Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

“The Right of the People to Be Secure in their Persons, Houses….”

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 09:35 PM
Original message
“The Right of the People to Be Secure in their Persons, Houses….”
The words in the title of this post are the opening words of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The whole amendment reads:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

With the passage of the recent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) amendment, Congress took a major step towards making our Fourth Amendment obsolete. The only thing that could save it now is a U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The ACLU, along with many other organizations concerned about our Constitution, has said that the FISA amendment will allow:

mass, untargeted surveillance of all communications coming into and out of the U.S., without any individualized review…. Permits only minimal court oversight… Even if the application is denied by the court, the govt. has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process. Ensures the dismissal of all cases pending against the telecommunication companies … over the last 7 years

Clearly, there is little or no protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” in this bill. If our government can do this, then what aspects of our privacy can’t it invade?

Most Americans are against the substance of this bill, as indicated by polls that show 63% of Americans against (55% strongly against) wiretapping without a warrant and 57% against retroactive immunity for telecom companies who have violated our Constitutional rights. Nevertheless, there is not sufficient outrage over the passage of this bill by Congress. Many or most Americans probably see the extraordinary powers granted the Bush administration by this bill as something that will affect mostly those who “have something to hide”. They should give a lot more thought to how necessary our Fourth Amendment is to our democracy and our freedom.


The right to privacy – McSurely v. McClellan

The purpose of our Fourth Amendment in protecting our privacy is illustrated by Ellen Alderman and Caroline Kennedy in their book, “In Our Defense – The Bill of Rights in Action”, in which they describe the McSurely v. McClellan case.

Alan and Margaret McSurely were a young activist couple who lived in Pike County, Kentucky, in 1967. Their nightmare began when their landlord observed some materials in their rented apartment that he believed violated Kentucky’s sedition law. The landlord later described at trial what incited his suspicions:

I saw a number of photos of blacks and whites mixed… literature that you see from these radicals throughout the United States that had the marches… I seen some of the literature on that (Selma) march they had down South… I thought it was a Communist-based deal.

So the landlord called the sheriff, who obtained a warrant and came to the McSurely’s apartment to investigate. The sheriff and his deputies ransacked the McSurely apartment to collect their evidence. But instead of confining their collection of evidence to the focus of the warrant, they confiscated every piece of written material they found in the apartment, including a personal diary and several love letters, some which involved a famous personage, from Margaret’s past.

The love letters and diary eventually found their way to Congress, for reasons entirely unrelated to the original case. The authors go into much detail regarding the long protracted pain and embarrassment that the McSurelys underwent as a result of their private lives being opened to Congress and the public. Their possessions were eventually returned to them, but then subpoenaed by Congress, including the diary and love letters. Unable to believe that Congress had any legitimate use for those documents, and unwilling to submit themselves to any further embarrassment, the McSurelys destroyed their personal documents and were subsequently held in contempt of Congress.

To make a long story short, the McSurelys eventually sued those responsible for their long ordeal, and the success of their suit depended upon showing that their Fourth Amendment rights had been violated. Here is an excerpt from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in the McSurelys’ favor, and which explains one of the major reasons that we need a Fourth Amendment:

It will be enough if our opinion finally ends this sorry chapter of investigative excess. The McSurelys cannot be made whole, nor can they be vindicated. Those parts of the district court’s judgment that we uphold today can only stand as a small reaffirmation of the proposition that there are bounds to the interference that citizens must tolerate from the agents of their government – even when such agents… claim official purpose to their conduct.


J. Edgar Hoover’s massive abuse of governmental powers

Note the last part of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision quoted above: “… even when such agents claim official purpose to their conduct”. Well, of course. Government officials will ALWAYS claim official purpose to their conduct when undertaken for nefarious purposes.

J. Edgar Hoover’s life and career illustrate perhaps the best known example in U.S. history of long time gross abuse of our Fourth Amendment. Hoover became Director of the FBI in 1924. Forty eight years later he died, while holding the same position. Along the way there were several presidents and Attorney Generals who would have loved to see him leave office. We may never know precisely how he was able to hold onto power for so long, often working under men who had little regard for him. A reasonable guess would be that he kept his position for 48 years in the same manner that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have been able thus far to avoid being impeached.

Some of the highlights of Hoover’s career are summarized on the back cover of the book “J. Edgar Hoover – The Man and the Secrets”, by Curt Gentry:

To Washington Insiders, he was the supreme Untouchable, a man prepared to use illegal wiretaps and hidden mikes to destroy anyone who opposed him. Fifteen years in the writing, and based on more than 300 interviews and 100,000 pages of previously classified documents, “J. Edgar Hoover” is the definitive portrait of the shadowy and corrupt man who held virtually unchecked power for almost fifty years…

This devastatingly detailed biography chronicles the… reign of terror that made the FBI the closest thing America had to a Gestapo… Hoover… intimidated every president from FDR to Nixon… Hoover helped create McCarthyism, blackmailed the Kennedy brothers, influenced the Supreme Court, obstructed the civil rights movement, instituted a burglary school for FBI agents, and sabotaged the Warren Commission’s investigation of the assassination of JFK… J. Edgar Hoover literally changed the course of history with the files known in the Justice Department as “twelve drawers full of political cancer.”

The following excerpt gives one clue to how he was able to hold onto power for so long:

Favored politicians were warned who their opponents would be… and what skeletons might be hidden in their closets. In some cases, they were even elected with the FBI’s help. Among Hoovers’ Special Correspondents list were radio and TV network presidents; financiers; clerics; congressmen (by the dozens); Supreme Court Justices…

Regarding Hoover’s hostility to Civil Rights and his knowledge of the movement:

In the bloodbath of May 14 (1961)… one KKK leader stood out… Hoover’s chief paid informer working undercover in the KKK, was never charged with crimes, nor was he ever restrained… Hoover had known beforehand that the Klan had planned the ambush…


Victimless crimes

Victimless crimes are not specifically mentioned in our Constitution. Yet, it seems to me that they are intimately related to abuses of our Fourth Amendment. For one thing, warrantless searches and seizures have often been used to obtain evidence of victimless crimes. Secondly, I believe it is fair to say that warrantless searches and seizures and victimless crime laws are often pursued for the same reasons: as a means of wielding political power over selected portions of our population. Furthermore, a victimless crime law seems inconsistent with the idea of “The right of the people to be secure in their persons…”

In fact, a recent US Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas, was argued partially on this basis. The case involved a Texas law that made consensual sex between homosexuals, even within the privacy of their own homes, a crime. The Supreme Court ruled against the state, striking down that law. It is not clear to me whether the Fourth amendment was part of that decision, but the plaintiff did pursue the case based in part upon Fourth Amendment issues, introducing arguments against victimless crimes:

Liberty cannot survive if the legislature demands that people behave in certain ways in their private lives based on majority opinions about what is good or moral…And of course, the Founders believed wholeheartedly that majorities had no right to impose their beliefs on minorities. In Federalist 10, Madison articulated his concern…

Whenever and wherever victimless crimes are prosecuted and punished, the opportunity for arbitrary enforcement of the law based on racism, classism or other nefarious factors is magnified tremendously. Let’s consider some of the ways in which victimless crime laws have been abused in our country:

Drug possession
According to a December 2006 U.S. Justice Department report, there were 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons or jails, representing a 33 year continuous rise in the U.S. prison population. The U.S. incarceration rate of 737 per 100,000 residents is now the highest rate in the world. Russia is a distant second, with 611 per 100,000 residents, and the highest rate in Europe is England/Wales, at 148 per 100,000 residents. The United States, with only 5 % of the world’s population, holds one quarter of the prison population of the world within its borders. Of the total U.S. prison population in 2004, more than one quarter, 530,000, were imprisoned for drug offenses, and almost a tenth of these were for marijuana only. And many of those are for mere possession, rather than manufacturing or selling. For example, of 700,000 marijuana arrests in 1997, 87% were for mere possession, and 41% of those incarcerated for a marijuana offense are incarcerated for possession only. Arrests for marijuana possession in 2004 were more numerous than arrests for all violent crimes combined. Our extremely high incarceration rate is at least partially explained by the fact that most non-violent first time offenders guilty of drug possession today in the United States get a mandatory minimum sentence of 5 years with no parole, or 10 years with no parole if a large quantity of drugs is involved.

The racial and class disparities in the United States for imprisonment for drug offenses are similar to the racial and class disparities seen in many other areas of U.S. society. Though the Federal Household Survey shows that there are five times as many non-Hispanic white illegal drug users as black users, blacks constitute a highly disproportionate percent of the population arrested for (37%) or serving time for (42% of those in federal prisons and 58% of those in state prisons) drug violations.

Adding to the damage done to individuals is the damage that these laws do to families, thus creating a vicious cycle. It is likely that the major reason for single parent households in our country today is the huge number of imprisoned men.

Here is one example of how government intrudes on the lives of innocent people:

US Army veteran Steven Tuck was lying in a Canadian hospital bed. He fled to Canada after his plants were raided in California by DEA agents. He smoked marijuana to alleviate chronic pain from a 1987 parachuting accident.

Canadian authorities arrested him on his gurney, drove him to the border, and delivered him to US agents, and he then spent five days in jail – all with a catheter still attached to his penis. He was offered no medical treatment during his stay in the hospital, and his lawyer, Doug Hiatt, said, “This is totally inhumane. He’s been tortured for days for no reason.”

Possession of kiddie porn
Clearly it is proper for the state to prosecute child abuse, including the use of children in pornography. However, criminalizing the mere possession of computerized images of child pornography, when there is no evidence that they were obtained through purchase or any involvement in the kiddie porn industry, is highly susceptible to abuse.

Not very long ago I submitted my computer to a computer place called Restronics, to check it for damages following a fire in my home. Since I had to live outside of my home for several months, Restronics had possession of my computer for all that time. The first day after the computer was returned to me I found that it contained a substantial amount of kiddie porn. I was fortunate that I wasn’t arrested for that.

My nephew, who submitted his computer to the same shop for the same reason, wasn’t so fortunate. Someone at Restronics called the police to report kiddie porn on his computer after it was in their possession for seven months. My nephew was subsequently arrested and indicted for possession of kiddie porn. The prosecutor didn’t appear to be the slightest bit interested in the fact that kiddie porn had been downloaded onto my computer after being in the possession of the same company during the same time period. She continued to pursue the case vigorously, necessitating my nephew to shell out thousands of dollars in his defense, and causing him months of severe mental anguish.

Bob Chatelle, commenting upon the proliferation of kiddie porn possession laws in our country, notes that “There'd never been that much child pornography to begin with, since there aren't many pedophiles around to create demand.” Able to garner only three convictions in 1983, Chatelle explains how the feds attempted to improve their record:

New tactics were needed in the government's war against filth – such as sting operations. Federal agents targeted law-abiding citizens and tried their damnedest to induce them to buy child pornography… They identified potential victims in a number of ways, such as by seizing the records of adult book stores and publishing houses to find out who purchased legal materials… The prospective victims were sent mailings… barraged with offers to buy all sorts of books and magazines without being warned that any of the material might be illegal. Whenever one of these unfortunate dupes took the bait, of course, they were promptly arrested. Their homes were searched; their property was seized; their reputations were destroyed. They lost their careers, family, and friends. At least four committed suicide…

Chatelle concludes his article by explaining how unnecessary these laws are:

The sad thing is that child-pornography laws are not only unconstitutional, they're also totally unnecessary. There is no First Amendment right to commit a crime. A crime does not cease to be a crime just because someone photographs it. Child abuse is a crime and should be prosecuted. Using someone's image for commercial purposes without their permission (which children cannot legally give) is a crime and should be prosecuted… But the people who pass laws against child pornography have no interest in preventing or punishing child abuse or any other crime. They are interested solely in advancing their own power and their own careers.

Practicing Islam
Some might argue that we have no law against practicing Islam in our country. But since we arrest and incarcerate Muslims by the thousands or tens of thousands, while allowing them no way to contest their arrests, in many cases the distinction between the legality and illegality of practicing Islam is lost for all practical purposes.

Whereas our internal incarceration rate is by far the highest in the world, our imprisonment of prisoners outside of the United States is even more disproportionately high. There are: known U.S. operated prisons at Guantanamo Bay and in Iraq and Afghanistan, where torture and other grave abuses of human rights occur routinely; Secret U.S. prisons throughout the world where similar or worse abuses occur routinely; and “extraordinary rendition”, whereby U.S. officials kidnap (or otherwise gather into their custody) men or boys and transport them to prisons in countries where few or no barriers to the most horrendous kinds of torture exist, in full knowledge that those men are likely to be systematically tortured and never released until dead.

Stephen Grey, Amnesty International’s Award-Winning Journalist for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting, in his book “Ghost Plane”, meticulously documents the illegal and horrendous system of torture and other human rights abuses that George Bush has perpetrated upon the world as part of his so-called “War on Terror”. Here are excerpts of the U.S. torture program from the introduction to Grey’s book:

The modern world of prisons run by the United States and its allies in the war on terror is far less extensive (than the Soviet gulags under Stalin). Its inmates number thousands not millions. And yet there are eerie parallels between what the Soviet Union created and what we, in the West, are now constructing… How much more than surreal, more apart from normal existence, was the network of prisons run after 9/11 by the United States and its allies? How much easier too was the denial and the double-think when those who disappeared into the modern gulag were, being mainly swarthy skinned Arabs with a different culture, so different from most of us in the West? How much more reassuring were the words from our politicians that all was well?

How many prisoners do we have? Estimates of how many prisoners have disappeared into the Bush administration’s Gulag system cannot be precise because of the secrecy. Estimates have varied from 8,500 to 35,000. An AP story estimated around 14,000:

In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.

Colonel Larry Wilkerson, former Chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, who had put the blame on Dick Cheney for much of the administration’s “torture guidance”, claims that the number of “disappeared” approximates 35,000.


What now?

The ACLU and other organizations are challenging the new FISA amendment in federal court, with the hope of restoring our Fourth Amendment.

But with four USSC justices who are unalterably hostile to all parts of our Bill of Rights except for the Second Amendment, our only hope is that Anthony Kennedy will vote to uphold our Fourth Amendment by striking down the FISA amendment when it comes before the Court. Notwithstanding Kennedy’s vote to retain habeas corpus, even to the extent of writing an opinion that identified George W. Bush as a war criminal, I will never trust a man who voted to hand Bush the presidency in 2000 by stopping the counting of ballots (that we now know would have made Al Gore President). Since John McCain has promised to appoint “strict constructionist” (hypocritical and ironic code for unalterable hostility to our Bill of Rights, except for the Second Amendment) judges to the Supreme Court, since John Paul Stevens is now 88 years old, and since the current ages of the “strict constructionists” on the Court are only 53, 58, 60, and 72, McCain’s election would probably mean the end of our Bill of Rights for at least a generation if not much longer.

Nor is it at all encouraging that only 28 U.S. Senators (all Democrats) voted to maintain our Fourth Amendment earlier this week. What possessed our Congressional Democrats to throw away our Fourth Amendment at the behest of a President with approval ratings in the mid-twenties? Could it be that some of those Senators who voted for the bill actually believe that voting against it could have jeopardized their chances at re-election? Or is it, as Jonathon Turley notes, related to the fact that telecom lobbyists have poured money into Congressional campaigns to influence their votes? Either way, the whole thing is very depressing.

J. Edgar Hoover amassed such tremendous power from conducting electronic surveillance that he was able to intimidate U.S. Presidents to the point where they couldn’t get rid of him through 48 years in his position. And he was only an FBI Director. If he could do that, just think how much power could be accumulated by a U.S. President and Vice President using technology that is far superior to that used in Hoover’s day.

Americans should be very concerned and outraged about where our country is heading.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, I can well imagine...
Edited on Fri Jul-11-08 10:24 PM by Raster
"If he could do that, just think how much power could be accumulated by a U.S. President and Vice President using technology that is far superior to that used in Hoover’s day."

Yes, TFC, I can well imagine.

They could coerce a Congress into abandoning their Constitutionally-mandated duties of oversight.

They could coerce a Congress into not adequately investigating the most horrendous act of terrorism in the nation's history.

They could coerce a Congress into not investigating their high crimes and misdemeanors.

They could coerce a Congress into rubber-stamping an illegal war for purposes of vanity and greed.

They could coerce a Congress into voting immunity for their corporate accomplices.

Yes, I can well imagine.

Wake up America! :kick:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 03:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. Yes, that's what I imagine too
And I'm not at all convinced that this will end just because we elect a Democratic President and Congress -- although I am firmly convinced that would be a lot better than the alternative.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Raster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. No, my friend, it will not end. But hopefully it is a firm, sure-footed step in that direction.
The alternative is unthinkable.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lostnotforgotten Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
2. And Just Remember That Our Democratic Congress, Including Obama, Support These Excesses
Edited on Fri Jul-11-08 10:13 PM by lostnotforgotten
eom
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
John Q. Citizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Some of them do. Although a majority of Dems in both houses voted against FISA
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Mnemosyne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
3. Possibly up to 35,000 "disappeared"?! Secret tribunals? Secret executions?
Please don't let it be the case.

Excellent post, Time! Thank you.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
35. That high estimate comes from someone who ought to have a pretty good idea
Colin Powell's former Chief of Staff.

But even the lower estimates are pretty damn frightening.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
RufusTFirefly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
5. Know any good camp songs?
Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
from Project Censored

Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) announced on January 24, 2006 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps in the United States. more...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thank you, very good post.
:hi:

Recommended.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
36. Thank you
:hi:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-11-08 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. Fucking purist, why do you hate America?
K&R
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:34 PM
Response to Reply #7
40. Now that was some funny shit, Fumesucker
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bjorn Against Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 12:37 AM
Response to Original message
8. K&R Great post. Very well researched, and very timely. A lot of DUers need to read this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
37. Thank you
Maybe it would be better to have some Congresspersons read it :evilgrin:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
9. I've been suspicious of this supposed prevalence of child porn on the internet...
...and the casual ease with which people have accepted the idea and casually toss it about. Not that no such thing exists -- I even saw some years ago in the Wild West days of Yahoo groups (long since passed) -- but the idea that it is something that is commonly available on the internet is inaccurate. And even if it were, it would be a simple matter of tracking down the server address to arrive at the point of origin.

I am sensitive to the topic, having experienced people conflating older, single men with pederasty in a casual, joking manner. After repeated incidents, I didn't find it especially funny, and found it to be more revealing of the jokesters and the psychology of the crowd than about their target.

While consumers would be wise to check for 2257 compliance statements, that is no guarantee that some images whose provenance you don't even remember, may be deemed underage by some agent. I will assume that the instance you cited was indeed child porn and not some "barely legal" genre, but in any event, you seem to be saying that someone at the computer shop was responsible for the presence of those images, and that someone at that same computer shop reported the presence of the images on you Nephew's computer!

I am to further understand that no one was interested in how those images came to be, when the computer had not even been in his possession, and when you had reported a similar incident originating at the same computer shop!

Oh boy.

I must say, this story does not alleviate my suspicion about this whole "kiddie porn" thing. The term itself, with the casual usage it has acquired, is like an infection which I'd prefer not to even repeat. At the same time, I'm aware of all manner of sordid and very real phenomena that somehow flies under the radar -- spend some time on the Rigorous Intuition board, if you have the stomach, and you'll see. The popular meme functions as an inoculation against the real thing, as well as a potential means of control. I agree that the issue is child abuse, and this whole issue of "possession" (not to mention the "scary internet" meme) is a can of worms.

As for the rest of your excellent post, I am aware and on board.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Swagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:18 AM
Response to Reply #9
11. they tell total falsehoods: AG Alberto Gonzales claimed the child
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 05:20 AM by Swagman
porn business was worth "billions of dollars a year" and that in the US alone there were thousands of child porn sites that changed their internet providers on a weekly basis. This is downright rubbish-there would need to be tens of thousands of internet providers alone-there just aren't.

How did he arrive at the figure of "billions of dollars a year"..he provided not an iota of proof. Just plucked figures out of the air.

But if you can frighten people about their children it serves the same purpose as a phony "war on terrorism". Intrusive laws can be passed with minimal public scrutiny.

Moreover-whilst children must be protected and should be-it's always claimed in these busts that the material is of the very worst nature ( sometimes judges won't even look at the evidence !)and the impression is given that there are thousands of children out there being abused horribly for the trade ( thus giving rise to the claim that by "viewing" child porn a person is perpetuating the trade-which could apply to viewing a photo of a crime or the Holocaust or anything-it's werid logic).

However studies in Europe and the UK have shown that up to 95% of child porn material seized in arrests is up to 30/40 years old.
So when the FBI claim they have a data base of tens of thousands of child porn victim images and they are trying to "identify these children at risk"..they are grossly exagerating. Basically the majority of those who appeared in photos are now up to 40 or 50 years old !.

And as Time For A Change points out his own problem with a computer repair-people should be aware of the very problem of being falsely accused.

Read British investigative reporter Duncan Campbell's account of "Operation Ore"-instigated by the FBI on false evidence that saw 7000 people arrested around the world including a famous rock star-many pleaded guilty out of sheer fear-a few suicided but now dozens of convictions are being overturned on appeal as the original FBI claims are shot down in flames. Hundreds of lives of those arrested are ruined though-along with own families and children suffering.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/crime/article/0,,2059880,00.h...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 11:25 AM
Response to Reply #11
20. Wow... thanks for the link...
:-(

That is seriously fucked up. And, to make matters worse, I have personally been a victim of credit card fraud. When I rectified it with the bank, the charges were all to cheesy porno sites. I thought, "some hacker has a serious porn addiction". Now I see the truth is much worse.

This dragnet, based on the flimsiest connections, put literally thousands of people on an investigation list. Anybody could get caught up in it. As with all of the fourth amendment issues Time for change raises, to say that there is potential for abuse is an understatement. And yet, in all these instances of intrusive powers, no matter how ill-founded the pretext, we are somehow to assume the best intentions behind them.

On top of which, it seems like cases of child abuse where the rich and powerful are connected have an uncanny way of disappearing. I'm thinking of the Franklin / Boys Town scandal some years back.

But if you can frighten people about their children it serves the same purpose as a phony "war on terrorism". Intrusive laws can be passed with minimal public scrutiny.


Yes, it is two-pronged:

1) The manufacturing of a phony pretext for more intrusive laws (which may impact on things totally unrelated to the original pretext)...

2) The risk of being falsely or frivolously accused.

Not having probed the issue in depth, and not being particularly legal-minded, I nevertheless smelled a rat at the propagation of an idea which I knew to be basically false, and the apparent ease with which the idea has been adopted. The more I consider it, in light of the instances presented here, the more I consider my suspicion to be well-founded.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
lynettebro440 Donating Member (950 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #20
28. I was in the thick of the Franklin Scandal in omaha
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 03:13 PM by lynettebro440
back in the day. A guy by the name of Bill Baker, (he's the first suspicious death named in DeCamps book) tried to kidnap my daughter, she was 7 at the time, not on one occasion but many. At the time police chief Wadman was crooked as hell and so were all the big wigs in omaha.

I was unaware of all of this at the time, but I was able to pass a child enticement law on the city and state level. They did not have one at the time. I was told by the police that there was nothing they could do for us.

After reading DeCamps book when it first came out back in 89 I was shocked to see Bill Baker as the first name listed under suspicous deaths. No I didn't kill him but sure wanted to. He was the man that kept trying to accost my daughter, we even took him to court for distrubing the peace (it was literally the only thing we could arrest him on). After doing my research and reading all I could, all the evidence pointed on the steps of the white house during daddy bushs days. It went that freaken high up. The intimdation that my little grass roots group received by the police, the newspapers...etc was frigthening and at the time not having a clue why.

I thank my lucky stars I was oblivious to this information at the time, but afterwards of learning about it, it made a lot more sense. I learned in my early 20s just how evil these people really are. I will never forget.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. That's a hell of a story
Why would George Bush be interested in having your daughter kidnapped?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 04:28 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. Good God !... sorry you experienced that...
:hug:

I've only read a few articles on the whole thing, but enough to know that something was seriously not right in Omaha. As I recall, there was some well-connected Republican moneybags involved, and the connections did indeed extend to Washington and the Bush whitehouse. Octafish probably has it all documented.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #11
24. Wow, this is worse than I thought!
One thing I don't understand about this. You note that Operation Ore was instigated by the FBI, yet the article talks only about British victims. Nothing said here about U.S. victims being involved in this. I wonder why that is.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Swagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #24
42. you can google Campbells' articles as it's an on-going
investigation by him. If you can find his original articles it explains that the FBI were the first to investigate and then sent hundreds of names to foreign countries for their own police to follow up,

It's difficult to know if it was deliberate or just sloppy work-and the internet can still be unchartered waters for even the most experienced.

This doesn't mean there isn't a real problem with child porn on the net-it's there and should be chased down and the real perpetuators prosecuted.

But sadly it's the sort of crime hysteria can build up -we know police often exagerate and there's the real possibilty of credit card fraud can get you caught up in a bad situaton.

A friend of mine had his cards stolen and they were used to buy guns used in a hold-up. He was hauled in and went through a terrible ordeal before they realised he was innocent.

Duncan Campbell has a solid reputation for investigative work. ( he's also married to the actress Julie Christie)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Bjorn Against Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:04 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. There is certainly child porn on the internet, the problem is innocent people can be framed.
We can all agree child porn is disgusting, but the current trend of prosecuting anyone with child porn on their computer creates a very dangerous situation as it is really easy to put some files on a person's computer without them even realizing they are there. Just like people can be tricked into downloading viruses people can be tricked into downloading child porn, and it could just sit on their hard drive and never get viewed until the authorities find it.

I have no problem with them prosecuting those who are producing or distributing child porn in a way that can be shown to be done with their own knowledge. But when we are getting into prosecuting people for mere possession of it we need to be very careful as that makes it far too easy to frame innocent people for something they never intended to have anything to do with.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. I agree.
Look at Time for change's nephew. There appears to be no motive behind it, yet he was, in effect, framed. And I hadn't even considered the ease with which this could be accomplished with mal-ware.

It seems the focus should be on those who are producing or distributing. Seems obvious. But then, so do a lot of things.

Child porn no doubt exists as an underground phenomenon, and I'm not up to date on file sharing technologies and such, but it seems to me, as someone who, *cough*, has surfed around a bit, that it is something one would have to deliberately seek out.

I have seen the potential, however, for getting caught up, when it was not something one deliberately sought out. I can think of a number of scenarios in which one is in "possession" of something an authority deems illegal, simply by means of routine surfing.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:48 AM
Response to Reply #9
19. You got it right
What infuriated me about this was that the f***ing prosecutor didn't seem to have the slightest interest in hearing what my wife and I had to say about our evidence. She did make an appointment with my wife to discuss it at my wife's request (apparently she -- the prosecutor -- didn't feel comfortable discussing it with me), but then she cancelled the appointment without even notifying my wife about it -- so if my wife hadn't called first she would have made a two hour trip for nothing. And then she continued to pursue the case. She didn't even make the slightest effort to determine how the pictures got onto my nephew's computer until several months after he was indicted. When she finally got around to having a computer expert view the files, all that could be determined was that the files were "viewed" at some time while the computer was in the possession of Restronics. They could not determine when the files were downloaded.

The case was eventually dismissed on First Amendment grounds. I thought that was very wierd. I would have thought that the most obvious reason to dismiss the case was that there was absolutely no evidence that my nephew had downloaded the pictures (the girls looked to me to be about 12-16 years old). But that didn't seem to be all that important. The law is against possession, not downloading the pictures. Apparently, someone can be prosecuted under this law even if he isn't aware that the pictures are on his computer. (I have been told that stuff can be put on your computer without even having physical access to it.)

The First Amendment thing is also wierd IMO. The ruling was that the kiddie porn possession laws are constitutionally valid only if the images are of real children, rather than computer generated images that didn't use real children. Apparently, such images can be created by computer without the use of real children, that are almost indistinguishable from real children. In my nephew's case, it couldn't be proven either way, so the case was dismissed on First Amendment grounds.

That sounds so bizarre to me. What is the crime??? Is it viewing the images or is it contributing to the promotion of the child pornography industry. If it's the former, then it shouldn't matter the least whether they are real children or not, since the two are virtually indistinguishable? If it's the latter, then how can mere possession (as you say) contribute to the promotion of child pornography?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #19
23. That is indeed bizarre and puzzling...
...and, unfortunately, reinforces my sense that the law is an arbitrary machine that you never want to get caught up in. The whole thing sets my head to spinning.

Aside from the legal perplexities, I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the idea that one might actually have to regard taking one's computer to be repaired as an extreme risk. The fact that this is happening in DC, the seat of our highly compromised government, is making me extra queasy.

Perhaps I should get outside for a while, before I start Googling "Restronics" and end up down another rabbit hole.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Swagman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #23
43. actually taking a comp for repairs has resulted in many being
prosecuted including the British pop star Gary Glitter who pleaded guilty , and in a very bizarre case in Australia about 2 years ago-the senior State Prosecutor was charged after he took his laptop to be repaired. He admitted he had downloaded illegal images and was sent to jail-the state had to then investigate all his prosecutions as some were for the same crime !

No-one would be against genuine pornographers being prosecuted and receiving the appropriate penalty but if too much effort is put into aspects which are higly questionable-such as described by Time For A Change-where there is obvious doubt- so much police time is really being wasted. There are just so many real cases of child abuse in the community-sexual, mental, physical or through poverty that authorities should be firstly concentrating on this IMO.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. It's so sad -- so many misplaced priorities
Thank you for all the information.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LVjinx Donating Member (711 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 02:18 AM
Response to Original message
10. What's sad is that you had to quote the 4th. And sadder still the 'progressives' who don't care
Things are changing, alright.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
indepat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:20 AM
Response to Original message
12. You have identified a primary 'puke value, that of unalterable hostility to our Bill of Rights
except for the Second Amendment. Of course such would make them un-American and anti-American, but that seems not to bother tens of millions of christo-fascists, right-to-lifers, gun nuts et al a whit which leads to the conclusion imo that the vast number of sick puppies in this society is truly astounding. :D
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 08:02 PM
Response to Reply #12
38. I think it's not so much that they're sick that they are very dishonest
They think it's cool to wave their flags and rant against liberals for "hating America", when they don't have a clue as to what America is supposed to be about. Nor do they seem to care.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Cobalt-60 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 07:22 AM
Response to Original message
13. The FISA bill is a disgrace
It's the most blatant case of the congress being bought in living memory.
We need to remember who whored themselves for how much during the next primary season.
And it's a shameless betrayal of the Bill of Rights.
Now my primary training is in Engineering, but isn't retroactive immunity one
of those ex post facto laws explicitly prohibited by the constitution?
It's so obvious that it shouldn't stand up in court.
Of course there's the fascist court to contend with, but in my eyes that bill is
completely invalid.
Eventually it will be scrapped out in the courts.
I wonder if the lobbyists will demand their money back?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #13
39. I don't believe that retroactive immunity is unconstitutional
But if retroactive immunity is legal, then I suppose that it could be legal to reverse it to, right?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Torn_Scorned_Ignored Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 08:23 AM
Response to Original message
14. Time for change, Americans should be very concerned and outraged about where our country is heading?
We are there.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Blecht Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 08:41 AM
Response to Original message
15. What an excellent post
Thank you for taking the time to put this together so nicely.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
snot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
16. there were people in pre WWII Germany shouting, WAKE UP.
Edited on Sat Jul-12-08 09:02 AM by snot
WE can't stop shouting, now.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 09:27 AM
Response to Original message
17. Sadly the 4th Amendment doesn't have industry backing
The first amendment has long been championed by the news and entertainment media, which has gone from big to bigger as the world transitioned from print to electronic media. So the first amendment always has had well financed defenders - at least for the clause establishing freedom of the press. The second amendment has the arms industry behind it, willing to shed blood and money to promote the most expansive interpretation of the legal text possible. Encroachments on the third amendment would presumably be swatted vigorously by the likes of Halliburton and a lobbying association of the hospitality industry. But no industrial sugar daddy exists to take the 4th amendment under its wing. Indeed, most industries which sell to the public are overtly hostile to the notion of privacy (an industry which tried to productize and market privacy would feel the same animosity). Knowing everything about you--your family background, your daily choices as a consumer, what you watch on TV, who you talk to-- is vital to their marketing decisions, and in fact much of the best dirt the government has on you was actually collected by profit making private sector businesses. They are happy to share with a public partner who likewise believes you should have no secrets: while the private sector have the means to collect minute details on your life, their partner in government has the authority to make you accept this pervasive intrusion.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Psyop Samurai Donating Member (873 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #17
33. Excellent point... had not considered it in that light... makes perfect sense... nt
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
22. Playing to the fears of the people is considered "smart politics" to the apologisits.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DailyGrind51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
25. J. Edgar Hoover was responsible for driving actress, Jean Seaburg
to commit suicide by spreading rumors about her sex life because she showed up at Black Panther fundraisers attended by director Otto Preminger, who also was under surveillance.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 02:00 PM
Response to Original message
26. k&r
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
27. Regarding this sentence on the Second Amendment
"But with four USSC justices who are unalterably hostile to all parts of our Bill of Rights except for the Second Amendment, our only hope is that Anthony Kennedy will vote to uphold our Fourth Amendment by striking down the FISA amendment when it comes before the Court."

I believe the Second Amendment is just being saved for last by the corporatist/oligarch cabal, once they've eliminated or neutralized the other Rights and the American People wake up, should there be the first violent insurrection of any kind, it will be used as an excuse to eliminate the Second Amendment, with most all of the other rights; First, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth etc. "taken care of", the Second Amendment will be easy pickings.

In a way, this is sort of a milder altered version of Hitler's rise to power, after he rose to sufficient strength and he didn't need the Brownshirts; which supported him ideologically and helped him rise to power, he got rid of them.

The technique they use today is to divide the people in to camps, some people are passionate about the First Amendment, others care more about the Second Amendment etc. to other Amendments. The corporatist/oligarch powers that be, use these divisions against one another as if they threatened each other, this serves to prevent the people from recognizing the Ten Amendments; or Bill of Rights are conjoined *twins in the battle against oppressive government and that to weaken one is to weaken them all.

*Only used because I don't know what you call ten births at once.

Thanks for the thread, Time for change.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 05:22 PM
Response to Reply #27
34. I think you may be right about that, Uncle Joe
It's awfully difficult to believe that George Bush and Dick Cheney and their cohorts believe in the Second Amendment because they passionately feel that the people need it as a means to defend themselves against big government. :rofl:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #34
47. That's why many democrats position on the 2nd Amendment is so baffling.
They want to give government more power.

David
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bertman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-12-08 10:53 PM
Response to Original message
41. More laws on the books.
More law enforcement types needed to enforce them, and prosecute them.

= more armed and trained government forces right here in Merka. Ready to protect us to death if need be.

And I hate to tell y'all this, but we're all ON THE LIST. just by being in this thread. But you more than likely knew that.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Time for change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #41
44. Yeah
My solace is that there are so many of us that I hope they simply don't have the time to chase us all down.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Fire_Medic_Dave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-13-08 01:57 PM
Response to Original message
46. Why did your nephew use the same company after the experience you had?
I would have warned everyone that I knew to not use that company and would have filed a criminal complaint against the company in addition to a civil suit.

David
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Thu Oct 30th 2014, 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC