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Beyond Fear: Required reading for Ashcroft's America

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chico haasPerson was signed in when posted
08:34 PM ET (US)
chico's baseless but intuitive prediction: if the Dems offer a viable candidate, Ashcroft declines second term for personal reasons.
mike skallasPerson was signed in when posted
03:19 AM ET (US)
We're all going to have to rebrand ourselves "political satirists" just to get to express ourselves in Americroft.
seaanPerson was signed in when posted
03:18 AM ET (US)
rrsafety's summary of the Patriot was kind of funny, everything it did was taken at face value (perhaps from reading the titles of sections). If you dwell down into the details, things don't look nearly as pretty.

Let's take the section that rrsafety stated would: "The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among government agencies ..."

Sounds good, why would anyone be opposed to that? In the past there were two types of wiretaps. The normal type is used by law enforcement, and in theory requires strict court oversight before it can be started. In reality well over 99% of wiretap requests have been granted, so I don't think the court oversight was much of an issue.

The second type of wiretap is used by intelligence services, and does not require much evidence to start. In theory a secret court can review these wiretaps for abuse, but historically, the court has never publicly found any abuse (until after the Patriot act was passed). Congress was afraid that law enforcement agencies would abuse this “easier” method of wiretapping, so they put a provision in that evidence obtained by this method could not be submitted in court (it could still be given to law enforcement agencies, who would have to properly follow the rules of evidence when building their court case).

The Patriot act essentially erased the barrier of sharing evidence between the two types of wiretapping, which in effect means that it greatly reduces the amount of court oversight of wiretapping. It allows agencies to go on a fishing expedition (essentially warrant-less searches) using the secret wiretaps, and than use the information that they improperly gained in court.

The ironic part of the Patriot act is that over 90% of the act does not grant new powers to law enforcement agencies -- instead it reduces or removes court oversight of the executive branch (DOJ, FBI, Secret-service, etc.). Remember how the Patriot act was written – it was essentially a Department of Justice wish list, which was passed almost unread by a panicked congress in the wake of 9/11.

Almost none of the Patriot act measures would have prevented 9/11. I suspect much of the act actually will remain unused -- because it was one-sided (DOJ) and hastily passed. The strongest praise the authors and supporters of Patriot have is that it has not “lead to widespread abuses” as feared by the critics of the act. Two comments: first we don’t actually know that abuses have not occurred, since so much oversight has been removed (this is even true for congress, the DOJ has stonewalled giving congress information by saying they are no longer required to give it). The second is a simple observation that even without public abuse, the Patriot act makes that abuse legal and there is no guarantee that it won’t be abused in the future. It is a deeply flawed act, and deserves to be sunstetted.
Deleted by author 08-24-2003 01:27 AM
Neoncat93Person was signed in when posted
12:53 PM ET (US)
Has anyone else seen the pro-liberty PSAs on TV anymore? The ones where the guy is smuggling newspapers, or asks for a banned book at the library and is set upon by agents of the state? I haven't seen those in a while. Hmmm.
ArdenstonePerson was signed in when posted
03:31 PM ET (US)
rrsafety, I think you forgot to include the citation. What was posted is probably copied and pasted from http://www.lifeandliberty.gov/ which is the "Preserving Life & Liberty" site. That site looks to be run by the Department of Justice. It also contains the text of the Patriot Act, all 132 pages of it, so I'm bloody well impressed at your stamina!

[sorry about the huge run-on that was an earlier version of this post]
Edited 08-22-2003 04:10 PM
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
02:45 PM ET (US)
This what the Patriot Act does, and I'm ALL FOR IT! Read through this and discover the many lies some people on this board ar spreading:

Patriot Act:
Allows law enforcement to use surveillance against more crimes of terror. Before the Patriot Act, courts could permit law enforcement to conduct electronic surveillance to investigate many ordinary, non-terrorism crimes, such as mail fraud, and passport fraud. ..The Act enabled investigators to gather information when looking into the full range of terrorism-related crimes, including: chemical-weapons offenses, the use of weapons of mass destruction, killing Americans abroad, and terrorism financing.
Allows federal agents to follow sophisticated terrorists trained to evade detection. For years, law enforcement has been able to use “roving wiretaps” to investigate ordinary crimes, including drug offenses and racketeering. A roving wiretap can be authorized by a federal judge to apply to a particular suspect, rather than a particular phone or communications device.
Allows law enforcement to conduct investigations without tipping off terrorists. In some cases if criminals are tipped off too early to an investigation, they might flee, destroy evidence, intimidate or kill witnesses, cut off contact with associates, or take other action to evade arrest. Therefore, federal courts in narrow circumstances long have allowed law enforcement to delay for a limited time when the subject is told that a judicially-approved search warrant has been executed. Notice is always provided, but the reasonable delay gives law enforcement time to identify the criminal’s associates, eliminate immediate threats to our communities, and coordinate the arrests of multiple individuals without tipping them off beforehand. These delayed notification search warrants have been used for decades, have proven crucial in drug and organized crime cases, and have been upheld by courts as fully constitutional.

Allows federal agents to ask a court for an order to obtain business records in national security terrorism cases. Examining business records often provides the key that investigators are looking for to solve a wide range of crimes. ...Law enforcement authorities have always been able to obtain business records in criminal cases through grand jury subpoenas, and continue to do so in national security cases where appropriate.

The Patriot Act facilitated information sharing and cooperation among government agencies so that they can better “connect the dots.” The Act removed the major legal barriers that prevented the law enforcement, intelligence, and national defense communities from talking and coordinating their work to protect the American people and our national security. The government’s prevention efforts should not be restricted by boxes on an organizational chart.

Prosecutors can now share evidence obtained through grand juries with intelligence officials -- and intelligence information can now be shared more easily with federal prosecutors.

The Patriot Act updated the law to reflect new technologies and new threats. The Act brought the law up to date with current technology, so we no longer have to fight a digital-age battle with antique weapons—legal authorities leftover from the era of rotary telephones. When investigating the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, for example, law enforcement used one of the Act’s new authorities to use high-tech means to identify and locate some of the killers.

Allows law enforcement officials to obtain a search warrant anywhere a terrorist-related activity occurred. Before the Patriot Act, law enforcement personnel were required to obtain a search warrant in the district where they intended to conduct a search. However, modern terrorism investigations often span a number of districts, and officers therefore had to obtain multiple warrants in multiple jurisdictions, creating unnecessary delays. The Act provides that warrants can be obtained in any district in which terrorism-related activities occurred, regardless of where they will be executed. This provision does not change the standards governing the availability of a search warrant, but streamlines the search-warrant process.

Allows victims of computer hacking to request law enforcement assistance in monitoring the “trespassers” on their computers. This change made the law technology-neutral; it placed electronic trespassers on the same footing as physical trespassers. Now, hacking victims can seek law enforcement assistance to combat hackers, just as burglary victims have been able to invite officers into their homes to catch burglars.

The Patriot Act increased the penalties for those who commit terrorist crimes. The Patriot Act imposed tough new penalties on those who commit and support terrorist operations, both at home and abroad. In particular, the Act:

Prohibits the harboring of terrorists. The Act created a new offense that prohibits knowingly harboring persons who have committed or are about to commit a variety of terrorist offenses, such as: destruction of aircraft; use of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons; use of weapons of mass destruction; bombing of government property; sabotage of nuclear facilities; and aircraft piracy.

Enhanced the inadequate maximum penalties for various crimes likely to be committed by terrorists: including arson, destruction of energy facilities, material support to terrorists and terrorist organizations, and destruction of national-defense materials.

Enhanced a number of conspiracy penalties, including for arson, killings in federal facilities, attacking communications systems, material support to terrorists, sabotage of nuclear facilities, and interference with flight crew members. Under previous law, many terrorism statutes did not specifically prohibit engaging in conspiracies to commit the underlying offenses. In such cases, the government could only bring prosecutions under the general federal conspiracy provision, which carries a maximum penalty of only five years in prison.

Punishes terrorist attacks on mass transit systems.

Punishes bioterrorists.

Eliminates the statutes of limitations for certain terrorism crimes and lengthens them for other terrorist crimes.
hornsofthedevilPerson was signed in when posted
01:54 PM ET (US)
i'm not sure if it was the Patriot Act that led to the detainment of Mike Hawash, but i'll say this: I'm glad he was nabbed.

the real point is whether law enforcement will use the Patriot Act to pursue all kinds of criminals(tax evasion, drugs, theft) instead of terrorists acting within the United States.

they probably will, but is that assumption enough to attack it?

would the gratutitous liberties given law enforcement(like wire taps without a court order or denial of access to a lawyer) be upheld in court if they were not used in pursuing somene involved in terrorist activities?

i don't think we can trust our government to keep the threat of terrorism seperate from other crimes(it would be nice if they would) since they have already tried to make the prepoosterous connection of using drugs and supporting terrorism. talk about idiotic.
Avi Bar-ZeevPerson was signed in when posted
01:39 PM ET (US)
On this Ashcroft thing, I think it's a mistake to pin all the stupidity on one person. I mean, Bush did hire the guy for a reason. And he apparently told Ashcroft right after 9/11 to do whatever it takes to prevent another 9/11 (according to an aide interviewed on NPR).

Not that I'm apologizing for good ol' Ashie, but we should hold the elected official accountable, IMO, not the appointed one. Remember teflon? Personally, I'm now referring to them as BushCroft.
Erik V. OlsonPerson was signed in when posted
09:40 AM ET (US)

Actually, there's multi-Cory technology now. It is very secret, and they'll probably kill me. I was wandering the halls in San Jose at the last worldcon. Around the corner comes Cory, coffee like substance in hand. I wave, and then around another corner comes Cory, coffee like substance in hand. They look at each other, yell "Oh, Shit!" then ran away. Later, they denied everything, but I called Apple, and the "dude" apparently buys iBooks by the six pack.

Once they perfect the tech, they're going to go into full production. We'll have the CFF, headquarted in Coryfornia. Senators Doctorow and Doctorow will become legendary for their debates in the Congress. He'll be the pro, fan, and artist guest of honor at a Worldcon. He may well singlehandly consume the entire coffee crop of Columbia.
ArdenstonePerson was signed in when posted
08:44 AM ET (US)
I believe the AP covered some of the rights lost. Not sure it's Patriot Act exactly, here is a link to one of the stories I remember:

Edited 08-22-2003 08:44 AM
rrsafetyPerson was signed in when posted
08:22 AM ET (US)
Quoted from the text:
"the liberties that the Ashcroftian authorities have taken away from us"

I've heard this mentioned often yet have not seen any enumerated. If someone could list them, I'd be much in your debt. Most of the times when I hear of a "Patriot Act" abuse, you find that the Patriot Act had nothing to do with it at all and that the provision in the law pre-dated Ashcroft and the P.A. and it makes debating difficult. Therefore, it would be great if someone could list all the Ashcroftian reversal of rights. Thanks.
craniacPerson was signed in when posted
01:50 AM ET (US)
I still wanna hear more about the hypnosis and writer's block.
rafuzoPerson was signed in when posted
11:26 PM ET (US)
Looks like a fascinating book -- but I don't see what Ashcroft in particular has to do with it. Seems like it's more addressed to anyone who wants to rethink security. As Lawrence Lessig himself says on the site, "the questions...are not Left, or Right -- they are important." Indeed, and I don't see what is accomplished by injecting politics into the discussion. I mean, I'm not fan of Ashcroft myself, but I haven't been visited by the thought police for oldspeak violations, nor have I seen "this message scanned by echelon" in my email headers. In fact, about all I've seen so far is that you can't put nasty notes to baggage inspectors in your checked luggage anymore (silly enough, true, but could you have done that before 9/11?). You still can't yell fire in a crowded theater, but I suppose that's Ashcroft's fault too, somehow. But in any case, thanks for pointing it out, I'll be picking it up when it's released next month.

Good luck on the writing! I wish I could pen 21,000 words in a *month*. Cheers!
kennyPerson was signed in when posted
10:11 PM ET (US)
*...you are still hypmotized...* j/k! glad you're so productive :D
cavalierfhPerson was signed in when posted
08:49 PM ET (US)
It always amazes me how quickly Cory can churn out words. Jesus dude, do you type Dvorak or what? Where the hell is your carpal tunnel syndrome?
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