|The Terror of Pre-Crime|
By Nat Hentoff
On page four of the Ashcroft Guidelines: "The nature of the conduct engaged in by a [terrorist] enterprise will justify an inference that the standard [for opening a criminal intelligence investigation] is satisfied, even if there are no known statements by participants that advocate or indicate planning for violence or other prohibited acts." (Emphasis added.)
The Attorney General, furthermore, extends the dragnet to make individuals in a group under suspicion responsible for what other members say or write: "A group's activities and the statements of its members may properly be considered in conjunction with each other. A combination of statements and activities may justify a determination that the threshold standard for a terrorism investigation is satisfied, even if the statements alone or the activities alone would not warrant such a determination." (Emphasis added.)
Righting the nation / Courts are trimming Ashcroft's sails
Star Tribune Editorial
The Star Tribune
August 28, 2002
Put another nail in the coffin of the freedom-killing secrecy policies of Attorney General John Ashcroft. This particular nail was hammered in with great gusto by a three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Next comes an Appeals Court opinion in Philadelphia next month on a broader case that speaks to the same issue. If that case goes as the Cincinnati case did, perhaps the nation finally can bury some of the excesses the Bush administration embraced after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
The question before the Cincinnati court was whether the Bush administration could hold secret deportation hearings merely by asserting that the person up for deportation may have had links to terrorism.
Reporting to the UN
By Steve Bonta
The New American
August 26, 2002
With all the attention paid to the domestic war on terrorism and the dangers it poses to our liberties ó the PATRIOT Act, the Department of Homeland Security, the TIPS program, and so forth ó scant notice has been given to the United Nationsí international anti-terrorism campaign. Yet below the American publicís radar screen, the UN Security Councilís new Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC) is trying to achieve on an international scale what measures like the PATRIOT Act are doing domestically: expand the reach and power of government ó in this case, the UNís embryonic world government ó in the name of fighting terrorism. And the potential consequences for U.S. liberty are dire indeed.
The Counter-Terrorism Committee was created by paragraph six of Security Council Resolution 1373, issued last September 28th in response to the September 11th attacks. The purpose of the CTC, in the words of 1373, is to "monitor implementation of this resolution." To allow the CTC to carry out this monitoring, UN member states are required to submit regular compliance reports to the CTC. The first round of such reports came in to the CTC from December 2001 through the early months of 2002 and, as we reported in the February 25th issue of The New American, the U.S. government was one of the first member states to submit its report on U.S. compliance with the Security Councilís new anti-terrorism guidelines. The U.S. report, dated December 19th, depicted the USA PATRIOT Act and other post 9-11 Bush initiatives as acts of compliance with UN demands in Resolution 1373.
Bush advised he's free to act on Iraq
By Mike Allen and Juliet Eilperin
The Washington Post
August 26, 2002
Bush has said repeatedly he will consult lawmakers before deciding how to proceed, but has pointedly stopped short of saying he will request their approval. The difference between getting legislators' opinions, as opposed to their permission, could lead to a showdown this fall between Congress and the White House.
"We don't want to be in the legal position of asking Congress to authorize the use of force when the president already has that full authority," said a senior administration official. "We don't want, in getting a resolution, to have conceded that one was constitutionally necessary."
Secret court rebukes feds on spy powers
By Dan Eggen and Susan Schmidt
The Washington Post
August 23, 2002
The secretive federal court that approves spying on terror suspects has refused to give the Justice Department broad new powers in the war on terrorism, saying the government had misused the law and misled the court dozens of times in the past, according to an extraordinary legal ruling released yesterday.
A May 17 opinion by the court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) alleges that Justice and FBI officials supplied erroneous information to the court in more than 75 applications for search warrants and wiretaps in the past two years, including one signed by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.
NASA plans to read terrorist's minds at airports
By Frank J. Murray
The Washington Times
August 17, 2002
Airport security screeners may soon try to read the minds of travelers to identify terrorists
Officials of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration have told Northwest Airlines security specialists that the agency is developing brain-monitoring devices in cooperation with a commercial firm, which it did not identify.
Space technology would be adapted to receive and analyze brain-wave and heartbeat patterns, then feed that data into computerized programs "to detect passengers who potentially might pose a threat," according to briefing documents obtained by The Washington Times.
White House Sics Clinton Detective on Judicial Watch?
August 16, 2002
The chairman of a Washington, D.C.-based legal group that has sued the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney complained Thursday that the Bush administration and the Republican Party have apparently hired a private detective to investigate his personal life.
"We have reason to believe that this investigation is likely being conducted by Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Vice President Cheney," said Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman, citing a "well placed, high-level informant."
Though a self-described conservative organization, Judicial Watch has been at loggerheads with the Bush administration on a number of cases it began during the Clinton years.
Detainee Names Can Wait
Judge allows gov't time to appeal
The Associated Press
August 16, 2002
A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Bush administration does not have to immediately reveal the names of those detained in the investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks.
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued a stay of her earlier order and gave the government more time to appeal. The appeal could take weeks or months.
On Aug. 2, Kessler gave the Justice Department 15 days to release the names, ruling that the government had not proved the need for a blanket policy of secrecy for more than 1,200 people picked up since the attacks.
Nation: Detained Colorado native virtually inaccessible
By Charlie Brennan
Scripps Howard News Service
August 15, 2002
Ujaama, a 36-year-old Colorado native arrested July 22 and alleged to have ties to Islamic terrorists, is being held in the same facility as American Taliban fighter John Phillip Walker Lindh and the so-called "20th hijacker," Zacarias Moussaoui, both of whom are awaiting trial in the Eastern District of Virginia federal courts.
But ask for James Ujaama at the Alexandria Sheriff's Department detention facility and you'll be told that no such person is in custody there. Ask for James Ernest Thompson - the name he was given at birth 36 years ago in Denver, and you get the same response. Even if you ask for "Ahmed Bilal," yet another name Ujaama has used, the answer comes back no such person.
But if you request "Bilal Ahmed," the answer is yes, he's here.
"Bilal" is the name Ujaama used Sept. 20 to register the Internet domain StopAmerica.org in Karachi, Pakistan. That site, highly critical of post-Sept. 11 U.S. foreign policy, is now defunct.
US condemned for secret arrests
By Jane Standley
August 15, 2002
The campaign group, Human Rights Watch, has accused the United States Government of secret arrests, arbitrary detentions and of violating due process in its response to the 11 September attacks.
In a new report, Human Rights Watch says more than 1,200 non-American citizens have been secretly arrested and jailed - the vast majority from the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Many, it says, have been subjected to treatment in violation of American law.
President Talks Homeland/Economic Security at Mt. Rushmore
Remarks by the President on Homeland Security and the Budget
Office of the Press Secretary
The White House
August 15, 2002
I think we've hauled in over 2000 of the enemy -- "we" being all kinds of people -- (applause) -- the Philippines and Spain. Of course, the United States. We're making pretty good progress. We're getting them one by one. Sometimes, you'll read about it, sometimes you won't. This isn't a very dramatic war as far as TV goes
But we're making dramatic progress, is the best way to put it. And, by the way, about equal a number of the people weren't quite as lucky as those who were captured. (Applause.)
And we got a lot of work to do, we've got a lot of work to do. And that's why this budget I submitted is a significant budget. The House passed its version, the Senate passed its version. They've now got to get together as quickly as possible, as soon as possible, and get the defense appropriations bill to my desk nearly upon arrival. In other words, as soon as they get back from the recess, I need to sign the bill so we can plan for the war. (Applause.)
INS Flouts High Court on Prisoners, Critics Say
By Elizabeth Amon
The National Law Journal
August 15, 2002
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is systematically thwarting last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that limits the legal incarceration time for deportable immigrants whose countries won't take them, according to a court ruling, immigration lawyers and a newly filed class action.
A federal judge in Washington, D.C., freed a Liberian jailed for nearly four years, sharply rejecting the INS' justification for holding him. Seretse-Khama v. Ashcroft, No. CA 2-0955 (JDB) ECF (July 22, 2002).
Immigration advocates say that across the country the INS is keeping people in jail by claiming either that papers from their countries of origin are coming soon or that the detainees aren't cooperating with their deportation.
Justice Dept. Balks at Effort to Study Antiterror Powers
By Adam Clymer
The New York Times (Registration required)
August 14, 2002
The Justice Department has rebuffed House Judiciary Committee efforts to check up on its use of new antiterrorism powers in the latest confrontation between the Bush administration and Congress over information sought by the legislative branch.
Instead of answering committee questions, the Justice Department said in a letter that it would send replies to the House Intelligence Committee, which has not sought the information and does not plan to oversee the workings of the U.S.A. Patriot Act.
Camps for Citizens: Ashcroft's Hellish Vision
Attorney general shows himself as a menace to liberty.
By Jonathan Turley
The Los Angeles Times
August 14 2002
Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft's announced desire for camps for U.S. citizens he deems to be "enemy combatants" has moved him from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace.
Ashcroft's plan, disclosed last week but little publicized, would allow him to order the indefinite incarceration of U.S. citizens and summarily strip them of their constitutional rights and access to the courts by declaring them enemy combatants.
The proposed camp plan should trigger immediate congressional hearings and reconsideration of Ashcroft's fitness for this important office. Whereas Al Qaeda is a threat to the lives of our citizens, Ashcroft has become a clear and present threat to our liberties.
US considers assassination squads
Pentagon said to be discussing use of units to work abroad
By Oliver Burkeman
Tuesday August 13, 2002
The US government is considering plans to send elite military units on missions to assassinate al-Qaida leaders in countries around the world, without necessarily informing the governments involved, it was reported yesterday.
The Pentagon is discussing proposals which could see special operations units dispatched to capture or kill terrorists wherever they are be lieved to be hiding, despite a long-standing presidential order forbidding US personnel from carrying out assassinations abroad, the New York Times reported.
Senior army advisers believe they could justify the practice on the grounds that it would constitute "preparation of the battlefield" in a war against terrorism that has no boundaries, because the September 11 terrorist attacks in effect initiated a worldwide state of armed conflict, the newspaper said.