the evidence would likely be ruled inadmissible as hearsay in a civilian court. If this is true, a defense attorney without a clearance would not be able to determine that this is truly the case, as he would not have full access to the facts of the case.

That said, I think that what we have come up with here is a far cry from the..injustice, for current lack of a better word, of the current situation. I'm sure that some compromise is possible that would make all sides happy, but it just doesn't seem that the Administration is even remotely concerned with finding it. All I see are indications that they would like to hold these guys forever without trial, if at all possible. I'm sure that many Americans would like to see that, regardless of the implications for their own civil liberties, if not by this Administration, but by one down the line, using the current situation as precedent.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Precident (none / 0) (#193)
by godix on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:33:09 PM EST

"That said, I think that what we have come up with here is a far cry from the..injustice, for current lack of a better word, of the current situation."

Yes, I think this would work if the government decided to give it a try. I'm considering fleshing out the idea a bit and sending it to my congessman, but considering how little response I've ever gotten from him I doubt it'd do any good. To be fair I often have ideas different than mainstream so I understand an elected official ignoring them.

"I'm sure that many Americans would like to see that, regardless of the implications for their own civil liberties, if not by this Administration, but by one down the line, using the current situation as precedent."

This country regularly cycles from libel to conservative. Whenever it's on it's conservative kick we kill the bad liberal ideas that came before and trample some rights. We usually get those rights, and more bad ideas, back from the liberal kick. A quick look at history will show what I mean. US went from anti-communism to hippies to yuppies to Clinton and now we're back on the conservative side of things. I'm not worried about the precident this will create 50 years down the road so much as I'm worried about the enviroment this will create for the next 10 or so years till the liberal side comes back and sweeps these things away.

Incidently, and totally unrelated to the subject, this is why I hate Clinton. In past liberal swings we got major things out of it; black rights, women rights, stopping a war, etc. With Clinton just we got nothing because he used the liberal swing to keep his ass out of trouble instead of pushing any agenda. Democrats shouldn't be worshipping Clinton, they should be crucifying him.

[ Parent ]

The Constitution (5.00 / 5) (#96)
by buysse on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:22:57 PM EST

the Constitution guarantees all citizens a right to a trial by a jury of their peers, and the right to a habeous corpus petition if they are held.

The Constitution of the United States does not say that rights are limited to citizens, it says the people. and no person


Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


My reading of this section is that the only part that is affected by "time of war or public danger" is the indictment by grand jury.




WAR IS PEACE | FREEDOM IS SLAVERY | IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
[ Parent ]
Citizens (none / 0) (#159)
by pb on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:28:28 AM EST

Citizens would of course be "We, the People of the United States", henceforth referred to as "the People".  At least, that's my interpretation.  :)
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
past & future terrorism knowledge (3.33 / 6) (#69)
by krkrbt on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:49:48 PM EST

I think Bush is sincerely worried about another attack on America and doing all he can to prevent/prepare for it.

... because he may or may not know in advance about the next one.

Seriously - "These attacks were a complete surprise", then "well, we kinda knew something was going down, but didn't have any specifics", and now, "we intercepted al-queada messages on Sept. 10th, but didn't have them translated until Sept. 12th."

take a look at this picture. Imagine the chief of staff saying, "everything is going according to plan", and then imagine mr. bush thinking, "yes, very good, very good. Maybe I should go act presidential, but this goat story is just so damn interesting... Yeah, let's see what happens to the pet goat." http://www.davidicke.com/icke/articles3/bushlies.html

[ Parent ]
POWs and justification (5.00 / 6) (#92)
by ttfkam on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:36:01 PM EST

The argument used for their lack of provisions usually afforded POWs by the Geneva Convention is that, in war, combatants are required to do certain things to qualify.  Such qualifications include an identifiable uniform denoting their affiliation and their status as a combatant (and distiguishing them from civilians) and other basic rules of warfare.

In this case, the concern arises from (aside from one USian of which I am aware) foreign nationals blending into the general populace (automatically violating and surrendering their claims to be POWs by the GC) for the purpose of concealing their intent to do great harm.  By this standard, they are a foreign, hostile power and not playing by internationally agreed upon rules.  Aren't there already provisions for spies and saboteurs during times of "war"?  If memory serves, they are not provided the allowances given to regular soldiers with regard to POW status.

That said, I do not trust the current administration to do the right thing.  I think it's quite probable that they will do what they think is right and justified, and that may happen to coincide with my views as well.  I expect them to do the job for which the were elected.  I do not, however, trust them, any previous administration or other governing body.  I whole-heartedly agree that there need to be limits.

The natural tendency of any government is the oppression of its populace.  This was a primary raison d'etre for the U.S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights.  The founders of the U.S. explicitly put in safeguards such as the notion of checks and balances to help offset this.  Government was never (I repeat: never!) trusted to do the right thing.  If anything, government was trusted to do the wrong thing whenever given the chance and provisions were made to block this tendency.

You put faith in a dictator because you have no alternative.  You trust a totalitarian regime because you have no say.  You never -- ever -- trust or have faith in a U.S. president or anyone else in a position of power in the government.  At most, you expect them to do their job and have them watched like a hawk that they indeed do so.

Executive decisions to remove individuals from a general populace without notice or oversight is a terrible precedent.  Does it have a justification?  Sure, but when you take away checks and balances, and when you take away public oversight, abuses will (not may) occur.

Does anyone know off the top of their head if these new powers have a sundown clause?  I fear that they don't.  At least with a sundown clause, the power will need to explicitly renewed as opposed to explicitly repealed.  Inertia can be a terrible thing, and unless there is overwhelming reason not to have laws do so, laws remain -- including the bad ones.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
[ Parent ]

Spies and Saboteurs (none / 0) (#172)
by Merk00 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:10:20 AM EST

The penalty for spies and saboteurs during times of war (ie those enemy combatants not wearing a uniform in a combat area) is death. By the rules of war, it is perfectly acceptable to execute them immediately. Normally, there are at least minimal military tribunals to determine guilt or innocence.

------
"At FIRST we see a world where science and technology are celebrated, where kids think science is cool and dream of becoming science and technology heroes."
- FIRST Mission
[ Parent ]

From the mouths of children... (3.12 / 8) (#41)
by BackSlash on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:23:13 PM EST

Go watch the "Wacky Molestation Adventure" episode of South Park to see what happens when evidence isn't required to throw people in jail.

bs

Bush will be remembered... (3.00 / 6) (#43)
by tps12 on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:30:34 PM EST

...as either a great man or a tyrant. I suspect the former. He is a Lincoln, not a Buchanan, and he'll be on our currency in half a century if he doesn't tear this country apart.

It's a scary time to be an American.

interesting times. (5.00 / 7) (#45)
by aphrael on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:34:14 PM EST

It's a scary time to be an American.

I don't think our non-US readers really comprehend how true that statement is. On the one hand, we have a strange nebulous and apparently very effective underground agency trying to fuck things up; on the other hand, our government is toying with (in effect) major constitutional changes in order to deal with it. If you think about what's going on at all, it's more unsettling than anything since (probably) Watergate; if you're young enough, it's more unsettling than anything you've ever experienced.

May you live in interesting times is a curse, after all.

[ Parent ]

Nah, I dont think so. (3.00 / 5) (#47)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:47:59 PM EST

Its a time of untested waters, as situations like todays have never been around. However, there have been many times in the past when there were situations that weren't ever around before.

And we're still here. And in general, better off than ever.

[ Parent ]

Re: Scary time to be an American (4.50 / 2) (#66)
by wierdo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:32:21 PM EST

I think it is, because the US is teetering on the brink of becoming what its founders were desperately trying to escape. I think that we can all agree that these are interesting times, whatever our opinions on the Government's recent actions.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Scary time for non-Americans, too (4.33 / 3) (#132)
by LQ on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:23:09 AM EST

From the outside, the USA gets scarier - arbitrary powers, a distain for foreign opinion and huge military powers. Throw in a changing attitude to the use of nuclear weapons and they're very scary.

Meanwhile, their subsidised agriculture is floodin g third world markets opened up by the WTO and driving small farmers out of business. It's becoming a more dangerous world by the day.

[ Parent ]

Untested Waters, You Say? (3.33 / 3) (#76)
by icastel on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:15:31 PM EST

I think these waters have been more than tested in the past. Not exactly the same cause, but tested nontheless (e.g. Holly Inquisition, Third Reich, etc.)






-- I like my land flat --
[ Parent ]
oh those holly bushes... (3.00 / 2) (#79)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:26:17 PM EST

i was referring to legal and legislative judgements. Neither the holy (or holly) inquisition nor the third reich had anything to do with american constitutional history now did it?

[ Parent ]
You Don't Suspect the Spanish Inquisition!?! (none / 0) (#91)
by Jah-Wren Ryel on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 09:24:52 PM EST

Python jokes aside - you can bet that the actions of the inquisition had a direct effect on the moulding of our Constitution.  Our Constitution was the product of Enlightenment thinking and one of the biggest names in Enlightenment philosophy was Voltaire.  Among other things, Voltaire wrote a little book called Candide in which he brutally satrized the Inquisition and because of that - the church brutally censored Candide.

Not to say that Candide is the only connection between the Inqusition and the US Constitution, but rather that the existence of the book and its commentary on the state of things were all part of the intellectual gestalt that produced the Constitution.

[ Parent ]

yes indeed. (none / 0) (#98)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:26:56 PM EST

however I dont believe the above poster was making such a connection. I think he was just throwing up some kind of disingenous strawman.

[ Parent ]
No (3.00 / 1) (#146)
by EvilNoodle on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:58:47 AM EST

Most non-US people I know consider Bush to be a complete idiot, and very dangerous because of that.

[ Parent ]
... or just as a marionette controlled by the RNC. (4.70 / 10) (#50)
by kwertii on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 04:02:34 PM EST

Bush is purely a mouthpiece for the Republican National Committee. Dick Cheney and the high level Republicans in Congress are usign Bush's populist aw-shucks charm to push through initiatives that would never, ever work if they tried to implement them themselves. Were it not for Daddy's last name, I really doubt any of us would have even heard of him.

All major foreign policy issues are handled by his staff. Powell is working on Israel/Palestine; Rumsfeld handled India/Pakistan. Bush himself barely made a few sentences' worth of carefully orchestrated and rehearsed public comments on these issues. Ever notice how anytime he meets with a foreign head of state, they send Colin Powell or Donald Rumsfeld a week or two beforehand to smooth things over? (cf. his/their recent meetings with the heads of China, Russia, Israel, Japan, etc.) "Just shake his hand and smile for the cameras. Feed him a nice dinner, then come see us, and we'll take care of it."




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Shame... (none / 0) (#192)
by Tetsubeav on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:24:53 PM EST

All major foreign policy issues are handled by his staff. Powell is working on Israel/Palestine; Rumsfeld handled India/Pakistan.

Yes... how dare he:

  1. Choose qualifed people to be on his staff to delegate these responisiblities to
  2. Choose qualified people to help him in an area where he obviously felt he needed help
It's a shame that the president isn't everywhere at once with an in-depth knowledge of everything that occurs in the world.  What do we pay this guy for anyway?

</sarcasm>

[ Parent ]

-1 because .. (3.11 / 9) (#48)
by gbroiles on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 03:50:47 PM EST

there's not much here beyond simple name-calling, and because playing hide-the-ball with the "Enabling Act" and making people follow your link to figure out that this is just another Nazi analogy is annoying.

I don't disagree with your conclusion - and admit that I've made similar comparisons myself in informal conversations with friends - but "John Ashcroft is a fucking Nazi" isn't material that really needs or benefits from wide discussion. Either you think he is, or you don't.

I'd be happy to vote +1 FP for a story that collected the various bits of factual evidence that tend to show that the Bush administration is taking a dangerous position with respect to civil liberties; and I think such a story would be more effective rhetorically if it allowed its readers to reach the nazi/fascist conclusion themselves (or not) - but when you jump straight to the conclusion like this, it's not a particularly interesting or helpful article.

This is the kind of thing that makes me wet myself (4.75 / 20) (#59)
by HypoLuxa on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:05:20 PM EST

I'm a worst case scenario kind of guy, so this is what my understanding of the situation is if this measure is put into place:
  1. the government asserts you are a terrorist
  2. you are subject to any and all penalties up to and including death without the benefit of counsel, trial by peers, or any legal protection
This scares the piss out of me. This measure specifically prevents the judiciary from having any involvement in this, including the ability to question whether or not you can be declared an "enemy combatant." After you are declared an enemy combatant, you can be interrogated, tried, and convicted without any legal representation. If some established rules get in the way of this, they can be changed at the sole discretion of the executive, in secret, without review by any one.

There is some merit to the argument that in general, we are not facing a fascist threat, but we are facing people trying to do an extremely difficult job and trying to acquire the tools to do it. I don't doubt anyones motive. However, the US government was set up with a balance of powers in order to prevent exactly this kind of thing. It is unacceptable to place the power to accuse, try, and execute punishment in secret, while denying you any legal counsel and arbitrarily setting the rules, in the hands of the executive branch.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

I'm with you (4.80 / 5) (#128)
by ishark on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:37:43 AM EST

This scares the piss out of me. This measure specifically prevents the judiciary from having any involvement in this, including the ability to question whether or not you can be declared an "enemy combatant." After you are declared an enemy combatant, you can be interrogated, tried, and convicted without any legal representation. If some established rules get in the way of this, they can be changed at the sole discretion of the executive, in secret, without review by any one.

I regret not having visited the US earlier, because clearly I won't be setting my feet on their territory until this "thing" stands. I'm not a terrorist, I don't plan to become one, but just like one killer is enough to ruin your life, so is one "judicial error" (especially with a law which prevents any possibility of correcting it).

[ Parent ]

I'm with you, too (4.00 / 1) (#233)
by Amorsen on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 01:27:18 AM EST

I regret not having visited the US earlier, because clearly I won't be setting my feet on their territory until this "thing" stands.
I certainly agree. I had the chance to visit the US last summer. If I had known that it would be my last trip there, I would have made sure to see more of it. Perhaps one day it will be reasonably safe to visit again.

[ Parent ]
Not bad... (1.44 / 18) (#60)
by Alias on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 05:12:04 PM EST

Godwin's Law hit at the second paragraph of the story...

I say, that must be some kind of performance!

Stéphane "Alias" Gallay -- Damn! My .sig is too lon

Re: Godwin's Law (5.00 / 5) (#65)
by wierdo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:27:59 PM EST

Godwin's Law hit at the second paragraph of the story...

You misunderstand Godwin's Law.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
Godwin's Law (4.00 / 1) (#169)
by Zara2 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:03:59 AM EST

You know, I thought the same thing when I read this at first. However, I think for once that this is a proper use of a referance to Nazi Germany. Not only is the constitution being suspended so the Gov't can detain people. It is being suspended onthe account of a "hated" group. I really see no reason why the Nazi allegory can't stand on its own here. This is very reminicent of the early efforts of the Nazi party when they first came into power.

[ Parent ]
Does this mean... (4.09 / 11) (#67)
by kisielk on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 06:41:34 PM EST

George W. Bush's title will soon change from President to Fuher? or Il Duce? This seems just a tab bit extreme to me and I wonder what kind of effects this will have on the policies of other nations, especially since Canada and the UK seem to be playing lackey to the US.


--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


Personally... (4.00 / 3) (#81)
by dennis on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:42:17 PM EST

...I've been calling him King George for a while now...

[ Parent ]
Funny thing is ... (4.66 / 3) (#145)
by Ranieri on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:36:11 AM EST

People across the pond say "President Blair" with the same tone of indignation in their voices.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]
If only... (none / 0) (#153)
by dennis on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:42:57 AM EST

Now that's cute. I mean no offense against the current British royalty, who seem rather harmless. "King George" has a bit of historical resonance for us - I just wish Dubya was a III instead of a Jr...

[ Parent ]
Back when (5.00 / 2) (#149)
by Rogerborg on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:06:18 AM EST

    George W. Bush's title will soon change from President to Fuher?

His Majesty King George the First. And I'll tell you why.

Back in the Early Olden Days in Merrie Englandland, about the year 1002, the issue of succession was decided both by right and by might. Succession didn't always pass to the monarch's eldest son; anyone with a suitable heritage and background could stand up and stake a claim to the throne. Any contention was (nominally) settled by the witan, a council of the "wise": archbishops, bishops, abbots, eoldermen and some king's thegns. Note that this was a council of political appointees deciding on the next political appointment (with an eye to their own future, of course).

Now, does this sound familiar? 2000? Presidential election? Supreme Court? We tend to elevate the importance of judges, but we have to remember that supreme court judges are political appointees. We even know which parties they support, and (lest we forget) they picked a president in 2000 based on party lines.

And they picked Bush junior, the son of a previous monarch - sorry, president. A man (well, an overgrown boy) groomed for the role, a man who's life has been mapped out for him since birth. The heir to the throne stepped up, and the witan put the crown on his head.

The reason why I use the example of the anglo-saxon witan is that it was pre Magna Carta, the declaration that defined and limited the powers of the monarch. And here we are again, a thousand years later, ripping it up and saying "Oh, but the President knows best. The President is God's annointed. The President isn't, well, he isn't a normal man."

If we want to return to those happy days of yore, then hell, let's do it, but let's be clear that we're doing it. Let's tear up that pesky old constitution, let's agree that the crown maketh the king, and let's shout that having a benign dictator is better than being paralysed with beaurocracy and due process. Let's even assert that George W Bush is basically a good and decent man, and he probably won't abuse the powers that he takes to himself.

But what we must not ever do is consider whether the next king will be as benign. No, let us consider that King George the First will reign happily ever after, and that the powers that he seizes for the crown will only be used by him in strictly limited situations where there is a clear and present danger to us, his loyal subjects. Let us not ponder on whether a future monarch might use these powers to sustain his own reign, for that would only demonstrate how small minded and churlish we are.

So, long live the King, says I, and for two reaons. One, because I believe that there could be worse kings who will abuse this absolute power. And two, because I believe that shouting "Long live the king" might just be a pretty smart move just at the moment.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

look on the bright side: (none / 0) (#156)
by ethereal on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:01:06 AM EST

Given modern medicine, there's at least a little better chance that a modern monarch wouldn't tend to be quite as syphilitic, and possibly would be less mad as well.

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

True to my word (4.81 / 16) (#71)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:01:17 PM EST

I have, here on K5 and elsewhere, hesitantly defended the Bush administration's policies with respect to the detainment of "enemy combatants," but the position expressed in this brief strains to the breaking point my trust and goodwill. The assertion that a U.S. citizen captured on a foreign battlefield is subject first and foremost to the rules of war is, to my mind, a wholly defensible position. To assert that a citizen captured on U.S. soil in the service of a hostile foreign entity is subject to those same rules of war is cause for serious concern, but, in times of grave threat, this seems to me a necessary restraint upon liberty.

The position this brief takes with respect to judicial review is beyond the pale and it is indefensible irrespective of any immediate or anticipated threat, as the proposed defensive measures pose a greater threat to fundamental liberties than does any enemy.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


some of this decided already. (3.66 / 3) (#97)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:25:06 PM EST

To assert that a citizen captured on U.S. soil in the service of a hostile foreign entity is subject to those same rules of war is cause for serious concern, but, in times of grave threat, this seems to me a necessary restraint upon liberty.

Actually this was already decided back during WWII. You are probably familiar with the german saboteurs who were captured and put under military tribunal. One of them was actually a US citizen. The supreme court ruled that he did not have the same rights as he was acting under the authority of an enemy force. This is almost virtually a non-issue from a legal standpoint now. Of course I may eat those words later...

The thing is, the DoJ is NOT entirely incorrect. Past history has shown the court deferring to the legislature or exective branch almost always when it comes to military matters. It would be a historic and precedent setting matter to change from that.

Personally I don't think the current supreme court has the balls to do that.

[ Parent ]

Bush is declaring himself a dictator (4.61 / 13) (#107)
by FlipFlop on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:06:47 AM EST

One of them was actually a US citizen. The supreme court ruled that he did not have the same rights as he was acting under the authority of an enemy force.

Actually, his citizenship was in dispute. The court never resolved the dispute. However, the allegation that he was taking orders from the German High Command was not disputed. The court took note that congress had officially declared war on Germany. For those reasons, his citizenship was irrelevant. This seems to be a pretty clear distinction between enemy combatants, and ordinary crime.

It's important to note that the defendants were able to at least ask for a civilian trial. Even though the court ruled against them, they still got a hearing before a military tribunal. Mr. Bush would like to be able to accuse people of wrong-doing and lock them up forever without any due process whatsoever. This goes far beyond the Supreme Court's ruling in Ex Parte Quirin.

If the court accepts the DoJ's brief, the president gets to decide what laws will be enforced. He can even enforce infractions that don't violate any law. This basically circumvents the legislative branch. Furthermore, he doesn't have to justify his actions before a court. This circumvents the judicial branch. Bush is basically declaring himself a dictator.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Presumption of guilt (5.00 / 7) (#120)
by swr on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:00:30 AM EST

[...] a citizen captured on U.S. soil in the service of a hostile foreign entity [...]

But as far as I know it has not been proven, legally, that he was "in the service of a hostile foreign entity". We have only the government's say-so that that is the case.

If people can imprisoned indefinately based solely on the government's say-so then the entire judicial system is effectively optional.



[ Parent ]
Minority Report (4.23 / 13) (#74)
by panck on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:06:19 PM EST

Spielberger's new movie is so apropos it's scary.

So in Minority Report, they arrest you before you commit a crime.

and In USA 2002, they can accuse, try, and sentence you with no evidence, jury, etc.

Seig Heil, Mr President!

Care Should be Exercised (3.40 / 5) (#78)
by icastel on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:23:28 PM EST

I neither agree nor disagree, but the opposite. I think we should all be careful about what is posted. You never know who might be watching.




-- I like my land flat --
Is this what our society has come to? (4.60 / 5) (#80)
by kisielk on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:40:15 PM EST

I sure hope that you are being sarcastic because otherwise it would be a really sad state of afairs that people of a "free" nation have cause to be concerned about what they say, on the internet no less! I know that lately people have been taking a lot of flak for suggesting anything terrorism related as being positive, but has it really come so far that people are fearful of speaking out against the government's questionable policy decisions?


--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


[ Parent ]
Re: Is this what our society has come to? (none / 0) (#194)
by nsandver on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:56:16 PM EST

It *is* a sad state of affairs, and perhaps I'm more paranoid than most, but I admit to being fearful of openly criticizing the President or his administration these days. There are many issues on which I've thought of writing my Congresspersons, but I don't want to wind up on anybody's "list".

What's even sadder is I find myself worrying about what books I read in public. Lately, I've been reading a book about a German courier during WWII, and I've noticed that if I'm carrying it outside my backpack, I'm usually doing so in a way that obscures its cover and spine.

The actions of our government since the attacks have instilled far more fear in me than either the attacks, or the vague threats since, ever did.

[ Parent ]

I know that this has probably been said before... (4.00 / 1) (#236)
by kisielk on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 06:01:33 AM EST

but this is how the terrorists win. I doubt that when they caused that infamous disaster they were thinking of only the immediate consequences; They KNEW that our government would react this way. They are taking away our freedoms not directly but instead by influencing the policy makers we "elected" in to office.

--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


[ Parent ]
Why not just declare martial law? (4.62 / 8) (#82)
by khym on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:43:27 PM EST

If things are so bad that, to preserve the safty of the U.S., they need to be able to detain people indefinitely without any evidence, then things are so bad that martial law should be declared. If martial law was declare, then Bush wouldn't need to go through all those things like the PATRIOT act.

--
Give a man a match, and he'll be warm for a minute, but set him on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
Because... (5.00 / 7) (#110)
by bodrius on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:15:35 AM EST

It's easier, and has a better chance of being permanent, to sneak in legislation than martial law.

Martial law is sufficiently dramatic and public that the citizenship of most democratic countries would not go for it. Imposing it would generate considerable discontent.

Legislation, however, is such a non-issue to the typical citizen of the same countries that, as long as it doesn't threaten a special interest group, it's apparently not too difficult to get the same privileges and suspensions of guarantees of a state of martial law without anyone noticing.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Cynical-but-true answer (4.87 / 8) (#111)
by DarkZero on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:19:21 AM EST

Martial law has appeared in many mainstream movies and it has always been portrayed as an evil, fascist thing. So have racial profiling and "interning" certain minority groups. Thus, if a US government official would like to have all of the advantages of martial law, racial profiling, and the internment of minority groups, then the most logical answer is to simply change the name of the action or avoid labelling it altogether.

Sure, it'll piss of the educated members of the society, the academics, and the members of whatever party/group isn't currently in power (in this case, left wing liberals or Democrats), but an angry citizenry doesn't mean jack shit until the common, uneducated peasants of the nation are rioting in the streets.

[ Parent ]

Re: Bush & USA PATRIOT (4.20 / 5) (#118)
by wierdo on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:28:08 AM EST

If martial law was declare, then Bush wouldn't need to go through all those things like the PATRIOT act.

I may despise the man's actions, in addition to his underling's actions, but the Congress dropped the turd known as USA PATRIOT, not Bush. He's just taken advantage of it to the fullest extent.

-Nathan



[ Parent ]
True... (4.50 / 2) (#151)
by dennis on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:30:19 AM EST

...but the administration introduced and lobbied for it, and most of our Congressman, shamefully, voted for it without having had the opportunity to read it.

[ Parent ]
martial law is less severe (5.00 / 6) (#150)
by martingale on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:11:28 AM EST

As far as I understand it, the US judicial system supercedes military rule during martial law, provided an open court exists within the area. So even under US martial law, summary executions and other violations could not take place so long as a judge is available for a trial. That's why the poor schmucks in Cuba are treated without regard to POW conventions. There's no US court in Cuba which could overrule the military. The US military do *not* want to keep them on the mainland, since then a court could overrule them.

[ Parent ]
Patriot, Nationalist, Nazi (3.62 / 8) (#84)
by aralin on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 07:53:06 PM EST

The difference in the three words in subject is not in the meaning, but in the emotional conotation. The first having positive, second neutral, and third obviously negative. But lets face it, they all have roughly the same meaning.

We could rename the 'PATRIOT ACT' to 'NAZI ACT' without changing the meaning of the title and it would actually make it more obvious as what it does.

First they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew, so I did not raise my voice... .

"Patriot" is positive? (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by Lord Snott on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:45:46 AM EST

"The soul and substance of what customarily ranks as patriotism is moral cowardice - and always has been." - Mark Twain

"The only meaningful difference between soldiers and terrorists is soldiers kill more people." - Voltaire
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This sig in violation of U.S. trademark
registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

jingoism by another name (4.50 / 2) (#121)
by danny on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:09:46 AM EST

I don't see much difference between patriotism and jingoism, frankly. I see no reason why I should care more about people who happen to be "Australian" (citizenship? residency? state of mind?) than people in the United States or Pakistan or India.

Of course I know more people in Australia than anywhere else, and naturally I care more about people I know than those I don't, but that's a different thing entirely.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

Patriotism = Jingoism?? No... (none / 0) (#181)
by torokun on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:23:04 AM EST

Jingoism is excessive patriotim. There is a difference. Patriotism means having some feeling of duty to your fellow countrymen. A feeling that you and the others in your nation have a collective set of ideals that is different than those of some other nations, and is worth defending.

Would you not fight to defend your country if it were actually attacked on the ground? If your city were invaded? Don't you think that you have any ideals worth fighting to preserve? Or do you feel that a U.S. ruled by Mexico would be just another government...? If so, you are laboring under some sort of delusion.

[ Parent ]

Relative (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by I am Jack's username on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:54:33 PM EST

"Patriotism is a conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it." - Bernard Shaw

I think what danny was trying to say is that to some people patriots are regarded as having already crossed the line, and that we therefor see them as similar to nationalists and jingoists. We know they are not the same, but we draw the line much earlier than most people. For this same reason I can't choose sides in the Palestine/Israel conflict (they can't even see the line anymore), and eventho we talk about the Republicrats, we know the parties differ - they're just so far away from the parties we support that they seem the same.

"Patriotism, n. Combustible rubbish ready to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name. In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last [refuge] of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit it that it is the first." - Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

other values (none / 0) (#238)
by danny on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 12:03:26 PM EST

I have duties to people in Australia. But I also have duties to people in other countries, and I see no reason why the former duties should necessarily take precedence over the latter.

If my country were in the grip of an unplesant regime, I might welcome an attack by outsiders, or even fight to assist it. As it is, I think Australia has a pretty decent system of government, but that's a contingent fact, not a necessary truth.

So if "patriotism" is contingent on other criteria, if it is good sometimes and bad at other times, why bother with it at all, why not just use the other criteria directly? Anything good about patriotism is good without it. If you are "patriotic" about the United States because of its respect for civil liberties, for example, why not value civil liberties in all countries? Once one does this, all that's left for patriotism to mean is "my country right or wrong", or support without any reason, perhaps even in the face of reason.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

What Neimuller actually said was... (3.00 / 1) (#144)
by the trinidad kid on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:15:51 AM EST

First they came for the communists, but I was not a communist...

Jews were second last (ie just before they came for me...)


[ Parent ]
What is the point of the Constitution? (3.33 / 3) (#85)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:08:59 PM EST

It seems to me that there is always a loophole. Always. The Law is big and complex. If any government really feels the need to violate a constitutional right they simply need enough lawyers to sit down and fight through the legal maze until they find it. In this case they found a fine one: the concept of an enemy combatant. And this is how it has been throught history. It seems to me that the Constitution isn't a limit on the powers of the government but a document they can wave at us saying "well it must be fair, we're following this document to the letter".

it is not so simple. (none / 0) (#95)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:18:01 PM EST

Plenty of things have been deemed unconstitutional..anyone with a basic civics knowledge should know this. And you will have a hard time finding a lawyer who can smooth over the entire supreme court.

The issue here is of military matters. These are, by the letter of the constitution, generally left to the legislature. Rehnquist wrote "...the constitution itself requires such deference to congressional choice [in military matters]" in Rostker v. Goldberg. Indeed, the military is the one area where the Court hasnt considered many cases, and in almost all of them defers to the legislature.

The military and the constitution is a very gray and undecided area. There is not much precedent at all, aside from the general deferment.

[ Parent ]

But the situation is a level worse than you say (5.00 / 4) (#108)
by Humuhumunukunukuapuaa on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:09:36 AM EST

Military matters may be a gray area, But what this administration has done is find a way to arbitrarily deem any situation a military one thereby making everything a gray area. By declaring war on an asbtract noun this administration has given itself the ability to consider itself to be at war at all times and to consider its opponents as enemy combatants. I find that scary,
--
(&()*&^#@!!&_($&)!&$(*#$(!$&_(!$*&&!$@
[ Parent ]
Heh (4.33 / 9) (#89)
by Ben Welsh on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 08:47:32 PM EST

Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney would've been locked up, and no one would've ever discovered that they were innocent.

Christianity Meme
We aren't at war.... (4.06 / 16) (#99)
by jdm on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:40:51 PM EST

...until Congress declares war. Enemy combatant is ONLY suppose to be used WHEN WE ARE AT WAR, which we are NOT. It's really as simple as that. I find it funny that everyone thinks Bush is so great, I really do, the guy is a moron and 3,000+ people would be alive if he would've bothered to issue a warning and tightened up airport security. He was warned a number of times about terrorists FLYING PLANES INTO BUILDINGS. There was a report on his desk on September 11'th WAITING FOR HIS SIGNATURE which would've lead to tight airport security and saved 3,000+ peoples lives. I'm thinking Bush Jr. was too busy selling his Enron stock. An FBI agent was reported saying, "Moussaoui is the type of person that would fly a plane into a building" "Nevertheless, some of the currently active groups are known to plan and train for hijackings and have the capability to construct sophisticated (bombs) concealed inside luggage and consumer products," "The FAA encourages all U.S. carriers to demonstrate a high degree of alertness." "Although we have no specific information that this threat is directed at civil aviation, the potential for a terrorist operation, such as an airline hijacking to free terrorists incarcerated in the United States, remains a concern," Bush Jr. and his lackeys have repeatedly said it is "Unpatriotic to critize the president". Ah, so it was unpatriotic to question Nixon's actions when he sent 60,000+ young men to their deaths (Vietnam). The only reason why Kennith Lay (pres. of enron) and his friends aren't in jail right now is because Bush Jr. is friends with him. Kennith Lay use to horse around with Bush Jr. in the White House. My post is too long so I'll cut it short here. Personally I think the world would be a better place if Bush Jr. was dead. Hold on for a sec theres a knock at the door, I think its the Gestapo err FBI. "A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." -- George W. Bush, July 26, 2000

Answer me this: (4.50 / 2) (#101)
by Work on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 10:56:27 PM EST

Enemy combatant is ONLY suppose to be used WHEN WE ARE AT WAR

Says who? We havent been at war since WWII...so what were all those koreans, vietnamese and iraqis?

[ Parent ]

Ok (4.33 / 3) (#141)
by boyde on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:57:33 AM EST

Enemy combatant is ONLY suppose to be used WHEN WE ARE AT WAR
Says who? We havent been at war since WWII...so what were all those koreans, vietnamese and iraqis?
If they weren't wars, though I'm pretty sure they were, then the prisoners taken there should have been treated as civilian criminals not military combatants. Which is obviously ridiculous. They were wars dude. What else could they be? Bar brawls? ;)


Rolling around in the muck is no way to get clean.
[ Parent ]

Legally you are wrong (2.66 / 3) (#102)
by llamasex on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 11:12:27 PM EST

I sorta agree with your premise, but according to the courts you are legless.

Howard Dean punched me in the face
[ Parent ]
You've got your facts, err [sic], opinion wrong. (3.66 / 3) (#105)
by uxo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 11:35:54 PM EST

Nixon caused 60,000+ deaths in Viet Nam? Did you subtract them from the RATs' total (i.e., Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson )?

[ Parent ]
We are at war. (3.75 / 4) (#115)
by chipuni on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:35:29 AM EST

Congress authorized the war in this bill.
--
Perfection is not reached when nothing more can be added, but only when nothing more can be taken away.
Wisdom for short attention spans.
[ Parent ]
Are we? (5.00 / 2) (#152)
by myshka on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:40:56 AM EST

The War Powers Act of 1973 specifically states that in absence of a declared war,

Within sixty calendar days after a report is submitted or is required to be submitted pursuant to section 4(a)(1), whichever is earlier, the President shall terminate any use of Untied States Armed Forces with respect to which such report was submitted (or required to be submitted), unless the Congress (1) has declared war or has enacted a specific authorization for such use of United States Armed Forces, (2) has extended by law such sixty-day period, or (3) is physically unable to meet as a result of an armed attack upon the United States. Such sixty-day period shall be extended for not more than an additional thirty days if the President determines and certifies to the Congress in writing that unavoidable military necessity respecting the safety of United States Armed Forces requires the continued use of such armed forces in the course of bringing about a prompt removal of such forces.

The join resolution you've linked specifically mentions the section 5(b) quoted above. The resolution was passed on September 18, 2001, so my question is: are we still at war?

[ Parent ]

Declaration of War NOT Required (none / 0) (#173)
by wiredog on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:18:06 AM EST

To use (as is common here) an extreme example, if the Canadian Hordes descended upon Peake's Island Maine, would the President be required to get a Declaration of War before he sent the Army to deal with it? No. In the case where a country is attacked, it is not required to declare war before responding.

IIRC, the US didn't declare war on Nazi Germany in WW2. Just on Japan.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

factual correction (4.00 / 1) (#219)
by martingale on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:21:25 PM EST

The US did declare war on Germany, since they weren't actually attacked by them (in fact a lot of countries were pretty damn annoyed that it took the US so long). As far as Japan is concerned you're right I think. If Canada officially invaded the US, there would be no need for a war declaration. If only a couple of drunk canadian students invaded the US, a declaration would be needed, even if they were labeled terrorists.

Among the things that bother me is that the US declared war on an idea (no actual country as far as I can tell - Afghanistan was incidental so to speak). I'm not sure your constitution actually has anything to say about making war on an idea. It certainly should, imho.

[ Parent ]

ConLaw101 (4.00 / 1) (#178)
by pong2002 on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:05:23 AM EST

No, we are not at war. Only a 2/3 vote by the Senate can bring the US into war. Because of the gulf of tonkin incident Congress passed the War Powers Act. The WPA authorizes the Pres to use the military for 90 days (??? could have been changed ???). Although the interesting thing is the constitutionality for the WPA has never been determined (i.e. Presidents think that Congress is overstepping its bounds). You may think this so some trite legal distinction; it is not. When WAR is declared the Pres. obtains something close to UNLIMITED power. For example the "great emancipator" (Lincoln) suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. So why didn't Bushie get war declared (he would have had the votes)? Because then the US would have had to follow the Geneva Convention, which would allow the advesary only to give rank, name, and serial number. As well they would have had to be sent home at the end of hostilities. We should be fighting for the rule of law, not revenge without limits. PS US last declared war on Germany on Dec. 11, 1941. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/ETO/Dip/DecWar-G.html

[ Parent ]
A very heavy metal (none / 0) (#186)
by blacksqr on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:50:37 AM EST

which would've lead to tight airport security

Lead is a very heavy metal. "Led" is the past tense of a word which is the opposite of "follow."

[ Parent ]
Attoney General's Warning (2.66 / 6) (#103)
by uxo on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 11:27:19 PM EST

Don't travel to a foreign country, join their army, and fight against America--which tends to make the U.S. government think you've renounced your citizenship--and you won't be labeled an enemy combatant like Yaser Esam Hamdi.

Obvious question (5.00 / 7) (#109)
by DarkZero on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:10:59 AM EST

How are we supposed to verify that the accused person actually did these things without due process?

[ Parent ]
Obvious answer (5.00 / 7) (#122)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:14:39 AM EST

"Trust us."

[ Parent ]
re: Obvious question (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by Drownedrat on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:54:10 AM EST

We aren't, that's kinda the point. Just have to trust your government (which of course everyone does)
D.

[ Parent ]
Due Process At Gunpoint (none / 0) (#237)
by SEWilco on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 09:17:33 AM EST

There is no due process in war. A soldier doesn't have to judge the opposing soldiers and there is no method for due process when both sides are trying to kill each other. Our soldiers follow orders under authority which ultimately comes from the President.

There is a slippery slope between an obvious battlefield situation between two armies, down toward actions being done away from the front, and back to what is happening in neighborhoods where life goes on much as usual.

There is much less doubt about sending the Marines to destroy the Barbary pirate harbors than there is when the military finds that an intruder crossing a border seems to be a civilian craft. Or when someone in civilian clothing and far from a battlefield tries to destroy military or civilian things or people.

(Yes, the military has recognized that not all orders should be obeyed, but those are exceptional situations)

[ Parent ]

Maybe. (none / 0) (#207)
by aphrael on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:33:17 PM EST

Today that seems to be true. But if the executive has the authority to deny you any due process whatsoever, which is what they're asserting here, how do you know it will always be true?

"Trust, but verify". That was Reagan's mantra for arms control, and that should be our mantra here --- someone has to verify that the administration isn't going off half-cocked. If they don't like the current civilian court system, for whatever reason, then they should establish some other verification system. But having no verification at all is just inviting future abuse.

[ Parent ]

It'll never happen. (4.00 / 4) (#104)
by ubernostrum on Thu Jun 20, 2002 at 11:28:40 PM EST

Despite the fact that Bush Jr. was handed the Presidency by this Supreme Court, they will *never* agree to this one, and you can bet it'll get to them; Bush would do well to study figures like Franklin Roosevelt and learn how they get smacked down when they try to circumvent the judiciary.


--
You cooin' with my bird?

Hum this could help the war on drugs too... (4.57 / 7) (#125)
by Lukaro on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:57:01 AM EST

All we need to do is start thinking of dope sellers as terrorist against our children. Then they can all be snatched up and held forever. After all so much of the drugs sold come from other countries... Then when the drug dealers are gone we can move on to (insert any group with ideals that the moral majority doesn't like and think of a nifty way to call them terrorists). Lukaro "Sometimes its better to be quite and thought a fool, then it is to open your mouth and prove it." - wish I knew...
"Sometimes its better to sit quietly and let people think you are a fool then it is to open your mouth and prove it."
Yeah like (5.00 / 3) (#157)
by greenrd on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:06:40 AM EST

It's already happening. Like with anti-capitalist protestors and environmentalists. Those evil people who want to protect children from smog, preserve the countryside, and pull up potentially dangerous GM crops. Terrorists the lot of them!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Actually.. (4.50 / 2) (#163)
by speck on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:38:12 AM EST

You've already been beaten to the punch on that one. They're not very prevalent yet, but I've already seen the "drugs = terrorism" commercials on TV, funded by the anti-drug lobby that does all the other commercials. Basically, it's just shots of kids talking to the camera, saying things like "Yeah, I like to go shoot a few people on the weekends, just for fun.." and "Sure, I blow up a building now and then. For kicks, you know?" and all that, and then at the end it just says "Buying drugs funds terrorism!" It was really pathetic, if you ask me, seeing as how the kids' talk had nothing to do with the message at the end. :p Besides, all I could think was "I wonder what buying all that Columbian coffee funds.." :)

[ Parent ]
All Hail George Caesar! (4.42 / 7) (#129)
by zephc on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:45:21 AM EST

"In time of war the law falls silent" - Marcus Tullius Cicero.

Are we destined to turn out like classical Rome?

George Hussein? (5.00 / 2) (#158)
by claudius on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:11:00 AM EST

"Don't tell me about the law.  The law is anything I write on a scrap of paper."  -Saddam Hussein.  Perhaps the U.S. shall go the route of modern-day Iraq?  Ashcroft's lackeys are certainly starting to resemble the Republican Guard both in methodology and ideology.  

[ Parent ]
Blame the people who voted for him (5.00 / 1) (#218)
by I am Jack's username on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:19:08 PM EST

Ted Rall's latest cartoon: George II: slippery slope.

"Stop quoting laws to us. We carry swords." - Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Well, at least if we're lucky (4.00 / 2) (#160)
by sobcek on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:29:00 AM EST

we'll get to see boy bands fed to lions in the coliseums.  Really I think that a totalitarian government is a small price to pay for something as wonderful as that.

[ Parent ]
Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges! (none / 0) (#175)
by cvou on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:46:26 AM EST

Sorry, I got strangely reminded of a scifi TV show.. ;)

[ Parent ]
Hrm. (none / 0) (#213)
by AnalogBoy on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 05:32:41 PM EST

Unknown what the significance is, but Star Trek is the only place i've seen it quoted as "inter arma enim silent leges".     Many places quote it without the "enim" (whatever that means), and Cicero's original quote, from Pro Milone [Caput IV] is "Silent enim leges inter arma"

Just a ponderence.
--
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]

latin (none / 0) (#217)
by martingale on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:09:55 PM EST

"Enim" can be translated as "indeed" (in French "en effet"), so the quote means approximately "in between arms [ie war] laws are indeed silent". The actual order of words in Latin is not as important as in English (you look at word endings to decide which goes with what), so equivalent quotations would be

Silent enim leges inter arma
enim inter arma leges silent
leges inter arma silent enim


[ Parent ]

Thanks [n/t] (none / 0) (#226)
by AnalogBoy on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:40:03 PM EST


--
Save the environment, plant a Bush back in Texas.
Religous Tolerance (And click a banner while you're there)
[ Parent ]
All Great Empires Fall (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by dino on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:53:13 AM EST

America is Empire-building. All of the previous Great Empires have fallen. So shall America. The bigger they are the harder the fall.

[ Parent ]
Probably true (none / 0) (#206)
by aphrael on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:20:33 PM EST

but it's early yet; the US should have another century or so before it hits the ground.

However, there's something interesting here --- one of the major platforms of the isolationists (1920s) was that getting involved in a big way in international affairs would inevitably lead to a situation where core American values needed to be compromised for foreign policy reasons.

It looks increasingly like they were right.

[ Parent ]

I present to you today in the defense of our laws (4.50 / 4) (#130)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:02:43 AM EST

The foundation and fountain of our laws;
THE MAGNA CARTA which influenced
The Constitution

The conerstones of modern western and U.S law that both George W. Bush and John Ashcroft would have us believe are not sufficient to base a strong and free civilization upon.
The question is; Did they not swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution?


Or has Martial Law been Declared?

swearing to protect the constitution (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by mami on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:37:24 AM EST

May be that's the key to the problem. What if the architecture or design of constitution has flaws? Do you protect the flaws or do you rewrite and amend? If you amend, what if any supreme or appelate court can overwrite the amendments by making new law through precedent, because the constitution allows to do so.

May be one should not swear to protect the constitution, but swear to protect the meaning and ethical values that the constitution was meant to represent and enforce. If one detects that the ethical values are corrupted by the system's design itself, it's time to rewrite laws. Usually one does so only after a major war and disaster (death of) a nation (see Germany after WWII) or at the birth of a nation (see so many previous colonies or Afghanistan etc.)

 

[ Parent ]

Here's an example of why... (none / 0) (#245)
by ti dave on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 02:31:12 PM EST

An example of why we have chosen to defend the Constitution, and not some arbitrary set of "ethical values".

Within a matter of 12 short years, the collective "ethical values" of the German populace changed radically.
Germans, virtually to the man, saw fit to willingly and enthusiastically subscribe to the "ethical values" that a certain cultish political party deemed admirable.

The "Rule of Law" was swept out the door, in favor of "ethical values" that are seen today as abhorrent.

The U.S. Constitution was designed so that changes could only be made to it with a concerted effort, following lawful procedure and not by merely disregarding portions that offend the powers-that-be.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
I think you are not right (4.00 / 1) (#251)
by mami on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 01:46:55 AM EST

Fact is that the US constitution is much more similar to the Weimar constitution with regards to the presidential power. I do not believe that the design of the US constitution has proven to prevent any better the destruction of a set of laws that reflects current ethical values by an elected malevolent majority.

The fact that the US has never come under the rule of an elected dictator, who was capable of convincing the Congress to change laws so that democratic values would be destroyed, is IMHO pure luck and not the result of the US constitution's design.

I know that Americans believe otherwise, but I don't trust your constitutional laws that much.

Ethical values are NOT arbitrary. They are very fundamental and almost everywhere the same in all cultures and religions.

I don't think that the "ethical set of values" of the German populace changed within 12 years. What changed by force, with the collaboration of spineless legislators, were the laws and not the values. The laws were changed so that they could represent a set of new ethical values _Hitler_ wanted to impose on Germany. The "Rule of Law" was not swept out of the door, the "Laws" were changed, so that the "Rule of Law" became the "Rule of Hitler's Laws", that represented Hitler's ethical values. And it happened at gun point.

The trick was, that the wrong people had the weapons. So they were able to enforce those changes without any resistance.

The SS, a militia group that was used to infiltrate the German "Wehrmacht", the German "Police and Security Forces", used pure power and threats of their weapons to enforce *Hitler's* set of ethical values. And any little scumbag of nothingness, the German mob, felt just *great and strong* with their new weapon's power.

It was the rule of the police, of the SS and the bureaucrats, who were watched, controlled and threatened by the SS.

It was Hitler, who armed his SA and SS followers already in the early twenties. (I have proof, as I searched the National Archives and found original photos, where you can see how rifles and guns were distributed to a bunch of SA followers in 1922. This was illegal after WWI in Germany).

Hitler was a strong supporter of rearming and enlarging German Armed Forces later and was very successful in doing so.

But it was mainly the SS, that had controlled (and charmed) the Wehrmacht. They had their own network of security forces and worked very independently from and against the Wehrmacht and engaged in all the atrocities later on. In fact you could view the rise of Hitler as an example, where an extreme militia group undermined the Armed Forces and took them over, and where the propaganda war of the NSDAP cabal manipulated and brainwashed the intellectuals and populace.

To believe that a "general populace" changes its ethical values from one day to the other, is not correct.

To believe that you can brainwash people to accept the most outrageous political view points to be of good "ethical value" by merely convincing them to hate a certain target that supposedly is to blame for all their misery, is correct.

It's easy to do. Play with the right emotions and talk with the "right" rethoric, and the gullible masses will follow and believe you.

But it is a mind manipulating process of the masses. You won't find a lot of Germans, who, after they realized what really happened to them during the Third Reich, didn't say years after the war that they have the feeling they were "betrayed". You can't feel betrayed, if you hadn't believed and trusted in something.

Apparently Hitler's rethoric must have been so manipulating and "logically convincing" to many that the "little voice of conscience that might have been doubtful about what was going on with the Jews" was silenced in many Germans' minds.

Add the fact that any slightest publicly voiced resentment against Hitler's policies was answered with threats against your life and livelihood and you have a situation, where people watch paralyzed and don't know what to think and how to react.  

Usually the rethoric and propaganda is so "smart" that the goals look "ethically" absolutely correct and convincing.

I am convinced a brainwashed fundamentalist Muslim today thinks he has the most pure "ethical values" when he starts preaching to kill the infidels. Matter of factly his ethical values are so holy to him, that he is happily willing to kill himself in serving those values.

When you look at the ethics of the current fundamentalist's preached values, you can't negate that they are simply the opposite of what they are sold for.

It is very easy to incite hatred in people and lead them to act on that hatred following a leader into a war. It's happening right now under Osama and other rethorical hate propagandists in form of fundamentalist Muslim clerics. They also are engaged in "Changing the sets of laws", by undermining secular sets of laws and replacing them with their form of Sharia law".

I think in a couple of sub-saharan countries you can find a competition for the rule of law between secular, constitutional law and Islamic laws. Who is winning that war? The ones, who have the weapons to terrorize the population into accepting the "new set of laws".

The populace will NOT have changed their individual set of ethical values, even if they look as if they were enthusiastically following the new leader's "Rules of Law". You should not underestimate the power of the weapons in the hands of bandits, who work for some political or religious strongman leader. They make ANYBODY a follower, easily, at gun point.

Simply said, a set of laws and their rule represents the enforcement of a set of ethical values. By changing the law you change the ethical values they represent. Or in other words, the populace doesn't change its feelings about what is right or wrong, it's that a couple of people in the legislative that have the power to change laws, that will reflect a change in ethical values for the population.

Example, take the death penalty in the US. Many people in Europe think that the death penalty in the US represents wrong ethical values. May be some people in the US think the same way. If it should happen that the death penalty is outlawed again, people will say that the ethical values of the US have changed to the better.

But in reality it might be that as many people as before support the death penalty, so their ethical values have not changed. Just the laws have. You can say that the set of laws and the rule of laws influences the ethical values you live by, in both directions, to the best and the worst.

 

[ Parent ]

Interesting points... (none / 0) (#252)
by ti dave on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 05:59:10 AM EST

I may not have made myself clear. I was referring mainly to the social acceptance of the various Nazi programs on the eve of WW II, particularly the ones that enabled Hitler's rise to Chancellorship.

Fact is that the US constitution is much more similar to the Weimar constitution with regards to the presidential power.

Which Constitution is still in effect?
History has shown that the Weimar Constitution wasn't worth the paper it was written on.
Though we seem to be on the precipice of a real "Constitutional Crisis", we're still holding faith in the design of our Constitution.

I do not believe that the design of the US constitution has proven to prevent any better the destruction of a set of laws that reflects current ethical values by an elected malevolent majority.

I'm not quite sure what you mean here, but if I'm following it, I would point out to you the 13-16th Amendments to our Constitution, passed in the Post-Civil War era.
Clear examples of the destruction of malevolently created laws.

I know that Americans believe otherwise, but I don't trust your constitutional laws that much.

Do you trust your Grundgesetz?
We had a hand in its fabrication, after all.

I don't think that the "ethical set of values" of the German populace changed within 12 years. What changed by force, with the collaboration of spineless legislators, were the laws and not the values.

Please explain the reason why there were over 3.5 million HJ members in 1934, fully 2 years before membership was required.

Please explain to me the popularity of Kraft durch Freude.
Was that also mandatory attendance?

Were the German citizenry marched at gunpoint to the latest Reifenstahl moving picture?

Do you really believe fear was the reason for participation in Nazi programs?

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
don't know what to say.... (5.00 / 1) (#253)
by mami on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:48:11 AM EST

Do you trust your Grundgesetz? We had a hand in its fabrication, after all.

Yes, and I consider it superior to the US constitution. You had also a hand in the fabrication of the preamble of United Nations and today you don't like anymore what you did so very well in the past.

I think from the design side, the German Supreme Constitutional Court is truely independent, whereas in the US the Supreme Court Judges are not and there is no specific Supreme Court who would only deal with constitutional law.

Please explain the reason why there were over 3.5 million HJ members in 1934, fully 2 years before membership was required.

I am not sure, but I think it had great appeal to young boys for all their scout adventures they had on their camp trips etc. HJ was fun for most of them, at least in the beginning. Once in, you were brainwashed thoroughly after a year or so.

Please explain to me the popularity of Kraft durch Freude. Was that also mandatory attendance?

No, I don't think so, but these movements had all some aspects that attracted people for some reasons. For people who lived through depression and through WWI some programs simply gave people hope and support. You forget that people do willingly selectively choose to deny and accept things.

Do you really believe fear was the reason for participation in Nazi programs?

Of course not always. Millions participated deliberately, because they picked something out of the rethoric and propaganda they liked and believed in and choose to deny other parts. I can't help it. You will find behaviour like that on a smaller scale everywhere, you just have to look for it carefully.

Yes, absolutely, people were often forced to join the NSDAP in later years under massive threats to their lives and livelihood and at gun point. I had family members who went through that. Others did not.

[ Parent ]

Yes... (4.29 / 27) (#133)
by sobcek on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:42:21 AM EST

This SHOULD remind you of Nazi Germany as should the burning of the Reichstag remind you of the 2000 election.  Which was not a fucking election.  I should know.  I was in Tallahassee, FL on election day as a student.  I knew people at Florida A&M, the state's largest traditionally black campus.  Guess what happened that afternoon?  Their voting precinct got moved.  Where?  Who knows?  The workers at the election weren't informed of where.  10,000 black voters deprived of a precinct.  Not to mention wide-spread reports of extremely high numbers of traffic stops that day of persons of color by the Florida Highway Patrol.  (And by this, I mean higher than average...)

In St. Louis, Missouri, traditionally one of the state's Democratic strongholds, the same thing happened.  By the time the voters found out where there new precinct was, the Republicans had gone to court to have the polls shut down.  (as my sister witnessed)  This election was not real, and we have a small, white furry dog on the throne to prove for that.  And I suppose that saying so probably makes me a terrorist.  Well, read this if you like, Ashcroft. We know what you did.  I'm from Missouri, and I know that I, and the MAJORITY of Missouri voters, voted a dead man into office in place of your rancid ass.  You are a urine stain on the seat of American Democracy, and history will reserve a place for you somewhere low.

1933 (4.54 / 11) (#134)
by S1ack3rThanThou on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:44:47 AM EST

I completely agree, that was the exact feeling I got when I read your article. It amazes me how little we learn from our own history (another front page item recently).

I don't understand how a supposedly intelligent free world can let the desire of a few people to stay in power allow such a ridiculous action to occur.

You have to wonder about democracy sometimes, great in theory, not so perfect in practice. Really the worst people to be in power are the ones that are, the very desire for it makes it so. It also assumes an intelligent and informed populous, which also seems to be in scarce supply these days. I agree the theory is better than a few corrupt people in power, but America is a democracy and that still seems to have happened!

Ah well. I'll go back to building my bomb shelter now ;-)

"Remember what the dormouse said, feed your head..."

Re: 1933 (4.50 / 8) (#135)
by ianweeks on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:14:42 AM EST

Many philosophers were against democracy for this very reason. It seems that every democracy will slowly corrupt because there are always people who use their money, influence and rhethorics to gain power and eventually every democracy becomes a tyranny.

The american constitution provides a great foundation for a democartic society. However, the people nowadays seem to find their own wealth more important than liberty and equality, and this has created opportunity for corporations to take over control. The democratic society is turning into an oligarchy, and I don't think there's a lot we can do about it.

[ Parent ]
You CAN do something (4.14 / 7) (#140)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:37:16 AM EST

The democratic society is turning into an oligarchy, and I don't think there's a lot we can do about it.
There is something you can do, it's been done before - it's called a revolution. Oh wait - that would make you terrorists ... How about trying to start a peacefull movement to change the system? No wait - that would entail critisising the government, which would make you terrorists. Then how about simply try to enter a peaceful debate about the current problems? No, that would also require you to critisise the government, and again make you a terrorist. I take it back. There is nothing you can do. Your current situation is FUBAR.

[ Parent ]
don't say you that fast (4.00 / 3) (#148)
by martingale on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:03:04 AM EST

I'm not USian, but that doesn't mean I shouldn't worry about this. Remember, the EU leaders don't find, publically, that much wrong with what Bush is doing over there. And the few other major regional powers, Russia, China, India etc. have their hands full on other fronts.

Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia and all that indeed.

[ Parent ]

so you say you want a revolution? (5.00 / 5) (#155)
by ethereal on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:59:50 AM EST

Interesting quandrary: would a popular uprising in support of the Constitution but opposed to the current government be treason, or not? It wasn't treason for Civil Rights Marchers to demand their rightful place in the government; I don't think it would be treason for the people to rise up en masse in support of the rule of law rather than the rule of misguided men like Ashcroft. In a sense, we all have a loyalty to the Constitution, not to the particular men and women who hold the Constitutionally-provided places in the current government. If the people who make up the government are acting contrary to the Constitution, then I say that they are the traitors, and I would like to think that the likes of Thomas Jefferson would agree. You cannot break the law to save the nation; the law is the foundation and center of the nation and is ultimately more important, IMHO.

The problem is that revolutions have a pretty good chance of turning into tyranny of the few as well if you're not extremely careful. So it's good that the "activation energy" of a revolution (in America, at least) is pretty high. Because I'm not sure that we have enough statesmen like Jefferson around to pick up the pieces properly this time.

P.S. I knew things were taking a turn for the worse when Ashcroft covered up the statue of Justice behind him in his press conferences. I am happy to say that I am not ashamed to be seen on camera with Justice, no matter how naked She may be :)

P.P.S. Not that I'm fomenting anything here, of course, I wish no harm to those in government, etc. - these are just my opinions on what would and would not be Constitutional. No Lee Malatesta's here :) (Although, in a more enlightened time, I wouldn't have to add this disclaimer, I imagine - which is sad in and of itself.) As long as there's still an election in a couple years, and the voters are free to choose, then I don't worry too much about tyranny.

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

Do I want a revolution in the USA? (4.66 / 3) (#167)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:57:33 AM EST

Well, even if I wanted one, I am not quite the person to ask, as I am not a citizen or resident of the USA.

I'm not saying you should revolt. I started out with the extreme, to set an example, and one that could under various circumstances be construed as terrorism.

I then stepped down the hill of violence, and sought the route of peaceful change, and extrapolated a potential outcome - namely labeling system critics as terrorists, as is often done in various regiemes around the world (none mentioned, none forgotten).

The brilliant move the current US government has made is to deny the right of a peer trial, even a trial, to determine, if the defendant is really a terrorist or just an outspoken dissident. This might or might not be used as a way to get troublesome opponents out of the way, but we will never know, as they are not afforded the right of an open trial. Therefore we are left with one single option: Trust that the rulers are fair and just. This is not something I would do with a light heart - even if they were angels placed there by God herself (if he even existed).

The Danish constitution (and the US as I understand it) places a number of checks and balances to make sure, that one part of the system doesn't acquire too much power. At one point a supreme court judge even publicly critized the parliment for trying to excert power where they shouldn't - and this was done without anyone bringing a suit against parliment for this - something I understand is impossible in the US (either through legislation or through tradition).

And in case you're wondering, yes - I am trying to be provocative - it's the best way to start a discussion/argument.

[ Parent ]

revolution (5.00 / 1) (#174)
by ethereal on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:39:11 AM EST

I didn't mean to imply that you wanted a revolution, or to assume that you were a U.S. citizen. My original title was just "revolution", but I dislike one-word titles, and so I thought a quotation from one of my favorite Beatles songs might be appropriate :)

--

Every time you read this, God wishes k5 had a "hide sigs" option. Please, think of the
[
Parent ]

The Current situation is ready for a change. (4.50 / 2) (#188)
by eleonard on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:00:05 PM EST

As someone else pointed out here- democracy is dependent on the involvedment of the people. At very least we can all write to our representatives. If you haven't tried this- I highly recommend it- you will receive a response from the office of the representative. beyond that- we need a name and a symbol- there are so many people with similar feelings we just need something to idenitfy with in a unifed way to begin to grow into something bigger. ideas?

I believe the time is ready for change. and it just needs to come from the people. this is possible. It has happened before and it will happen again.

all ways,
Evan



[ Parent ]

You could vote in elections (4.50 / 2) (#170)
by wiredog on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:07:37 AM EST

At election time, votes trump dollars. A high enough voter turnout will get the attention of elected officials. If you don't vote, then why should the elected people care about you? After all, you obviously have no opinion.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
Because... (none / 0) (#185)
by Ghost Shrew on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:32:44 AM EST

None of the candidates are worth voting for? Nader got some support, but really it all comes down to the big two. And I didn't want either, for various reasons.


Free tabletop RPG!! Grey Lotus
[ Parent ]

So (none / 0) (#190)
by wiredog on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:08:05 PM EST

You decided not to vote because you didn't like either Bush or Gore. Were there no people running for the House or Senate? The State Legislature or Governor? No bond issues on the ballot? No city/county council? What about the primaries? Did you go to them and express an opinion?

Or is it just easier to sit and bitch about the results than to go out and actually study the various elections and vote?

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

I didn't vote for President. (none / 0) (#254)
by Ghost Shrew on Mon Jul 01, 2002 at 03:00:42 PM EST

I didn't say I didn't vote at all.

Free tabletop RPG!! Grey Lotus
[ Parent ]

Greed (4.50 / 4) (#216)
by I am Jack's username on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:00:03 PM EST

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage." - Alexander Tyler
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
this all makes sense... (4.00 / 4) (#138)
by abittner on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:30:39 AM EST

regarding how bush jr. became president, and of what has been happening ever since, i wonder why us citizens and even humans all over the world dont fear whats gonna be next...

just think about just anybody in the usa can now be fingerpointing at you and claming you are an enemy combatant... noone will come to your aid, you cant prove your innocence, no lawyer, no hearing... why all the hassle.. why not executing the enemy combatants right there...

if you dont like somebody just call some agency and they will hopefully come and take away that enemy combatant...

what kinda nation has the usa become???

i wonder if some other president will follow after bush jr. or if he might rather like his powers and the situation the whole world is in these days and just stay in charge indefinitely...

martial law... war... you name it, he'll claim it.....

wake up people and do stop this if there is actually still time and possibility to make an end to all this crazy stuff going on....

Calm down (none / 0) (#164)
by boyde on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:48:22 AM EST

Well that was a whole lot rhetoric. I understand what you are trying to say and yes, it's possible that everything could go all tits-up and GWB will seize control or people will be dragged from their beds. However, you sound like you're stood on a soapbox, preaching to the masses :)

Apologies for the editorial.


Rolling around in the muck is no way to get clean.
[ Parent ]

CNN misses the real story (4.50 / 2) (#139)
by grout on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:35:39 AM EST

This CNN story describes the brief in terms of Massoui's specific case, burying the really worrying parts down in the body of the story.

I wonder how long it'll take them to pick up the real implications. Surely they won't do so until forced by disclosures in other forums (like this one).
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

This is their job (3.50 / 2) (#143)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:08:32 AM EST

They regularly bury relevant facts in order to further the agenda of whatever benefits them.

That is why it is our responsibility, in my opinion, to ask questions and explore realities that our media seems to be too timid to ask or are to risque' to explore.
Has Martial Law Been Declared?



[ Parent ]
They always act to benefit themselves (3.00 / 2) (#147)
by grout on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:02:46 AM EST

The trick is in each situation to correctly identify which "them" is acting at any given time.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]
What I meant by "them" (none / 0) (#210)
by thePositron on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:16:01 PM EST

Well all one is has to do is look at who gives them their license to broadcast, allows for larger mergers
and combinations of different types of media and whoever advertises on their network.


[ Parent ]
Don't be so simplistic (none / 0) (#230)
by grout on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 12:52:28 AM EST

They're after greater power for themselves. If they can get it by agitating against a particular political movement, they'll do that. Think of Watergate and the Washington Post.

Yes, media companies can ally themselves with the dominant government of the time. But they don't have to.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

[ Parent ]

It's times like these... (4.50 / 2) (#154)
by wattk on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:54:07 AM EST

...i'm glad I live in Canada. I don't think i'll be visiting the United States soon. I just hope the U.S. doesn't become a country where disappearances become commonplace.

I'm sure the Polish had similar thoughts (5.00 / 1) (#196)
by axxeman on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:07:18 PM EST

In 1938...

Feminism is an overcompensatory drama-queen club, with extra dykes. ---- Farq
[ Parent ]

Benjamin Franklin already weighed in on this: (5.00 / 4) (#165)
by sobcek on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:49:28 AM EST

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

That summarizes pretty well, I think.  I feel like maybe someone should send Bush a copy of "Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus for Dummies"...or perhaps "Tyranny:  What's in it for You!"...

Do something! (5.00 / 4) (#168)
by gidds on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:59:00 AM EST

Okay, we're pretty much all horrified and angered by this.  But being horrified and angered isn't going to change anything.  Do something about it!

Last week I felt strongly enough about something happening here in the UK to do something about it.  It took less than half an hour in front of my computer to write and send a fax to my MP.  The next day he'd understood my concerns, investigated, sent a letter on my behalf to the Home Office Minister, and written me a nice letter explaining all this and promising to keep me informed.  This week the offending Order has been put on hold indefinitely.  Of course, I'm sure that that wasn't just due to my letter :) but I'm equally sure that I wasn't the only person making a fuss, and I'd like to think that I was a small part of that result.

How many USAns are there here on Kuro5hin?  If every one made a fuss to their elected representatives, think what a differences that would make.

(Of course, it helps to follow a few guidelines: use your own words, not a form letter; be polite, concise, well-reasoned, and direct; and use a means of contact you know they'll read, like snail mail or fax.)

The end result may or may not be what you want.  But it surely beats sitting there saying `Something Must Be Done' and doing nothing.

Andy/

difference ? (none / 0) (#176)
by F a l c o n on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:49:13 AM EST

How many USAns are there here on Kuro5hin?  If every one made a fuss to their elected representatives, think what a differences that would make.

None, of course. If there is anyone in the US congress who gives a damn about the people he's allegedly representing, that would be a major surprise.

It's not even their fault. Politics is a business like any other nowadays, and doing business means going with the money.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]

Votes (3.00 / 1) (#244)
by Cro Magnon on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 10:42:38 AM EST

No amount of money will matter if they alienate enough people. Money helps them get the word out about how great they are, but if they screw the people, and the people react, their butts are out of there!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
naive (none / 0) (#255)
by F a l c o n on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 03:26:54 AM EST

such refreshing naivite.
--
Back in Beta (too many new features added): BattleMaster
[ Parent ]
When I write my representative... (4.00 / 1) (#184)
by kwertii on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:31:58 AM EST

I get back a letter two months later that is two pages long and seems to have been written from a political buzzword generator. The essence of the letter is always:

Thank you for writing me with your concerns. I always enjoy hearing from my constituents. As you are aware, there are two possible views on Issue X. One is Y, and the other is Z. I will take your views into consideration, and pass them along to my colleagues in Congress. Once again, thanks for writing.



----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Do it anyway. (3.00 / 1) (#205)
by aphrael on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:16:44 PM EST

Look, the only way the legislature has any chance of knowing what the people think is if we tell them. Yeah, sure, it rarely if ever does any good --- but not writing them sure as hell doesn't do any good either.

Cynical viewpoint: If this ends badly, wouldn't you rather be able to say you tried to prevent it?

[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#240)
by gidds on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 07:52:24 PM EST

People always say similar things about the UK government, too.  (Sometimes I think we invented cynicism...)

But I disproved that last week.  Over 1500 faxes were received by MPs, and it's nice to think that mine was one of that number.  Rumour has it that these were a significant factor in the government's U-turn.

Sure, you can just sit there saying `It won't make any difference', or you can actually do something.  The worst it can do is confirm that impression; but it might do some good.  Considering how little effort it takes, isn't it worth the risk?

Andy/
[ Parent ]

lacking subtlety... (3.00 / 3) (#171)
by buglord on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 10:08:27 AM EST

The only thing that makes me mad about the schemeing of George the Great and his humble Court is that they could be at least somewhat more subtle in their greed for power.
It's all too obvious and makes me wonder if they overestimate Joe Schmoe's blindness, or if there is a larger plan behind it.

I'm happy so much now I know how to use a gun!
Die Technik bereit und stabil... wir wollen zurück ins Telespiel!
welle:erdball - telespiel
Where better to hide something? (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by kwertii on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:12:57 AM EST

than out in the open?

If this was all being done in secret, and someone leaked it, the media would crucify Bush & pals. However, since they're doing it quite overtly, there's no chance of that.

As long as the bread and circuses keep flowing, nobody much among the general populace will care or even know..




----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
A Suggestion (3.66 / 3) (#180)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:13:53 AM EST

It is understandable that the US administration should want to detain and interrogate members of al-Qaeda, but the way in which they are going about this is extraordinarily arbitrary and heavy handed. It seems to me that their actual goals could be acheived by passing some legislation, which would a pose far lesser threat to civil liberties:

1. Allowing certain organisations to be proscribed, so that membership is an automatic criminal offense. It would require a hearing - either in court or congress, whichever is more appropriate - to proscribe an organisation, and that hearing would have to be presented with material evidence that the organisation intended to attack US targets at home or abroad. In the interest of maintaining confidentiality of intelligence sources, such hearings could be held in secret if it was shown to be necessary, providing the minutes were released after a suitable time.

2. Creating a new status of prisoner, between "prisoner of war" and "criminal", called, say "enemy combatant". Enemy combatants would have the right to decent treatment, and communication with the outside world. Prisoners captured overseas could be classified as enemy combatants, and persons prosecuted for membership of a proscribed organisation likewise, if a court hearing determined that status was suitable. They could be held indefinitely, as long as regular judicial reviews determined they were still a threat. Enemy combatants, unlike ordinal criminals, could be interrogated, but, of course, not tortured or otherwise abused.

What I find immensely puzzling, and worrying, is the reluctance of the US administration to pass such laws. Congress would almost certainly not get in the way, and I know of no basis on which they would be found straightforwardly unconstitutional.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate

A few points (5.00 / 1) (#182)
by kwertii on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:27:25 AM EST

  • Banning certain organizations seems to me to clearly violate the "freedom of assembly" clause of the First Amendment.
    Nonetheless, the federal government and most if not all states did almost exactly this to the Communist Party and other associated organizations during the Red scare. Here in Florida, membership per se was not illegal, but meeting in groups of more than two for the purposes of discussing Communism or anarchy was proscribed. Most of these laws are still on the books to this day.
  • How do you prove that someone belongs to a given banned organization? This would instigate all kinds of McCarthy-esque witch hunts, with people turning their political, business, and personal enemies in as members of illicit organizations, and making deals to reveal other members when they themselves were turned in.
  • I would think that holding someone indefinately falls under "cruel and unusual punishment", especially if they haven't actually done anything illegal other than belonging to a banned organization.
  • If the continued detainment hearings are to be held in secret, then how does the public know they're actually happening, or even that the person is being held at all? The government could conceivably just lock people up, never tell anyone, and nobody would be the wiser.
  • Regular prisoners can be and are routinely interrogated. The main reason they are denying these prisoners communication with the outside world is they are worried the prisoners will attempt to pass coded messages on to associates. Without communication, or even public knowledge that these people are being held, how can you verify that they're not being tortured or otherwise abused?



----
"He lives most gaily who knows best how to deceive himself." --Fyodor Dostoyevsky

[ Parent ]
Well. (1.50 / 2) (#197)
by Phillip Asheo on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:34:42 PM EST

Without communication, or even public knowledge that these people are being held, how can you verify that they're not being tortured or otherwise abused?

You can't, and they are.

But these people are not standard American citizens going about their business, they are Islam-crazed lunatics who are prepared to die in order to attack the decadent Western infidel, and are hell bent on creating an international Islamic khalifate.

In short, sometimes the ends do justify the means.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

uhm ... (4.00 / 1) (#201)
by Hektor on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:53:00 PM EST

these people are not standard American citizens going about their business, they are Islam-crazed lunatics who are prepared to die in order to attack the decadent Western infidel, and are hell bent on creating an international Islamic khalifate.

And how do you know that? Oh yes, that's right - you bought into the propaganda of their captors.

Now, I can't prove that this is the case, but more importantly - you can't prove me wrong. If they were being tried as normal prisonors you could.

Paranoid or not - it's kinda scary when the only evidence you can produce to disprove a conspiracy is provided by the people in the alleged conspiracy. That's kinda like proving, that the person standing next to you won't kill you, and then giving him a gun just to prove your point ...

In short, sometimes the ends do justify the means.

Well, I seek global peace; one way of achieving that is to rid the world of human beings ...

[ Parent ]
Standards of proof vary. (3.00 / 1) (#203)
by Phillip Asheo on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:13:41 PM EST

Would you rather set a crazed fundamentalist potential suicide bomber free (in order to uphold the constitution) only to have him fly a plane into the Statue of Liberty or detonate a dirty bomb over Disneyland on the 4th July ?

Please, tell me how else we are supposed to deal with people whose declared intent is to bring about the downfall of US Civilization ? Those guys lost their rights the day they decided to mess with us.

I personally trust the USA to get things right. We did it before with Communism, and we will do it again with Terror. Some things are more important than the constitution of the USA, like the lives of innocent Americans.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Not exactly right. (none / 0) (#229)
by DavidTC on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:07:16 PM EST

You need to move one word.

a crazed fundamentalist potential suicide bomber
a potential crazed fundamentalist suicide bomber

And if you can't figure out the problem in that, you're in trouble. Because you're a potential crazed fundamentalist suicide bomber.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Really ? (none / 0) (#241)
by Phillip Asheo on Sun Jun 23, 2002 at 08:32:48 AM EST

you're a potential crazed fundamentalist suicide bomber.

I don't fit the profile. I am not from the middle east, I do not attend a fundamentalist mosque and I have never been to Afghanistan, or Pakistan for 'religious study'.

There are plenty of people much higher up the suspect list than myself. It is these people we should be imprisoning without trial.

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

You are a troll... (3.00 / 1) (#242)
by DavidTC on Sun Jun 23, 2002 at 12:48:48 PM EST

...and I claim my five pounds.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]
Sure, go ahead, bury your head in the sand (none / 0) (#243)
by Phillip Asheo on Sun Jun 23, 2002 at 03:53:46 PM EST

And stick your fingers in your ears if you like. It won't change my opinion. I am intrigued by this "troll" accusation. I have been accused of it once before. It seems to be an insult directed at those with whom one disagrees, but what does it mean, exactly ?

--
"Never say what you can grunt. Never grunt what you can wink. Never wink what you can nod, never nod what you can shrug, and don't shrug when it ain't necessary"
-Earl Long
[ Parent ]

Who do you trust? (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by aphrael on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 03:14:51 PM EST

But these people are not standard American citizens going about their business, they are Islam-crazed lunatics who are prepared to die in order to attack the decadent Western infidel, and are hell bent on creating an international Islamic khalifate.

Today. What about tomorrow? The power we delegate to the executive to do this today will not magically go away some day; if they succeed in establishing a legal basis for it, it will always be there.

Do you trust anyone who ever occupies the Presidency to not abuse that power? Trusting Bush isn't enough; do you trust his successors, of either or any party?

That is why there needs to be some sort of check on this authority, and some kind of second review: because otherwise, some day, they will be normal American citizens just going about their business. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but some day --- and we should be seeking to find a solution that not only works for today, but will continue to work in the future.

[ Parent ]

Some replies (none / 0) (#200)
by Simon Kinahan on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 02:52:11 PM EST

1. That is not clear. You have freedom to assemble. You don't have freedom to engage in a conspiracy, or a riot, or any number of other kinds of assembly. Much the same principle as not being free to should "fire" in a crowded theatre.

I would say the banning of the communist party is a perfect example of how *not* to proceed. It was never shown, to the kind of standard a court would find acceptable, that the CPUSA was planning any harm the US (although it has been shown since). Furthermore, I have no problem with people *advocating* the downfall of the USA and a worlwide Islamic republic, and that should not be banned.

2. Quite easily, I would have thought. In the case of the "dirty bomber", he is known to have attended al-Qaeda meetings. Even if such plain evidence is not available, proof that someone is taking orders from a given hierarchy should be sufficient. If the CIA has the evidence it says it has, that should be not problem.

3. What ? for a country that executes people by frying them with an AC current ? Bah. Anyway, its not really indefinite, its "until the cessation of hostilities", same as for POWs.

4. The fact someone is held, and the fact detainment hearings are being held should be public. The public should be free to come forward with evidence as to why someone should not be being detained. Where possible, all hearings should be public. Where the govenment wishes them to be held in secret, it should present a case for that, to the judge alone if necessary. The evidence presented should become public after some time period.

5. I see no reason why enemy combatants should not be allowed censored communication with the outside world.

6. I'm interested in what you would advocate. The status of al-Qaeda members within the legal system doesn't seem to have a straightforward solution, and its all very well to wring your hands and say what the administration is doing is awful (and I agree, as far as it goes), but noone else, in all the other hand-wringing answers to this article, has actually said what should be done. Some kind of law-based constitutional approach is clearly necessary, but what ?

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Praetorian Guard/Paradigm shifts/NtroP (3.66 / 3) (#183)
by MickLinux on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:29:43 AM EST

I was just thinking that the Homeland Protection Agency was starting to look an awful lot like the Praetorian Guard, in that all the power that it is being given will give it the ability to make and break emperors.

This attempt seems to be a huge extension of that power.

That isn't the only similarity that one can see between the US and the Roman Empire -- some I don't think should be posted here.

But let us remember that historical events do not define future events -- they only demonstrate one possible mode of progression from one initial situation.  

From what I've seen, what really defines the limits of probable future events tends to be the second law of thermodynamics, in an infomational sense (that is, a mathematical and statistical sense).  Indeed, what you were seeing happening in and to the USA is at once terrible and yet mathematically beautiful, in that you are seeing the creation of a new degree of freedom in the structure of human social relations.  That new degree of freedom is what you call a paradigm shift.

I am reminded of Jurassic Park's essay (really an essay by Michael Chrichton), in which he says that once you get a paradigm shift, the old rules don't cease to be true, they just cease to matter.  He wasn't quite right.  The old rules do still matter, but there is a new degree of freedom that means that the old rules do not necessarily imply the old restrictions.  

The old rules still work, and using them can eliminate a ton of the guesswork involved in trying to figure out the new rules.

However, at that, I would be hard pressed to predict what our next new degree of freedom will entail.   I think that such a discussion is not necessarily futile -- indeed, could be extremely profitable -- but we would all be working in an unknown situation.  Does anybody want to begin with their observations, and what they foresee developing, and why?

--------Addendum-------
A caveat, and a request.

The request first:  I am asking for speculation here -- not warmongering -- so, I am going to ask that as long as a person seems to be trying to make an honest post, please don't rate them below a 3.  If you really feel a need to rate lower, please consider handing some of that lower rating off to my post instead.  

However, if you see outright warmongering, revolution mongering, or spamming -- go ahead and give 'em what they deserve.  

Now the caveat: I rather suspect that as a prediction method becomes reliable, then essentially the degrees of freedom that are available rapidly get filled up.  If you will, it is similar to finding a better way to compress data.  The better the compression, the more random the output looks.  In such a way, Stratfor.com's excellent service [if that is what it was] may have actually helped cause a crise to be sooner than normal.  As they started to predict events successfully, different "players" started to play better, and eliminated degrees of freedom for the rest of us.  

Nonetheless, I don't feel that that is a reason to stop trying to predict -- there is nothing evil about being good at the life process, and entropic behavior is exactly what life entails.  But because of this situation, I want to state right here that I don't think there are any automatic ways to guess the future correctly.  The better we guess, the more we change the future and cause it to diverge from our guess.  But let's have fun and try.

And if you don't want to see the predictions, don't look inside this thread.

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.

I swear (2.50 / 4) (#187)
by Kintanon on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 11:58:47 AM EST

I swear before God and on my love of the freedom and principals that this country once stood for, that if this act passes, and allows the government to bypass the consitution completely, ignoring all of the checks and balances so carefully placed on each branch I will embark on a crusade to destroy every person associated with the passing of this act. Normally I am very apathetic about what the government does because I know that each branch can only go so far before one of the other branches slaps them down. But this gives the executive branch unlimited power. When you can declare a Supreme Court justice or a Congressman to be an 'Enemy Combatant' for opposing your views then there isn't really anything they can do to stop you, is there? This Act is too much of a power grab by the Bush and I won't stand for it. And neither will a lot of other people. I garauntee that if this Act passes he won't see the end of the next month.

Kintanon

Please don't go there/don't despair (4.50 / 2) (#211)
by MickLinux on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 04:59:44 PM EST

First of all, I am rating your comment a 1.  I don't think it belongs on the K5 site.  

Aside from that, I don't think that you should even be thinking such thoughts.  They smack of a combination of despair and a lack of understanding of the way the world works on a number of levels.

They also are destructive, and thus harmful.  That is, they do *more* harm.  Really, everyone associated with this paricular mode of failure of our government is -- everyone.  This whole thing is being driven by entropy, under the specifics of the particular post-war policies of our government and moralities of our people.  Those, in turn, were driven by the policies and moralities of the generation before.  And so on.

But while our government is failing in this particular way, other societies are starting, beginning, and blooming.  

"Ah", you may say, "but the US can conquer them, and is indeed becoming a world empire".  Yes and no.  The US does have influence, and can probably conquer any nation in the world, including China, India, or Indonesia -- each a country with different defensive advantages.  

But as the US becomes more militarized, it damages its economy more, and that actually destroys its ability to successfully carry through an entire war.  Remember Germany -- because of the crushing law, it had been in reality lawless, and had grown to tremendous strength before the Nazis took power.  The Nazis capped that strength and made use of it -- but also destroyed their country enough that they could not win a war.

More than that, the more that the US militarizes, the more it prepares itself to stay in continual war.  That also kneecaps the country.  So although empire is a possibility in theory, it is not a possibility in reality.  

Thus, there are only two real possibilities.  Defeat, or a return to sanity.  

Therefore, you should not despair.  Rather, just go find one of the newly blossoming countries, and put your efforts in there.  I think you'll find that most of them are filled with opportunity.  

And if you're not going to despair, of *course* don't get destructive, or even think of destructiveness.  Such thoughts only make the country sink lower.  

An analogy:  your car is on a train track.  A train is coming.  Do you get out of your car or drive it off the tracks?  Or do you go running down the train track at the train, shooting at it as you go?  Which choice saves life and builds value?  

Anyhow, I kindof thought someone needed to take you to task for this.

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.
[ Parent ]

Fishing for SS visits. (1.00 / 1) (#212)
by Kintanon on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 05:19:09 PM EST

I'm actually just fishing for SS visits and good comments. I figured someone would say something good in response to my righteous wrath or I would get dumped off the page. Either way, as long as I provoke a response I've done what I intended, made someone thing. >:)

I really liked your response and I agree with you. Yes, this act is seriously disturbing. But it hopefully won't mean the end of the country. But I'm pretty sure someone WILL go after Bush if it passes, just the sheer quantity of militia members pretty much garauntees it.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

The principles bigger than US (4.00 / 1) (#214)
by MickLinux on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 05:39:17 PM EST

Just remember that the principals of the founding fathers worked *because they have natural law in them*.  That, in turn, drove a large amount of America's success.  

Because of that, you can expect that even if America goes the way of the Soviet [or of the Nazi... same diff], what America meant will still be around somewhere and helping make things better.

Or, to put it on religious terms -- God gave you not just a country.  He gave you a whole world, including a family, love, food, fresh air, and lots more, all for you to enjoy.  Don't focus on the single loss, when you still have berry picking [or kayaking] and tons of other countries to pick from.  

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.
[ Parent ]

You must keep in mind... (none / 0) (#227)
by cr8dle2grave on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 09:44:33 PM EST

Yes, this act is seriously disturbing

What is at issue isn't an act, but an argument submitted to a court by a lawyer. Granted, it is an alarming and frightening argument, but it does not have the force of law.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I like how you squashed free speech with mod power (1.00 / 1) (#222)
by willpost on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:43:33 PM EST

"First of all, I am rating your comment a 1. I don't think it belongs on the K5 site."

[ Parent ]
Actually, no, I didn't. (none / 0) (#232)
by MickLinux on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 01:25:07 AM EST

Due to a mispost, I had this in the wrong location. I am reposting in the proper location.

There is something else that was motivating me than quashing his speech -- the combination of *VIOLENT* speech, and SS visits. Indeed, the author knew that.

Those SS visits wouldn't just be harmful to the author -- although given the very overall topic, they could be *very* harmful to the author.

Rather, those SS visits could also destroy K5. I have seen a number of forums (including Mike Reagan's online forum) destroyed because a few of the posters got so violent in their speech that the site was forced to close.

Now, admittedly, there are some who hold that free speech must be absolute or it is not free -- but our government does not hold to that. K5 is under the government of the United States, and thus must hold to the standards of the government. If it doesn't, then all speech is destroyed. Since K5 *is* pretty free with their political speech in general, I view it as an advantage to have K5 keep running.

But by all means -- if you think that I was wrong, If you still think I was squashing free speech as opposed to defending K5's ability to maintain free speech, go ahead and rate the post above with a 1.

Also -- because I have trusted status again, I actually rated it a zero to try to get it out of site as quickly as possible.


I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.
[ Parent ]

More than that... (none / 0) (#234)
by MickLinux on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 01:35:54 AM EST

... I actually even confirmed his free speech by replying to him.  We had a good series of responses.  
    Speech in its best form is not grandstanding -- it is dialogue.  From dialogue, both parties get something -- but even better, *BOTH PARTIES KNOW THEY ARE BEING HEARD*.
    But to take his speech out of a dangerous context [dangerous to K5, and to himself], I feel, was a service and a kindness.  
    I suspect that the danger to himself is actually limited by his response to my response.  Indeed, if these threads were posted all together, then as of the point that he clarified himself I would have rerated it a 3.  
    But as long as that post sits there by its lonesome, I feel it could be a danger to K5.  So I'm going to leave that rated as zero, and hope that other trusted users do the same so that it gets removed.
 

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.
[ Parent ]

Amen (none / 0) (#247)
by Rahyl on Mon Jun 24, 2002 at 05:08:43 PM EST

Glad to see others who feel so strongly about what's going on.  Let's make no mistake:  this is a government vs. the people thing, not a Republican vs. Democrat thing.

So many government apologists out there are scrambling for answers to stances like this.  It used to be that when someone felt strongly about the government abusing it's power, people would retort "if you don't like what the government is doing, you should take them to court!"

Guess what folks:  

There are no more courts.

There is no more freedom of speech.

There are no more rights to due process.

There are no more lawyers to come to your defense.

What do you government apologists have to say to that?  What peaceful options would you "peaceful, non-violent means only" folks recommend we take now, huh?

Over the years, we've been called paranoid when suggesting that the government would abuse it's power.  Certainly they would never violate a citizen's right to appear in court!  Certainly they would never take away a citizen's right to an attorney!

Yea, right...

If there is evidence that a citizen has conspired to cause harm, the government should be scrambling to prove it in court.  They should have no problem showing the evidence they have in an open forum to the American people.  We really do want to be supportive in their efforts to protect the citizenry but when it violates, very plainly, the rights guaranteed to us in the Constitution, it's time for heads to roll.

Impeachment?  Could happen.  President Bush swore to uphold the Constitution when he took office.  Holding someone indefinitely without access to a lawyer, without being able to confront his accuser, without due process of law, is a violation of his oath of office.

I've seen a few posters compare what's going on today with what happened in Nazi Germany in the late 30's/early 40's.  Some have pointed out that comparing the two isn't exactly accurate.  I believe that it's entirely accurate:  the rights of the citizenry are stripped away in "emergency" response to a violent and/or destructive event.  Sure, there are some technical differences but think about it;  if you were a government wanting to seize power, would you use the exact method used by a villainized dictator or would you instead try to appear the hero of the people while taking a slightly different track?

No, President Bush isn't going to stand up one day and declare all democrats to be 'enemy combatants.'  That would be too obvious.  Instead, look forward to government (dems and repubs) using such tactics against special interest groups, like state militias and 2nd Amendment advocates.  Ditto for drug legalization groups (seen those 'drugs support terrorists' commercials lately? You connect the dots....).

Nazi America doesn't concern itself with race or religion.  Nazi America concerns itself with control.  To gain this control, it acts to supress the rights of the people.  When you lose the right to appear in court, when you lose the right to council, when you lose the right to speak in your own defense, what other rights do you have?

Courts, lawyers, the press, all of those things are the peaceful methods we've come to cherish in our country.

Now those peaceful methods have been taken away.

Without peaceful methods to use in defense of our rights, there are only violent methods left.  If anyone can argue against this logic, feel free to give it a shot.

For the rest of you, I suggest you go shopping:  http://www.armalite.com

[ Parent ]

Habeas Corpus (4.83 / 6) (#189)
by redelm on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:05:22 PM EST

The real question for President Bush (I have asked) about Abdullah al-Muhajir is whether "habeas corpus" is suspended, or whether he intends to suspend the Writ. The Constitution does NOT say anywhere "except for declared enemy combatants". The Writ is the protection against authorities doing what they please.

Politicians make laws, and easily fall into the trap of thinking themselves above the law. Occasionally in the United States, the Courts bring them back to a vague semblence of reality.



This reminds me of the Soviet Union (4.85 / 7) (#191)
by poopi on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 12:19:17 PM EST

I remember as a child people whispering how so-and-so was taken out of his flat in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. These were people who disagreed with their government: artists, writers, musicians anyone with enough education and the "wrong" worldview.

Sure today, the Americans will only detain people who have instructions on building weapons of mass destruction. Tomorrow, you get caught with a Chomsky book and it's off to the Guantano-gulag. Scary, scary stuff. My family emigrated to escape from an environment where things like this can happen. Now, it's in the USA, how long before this is in Canada?

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera

New Rules (3.75 / 4) (#195)
by TheSleeper on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 01:05:44 PM EST

It seems to me that the debate is currently pretty polarized between two sides:

On one hand, we have the Bush administration and its sympathizers who say that we are effectively at war, and that we must apply the rules of wartime justice to deal with the terrorist threat.

On the other hand, we have civil libertarians saying that we are not at war and that we must adhere to peacetime standards of justice.

I think that the situation we're in now is one where neither of these views is really tenable. We aren't exactly at war, but we aren't exactly at peace, either. The administration is right to want to take preemptive actions against terrorists that may violate some of our current principles of justice, and the civil libertarians are right to worry that this may open the door for less justifiable violations down the road.

What has to happen now is the development of a set of rules for dealing with terrorism, which will draw elements from both peacetime and wartime standards of justice. They need to provide a clear definition what 'terrorism' is. They need to clearly bound what actions the government may take to prevent terrorist actions. And they need to require long-term accountability for the actions the government takes.

I don't know what the exact rules should be. But I do know that they need to be developed in open debate, not simply passed down by edict from the administration. This is what really offends me about the administration's actions. I can agree with them up to: "The old rules won't work, now.", but not up to "The old rules don't work now, and so we shouldn't have any rules at all, and you shouldn't question anything we do."

Two other sides (5.00 / 4) (#215)
by epepke on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 06:07:37 PM EST

What has to happen now is the development of a set of rules for dealing with terrorism, which will draw elements from both peacetime and wartime standards of justice.

So, we get two other sides. Those who want to resolve this in the direction of maximizing governmental power (presumably but not guaranteed to be against terrorism) versus those who want to resolve this in the direction of minimizing governmental power (presumably to protect civil liberties). Furthermore, there is the question of whether the presumptions are correct.

I, personally, don't think that we need to mix and match. When looking at wartime strategies, first answer the question of what aspects of wartime they are intended to solve. Is declaring someone a combatant really supposed to do anything, or is it just a way of holding people wthout evidence for a long time? A military tribunal might be necessary when you're in a bombed-out area during wartime, but what purpose does it serve when there's a perfectly good system of justice just down the street?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Purpose served (5.00 / 1) (#220)
by aphrael on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:35:46 PM EST

protection of sources. Say you've arrested guy [X] because you know that he met with [y] and [x, y, z] were planning to do [a]. Say [z] is a plant. You can't have [z] testify, nor can you use his information in a court with public records and jurors/judges/lawyers who don't have security clearances; that would blow [z]'s cover, and you'd never be able to get more information out of him.

[ Parent ]
situation not unique to enemy combatants (4.75 / 4) (#224)
by svillee on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:13:38 PM EST

The police and the FBI also have undercover agents within crime organizations. They face this same exact dilemma. But the courts correctly do not allow this as an excuse to deny accused persons due process.

In such a situation, the police or FBI must make a judgment as to whether the criminal is important enough that convicting him is worth blowing the cover of the agent.

[ Parent ]

This is worse than three strikes! (4.00 / 3) (#221)
by willpost on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 07:38:36 PM EST

Someone stole a loaf of bread? They must be a terrorist. Peaceful protest accidentally becomes a riot? Lock them up as terrorists. "First they came for the jews, but I wasn't a Jew so I didn't react. Then they came for the communists, but I wasn't a communist so I didn't object. Then they came for the political activists but I wasn't a political activist, so I didn't protest. Then they came for me . . and by that time there was no one left to speak out."

Not a terrorist (4.00 / 4) (#225)
by QuickFox on Fri Jun 21, 2002 at 08:48:54 PM EST

"Oh, well, as long as it means they can stop terrorists, they can do whatever they need to. I'm not a terrorist, so why should I be worried?"
Today you're not a terrorist. Today. Just wait until tomorrow, when your paranoid neighbour decides you've been behaving suspiciously and denounces you.

No evidence needed, remember? No trial needed.

Goodbye.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fi

The Siege; Bush & the Judiciary (4.00 / 2) (#235)
by mendel on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 05:55:29 AM EST

The (1998!) movie you want to be watching is The Siege. After terrorist attacks on New York, civil liberties are curtailed.

Though I am a German (who spent a year in the US on student exchange), I watched most of the Florida election proceedings on CNN. The Ds tried to act according to the spirit of the law (and win the election), the Rs used the letter of the law to win the election. It does not surprise me that now Dubya seems to stop at nothing if he thinks he can get away with it.

Although there are conspiracy stories on the net that goverment organizations have masterminded the attack on the WTC, the parallel to the arson on the Reichstag seems to falls short of the mark. However, the intended victims of the Ermächtigungsgesetz had been portrayed of somehow not deserving of full citizenship (Untermenschen), and of course accused of international collaboration to the detriment of the Deutsche Reich.

I am wondering: if one can declare war on "terrorism", should "terrorism" be allowed a seat in the UN? I am uninformed on whether the US administration is observing the Haager Landkriegsordnung and the Geneva convention, which apply to captured enemies. So much for taking a rhetoric figure seriously = giving it judicial meaning.

More Tudor than Fuehrer (5.00 / 3) (#239)
by czolgosz on Sat Jun 22, 2002 at 02:48:11 PM EST

Let's get our historic abuses and atrocities right. The situation now reminds me more of Henry VIII than of the seizure of power by the Nazis.

Star-chamber proceedings, indefinite detention on secret charges, bills of attainder (singling out individuals or groups for punishment without trial). Not to mention asset forfeiture. OK, bills of attainder were legislative rather than administrative, but the legislature then was a complete lapdog to the monarchy, so it was a distinction without a difference. Hmmm-- maybe even that isn't different now: how many votes in Congress were there in opposition to the PATRIOT Act??

To make the analogy more complete, just replace the Henry the Eighth term "treason" with the Bush the Second term "terrorism." Both meaning, in practice, "that which we don't like."

Odd that we see this when we have a republic, where people don't become king just because they're someone's son...
Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
Here's a joke for you .... (none / 0) (#248)
by esq on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:28:07 PM EST

Q: What is the difference between the USA and Nazi Germany?
A: Nazi Germany respected the Geneva converntion.

Sad eh?


depends. (none / 0) (#250)
by aphrael on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 12:39:16 AM EST

They abided by it with respect to british and americans, but completely ignored it with respect to soviets they captured. which was, i might add, reciprocated.

[ Parent ]
Judicial "Enabling Act" in US Federal Courts | 254 comments (228 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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