What a bitter pleasure it is, to have cocktails and dance and watch the clouds lit by city lights blown across a blue-black sky, when your taxes are paying for so much havoc on the opposite side of the world. If this isn't the "pain of the bourgeois", then that ain't a Laughing Che up on my wall. Today I looked at a map of Sevilla, and compared to the grid of the 20th Century street plan, that European spider web of narrow streets calls out with the clink of ice in glass and laughter across cobblestone streets of carelessness. Yeah, I'm on my way again. Has it been a year already?
Hey, did anyone notice the (lack of) chemical weapons so far in Iraq? Nah, the Government wouldn't just straight out LIE to us, would they? They keep finding mysterious powders and liquids which turn out no more hazardous than any garbage collecting under your average American sink. Does it make you feel any better if they were just plain stupid? Well, at least we've got plenty of chemical weapons here to protect us from our own stupidity (thanks, Miles):
Our friends are well armed, too (in violation of, gasp, a UN resolution):
*Israeli nuclear 'power' exposed*
Olenka Frenkiel reveals the story of Mordechai Vanunu and how he remains in jail for exposing Israel's secret nuclear bomb factory.
And our other friends are oh so nice to us,
UK to Let US Occupy Iraq
Occasionally I say to our European friends, GET AN ARMY! But I am rethinking this position. Guns only bring on more guns; in this interesting article, the Europeans have a power we've forsaken, moral legitimacy:
But God is on our side, as you know (thanks, Liz):
Marines in Iraq are being asked to sign a pledge to
pray every day for George Bush (not that he needs it, ahem, born-again dry drunk pendejo.)
Then again, he's been on the Iraqi side for thousands of years; more history of Babylon:
THIS IS IMPORTANT! The text of "Patriot II" is leaked to the press...I'm just sending the most interesting
sections (to me), but the full text with annotations is available at:
All I could say was: WOW! What balls! I know it looks like a morass of legalese, but skim it at least...it's an erosion of our rights that goes beyond the green cards in our midst...yeah, what if they just decide you don't deserve to be an American any more? Then where do you go?
Interested Persons Memo: Section-by-Section Analysis of Justice Department draft Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003,also known as PATRIOT Act II
Creating a new category of domestic security surveillance that relaxes judicial oversight of electronic surveillance of Americans engaged in entirely domestic activity (Section 122). This section authorizes looser standards for judicial oversight of wiretaps of electronic surveillance orders of Americans for entirely domestic activity under a new theory of domestic intelligence gathering. Intelligence-based surveillance and criminal surveillance are conducted under different rationales, but both are subject to Fourth Amendment protections.
Giving the government secret access to credit reports without consent and without judicial process (Section 126). This section would allow the government to secretly obtain anyones credit report without their consent and without any judicial procedure.
The government should not have access to sensitive personal information which has been collected for business purposes on the same basis as businesses, because the governments powers � for example, to compel questioning before a grand jury, arrest, deport, or incarcerate � are far greater than the powers of any business.
In any event, the draft bill does not, as the heading states, provide equal access for government to such reports; rather, the statute greatly expands access to credit reports by authorizing the government to obtain these reports without consent, notice to the person to whom the credit report pertains, and without a court order. Credit reports are available to business with a legitimate business needbut only with the consent of the person whose credit report is being examined, such as when that person applies for a loan or a job.
Anyone who has applied for a job or a mortgage and encountered a problem because of a false credit report � which could the result of identity theft, simple error, or malice � knows how difficult it can be to get errors corrected. Under this provision, however, the consequences of an erroneous credit report are far more serious than when credit reports are used for business purposes. Under this provision, because credit reports can be obtained without notice or consent, there is no opportunity for the person to contest an erroneous report.
[Just for you, Beth and Bill] Harming fair trial rights for American citizens and other defendants by limiting defense attorneys from challenging the use of secret evidence in criminal cases (Section 204). This section would inhibit the ability of the accused to defend themselves against criminal charges based in part on classified information. The Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA), 18 U.S.C. App. 3 �� 1-16, provides a special procedure to govern an extraordinary situation � where the government seeks to use information in a criminal case which is classified by Executive Order without revealing in open court any more information than is necessary to provide the defendant with a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment.
CIPA entrusts to federal district judges the gatekeeperfunction of determining what classified information can be excluded from open court, what information can be given to the defense in summary form, and what essential information must be disclosed to the defendant to ensure his right to contest the accusations against him and to ensure that evidence the jury or other factfinder considers is reliable, having been tested in an adversarial proceeding. The judge has the power to consider a government request to delete information or substitute a summary in an ex parte proceeding, i.e., without the benefit of hearing from the defense. CIPA does not give the government a right to make its case in the absence of the defense; instead, the judge determines how much of the prosecutions submission to examine ex parte and in camera, i.e., in secret. The proposed amendment (Section 204) would seriously undermine the judges initial gatekeeping role by compelling a judge, at the request of the prosecution, to determine whether and how to redact classified information without the benefit of an adversary hearing.In other words, the amendment would take away the judges authority, under current law, to hear defense objections to a prosecution request for authorization to delete specified items of classified information from documents relevant to the defenses case.
CIPA strikes the right balance between the governments national security interests and the defendants right to see the evidence against him or her. This amendment undermines that balance.
Allowing for the sampling and cataloguing of innocent Americans genetic information without court order and without consent (Sections 301-306). The proposed bill authorizes collection of genetic information of persons who have not been convicted of a crime for terrorism investigation purposes, and the entering of that sensitive information into a database. At a minimum, such collection should not be permitted on persons who have not be convicted of serious crimes unless a judge decides to permit such collection by issuing a court order on the basis of probable cause to believe the information will assist in a criminal investigation. Furthermore, personal genetic information must be destroyed within a reasonable time, such as when a suspect is cleared, to ensure it is not available for misuse by the government or private industry at a later date.
Drawing a DNA sample involves an intrusion on personal privacy that is far more invasive than simply taking a fingerprint. A fingerprint is useful only as a form of identification. By contrast, a DNA sample includes such intimate, personal information as the markers for thousands of diseases, legitimacy at birth, or (as science advances) aspects of an individuals personality such as his or her temperament.In addition, this personal information is not unique to the individual alone, but also provides clues to the genetic traits of everyone in that individuals bloodline. Genetic discrimination is not merely a distant artifact of the discredited eugenics movement of the first half of the Twentieth Century, but is widespread today among private employers, and is (in most states) perfectly legal.
The potential misuse of DNA information contained in a database requires careful safeguards before such information is collected, and concerning the storage of such information. For example, no forensic purpose is served by saving the DNA itself, as opposed to just the information contained in the DNA that proves identity. The proposed legislation fails to include such safeguards.
Permitting searches, wiretaps and surveillance of United States citizens on behalf of foreign governments � including human rights abusers � in the absence of Senate-approved treaties (Sections 321-22). This section would authorize the DOJ to help foreign governments � including those that systematically abuse human rights and do not respect the rule of law � invade Americansprivacy even when the United States Senate has failed or refused to approve a treaty allowing such assistance with such a government. Under current law, the United States does not engage in covert surveillance or issue search warrants on behalf of foreign nations unless the Senate has approved a mutual legal assistance treaty. If a foreign nation with which the United States does not have such a treaty requires information from a United States citizen or resident for its own judicial process, it may still obtain that information by asking the assistance of a United States district court in issuing an order to take testimony or obtain a document or other thingunder 28 U.S.C. � 1782, but it may not issue search warrants or certain surveillance orders. This limitation ensures that that the Senate consents to more intrusive surveillance on behalf of a foreign nation before Americansprivacy can be invaded at the behest of a foreign government. The draft bill (at section 321) sweeps aside this sensible limitation altogether.
These limitations on foreign-directed searches, wiretaps and surveillance orders do not need to substantially impede the investigation and prosecution of terrorism, as Congress has provided universal jurisdictionover many serious terrorism offenses. In other words, such offenses are a crime under United States law and subject to U.S. jurisdiction even if committed in a foreign nation. For such offenses, a United States Attorney could obtain the full panoply of searches and surveillance orders to aid in the investigation of that crime, even if such a crime was also being investigated by a foreign nation under its own laws. Such information could then easily be shared with the foreign nation, under information sharing provisions approved by Congress in the Homeland Security Act. SeeHomeland Security Act of 2002, �� 891-99, Pub. L. No. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135, 2252-58.
Permitting arrests and extraditions of United States citizens and other persons to a foreign country in the absence of a Senate-approved treaty and without judicial inquiry into the extraditing countrys human rights record (Section 322). Among other things, this section allows, on the determination of the Attorney General, a United States citizen or other person to be sent to a foreign dictatorship to be prosecuted even if an American judge would find that the extradition request was made on account of his or her race, nationality or political opinions. It allows the government to send Americans and others abroad to face foreign criminal charges in foreign criminal courts for a host of charges without any of the protections that normally appear in Senate-approved extradition treaties, and strips any judge hearing an extradition request of the authority to consider the fairness of the requesting countrys judicial system or its human rights record.
Section 322 authorizes extradition in the absence of an extradition treaty or in excess of limits imposed by existing extradition treaties. Extradition involves arresting an individual, including a United States citizen, because a foreign government accuses that person of violating a foreign law.It is subject to basic constitutional limitations.See, e.g., Valentinev. United States ex rel. Neidecker, 299 U.S. 5, 8 (1936) (holding that extradition may take place only in accordance with law because of the fundamental consideration that the Constitution creates no executive prerogative to dispose of the liberty of the individual). One important safeguard that protects Americans from facing trial in a potentially unfriendly nation, or in a nation that does not respect fundamental fair trial principles or abuses human rights, is the requirement that such extradition take place where the Senate has, by ratifying an extradition treaty, approved of the practice of a foreign nation sufficiently to permit such extradition.
Another, critical safeguard is the requirement of judicial supervision of extradition requests. This section expressly prohibits the judge from considering any of the following:humanitarian concerns,the nature of the judicial system of the requesting foreign government,andwhether the foreign government is seeking extradition of a person for the purpose of prosecuting or punishing the person because of race, nationality or political opinions of that person.
Under this legislation, an American can be sent abroad to face trial under before the courts of a foreign dictatorship, and an American judge has no ability under the statute to even inquire as to the fairness of that countrys court system or the reasons behind its criminal accusations.
Current basic due process and constitutional limits on extradition do not need to substantially impede the prosecution of terrorism, as Congress has provided universal jurisdictionover many serious terrorism offenses. In other words, such offenses are a crime under United States law even if committed in a foreign nation. For such offenses, a United States Attorney could charge a person suspected of a terrorism crime committed in a foreign nation if the United States lacked an extradition treaty.
[My first felony in months...] Creating a new, separate crime of using encryption technology that could add five years or more to any sentence for crimes committed with a computer (Section 404). Under this section, any federal felony committed with encryption technology that is now commonly part of computer software could be punished by an additional five years (or more, for a repeat offense.) The criminal conduct will not be any different; the only reason for additional penalties will be that the defendant used a certain technology to commit the offense. Here again, the DOJs description of the crime differs from the language proposed in the draft text. DOJ says it makes it a separate federal crime for a person to knowingly and willfully use an encryption technology to concealany incriminating communication. . . .However, the draft text contains no requirement that the defendant intend to conceal anything; the crime is complete if the defendant intentionally uses an encryption technology in the commission of a crime. Thus, a simple fraud crime could, if committed using garden-variety encryption technology available with most standard web browsers, carry an additional jail term of up to five years regardless of whether the defendant intended to conceal his activity by using encryption.
[And most amazing of all] Stripping even native-born Americans of all of the rights of United States citizenship if they provide support for terrorism, allowing them to be indefinitely imprisoned in their own country as undocumented aliens (Section 501). This section would permit the government to punish certain criminal activity by stripping even native-born Americans of U.S. citizenship, thereby depriving them of any nationality at all and potentially relegating them forever to imprisonment as undocumented immigrants in their own country. Among the activities that could be punished this way are providing material support for an organization � including a domestic organization � labeled as a terrorist organization by the government, even if the support was only for the lawful activities of that organization.
The Fourteenth Amendment provides that All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. While Americans do have the right to give up their citizenship in the United States, the Constitution does not give Congress any power to take away from an American his or her status as a citizen even for participating in crime in time of war. See Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86 (1958) (conviction by court martial of crime of desertion during World War II could not constitutionally lead to loss of citizenship, even though crime was committed voluntarily). Rather, as the Supreme Court has made clear, every citizen of the United States enjoys a constitutional right to remain a citizen . . . unless he voluntarily relinquishes that citizenship. Afroyim v. Rusk, 387 U.S. 253 (1967) (citizenship could not be forfeited merely by voting in foreign election without the requisite intent to abandon U.S. citizenship).
While DOJ is correct to observe that certain voluntary acts, such as serving in a foreign army, can serve to terminate U.S. citizenship, these expatriating actsmust indicate some desire to show an affinity with a foreign sovereign. Only acts that indicate such a desire to relinquish American nationality can be made the basis for a finding that strips an American of his or her citizenship. See Vance v. Terrazas, 444 U.S. 252, 262 (1980).
Moreover, it is the governments burden to establish that the expatriating act was committed with the intent of relinquishing citizenship, a showing this section attempts to short-circuit. See id.at 261 (holding that the trier of fact must . . . conclude that the citizen not only voluntarily committed the expatriating act prescribed in the statute, but also intended to relinquish his citizenship.) Expatriating acts are not defined by reference to how repugnant or offensive they are, or by whether they constitute serious crimes, but by whether they show the individual has an intent to attach himself or herself to another sovereignty. Thus, while serving in a foreign army or voting in a foreign election may indicate an intent to abandon American nationality, the commission of a series of grisly murders, or the control of a vast criminal enterprise plainly do not, although the former are legal while the latter are serious crimes.
Providing support to a terrorist organization, which possesses no sovereignty under international law, is a crime, see18 U.S.C. � 2339A, but plainly does not indicate that the individual desires to attach himself or herself to the allegiance of a foreign nation or to abandon U.S. citizenship in the way that, for example, serving in a foreign army might. Indeed, expatriation in the draft bill is not even limited to providing material support toforeignterrorist organizations, as wholly domestic organizations can be designated as terrorist organizations under 8 U.S.C. � 1182(a)(3). In addition, expatriation could result from support of organizations engaged in hostilitiesagainst the national security interestsof the United States � which could mean anything -- not just against the United States or its people. Finally, the draft bill would allow expatriation even for support of the lawful, humanitarian activities of an organization that the United States has labeled a terrorist organization,which belies DOJs analogy of supporting terrorism by serving in a foreign army engaged in hostilities against the United States.
Providing for summary deportations, even of lawful permanent residents, whom the Attorney General says are a threat to national security (Section 503). Under this provision, any immigrant, including longtime lawful permanent residents, may be expelled from the United States on the unilateral determination of the Attorney General that they are a threat to national security, which is defined as the national defense, foreign relations, or economic interests of the United States.INA � 219(c)(2). A person facing removal under this section will be separated from his or her family and community without ever being able to effectively answer the governments true reasons for labeling him or her a security risk.
Immigrants and other non-citizens involved in terrorism are deportable under current law, and suspected terrorists are subject to mandatory detention during any immigration or criminal proceedings. The purpose of this amendment is to eliminate due process entirely for immigrants, including lawful permanent residents, accused of crimes or terrorism by permitting their expulsion merely on the Attorney Generals fiat. It is based on the fundamentally flawed notion that non-citizens in the United States do not possess the right to fair treatment under the law, a notion that the Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected. See Zadvydas v. Davis 533 U.S. 678, 693 (2001) (reiterating long-standing constitutional rule that the Due Process Clause applies to all personswithin the United States, including aliens, whether their presence here is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent).
The proposal is another DOJ initiative that flies in the face of President Bushs stated opposition to the use of secret evidence in immigration proceedings on the basis that fair treatment should be afforded everyone in America. Under the proposal, a non-citizen, including a lawful permanent resident, accused of posing a risk to national security could be detained and deported without having committed any violation of law and without ever knowing the basis of the accusation against him or her. The provision would essentially authorize a repeat of the Palmer raids,a discredited episode in the 1920s that involved widespread mass deportations and widespread abuse of the rights of law abiding Russian and other immigrants during a wave of anti-immigrant and nativist hysteria.
DOJ originally asked for this summary deportation power shortly after September 11 in its initial drafts of the USA PATRIOT Act. It was firmly rejected, on a bipartisan basis, by a Congress deeply concerned about the use of secret evidence and core due process in immigration proceedings.It should be rejected again.
The Iraqi have their freedom, eh...now what about us? Wasn't our world supposed to progress, to become better and better still?
05 April 2003