Secret court judge: "You can take this job and shove it!"


8 comments posted
I wonder...

how many of us bloggers are being monitored. Suppose the FOIA request the ACLU is putting together will give us a list?

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Morgaine Swann's picture
Posted by Morgaine Swann on 22 December 2005 - 12:03am
How many?

Most of us, I'd imagine:

Now that's something worth getting upset about.

Yagathai's picture
Posted by Yagathai (not verified) on 22 December 2005 - 12:15am
I think it's dangerous...

... to try to stop the FBI from conducting surveillance operations on groups based on political lines. There are extremists on both left and right, and even though the radical left hasn't been especially militant in the US yet, SLA and Weathermen included, it doesn't mean that they won't be. Baader-Meinhof was just as vicious as any Montana militia jerkoffs.

Like you said, the FBI has the responsibility to conduct domestic law enforcement and, therefore, antiterrorism operations. While it may seem a little silly to be investigating vegan community organizations, as long as they don't cross the line from "legal surveillance" to "intimidation" or "illegal discrimination", I don't think the relatively benign policing of groups on the extremes of society, especially those with a vested interest in radically changing the status-quo, is an intrinsically bad thing.

Now, of course, it's important that concerned citizens make sure that domestic law-enforcement agencies don't cross the line from benign to infringing, but as long as they stay on the legal side of the line, I don't see any reason not to support their efforts.

Yagathai's picture
Posted by Yagathai (not verified) on 22 December 2005 - 12:11am
That sounds like

...guilty until proven innocent.

It also sounds like an incredible waste of resources when there are real terrorists out there.

I remember how the Republicans howled over "Filegat" -- when something like 40 FBI files were delivered to the White House for undetermined reasons. Now, of course, those ex-howlers are the biggest fans of increased state power.

Will they be so happy and delighted when their party is not in charge? That's the danger of people who put party over country. And it's the danger of having the FBI spend money and energy spying on domestic political rivals.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 22 December 2005 - 9:36am
No, it's more...

... suspicious until proven otherwise, which is a perfectly reasonable -- in fact, desireable -- attitude in those charged to protect us from bad people. What makes you think this surveillance is politically motivated? I've seen no evidence to that effect.

If anyone's making judgement before proof of guilt here, I don't think it's the FBI.

Yagathai's picture
Posted by Yagathai (not verified) on 22 December 2005 - 12:04pm
Funny how so suddenly people are in love with Big Brother

Why is that? Why especially do we hear it from Republicans, who until recently were so suspicious of governmental authority?

Maybe because now the Republicans are Big Brother? (AKA "strict father"?)

You know, this nation was founded upon suspicion of governmental power. Restraining the power of the executive branch was of special concern, because they were dealing with unrestrained governmental power in the form of the King.

Our own more recent history includes the excesses of J. Edgar Hoover and Richard Nixon. People objected vehemently when Bill Clinton's administration apparently looked at FBI files of a small number of Americans.

Now we have Bush taking that on a scale several orders of magnitude larger, and suddenly everybody shuts up.

This is politics, Yagathai. The people are entitled to due process, and privacy. It's the government that has to justify its actions, not the other way around.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 22 December 2005 - 2:31pm
Hey, you'll get no argument

Hey, you'll get no argument from me when it comes to putting limits on the power of the executive branch, nor will you find a more vehement defender of individual rights. I don't think partisanship or the invocation of words like "Republican" or "Clinton" are necessary to this debate.

The only point I'm trying to make here is that until and unless the FBI is proven to have actually violated the privacy rights of a particular group, especially (but not exclusively!) because of a political agenda, it's uncharitable not to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Yagathai's picture
Posted by Yagathai on 22 December 2005 - 4:02pm

I see in the Constitution that people are entitled to due process, but I see nothing about governmental agencies being entitled to the same. The government has to justify its actions, the people don't.

That's called "negative freedom" and was the radical part of the "radical experiment" the Founders embarked upon.

Besides, the FBI is assuming these groups are up to no good ... as they define it. What if your neighbor kept coming over to your house, snooping around, just to make sure you weren't fixing to shoot him or burn his house down. By your standard, that behavior would be justified.

And make no mistake, this is partisan. And I think Clinton is relevant, because even today Republicans whine about what Clinton did in the last millennium. We're talking about ever-expanding executive power, and that's not healthy for this country.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 22 December 2005 - 4:28pm