Cops Abuse New Anti-Terror Law.
August 5, 2002 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Cops Abuse New Anti-Terror Law. The raid was perhaps the state's first known instance of law enforcement officers using new anti-terrorism police powers in a case unrelated to terrorism... Ahh, yes. The War On Drugs meets The War Against Terror.
posted by fnord_prefect (13 comments total)
Who says we aren't becoming a police state? The butterfly has begun flapping its wings. Tornados are a-comin'.
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:04 PM on August 5, 2002

the new anti-terrorism laws, signed into law in April[...] make search warrant affidavits nonpublic.

Somebody, anybody, tell me: how on earth does this help fight terrorism? Even now that they're made public after 56 days: what is the benefit of keeping that information secret for so long?
posted by ook at 1:06 PM on August 5, 2002

the new anti-terrorism laws, signed into law in April[...] make search warrant affidavits nonpublic.

Somebody, anybody, tell me: how on earth does this help fight terrorism?

It would help keep the intelligence sources secret. I can see the need for it in ongoing undercover operations related to terror activities, but it was only a matter of time before it was misapplied and abused by some Drug Warrior meatheads.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:11 PM on August 5, 2002

Is anyone suprised by this? You can't trust power not to be abused. Things that look ok in principle often have horrific consequences... like this.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:18 PM on August 5, 2002

Since when did PATRIOT look good in principal? It takes away far more rights than the government has dared to in the past, and was ramrodded through congress before anyone could even give it a thorough read. Nowhere in the entire thing does it stipulate that the government has to have an ongoing anti-terror investigation before they use the powers given under USA PATRIOT. Peoaple have pointed out that this insane legislation could be used to suppress almost every single right given in the Bill Of Rights, and yet nobody on the hill is even giving it a second look.
posted by fnord_prefect at 1:44 PM on August 5, 2002

Fnord...I never said it looked good in principle...I'm greatly opposed to it. However, I do know people who say "oh well, we can trust the government on this one." WE CAN"T! Its amazing that Russ Feingold, the only senator to vote against US PATRIOT, was not interviewed on television about this decisions until July on the new Donahue show. This is how countries slip into totalitarianism.
posted by pjgulliver at 1:48 PM on August 5, 2002

This stuff just really *sickens* me now. I mean, I can't legitimately say it surprises me so much, since the road to where we are now has been paved so bloody clearly.

When I was a kid, I lived in a free country. I'm very sad to say that I think it's gone now.

Is it time for us to march on Washington yet?

I'm thinking that Arlington is rumbling with the sounds of the bones spinning in their respective graves.

To think of all the people who gave so much, and died for our freedom, and how quickly it's being washed away.

This makes me mad. Every week something new comes along to piss me off further.

I'll write a tirade later at my site. I'm truly disgusted now. It's not so much that this specific act is so horrible (but it is truly awful), but that it's the straw that broke this camel's back.

How bad does it get, folks, before you are ready to cry "bullshit!" at these power-grabbing morons who are so shamelessly plowing our rights into the ground?

(*goes off to start writing snarky bumper sticker slogans*)
posted by beth at 2:02 PM on August 5, 2002

as opposed to those understated ones I usually laugh at when I visit the states.

"The proud parent of class valedictorian".

Nothing like modesty.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:15 PM on August 5, 2002

people who are too stupid to feel self-doubt look good on television. therefore they are running the country. i mean, it's an old, tired sort of an explaination, but...
posted by hob at 2:26 PM on August 5, 2002

From my favorite movie, hob:

"The world was made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:36 PM on August 5, 2002

I see the law of unintended consequences is already rearing it's ugly head. It's the reason why you don't f-ck with the Constitution.
posted by drstrangelove at 3:29 PM on August 5, 2002

The law in question is not the USA PATRIOT act, although arguments by analogy are certainly fair game. Michigan's PA 128 made search warrants non-public information (subsection 8); and Michigan Code, as revised by last week's 8-week disclosure amendment (SS. 9). The same language ensures that "a person" can get a copy from the prosecutor, presumably referring to a person targeted by the warrant; the only restriction is on public records that may be searched, e.g. at the courthouse by anyone walking in. (Some people would be astonished at what you can find out about a person, company, or property in most courthouses.)

There certainly was nothing in the language of the original public act that limited its applicability to "terrorism cases", even if that were the motivation. If the legislature had intended such it should have written it into the law. Certainly, once it is enrolled law, it is available for law enforcement to use for any purpose not proscribed. The alacrity with which the Michiganders revised their own law (non public on 4/22; public after 8 weeks on 7/25) shows that popular concern over civil liberties and government transparency still holds weight. The original law was an overreach; the revised law is still a step back, but reasonably limited. The power of the judiciary over warrants is preserved, and judicial intervention is required to continue the suppression of a warrant, which is a power found in several states already.
posted by dhartung at 5:31 PM on August 5, 2002

The War on Drugs meets the War on Terrorism.
And if the War on Terrorism is nearly as successful as the War on Drugs has been we should all sleep safely!
posted by nofundy at 4:59 AM on August 6, 2002

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