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State Secrets Defense Rejected In Wiretapping Case

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the come-out-into-the-light dept.

Privacy 269

knifeyspooney writes in with an Ars Technica report that a federal judge has issued a strong rebuke to government lawyers attempting to invoke the "state secrets" defense to quash a lawsuit over warrantless wiretapping. This is not the high-profile case the EFF is bringing against the NSA; instead the case is being pursued by an Islamic charity that knows it had been wiretapped. "At times, a note of irritation crept into [Judge] Walker's even, judicial language. At one point, he described the government's argument as 'without merit,' and characterized another as 'circular.' He also seemed impatient with the Justice Department's refusal to provide any classified documents addressing Al Haramain's specific claims for review in chambers. 'It appears... that defendants believe they can prevent the court from taking any action under 1806(f) by simply declining to act,' wrote Walker."

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Oblig. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349111)

C-C-C-Combo BREAKER!

Gnome users come from... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349709)

An abandoned warehouse in San Francisco, kitted up as for a rave, electronica playing at 15db louder than "my ears are bleeding and I'm developing an aneurism" volumes and the windows all painted over black so that the strobe and spotlights and lasers can be seen better. Computers, mainly made of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs, are scattered around on whatever furniture is available, which also consists of whatever stuff has been exchanged for crack or scavenged from dumpsters behind dot-bombs. There's no break area, but you may be able to bum a beer (or more likely something harder) off of one of the developers hanging around, and they will probably be too jacked up on X, coke, acid, heroin, ether or all of the above to notice that you've taken anything.

Development strategies are generally determined by whatever light show happens to be going on at the moment, when one of the developers will leap up and scream "I WANT IT TO LOOK JUST LIKE THAT" and then straight-arm his laptop against the wall in an hallucinogenic frenzy before vomiting copiously, passing out and falling face-down in the middle of the dance floor. There's no whiteboard, so developers diagram things out in the puddles of spilt beer, urine and vomit on the floor.

At the end of the day - whenever that is since an equal number of programmers will be passed out at any given time - or really whenever someone happens to think of it (which is rarely), someone might type "make" on some machine somewhere, with mixed results. Generally nothing happens, so he/she shrugs his/her shoulders and wanders off to look for someone who might have more pink/black-striped pills. Once in a great while, generally in the unpleasant time between the come-down from the last thing they took and before whatever it was they took just now comes on fully, someone will tar up a bunch of random files and post it on a website someplace it as the next GNOME release, usually with a reference to some kind of monkey.

GNOME developers rarely live past 25 and prefer "alternative" art - generally stuff made of feces that's "too edgy" for most people to "understand" or "like." Core GNOME developers are heavy Ketamine users. The bodies of GNOME developers can often be found in dumpsters or floating face-down in any sufficiently large body of water.

Re:Gnome users come from... (0, Offtopic)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349887)

I hate you.

Why didnt I get invited to THAT party!

Re:Gnome users come from... (2, Funny)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349971)

I assume this wasn't all invented by Shampoo by any chance?

really? (4, Insightful)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349119)

fucking finally

Re:really? (0, Offtopic)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349821)

fucking finally

What does this Administration care?
Bush/Cheney got all the benefit and the whole mess is going to land in Obama's lap.

It really is better for the Republicans this way, in that their party got to eat the fruit of the poisonous tree for years and now they can turn around and harangue Obama/Democrats if he/they decides to pull that tree up by the roots.

Re:really? (5, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350069)

George W. Bush:

Great president?

Or greatest president?

...

Ok, I'll put you down for "great'.

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350491)

What are the Ten Commandments? ... ...

You mean all of them?

Yeah, Till he gets fired. (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350269)

.. or is he an elected judge?

Re:Yeah, Till he gets fired. (2, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350329)

federal judges are appointed, not elected

Re:Yeah, Till he gets fired. (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350609)

Judges should only have one master - the law - especially the People's Supreme Law known as the State and U.S. Constitutions.

Judges shouldn't be influenced by other considerations like fear of losing their job if they make the wrong decision. Their only role should be to read and enforce the Laws w/o arm-twisting from above or below.

Re:Yeah, Till he gets fired. (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350723)

Judges also have to interpret laws that are not clear. It is impossible for their personal beliefs/knowledge to affect those interpretations. Court rulings are called "opinions" for a reason. Federal judges have life terms and as far as I know, cannot be removed unless they commit a crime.

Re:really? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350433)

Finally what? This is terrible for national security. Why are you up at arms against the agencies that are protecting our best interests? This case is not about our government spying on a stock broker to get the inside track on a good stock pick, or abuse of power. This is a case of a suspected shady character that is operating within our country. Wether they found any substantiating evidence of this or not doesn't matter. What matters is they were following a lead and they had to react quickly.

More power to them!

Re:really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350625)

If you are not happy with the way the government works, why not support an open source one? [metagovernment.org]

Consider the litigant (-1, Troll)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349161)

If it was a bunch of hippies (EFF) the judge would have told them to go screw, but because its a MUSLIM group, the court is kissing their butts.

Farce.

Re:Consider the litigant (4, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349387)

I think it has more to do with standing. These people know that they had been wiretapped (apparently the feds accidentally gave them a copy of the call logs, lol). The EFF doesn't know who has been wiretapped, I'm not sure they have direct proof that anybody has been, so their case is much more difficult.

Re:Consider the litigant (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349801)

The cloud of suspicion, and the chilling effects that follow have affected everyone in the United States. We all have standing.

Re:Consider the litigant (1)

ntk (974) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350355)

FYI, Al-Haramain and both the EFF wiretapping cases (the class action against AT&T, and the new suit against the government) are currently before the same court and judge, Judge Vaughn Walker. All the cases are continuing.

Re:Consider the litigant (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349973)

Fail.

Well? (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349187)

It appears... that defendants believe they can prevent the court from taking any action under 1806(f) by simply declining to act,' wrote Walker

Unless he's willing to put the attorneys in jail for failure to comply (and end up gitmo'd), there's not a lot that he can do.

I still have my fingers crossed, though.

Re:Well? (1, Informative)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349641)

Unless he's willing to put the attorneys in jail for failure to comply (and end up gitmo'd)

I'm really tired of seeing this crap. Has even one political dissident been sent to GITMO? Last I checked, and I've been to GITMO mind you, only enemy combatants detained overseas and their affiliates are in GITMO. Please stop all this nonsense about being "gitmo'd" for disagreeing with the government already.

Re:Well? (4, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349831)

Has even one political dissident been sent to GITMO?

How should we know? The DoD has never released an official complete list of names of those who are and who have been detained in GITMO, let alone a list of what they were detained for.

Re:Well? (0, Flamebait)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350587)

I expect that kind of half-assed reasoning from Christians, but not from slashdotters. "Well, we don't know that God exists, but he might, so we might as well assume he exists." There's not a single incident of a US citizen political dissident being sent to GITMO or even threatened to be sent to GITMO, yet every other fucking day I see people here accuse the US of doing this. For some reason, when the Bush administration is discussed hearsay and conjecture is all anyone needs.

Here's a good run-down on detainees at GITMO:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/guantanamo-bay_detainees.htm

Re:Well? (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350639)

Not only that but we know now that there are other places overseas that the feds can take you, and they even have a name for it, torture taxi [towardfreedom.com] . And let us be honest here: With all the shit pulled by the US government in the last 30 years you frankly would have to be nuts to take their word at face value on ANYTHING. I personally trust the government about as far as I can throw my overfed corrupt congress critters.

And as we have seen in the past, anytime they start waving the flag and claiming "national security" it means they have been pulling some seriously lowlife shit that they KNOW that even the most diehard Neocon will have trouble swallowing. Or can you give me a reason why this JUDGE shouldn't be trusted with "national secrets" in PRIVATE so he can render a fair and just decision?

Re:Well? (2, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350305)

You checked at Guantanamo on just why each of the prisoners there was imprisoned?

Dick Cheney, is that you?

Re:Well? (5, Informative)

KeithJM (1024071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350467)

only enemy combatants detained overseas and their affiliates are in GITMO

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jose_Padilla_(prisoner) [wikipedia.org] They did try to send an American citizen, not in the military, arrested in the US, to Gitmo. He was held as an "enemy combatant" for 3.5 years before civil liberties groups got him a trial. I'm not saying I'm sad he is in jail (he was later found guilty), and I'm really not a conspiracy theorist, but it wouldn't be hard to believe there was at least one US citizen that they arrested in the US and sent to Gitmo without anyone noticing.

As it is, even with the press aware of this guy's situation, he sat in jail for 3.5 years without being charged with a crime. A US citizen, arrested in the US by the US government. That doesn't creep you out at all?

Re:Well? (3, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350697)

Yes it does "creep" me out.

As Thomas Jefferson observed, "Citizens should not fear their government, but instead the government should fear the citizens, to hold it accountable." Or maybe it was James Madison. Or John Adams? I don't know; it was one of those highly intelligent guys from the Age of Enlightenment. They knew quite well that government could not be trusted, and had witnessed citizens randomly disappearing into prisons without trial.

It's a shame that in just two hundred years we've come full circle and returned to an era of disappearing citizens (like Jose Padilla). It's time to start reminding politicians that they should fear us, just like Jefferson stated.

Re:Well? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350501)

I'm really tired of seeing this crap. Has even one political dissident been sent to GITMO? Last I checked, and I've been to GITMO mind you, only enemy combatants detained overseas and their affiliates are in GITMO. Please stop all this nonsense about being "gitmo'd" for disagreeing with the government already

Methinks thou doth protest too much. Why not just spend your last few "working" days chowing down on some delicious pretzels and dreaming of your forthcoming visit to the Netherlands rather than overtaxing your brain cell?

It won't be long until... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350223)

...this judge suddenly starts finding all his mail opened and sloppily glued back shut, hearing strange clicks and tones in all his phone calls, and black suburbans with deep tinted windows filled with square-jawed men in sunglasses and expressionless faces following him and his family members everywhere they drive.

Is this the "charity" in question? (4, Insightful)

FooGoo (98336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349189)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Haramein [wikipedia.org]

If so I can see why the government would want to wiretap them.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349253)

I can see why the government would want to wiretap them.

I can't see why the government should be able to avoid the audit requirements we've set down in law (both for criminal investigation, and separately for intelligence) regarding those wiretaps.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349255)

If so I can see why the government would want to wiretap them.

Yeah? Well if the Feds had gone to the trouble to show a judge why they wanted to tap them, then they wouldn't be in this situation in the first place.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349371)

What if all the information they had about them was that lonely wikipedia page? I dont think the judge would consider it as evidence...

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349473)

Why not? Wikipedia is infallible. It's not like just anyone can go and edit it.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349915)

Fed 1: "Oh shit! I just accidentally emailed the secret call logs to info@al-haramein.com!"
Fed 2: "Aren't they that outfit who collects used clothing for inner-city youths?"
Fed 1: "Yeah, but you know. Their names sounds terroristy, plus how else are we going to justify our budget to the intelligence committee?
Fed 2: "Crap. Well, go make a Wikipedia page about them. Make it real scary. Lotsa bad guys, and make the UN hate 'em too. And put 'Al Qaeda' in there too, for good measure."
Fed 1: "Man, if the boss finds out about this..."
Fed 2: "Chill out, man. We're omnipotent. We'll just tell CNN and Fox News to stay quiet and everybody will forget about it as the next news cycle rolls around."
Fed 1: "Good plan, chief. What could possibly go wrong?"

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349661)

I think that's the point of going to a third party with the evidence and asking if it would be alright to setup a wiretap... If a Judge only saw speculation from a Wiki, they'd likely turn it down. However, if the feds presented images, documents of action, and other incriminating evidence then I believe they'd be allowed to tap to gain more evidence or accomplices.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (5, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349711)

What if all the information they had about them was that lonely wikipedia page? I dont think the judge would consider it as evidence...

Too true, lol. Personally I've always maintained that their failure to seek warrants was ipso facto proof that they didn't have any decent evidence. Why would you take the risk of circumventing the law when the FISA court is ready and willing to retro-actively rubber stamp your warrant, unless you know you don't have enough to satisfy even the rubber stamper?

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (5, Insightful)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349283)

You can't go all "24" on someone just because. Show your cards to a judge, then do whatever is necessary. It's about time some judge bitchsmacked them with the constitution.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (5, Insightful)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349307)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Haramein [wikipedia.org]

If so I can see why the government would want to wiretap them.

Then they should get a warrant, even a bullshit retroactive FISA warrant.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349599)

But get a warrant. I'm not against wire taps. But the US is not supposed to be a police state.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

runningman24 (1172197) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350011)

The most interesting excerpt from wikipedia" "Three individuals whose conversations were intercepted, Suliman al-Buthe, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, learned of the eavesdropping when U.S. officials accidentally delivered logs of phone calls to them.[12] Al-Buthe, who had been the Foundations U.S. director, moved back to Saudi Arabia. Belew and Ghafoor were two of the Foundation's U.S. lawyers." I would really like to hear the full explanation of how that got screwed up. Far too often, government ineffiency and stupidity is all that protects us. Apparently, someone in the government can eavesdrop on your conversations at will, and the only way you'll find out is if they're kind enough to deliver a transcript. I understand more and more what Carlin meant when he said "You have no rights." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWiBt-pqp0E [youtube.com]

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

cberman (836776) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350033)

Yeah, cause US government says that they are terrorists means that it must be true - and they also have weapons of mass destruction hidden in their building too, right?

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

Kindaian (577374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350047)

I specially like the "circular" argument.

Arrest terrorists because they work for an ONG, then close down the organization because for sure they are a bunch of terrorists. After all, all those terrorists worked for them no?

And then, yup... they are true terrorists see... they worked for a true terrorist organization...

Interesting argumentation.

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (1)

ThinkTwicePostOnce (1001392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350057)

Uh, the question isn't whether to wiretap them or not! Pay attention!

The question is whether to get a warrant from the courts before wiretapping, or whether to just
ignore the courts altogether and wiretap with no warrant.

People who fail to understand this difference are ...

Well, I thought twice and decided to let you finish that sentence yourself.

Note also, rules like this are not just to protect innocent people: recall that power corrupts! So does secrecy.
Requiring court approved warrants protects our leaders from the corrupting influence of excessive power. Once
hooked, people make crazier and crazier excuses for why they need even more. See the pattern?

Re:Is this the "charity" in question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350347)

My question is, "How exactly did the charity KNOW they were wiretapped?" Sounds fishy to me.

Why not get a warrant in the first place? Maybe there wasn't time. Maybe some of our judges can't be trusted. Maybe the evidence came from a source that had to remain anonymous. I'd guess the last "maybe".

And maybe that source is threatened now because of judicial interference in something they should stay out of.

Its good to see ... (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349201)

Its good to see checks and balances, checking and balancing.

Just the fact that things are being reviewed does the constitution good.
 

Re:Its good to see ... (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349449)

I thought the same and felt kinda happy, until I read He who knows [slashdot.org] comment.

Re:Its good to see ... (4, Insightful)

Dolly_Llama (267016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349483)

One of the scarier things about the Cheney philosophy to governing was that he knew the judiciary was so slow. In a presidential term of four years, scandals at the very beginning just might work their way through by the end of the first term. Sometimes faster as in Watergate, but usually slower.

The executive also has the huge luxury of using tax dollars and the federal bureaucracy to lean on their political opponents. If they decide to do X, all it takes is an executive order and it's done. To overturn the decision, barring an act of congress, opponents have to undertake the lengthy and expensive litigation. And Cheney chose to litigate EVERYthing, using the entire weight of the federal bureaucracy, stonewalling at every turn, whereas the opponents would be forced to pick and choose court battles.

This Is Aslo Going To Be Fun +1, Seditious (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349289)

When the Gitmo detainees file suit in U.S. federal court for
damages against BushCo.

Let the ulcerations begin !

Yours In Communism,
Kilgore Trout [exiledonline.com]

National Insecurity (5, Insightful)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349339)

The Justice Department has repeatedly sought to block the suit by invoking national security concerns.

I really don't feel secure from so much government secrecy, seems like it's their argument to everything for the past few years.

It's like saying Windows is secure because it's running secret proprietary code under the hood.

Re:National Insecurity (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349567)

No, don't you see?!? Terrorists are a forgetful bunch. If the courts order the feds to turn over their wiretaps, the terrorists are going to read the conversations they've had and will enact their dastardly, forgotten plans!

"Oh man! I totally forgot Osama wanted me to blow up that bridge! Thank you, NSA, for reminding me!"

It is essential for national security that we not release the tapes so the terrorists aren't reminded! We have to keep their plans secret from them! /joke

Re:National Insecurity (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349651)

Are you saying the American government is a terrorist group? Nobody in there seems to remember what they used to say before going out and saying the exact opposite a few years later.

Maybe the NSA just wanted a cheap way out of demolishing a bridge, who knows, all those golf parties do cost a lot of money.

Re:National Insecurity (4, Insightful)

Like2Byte (542992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349809)

Releasing the tapes gives the org (an alleged terrorist org) the opportunity to review their own security apparatus and make changes where applicable. Such as: If a conversation from a certain number released certain information at a certain point in time, it would allow the org to do several things:

1) Remove the communication device from service. (ie: get replacement hardware that has not been compromised.)
      Bad for the US as intel is now harder to come by.
2) Determine if the person using said comm device is a traitor to their cause and kill them.
      Bad for the US as intel is now harder to come by.
3) Use alternative means to deliver communiques.
      Bad for the US as intel is now harder to come by.

See a theme anywhere in there?

I'm not saying the US did everything by the book - it should have. I'm just pointing out that 'reminding' terrorists isn't on the agenda or even part of the problem.

Any "terrorists" that dumb will be caught anyway. (1)

khasim (1285) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349873)

Probably when they send their terrorist training film in to be made into a DVD.

All three of your points depend upon the terrorists being so stupid that they're discussing their plans on a phone system, in the clear, which is tapped.

The government isn't at any risk from losing "intel" on those cases.

Intelligent terrorists (the kind that could actually carry out an attack) would be using encryption and anonymous email accounts.

Re:National Insecurity (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350133)

I highly doubt those 3 cases would ever apply, if "terrorists" are caugh in such a way they won't ever have a chance to fix their problems before they're jailed and tortured without any trials.

Governments have a margin of error they can play within and still succeed, which is very large. Terrorists have none, they make a single error they're out.

The patriot act and national security are more harmful to innocent people than to terrorists, for without them both there would be no reason for terrorism in the first place.

Re:National Insecurity (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350201)

I'm just pointing out that 'reminding' terrorists isn't on the agenda or even part of the problem.

woosh. And here I thought I was being silly putting "/joke" at the end of my post.

Re:National Insecurity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350387)

Don't be so arrogant as to propose 'whoosh - what a jerk. he missed the joke.' I got the joke...found it wasn't funny.

Re:National Insecurity (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350597)

Don't be so arrogant as to propose 'whoosh - what a jerk. he missed the joke.' I got the joke...found it wasn't funny.

So, every time someone makes an obvious joke that you find unfunny your response is to take it literally?
Bet that makes you the life of the party.

Re:National Insecurity (5, Funny)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350183)

You know... it's always disturbing to me when my jokes get modded insightful, or when my serious posts get modded funny.

Re:National Insecurity (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350259)

I read the other day at discovery channel of all places, of how feasible it would be for terrorists to use infected blood-sucking insects to attack non-muslim populations.

When will we stop dreaming this stuff up? Eventually the report discredited it as a viable infection method, but still, why GIVE THEM IDEAS? Of course, because the possibility is non-zero, we need to spend millions on preparedness and additional studies...

Re:National Insecurity (2)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349673)

Past few years ? It's the oldest trick in the book. Do whatever you want, classify the evidence and protect it by claiming that releasing the information poses risks to national security. By the time the documents finally are declassified you'll be long dead so who cares.

A 1990 episode of Star Trek TNG titled "The Hunted" touched on this issue.

Picard: "A matter of internal security: the age-old cry of the oppressor.

Re:National Insecurity (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350415)

Before the Bush era, such tricks were infrequent. Throughout the Bush era, they were the primary government operating principle.

Prior to Bush Jr, they peaked during the Reagan/Bush era. Prior to that, they peaked during the Nixon era.

See a pattern?

whos next (5, Funny)

He who knows (1376995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349407)

I bet the judge is going to be wiretapped now.

Re:whos next (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349723)

I'm sorry, but that's a state secret whether we're wiretapping the judge that's convicting us of wiretapping.

I'm sorry, but that's a state secret why the judge about to convict us was murdered in his home before he could finish ruling the case.

Oh and that guy who was tackled and subdued by pedestrians outside after hearing the shots? He seems to have killed himself in his jail cell before he could talk to a lawyer. Took some ingenuity, but oh well. Guess he can't explain why he did it now.

Re:whos next (3, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350351)

I'll bet he has always assumed he already was wiretapped.

Ok, let me get this straight... (5, Funny)

orzetto (545509) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349447)

... so first we have a president whose second name is Hussein, and now Muslims are bringing freedom to America?

Re:Ok, let me get this straight... (4, Funny)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349609)

I welcome Muslims to America, especially if they bring shawarmas and hashish.

Re:Ok, let me get this straight... (1)

areusche (1297613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349625)

If rich white men aren't doing it, then maybe middle easterners can.

Re:Ok, let me get this straight... (1)

hattz dot com (1202948) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349751)

I think that is one of the great things about this country, the liberties we love are bigger than one race or one religion.

Re:Ok, let me get this straight... (2, Funny)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349841)

... so first we have a president whose second name is Hussein, and now Muslims are bringing freedom to America?

Oh, you're going all 1984 on us are you?

Well, let me tell you something, I won't fall for it! I've been educated by the boxes! The folks who yell on there tell me that War is Peace and brings Freedom. They tell me that wiretapping American citizens and violating their Fourth Amendment rights is to keep us free! They also say that Civil Liberties are for pinko Liberals who hate America and if you do nothing wrong then you have nothing worry about! Freedom of Speech is OK as long is doesn't criticize America! We are a Christian nation it says so in the Constitution and on our money - In God We Trust - there's your proof! We're at WAR! The Islamo-anti-Israel-fascists are out to destroy Freedom everywhere and we have to be spied upon to be free!

How dare you try to trick us with your educated elitist ways! Books? Hah! Get with the modern times and listen to the very wise men on Fox and AM radio!

Remember folks... (5, Interesting)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349589)

Remember all you folks who argued for greater presidential powers: Every power you gave Bush is a power Obama now has. And ditto for you Obama fans who will be arguing the same in the next few years for your guy. Eventually there will be someone you don't like in office. There's a very good reason for limiting the power of government: malchiks and nitwits frequently find their way into office.

Re:Remember folks... (2, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349637)

I never saw too many people on here arguing for greater Presidential powers. But that aside, I trust Obama with those powers a hell of a lot more than I trust Bush with them.

Re:Remember folks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349667)

You mean the good ole boy that voted for fisa with the telecom immunity intact. Yea I really trust this Obama dude, you have obviously been watching too
many youtube videos of children singing about the great Messiah called Obahma.

Re:Remember folks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349697)

I never saw too many people on here arguing for greater Presidential powers. But that aside, I trust Obama with those powers a hell of a lot more than I trust Bush with them.

I don't trust him with those powers any more than I trust Bush. I fully expect him to give them up immediately on taking office, and if he doesn't, he's going to lose my vote in '12.

Re:Remember folks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349799)

I fully expect him to give them up immediately on taking office,
Prediction: He won't.

and if he doesn't, he's going to lose my vote in '12.
Prediction: He won't.

Re:Remember folks... (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349735)

It isn't whether you trust Barack Obama with those powers, but whether you trust the next George Bush (or vice versa, for the righties).

Re:Remember folks... (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349749)

I trust Obama with those powers a hell of a lot more than I trust Bush with them.

...but I trust the guy who'll replace the guy who'll replace Obama a lot less with them. So let's start now to limit those powers while we have someone in office who might (I said might) be willing to voluntarily relinquish some power to restore balance.

And I'd trust Bush more.,. (-1, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349771)

I'd trust Bush with them more, any day of the week. That's the whole point. I would argue this point with many conservatives. Sure, we know that Bush is only going to go after a bunch of muzzies and illegal aliens but you know that if Dems get the same powers, they are coming after us, just like they always have, but with much more power. The only compromise that is reasonable is a limited government.

Re:And I'd trust Bush more.,. (1)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349941)

I don't trust either parties, they just feel like two different ways of getting to the same common goal. It's just a coin toss that says tails I win and heads you lose.

They both give us a hundreds different brands of cereals to eat but only 2 political choices, how's that freedom?

Re:And I'd trust Bush more.,. (2, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350335)

They both give us a hundreds different brands of cereals to eat but only 2 political choices, how's that freedom?

The funny thing about that is that 50% of those brands of cereals tastes like sticks and twigs, but 100% of the political parties taste like sticks and twigs.

Re:And I'd trust Bush more.,. (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350481)

No one should have the powers that Bush/Cheney seized or created. Not them, not Obama, (probably ;) not even me.

But if you can't tell the difference between how Republicans do wrong and how Democrats do wrong, you're not comparing Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Bush to Kennedy/Johnson/Carter/Clinton. You're saying something lazy and ignorant that equates extreme bad with merely not good.

Re:Remember folks... (2, Interesting)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349961)

Remember all you folks who argued for greater presidential powers: Every power you gave Bush is a power Obama now has. And ditto for you Obama fans who will be arguing the same in the next few years for your guy. Eventually there will be someone you don't like in office.

Well I'm an Obama fan because his own and his chosen DoJ team's stances have been strongly at odds with the Bush DoJ's "creative" interpretation of the Constitution. So even though the guy I like is in office, I'll be hoping for and arguing for a reduction in executive power, thank you very much.

Oh and I'm not expecting any miracles on that account, but I am confident that the worst abuses of Bush's executive power will not be continued.

Re:Remember folks... (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350443)

I am confident that the worst abuses of Bush's executive power will not be continued.

Right! Like the warrantless wiretaps, which Obama has done everything in his power to punish. Wait, what's that you say? He actually voted to help some of the perpetrators of that crime get away with it? Damn! Guess he's not really trying to help us out after all.

As The Who so insightfully said in 1971: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."

Re:Remember folks... (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350539)

Obama's announcement of Dawn Johnsen to run the Office of Legal Counsel [salon.com] (OLC, the office from which John Yoo "legalized" torture) is the best encouragement so far that Obama is reforming the uncurbed powers Bush/Cheney took for the White House. Also Leon Panetta for CIA and Eric Holder for Attorney General. I'd most prefer to see Joe Biden make his #1 job removing all the extra powers from his VP office, but I don't have such high hopes for Biden. Which is why Bush/Cheney's powergrabs were so dangerous: they're as permanent as their successive holders want them to be.

IT would almost be funny... (0, Troll)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349837)

If the liberals of this country made it possible for Islam to spread and then take over the USA, then watch all of their progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

Is it just me? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349929)

Is it just me, or does

"women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped"

sound like a conservative wishlist? I swear that Jerry Falwell was on my TV asking for these same things. Hmm..

Re:IT would almost be funny... (2, Informative)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349943)

It would be even more funny if the right wing, who are doing a good job of making McCarthyism look tame, have the social progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

Oh wait...the right wing has been doing that already. Go figure.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (4, Insightful)

Dmala (752610) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350025)

If the liberals of this country made it possible for Islam to spread and then take over the USA, then watch all of their progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

It would be even funnier if we fight to maintain the checks and balances built into our system of government. Then Islam can spread to everyone who wishes to practice it and none of the things you describe will happen.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (2, Informative)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350095)

every other country where superstition has taken the place of logic and education.

Fixed that for you! I'd be happy to edit your newsletter if you have a copy available; your website is surprisingly free of updates.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (4, Insightful)

RsG (809189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350171)

If any religion could do that in a modern progressive democratic state, the fundies in the States would have done it already. And in fact, in the case of the stuff about abortion, gays and women you mentioned, the religious right have already tried.

The reason they failed is that countries that have high standards of living, high literacy rates, free elections and judicial oversight of the government don't allow that shit.

Find me an example of such a country that does the stuff you mentioned. Go on, just one. Iran? Syria? Afghanistan? Come on, those are backwaters. Yeah, some of them may have wealth (oil wealth in the hands of the few for the most part), but that isn't a good barometer for civil liberty.

None of them have free elections, none of them have governments that are answerable to the courts. Nor have they ever in most cases, and in fact, the times in the past where they've been freer than in the present, were also times when the religious loonies were sidelined by the moderates (Iran is a good example of this).

It wouldn't matter if every single religious nutjob in the States changed from Christian to Muslim. They'd be the same assholes they are now, and they'd fail just as miserably to bring about the theocracy your post details. It's not the faith that matters, it's the environment in which it's practised.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (2, Insightful)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350687)

countries that have high standards of living, high literacy rates, free elections and judicial oversight of the government don't allow that

And those are the democratic underpinnings that seem to be under attack.

This article points out the struggle judicial oversight is having in the face of executive excesses. US election procedures are creaky, inconsistent, and prone to gaming. Literacy, particularly scientific literacy is often marginalized and disparaged here. I'm less worried about our falling standard of living as we are still pretty well off.

If these trends continue too far then the government won't allow that shit, it will require it.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (1)

Bane1998 (894327) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350411)

If the liberals of this country made it possible for Islam to spread and then take over the USA, then watch all of their progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

Wow.. You've been listening to wayyyyyy too much Hannity.

Let's look at the very first thing you said: If the liberals of this country made it possible for Islam to spread and then take over the USA...

So many things wrong with just that first part. First of all you are assuming that's the 'liberal agenda.' Which, it isn't. That's complete hyperbole. Last time I checked, I haven't heard of any liberal memos being passed around indicating a goal of spreading Islam, or any other religion for that matter. If anything, you could say that some liberals would prefer religion was a lesser topic. Somehow Hannity & Friends take that to mean they want Islamic Terrorists running the government. Learn to think rationally for yourself.

Second of all, the 'take over' bit implies that the USA can be taken over by a religion. This could only be true if you tie your religion (Christianity, I assume) directly to your government. If you define the USA as a Christian entity, then I suppose more Islamic government officials could be defined as 'taking over.' You are mixing religion and government, which is actually expressly seperated by our founders.

As for the rest of your drivel, you are defining a religion, Islam, by the worst of the acts performed by people claiming to follow Islam. That would be a lot like me say... defining Christianity as GodHatesFags.com.

Finally, your signature, 'I prefer to buy Made In USA.' Why not be a real man and refuse to buy anything at all from outside the US and see how far that gets you? Even if you did, what exactly do you think would happen if the US stopped trading or interacting with other nations completely? I'll tell you what would happen... no one would bother loaning us any more money, or trading us oil, etc, etc.

The fact is as technology increases we are becoming more and more a global people. We're no where near that yet, look at most of Africa... But still, that's the way it's always trended, and will continue to trend. And it's healthy to be introspective and realize that across the entire earth, the USA, especially the neo conservatives, are very much in the global minority.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350495)

If the liberals of this country made it possible for Islam to spread and then take over the USA, then watch all of their progress evaporate as women are disenfranchised, then kicked out of their jobs, abortion is banned, homosexuals are stoned, writers are jailed, directors shot, dancers raped, just like, well, every other country where Islam has taken over.

Islam is not like a venereal disease or a knapweed. It does not simply "spread". People must choose it. I think it's pretty u8nlikley people like yourself, or liberals (whom you think your "protecting") or any other group of people will voluntarily choose what you describe any time soon.

More importantly is your desire to cede endless authority to the state. You are blindly destroying your own freedom and creating a tyranny here at home. This is the likes of something our forefathers fought against.

Don't believe me?

Fox News' Chief legal analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano compares the Patriot Act to the Stamp Act.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8QwTKKSvR8 [youtube.com]

Re:IT would almost be funny... (2, Informative)

Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350691)

My impression of your post is that it was tongue-in-cheek. I mean, I don't really think that you lay there at night worrying about this.

Anyway, for a militant form of any religion to spread in the United States, either people have to allow it to happen by adopting the culture, the Government has to recognize and integrate such religion within the institution, or there has to be a militant force that overthrows the government and military. I cannot fathom any of those happening in the United States.

Some will claim that this is already happening with extreme right-wing, fundamentalist Christianity in this country, but I hope not. I have nothing personal against any religion out there, but I hope that it can remain a personal preference. The Government needs to be run through the will of the people, the strength of unity, justice, logic, and reason -- not ancient texts.

There are plenty of Muslims here in the U.S., just like Jews, Christians, and others, that are moderate and keep to themselves. I think the majority would be like that. Heck, if you travel to some parts of New York where there are Orthodox Jewish communities, they tend to keep to themselves as well. So do the Amish. Parts of California and Michigan, which has a large Muslim population, doesn't seem to have any problems with any of what you mentioned.

But seriously, the scenario that you describe couldn't happen without force. What you described actually DID happen to my ancestors in Iran - first when what was left of the Persian Empire was overrun by Muslim forces and Zoroastrians were either killed off or fled to India around the 7th Century. And again in 1979 under the guise of a "popular" revolution. For a few years, the people of Iran were totally free to live how they were before, but slowly the new Government started pulling back civil liberties. Iran's fall from a completely Western-like country didn't happen over night. I don't blame Islam itself for any of this, just those that used it as a weapon to gain power and control over a population.

This is just my personal feeling, but this is one of the main reasons why I support the Second Amendment in America. In Iran, weapons are banned, and the people have no way to protect themselves from a Government that is out of control: a Government that no longer represents the will of the people. Of course, with freedom to bear arms needs to come personal responsibility, but the freedom needs to be there.

Re:IT would almost be funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350707)

People like you who treat their nation like a game in which the only objective is the score points against the other side have profoundly poisoned political discourse in America. I feel sorry for the atrophied mind which has left you unable to see the infinity of grays that lie between your false dichotomy.

[Poe's law: You never know, the parent might actually be so stupid he believes this crap]

the secret is out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26349861)

the state of confusion/internal 'terrorism' (criminals in charge of the lockup) interferes with/prevents a valid defense for US.

I know you're listening (1)

careysb (566113) | more than 5 years ago | (#26349995)

Check out the cartoon at http://www.xkcd.com/525/ [xkcd.com]

Re:I know you're listening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26350167)

Funny, but I have done this. Usually it is after some really good weed.

Fucking judge is a terroristic asshole. (-1, Troll)

cryptodan (1098165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350241)

What a fucking dumbass judge. You fucking terroristic asshole. You do not have a need to know so you shouldn't be granted access to classified documents what a fucking ignorant son of a bitch.

Re:Fucking judge is a terroristic asshole. (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#26350515)

Boy, you sureley are a retard.

Did you bother to read the judge's logic as to how indefensible the claims of state secrets were? Or did you just dismiss the judge out of hand because you're a simple-minded brain-washed ex-military troll?

That need-to-know crap is just bullshit. Unless the agency in question can demonstrate the need for secrecy, then the documents in question should be made public. There needs to be an authority which can determine if there really are state secrets that shouldn't be exposed... and guess what? The judiciary IS that authority.

If anyone's an asshole, it's you -- for supporting an executive that need answer to no one.

*DAMN* I forgot not to feed the trolls...
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