Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Judge Posner Wants America To Become a Soviet-style State


By Elaine Meinel Supkis

Richard Posner, a judge, tells Washington Post readers, he wants a 1984-style Big Brother spy program so "terrorists" can be found easily. This is very scary coming from a judge.

From the Washington Post:
Richard Posner , a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, was online Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 2 p.m. ET to discuss his op-ed, 'Our Domestic Intelligence Crisis' , ( Post, Dec. 21, 2005 ), and his contention that U.S. domestic intelligence operations are not a threat to civil liberties, but rather are filling in dangerous gaps in the country's defense against terrorism.
Our borders are completely porous and he evidently thinks the way to make us safe is to have Soviet-style spying on citizens. Of course, the Soviets also wanted impermeable borders which is why Churchill called Soviet controlled states, "The Iron Curtain".
(One of the people participating in the question and answer session) : More importantly, your discussion of the computer vs. human inspection of data is disingenuous. The criterion by which the computers sift the data is determined by humans, and we do not have distinct statutes for automated wholesale invasions of privacy as opposed to human, retail invasions of privacy, to my knowledge.

Next, you make the claim that "the only valid ground for forbidding human inspection of such data is fear that they might be used to ... intimidate the administration's political enemies." The constitution does not, I believe, address the motives associated with "unreasonable search and seizure". It simply prohibits them, so your argument has no bearing.

I could go on, but I will leave it there, and assume that you will let us know more if you feel that it will be necessary to find out if some us "innocent, unwitting" people have "valuable counterterrorist information".

Richard Posner: I did not offer a legal opinion. My concern was with issues of policy. Are you worried about having a conversation of yours (say this conversation) recorded in a government database? Suppose that unbeknownst to you your neighbor is a terrorist, and you happen to mention his name in the conversation. A government computer picks up the name and learning from your conversation where he lives, arrests him.
This sort of bland talk about spying on absolutely everyone just in case someone might inadvertently spill information useful for a government which is seeking someone, this is OK?

What the???? This judge should be impeached for even breaching this point of view in public! He obviously has absolutely no idea what is in our Constitution, what our revolution against England was all about, he is a danger to our democracy and Republic...Just like much of the Supreme Court and Congress which is why we are rapidly morphing into a clone of the former Soviet Union complete with the "going bankrupt fighting Muslim fundies" subheading.

So, this insane judge thinks computers should monitor any and ALL conversations so it can ferret out information its masters might want for one reason or another? What? Why not put monitors in every home's rooms and track everyone every day. This way, no pedophiles, no druggies, no wife abuse, no tax cheating, no crimes at all. The perfect, safe society.

Sounds like North Korea! Geeze. What a wonder that is.

Why does the right wing which gets all batty over UN helicopters perfectly happy with Big Brother spying on everyone all the time? Here is the "judge" talking about the war on terror as if it is a real war:
...invasions are outside FISA's domain. The Administration position is that the joint resolution of Congress authorizing the use of force against al Qaeda is in effect a declaration of war, and that the activities that the non-FISA surveillance is aimed at thwarting is in effect an attempted invasion of the United States. If that is a sound position, it would justify the non-FISA surveillance that the National Security Agency has conducted, at least as that surveillance has been described by Administration officials.
This is the problem with rhetorical excess.

We are not at war. Just like in Nam, we are attacking people but this doesn't mean America is at war at home. This may sound old fashioned, but declarations of war are written out pretty specifically in that document Bush and his buddies despise so much, our Constitution. Namely, only CONGRESS can declare war and they haven't done this since 1941. So destroying our civil liberties because of the war on drugs or the war on terrorists isn't the same thing at all. These are not countries that can surrender.

These are individuals, often citizens, whose rights are covered by our Constitution. They can't surrender because "drugs" or "terror" aren't states, they are situations. Like declaring war until victory over jaywalkers or sidewalk spitters: it never ends because it is a behavior, not a territory or organization. The war on the Mafia is like that since it is crime spree stuff not Italy. We don't bomb Italy every time a Mafioso blows up a business here or murders an union boss.

This is like the Puritans wanting total power over people so long as "sin" existed. Since sinning never ends and can pop up any time and any place, this means hyper control over everyone all the time and no privacy since one might sin. This uneven human condition means iron controls.

In 1984, Orwell makes it very clear that the various states maintained a condition of permenant, sporatic warfare and terror bombings to keep everyone enslaved. So it is, here. Our policies provoke attacks and then our rulers scream that people are attacking us so they then provoke more attacks, the attacks happen and they scream again, and so on.

Here is the judge again, explaining how it won't harm us to be spied on all the time, the rulers will not notice what we say except when we say the wrong thing...Urg.
Richard Posner: I think it would be highly desirable to explain to the public the tradeoffs between security and privacy. Effective counterterrorism does entail some reduction in privacy. I don't think most people would mind the government's scrutinizing their conversations for information of potential intelligence value if they trusted the government not to misuse the information.
All governments misuse information. If it is OK to pop key words into a computer to monitor all conversations in places where one wants to know what is going on, like election plans at the Democratic Party Headquarter in the Watergate Hotel, what on earth is going to stop them from applying the code and then eavesdropping on important conversations?

Like the devil knows well, give someone the key to the bankvault and tell him no one is guarding it, he will loot it and run.

Always, every time our rulers slyly ask for extrordinary powers, they tell us, "We won't misuse it." And inevitably, they do. They can't help it. The lust to do it is too much to resist. Like putting donuts out and telling cops not to eat them, no?

When the Patriot Act was passed, many of us on the left with long memories of Nixon warned everyone that the assurances they wouldn't spy on Quaker ladies or Franciscan priests or kids checking books out in the library but then....They did. And this will never, ever change. This is why we have a Constitution. This maladministration has curtailed the ability to petition our rulers, to peacefull demonstrate in public, to talk back to our rulers in public, to travel in and out of America without being interrogated about what books we read as happened to this Antiwar.com editor. He went to a peace conference in Malaysia and on his return, was pulled from boarding his jet and interrogated and examined carefully over political matters, what books he was reading, etc.

All extremely unamerican and very Soviet. I remember how one had to be careful about what newspapers or books one carried overseas. One can't enter Saudi Arabia with a Bible, for example! We are supposed to be better than that! As night falls upon our great experiment with being a country and not a huge jail, as our dictator double talks about gulags and concentration camps and torture and how the Constitution and Geneva Conventions don't apply to the "war on terror", we have to strike back.

This means finding out where your politician's offices are and visiting it and telling them, we do not feel safe with a police state. Police states are alway bad, in movies, in books, in comic strips, the police state is the bad guy, never the good guy. Rocky and Bullwinkle were all American and Boris and Natasha were working for Fearless Leader. Bush isn't a Fearless Leader simply because he is a frightened rabbit, but nonetheless, he wants to be Fearless Leader.

Time to escort him off the plane. This judge can leave, too. Move them all to Bagdad and have them live under Sadr's rule.

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