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The Associated Press
September 6, 2002 9:52 AM   Subscribe

The Associated Press has written a summary of the Bush Administration's curtailment of civil liberties. This appears to an unbiased and factual catalog of the changes 9/11 has wrought on our justice system. It would appear that the Law and Order wing of the GOP has spanked the Libertarian wing but good. Let the Eagle Soar!
posted by pejamo (54 comments total)

 
I do hope we still have the right to remain funky, tho.

They'll take my funkitude when they pry it from my cold, dead, post-gyrating hips.
posted by tittergrrl at 10:04 AM on September 6, 2002


I'm going to be sick.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:14 AM on September 6, 2002


Tittergrrl - Like this?
posted by mss at 10:18 AM on September 6, 2002


I'm glad I live in Canada. Oh, wait.
posted by Fabulon7 at 10:19 AM on September 6, 2002


Is anyone willing to defend government suspension of these rights?
posted by pjgulliver at 10:29 AM on September 6, 2002


No.
posted by walrus at 10:32 AM on September 6, 2002


Hell, I'm suprised we're still able to complain about 'em.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:44 AM on September 6, 2002


They heard that, XQUZYPHER.

But seriously, this is bullshit. Repeal the so-called Patriot Act.
posted by AlexSteffen at 10:56 AM on September 6, 2002


This is really not that big of a deal, cause you see.... we lose all of these rights only to assist in terror investigations. The definition of a terrorism is the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, often for ideological or political reasons. So you see.... terrorism never doesn't happen that often, so we are o.k.
[/sarcasm]
posted by bmxGirl at 11:01 AM on September 6, 2002


Hey, it seems to be working, though. We haven't been attacked since the Patriot Act was passed, have we? Huh? Huh?
posted by Dr. Boom at 11:02 AM on September 6, 2002


Hell, I'm suprised we're still able to complain about 'em.

I'm sure names are being collected...and we'll just be listed as double plus ungood somewhere. I wonder how the weather is in Cuba this time of year?
posted by dejah420 at 11:06 AM on September 6, 2002


Ugh.
Ugh.
Ugh.
So when do the idiots come in here and tell us this is no big deal and that we are ulta-liberals who don't care about our country?

Oh please hurry. I need a good laugh, after that.
posted by Espoo2 at 11:08 AM on September 6, 2002


Some people will bitch about anything. Listen, Habeas Corpus is great and all, but my philosophy is, what has it done for me lately? I'm not a terrorist. Whatever they have to do to put the evils in jail is fine by me, Jack, because in case you haven't heard, we're in the middle of a desperate war for freedom.

It's like that one poem, where the guys come for the Jews, and he doesn't say anything because he ain't a Jew, and then they come for the Commies and he doesn't say anything, then finally they come for him, and.. I forget, I think they give him a Jet-Ski or something... blah blah blah, they all lived happily ever after! Read a book for once, hippies.
posted by Hildago at 11:27 AM on September 6, 2002


Seeing it all in one place really highlights what a great job the admin has done in spreading it out over time. (Rule # one in managing public opinion. See also: keep bombings 18 mos apart so the public has time to forget-Al Qaeda rule#1)

If you put it into perspective, we're still not at the same place of drawing in our rights as we were during ww2 (just trying to be optomistic)

When the media is falling all over itself trying to out-commemorate 911, I'll be instead reflecting on all this for the duration of Sept 11 Day, not to mention Ramadan [ducks]
posted by BentPenguin at 11:29 AM on September 6, 2002


'member how we flushed out Noriega out of his Presidental Palace? The Marines blasted it with all a bunch of crazy punk music... and we Janet Reno decided that the way to really get to David Koresh was to play the sounds of bunnies being slaughtered for meat? So why don't we just put Ashcroft on every Pakistani radio station - that oughta get Al-Quaeda a-surrenderin.'
posted by DenOfSizer at 11:40 AM on September 6, 2002


This appears to an unbiased and factual catalog.


I am not arguing with what this says, but it is a fluff piece. There are no facts or cases being pointed to that any of these things have happened. So factual, no. Unbiased, well it is assuming the worst, so no. The least they could do is cite an instance were any of these things have happened, or when an official said that this was their intent. Once again, I am not saying that these things have or have not happened, but AP needs to provide evidence. At least that is how I remember journalism working.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2002


i am reporting you ALL!

authority people, it's all about respecting teh authority :)

*counts five bucks*
posted by kliuless at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2002


If the Government wants to fuck with you, then they will. And it was like that long before Sept. 11th.
posted by stifford at 11:43 AM on September 6, 2002


All right. I'm going against the crowd here. Though I would agree with most of you that the USA/PATRIOT act was bad law, passed in haste and without a proper debate, I think the list presented in the linked article is a little hysterical. Particularly the last two (and most frightening) items:

* RIGHT TO A SPEEDY AND PUBLIC TRIAL: Government may jail Americans indefinitely without a trial.

* RIGHT TO LIBERTY: Americans may be jailed without being charged or being able to confront witnesses against them.


I assume that the reference here is to the holding of two (that we know of) American citizens as "enemy combatants". This action on the part of the administration hasn't really been tackled by the courts yet, and it's a little premature to refer to it as a "curtailment of our civil liberties". Strikes me as hysterical fear-mongering. That said, I hope with all my heart that the courts come down strong against the administration on the enemy combatant issue.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:44 AM on September 6, 2002


I personally can't wait until the Gestapo err.. I mean Department of Homeland Security, comes to get you ulta-liberals!

[/sarcasm]
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 11:50 AM on September 6, 2002


Actually, Mr. Roboto, it has been tackled by the courts, and discussed on Metafilter....here's the original link.

And Steve....this isn't a fluff piece. These are all rights the government now controls after the passing of USA PATRIOT. The point is that we don't know if these privileges have been used yet. Fact: USA PATRIOT allows the government to infiltrate public gatherings without just cause. Has it happened? I don't know, I'm not FBI. But it scares the crap out of me that these new powers are out there.
posted by pjgulliver at 11:51 AM on September 6, 2002


pjgulliver: My point was, that the AP article makes no effort to PROVE any of these things. I could write an article on my weblog that says that a new tax law is keeping people in poverty, but if I don't provide any evidence, it doesn't mean crap. An argument, and that is what that article was, must provide evidence to prove its' validity, other wise it is an opinion.

The point is that we don't know if these privileges have been used yet.

Then it is speculation.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:04 PM on September 6, 2002


Steve....its not speculation. Go read the text of USA PATRIOT here. Have no doubt, government now has all of the powers described in the article. Saying "gee, I don't know if its used them yet, so whats the problem" it tantamount to saying "I'm not a terrorist so why do I have to worry." You have to worry because historically, when government gains a power it does not relinquish that power, ever. And it vastly expands the scope and use of that power.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:10 PM on September 6, 2002


PJgulliver:
EXACTLY.

OF COURSE we don't HEAR about it happening yet, that's part of the problem. The FACT is, Sir Steve, that these ARE priveleges that the government DOES hold now, under Bush's "leadership".
posted by Espoo2 at 12:20 PM on September 6, 2002


I like I said, you give me a call when the Gestapo/FBI/NSA/FreeMasons comes knockin' on your door to get you.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 12:25 PM on September 6, 2002


For anyone who assumes that the FBI will only use these kinds of powers against terrorists and hostile foreign agents, I'd like to point to the FBI's own history.

This page has a nice collection of resources about the COINTELPRO program of the 1950s to 1970s, in which the FBI harassed and persecuted civil rights and other activists. It started as an FBI domestic intelligence program, too, but quickly expanded into surveillance and "disruption" of any groups that the FBI felt were suspicious.

Ironically, the PATRIOT act rolls back many of the restrictions that Congress put in place on the Bureau after the abuses of COINTELPRO were discovered in the 1970s.
posted by eyebeam at 12:29 PM on September 6, 2002


Well, unfortunately Steve, I wouldn't be able to, because I would be held without access to counsel or outside communication. And truth is, they probably won't get me. I'm white, wealthy and well educated. I have parents who hold high positions in their local community and friends who are climbing the corporate and political ladder. But most of America isn't like me, and I think they deserve as a right the same privlidges I derive from my racial and economic status.

But that's not the point, is it? The point is that the reason laws and prohibitions exist is to narrowly define the scope of governments power. This country was founded on the premise that we should have the least amount of government possible, and that governments power should be rigidly defined. And we've thrown that tradition away here.
posted by pjgulliver at 12:32 PM on September 6, 2002


Steve_at_Linnwood, the AP item in the FPP obviously is a list accompanying an article. I would assume that the article contains the evidence that you complain isn't supported in the list.

Having worked for the AP, and later as a wire editor on a newspaper copy desk, I know that this is how it works: the reporter writes an article that is carried over the wire. If they are necessary, sidebars, lists, glossaries, bios and other related material move over the wire in separate files. Layout editors then put them in boxes within the story or down the side of the page or whatever.

That's what we have here. Maybe a sleuth will find the story that accompanies this list.
posted by Holden at 12:37 PM on September 6, 2002


I believe this is the accompanying story. It's the AP wire on Yahoo, rather than Newsday, but I found the same AP sidebar linked above, and this article was posted one minute later.
posted by eyebeam at 12:45 PM on September 6, 2002


Here's a good article on the civil liberties vs. security debate by Dahlia Lithwick: 9/11 and the Law.

"It is not a lot to ask that if this 'war' on terror is to continue, this simple test be instituted: Civil liberties may not be suspended unless some principled government objective is articulated and the proposed measure is carefully tailored to meet that objective. If the government feels that giving Yasser Esam Hamdi access to an attorney imperils American security, it should tell us why."
posted by homunculus at 12:46 PM on September 6, 2002


I assume that the reference here is to the holding of two (that we know of) American citizens as "enemy combatants".

No. No. No. It refers to people arrested within the country's borders.
posted by Mo Nickels at 12:49 PM on September 6, 2002


The reason laws are passed is so they may be used. Saying that these laws don't mean anything because they haven't been used yet (although in reality they almost certainly have) is either naive or disingenuous.

If you disagree with these laws but think it doesn't matter because they haven't come after you or anyone you know yet, you are missing the point.
posted by cell divide at 12:50 PM on September 6, 2002


And since Steve wanted some hard evidence, how about Jose Padilla, the "dirty bomber"?

He's an American citizen, branded an "enemy combatant" and held in a military prison without access to lawyers or any other visitors. The government continues to refuse to show evidence of any crimes, and continues to deny that any court has a right to decide habeus corpus in his case.

Here's an older CNN story about the case.

There's Yaser Esam Hamdi, also an American citizen, being held under similar circumstances, too.
posted by eyebeam at 12:52 PM on September 6, 2002


Anyone who bitches about the Patriot Act is not allowed to fly an American flag on their truck or SUV.

Don't you people know that "Patriot = good"? Don't you realize that the existence of bad people means that the government should be given carte blanche? After all, the government wouldn't abuse power, now, would they?
posted by websavvy at 12:55 PM on September 6, 2002


Hey, it seems to be working, though. We haven't been attacked since the Patriot Act was passed, have we? Huh? Huh?

I have a rock that keeps away tigers. Never been attacked by a tiger yet.
posted by McBain at 12:58 PM on September 6, 2002


I for one welcome our new republican overlords!
posted by darkpony at 1:06 PM on September 6, 2002


McBain, I'd like to buy your rock.
posted by Jeff Howard at 1:17 PM on September 6, 2002


You can argue that none of our liberties have actually been curtailed yet. Maybe so. And you can argue that our current government will never presume to curtail our liberties. That's possible. And you can even argue that if our liberties have been curtailed or if they ever were to be curtailed, the courts would reverse or reinstate those rights. Maybe that's true, too. But new legislation permits our government to curtail a significant number of our constitutional rights and until the legislation is repealed, or the courts strike it down, the potential for abuse is there. Anyone who isn't worried trusts our current offcials much, much more than I do, or is just rationalizing their own indifference.

Stifford: if the government has always been as arbitrary as you imply, then the Patriot Act doesn't much matter. But then there's not much point in even commenting on it, is there?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:18 PM on September 6, 2002


On a humorous/infuriating note, the AP is reporting that INS is now deluged with 700,000 change of address forms from legal immigrants, thanks to Ashcroft's announcement that he would begin enforcing a law that mandates deportation for aliens who don't provide their current address. The INS is so overwhelmed that it isn't even processing the forms anymore.
posted by gsteff at 1:30 PM on September 6, 2002


Hildago, I'm still laughing! You've written my new philosophy for life.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:20 PM on September 6, 2002


It's worse. Other countries also bow to perennial conservative fears in their efforts to protect us from idiots heavily armed with boxcutters: UK: Basic rights denied after 11 September.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:23 PM on September 6, 2002


It's been argued to me that none of these 'rights' have really existed in practice for some time now so why cry about the fact that we're supposedly losing them? You can't lose something you've never really had.

But then the guy who said this to me is a chronic crumudgeon and cynic.
posted by TCMITS at 2:30 PM on September 6, 2002


Actually, Mr. Roboto, it has been tackled by the courts, and discussed on Metafilter....here's the original link.

I should have phrased myself better. What I meant was "resolved by the courts". There is, of course, currently litigation over the enemy combatant issue. We will not be able to figure out where we stand rights-wise, however, until the courts resolve this litigation. The current executive-judicial wrestling match you refer to, pjgulliver, is part of the process of resolution. It's certainly not going to be the final answer, though.

No. No. No. It refers to people arrested within the country's borders.

Well, Mo, the AP piece uses the term "Americans". I assumed this to mean "American citizens", in which case it can only refer to Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi, the two Americans being held without charge, right of council, or apparent right to trial. Padilla was arrested within the country's borders; Hamdi was not. The vast majority of the people being discussed in the articles you link to are aliens, mostly being held on (possibly arbitrary and trumped-up) immigration violations. They were arrested within the country's borders. The explicit use of the word "Americans", however, excludes these people. (Don't get me wrong; it's pretty damn scary that the government is holding so many possibly innocent people with no prospect of due process. I stand by my claim, however, that the wording in the AP piece is hysterical fear-mongering.)
posted by mr_roboto at 2:55 PM on September 6, 2002


Here's something that might be fun:

Why not start an email forward of that page to everyone you know, have them spread it around, and maybe let those less-informed among us have a chance to see exactly what Big Brother has in store for us?

I shall, I shall.
posted by Espoo2 at 3:14 PM on September 6, 2002


Espoo2: Great Idea, I was just thinking how I don't get enough spam already!
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:43 PM on September 6, 2002


Espoo2 - I'm with you. Spamming on all cylinders. unfortunately, the only people in my address book are leftie, pinko hippies.
posted by pejamo at 4:01 PM on September 6, 2002


You'd be the first uninformed person I would mail it to, Stevey.
posted by Espoo2 at 4:10 PM on September 6, 2002


It's late: I suddenly realised that I don't have enough pinky hippoes in my address book !
posted by daveg at 4:24 PM on September 6, 2002


The most disturbing thing about the USA/PATRIOT Act is that USA/PATRIOT is an acronym:
This Act may be cited as the 'Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT) Act of 2001'.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:41 PM on September 6, 2002


This is no big deal and "you're" just a bunch of ultra-liberals who don't care about our country.

How's that?

...scares the crap out of me that these new powers are out there.

Please. Just try not to go to any Islamic Extremist parades and you'll be fine.

...enforcing a law that mandates deportation for aliens who don't provide their current address.

Good! But it also sounds like the INS needs to hire a few temps and put a better system in place for changing a friggin' address.

Anyone who isn't worried trusts our current offcials much, much more than I do, or is just rationalizing their own indifference.

Right and wrong... respectively. But it's just like you people to assume you know better and the rest of us (the few of us that there are on this site) must be either insane or stupid. Nahh. Just kerr-aaayzeh about the Patriot Act.
posted by Witty at 6:07 AM on September 7, 2002


and rest of us must be either insane or stupid

Well, don't say you never had a choice.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:58 PM on September 7, 2002


all of you, up against the WALL!

hail yuor republican masters :)

*fingers night stick*
posted by kliuless at 9:20 AM on September 8, 2002


Please. Just try not to go to any Islamic Extremist parades and you'll be fine.

Witty,

Why not? We have (had) the freedom to associate and the freedom of religion in this country. I should be able to worship or protest as I please.
posted by sciatica at 10:04 PM on September 8, 2002


I didn't say you couldn't. But if you DID, don't be surprised if your name and mug end up in an FBI database somewhere. The 'please' in my statement was a sarcastic one, analogous to the popular 'oh, come one'.
posted by Witty at 6:26 AM on September 9, 2002


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