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Patriot Act is Unconstitutional

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Popeye, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. Popeye

    Popeye Active Member

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    Judge rules part of Patriot Act unconstitutional
    Provisions allow search warrants issued without probable cause, she says

    PORTLAND, Ore. - Two provisions of the USA Patriot Act are unconstitutional because they allow search warrants to be issued without a showing of probable cause, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

    PHP:
    U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, "now permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment."

    Portland attorney Brandon Mayfield sought the ruling in a lawsuit against the federal government after he was mistakenly linked by the FBI to the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in 2004.

    The federal government apologized and settled part of the lawsuit for $2 million after admitting a fingerprint was misread. But as part of the settlement, Mayfield retained the right to challenge parts of the Patriot Act, which greatly expanded the authority of law enforcers to investigate suspected acts of terrorism.

    Mayfield claimed that secret searches of his house and office under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violated the Fourth Amendment's guarantee against unreasonable search and seizure. Aiken agreed with Mayfield, repeatedly criticizing the government.

    "For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law — with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised," she wrote.

    By asking her to dismiss Mayfield's lawsuit, the judge said, the U.S. attorney general's office was "asking this court to, in essence, amend the Bill of Rights, by giving it an interpretation that would deprive it of any real meaning. This court declines to do so."

    Elden Rosenthal, an attorney for Mayfield, issued a statement on his behalf praising the judge, saying she "has upheld both the tradition of judicial independence, and our nation's most cherished principle of the right to be secure in one's own home."

    Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the agency was reviewing the decision, and he declined to comment further.

    Received apology from FBI
    Mayfield, a Muslim convert, was taken into custody on May 6, 2004, because of a fingerprint found on a detonator at the scene of the Madrid bombing. The FBI said the print matched Mayfield's. He was released about two weeks later, and the FBI admitted it had erred in saying the fingerprints were his and later apologized to him.

    Before his arrest, the FBI put Mayfield under 24-hour surveillance, listened to his phone calls and surreptitiously searched his home and law office.

    The Mayfield case has been an embarrassment for the federal government. Last year, the Justice Department's internal watchdog faulted the FBI for sloppy work in mistakenly linking Mayfield to the Madrid bombings. That report said federal prosecutors and FBI agents had made inaccurate and ambiguous statements to a federal judge to get arrest and criminal search warrants against Mayfield.
    PHP:
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  2. Popeye

    Popeye Active Member

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    For all the conservatives who continually state that the Patriot Act is not a danger to our civil liberties, I offer the preceding news release. I know only a couple of provisions were ruled unconstitutional but, as the Mayfield case illustrates, the Patriot Act is indeed a danger to our freedoms.
     
  3. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    And Islamic fascism is not?
     
  4. Popeye

    Popeye Active Member

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    That's your justification for shredding the Constitution?
     
  5. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    No. And the PATRIOT Act hardly "shreds" the Constitution. Special wartime powers being granted to the Commander in Chief is nothing new. Adams/Jefferson used them, Lincoln (perhaps excessively) used them, Wilson used them, FDR certainly used them, Clinton used them, and now Bush is using them.

    If you truly care about civil liberties and aren't just opposing to PATRIOT Act to be a partisan hack, then you better sincerely hope that we win this war. Because if the Islamic terrorists successfully launch a more devastating attack on American soil than anything we have ever seen before, you can bet Americans are going to voluntarily give up a lot of civil liberties to protect themselves.
     
  6. Popeye

    Popeye Active Member

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    Unfortunately that's probably true, apparently fear is enough to make some Americans more than willing to give up liberties they at one time considered sacred. When you live in fear of the terrorist, when terrorist actions make you alter your most cherished document, then that terrorist has already partially won.
     
  7. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    Not quite sure what you're talking about here. The point of the Amendment system is to allow us to respond to the current threat, political situation, or any other change that the Founders could not have envisioned.

    I believe if the Founders knew that in about 200 years from the ratification of the Constitution, we would live in a world where one crazy person could wipe out entire cities with the touch of a button, they would have crafted the Constitution a bit differently.

    The Constitution is an agreement between the government and the people. As part of this relationship, the Framers wanted to keep as much power in the hands of the people as possible. That is to say that anything that could conceivably done by the individual (like paying for your own doctor) or a State (education) should be kept in their hands. The federal government should take care of the things that can not be effectively handled by either individuals or states. Arguably the most important, according to the Framers, is providing for the common defense which in today's terms means preventing Islamic terrorists from slamming passenger jetliners into civilian skyscrapers.

    Declaring that the terrorists have won because we need to alter it in order to prevent the loss of more American lives is some pretty shallow thinking. We have lost when political correctness and lack of a backbone prevent us from taking on the enemy. I'm not quite sure we're there yet, but that's the direction we are moving rapidly towards.

    America was once a place where we did whatever it took to defeat the enemy, as exemplified by FDR. Though I don't agree with his big gov't welfare state policies, I share a similar respect for him and Lincoln in that they both were willing to acknowledge the severity of the threat and address it relentlessly.

    Sure today, you can sit back and criticize his interment of Japanese or his censorship of the press but you cannot argue with the results. Over the course of 4 years, the U.S. built a three ocean navy, mobilized 15 million men, built the B-29 (WW2's most expensive project), completed the Manhatten Project (2nd most expensive project), liberated France, Netherlands, and much of Northern Africa, and defeated Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. All in less than 4 years.

    It's been 6 years since 9/11 and we still haven't secured our border, we haven't reorganized our bureacuracies so that they are effective, we don't hold our enemies accountable, and we don't insist that our allies pay attention. This is what Newt was referring to when he said we are currently engaged in a "phoney" war.

    I apologize for going way off topic here but I couldn't stop once I got going.
     
  8. heyjude

    heyjude New Member

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    The only thing that the Bushies are trying to do to protect us is taking away our constititional rights. The real war, not the phoney war Gingrich was refering rightly to, is the war to give America to the neo-con free traders.
     
  9. vyo476

    vyo476 Active Member

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    Very true.

    Which doesn't seem to be on anyone's agenda. From what I've seen, most people on the right make noise about drastically scaling back the bureaucracy, and most people on the left pretend they'd do so when in reality it's just going to get larger. No one seems to really talk about trying to untie the knots our government is in and get it into decent, understandable, working order.

    Iraq? Afghanistan?

    Those "allies" you speak of seem to be getting thinner on the ground.
     
  10. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    Terrorism by generally defined as a violent act against civilians to instill fear and change policy. We are not fighting countries, states, nor kingdoms. But private organizations whose aim is to scare us into changing our policies and principles. They have been very successful at that.
    If we had the possibility of being overrun or even invaded, this would include our allies, by a foreign occupying power then I would understand. The Patriot Act has not prevented a single terror attack itself. Anyone who has been caught plotting or conspiring etc has been done through methods that were already allowed for by law.
    What is wrong with getting a warrant?
    Why must the US government engage in large scale monitoring of its citizens? In reality it deflects attention away from the real criminals. The Bush administration has done such a half assed job on administering the country. The patriot act is just a single example of many where it proves someone who is generally incompetent at the job of being President holds the office.
     
  11. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    Bunz, my position is that we shouldn't tie the hands of our intelligence services by not allowing them to use data mining. I'm not sure if you are familiar with it:

    (1) A computer program monitors overseas phonecalls in a process known as datamining identifying numbers and countries which could raise suspicion. There is no proboble cause at this point as they are just numbers. The program identifies patterns and these patterns are used to compare to known patterns and numbers of actual suspected terrorists and their buddies.

    (2) As the program identifies patterns, numbers, or other anomolies the program begins to scan the calls for key word and phrases and other things that may signal terrorist activity. This is still data mining and nothing is recorded, kept, or viewed.

    (3) In the event the data mining program identifies a key word, phrase or other "red flag" anomoly the call is monitored. If the call pans out and the information is valuable intelligence the NSA applies to FISA for a warrant within 72 hrs as the law proscribes. It is in this stage that intelligence agents learned about the planned attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge and Sears Tower.

    (4) If the call has no usefull information the record of it is destroyed. This is done for several reasons.

    a) To protect the privacy of the callers.
    b) It is no use.
    c) To keep a record of it one would have to get a warrant, and no court would approve such warrant, there is no probable cause to issue such warrant.
    d) Applying for useless warrants for calls that have no value would be a collasal waste of time for our personell assets at NSA, not to mention a collosal waste of time for any FISA judge they went to.
     
  12. Bunz

    Bunz New Member

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    In addition to the things that I laid out earlier, and the decision by the lower court would confirm this, is that it opens everyone to a wide range of abuse with no little accountability from law enforcement. The system before was not broken. There were provisions to already in place. The GOP used 9/11 and the fear it caused to push this through. The system in place is a joke, and rather uneffecive and easily thwarted by someone who knows what they are doing. But the fact that my IP address, and possibly every keystroke, and the postings I write here and anywhere plus all of my email could be collected by a government agency in an effort to keep me safe is a total farse. Id like to say hello right now to any NSA agents who are reading this actually.
     
  13. heyjude

    heyjude New Member

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    It seems to me that some would argue that it is better to give up our freedoms than to risk the loss of some lives. I think it was Benjamin Franklin that said 'the tree of liberty must occasionally be watered with blood.' I may not be quoteing him correctly. Thousands have died to protect our freedom. And now, we are supposed to voluntarily surrender our most precious rights to prevent any threat against us. If we are no better than that, we should just surrender period.
     
  14. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    What freedoms or rights have American citizens given up?
     
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