|The stupid question is the question not asked|
(OT) Pending Anti-Terrorism Legislation in the US could impact us allby idnopheq (Chaplain)
|on Sep 30, 2001 at 22:34 UTC||Need Help??|
Update: Some have all ready expressed disgust with my posting, that too much about recent events have been posted, that this is too off-topic for the Monastary, that this is in bad taste. Perhaps this is true. Reap away if this is the will of the monks. I mean no ill will, and value everyone's opinion on this matter. For those who are offended, I offer my most sincere apologies and regrets. Yet my motivation behind posting this is not blunted as I believe the pending legislation will impact us all if passed without careful consideration.
NOTE: This node is a "call-to-arms" regarding current legislation passing through Congress. These I perceive as knee-jerk reactions to 11 September. As always, YMMV. Regardless of an individual's stand on these issues, all I ask of anyone ( especially those residing in the US ) is to remain aware ... consequences can come back to bite in the most unpredictable ways ... Some of the content herein is fact, other is opinion. I admit I am emotional about this topic - wanting justice on one hand and protecting liberties on the other.
For the non-US monks, this legislation can impact you, too. International espianage will increase, and the resources you access in the US will fall under this legislation. Not to mention what your local governments and th EU may propose. We're citizens of the world, and what happens in one country likely impacts all the others - and don't forget the Monastary resides in the US.
UPDATE: I will be adding links and useful quotes as time passes. Please check back periodically. Also, whether or not you agree with my opinion, please post replies on your point of view. If I'm wrong or misinformed on a point, call me on it. Don't just ++ or --, please.
"We know that when countries give up liberties, they make sacrifices, not trade-offs, and what is lost may never be recovered. In the days ahead, let us move forward together to safeguard that which is most precious -- a system of government, the rule of law, and the principle of freedom that seeks to protect the rights of each person and the security of us all."
-- Marc Rotenberg Electronic Privacy Information Center
In response to the terrorist attacks on 11 September, the United States Government is considering legislation to combat terrorism and the foreign states that may provide resources to such groups. Some of the pending legislation contains riders which may impact personal liberties within the United States.
The Meat, as it were
At the end of this, you'll find lot's 'o fine links to additional information regarding this topic of anti-terrorism. I'm just gonna add a few $0.02 USD ...
As if we fine monks did not have enough stuff to rally against, what with the SSSCA and Dmitry Sklyarov, etc., and the obvious attacks on 11 September, the US government has given us the ATA ( see the link below ), the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001. While I believe the government is acting in what it considers "America's best interests", the ramifications of this bill are far reaching.
Wiretaps will be far easier for the government to acquire. The govt will be able to intercept private emails; conduct secret searches; access banking, credit, and other records - much of this without judicial review or review after the fact ( in some cases 48 hours after the fact ); & indefinite detention of foreign nationals without trial.
Potential other consequences are government key escrow/encryption back-door capabilities, national identification system with such personal information as fingerprints, photos, and DNA samples ( though I do not believe the ID system has been brought before committee ... a big raspberry to Larry Ellison ), video survelliance and face recognition, expansion of Carnivore and similar mechanisms, and racial profiling.
The most absurd thing I've heard yet, tho, is the idea of making "hackers, virus writers, and web-site defacers" terrorists. This status change would mean possible sentencing of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
"The ATA includes provisions that dramatically increase the penalties for acts that have no apparent relationship to terrorism. For instance, the bill would add low-level computer intrusion, already a crime under other laws, to the list of "federal terrorism offenses," creating penalties of up to life imprisonment, adding broad pre-conviction asset seizure powers and serious criminal threats to those who "materially assist" or "harbor" individuals suspected of causing minimal damage to networked computers."
I have three basic problems with this:
For those who think this is a worst case scenario, let us not forget the Japanese internment camps during WWII, the McCarthy hearings, and other less-than-savory actions the US government has perpetrated in the past. If this and similar legislation comes into play, we may never get them reversed.
"Just as this horrendous act can destroy us from without, it can also destroy us from within. Pearl Harbor led to internment camps of Japanese-Americans, and today there is a very real danger that this tragedy could result in prejudice, discrimination, and crimes of hate against Arab-Americans and others. The lesson Oklahoma City taught us was the perpetrators of these acts of terror can be evil men of every race, nationality and religion as are the victims. We must ensure that these acts of terror do not slowly and subversively destroy the foundation of our democracy: a commitment to equal rights and equal protection."
--Congressman John Conyers (D-MI)
The moral of the story is _BE_ _AWARE_!. Contact your Congress-people and let them know your feelings, pro- or anti-. The worst thing any of us can be, now especially, is ignorant. Read the news. Ask questions. Make your opinion known. Vote.
Several news sources have sited government officials admitting the proposed measures, including the increased airport and border security, would not necessarily have prevented the attacks on New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania. I'm having dificulty finding the aricles, but when I do I'll post them.
UPDATE: Aside from the legal questions, it is unclear how effective these forms of electronic surveillance may prove to be. For example, while some electronic information about the Sept. 11 terrorists has come to light via computer searches and video records, it is not known whether increased digital tracking would have helped head off the plot, since so few of the terrorists had come to the attention of the Central Intelligence Agency before the attacks. -- New York Times, Living Under an Electronic Eye, By LISA GUERNSEY, September 27, 2001
If this is indeed the case, then why are we running headlong down this road? It's like my father says, "If someone wants to do something bad enough, they will find a way". And, please note that I have yet to hear a credible reason from the Federal Government as to the causes of this. Geo. W. Bush's canned attack on freedom sounds weak to me, some patriotic propaganda perhaps. Ah, well ...
Some of my friends have accused me of not supporting the administration regarding all of this, of being unpatriotic. But I have two children. The last thing I want is something to happen to them. And I live just two blocks outside of Detroit proper, a fine target if there ever was one. We have three access points to Canada within an hour of each other. The Big Three automakers are all here, as are a majority of their suppliers. We have a large portion of America's manufacturing capability. We possess a large IT community as a result. If the terrorists are actually of Arab descent ( of which I have yet so see hard evidence - remember Oklahoma City? I lived there, too ... at Council and the Northwest Expressway ) , we have one of the largest ( though I want to point out HIGHLY PATRIOTIC ) Arab-American and Muslim-American communities in the US for them to hide among. If the US and it's allies actually do launch a "sustained effort" or war against terrorism, Detroit becomes a prime target for terrorist attack. I _want_ to be and feel safe. But not at any cost. Our children will live with the legacy we leave them. I just want it to be measured and thoughful.
For More Information