Strange Bedfellows

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by luv2bsecure, Apr 5, 2002.

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  1. luv2bsecure

    luv2bsecure Infrequent Poster

    Feb 9, 2002
    The coalition opposed to the USA Patriot Act is bringing people from the far right and the far left together. Some strange bedfellows indeed. Like this, from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution --

    Panel faults restrictions imposed since Sept. 11
    Joe Geshwiler - Staff
    Thursday, April 4, 2002

    A panel that spanned a range of opinions from U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) to ACLU President Nadine Strossen --- with authorities on law enforcement and the media in between --- Wednesday condemned legal restrictions adopted by the Bush administration and Congress after Sept. 11.

    In a forum at the Richard B. Russell Building sponsored by the Atlanta chapter of the Federal Bar Association, panelists were unanimous in saying steps taken in the name of protecting Americans from terrorists were in fact treading on cherished liberties.

    Panelists directed the brunt of their criticism at the USA Patriot Act enthusiastically endorsed by President Bush and passed overwhelmingly by Congress last October. The measure greatly expands the federal law-enforcement powers, including the authority to conduct secret searches, make secret arrests and secretly scan electronic communications without a court order.

    Barr said Congress acted in haste without thinking through the consequences of the measure. Many of the act's provisions are overbroad, he said, including giving quasi-federal personnel --- referring to airport security officers --- the authority to deny a person the right to interstate travel simply because "they don't like the color of his eyes."

    Barr took no comfort in the fact the measure expires in four years and must be reauthorized by Congress. "Power taken by the government is rarely returned," he warned. He urged a continuing congressional review of the effects of the act to minimize the long-range impact on civil liberties.

    Strossen of the American Civil Liberties Union said a broad coalition across the political spectrum is raising a crescendo of criticism against the act, and experts on law enforcement and national security --- like former FBI and CIA head William Webster --- are chiming in.

    She said the Bush Justice Department's mass interrogation tactics are bound to fail as long as suspects are targeted on the basis of ethnicity. Al-Qaida, she said, is bound to respond to a miguided U.S. emphasis on screening new arrivals from the Mideast by dispatching its agents of Asian and African origin.

    She complimented U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Mallon Faircloth of the Middle Georgia District for disallowing a ban "due to the national emergency" against a peaceful demonstration by protesters at what was known as the School of the Americas at Fort Benning. Faircloth's ruling was eloquent, she said, in pointing out that war neither automatically adds to the government's powers nor subtracts from the people's rights.

    Another speaker, Robert Friedman, head of Georgia State University's Department of Criminal Justice, said it is just as important for the U.S. to police its freedoms as police terrorism. As an adviser to Israeli police authorities, he said that besieged country provides a good example for America, especially the recent ruling by its Supreme Court prohibiting the use of "moderate physcial pressure" against terror suspects even in emergency situations.,

    Conrad Fink, journalism professor at the University of Georgia, lamented not only that the U.S. government is operating without the slightest regard for the public's right to know the way it is fighting the war on terror, here or abroad, but additionally that the public is all too complacent about being in the dark.

    "The watchdogs of the press lack the muscle to lift the curtain of secrecy dropped by the Bush administration," he said. "Journalists can't say in good faith they're reporting accurately or fairly" because they've been kept at bay due to new and restrictive military regulations.


    At this point in time, it takes guts to take a stand for freedom if you're in an elected position. Benjamin Franklin would have been the first one jumping to his feet to applaud Representative Barr.

  2. Blacksheep

    Blacksheep Spyware Fighter

    Feb 9, 2002
    Missouri, USA
    Yes, it takes guts to stand up and speak out, in the face of fierce opposition, for what one believes is right.

    Legislation passed in fear and/or anger is frequently not the best course of action.

    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    - Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.
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