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What is the big damn deal about the Patriot Act?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Greg Bell, Mar 9, 2004.

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  1. Greg Bell

    Greg Bell Member

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    Please, I'm sick of hearing about the dreaded Patriot Act. What is the big deal?
     
  2. Battler

    Battler Member

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    It treats terrorists like wealth creators and gun owners.
     
  3. Ozendorph

    Ozendorph Member

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    Well, I'm hardly a legal scholar, but I think folks take exception to the expanded surveillance powers granted to Federal agents (and the lack of Judicial input on such matters), the potential for non-citizens to be arrested without being charged with a crime and held indefinitely without any form of legal council, and (on a more personal level) the rather broad term "terrorist" being applied even to people charged only with computer-related crimes.

    I'm no expert, just going on what I've read and heard.:cool:
     
  4. Dave R

    Dave R Member

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    Three problems spring to mind.

    1. If the investigators label you a terrorist suspect, they can do all manner of searches and wiretaps without obtaining a warrant.

    2. A terrorist suspect is defined as whatever we want it to be.

    3. If you are a terrorist suspect, we can hold you indefinitely and you lose all manner of rights, including habeus corpus and the right to a speedy trial.

    Bottom line is it removes a lot of due process, and gives the Government sweeping new powers to spy on ordinary citizens.
     
  5. Battler

    Battler Member

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    I think though, with the multitude of laws and practices already on the books, it's really a moot point in effect.


    As for the warrant: What judge is going to deny a warrant to a Fed who says: "We think he's a terrorist and want to search his place"? Has this ever happened in history? They're just saving time; but they can search where they want to anyway.

    What is a speedy trial? I'm seeing trials lasting a long time. Where is what constitutes a speedy trial defined? How many days? See my point? It's already arbitrary.

    They can pick you up for anything they want, and if the charges don't stick they can get you for some obstruction of justice or tax evasion or something like that.

    I'm just warning you - the sheer number of arbitrarily defined and applied laws out there mean that if they want you you're toast, lawyer or not.

    Don't get me wrong, Patriot act is bad; but it really just streamlines the process.
     
  6. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    The real problem with this act is that it's still going to be on the books when a leftist extremist administration is in power.
     
  7. spartacus2002

    spartacus2002 Member

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    Roger what Standing Wolf said. Those who believe it won't be abused by Ashcroft need to contemplate Hillary Clinton as Attorney General.
     
  8. tyme

    tyme Member

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    I don't think there is Patrot Act provision for indefinite detention of terrorists.

    There's an Executive Order that allows something like military detainment/custody/trial of foreign terrorists. Even the EO explicitly excludes U.S. citizens from such treatment. I'm too lazy to go track down a link right now. It was issued sometime between 9/11 and the passage of the PATRIOT act.

    IIRC, what the patriot does allow is 7 day detention of terror suspects before charges must be pressed. Many opponents of the PATRIOT act literally would not pass the bill without the 7 day limitation.

    Let's not forget that many of the PATRIOT act provisions expire in less than 2 years.

    The most common detention procedure after 9/11 was where legal aliens were detained as "material witnesses" for weeks or months. I'm not sure that either the PATRIOT act or Bush's EO gave the government that power; I think it already existed, but had just never been abused (holding suspects as "material witnesses") before.
     
  9. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    I'm not concerned about the imaginary American civil rights of non-U.S. citizens.
     
  10. MacViolinist

    MacViolinist Member

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    I have a hard time believe a government will respect my civil rights if it doesn't respect the civil rights of others
     
  11. Greg Bell

    Greg Bell Member

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    "I have a hard time believe a government will respect my civil rights if it doesn't respect the civil rights of others"


    Well, if I was in, say, Germany, and I was involved in terrorist activity, I wouldn't expect to be treated as well as a citizen. That is just common sense. If you are a saboteur in an enemy land expect to be treated as such. It would be idiotic to give everyone on earth the same rights as a U.S. citizen. Hilarious, I can see us reading miranda rights to invading armies. Pow! You have the right to remain silent. BLAM! Anything you say...:D
     
  12. MacViolinist

    MacViolinist Member

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    Greg Bell,
    I hardly think that one has an obligation to read rights to someone attempting to shoot you, no matter what your citizenship. Anyone that attacks me gives up their civil rights until such a time as I stop shooting. The general point I was making is that there is a certain idea that if you are not a U.S. citizen, then you have no rights. Doesn't that imply that the U.S. Constitution grants you your rights, rather than protecting what already existed?

    -drew
     
  13. ksnecktieman

    ksnecktieman Member

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    Battler? In Kansas a speedy trial is defined in law as,,,,,, If arrested, I have to be formally charged within 48 hours. The trial has to be within 270 days,,,,,,, IF I delay it, the delays I cause do not count in the 270 days.

    That is opinion only, I am not a lawyer, or a legal scholar, I only know how long it took them to drop bogus charges against me, and what my lawyer said about why they dropped them on the date they did.
     
  14. hd1.

    hd1. Member

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    This topic brings to mind the well known quote from Benjamin Franklin:



    "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"

    Benjamin Franklin
     
  15. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Patriots Act is a stew of provisons government has wanted for decades.
    --Number of provisions have been sought by AG's and presidents since Kennedy.
    --Past administrations have erected regulations between domestic surveillance and foreign spying which were deliberately designed to keep FBI and CIA from talking.
    --Some provisions apply to the war on drugs and no where else. PA made the provisions consistent.
    --The enabling legislation was passed before it was read by congress. Only a few staffers actually knew what the act contained.
    --At this time the PA seems to have irritated only Arab males between the ages of 16 and 40 with some exceptions. Our system of checks and balances is in the process of defining the nature of this war.

    --Biggest concern has to do with what happens when a screaming liberal fascist (Reno--Part Deux) becomes the AG under a president Hillary.

    Lots of uncertainty and that is why congress put a sunset provision in effect. All federal legislation should have sunset clauses.
     
  16. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    This is alarming in and of itself.
     
  17. dischord

    dischord Member

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    The likelihood that I will run afoul of the Patriot Act is rather slim -- that doesn't make it any less odious.

    I've also never had the inclination to buy any guns covered by the AWB, but that doesn't mean I think it's OK.
     
  18. Thumper

    Thumper Member

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    I want the government I fund to respect my civil rights to the point of excluding the civil rights of others.

    I'm only partially kidding.
     
  19. 316SS

    316SS Member

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    The Patriot Act does not suspend the writ of habeas corpus. That was accomplished separately by the Bush Administration. :uhoh:

    The Patriot Act only applies to terrorists: arguably untrue, but the real problem is, how is terrorism defined?

    This essay written by Leon Trotsky discusses the issue of an inclusive definition of terrorism. I am not a Marxist, and I become annoyed by the "class-struggle" language in this, but the point about terrorism is well taken.

    For "crime" read "terrorism", and for "criminal" read " terrorist".

    316SS
     
  20. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    1. Surveillance powers: it codifies pre 9/11 practice, and allows for counterterrorist branches to cooperate with anti-crime branches. Not a bad idea, really. As for no judicial input, not hardly.

    2. Being held indefinitely without charge: this has nothing to do with the Patriot Act. It is an extension of the President's national security authority, as determined by Civil War era precedent.

    3. Terrorist being applied to computer-related crimes: a terrorist is one who uses terror to undermine the social order. If a person uses repeated denial of service attacks to DoD computers to affect terror and undermine national security , aren't they still a terrorist?
     
  21. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    In very limited circumstances, acting on precedent from the Lincoln Administration.
     
  22. igor

    igor Member

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    :scrutiny: :uhoh: :what:

    It does, doesn't it?
     
  23. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

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    Igor
    If by that you mean that the U.S. Constitution GRANTS our rights enumerated therein, I believe you have a flawed understanding of what the Constitution represents. When it was written, it simply codified the rights that the Founding Fathers believed existed naturally or, if you will, had been granted by God. A careful reading of the Constitution and papers of the time will clarify. :scrutiny:

    TC
    TFL Survivor
     
  24. corncob

    corncob Member

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    As I understand it, essentially the Patriot Act (further) blurs the line between law enforcement intelligence gathering (as in, on citizens) and military intelligence gathering (as in, on foriegners). This is bad. According to a US Attourney who was recently on the local talk radio show, now if the latter "accidentally" produces some dirt on me (a citizen) it can be immediately forwarded to law enforcement, who can then arrest and charge me. The trouble here is, even though I am guilty, the 4th amendment no longer prevented the Feds from using their warrantless-search-obtained dirt.

    Also note the definition of "financial institution" in Patriot Act II. I can't find it right now, but I'm sure someone has it. Everything is now a "financial institution" for the purposes of intelligence-gathering. It's rediculous--why does the government need to bend the language so far?

    I don't know a lot about these kinds of things but this makes me very nervous.
     
  25. buzz_knox

    buzz_knox Member

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    Not quite. The way it used to work, if you were gathering intelligence on espionage/terrorist cases, and you found information on an ongoing criminal enterprise, you couldn't give that information (or even discuss it) with the guy in the cubicle next to yours who was working on domestic criminal activities. There was an artificial barrier built up to insure that intelligence operations wouldn't be conducted against American citizens without warrants, etc. The modifications of the Patriot Act remove this wall to the degree that the intelligence operations discovers such information "accidentally". It cannot be used to bypass warrant requirements.
     
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