From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Privacy restricted severely. U.S. Laws. COINTELPRO again. Please distribute this
Read herein a good summary of current and upcoming restrictions on civil liberties and privacy. It is a Sept 21, 2001 message from a conservative announcement list called "Freedom & Privacy News" (FPN). The drug war has been the main reason in the recent past to restrict civil liberties and privacy. Now the definition of "terrorism" is being vastly expanded in order to justify many more restrictions. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Forfeiture laws pioneered in the Drug War will also be expanded. There is also an Indymedia.org message farther down about censorship occuring now of certain songs on the radio.
These new restrictions are a throwback to the COINTELPRO days of files on almost everybody and sharing that info with death squads abroad. Look up \"COINTELPRO\" in any good search engine. Here are some key quotes from the FPN message.
\"the FBI, the BATF, the DEA, the INS, or any other federal law enforcement agency could - without a search warrant - survey a citizen\'s e-mail and his web-surfing. The web surveillance can include every URL which the person visits, and also includes (by virtue of including URLs created by search engines) the key words of every search the person submits. The e-mail surveillance would not include the text of messages, but would include the to/from information, as well as the subject line of a message, and also the size of the message.\"
\"allowing the use in federal courts of surveillance illegally conducted by foreign governments. (Section 105.) The foreign governments would even be protected by the secrecy rules which apply to confidential informants. What this does is set up a system whereby a foreign government can violate American laws by wiretapping Americans, while the American government can violate foreign laws by wiretapping foreigners, and then both governments collude to share their fruits of their joint violations of their nations\' privacy laws.\"
The method explained in the last quote above is similar to how the US has used its death squad friends abroad. By sharing information, lists of names, etc. the USA can have people of all nations brutally questioned, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, and killed abroad, even Americans, without directly implicating the USA.
*Death Squads, Drug War. LINKS worldwide. Revised. Millions killed over decades. Huge LINKS list. Lists in alphabetical and chronological order. Other death squads, too. Such as the US-run Phoenix Program during the Vietnam war. Many other US-run or US-aided death squads worldwide. Corruption at all levels of politics, police, society, government, etc..
FPC-News - Fast-Moving House Bill Restricts Liberties. http://www.freedomcommittee.org/fpc-news-archive/2001-Sep/msg00008.html
To: \"Freedom & Privacy News \\(E-mail\\)\"
Subject: FPC-News - Fast-Moving House Bill Restricts Liberties
From: \"Joe Saladino\" <joe [at] bram.net>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 17:03:52 -0700
Fast-Moving House Bill Restricts Liberties - Much Of It Unrelated To Terror
By Dave Kopel 9-21-1
Congress is being asked to rush to pass emergency anti-terrorist legislation http://www.cdt.org/security/010911response.shtml written by the Department of Justice.
House Committee hearings are scheduled for Friday, Senate hearings for Tuesday, and the DOJ is demanding the bill be enacted by the end of the week.
It would be a serious mistake for Congress leaders to force this legislation into law without careful scrutiny, because much of the legislation turns out to have nothing to do with fighting terrorism. Instead, the legislation contains a host of items which have been on the bureaucratic wish lists for many years.
As we strongly support Attorney General Ashcroft and his staff in performing their executive branch duties, Congress must remain faithful to its own duties, which is to make laws carefully and correctly.
Before voting for any bill - and especially for a bill on a hurry-up agenda - Congresspeople have an obligation to read the bill. When they read the proposed new DOJ bill, they will find much that is unnecessary, and more that is a serious threat to the Bill of Rights.
For example Section 406 of the bill expands the property subject to certain drug forfeiture orders. The expansion might or might not be a good idea, but it has no business being in an emergency terrorism bill.
A much larger set of non-terrorist items can be found in the wiretap proposals. Currently, federal wiretaps operate under two distinct statutes. One statute is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/50/ch36.html enacted in 1978. This law gives broad surveillance powers to the federal government, and authorizes the issuance of wiretaps by a secret seven-judge court in Washington, D.C. Anti-terrorist wiretaps would fall under FISA, and the bill does contain several provisions to expand or strengthen FISA.
There is a separate statute, the Wiretap Act, http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/ch119.html which is used for ordinary crimes. (18 US Code, sections 2510-22). This Act authorizes wire-tapping for over 100 types of crimes - ranging from homicide down to student loan fraud.
While FISA wiretaps are extremely secret, the Administrative Office of the United States Courts produces an annual \"Wiretap Report\" http://www.uscourts.gov/wiretap00/contents.html which summarizes statistics about the year\'s Wiretap Act surveillance. These reports show conclusively that the Wiretap Act is almost wholly unrelated to terrorism. While wiretaps are up over 600% since 1980, only about 1 in 500 wiretaps involves homicide or arson, the primary terrorist offenses. About three-fourths of wiretaps are for drugs.
It\'s theoretically possible that a Wiretap Act interception could be used in a terrorism investigation - such as a wiretap on an American citizen suspected of creating false immigration documents. But the DOJ bill proposes a host of Wiretap Act expansions which are not limited to terrorism investigations, and which vastly increase the power of the federal government to conduct surveillance of the reading habits and correspondence of the American people.
In 1979, five members of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Smith v. Maryland http://laws.findlaw.com/us/442/735.html that the federal Constitution does not require the police to get a warrant in order to place a pen register or a \"trap and trace device\" on someone\'s telephone. A pen register records the numbers which are dialed by a particular phone; a trap and trace device records the numbers which call a particular phone. The narrow majority upholding the warrantless use of these devices explained that devices were constitutional only because they revealed so little personal information: they did not disclose the parties who conversed, or the subject of the conversation, or even whether the call was connected.
A Congressional statute formalizes federal use of pen registers, and requires judges to issue pen register orders under a \"rubber stamp\" standard. The judge must issue the order whenever a U.S. Attorney requests an order. Pen registers and trap and trace devices are much more common than wiretaps. Last year, there were about 5,000 such devices used on Americans by federal law enforcement.
The DOJ bill would expand pen register/trap and trace power to include surveillance of Internet surfing and of e-mail. (A similar measure was included in a bill hastily passed by the Senate on September 12, with hardly any discussion.) This means that the FBI, the BATF, the DEA, the INS, or any other federal law enforcement agency could - without a search warrant - survey a citizen\'s e-mail and his web-surfing. The web surveillance can include every URL which the person visits, and also includes (by virtue of including URLs created by search engines) the key words of every search the person submits. The e-mail surveillance would not include the text of messages, but would include the to/from information, as well as the subject line of a message, and also the size of the message.
Such surveillance is far more intrusive http://www.cdt.org/security/000404amending.shtml that old-fashioned telephonic pen registers. If you make a telephone call to Arnold & Porter, the pen register doesn\'t disclose who you talked to, or how long you talked. In contrast, e-mail surveillance reveals the particular persons who communicated. Traditional pen registers, of course, disclose nothing about a person\'s reading habits; but URL surveillance can build an extremely detailed picture of how a person exercises his First Amendment rights - and can also disclose a person\'s sexual orientation, if s/he visits erotic web sites.
Even though e-mail and web surveillance reveal the intimate details of a person\'s thoughts and life, such surveillance is a legitimate tool for law enforcement - as long as there is compliance with the Fourth Amendment\'s requirement for a warrant based on probable cause. Current law allows such surveillance based on a search warrant. There is no need to abandon the warrant requirement, and there is certainly no need to toss out the warrant rule to allow searches under a statute that has very little connection with counter-terrorism.
If we want to give the federal government vast new surveillance powers for drug, pornography, and gambling laws, then let us have a full and open debate on the subject, and not deceive ourselves with the notion that this expansion is part of fighting terrorism.
Federal laws regulate the federal government, but they usually cannot, as a practical matter, control foreign governments. Many foreign governments conduct illegal electronic surveillance of American citizens, using surveillance facilities housed in embassies and consulates.
The DOJ bill would actually reward this practice by allowing the use in federal courts of surveillance illegally conducted by foreign governments. (Section 105.) The foreign governments would even be protected by the secrecy rules which apply to confidential informants. What this does is set up a system whereby a foreign government can violate American laws by wiretapping Americans, while the American government can violate foreign laws by wiretapping foreigners, and then both governments collude to share their fruits of their joint violations of their nations\' privacy laws.
The DOJ bill gives the DOJ the power to permanently detain legal aliens in the United States, in conjunction with a terrorism investigation. Notably, federal courts would be forbidden to examine these detentions pursuant to a habeas corpus petition. While arguments can be made for authorizing the detention, we should not allow a DOJ official to impose, in effect, a life sentence without parole - with no chance of judicial review. The potential for abuse is immense, and no matter how much one trusts the current staff of the DOJ, this is a power that could be used by every future Attorney General.
The Alien Acts http://www.studyworld.com/John_Adams_Critical_Review.htm under John Adams and the Palmer Raids http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/hist409/red.html under Woodrow Wilson are only two of the many instances of Department of Justice of abuses of lawful aliens, carried out under the guise of national security, but in fact intended to stifle political debate in the United States. Attorney General Palmer used a series of Washington bombings to attempt to eradicate what he called the \"disease of evil thinking.\" http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0104/hentoff.php
When the Department of Justice can imprison an alien for life - without judicial review - the potential to intimidate political speech is immense. And the American people, who are entitled to hear the broadest range of political debate, are the losers.
This extremely dangerous provision would become somewhat safer if judicial review were not forbidden. Even then, there provision would be better with a definite sunset date.
Indeed, so would the entire bill. This bill is touted as an emergency wartime measure. We are going to win this war, and we should ensure that once the war is over, America is just as free as before. We should not repeat the mistakes of World War I and World War II, in which wartime emergency powers were allowed to continue into peacetime.
As immigration reform groups have documented in great detail, immigration law enforcement in this country is a joke. There are many thousands of aliens in this country who arrived in student visas, and who are no longer students. As with gun laws, properly enforcing the existing laws ought to precede calls for enacting more laws.
The proposed statute (section 302) allows a life sentence for the \"terrorist offenses\" - which at first blush seems unnecessary, because life sentences (or sentences of hundreds of years and more) are already available for homicide and acts of mass arson or bombing.
But when one reads the statute\'s new definition of \"terrorism\" (section 309), one sees that minor offenses are suddenly turned into \"terrorism\" (with a potential life sentence). The definition of terrorism includes actual terrorist offenses (e.g., homicide, arson, assassination), but includes so many other federal crimes that it covers teenagers who throw rocks through a post office window (18 USC section 1361, destruction of government property, no matter how little), or human rights activists who vandalize the sign outside a dictatorship\'s government\'s office building (18 USC sec. 956, conspiracy to injure property of a foreign government), as well as many, many other non-terrorist offenses.
I am not arguing against punishing people who commit these low-level crimes, but I am arguing against calling them \"terrorists\" and subjecting them to life in prison. No matter how much faith one has that the Ashcroft DOJ will not abuse this very over-inclusive definition, Mr. Ashcroft will not be Attorney General forever, and the history of the DOJ - including under the
Janet Reno, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0895262371/
John Mitchell, http://beta.encarta.msn.com/find/concise.asp?ti=0101C000
and Mitchell Palmer http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~rjensen/vol2no5/labor10125.htm
regimes -- suggests that almost any power which can be abused eventually will be abused.
The Center for Democracy and Technology has identified many more problems http://www.cdt.org/security/010920analysis.pdf with the bill, in addition to the ones detailed in this article. Plainly this is a very flawed bill which cannot be fixed with an amendment or two.
It is very important that our nation have all the powers necessary to win the war. America\'s greatest power - and the reason that the dark ages tyrants fear and envy us - is our open society. America did not panic when the British burned http://www.jmu.edu/madison/dolleywashburn.htm Washington, D.C., to the ground in the War of 1812, and America must not panic today.
-- end of Freedom & Privacy News message --
Indymedia.org message and comments:
by Woody Guthrie 9:03am Sun Sep 23 \'01
question from Europe. Is music censored on US radio?
Yesterday someone told me US goverment had banned a lot of songs from radio and tv. The story was that there is a list with anti-american songs, anti-war songs etc. which were banned. Is this true. And if so, does anybody know which songs are \"illegal\" now. Did anybody hear \"Masters of War\" on the airwaves recently?
add your own comments
These may be the articles you are refering to (english)
by Freedom Fighters 9:35am Sun Sep 23 \'01
by mike 9:40am Sun Sep 23 \'01 simonetmichael [at] hotmail.com
I haven\'t heard of any government ban on songs, but I believe that Clear Channel Audio (think that\'s correct) a major player in the U.S. radio market has asked it\'s stations not to play certain tunes, among them, Imagine by Lennon, Great Balls of Fire, and on and on. Good \'ol corporate concern for our sensitivities.
Worse still..... (english)
by Jack the Reaper 9:55am Sun Sep 23 \'01
ClearChannel (owners of 247 of the top 250 radio stations in the US) has also banned ANYTHING by Rage Against the Machine. That\'s right, Rage Against the Machine is BANNED from being played, interviewed, quoted from of even mentioned on ClearChannel\'s airwaves (let\'s face it, they own the US airwaves). I\'m POSITIVE that that\'s illegal, somehow.
Censored Songs (english) by censored 9:57am Sun Sep 23 \'01
Two songs which I heard on Democracy NOw that are banned,
Give Peace a Chance Bridge Over Troubled Waters
There were others but I cannot remember
-- end of http://www.indymedia.org message and comments --
*The MAJORITY of the 2 million U.S. inmates are incarcerated due to the drug war! The Drug-War Industrial Complex. The U.S. drug-war inmate MAJORITY is calculated by adding together inmates committing drug crimes, drug-related crimes (such as robbing to get money for drugs that are expensive because of the drug war), drug-related parole violations, etc.. The USA has 5% of the world\'s population and 25% of the world\'s 8 MILLION prisoners. The USA surpassed Russia in the year 2000, and so the USA again has the world\'s highest incarceration rate! It is now 5 to 17 times higher than all other Western (long democratic traditions) nations. The US incarceration rate has nearly QUADRUPLED since Reagan\'s election in 1980. 6.5 million adults, or 1 in 32 adults in the USA, or 3.1% of adults, were under correctional supervision (in jail, in prison, on probation, or on parole) at yearend 2000. Statistics, references, links, and charts:
U.S. Incarceration Rates Chart. Timeline. Drug War Incarceration Nation.
>[code]<font face=Courier New>________________