Thursday, September 08, 2011

It's For Stopping Terrorists, Right?

As is well known, the Patriot Act put into law by the Bush Justice Department and a US congress eager to do something about terrorists after 9/11.

Among other controversies, the ability for the Justice department to break-and-enter for the purposes of evidence collection is significant. Under the pretense of fighting terrorists, the Bush administration took the foundations of the is republican government and running it through a paper shredder. By accepting it as law, the  wardens at the gates of the constitution have permitted egregious violations of civil liberties. 

But we have to stop the terrorists, right? 
If you have nothing to hide, why does it bother you if the FBI is stopping terrorists?
Terrorists are everywhere, and we need these expanded violations of civil liberty to secure our other freedoms.

Here's the data of 2008-2009, (H/t Jesse Walker) a mere two years of the past decade. In cases involving evidence searching without a warrant, terrorists seem to be an afterthought.

In a sense, the aftershocks of 9/11 are felt most keenly in such examples. Vivid and repulsive. Damning of our choices and troubling in our minds. Wide in scope and devastating in magnitude. Actions not only upon a slippery slope of tyranny, but actively swimming in the mire of Orwell's future. 


KnightWing said...

To be entirely fair, how many actual cases of terrorism are there to find in the United States?

And let's say you're part of the FBI, and you know there's a drug-running element pouring thousands of pounds of drugs into the United States. You can use the Patriot Act to stop it, or you can just leave it alone. What would you do?

What's the data on the Patriot Act being used against innocent citizens? Let's find that first before we start crying foul.

When we have cameras inside our homes and sky-robots that fire death lasers at suspected felons, we can talk about the whole Orwellian dystopian future.

Palm boy said...

Would it be accurate to say that you support the abandonment of the process of warrants in the pursuit of evidence for criminal prosecution?

KnightWing said...

Not at all, but at the same time I'm not going to complain if some drug lords get taken down on the side while the Patriot Act is in place.

Palm boy said...

There is not a correlation between conviction and breech of liberties in this instance, nor should we rejoice upon the grave of a tattered constitution and jurisdictional prudence which has been destroyed in the pursuit of a phantom.

To characterize the warrant-less breaking-and-entering as 'taking some drug lords down on the side' is akin to spraying your car with a fire hose of gasoline to collect some gasoline in the tank.
Looking again at the percentages, that may be a generous analogy.

KnightWing said...

There's a lot more information that's not in that simple graph.

It's been heavily theorized that bringing WMDs in through Mexico would be an ideal way for terrorists to strike the US again, and going through drug organizations are the easiest way to do that. After all, if you're looking for people who are bringing in potential contraband, chances are you'll find ten thousand drug-runners before you find a single Al-Qaeda terrorist. It only makes sense that a majority of those investigations would be deemed "drug-related."

There's just not enough evidence there to automatically assume that the constitution is "in tatters." Let's not start jumping at ghosts.

Palm boy said...

4th amendment to the Us Constitution:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

To whit, an individual has a right against search and seizure searches by governmental authorities without judicial consent.
This consent must be issued prior to such intrusions, and are not intended to be used retroactively.
The USAPATRIOT act was explicit authorization by Congress to the justice department to suspend the necessity of warrants in the pursuit of terrorist activities.

Standard Law enforcement (see: Not terrorism) activities are not enumerated under US law or the US constitution as exempt from warranted search procedures, nor should they be.

An open border with mexico does not signify terrorism anymore then an open door at Kroger signifies an E. Coli outbreak. To sequence does not automatically follow, and is a red herring. Even the justice department has categorized less then >1% of it's warrant-less search and seizure activities as related to terrorism.

The pursuit of narcotics violations is a goal of law enforcement, and such objectives are to be met through the due process of law that protects the innocent. To breech the Rights of US citizens is a dangerous action to all. When there is no respect for the law by those enforcing the law, we no longer have a nation ruled by laws but a nation governed by those with the power to enforce their decisions.

There is a simple fact here that displays the tattered state of our constitutional adherence by the Justice Department, that warrant-less search and seizures are happening daily in direct violation of constitutional, legal and judicial law.