Republican Congressman chides colleagues on USAPA


Daniel writes "From Lew Rockwell's Site

Unfortunately, some of my congressional colleagues referenced the recent London bombings during the debate, insinuating that opponents of the Patriot Act somehow would be responsible for a similar act here at home. I won’t even dignify that slur with the response it deserves. Let’s remember that London is the most heavily monitored city in the world, with surveillance cameras recording virtually all public activity in the city center. British police officials are not hampered by our 4th amendment nor our numerous due process requirements. In other words, they can act without any constitutional restrictions, just as supporters of the Patriot Act want our own police to act. Despite this they were not able to prevent the bombings, proving that even a wholesale surveillance society cannot be made completely safe against determined terrorists. Congress misses the irony entirely. The London bombings don’t prove the need for the Patriot Act, they prove the folly of it.

Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas."


Police stormed a brown-brick duplex Wednesday and used a stun gun to arrest a Somali suspected of being one of four men behind botched attacks in London — a breakthrough that could yield the inside story on terror bombings that set the British capital on edge. - U.K. Cops Nab Suspected Would-Be Bomber

So it would better to wait for someone like Yasin Hassan Omar to murder hundreds after a series of successful attacks than to catch him after one failed attempt? The logic escapes me on that one.

All that wonderful lack of constitutional protections for citizens' rights did not prevent the successful 7/7 bombings--whereas, in the US, an administration actively paying attention to terrorism as a problem did prevent the Millennium Plot from coming off successfully, despite being "hampered" by US constitutional protections.

The broader point, of course, is that while serious law enforcement and intelligence efforts can make us safer, even complete suspension of civil rights and transforming ourselves into a police state would never make us perfectly safe. Look around the world--are countries with fewer civil rights protections than the UK notably safer from political terrorism? We need to keep a grip, folks, and remember that destroying our own way of life in order to "stop the terrorists" will not defeat them; it will hand them exactly what they want--the destruction of the culture of freedom, tolerance, and diversity that is a significant part of what they hate about us.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are not the problem, and I'm astonished and appalled that it has become so acceptable, in some people's minds, to claim that they are.

Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are not the problem, and I'm astonished and appalled that it has become so acceptable, in some people's minds, to claim that they are.

No one's saying they are but some of us are saying that they do not contain the unlimited freedom that you'd like them too.

All those people who love to rag on about "original intent" should read up on the Star Chamber and why the Founders thought that limitations on the state's power to seize you, search or seize your home, papers, and belongings, hold you without trial, try you without telling you what the charges were and/or without allowing you to present your own witnesses or question theirs, torture you, and deprive you legal representation were a good idea.

And, no, lack of those protections didn't make the UK's control of its colonies more secure, and didn't make ordinary residents of the colonies feel more secure. Think about what it is you're arguing for, Greg; the political right wing these days is not composed of conservatives, and they are arguing for a complete lack of restraint on government power over individuals, so long as the government makes any assertion whatsoever that their trampling of your rights is in the interest of "security." Is Stalinist Russia really your model for the kind of country you want to live in? Remember, they had a lovely listing of guaranteed rights in their constitution too--but "security" trumped all. And where's the Soviet Empire now?

First Lis, everything you're accusing the government of doing I don't believe is happening, at least to American citizens. Second, some, but not all, has happened to non-citizens. In regards to them, I simply don't care.

Any comparisons to Stalinist Russia (socialists and communists please remember) are way over the top. None of us can even begin to understand what that was like and the existence of this conversation proves the point.

Please don't tell me what the right wing or conservatives are or are not supposed to be. Actual conservatives and members of the right wing spend enormungous amounts of time debating such things. If I make a decision about what I think is best and its not considered 'conservative' I'm perfectly cool with that.

As for my rights. I say what I want, do what I want, live how I want. Which right is being trampled?

The arrest of Ahmed Ressam is not what one would consider an example of "an administration actively paying attention to terrorism." If he had been slightly better prepared, the whole thing would have gone off without a hitch. Despite the protestations of Richard Clarke, border agents weren't on higher state of alert.

And in more "Folly" news, 9 more bombing suspects have been arrested.

The current administration of the American government locked up an American citizen arrested on American soil as an "enemy combatant" and made a very serious run at insisting that they could keep him locked up indefinitely and the courts had no jurisdiction to even review the matter, and he had no right to legal representation--because he was an "enemy combatant." IOW, just making the claim made it, in their view, unnecessary for them to provide any evidence to support it, and enabled them to deprive him of all the rights of an American. They lost on those wild and dangerous claims--but only because there are still real conservatives, of both parties, in the American judiciary.

When you say that not all of these things have happened even to non-citizens--what makes you think you know that? This administration has fought the release of even the most innocuous government information that doesn't serve their agenda. What we do know about Gitmo ought to be enough to make your hair stand on end.

When you say you don't care what happens to non-citizens, you are sticking your head in the sand. It's not possible to have civil rights for some people; basic civil rights have to be extended to everyone, or Kafkaesque episodes of trying to prove you're in the group entitled to those rights, without the use of those rights until you've proved it, are opened up.

Stalinist Russia: they were communists, not socialists. Most of western Europe is socialist, and roughly as free and democratic as the USA. The USSR and its subject states were communist, and brutally dictatorial, with a highly privileged upper class. The current administration has been pushing hard to restrict public access to government information, and to tar as unAmerican and unpatriotic any disagreement with current administration policy. Just look at the growing list of former officials of the Ford, Reagan, and Bush I administrations who are now tarred as "biased" and "liberal" and "a Democrat" and of questionable patriotism--because they disagree with, usually not even Bush II's stated goals, but his methods and approach. This ought to worry you; objective fact does exist, and experience and expertise in an area are valuable--and those things will sometimes support Republican policies, and sometimes Democratic policies. No political approach is the correct one, every time, for every problem.

It ought to worry you when the patriotism of politicians who criticise the current president is questioned--no matter who the president is. That's not the rhetoric of people who believe in democracy. In the 1970s, we were shocked that Nixon had an "enemies list"; we know from the Nixon papers and tapes that Nixon vetoed tactics against those enemies that this current crew things are just incredibly clever politics. They think everything is political, and everything is justified if it gives them a political advantage. Clinton didn't attack Dole's war record or Bush I's; Nixon didn't attack Kerry's even though one of his aides suggested it; Bush II attacked both Gore's and Kerry's. That ought to bother you; this is not just politics as usual.

And finally, if you ignore every sign of the way the people in power think, and wait to worry until you personally or someone you personally know and care about has experienced a loss of rights, it's likely to be too late to do anything about it.

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