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Rebuttal: Terror's Enablers

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Jim, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Terror's Enablers—NYPost.com

    In a short column in the New York Post entitled "Terror's Enabler's", Arnold Ahlert comes just short of accusing the Left (with a capital "L", as if it were a registered party) of treason. His article begins:

    The NSA wiretaps revealed by the media are unconstitutional infringements on the rights of Americans. It is the right and the duty of a news organization to report on something like this. Is Ahlert suggesting that the press should have withheld reporting what amounts to a crime against the public?

    Should the government have the power to stifle such news? The media is explicitly not an arm of the state. Just because a group of renegade politicians started an ill-advised never-ending "war on terror" does not alter basic constitutional principles. I must repeat for emphasis—it is the right and the duty of the press to report on exactly this kind of thing.

    Furthermore, the groups whose finances are being tracked have been fully aware that they are under watch since before the item was reported. To think otherwise is to greatly underestimate them.

    The bag searches to which Alhert refers are the supposedly random searches performed by the New York Police Department on the city's public transit system. Not only are the searches blatantly unconstitutional, but are completely ineffective in catching people with bombs (bombs found to date: 0). The reason why the searches are ineffectual is because they are easy to avoid.

    Since the police have no authority to search people's effects without a warrant or reasonable suspicion, any person selected for a search can opt to refuse the search and be ejected from the transit system (not permanently; they just make you leave). It is doubtful that a person who plans to bomb the subway would not learn about this, and such a person would certainly not allow the police to search his bag with a bomb in it. From there, he can walk to any other bus stop or subway station and try again. Police are only stationed in a few places, so it is very unlikely for an individual to be selected for search.

    I ride the subway, carrying a bag, at least five out of seven days in a week, and I enter and exit through high-traffic, likely-target stations. Not only have I never been selected for search myself, but I have only personally witnessed two police searching stations since the program was initiated. Any half-attentive dimwit with a backpack and a few hundred dollars could've blown up a train by now.

    Moving on, a search in which the selection process is not predetermined in a random way is definitely not a random search. The NYPD, in securing the power to perform such searches, has in reality secured the power to demand to search at will on anyone who uses the public transit system—the vast majority of New Yorkers—without warrants, cause, or oversight. "At will" searches are the kind made popular by authoritarian governments, and they are in violation of the constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure. To get around this inconvenient fact, the police use their power to eject people from the subway rather than forcibly searching them. This sidestep doesn't make the act any less illegal.

    Worst of all, from what I have heard, the searching stations are often being set up in subway stations in places like the Bronx and Brooklyn. The most likely candidates for search have turned out to be young black and Latino males, which is pretty predictable given the history of the NYPD. The people selected for search often turn out to be teenagers or other people who are unaware that they may refuse the search (the police aren't required to tell you). In this way many young people of color have been targeted by the police and arrested for misdemeanor drug possession charges on the basis of an unlawful search.

    Why is the Bush gang inciting people all over the world to take up arms against Americans? Giving people more reasons to want to attack the United States and its allies clearly exacerbates the problem and puts more people in danger than anything the media or the left is capable of. By the way, the left is not the only end of the political spectrum fighting against violations of Americans' rights.

    The Bush gang claims that terrorists are trying to destroy the American way of life; by the way they are acting, however, it would seem that the politicians are trying to achieve that goal themselves.
     
  2. Brandon

    Brandon New Member

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    If I keep agreeing with you, we might have to shut the site down.

    The bag searches are without a doubt unconstitutional. Just as you said people can refuse and try at another station (usually only a few blocks away). It's idiotic to say the least.

    While I feel that the media has an obligation to reveal information such as the NSA wiretapping and the financial data mining fiasco, the media can inform citizens without compromising national security. This is the same reason why top secret military operations are not revealed to the public. It compromises its effectiveness. My take on the NSA is that I fear that it will be used (or is being used) to spy on innocent Americans (or worst becoming the new COINTELPRO).

    Financial data on the other hand is freely given by people constantly. People who use credit cards, file taxes or use any method of transfering money electronically can be easily be found by local, state and federal police. Looking at international records is no huge surprise in my opinion.
     
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