The War vs Liberty and Freedom

Editor's Note:  Not every enemy of this country is a foreigner.  The enemies of this country are those who want to chip away at the Bill of Rights, eliminate the Electoral College, spend astronomical amounts of money, and turn the United States into a police state, using the September 11th tragedy as an excuse.  If you value your right to privacy, this is the time to be very concerned.

(Each of these links opens up a new browser window so you can pick up where you left off.)

 Note:   All the material about the USA Patriot Act has been moved here.  On the other hand, if you're primarily concerned about privacy issues, start here.

A New York Times opinion writer wants to do away with the Electoral College.
Priceless republican relic.  First off, kids, the United States is not a "democracy."  We are a representative democracy better yet defined as a constitutional republic.  Learned students of history that the Founders and Framers were, they knew a pure democracy was no better than anarchy. … Prematurely released exit polls conducted by the media have far more to do with retarding voter turnout than the Electoral College.

Freedom for Safety:  An old trade — and a useless one.  Within days of the attacks, Attorney General John Ashcroft pushed Congress to pass expansive anti-terrorism legislation that was a lawman’s wish list (and not very different from the regular requests made by lawmen before 9/11).

Security or hysteria?  Driving through downtown Washington, D.C., a few weeks ago, I asked myself:  What's happened to the character of the American people?  There were barricaded landmarks, armed guards and people waiting to be searched.  Several weeks ago, I visited downtown Philadelphia in the vicinity of Independence Hall.  Again there were barricades, armed guards and visitors waiting in line.

 Excellent!   Will more bureaucracy mean more security?  When America had an energy crisis, our leaders responded by creating the Department of Energy.  When we perceived serious failures by our schools, the Department of Education was formed.  Likewise, the terrorist threat that became apparent last Sept. 11 prompted the Bush administration to propose a Department of Homeland Security.  But our experience with those other national emergencies raises a question:  Why bother?

You Call This a War?  The London terror bombings make one thing clear: the United States and the United Kingdom are never going to win the "war on terrorism."  The reason is simple:  it isn't really a war.  And nobody can win or lose it.  We should stop talking about it as if it were a war.  It's a clash of wills.  The enemy is obscure, but can't be fought or defeated as if he were a state.  He has no vital secrets or single mastermind that can be found by, say, taking, questioning, and torturing captives.

FBI, Please Protect Us from Terrorists and the ACLU.  One can only hope that the ACLU will now finally join those of us who have always opposed the entire slate of new federal police powers enacted since 9/11, which have inflicted great damage on the Bill of Rights and American liberties and been unnecessary, ineffective, and counterproductive in combating terrorism.

Word war:  we need to name our enemy.  Are we fighting a war against "terrorism," as we're told ad nauseum, or are we really fighting a war specifically against radical Islamists, as some have pointed out in recent weeks, defying the political-correctness fascists and inviting applause from Americans desperate for truth?

General Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack.  Already, critics of the U.S. Patriot Act, rushed through Congress in the wake of the September 11 attacks, have argued that the law aims to curtail civil liberties and sets a dangerous precedent.  But Franks' scenario goes much further.  He is the first high-ranking official to openly speculate that the Constitution could be scrapped in favor of a military form of government.

Improving our odds against terror:  The American response to tightening up after London has been reflexive and idiotic:  random bag checks in the New York subways.  Random meaning that the people stopped are to be chosen numerically.  One in every 5 or 10 or 20.  This is an obvious absurdity and everyone knows it.  It recapitulates the appalling waste of effort and resources we see at airports every day when, for reasons of political correctness, 83-year-old grandmothers from Poughkeepsie are required to remove their shoes in the search for jihadists hungering for paradise.

Will George Orwell's 1984 Become A Reality In 2004?  The current edition of Insight magazine features an article in which the former commander of the military's Central Command, General Tommy Franks, warns that constitutional government could be subject to a sudden demise if another major terrorist attack took place in America.

The FBI has not been here.  Librarians, who can be required by the FBI to submit library records of private citizens under the PATRIOT Act — and who are prohibited from making these requests public — have invented some clever, legal strategies to fight back.

The O.J. Simpson Case and the War on Terrorism:  Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, many conservative lawyers and pundits have repeatedly raised the specter of the Simpson verdict to argue that America's civilian criminal justice system is broken — and that people accused of terrorist offenses ought to be tried before military tribunals.

It's Not Just About Terrorists.  In the name of catching terrorists, the federal government is rapidly establishing program after program to monitor law-abiding American citizens.  Long-standing wish lists of government officials and special interests for expanded government surveillance of ordinary Americans are being trotted out daily, wrapped in fine-sounding phrases. … These measures seek to establish federal surveillance of law-abiding people on a scale previously unimaginable in America.

A Conservative Stand On Civil Liberties Issues:  Just before his retirement, [Dick Armey] discovered that the Justice Department, as part of its drive to protect us from Osama bin Laden, was proposing a massive block surveillance system not that different from the one utilized by Cuba's Fidel Castro to control his citizens.  He was appalled that we might actually encourage neighbors to spy on one another in the name of protecting us.  He helped kill it.

Violating the Constitution With an Illegal War:  The last time Congress declared war was on December 11, 1941, against Germany in response to its formal declaration of war against the United States.  This was accomplished with wording that took less than one-third of a page, without any nitpicking arguments over precise language, yet it was a clear declaration of who the enemy was and what had to be done.

Why This War?  When the reasons that are given for war are so feeble, you can be sure they aren't the real reasons.

Anonymity in America:  Does National Security Preclude It?  Anonymous speech has proud roots stretching to the origins of America.  Gentlemen calling themselves "Publius" wrote the Federalist Papers.  Thomas Paine's Common Sense was signed by "An Englishman."  Today, computer programs that allow us to encrypt emails—to scramble them such that only the intended "key-holding" recipient can decipher the message—represent perhaps the newest incarnation of the old tradition of speaking both freely and anonymously.

President Bush Declares Another State of Emergency:  President Bush issued a new executive order declaring another state of national emergency and invoking certain additional standby powers.  President Bush relies on actions of the United Nations asa principal source of his authority to defend the United States.  This curious practice perpetuates the approach taken by President Clinton.  (This refers to Executive Order 13224.)

My Wake-up Call:  Watch For Another 9/11-WMD Experience.  Many Americans dismiss suspicion of their government as treasonous, and most believe conspiracy to be impossible "because someone would talk."  There is no basis in any known fact for this opinion.  According to polls, 36% of the American people disbelieve the 9/11 Commission Report.  Despite this lack of confidence, and despite the numerous omissions and errors in the report, it has proven impossible to have an independent investigation of 9/11 or to examine the official explanation in public debate.  Even experts and people with a lifetime of distinguished public service are dismissed as "conspiracy theorists," "kooks," and "traitors" if they question the official explanation of 9/11.

Strong words, but worth reading.
Bush Directive for a "Catastrophic Emergency" in America.  The threat of a Second Al Qaeda "Attack on America" is being used profusely by the Bush administration to galvanize public opinion in support of a global military agenda.  Known and documented, the "Islamic terror network" is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus.  The "war on terrorism" is bogus.  The 911 narrative as conveyed by the 911 Commission report is fabricated.  The Bush administration is involved in acts of cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of government.

The "Use of the Armed Forces" in America under a National Emergency.  President Bush's National Security Presidential and Homeland Directive (NSPD 51, HSPD 20) enacted on May 9, 2007, … would essentially scrap Constitutional government in the case of a so-called "Catastrophic Emergency".  If an emergency situation were to be called by the President, NSPD 51 would instate martial law under the authority of the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.

The Price of Peace  is privacy.

Does More Listening by Law Enforcement Make America Safer?  "Our nation's time-tested freedoms can be eroded by the overzealous use of electronic surveillance by law enforcement. … Wiretaps can be an important and legitimate tool for law enforcement, but the importance of probable cause and respecting privacy should not be lost."

(Not the exact title, but close enough):
Report on Federal Court Applications for Orders Authorizing Wiretaps:  One fact worth noting is that encryption was encountered in 16 wiretaps that were terminated in 2001.  However, in none of the cases involving encryption were law enforcement officers unable to obtain the plain text of the communications that had been intercepted. [PDF file]

Documentary film:  911: The Road to Tyranny:  The government needed a crisis to convince the people to willingly give up their liberty in exchange for safety.  911 the Road to Tyranny documents the ruthless history of governments orchestrating terrorist attacks against their own people to scare them into total submission.

Message to Congress:  A War on Terrorism Does Not Mean a War on Liberty:  Politicians have always coveted the liberties we hold.  The war on terrorism provides them cover and an excuse for encroachment.

PC shield for terrorists:  President Bush should not be surprised if millions of Americans come to the conclusion that the "war on terror" is nothing but a propaganda cover for increasing the police powers of the government over native-born loyal citizens.

Don't Give Terrorists Their Ultimate Victory!  In the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, many Americans are now in a frenzy over what to do to improve safety and security.  And as a result, many politicians are in a frenzy on Capitol Hill, trying to figure out which American liberties are expendable, and which ones are not.  The correct answer, of course, is NONE of our freedoms are worth sacrificing.

Don't hold America hostage to civil rights:  Here we go again.  The decision to hold Jose Padilla, AKA Abdullah al Muhajir, the so-called "dirty bomber," as an "enemy combatant" has reignited the bonfire of hysteria over military tribunals and civil rights.

War Powers Without War:  All of these expanded government powers are justified as special emergency measures during wartime. But that is precisely the problem.  The nation is not at war — not officially.

No more undeclared wars:  America is being stampeded into a new undeclared war, against Iraq.  Thus it is a time for truth – a time for Congress to do its duty, and debate and decide on war or peace.

Congressmen Say "Anti-Terrorism" Provisions are Unconstitutional:  Four representatives and one senator voted against the "anti-terrorism bill" signed into law by President Bush Oct. 26, but what is potentially more noteworthy than the fact that only five members of Congress voted against the bill, is which five members cast those votes and why.

Federal Anti-Hoax Terrorism Law Considered:  Justice Department prosecutors and investigators say they need a tough new federal law to stop the thousands of terrorist hoaxes that began after the first anthrax death in Florida.  But doubts are coming from both sides of the political aisle.

Libertarians: Repeal all gun laws:  Party calls firearms 'practical solution' to problem of terrorism.

CARA and the NRA:  I thought the NRA was about maintaining the Constitution and the Second Amendment.  Maybe not.  Hanging on to one small part of the Constitution is not enough anymore.  ALL of that document matters or none of it matters.

Security Before Liberty:  Today's curbs on freedom are nothing compared with earlier wars.

America's First "Interior Minister":  While no responsible person downplays the very real threat of terrorism, the threat of a centralized police force is just as dire.

Whoa!  Just a minute, please.  Somebody, or several somebodies, are suggesting that since the FBI and other intelligence agencies can't get the suspected terrorists in their custody to spill the beans about what's going on with Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, it might be a dandy idea to torture them until they blab.  Torture?  Just what can they be thinking?

FBI considers torture as suspects stay silent:  American investigators are considering resorting to harsher interrogation techniques, including torture, after facing a wall of silence from jailed suspected members of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, according to a report yesterday [10/21/2001].

Will Antiterror Laws Pass Court Scrutiny?:  The hottest issue under debate has been the proposal authorizing detention of suspected terrorists who are otherwise subject to criminal or deportation proceedings.  That is the equivalent of denying release pending bail.  Although unusual in a free society, there are various circumstances under existing law when indefinite detention is permitted.  And the Supreme Court has so ruled.  Individuals who are dangers to the community may be held without bond as the judicial or administrative process runs its course.

Will the Laws Fall Silent?:  As America braces for a war of uncertain length against an unspecified enemy, many have embraced the ancient legal maxim inter arma, enim silent leges - "In time of war, the laws fall silent."  In a sense this is an understandable reaction to the depraved lawlessness displayed by the foreign enemies who killed several thousand Americans in the attacks of September 11th.  While we certainly must track down and eradicate those directly responsible for that attack, we must also remember that our laws – the Constitution that frames our system of government, and the heritage of Christian laws that inspired our nation's charter of government – define us as a people.  If we allow those laws to become "collateral damage" in the "war on terrorism," we will suffer losses even greater than those we endured on that terrible Tuesday morning.

Nervous Secret Service:  Nervous reaction by the Secret Service immediately following the attacks led to such bizarre security regulations as a prohibition on window washers on the upper stories of private office buildings three blocks from the White House.  The attempted closing of 17th Street and the successful closing of E Street were accompanied by security experts demanding that Washington's Reagan National Airport be shut down permanently because its flight patterns were so close to the White House.

Following attacks, courtrooms become secret, documents sealed:  As part of what Attorney General John Ashcroft has called the biggest criminal investigation in U.S. history, federal authorities have detained more than 500 people without releasing the paperwork that usually accompanies nearly any type of court proceeding.

Constitutional rights should trump terrorism regs:  Confiscating pocket knives and sewing scissors from little old ladies will do nothing to fill the now-empty planes with confident passengers.

Anti-Terror Bill:  A Missed Opportunity to Tighten Gun Laws?:  A leading gun control group said the anti-terrorism legislation signed into law Friday is good as far as it goes, but it should have done more to tighten the nation's gun laws.

Keeping out the NSA:  Vox Day questions "…both the utility and motivation behind the attempts to violate Americans' Fourth Amendment rights while at the same time 'building an anti-terror coalition' with noted anti-terrorists such as Arafat, Putin and Assad."

Don't Inject Political Correctness Into the War on Terrorism:  In his legislative farewell, Gov. Ridge made one statement that is troubling.  He said:  "To those Americans who would lash out at your fellow citizens simply because they worship differently or dress differently or look differently than you do, there is a word for such behavior:  TERRORISM."

Majority of Texans would limit civil liberties to boost security:  Three-fourths of Texans are willing to sacrifice some of their civil liberties in an effort to prevent the type of terrorism that struck New York and the Pentagon, a new survey indicates.

Security's double-edged sword:  Politically, our nation is trying to find a way to abolish the Constitution in deed, while acknowledging it in word.  The First Amendment guarantee that "Congress will not prohibit the free exercise of religion" will be diluted by every congressional effort to protect America from radical Islamic terrorism.  Yet there is no clear alternative.  The same two-edged sword that cuts down fundamental Islam will cut down fundamental Christianity on its back swing.

Responding to terror with justice, not revenge:  If the past is any guide, the U.S. government may respond to this attack in two counter-productive ways.  American intervention overseas is likely to be stepped up, and the authorities can be expected to impose authoritarian curbs on domestic liberties.

Anti-Attack Feds Push Carnivore:  An administrator at one major network service provider said that FBI agents showed up at his workplace on Tuesday [9/11/2001] with a couple of Carnivores, requesting permission to place them in our core, along with offers to actually pay for circuits and costs."  The person declined to say for publication what the provider's response was, "but a lot of people" at other firms were quietly going along with the FBI's request.  "I know that they are getting a lot of 'OKs' because they made it a point to mention that they would only be covering our core for a few days, while their 'main boxes were being set up at the Tier 1 carriers' -- scary," the engineer said.

 Editor's Note:   I've been collecting information about Carnivore for months.

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Updated July 26, 2007.

©2013 by Andrew K. Dart