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Old 09-26-2006, 12:36 PM   #1
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we are ALL at potential risk

posted on (conservative, libertarian) andrew sullivan's blog:

[q]Those of us trying to resist the Bush administration's seizure of permanent emergency powers have so far failed to alert the American public of the immense danger to their basic liberties that this administration represents. Maybe this story in the Washington Post today will help wake America up.

How do I put this in words as clearly as possible. If the U.S. government decides, for reasons of its own, that you are an "illegal enemy combatant," i.e. that you are someone who

[q]"has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States,"[/q]

they can detain you without charges indefinitely, granting you no legal recourse except to a military tribunal, and, under the proposed bill, "disappear" and torture you. This is not just restricted to aliens or foreigners, but applies to U.S. citizens as well. It can happen anywhere in the U.S. at any time. We are all at potential risk.

Whatever else this is, it is not a constitutional democracy. It is a thinly-veiled military dictatorship, subject to only one control: the will of the Great Decider. And the war that justifies this astonishing attack on American liberty is permanent, without end. And check the vagueness of the language: "purposefully supported" hostilities. Could that mean mere expression of support for terror? Remember that many completely innocent people have already been incarcerated for years without trial or any chance for a fair hearing on the basis of false rumors or smears or even bounty hunters. Or could it be construed, in the rhetoric of Hannity and O'Reilly, as merely criticizing the Great Decider and thereby being on the side of the terrorists?

All I know is that al Qaeda is winning battles every week now. And they are winning them because their aim of gutting Western liberty is shared by the president of the United States. The fact that we are finding this latest, chilling stuff out now - while this horrifying bill is being rushed into law to help rescue some midterms - is beyond belief. It must be stopped, filibustered, prevented. And anyone who cares about basic constitutional freedom - conservatives above all - should be in the forefront of stopping it.

[/q]





the terrorists have won.
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:38 PM   #2
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I really don't think as long as there are human beings that terrorism will ever be defeated, whether its from Islamic fundamentalists, PETA (just throwing a random organization out there, i'm not saying pam anderson is a terrorist), whatever. It will never end.
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:56 PM   #3
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I think Andrew frets too much. How can they hold U.S. citizens without charging them? Unless maybe they are captured/arrested on foreign soil in the presence of known terrorists. Like that Jerry Jeff Walker character (or whatever his name was) a few years ago.

File under:
Worth looking into.
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Old 09-26-2006, 01:29 PM   #4
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You mean Johnny Lindh? There's a strange case for you. I cannot believe this is going on in my country. I never thought I'd see this.
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Old 09-26-2006, 02:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by INDY500
How can they hold U.S. citizens without charging them? Unless maybe they are captured/arrested on foreign soil in the presence of known terrorists.


the WP explains:

[q]But in recent days the Bush administration and its House allies successfully pressed for a less restrictive description of how the government could designate civilians as "unlawful enemy combatants," the sources said yesterday. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of negotiations over the bill.

The government has maintained since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that, based on its reading of the laws of war, anyone it labels an unlawful enemy combatant can be held indefinitely at military or CIA prisons. But Congress has not yet expressed its view on who is an unlawful combatant, and the Supreme Court has not ruled directly on the matter.

As a result, human rights experts expressed concern yesterday that the language in the new provision would be a precedent-setting congressional endorsement for the indefinite detention of anyone who, as the bill states, "has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States" or its military allies.

The definition applies to foreigners living inside or outside the United States and does not rule out the possibility of designating a U.S. citizen as an unlawful combatant. It is broader than that in last week's version of the bill, which resulted from lengthy, closed-door negotiations between senior administration officials and dissident Republican senators. That version incorporated a definition backed by the Senate dissidents: those "engaged in hostilities against the United States."

[/q]
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Old 09-26-2006, 04:49 PM   #6
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This is all pre-text to imposing martial law if need be in the event of another major attack (or Katrina-level natural disaster) on US soil by al Qaeda members with names like David and Peter (not Mohammed) who have US citizenship and passports as referenced in AOEN's other thread.
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Old 09-26-2006, 06:15 PM   #7
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*martial law* here? Egads!
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Old 09-27-2006, 11:17 AM   #8
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This was posted on a unrelated flying forum, but it hints to the slippery slope we are really on. Will he be put on a no fly list?
(emphais mine)

"I was detained for about 25 minutes today after passing though the TSA checkpoint at MKE terminal E.

I thought about posting this in the other treads devoted to their experience today under the new new liquids-are-okay-in-a-quart bag rule, but I decided it needed its own thread.

Yesterday, while discussing the new rules a fellow Flyertalker suggested we write "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on the outside of our clear plastic quart bags. So I did just that.

At the MKE "E" checkpoint I placed my laptop in one bin, and my shoes, cell phone and quart bag in a second bin. The TSA guy who was pushing bags and bins into the X-ray machine took a good hard look, and then as the bag when though the X-ray I think he told the X-ray operator to call for a bag check/explosive swab on my roller bag to slow me down. He went strait to the TSA Supervisor on duty and boy did he come marching over to the checkpoint with fire in his eyes!

He grabbed the baggie as it came out of the X-ray and asked if it was mine. After responding yes, he pointed at my comment and demanded to know "What is this supposed to mean?" "It could me a lot of things, it happens to be an opinion on mine." "You can't write things like this" he said, "You mean my First Amendment right to freedom of speech doesn't apply here?" "Out there (pointing pass the id checkers) not while in here (pointing down) was his response."

At this point I chuckled, just looking at him wondering if he just realized how foolish that comment was, but I think my laugh pushed him over the edge as he got really angry at this point. A Milwaukee County Sheriffs deputy was summoned - I would have left at this point, but he had my quart bag with my toothpaste and hair gel.

When the deputy got over the TSA supervisor showed him the bag and told him what had happened to that point. After he had finished I started to remind him he had left out his statement that my First Amendment rights didn't apply "here" but was cut off by the deputy who demanding my ID. I asked if I was under arrest, and his response was "Right now you are not under arrest, you are being detained." I produced my passport and he walked off with it and called in my name to see if I had any outstanding warrants, etc. The TSA supervisor picked up the phone about 20 feet away and called someone? At this point two more officers were near by and I struck up a conversation with the female officer who was making sure I kept put. I explained to her who Kip Hawley was, why I though he was an idiot, and my surprise that the TSA Supervisor felt my First Amendment rights didn't' apply at the TSA checkpoint. She didn't say much.

After he was assured I didn't have any warrants out the first office came back and I had my first chance to really speak, I explained that I was just expressing my opinion and my writing should be protected my by First Amendment rights. When he didn't respond, I then repeated that the TSA Supervisor stated my First Amendment rights didn't apply at the TSA check point and I asked if he (the deputy) agreed that was the case. He responded by saying "You can't yell fire in a crowed theater, there are limits to your rights.

At this point I chucked again

I asked how this was even remotely like shouting "Fire" in a crowd, and his answer was "Perhaps your comments made them feel threatened."

At about this point the TSA Supervisor finished up his phone call, and summoned the officer back over. They talked for about 2 minutes, and then both came back over. The officer pulled out his pad and asked for my address and I asked why he needed it. "For the report I have to file since I was summoned here" I started to give it, when I noticed the TSA Supervisor was writing it down as well, so I stopped and asked why he needed it. He said he needed to file an incident report too, and I took the opportunity to ask what the resolution of the incident was, did I do anything wrong? Are you going to ask the officer to arrest me? He said no, I was free to go, but he was going to confiscate my bag. I asked "If I did nothing wrong, why would you take my bag" He pointed to a posted sign that said something about reusing plastic bags (the MKE TSA was providing quart sized zipper bags to pax today) I let him know that I had brought my bag from home and would not be letting him take it. He then asked for permission of photograph it, which I agreed too.

While he walked away to get the camera I finished giving my address to the deputy, and he told my "You're free to go" Total time, about 25 minutes

After the TSA Supervisor took the photo I followed him back to his desk - he had a pretty shocked look on his face when he turned around and saw me there, and we talked for about 5 minutes, but when he rolled his eyes at me I quickly realized that he wasn't going to listen to anything I said.

I have a couple of questions:
Could I have refused to provide my ID and/or address to the officer since I wasn't under arrest?
When asked for my ID do I have to hand it over or can I hang on to it? By giving it to the deputy, he walked of with it and I felt stuck.
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Old 09-27-2006, 04:25 PM   #9
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sullivan continues (my emphasis):

[q]Late last night, before nodding off, I wondered, as I often do, whether I'd hyperbolized the threat from the looming detention-torture bill. "Legalizing tyranny" is a very strong phrase and I don't want to cry wolf. In the sense that this president intends to seize random Americans and rush them into black sites and torture them at will, it's hyperbole. But in a deeper sense, I think it's completely accurate. The system we're talking about is to do with wartime. A president in the past has had the option of seizing enemy combatants on a battlefield and detaining them without charge as POWs. There's no threat to liberty there. What's new is that in this war, enemy combatants have been designated as such not just on the battlefield - but anywhere in the world. What's new is that they are no longer entitled to POW status. What's new is that this war is for ever. So any changes are not just for a time-limited emergency but threaten to alter basic balances in constitutional order. What's also new is that torture is now allowed on the down-low, on the president's authority. And what's also new is that an enemy combatant may or may not be an American citizen.

Put all that together and you really do have the danger of taking emergency measures for wartime and transforming a peace-time constitution into an essentially martial system, where every citizen of non-citizen can be apprehended at will and detained without charge. I repeat: this is a huge deal. It really should be a huge deal for conservatives who care about restraining government power. Its vulnerability to abuse is enormous; the sanction of torture, history tells us, never remains discrete. It always spreads. It eats away at decency and law and civility. If the president sincerely believes that torture is our most potent weapon in this war, and that habeas corpus is a quaint relic from the past, then we are in far greater peril than even the most dire pessimists believe.
[/q]
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Old 09-28-2006, 11:09 AM   #10
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Maybe not all but at least those of us on the left.

http://www.salon.com/politics/war_ro...sts/index.html
The intelligence report cites "leftist" groups as a terror threat
The now-declassified summary of the National Intelligence Estimate (PDF) on "Trends in Global Terrorism" focuses almost exclusively on Islamic extremists. But inserted at the very end is this one overlooked, though seemingly quite important, passage that identifies other terrorist threats:

"Anti-U.S. and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age, raising the likelihood of surprise attacks by unknown groups whose members and supporters may be difficult to pinpoint." It continues: "We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train and obtain logistical and financial support."

Prior to 9/11, the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil was in Oklahoma City, where Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in pursuit of his right-wing, anti-federal-government agenda. But there is nothing in the NIE findings about right-wing or anti-government groups. Instead, there is a rather stark warning about the danger of "leftist" groups using the Internet to engage in terrorist attacks against the United States. Is there any basis at all for that warning?

There have been scattered reports over the last several years that the Bush administration's anti-terrorism programs have targeted domestic political groups solely because such groups espouse views contrary to the administration's. That this claim about "leftist" terrorist groups made it into the NIE summary is particularly significant in light of the torture and detention bill that is likely soon to be enacted into law. That bill defines "enemy combatant" very broadly (and the definition may be even broader by the time it is enacted) and could easily encompass domestic groups perceived by the administration to be supporting a "terrorist agenda."

Similarly, the administration has claimed previously that it eavesdrops on the conversations of Americans only where there is reasonable grounds (as judged by the administration) to believe that one of the parties is affiliated with a terrorist group. Does that include "leftist" groups that use the Internet to organize? This NIE finding gives rise to this critical question: Are "leftist" groups one of the principal targets on the anti-terrorism agenda of the Bush administration, and if so, aren't the implications rather disturbing?

-- Glenn Greenwald
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