Balkinization  

Monday, April 21, 2008

Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State

JB

Since the 9/11 terror attacks the FBI has adopted a strategy of attempting to nip potential terrorist plots in the bud by bringing prosecutions against suspected terrorists based on relatively sparse evidence of criminal conspiracy. This strategy, the FBI contends, has prevented possible future terrorist attacks, but it has resulted in very few convictions, creating a new set of difficult choices for law enforcement and a new set of potential dangers for civil liberties.

The Washington Post reports:
When seven ragtag men in a Miami religious sect were indicted in 2006 for their role in a bizarre plot to blow up the FBI Miami office and Chicago's Sears Tower, then- Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the case represented "a new brand of terrorism" among homegrown gangs that "may prove to be as dangerous as groups like al-Qaeda."

Justice Department officials used similar rhetoric in a 2003 case against a Tampa-area man and his associates who allegedly supported a reign of terror by a violent Palestinian group. The officials did so again in a 2004 case involving a Dallas charity known as the Holy Land Foundation, which they said provided "blood money" to finance overseas suicide bombings.

But juries in all three cases saw things differently than the government's national security team. In the most recent disappointment for federal prosecutors, a jury last week did not reach a verdict in the Miami case for the second time. In the Holy Land case, one defendant was cleared of the charges and jurors deadlocked on charges against the others. After 12 days of deliberation, jurors in the Tampa case acquitted two men and could not agree on the charges against the main defendant.

The department's domestic terrorism record to date -- no new attacks, but few blockbuster convictions and some high-profile hung juries or acquittals -- has provoked criticism of its early strategy for going after homegrown terrorist cells and the people who fund plots well before deadly events occur.

Jurors appear to be particularly troubled by a controversial element in the Miami case, part of several other early prosecutions, in which FBI informants encouraged others to perform acts they otherwise may not have done.

This story is yet another example of the gradual shift of the United States from a National Security State to a National Surveillance State. As I have described previously, the National Surveillance State emphasizes ex ante prevention over ex post criminal prosecution. The dangers of such a state are twofold: first, the government will be tempted to create a parallel system of military or law enforcement that routes around the traditional system of criminal procedure protections. The second danger is that the traditional system will increasingly start to look like the parallel system.

The FBI's practices show these trends at work:
Independent commissions have urged the FBI to become more aggressive at detecting threats and neutralizing them before they explode. But what emerged was an approach where investigators sometimes acted very early, charging conspiracies to commit minor crimes or immigration and tax violations as a way to preempt potential threats, while avoiding the disclosure of sensitive intelligence.

Justice Department officials say they are pleased to have won a few high-profile convictions as well as some little-noticed guilty pleas. Increasingly, authorities say, their current goal is broader than a courtroom victory: It is collecting enough intelligence to eradicate a threat by using informants, wiretaps and other tools to get as clear a picture as possible .

"Our mission is not just to disrupt an isolated plot, but to thoroughly dismantle the entire network that supports it," FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told an audience this month.

One result of this strategy is that the FBI has cut corners in building criminal cases by acting early, which increases the chance that it will bring preemptive prosecutions against persons who are innocent of any links to terrorism or whom it cannot prove committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt (which is a quite different matter). It also uses evidence that it cannot or will not introduce it court. Both of these features make it less likely that juries will ultimately convict.

The FBI is bringing many of these cases to juries, and to this extent it is abiding by traditional prosecutorial methods. But it is using materials that cannot generate convictions beyond a reasonable doubt, and it appears to view prevention and disruption as more important than conviction by a jury. Thus, it is using the traditional methods of ex post prosecution for nontraditional purposes-- ex ante prevention.

To be sure, prosecutors may have brought prosecutions in the past largely for the purpose of disrupting criminal conspiracies, for example, in the case of organized crime. What we are seeing now is an extension of these older methods to deal with the threat of terrorism.

One can view this unconventional adaptation in two different ways. On the one hand, the FBI is willing to live with hung juries or acquittals to prevent possible threats to the country. On the other, it greatly increases the chances that it has been violating people's legal rights by bringing prosecutions too early and with insufficient evidence to convict. Although it plays by the procedural rules of jury trials, it brings prosecutions that it would not have brought in the past. That is to say, it is shifting more of the costs of its anti-terrorism strategy on unfortunate individuals who are not terrorists but who may get swept up in the FBI's preventative prosecution approach. Using the traditional mechanisms of the jury trial as a makeshift method of ex ante prevention is both costly as a matter of efficiency and worrisome from a civil liberties perspective. The FBI is doing what it can to stop terror plots given the tools at its disposal. But the larger question we as a society must face is whether there are more efficient uses of government resources that also do not needlessly shift the costs of criminal prosecution onto the innocent.

Comments:

At least in the Liberty City case, it's difficult to believe that the suspects couldn't have been allowed to carry "their" plot a bit closer to fruition, without the FBI's having to swoop in moments before the Sears Tower collapsed.

I have to suppose either incompetent police work or political motive. The cops, particularly federal cops, are charged with knowing the elements of the offenses they investigate; surely in a case like this, there was management from DOJ as to when the jaws of the trap were to shut.
 

Has anyone, anywhere, any time, ever developed an ex ante prevention method that, by being completely different from ex post criminal prosecution, was both effective and didn't violate civil liberties?

In other words, by thinking outside the box, can we have both?
 

I agree with Anderson that the FBI should keep the conspirators under surveillance until they can develop a proper criminal case.

My concern is that ACLU or some similar group will begin seeking legal injunctions against the FBI surveillance on privacy grounds and a court might actually grant it.

It is one thing to be unable to punish terrorist conspirators and quite another to allow ourselves to be blinded until the act is carried out.
 

Prof. Balkin:

Since the 9/11 terror attacks the FBI has adopted a strategy of attempting to nip potential terrorist plots in the bud by bringing prosecutions against suspected terrorists based on relatively sparse evidence of criminal conspiracy.

Are you sure you don't mean "prosecution as intimidation"? Or "prosecution as PR"?

Eric Lichtblau talks quiet a bit about the mangled prosecutions in his book "Bush's Law". It's a very good read, and I highly recommend it.

I'd note that a number of these prosecutions have involved what some have alleged to be "entrapment", but at the very least all can agreer are "stings", where there never was any real danger (outside of the ill motives and sentiments of the defendants), as it was the gummint that was offering the actual means to the attacks (SAMs, etc.), w/o which there would have been no means of attack.

Cheers,
 

"Increasingly, authorities say, their current goal is broader than a courtroom victory: It is collecting enough intelligence to eradicate a threat by using informants, wiretaps and other tools to get as clear a picture as possible."

The use of such informants (and "stings" done under gummint impetus) may to some extent be counterproductive in the long run, in trying to deter other groups. The publicity about such informants and "sting operations", while dissuading the causal (and less dedicated and competent) attackers, might just make the hard-core people more and more careful about the secrecy and closed nature of their own plots. By dragging up a couple incompetents (such as the "Brooklyn Bridge" plot gang, and the Sears Tower 'plotters') who were never much har, particularly if already under the nose of the gummint snoops, we might be helping those with more competence and resources of her own avoid silly mistakes in their next plot....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I agree with Anderson that the FBI should keep the conspirators under surveillance until they can develop a proper criminal case.

My concern is that ACLU or some similar group will begin seeking legal injunctions against the FBI surveillance on privacy grounds and a court might actually grant it.


?!?!?HUH?!?!?

WTF does the second paragraph have to do with the first? For that matter, on what basis would the ACLU ask for a "legal injunction" and what would the asked-for legal injunction say?

"Bart": The ACLU is at your door. Boo!!! (kind of like Unitarian missionaries, I guess)

Cheers,
 

If Unitarians did have missionaries, only one at a time would show up at your door and might even be a she and might even listen to what you have to say.

The goal of the FBI may be to indict a lot of ham sandwiches and have a picnic so they can then round up the terrorizing ants before the ham sandwiches can blind us. (Dark rye, please, with brown mustard, and a half-sour, side of slaw, and a Dr. Brown.)
 

arne:

ACLU has been very successful at obtaining injunctions or consent agreements against law enforcement "spying" on the public activities of domestic groups.

For example, ACLU has been badgering the Denver PD to keep them from doing any sort of proactive investigation of the various groups who want to "recreate 68"(i.e. the associated mayem and violence of the 68 Dem convention) at this year's Dem convention.

In the case of Islamic terror groups or those "charities" who find them, the spin will be that law enforcement is "spying" on them because of their religion and they will seek to have FBI stop their surveillance and destroy any data collected therein.

While it is merely stupid (although potentially amusing) to allow rioters to spread mayhem ala 1968 at this Summer's Dem convention, it is literally suicidal to blind law enforcement against terrorist groups and their supporters.
 

Shag From Brookline:

If Unitarians did have missionaries, only one at a time would show up at your door and might even be a she and might even listen to what you have to say.

As a recovering Unitarian (35 years sober), I can say this: A Unitarian missionary would stand on your porch, say, "Uh, sorry, now that I think about it, I'm not so sure what I was going to say; sorry to take your time..." and go walking off befuddledly. The Unitarians are the guys that would burn big flaming question marks on your lawn, as another wag would say. IOW, they are the least likely to engage in missionary zeal, and about the most harmless, inoffensive and innocuous people you might find there ... not to mention most rational.

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

ACLU has been very successful at obtaining injunctions or consent agreements against law enforcement "spying" on the public activities of domestic groups.

"... without warrants." That part is important.

Not really, but they do seem to be turning the tide a bit from the lawless excessess of the Dubya maladministration.

I'm just a bit curious as to why you seem to think that law enforcement is impossible without warrantless searches....

Cheers,
 

"Bart" DePalma:

For example, ACLU has been badgering the Denver PD to keep them from doing any sort of proactive investigation of the various groups who want to "recreate 68"(i.e. the associated mayem and violence of the 68 Dem convention) at this year's Dem convention.

Yes. See here.

In the case of Islamic terror groups or those "charities" who find them, the spin will be that law enforcement is "spying" on them because of their religion and they will seek to have FBI stop their surveillance and destroy any data collected therein.

Ditto.

While it is merely stupid (although potentially amusing) to allow rioters to spread mayhem ala 1968 at this Summer's Dem convention, it is literally suicidal to blind law enforcement against terrorist groups and their supporters.

No.

You want a peek, get a warrant.

FWIW, Chapter 5 of Glenn Greenwald's new book, Great American Hypocrites expertly skewers the RW authoritarians like "Bart" here in their hypocrisy. It's a real good read, go get it and read it ... and pass it to a friend.

Cheers,
 

For example, ACLU has been badgering the Denver PD to keep them from doing any sort of proactive investigation of the various groups who want to "recreate 68"(i.e. the associated mayem and violence of the 68 Dem convention) at this year's Dem convention.

Does that mean that the Chicago Police Department Alumni Association is not being invited. The usually histories of 68 talk about a police riot as a significant cause of the violence.

Best,
Ben
 

benjamin davis said...

Does that mean that the Chicago Police Department Alumni Association is not being invited. The usual[] histories of 68 talk about a police riot as a significant cause of the violence.

Sounds like a Dem thing all around in 1968 and 2008 - a Dem city, a Dem mayor, a Dem convention and all the Dem demonstrators.

This Elephant is agnostic about whether the Dem mayor should order the police to use force to stop any Dem rioting or allow the Dem city and convention to be trashed on television by other Dems.

Either result would be instructive to the fall voters as to the effectiveness of Dem governance.

One would have thought that one 1968 would have been enough for the Dems. Apparently there is some nostalgia for recreating those halcyon days.
 

And one would have thought that one Vietnam was enough for the Republicans. More fool us, eh?
 

The question is when do these prosecutions become really prosecutions for "thought crimes". I spent Saturday evening invited by a group of Middle Eastern - Americans who are Muslims to speak about "Racial Discrimination viewed on the International Plane" and I was really struck about the sense of oppression/dread/hurt among this group of decent people.

They shared that sense of hurt with me and I was deeply moved that they honored me by allowing me into their hurt. I tried to respond that as citizens they are free and should therefore exercise their rights of citizenship notwithstanding the pressure coming at them from all parts of society.

I had the sense of these persons who were just citizens being now pushed back to second-class citizenship status and I encouraged them to resist being pushed back like that. As a black person, we know what that kind of second class citizenship is and we do not want to go there.

One question was whether there would be internment camps for Muslims in the United States. I was struck by how immediate is that concern. I tended to think there would not be but that what would happen is that there would be virtual internments where people are in society but are not allowed to be of society. That was my principal worry.

I also thought about all the images on television of hurting Middle-Easterners who are Muslims and how if I was from there I would have an angry visceral reaction. That I would call on my government to stop killing Muslims over there, like an Irish-American might react to something bad happening to Irish in Ireland and want their government to act to protect "those people". It seems a very natural reaction and I wonder whether Middle-Eastern Americans should also be entitled to that reaction without being somehow seen as disloyal.

I think back to the anti-aparthied movement and all the action to get states and the US to disinvest and put pressure there even though the US had strong interests in South Africa. Aren't Middle-Eastern Americans allowed to have that same kind of reaction to what is going on in the Middle East - not believing the official line that our government is giving them, being skeptical, writing their congressperson, and demonstrating etc. Aren't those the acts of a free citizen?

Best,
Ben
 

"Sounds like a Dem thing all around in 1968 and 2008 - a Dem city, a Dem mayor, a Dem convention and all the Dem demonstrators."

Yeah it's a Dem thing! All those "dems" made me think of "dems" and "dose" - maybe I am showing my age as a black man here.

It also reminded me of a concert that Taj Mahal once gave (even Elephants of a certain age like Taj Mahal) who is a quintessential 60's blues man. It was right in the middle of disco in the late 70's and he announced that what he was going to play was not disco but "datsco".

Made me laugh at the time.

Peace,
Ben
 

I have no problem with the DoJ losing power and/or techniques because of incompetence and abuse of the criminal system. That the ACLU would be able to obtain an injunction where none would have been five years ago speaks to the credibility of the LEAs involved.
 

Ben:

Thanks for the belly laugh to break up the mid afternoon, mind numbing, pretrial exhibit review blues...

Is that a Dylan song?

Peace backatchya,

Bart
 

Apparently there is some nostalgia for recreating those halcyon days [1968].

Says "Bart". Matter of fact, he's rather looking forward to it, with apprehension and glee:

"Either result would be instructive to the fall voters as to the effectiveness of Dem governance."

But even though "Bart" makes this assertion that some people (other than himself, who he's allowed to speak for) are looking to recreate such "halcyon days", I'd have to defer to the sceptic here:

"No matter how learned my correspondent, I do not accept bare assertions as undisputed fact." -- BDP.

"Bart": Intertubing is easy. But Google (and the rank stoopidity and hypocrisy it documents) is 4evah. Keep that in mind as you post.

Cheers,
 

It's all out on Highway 61!
Best,
Ben
 

It was back in 1968 that Sen. Gene McCarthy in responding to a question as to his solution for a problem he was critical of, said: "You don't have to be a shoemaker to know the shoe hurts." Let's apply that to the problem of the surveillance state (and torture as well).

Or should we be looking under our beds every night for terrorists? And locking and loading our arms in anticipation of self defense? Profiling? Locking down the borders? Hiring food tasters and car starters? No wonder people in Colorado drive (or blog) under the influence.
 

More prosecution I say, I'm all for it.

In fact let us go the whole hog and require that the FBI formally charge or prosecute their targets within say a month or two, six at the most of initiating their investigation or drop the investigation altogether.

Why? Because formal legal proceedings in courts offer some modicum of legal protection for people targeted by the FBI. Otherwise those people are totally at the mercy of FBI and I don't believe I need to explain to people here what that means.

In other words if I were to be a target of an FBI investigation I would want to know as soon as possible what the matter is and the only way to know is to have the matter before a nominally independent prosecutor or court. Having those people on one's tail for years unrestrained by any legal process is the experience I wouldn't want to wish on anybody (personal experience).

Will that happen? Obviously not. The bulk of the FBI/police work in this country is done outside any formal legal frameworks. Just talk to anybody in black or latino neighborhoods or watch a few of Hollywood movies. The sad truth is no method is dirty enough for the FBI or police when they think they need it to ensure public safety when they operate outside the formal legal channels. Jack Bauer anybody? Or just talk to them privately. Courts, civil rights and all that crap is for sissies, this is not, they will tell you, how you keep this country safe from criminals/commies/liberals/ragheads/ACLUers/terrorists etc.

To see how that works in practice think MLK. They declared him a security risk, had him under merciless 24/365 surveillance for years, tried to destroy him personally, destabilize him psychologically, get him to commit a suicide. He needed to be neutralized for the sake of national security!

(These methods and that language are still very much in use AFAIK these days especially after 9/11 by the FBI itself, by their proxies on local terrorism task forces (state/local police), various DHS/DOD components, not to mention vigilante ex-FBI/police/DoD rogue element that is plentiful and quite active in every large community in this country.)

My argument is had the FBI been required to formally charge him with something before any magistrate the thing wouldn't go on for as long as it did in his case, only to be finally resolved on that balcony.

Some will argue however that that won't solve anything, forced to formally charge their targets they will resort to either framing, falsely accusing or simply planting false evidence as this has been the practice of law enforcement people in this country for decades.

A far better solution would be for Congress and local legislatures to require better minimization requirements (not what currently passes for minimization). That is we want you to investigate whatever you think needs to be investigated, but under no circumstances you are permitted to interfere with the social/economic/physical well being of your targets on the not so remote chance that they are totally innocent.

In other word surveil MLK as much as you want, but do not interfere with his social life, ability to earn living, to obtain health care, with his marriage, do not frame him and do not use your shrinks to devise methods to destabilize him psychologically.

One would think those would be obvious, even natural in any country observing civil rights of its citizenry, but sadly they never were in this country especially in the minds of its law enforcement people.
 

Well, but, Benjamin Davis, you could have met with some rural white "militimen" who would have explained that the UN will soon be sending black helicopters to take away their rifles. Would you be deeply moved by sharing their sense of hurt? Or would you, like Bill Clinton, demonize these men and imply that they were babykillers?
 

1. Until the perpetrators of 9/11 are convicted in a real court, I don't see how this discussion has any factual basis.

2. One should consider the possibility that these prosecutions are not genuinely designed to reduce threats, but have political value. I think Arne was suggesting this.

Rolling Stone discusses this:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/18056504/truth_or_terrorism_the_real_story_behind_five_years_of_high_alerts

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/18137343/the_fear_factory/2
 

arne langsetmo said...

BD: Apparently there is some nostalgia for recreating those halcyon days [1968].

Says "Bart". Matter of fact, he's rather looking forward to it, with apprehension and glee:


I am observing this entire campaign with utter amazement.

It appeared that Clinton had shifted the Dems back to the center in the 90s and that 1968-1980 were relegated to the memory hole.

It appeared that McCain was dead in the water.

It appeared that the Dems were a shoo in with yet another Clinton taking her turn in the rotation between the Bushes and the Clintons.

Instead, it now appears that we are rehashing the 60s and 70s again with the McGovern (Obama) and Scoop Jackson (Clinton) wings of the Dem Party in uncivil war while McCain plays a cross between Goldwater and Ford. Some are even trying to replay 68 in Denver this year.

You are partly correct. I am in even parts appalled that That 70s Show is returning to our political scene and amused to see the opposing party rip itself to shreds.

We are living in interesting times.
 

There have got to be some sort of reasonable guidelines that can be drawn on surveillance. Just as an offhand thought we might rank groups by level:

(1) Legitimate political or religious dissent, no violent or criminal tendancies, surveillance not legitimate.

(2) Angry group, not violent, but may have the potential later on. Allow an infiltrator or informant or two to keep an eye on them, but no more.

(3) Very angry group with violent tendancies. More thorough infiltration allowed. (And just in case Sean or Brett wonder, I think that training private armies in the woods would meet this level. So would some hotter-headed Muslim preachers).

(4) Evidence of an actual conspiracy. At this point the full range of wiretaps, electronic surveillance of the home etc etc would be allows.

(5) In no case should provocateurs luring people into acts they would not otherwise commit be allowed.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

You are partly correct. I am in even parts appalled that That 70s Show is returning to our political scene and amused to see the opposing party rip itself to shreds.

I am quite correct. You, OTOH, are a hypocrite and a jerk. You claim that you won't take assertions from even a "learned ... correspondent" on faith and will demand substantiation of "bare assertions". Yet, when you spout this crapola concerning your wet dreams, you just repeat the same ol' crap. That's dishonest, "Bart". And impolite. You want to be a jerk, you would be nest advised to do it on your own blog.

Please come up with any actual evidence you have to back up your assertion that "various groups [] want to 'recreate 68' (i.e. the associated mayem and violence of the 68 Dem convention) at this year's Dem convention."

I mean, outside of Rethuglican or gummint agent provocateurs ... something that you might actually have some personal knowledge about....

Cheers,
 

Hi, I've read your blog and think you are an excellent writer. I'd like to invite you to our new online community at polzoo.com, we are a user generated political editorial and social network.

We also choose from amongst our own bloggers to be featured on the front page. I think your voice would be a great addition to our site.
 

Bart, for some reason you don't seem to be allowing any comments on your blog. Is there a reason for that?
 

"Well, but, Benjamin Davis, you could have met with some rural white "militimen" who would have explained that the UN will soon be sending black helicopters to take away their rifles. Would you be deeply moved by sharing their sense of hurt? Or would you, like Bill Clinton, demonize these men and imply that they were babykillers?"

Dude, I am trying to get my head around this question to answer but I am sorry it is not registering in a way that I can respond.

If you are talking about Aryan Brotherhood types or the Montana Militia types, hard for me to empathize about those folks doing violence in the United States.

No doubt the point is too subtle for me.

Best,
Ben
 

"In the case of Islamic terror groups or those "charities" who find them, the spin will be that law enforcement is "spying" on them because of their religion and they will seek to have FBI stop their surveillance and destroy any data collected therein."

. . . .

"FWIW, Chapter 5 of Glenn Greenwald's new book, Great American Hypocrites expertly skewers the RW authoritarians like "Bart" here in their hypocrisy. It's a real good read, go get it and read it ... and pass it to a friend."

Cheers,

# posted by Arne Langsetmo

Let's see, where before have I heard Bart's concern with pre-judging, and investigating, people for their "ideas"?

Oh, right: He's against investigating Yoo based upon the law and Yoo's torture memoes because that would instead be investigating him for his "ideas".

But if you're a Muslim, being presumptively a terrorist, in part because non-white (see, as example, the street gang in FL who wuz gonna bomb the Sears tower if they could first find a map about how to get to Chicago, and a big enough bomb, so long as their sneakers didn't wear out during that long walk), it's acceptable to distrust and disparage their "ideas" because we all know that Muslim's must act on their beliefs.

Unlike John Yoo, who believes in torture, against the rule of law, and who used his "ideas" to facilitate torture as act in the real world.

Must be that Bart is putting into action them there small town Christian church-goer's "values".
 

"It's all out on Highway 61!

"Best,
Ben

"# posted by Benjamin Davis"

A few bits that come to mind:

I've seen better days,
But I'll live with these.
Richard "Rabbit" Brown, "James Alley Blues," circa 1927, "Anthology of American Folk Music," Vol. 3, Disc 2, Track 13

A few from bobby d. --

They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway 5

. . . from his "Love and Theft" --
Mississippi

Every step of the way
We walk the line
Your days are numbered
So are mine

Time is pilin' up
We struggle and we scrape
We're all boxed in
Nowhere to escape

City's just a jungle
More games to play
Trapped in the heart of it
Tryin' to get away

I was raised in the country
I been workin' in the town
I been in trouble ever since
I set my suitcase down . . . .

Only one thing
I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi
A day too long . . . .
 

I'd really like to ask people to try and make a concerted effort to not engage Bart.

While the blog permits him to post and that's his right, it's become clear there's no point in having any dialogue with Bart.

His point of view, FWIW, is rigid and his method of debate is simple obfuscation and sophistry, with no interest in any forward motion or constructive conversation.

So, I ask that you attempt to not further his disruption of conversation here hashing over the same issues again and again.

At least let's try it. We might all find a better dynamic for conversation.
 

the model ex ante prevention is the logic such as it is, behind torture. We're back in Mark Graber's territory.
 

arne:

I am not going to fill this thread with convention news. If you are interested, go google Recreate 68 and the associated articles in the Denver papers about them.

Suffice it to say that it is going to be an interesting time in Denver.
 

jnagarya: "But if you're a Muslim, being presumptively a terrorist"

You forgot the label "Islamofascist."
 

"Bart" DePalma:

I am not going to fill this thread with convention news. If you are interested, go google Recreate 68 and the associated articles in the Denver papers about them.

Look, it's your assertion, buddy. The very least you could do is not be a friggin' obvious hypocrite, and support your assertions when asked to do so (as you expect of others in that little quote I quoted from you).

Really. Please stop being such an azo. Or do it on your own blog. Makesnodifference....

Cheers,

P.S.: Dem Commie Re-Vo-Lu-Shun-Aries are under your bed and gonna getcha! Boo!
 

Arne wrote:
"Bart" DePalma:

I am not going to fill this thread with convention news. If you are interested, go google Recreate 68 and the associated articles in the Denver papers about them.

Look, it's your assertion, buddy. The very least you could do is not be a friggin' obvious hypocrite, and support your assertions when asked to do so (as you expect of others in that little quote I quoted from you).
Really. Please stop being such an azo. Or do it on your own blog.

Actually, bart's "one standard for me, another for Dem" seems like a good representation for his ideological/political demographic.
 

http://www.denverpost.com/ci_6054327
--"[T]he City Council next week will consider a proclamation prepared by the group - dubbed Re-create '68 - that restates Denver's commitment to protecting First Amendment rights during the event.
Re-create '68 says "tens of thousands" of peace and community activists hope to make Denver a pivotal political convention when the delegates come to town Aug. 25-28 next year.
The group aims to demand a change from the country's two-party system by making the violence-marred Democratic convention of 1968 "look like a small get together in 2008!" according to its website.
A lead organizer, Glenn Spagnuolo, says he hopes to frame the debate from the outset in terms of nonviolence and to coordinate security planning in such a way that police and protesters interact peacefully.
"I do have to give credit to the city of Denver," Spagnuolo said. "They were very welcoming and open to listening to our concerns."
Spagnuolo said he crafted a proclamation based on similar measures passed by New York and St. Paul, Minn. After some editing and condensing, City Councilwoman Kathleen Mac Kenzie has a draft she intends to submit to the council June 11.
The proclamation asks that the city "welcomes demonstrators with the same respect and honor accorded to convention delegates" and that "use of force, including the use of horses, pepper spray or other aggressive means to police public demonstrations, is restricted except to the minimal extent required by legitimate law-enforcement purposes."
MacKenzie said it is appropriate to welcome all visitors for the convention.
"Protesters who are coming are coming precisely because we have the convention and want to influence the media attention," she said. "Denver should say, 'We care about free- speech rights, we respect your right to protest, and we are going to do our best to accommodate all the people we expect the convention to draw."'
Still, MacKenzie said she hoped the group did not exactly "re-create '68."--

'68 was a police riot Bart.
 

D. Ghirlandaio:

"Bart"'s afraid of free speech. Which comes as no surprise; he runs away from it whenever it gets too painful for him around here.....

Cheers,
 

It is nice to see Recreate 68 and the nervous Dem city government play nice.

However, just like the self described revolutionaries in Chicago, Recreate 68 has already announced that it will ignore the city permitting restrictions and will march on the convention:

Denver could face a "dangerous situation" on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, war protesters said Thursday, after losing a coveted permit for Civic Center to the convention host committee.

"When things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, don’t blame us for that," said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer for the Re-create 68 Alliance.


And from the Denver Post:

War protesters promised a massive conflict at Civic Center on the eve of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, after losing in a lottery process Thursday that awarded a permit for the park to the party planner for Denver's host committee.

"We're having our protest at Civic Center," said a livid Glenn Spagnuolo, a lead organizer for the group Re-create 68. "We're not going to give up Civic Center park to the Democrats. . . . They are creating a very dangerous situation."


The Chicago PD used blunt force to clear out garbage throwing rioters from parks and streets which they seized unlawfully.

Denver PD appears to be faced with the same problem unless Recreate 68 blinks. While I doubt that the Denver PD will be using batons as did the Chicago PD, they do not have many other non deadly force options except for tear gas, walls of shields and tasers on one hand or surrendering the convention site to the protestors on the other.

The best means of avoiding violence would be to arrest the leaders of Recreate 68 right before the convention as soon as they start communicating their intent to march on the convention for conspiracy to disturb the peace. The leaders will be easy to identify. They will be in front of the TV cameras.

However, you can rely upon Mayor Hickenlooper to forgo any sort of proactive action. So get ready for the circus.
 

Bart, it seems to me you are getting a little OT. I don't rule out such a thing happening, given the ability of a small number of anarchists to disrupt all meetings of the WTO and prevent any serious discussion of problems of globalizaion. But this, as you say, is merely a "circus," a nuisence, hardly comparable to flying planes into the World Trade Center. The topic here is supposed to be the merits of this approach in dealing with real terrorism. Any thought?
 

Denver could face a "dangerous situation" on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, war protesters said Thursday, after losing a coveted permit for Civic Center to the convention host committee.

You gotta love the Orwellian "free speech zones" (particularly if you're the Chimperator-In-Chief or his puppet-master).

But, as one bumper sticker points out:

"The United States is a 'free speech zone'"

The Chicago PD used blunt force....

Yes. We know. Some of us were paying attention.

The best means of avoiding violence would be to arrest the leaders of Recreate 68 right before the convention as soon as they start communicating their intent to march on the convention for conspiracy to disturb the peace....

"Conspiracy to disturb the peace"!?!?!

You know, "Bart", those folks in Selma engaged in "conspiracy to cross a bridge". It may even have been 'illegal', I dunno.....

Cheers,
 

Enlightened Layperson:

The topic here is supposed to be the merits of this approach in dealing with real terrorism.

Aye, that's the rub, innit? After all, in BartWorld™, the real "terrorists" are those that the maladministration designates as such ... or perhaps pesky newspapers that report on it.

Lest some think this is getting off-topic, many of the perse... -- umm, sorry, "prosecutions" (and a number of the failed ones) have been of Islamic charities and such.... See Lichtblau's book for more on this.

Cheers,
 

PMS_Chicago --

jnagarya: "But if you're a Muslim, being presumptively a terrorist"

You forgot the label "Islamofascist."

Simply an effort to be careful and accurate. Bushit now admits we torture those he alleges are terrorists. He has yet to admit that we torture "Islamofascists".


As well, I get the impression of a pertinent distinction being made:

That "Islamofascists," though every bit as much "terrorists" as those we torture, cannot be tortured because not yet in our custody.

What I'm hoping will appear here are articles on two news reports which appeared during the last 24 or so hours: the drugging of detainees in order to coerce confessions, also authorized by Yoo's most recently released memo.

And (yo, Marty?) the guilty plea by the DOJ "Criminal Division" lawyer(?) Coughlin for taking gratuities from Abramoff, apparently via Ring. (The plea deal: in exchange for only 10 months in jail he'll be cooperating. This could potentially be a big opening into cleaning out the DOJ.)

And off hand it would be interesting to see an annotated update of all the investigations of the DOJ currently being conducted, both internal and external. I'm especially curious about any concerning Gonzales, and concerning Yoo.
 

"Conspiracy to disturb the peace"!?!?!

Bart's simply saying that "conspirac[ies] to disturb the peace" should be nipped in the bud.

You have a problem with the Iraq success story, do ya?

Bart agress with Mark Twain: "Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so let us economize it."
 

Arne Langsetmo --

"Enlightened Layperson:

The topic here is supposed to be the merits of this approach in dealing with real terrorism.


"Aye, that's the rub, innit? After all, in BartWorld™, the real "terrorists" are those that the maladministration designates as such ..."

Bart has it right, yaknow. It's an exceedingly easy determination to make:

If one isn't a Republican, one is a "terrorist". (Or a not-yet- incarcerated "Islamofascist".)

That's why torture is necessary (to determine witch is witch): there are some who claim to be Republicans but aren't really, so they must be forced to confess for the good of National Security.
 

Here's a fine article on these choreographed propaganda trials:

http://www.antiwar.com/bock/?articleid=12713

"In his closing argument during the December trial, Albert Levin, an attorney for one of the accused, said that 'This was all written, produced, directed, choreographed and stage-designed by the United States government.' That appears to be the case, and it appears to be what two juries believed."

Meanwhile, serious financial crimes go uninvestigated:

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/311046_fbiterror11.html
 

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