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PATRIOT II Legislation Leaked 851

Posted by michael
from the goodbye-FOI dept.
Buck Mulligan writes "The Center for Public Integrity reports that it has obtained a copy of PATRIOT II -- a huge law enforcement power grab that is intended to build on the USA PATRIOT Act. It's called the 'Domestic Security Enhancement Act.' CPI says it would increase domestic intelligence gathering and surveillance while reducing judicial review and public access to information. For more on the first PATRIOT Act, see the EPIC page."
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PATRIOT II Legislation Leaked

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  • by Limburgher (523006) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:31PM (#5259111) Homepage Journal
    that, soon, Alot of our Base are going to Belong To Them. :(
    • by fleener (140714) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:55PM (#5259267)
      That's what happens when you sit idly by watch the Nine Gavelers in Black give the Ring of Power to George Orwell Bush. He protects America by destroying it.

      Funny that we would fight communism for 50 years only to see the eastern block fall and America gleefully embrace the oppressive Big Brother powers of a secret government.

      At this point I have to wonder if some of the more ultra right-wingers like Ashcroft are arranging global annihilation so they can see their biblical end game fantasies come true.
      • by flewp (458359) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:26PM (#5259454)
        Well, protecting our freedoms by taking them away is pretty logical. Soon we won't have any freedom to protect.
        • by Gorobei (127755) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:38PM (#5259943)
          Section 501 takes care of that in one fell swoop: support a group the USG doesn't like, and you can be stripped of citizenship...

          Section 501, "Expatriation of Terrorists": This provision, the drafters say, would establish that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'." But whereas a citizen formerly had to state his intent to relinquish his citizenship, the new law affirms that his intent can be "inferred from conduct." Thus, engaging in the lawful activities of a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for expatriation.

          • by baptiste (256004) <mike@@@baptiste...us> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @06:54PM (#5260819) Homepage Journal
            I marvel at how people think Dubya hung the moon and is the master of all that is righteous and good. But if people actually look below the fake surface of things, the black undercurrents become very visible.

            The fact that our government would even consider such laws is monumentally scary. Why do Republicans believe that govenment oversight is such a bad thing? Did you notice that the only requirement was a group being designated a terrorist organization by the Attoreny General You can't be serious! One man could simply wipe out a group of people's citizenship - where are the checks and balances?

            What kills me is how they sell this stuff. "Oh - so you think someone raisin gmoney for Al Queda shouldn't have their citizenship stripped?", etc, etc, etc. No - they shouldn't - try them, imprison them, but you can't honestly think stripping someones citizenship so easily is a good thing.

            It is amazing how a group that believes Muslims shoudl rule the world knocked down the WTC and thus allowed Republicans to lay the ground work to rule the US for geenrations with tatics the communists would have used. How ironic and sad that my country is being taken over by conservative and religious zealots and nobody seems to care because it might, just might, allow them to prevent a terrorist attack (yeah right)

      • by slughead (592713) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:45PM (#5259614) Homepage Journal
        Oh jesus christ

        1. Some of the language from the first patriot act was written under the Clinton Administration.

        2. It was approved by a 99/0 margin in the Democrat's senate, and passed in the house by a 340/40 margin.

        Get off your high liberal horse, jackass. Both parties want your soul.

        Vote libertarian.
    • Suppressed Quote (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:40PM (#5259950)
      "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in Government"
      --Thomas Jefferson

      And I'm sure that the government is now much more tyrannical than was ever imagined possible in his day.

    • by TheJesusCandle (558547) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:14PM (#5260112) Homepage
      This kind of slow, incremental wearing away of human rights is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

      People need to wake up and understand that there are ALWAYS people who want to disenfranchise the rest of us. The wolf is ALWAYS at the door. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

      There are three things that people can do.

      1) Vote
      2) Join the ACLU
      3) Joine the NRA


      The reason for the first is obvious. The reasons for the second and third are that the ACLU is a strong champion of individual rights, even if they are part of the loony left. The NRA is of course a strong champion of individual rights as well, even if they are part of the loony right. I'm a member of both and give generously to them.

      Laws like this can only come to pass when our representatives in congress are not representing us. The only way that situation can arise is if the voters in general have not been holding them accountable. Any legislator who would put forward legislation intended to deny us our rights is a traitor because they have broken their vow to defend and protect the constitution. Should we re-elect such a person? I'd rather elect a pig straight from someone's barn to office than see someone like that remain in power. The american political landscape is dominated by party politics and this is a big part of the problem. People will vote for someone because of their party, or will vote for a party because that is what they've always done, or because they've been suckered by the propaganda that both major parties just love to spew out. It is sad to see so many people led around by the nose and irritating to have to hear them regurgitate the propaganda that they've swallowed down with relish. Look past the propaganda and bullshit. Be willing to vote for a different party. Become informed about issues that matter and the party's agenda on these issues. If people would do this then a lot of this kind of bullshit would cease to exist.
      • There are three things that people can do.

        1) Vote
        2) Join the ACLU
        3) Joine the NRA

        There's more things than that that one can do, but that's a good start. Voting won't make much of a difference, as you've usually got two canidates who aren't that different, and that's even assuming that your vote will make a difference.

        I'm not terribly familiar with the NRA, so I'll pass on that.

        But the ACLU, definately. I finally got off my ass and did it. I just became a `card carrying member of the ACLU.' (I wonder if I'll be sent a real card :)

        Thank you for visiting our website and also for your generous membership contribution to the American Civil Liberties Union.

        It is because of the support of friends like you that the ACLU has been able to do so much to protect and expand individual rights in this country for the past 81 years.

        Thank you for helping us hold the line in this alarming political climate.

        You can join too [virtualsprockets.com]. You don't have to give them a lot of money -- just having them list you as a member increases their bargaining power.
  • Patriot? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:33PM (#5259123)
    "It is the duty of a patriot to protect his country from its government"
    -Thomas Paine
    • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:26PM (#5260165) Journal

      I fully admit that I'm the typical slashdotter who writes big, long diatribes about things I feel passionately about and then promtly return to my daily life without having done something actually useful. But this Patriot Act II is starting to get me so scared/angry that I may actually do the unthinkable and hand-write a letter to my congresspeople (whoever they are). Paine is correct that lazy people such as myself really have been slacking off lately. The original Patriot Act was already stunning in its Orwellian nature but passed so easily that the government is trying to get another, even more powerful version passed! Good fucking lord! I think it's really high time that a sizeable number of us start writing to our congress people and plead for some rationality here. Now, I'm really busy these days. In fact, I'm working today on a Saturday and expect to work every day from now until mid-March. But this is something important enough that I think I'd better take the two hours required to pen a thoughtful and well-written letter to my representatives that will hopefully get them to see the light.

      Please consider joining me in putting your life on hold for a few hours and take an action on this. This Patriot Act crap is really getting out of hand.

      GMD

  • by mraymer (516227) <mraymer AT centurytel DOT net> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:34PM (#5259133) Homepage Journal
    Umm... I'm just curious... No reason, really. I just want to know. I mean, just in case I'd ever make, you know, an extended visit. ;)

    It's kind of sad that the government actually needs more power than what's provided by the first Patriot Act. It's also ironic that it was called the Patriot Act, because it doesn't make me feel very patriotic...

    • Most Americans don't know and many Canadians don't remember that Canada once fought its own "War on Terror" with a violent (and very small) sect of Quebec Separists during the late '60s and early '70s. It all came to a head during the October Crisis [cbc.ca] during which martial law was declared (via the War Measures Act) and citizens suspected of having ties to terrorists were rounded up. These measures were temporary of course, and the terrorist attacks ended afterwards but many people in Canada still wonder if such drastic measures were neccessary.
  • by 1stflight (48795) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259134)
    For if we don't we deserve what we get, and anyone voting to keep the current Bush administration, must be insane.
    • no difference (Score:3, Insightful)

      by taxman_10m (41083)
      Why do you think electing a Democrat would make any difference?
      • Re:no difference (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:00PM (#5259290)
        But there is a difference. You are the reason why we have Bush in office today. It is large amounts of the moderates and the slight lefters who don't see a difference so don't vote. I guarantee the right wing can see a difference between Bush and Gore...

        Democrats and Republicans are very a like in many ways, but the ways that they differ are prohaps the most important. Mostly it is on matters of human freedoms, like this the Act that this story pertains to.

        It IS important to vote.
    • Next year will be too late. Call/write/harass [house.gov] your congresscritter NOW.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259136)
    Privacy is not for the boring. Those of us with colorful lives want privacy. But if you're lame and boring you dont really need privacy, and dont care about those who value it.

    Unfortunately the majority of people dont want privacy except _maybe_ in the bedroom.
    • Section 312, "Appropriate Remedies with Respect to Law Enforcement Surveillance Activities": This section would terminate all state law enforcement consent decrees before Sept. 11, 2001, not related to racial profiling or other civil rights violations, that limit such agencies from gathering information about individuals and organizations. The authors of this statute claim that these consent orders, which were passed as a result of police spying abuses, could impede current terrorism investigations. It would also place substantial restrictions on future court injunctions.

      They may start caring when it's open season on whoever the 'law enforcement agencies' has a beef with. Pissed of some cop? Look out. Make one too many bacon jokes, all the sudden, you and your slashdot buddies are terrorists and they're allowed to watch you 24/7, or hold you without bail for as long as they want. The only criteria for watching every move you make is that you might be a terrorist.

  • hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stinky wizzleteats (552063) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259137) Homepage Journal

    Apparently terrorists have tragically gone free due to the inability of investigators to pull up their credit records.

    I also like the bit about how the use of encryption in the commission of a crime would be a felony. Recursion anyone? Sounds like a blank check search warrant on anyone using PGP to me.

    • Re:hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:50PM (#5259994)
      I also like the bit about how the use of encryption in the commission of a crime would be a felony.

      Now, I don't mean to defend the proposed changes, but this sort of thing is common. Certainly, here in the UK, I'm allowed to carry tools (hammer, crowbar, etc) with me - no police officer is going to stop me for it. However, if I use those tools to steal a car, or break into a building, I'll also be charged with going equipped to do so.

      Same thing here, I imagine - use PGP, fine. Use PGP whilst commiting a crime, get done for the crime and for using PGP whilst commiting it.

      Yes, I agree that it makes people who use PGP look suspicious even when doing no wrong - but I can't imagine that the courts would put up with too many search warrants being issued for searches based solely or mainly on use of encryprion that failed to turn up any evidence of wrong doing. Being able to apply for a search warrant and actually being awarded one are two different things.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:35PM (#5259139)
    Article is here [publicintegrity.org], but server is crapping out. Here's the text:

    Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act Center Publishes Secret Draft of 'Patriot II' Legislation By Charles Lewis and Adam Mayle (WASHINGTON, Feb. 7, 2003) -- The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information. The Center for Public Integrity has obtained a draft, dated January 9, 2003, of this previously undisclosed legislation and is making it available in full text (12 MB). The bill, drafted by the staff of Attorney General John Ashcroft and entitled the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, has not been officially released by the Department of Justice, although rumors of its development have circulated around the Capitol for the last few months under the name of "the Patriot Act II" in legislative parlance.

    "We haven't heard anything from the Justice Department on updating the Patriot Act," House Judiciary Committee spokesman Jeff Lungren told the Center. "They haven't shared their thoughts on that. Obviously, we'd be interested, but we haven't heard anything at this point."

    Senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee minority staff have inquired about Patriot II for months and have been told as recently as this week that there is no such legislation being planned. Mark Corallo, deputy director of Justice's Office of Public Affairs, told the Center his office was unaware of the draft. "I have heard people talking about revising the Patriot Act, we are looking to work on things the way we would do with any law," he said. "We may work to make modifications to protect Americans," he added. When told that the Center had a copy of the draft legislation, he said, "This is all news to me. I have never heard of this."

    After the Center posted this story, Barbara Comstock, director of public affairs for the Justice Dept., released a statement saying that, "Department staff have not presented any final proposals to either the Attorney General or the White House. It would be premature to speculate on any future decisions, particularly ideas or proposals that are still being discussed at staff levels."

    An Office of Legislative Affairs "control sheet" that was obtained by the PBS program "Now With Bill Moyers" seems to indicate that a copy of the bill was sent to Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Vice President Richard Cheney on Jan. 10, 2003. "Attached for your review and comment is a draft legislative proposal entitled the 'Domestice Security Enhancement Act of 2003,'" the memo, sent from "OLP" or Office of Legal Policy, says.

    Comstock later told the Center that the draft "is an early discussion draft and it has not been sent to either the Vice President or the Speaker of the House."

    Dr. David Cole, Georgetown University Law professor and author of Terrorism and the Constitution, reviewed the draft legislation at the request of the Center, and said that the legislation "raises a lot of serious concerns. It's troubling that they have gotten this far along and they've been telling people there is nothing in the works." This proposed law, he added, "would radically expand law enforcement and intelligence gathering authorities, reduce or eliminate judicial oversight over surveillance, authorize secret arrests, create a DNA database based on unchecked executive 'suspicion,' create new death penalties, and even seek to take American citizenship away from persons who belong to or support disfavored political groups."

    Some of the key provision of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 include:

    Section 201, "Prohibition of Disclosure of Terrorism Investigation Detainee Information": Safeguarding the dissemination of information related to national security has been a hallmark of Ashcroft's first two years in office, and the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 follows in the footsteps of his October 2001 directive to carefully consider such interest when granting Freedom of Information Act requests. While the October memo simply encouraged FOIA officers to take national security, "protecting sensitive business information and, not least, preserving personal privacy" into account while deciding on requests, the proposed legislation would enhance the department's ability to deny releasing material on suspected terrorists in government custody through FOIA.

    Section 202, "Distribution of 'Worst Case Scenario' Information": This would introduce new FOIA restrictions with regard to the Environmental Protection Agency. As provided for in the Clean Air Act, the EPA requires private companies that use potentially dangerous chemicals must produce a "worst case scenario" report detailing the effect that the release of these controlled substances would have on the surrounding community. Section 202 of this Act would, however, restrict FOIA requests to these reports, which the bill's drafters refer to as "a roadmap for terrorists." By reducing public access to "read-only" methods for only those persons "who live and work in the geographical area likely to be affected by a worst-case scenario," this subtitle would obfuscate an established level of transparency between private industry and the public.

    Section 301-306, "Terrorist Identification Database": These sections would authorize creation of a DNA database on "suspected terrorists," expansively defined to include association with suspected terrorist groups, and noncitizens suspected of certain crimes or of having supported any group designated as terrorist.

    Section 312, "Appropriate Remedies with Respect to Law Enforcement Surveillance Activities": This section would terminate all state law enforcement consent decrees before Sept. 11, 2001, not related to racial profiling or other civil rights violations, that limit such agencies from gathering information about individuals and organizations. The authors of this statute claim that these consent orders, which were passed as a result of police spying abuses, could impede current terrorism investigations. It would also place substantial restrictions on future court injunctions.

    Section 405, "Presumption for Pretrial Detention in Cases Involving Terrorism": While many people charged with drug offenses punishable by prison terms of 10 years or more are held before their trial without bail, this provision would create a comparable statute for those suspected of terrorist activity. The reasons for presumptively holding suspected terrorists before trial, the Justice Department summary memo states, are clear. "This presumption is warranted because of the unparalleled magnitude of the danger to the United States and its people posed by acts of terrorism, and because terrorism is typically engaged in by groups - many with international connections - that are often in a position to help their members flee or go into hiding."

    Section 501, "Expatriation of Terrorists": This provision, the drafters say, would establish that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'." But whereas a citizen formerly had to state his intent to relinquish his citizenship, the new law affirms that his intent can be "inferred from conduct." Thus, engaging in the lawful activities of a group designated as a "terrorist organization" by the Attorney General could be presumptive grounds for expatriation.

    The Domestic Security Enhancement Act is the latest development in an 18-month trend in which the Bush Administration has sought expanded powers and responsibilities for law enforcement bodies to help counter the threat of terrorism.

    The USA Patriot Act, signed into law by President Bush on Oct. 26, 2001, gave law enforcement officials broader authority to conduct electronic surveillance and wiretaps, and gives the president the authority, when the nation is under attack, to confiscate any property within U.S. jurisdiction of anyone believed to be engaging in such attacks. The measure also tightened oversight of financial activities to prevent money laundering and diminish bank secrecy in an effort to disrupt terrorist finances.

    It also changed provisions of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was passed in 1978 during the Cold War. FISA established a different standard of government oversight and judicial review for "foreign intelligence" surveillance than that applied to traditional domestic law enforcement surveillance.

    The USA Patriot Act allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to share information gathered in terrorism investigations under the "foreign intelligence" standard with local law enforcement agencies, in essence nullifying the higher standard of oversight that applied to domestic investigations. The USA Patriot Act also amended FISA to permit surveillance under the less rigorous standard whenever "foreign intelligence" was a "significant purpose" rather than the "primary purpose" of an investigation.

    The draft legislation goes further in that direction. "In the [USA Patriot Act] we have to break down the wall of foreign intelligence and law enforcement," Cole said. "Now they want to break down the wall between international terrorism and domestic terrorism."

    In an Oct. 9, 2002, hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher testified that Justice had been, "looking at potential proposals on following up on the PATRIOT Act for new tools and we have also been working with different agencies within the government and they are still studying that and hopefully we will continue to work with this committee in the future on new tools that we believe are necessary in the war on terrorism."

    Asked by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) whether she could inform the committee of what specific areas Justice was looking at, Fisher replied, "At this point I can't, I'm sorry. They're studying a lot of different ideas and a lot of different tools that follow up on information sharing and other aspects."

    Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy Viet Dinh, who was the principal author of the first Patriot Act, told Legal Times last October that there was "an ongoing process to continue evaluating and re-evaluating authorities we have with respect to counterterrorism," but declined to say whether a new bill was forthcoming.

    Former FBI Director William Sessions, who urged caution while Congress considered the USA Patriot Act, did not want to enter the fray concerning a possible successor bill.

    "I hate to jump into it, because it's a very delicate thing," Sessions told the Center, without acknowledging whether he knew of any proposed additions or revisions to the additional Patriot bill.

    When the first bill was nearing passage in the Congress in late 2001, however, Sessions told Internet site NewsMax.Com that the balance between civil liberties and sufficient intelligence gathering was a difficult one. "First of all, the Attorney General has to justify fully what he's asking for," Sessions, who served presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush as FBI Director from 1987 until 1993, said at the time. "We need to be sure that we provide an effective means to deal with criminality." At the same time, he said, "we need to be sure that we are mindful of the Constitution, mindful of privacy considerations, but also meet the technological needs we have" to gather intelligence.

    Cole found it disturbing that there have been no consultations with Congress on the draft legislation. "It raises a lot of serious concerns and is troubling as a generic matter that they have gotten this far along and tell people that there is nothing in the works. What that suggests is that they're waiting for a propitious time to introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun. At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they'll have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these right away."

  • by kungfuBreaks (537144) <(ten.epacsten) (ta) (skaerBufgnuk)> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:36PM (#5259146)
    Scrappleface reports some startling Patriot II provisions: http://www.scrappleface.com/MT/archives/000642.htm l#000642 [scrappleface.com]
  • Scares me... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeltaBlaster (300386) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:38PM (#5259158) Homepage
    That thing just scares me...
    - Secret Arrests
    - Having your citezenship striped for even unknowningly supporting terrorism (in Ashcrofts mind, who knows what that could include)

    And that list just goes on and on... Alls I can say is if that gets past as is ... "Oh Canada....."

    Of course Ashcroft and I would assume Bush were probably waiting till there little war with Iraq started to introduce/pass this so the public wouldnt notice
    • Re:Scares me... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by alfredo (18243)
      "Having your citezenship striped for even unknowningly supporting terrorism (in Ashcrofts mind, who knows what that could include)"

      That is not spelled out, but it could mean any political party that isn't Republican. This could mean the end of the concept of loyal opposition. The GOP never did grasp that concept. Bush spelled it out clearly when he said, "You are either with us, or against us." They do not even allow for independent thought within the party.
  • by Sri Lumpa (147664) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:38PM (#5259159) Homepage

    I think it's too bad that I never had the occasion to visit the States before because it's got a lot of great places to see but with the way things have been going politically I wouldn't feel secure.

    Let's hope that they can come back from these dark times like they did from MacCarthism.
    • What makes you think you're safe from the U.S. government no matter where you live in the world?

      I hate to tell you, but our Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has executed tens of thousands of people, in foreign countries, over the last 40 years. Do a google for "CIA death squads", do some reading, and feel scared.

      Furthermore, let us not forget our current administrations mad mission in IRAQ, blatently violating the sovereignty of another nation. But then again, this is just another in the long list of US "interventions" - Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Guatemala, etc etc.

  • Oh yay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CoolVibe (11466) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#5259166) Journal
    The "land of the free" is going to be less and less free. Damn I'm glad that I am a european citizen.

    Now, If we could only get the British gov to stop proposing similar dumb laws (ie. EUCD) that make the EU look more like the USA.

    If this one goes through, I've got yet another reason to avoid going to the USA and working/living there.

    • Re:Oh yay... (Score:3, Informative)

      by will_die (586523)
      Except for one thing, most of the things listed are already in effect in most of Europe.
      I am an US citizen living and working in Europe. If I change anything about my status, work address, home address, etc I have a few days where in which to inform the state and federal government. That is in addition to the yearly letters informing them about me and my living location.
      Even before I want to switch jobs I have to send massive paperwork(to get this job it was over 20 pages double sided) and this include information about my relative and financial status in the US to the government and get approval; this usally takes 6-9 months.
      If the government wants me out I am out, the government can even decide that I owe them money and take year to inform me of that, in which case I will also have to pay interest on that.
      As an other example I was recently down to Italy for 2 weeks of vacation, during that time the local police stations were provided a picture of me along with information such as my birth date,location etc.
  • Fascism (Score:5, Funny)

    by SubtleNuance (184325) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:39PM (#5259167) Journal
    Well, anyone who wants to weaken the security of the HomeLand(insert-your-best-trumpet-'dum-dum'-for-ef fect) would be against this Legislatoin. Everyone whos not a leftist, pinko, commie knows that the PATRIOT ACT is vitally necessary in the new Post 9/11 America.

    I for one look forward to the security that the US PATRIOT ACT II will bring to the Homeland. Anyone who would be against this effort is an enemey of the state -- an Anti-American if you will -- and is obviously involved with the Terrorists Themselves -- please notify your local HomeLand Security Office of any suspiscious Anti-American Activity.

    Thank-you,
    Sincerely,
    The Deacon of the Bipartisan Party.

  • Taken from My blog.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by CashCarSTAR (548853) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:40PM (#5259170)
    Holy damn...

    Got your tinfoil hats ready? Ok...here we go.

    Patriot Act. v2.0

    Section 101:Would extend the idea of a "foreign power" to include all persons. Regardless of if they are affiliated with terrorists or not. mmm...ok

    102: v 1.0 limits "agents of a foreign power" to people to are activly violating or have the goals to violate federal law. v2.0 wants to eliminiate this.

    This alone, combined with the known abuses of v1.0, would give any administratiion absolute and ultimate control. There is another 15 odd pages of further detail..but no more is needed.

    I believe that somebody overreached. Between this and the doubling of the tax cut, things might be about to change...

    -----

    The problem with the two clauses listed above is that it opens ANYBODY up to a full investiation..which includes revoking citizenship and deportation.

    Mmmm...facism...*drool*

  • by bogie (31020) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:41PM (#5259175) Journal
    Is immigrants swimming BACK to where they came from.

    Anyone know of any tech jobs in Cuba?
  • my submission (Score:5, Informative)

    by joebeone (620917) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:42PM (#5259187) Homepage
    The Center for Public Integrity [publicintegrity.org] has intercepted [publicintegrity.org] a sequel to the Patriot Act [eff.org] that is being called the "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003". Here are a few mirrors to the document... (we will need more): one [publicintegrity.org], two [privacy.org], and three [well.com]. A notable part of the prospective legislation is that a new federal felony [securityfocus.com] is created for willfully using encryption during the comission of a felony and that a judge in a different part of the country can issue a search warrant for another part of the country for terrorism or "computer crime". Why should you care if this isn't even close to law yet? 1) It's written by John Ashcroft and 2) The Bush administration is great at getting these things passed during emergencies (wasn't the homeland color just kicked up a notch [google.com]?)
  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:43PM (#5259189) Journal
    ....Is that John Ashcroft is just tring to get back at the citizens of Missouri for electing a dead guy instead of him. Too bad that the rest of us are going down with them.
  • by sterno (16320) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:44PM (#5259201) Homepage
    Okay, the odds that this legislation would get passed right now is really slim. I mean, without the pressing fear of imminent terrorism, there's no motivation for it. So, I'm wondering if the DOJ's intent in drafting this was to keep it on the shelf until the next terrorist attack happens. Then they would come out and explain that they couldn't stop it because they didn't have all the powers they need, and conveniently they'd have legislation ready to roll.

    I'm very glad this has come out at a time when our heads are mostly screwed on straight so we can shoot it down in the light of day.
  • by bratgrrl (197603) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:48PM (#5259225)
    You whining liberal wussies make me sick. The only way to protect our freedoms is to allow Herr Asscroft unlimited powers to do whatever he wants. He is an honest, moral, ethical Christian man who loves, nay, reveres the US Constitution. He and pres shrub will not rest until all of our rights are suspended, in order to protect our liberties. God bless America.
  • by kahei (466208) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:49PM (#5259232) Homepage

    Remember what Sen. Feingold said about a *return* to an era of invasion of privacy and harrassment.

    In 20's and 30's america labor leaders and other troublemakers could expect to be spied on, harrassed, framed for this and that (John Steinbeck never went to a hotel alone for fear of
    being framed for rape).

    In the post-war era it wasn't so bad, but even then there was McCarthyism and spying was done on suspected communists that'd raise quite a few eyebrows now. It's really only since the civil rights era that Americans have come to expect the very high level of privacy and fairness that our generation has enjoyed.

    Rather than sinking into a new and unexpected bad patch, it's more that along good patch may be ending.
  • Wow. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rtech (647652) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:50PM (#5259238)
    My physical body is in America... but really, there are places I'd prefer to be where my heart is. Canada, where are you? Am I allowed to pass through the Iron Border? Or does America have to seize my computer at the border for illegal MP3s, PGP encryption, movie trailers and more?
    I can't stand the way the USG is handling this. If Americans would stand up for their rights instead of being in a stupor over "terrorism", we could get our hard-earned rights back. One of my Canadian friends from online has called me an honorary Canadian and is offering me safe haven should the USG ever come after me lol.
    Enough rambling... go talk to friends and more, print out pamphlets, write your Congresscritters, do something constructive towards repealing and destroying these evil policies.
  • by fobbman (131816) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:50PM (#5259240) Homepage
    Section 501, "Expatriation of Terrorists": This provision, the drafters say, would establish that an American citizen could be expatriated "if, with the intent to relinquish his nationality, he becomes a member of, or provides material support to, a group that the United Stated has designated as a 'terrorist organization'."

    Would that include the US government for giving $43 million to the Taliban in May of 2001 for their "War on Drugs" efforts?

    Call Gore. I think we just figured out how to evict the squatter.

  • News brief (Score:4, Funny)

    by OO7david (159677) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:51PM (#5259245) Homepage Journal
    Washington DC (Reuters) - Today, a inside leak occured of new legislation currently under vote in the US Congress. This bill seeks to strengthen and further refine the previous USA PATRIOT act.

    The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of Two-thousand-and-three, commonly called D-SEAT, seeks to further build domestic strength for intelligence and surveilance, but many civil rights protestors claim it will lessen political freedoms and civil rights in the US.

    D-SEAT is "merely a ruse to bring about more police controled state" according to activist Joel Mainem; however, the bill's author clarified that "D-SEAT is nothing new. All politicians are well familiar with D-SEAT. If there were any troubles, D-SEAT wouldn't be used."
  • by sielwolf (246764) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:52PM (#5259247) Homepage Journal
    "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny."

    Of course this was a popular quotation for Timothy McVeigh. The second part of the quote: "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

    Makes one think.
    • The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

      And Ashcroft and Bush, and Republicans in general, are HUGELY pro-gun. So maybe we should try and either sway their views, or work in some other political framework that respects the 2nd Amendment (Libertarianism, anybody?), instead of handing over that fundamental power of the individual, trusting in them to do the Right Thing.

      [side note, TJ also said "Firearms are the American yeoman's liberty teeth"]
  • by Cerlyn (202990) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:52PM (#5259249)

    Keep in mind that the alleged document is draft legislation. It may be that everyone has put what they want in it, and it will be tempered down before it is handed to Congress.

    It also might be yet another proposal where a group proposes something insane in order to gain more minor consessions. If so, hopefully Congress will recognize when someone keeps crying "wolf" that the wolf may not be there.

    But what if the "wolf" does come along and someone says "if we had X, we could have caught them before this disaster." What should Congress do then?

    ***Your IP Address has been logged for reading this comment. Thank you for your cooperation.***

    • But what if the "wolf" does come along and someone says "if we had X, we could have caught them before this disaster.

      Then hopefully someone in Congress will be smart enough and have the guts to say bullshit. Not a single thing can stop a person who is dead set (literally) to destroy something. If you pass laws requiring everyone to be strip searched upon leaving their house, and to wander around nude outdoors, someone will swallow C4 and a detonator.

      Which of these rules will stop the terrorists? Stripping everyone of their citizenship on suspicion? Giving FBI agents the right to spy on my personal email, without telling me, until the guy gets fed up with his low pay and decides to use a loveletter to my girlfriend to try and blackmail me? Or shall the CIA monitor everything my company does, so that they can get their stock orders in early when we get a 50 million order from overseas?
  • by Druegan (646568) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @01:57PM (#5259276)
    America has been a "police state" for the last several decades... Everything our society does is regulated, the Feds have power that would be abhorrent to the framers of the constitution... They've been doing it for years covertly, in small ways... the real truth of the matter is that the US public doesn't know, and for the most part, doesn't WANT to know, just what the government routinely gets away with. As long as they can shop at the Gap, drive their SUV's, chat on their cellphones, Check their email at AOL, and watch the latest network tv drivel, they're happy.

    Now at least the govt is being OPEN about its facist tendencies.. which makes it easier to resist, if anyone is left who has the heart. Ben Franklin said it best, I think... something to the effect of "Anyone who would trade freedom for security deserves neither."... And history will show, gets neither as well.

    Oh, how Babylon the mighty has fallen.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:01PM (#5259301) Journal
    Folks, here in USA, W. has had the government start tapping the phone network at OC-48 and OC-192 level. Our e-mails, our conversations, our pixs have been being watched for some time now. It is all being done with machines. That is no big deal. The real problem is 2 part:
    1. We willing gave up many of our rights to W. in this last year for a security that we can not have.
    2. We are allowing W. to remove the oversight committee's that prevent abuses that the likes of Nixon (watergate - I am not a crook) and Raygun (sandanista - I do not remember) did.

    In the future, things will get worse becuase we allowed future abuses. This government was set up to prevent it, and now in the name of security, we are giving up the important checks and balances. These last 20 years have done more damage to these than at any other time in history (the WW2 damage was temporary, these are permanant). BTW, folks, clinton has been part of these stripping of rights as well.
  • by Servo5678 (468237) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:15PM (#5259374)
    PATRIOT II -- a huge law enforcement power grab

    Hmm, "huge law enforcement power grab" sounds too negative. How about "temporary civil liberties adjustment"?

    (With apologies to The Simpsons [snpp.com])

  • by Jerf (17166) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:20PM (#5259416) Journal
    Surely at some point the provisions restricting judicial oversight become a slam dunk case for overturning due to fact the Constitution laid out the judicial system? Frankly, I thought the first Patriot act went overboard with that. Congress can't just tell the Court system to go stuff it.

    I also don't understand why... well, I do, but for rhetorical purposes let's say I don't... the need for security necessitates less oversight by the court system. Once you've got the guy in custody, what's he going to do to the country while rotting away in jail waiting for judicial review? Is Congress seriously concerned that the judge is going to just let a criminal go? They're not in that business, assuming the government has enough evidence to back up their case. Oh, hey, think maybe the government wants the right to make wild accusations?

    Sometimes, for laws like this, I wish you could bring a case before the Supreme Court for judicial review without an actual complainent. I understand the reasoning for not allowing this and generally agree with it, but in cases like this it's sad you have to wait for someone to be screwed over, and willing to spend years of their life fighting back, before the law might be overturned.
  • what's in a name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pizza_milkshake (580452) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:22PM (#5259423)
    Like Microsoft changing the name of Palladium to a 5 word, unacronym-able phrase the US gov't names an act to take power away from citizens of the US the Patriot Act.

    Who would dare oppose something called the Patriot Act? That's great fodder for political campaigns ("John Congressman says he loves America, but he voted to raise taxes and even supported terrorists by voted against the Patriot Act").

    A vote against the "Patriot Act" is a vote for Osama!

  • by leereyno (32197) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:28PM (#5259464) Homepage Journal
    This kind of slow, incremental wearing away of human rights is exactly what happened in Nazi Germany.

    People need to wake up and understand that there are ALWAYS people who want to disenfranchise the rest of us. The wolf is ALWAYS at the door. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

    There are three things that people can do.

    1) Vote
    2) Join the ACLU
    3) Joine the NRA

    The reason for the first is obvious. The reasons for the second and third are that the ACLU is a strong champion of individual rights, even if they are part of the loony left. The NRA is of course a strong champion of individual rights as well, even if they are part of the loony right. I'm a member of both and give generously to them.

    Laws like this can only come to pass when our representatives in congress are not representing us. The only way that situation can arise is if the voters in general have not been holding them accountable. Any legislator who would put forward legislation intended to deny us our rights is a traitor because they have broken their vow to defend and protect the constitution. Should we re-elect such a person? I'd rather elect a pig straight from someone's barn to office than see someone like that remain in power. The american political landscape is dominated by party politics and this is a big part of the problem. People will vote for someone because of their party, or will vote for a party because that is what they've always done, or because they've been suckered by the propaganda that both major parties just love to spew out. It is sad to see so many people led around by the nose and irritating to have to hear them regurgitate the propaganda that they've swallowed down with relish. Look past the propaganda and bullshit. Be willing to vote for a different party. Become informed about issues that matter and the party's agenda on these issues. If people would do this then a lot of this kind of bullshit would cease to exist.

    Lee
  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <teamhasnoi&yahoo,com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:33PM (#5259494) Homepage Journal
    what are athe chances that this was puposely leaked? An old stand by of politicans and 'negotiations' is: Demand something completely out of the question. After it has been shot down you can introduce something far less controversial/evil/far reaching. With huge sighs of relief, everyone will agree because 'Wow. This is way better than the first thing that was proposed.'

    I would love to know what members of Congress wrote what part of the bill. Of course, the guy who admitted sticking a 'Can't sue this drug company for causing birth defects' in the completely UNrelated, mis-named Patriot Act has got off scott-free - no media attetion, no questions about conflict of interest.

    Where are the angry voters? I read (online, ironically) that it is thought that people like the ones who post to the YRO stories spend all of their outrage posting to discussion boards and clicking polls.

    I am guilty of that as anyone else, "Ahh. George Bush IS coke snorting dumbass who has more command of swallowing pretzels than the english language."

    I feel better, and job well done. Well I'm preaching to the choir. We need reforms in the US and quick - sadly, it seems the most outspoken Geeks are the most insular ones and don't vote, organize, or spread the word.

    We need someone charismatic who can get the message across to regular Joe.

    I'd do it, but I'm watching last night's Farscape on my Linux PVR while posting to the Our Government Sucks, But I'm Comfortable With Complaining About It, So Back To Buffy And Let Someone Else Handle It board. /Irony

  • by Y-Crate (540566) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:37PM (#5259539)
    I've always tended to be rather left-leaning, and during the '90s I heard the constant tirades from the fringe-right about the coming abuses of power from the U.S government.

    My typical reaction was one of amusement and sadness that people had actuallly convinced themselves that such things could and more importantly, *would* happen. Especially in the short time-frame predicted.

    I stopped liking Clinton years before he left office (Democratic Party != Left Wing, Bill Clinton != Ethical Man), yet I did not partake in the growing hobby of "List evil things the Clinton Administration will do next year".

    Clinton left office, and a man touted as being responsible and ethical moved into the White House.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

    The push to circumvent the very spirit of our Constitution has been constant since 9/11. Though, I don't think a Democrat would have done any better - they have become a spinless party unable to even find a platform. Don't bother calling them Left Wing - that is so 40 years ago. They don't even know what they stand for and are unwilling to fight anything the Bush administration proposes. They have become the CNN of poltics. The people that just agree with whomever is in power 99.999% of the time. They could have done something, they could have tried to change the course of events, before the post-9/11 legislative momentum built up to the point it is at now.

    But they did nothing.

    And now they still do......nothing.

    The fringe-right is silent. Their nightmares are coming true, but instead of doing anything about it, they are continuing to talk about what has already occured as if it is still in the future, while they throw their support behind Bush.

    The far-left is too caught up in the legacy of the past 40 years to pay attention to anything that is happening today. Instead of uniting to fight the efforts of the Bush administration, they are leaving that to a brave few, while they remain largely fractured and busy with far too many issues to even make a dent. It's embarassing when I'm associated with these people. The left, while idealistic, has become unable to *do* anything with those ideals. Many of their beleifs could change things for the better, and are compatible with even Libertarian philosiphy, but as a movement - a political and social force - they are now a joke.

    Too bad we could reallly use ther help right now.
  • Mirror of full draft (Score:3, Informative)

    by waytoomuchcoffee (263275) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:38PM (#5259548)
    Best mirror for the full draft is here [pbs.org].
  • by waytoomuchcoffee (263275) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:41PM (#5259575)
    Section 404: Use of Encryption to Conceal Criminal Activity.

    In recent years, terrorists and other criminals have begun to use encryption technology to conceal their communications when planning and conducting criminal activity. Title 18 of the United States Code currently contains no provision on the use of encrypted communications to plan or facilitate crimes. This proposal would amend federal law to provide that any person who, during the commission of or the attempt to commit a federal felony, knowingly and willfully uses encryption technology to conceal any incriminating communication or information relating to that felony, be imprisoned for an additional period of not fewer than 5 years. These additional penalties are warranted to deter the use of encryption technology to conceal criminal activity. In addition, it does not address the issue of whether software companies and internet service providers should give law enforcement access to "keys" for the purposes of decoding intercepted communications.


    "Attempt" to download a copyrighted work from Kazaa and email someone about it using PGP = 5+ years in federal prison.

    Ironic that it is section "404".
  • by daveschroeder (516195) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @02:58PM (#5259742)
    I don't have any problems with any of the key points brought up in the article, when applied to terrorism. As I read through the sections thought to be the most egregious, I'm just nodding along going "mm hmm", "sounds good", "hell yeah", and "why aren't we already doing this?"

    The only problem, of course, is who defines "terrorism"?

    Think about that for a while.
    • Most of this is pretty dangerous anyway because the new powers are just so open to abuse. For example, stating that someone is no longer a US citizen if they behave against US interests is a great way of putting that person beyond the reach of the courts (say,. like John Walker Lindh). Who decides that the person is no longer a citizen? Is a peace protestor to be so declared as against US interests? There are no checks in this, the legislations must be killed.

      One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

  • by j3110 (193209) <samterrell@gm a i l . c om> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:04PM (#5259781) Homepage
    How many people had to die for freedom, because appearantly it only takes 3000 deaths to take it back. More people die every year of the flu, but I don't see acts of congress trying to prevent flu as serious as these. Aids will kill more people this year, but the government isn't sinking the kind of money they used to fight Afghanistan to find a cure. This isn't about American lives, it's about changing our govenment to a police state. We're going to war with Iraq for 2 reasons. #1 oil, #2 to try to keep Bush's popularity up amongst the red-necks. He's the most horrid president that the US has ever seen. Even if his policies tend to show that he wants to rid the US from dependance on oil, he has done so much to harm freedom and the economy. From his tax plan to having the DOJ pretty much drop the MS issue, he's screwed the economy to the point of practically no return. The job market is getting thinner. He has allowed or worked to create many laws that break the fundamental rights of Americans. The Patriot Act should be unconstitutional because we are given freedom from unreasonable search and seizures. Don't depend on the courts saving you though, because the whole MS issue has only taught us that they can't be trusted either.
  • by layingMantis (411804) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:09PM (#5259809) Homepage


    what a sad world we live in, when someone like me, someone who is generally anti-political, someone who despises the self-serving two choice system we have today, can say right now that he'll vote for whoever the crappy Democrat candidate will be in the next election. George Bush is that repugnant.

    The fools who voted for Dubya can consider themselves responsible for this steady erosion of our rights, and the steady consolidation of power by Big Brother. But hey, at least the economy is humming right along! Oh, wait.....

    • 10 People get mad at republicans so they vote democrat.
      20 People get mad at democrats so they vote republican.
      30 People get mad at third parties because they didn't win, and therefore the republicans and democrats they're mad at win.
      40 People get mad because they are voting for people they're mad at, rather than people they'd be happy with.
      50 People get mad because the system doesn't provide them with any good choices and the winner-takes-all-system bites.
      60 People get mad at politics in general, say "screw it" and go on with their ever-worsening daily lives.
      70 People get mad about abortion or taxes or racial issues or the personality of the people in office, or are just having a bad day.
      80 People get mad enough that the politicians notice them and promise to solve their problems.
      90 Politicians pander to people's special interests and hand out chocolates and puppies.
      100 People like politicians again.
      110 People get mad eventually because the politicians utterly fail to do anything constructive.
      120 GOTO 10
      130 People get mad enough that the system sees great, sweeping political reform for the benefit of all.
  • In related news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @03:49PM (#5259987) Homepage Journal
    Constitution 2.0

    We the Government...
  • Relevant Quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WCityMike (579094) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:01PM (#5260053)
    "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

    -- John Ashcroft, before Senate Judiciary Committee [cnn.com], December 6, 2001

    It's remarkable how John Ashcroft is the karmic successor to Joseph McCarthy; we're in a modern-day Red Scare, but with a very sympathetic administration and a apathetic public. The potential for (further) permanent damage to Americans' civil liberties is very real and very frightening.

    Am I exaggerating? Well, can you tell them apart [morons.org]?

    FWIW, link to ACLU coverage [aclu.org] and a Google News search [google.com].

  • by Lodragandraoidh (639696) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:03PM (#5260069) Journal
    Remember the scene in the movie "Minority Report" where the team is searching for the hero - and drop the 'bugs' into the building - and everyone has to stop what they are doing and assume the postion to get scanned.

    Its coming. When Federal Agents come knocking on your door because an electronic filter decides that your purchase of certain books, your web browsing propensities, and some people you met in passing at the coffee shop (caught on video) - adds up to something dangerous (to the state), and the agents don't need a search warrant to invade your privacy and tear apart your home in search of something that isn't there.

    The NSA was profiling peace activists and human rights activists during the 60s and 70s - intercepting and analyzing their communications during the 1960s. During that time this was abused, and it was stopped for a reason. Now we are starting to do this again - civil rights will suffer. Witch hunts the likes of the communist scare of the 50s will happen in secret as people mysteriously disappear without habeus corpus rights. The government has been removing large amounts of information that was public knowledge a year ago. What else are they doing under the ospices of secret executive orders? Why do we have to give up our rights to protect this country? If something smells bad, it generally means it is bad; this smells bad.

    We will probably wake up as a people when things get too unbearable. Hopefully it won't be too late (I have faith in the sense of democratic principles and right and reasonable government by the majority of people when push comes to shove). Just hope you are not one of the Minorities...
  • by (eternal_software) (233207) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:13PM (#5260109)
    "When the people fear the government, you have tyranny. When the government fears the people, you have freedom."

    - Thomas Paine
  • Sad. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by miffo.swe (547642) <daniel,hedblom&gmail,com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @04:35PM (#5260193) Homepage Journal
    It looks as if the United States is turning into just another USSR. The irony of the USA becoming its own biggest enemy is stunning. Whatch out for that one party system, its obviously the next step.

    Can you say Yes Master like a good totalitarian state citizen?
  • by r2ravens (22773) on Saturday February 08, 2003 @08:15PM (#5261239)
    From near the end of the article:

    "It raises a lot of serious concerns and is troubling as a generic matter that they have gotten this far along and tell people that there is nothing in the works. What that suggests is that they're waiting for a propitious time to introduce it, which might well be when a war is begun. At that time there would be less opportunity for discussion and they'll have a much stronger hand in saying that they need these right away."

    This has been the tactic of the Bush administration from the very beginning - control and timing of information to maximize spin and reduce adverse effects on the administration's goals. Yes, other administrations have done this, but this one has an incredible mastery of it. Or are we just not paying attention? The author of this article "gets it."

    I've got a hundred dollar bill that says that, even though we've already seen the first drafts of what they propose, it won't be sent to lawmakers until the war starts... or ends. And there is going to be a war, Bush needs it to prop up his approval ratings. And he has to have it now, Next year will be too close to the election.

    If it started next year and dragged on into the time of the elections, it could be a benefit for him as the people don't usually like to change administrations in the middle of a war. But if it went badly, there wouldn't be enough time to spin it positively before the election. But this year is perfect. If it goes well, he will be "the war-time president that kept us safe from those dirty terrorists." If it goes badly, the people will forget or at least the emotional intensity about it will fade by election time. (BTW, regards the 'dirty terrorists' issue, there was a poll [salon.com] conducted (not by salon, but by the Princeton Survey Research Associates) that said that 50% of the American public believed that one or more of the 9/11 hijackers was an Iraqi, 33% didn't answer and only 17% knew the truth that none were. - That's how well the spin and disinformation works.)

    The chief architect of the administration's PR, spin and disinformation organization is Karl Rove, one of the members of Richard Nixon's dirty tricks squad and a long-time political strategist who has been a consultant on many campaigns over the years. There is a good article here [prospect.org] that describes Rove's tactics.

    The key points of this strategy are:

    Use whatever excuse is available at the time to justify the administration's long-term ideological agenda. That's what we're talking about here.

    Count on the American public's (and the media's) inability to remember anything from one year to the next. Ok, pop quiz. Who remembers that in the debates Bush said that the military should not be used for 'nation building'? Sort of like what we're doing in Afghanistan and about to do in Iraq?

    Keep everything under wraps. J. H. Hatfield's book Fortunate Son - The Making of an American President (70,000+ copies of the uncomplimentary biography suggesting Bush's cocaine conviction were recalled by the publisher and shredded at the reqest of the Bush campaign. Hatfield himself turned up dead a few months later. I had a helluva time finding any information on that. The book is still available here [softskull.com] but it's not on the newsstands or in bookstores.) Dick Cheney's energy task force - the court has ordered him to turn over the list of the attendees (not even the notes) and the administration is still fighting it. Not a document has been produced yet. Just the list of attendees eems sort of innocuous, doesn't it? Jose Padilla, the 'dirty bomber'? (See more below on this.)

    Cut embarrassing players loose and pretend they're exceptions. Harvey Pitt resigning [forbes.com] on the eve of the election. Trent Lott stepping down as Senate majority leader after failing to get the backing of the White House.

    And as an example of the biggest threat to our hard-fought constitutional rights, does anyone remember the "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla? He had been in custody for some time before Ashcroft announced his alleged activities and his arrest. Ashcroft made the announcement on the day that FBI agent Coleen Rowley was scheduled to give a press conference to discuss her observation of failures [time.com] in intelligence analysis that might have helped the FBI uncover the 9/11 hijacking plan. Without question, this was timed to steal the media attention from her press conference.

    On the same day, the administration labeled Padilla an "enemy combatant" and had him moved from the civillian justice system (a New Jersey jail) to a military brig in North Carolina where he remains to this day with no contact from his attorney. His attorney has attempted to file a writ of habeus corpus on his behalf, but has been prevented from doing so because the writ must be signed by the defendent who she can't get in to see! [thisamericanlife.org] (Sorry, it's realaudio but worth the listen) In effect, the administration has suspended habeus corpus, a 700 year legal tradition and one of the foundations (some say *the foundation*) of modern jurisprudence.

    Many noble and honorable people have died to protect the freedoms that this administration is removing wholesale. The oft repeated Ben Franklin quote is right on the mark: The examples of Israel and Ireland have long proved that you can not "win a war on terrorism." And removing the very freedoms that the administration claims are the reason that the terrorists "hate us so much" results in a win for the terrorists. How about removing instead the real reasons that many in the Islamic world are opposed to the United States; forced exportation of our culture, religion and business interests to other countries through globalization and our interference in their affairs. The path we are on can only reduce our freedoms and turn more people of this Islamic world against us.

    We need PATRIOT II like we need a damn hole in the head. I'm really concerned about the state of our constitutionally guaranteed freedoms in this country and I'm not sure who I should be more afraid of, George Bush, John Ashcroft or Karl Rove. I'm certainly more afraid of them than I am of terrorists.

    Ok, I've got my Nomex undies on, flame away. But if you must, don't just label me a liberal, commie, pinko hippie, counter my logic or refute my facts. I'm not trying to be a troll, just covering my ass. :)
  • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon @ g m ail.com> on Saturday February 08, 2003 @11:28PM (#5262092)
    Yes this is bad. Is it law yet? NO! Will it be passed? I don't know. Knowing about it now does help. Labeling Bush as bad isn't fair. Things are different now. When things are like the are now (Orage alert and all) things should be tight. When things relax a bit, things change. My last flight I made last month they did not do any random searches at the gate. I personally am among the few that don't necessarily feel safer because of the additional security. Over all I approve of Bush's actions. BUSH'S actions, not that of our congressmen. I don't think that Ashcroft is fully to blame here either. All we can do now is our duty as citizens. Contact your congressmen. Let them know we don't like the proposed bill. Things change becuase we don't do OUR duty. We can't fully blame the president and congress because the ones who are being heard are the ones that are FOR this type of BS and they are just giving their constituents what they want. If enough people say hey this is going too far, well, then things will change. If we sit on our hands and do nothing, well, we deserve what we get. Again, I would like to see the relevant laws regarding non citzens. I believe the constituion protects CITIZENS and not those form other countries. We SHOULD be suspicious of those from suspect countries. These people do not have as many rights as we do and are treated accordingly.

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