Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You May Need Those Rights Someday

The recent failed car-bombing attempt in Times Square by a naturalized American citizen from Pakistan has inspired two new proposals to roll back due process rights for terrorism suspects. Attorney General Eric Holder is proposing a limit on Miranda rights for terror suspects.  Even more chilling is the U.S. Expatriation Act, a bill sponsored by Senators Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman.  The bill would strip citizenship from terror suspects. That's right, not just convicted terrorists, but terror suspects.

Anyone who thinks this will only affect bad guys who have trained in Pakistan is forgetting the stories of Steven Hatfill and Richard Jewell.  Hatfill, you may recall, was the scientist whom the FBI assumed was behind the anthrax-laced letters sent in 2001.  In a recent interview with Matt Lauer, Hatfill said:

“I love my country,” Hatfill, 56, told Lauer. But, he added, “I learned a couple things. The government can do to you whatever they want. They can break the laws, federal laws, as they see fit … You can’t turn laws on and off as you deem fit. And the Privacy Act laws were put in place specifically to stop what happened to me. Whether we’re at war or have been attacked, the foundation of society is that you hold to the laws in place. I used to be somebody that trusted the government. Now I really don't trust anything.”
Richard Jewell was also falsely accused by the FBI of a terrorist act, the 1996 Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta. He was just an ordinary guy doing his job, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If the Brown-Lieberman legislation had been in place, both Hatfill and Jewell may have been shipped to Guantanamo Bay and subjected to "enhanced interrogation" until they confessed (we know that waterboarding can elicit false confessions -- it's what it was originally developed to do).  And Bruce Ivins and Eric Rudolph might still be at large, killing people.


Tim Morrissey said...

Strange how some people who call themselves "liberal" or "moderate" are really reactionaries.

Deekaman said...

Bad idea. I disagree with much of what you have in the post, but fundamentally, yes, the bill itself is a horrible idea. But it goes along with any number of horrible, Liberty stealing ideas from the past 16 months.

Ordinary Jill said...

So, does that mean you're OK with the Liberty stealing of the previous eight years? Putting Jose Padilla, an American citizen arrested on American soil, in a military brig with no access to a lawyer or anything approaching due process for months was OK?

Deekaman said...

Never said I was. Are you ok with the Liberty-stealing ideas of the last 16 months?

Just sayin'.

Ordinary Jill said...

Of course I'm not. That's why I'm criticizing this latest round. I'm just curious why you felt the need to mention "the last 16 months" (the period since Obama's election), as if there were no significant infringements on liberty before that.

Dan said...

Now they are saying they (Obama administration) can kill U.S. citizens in a foreign land, outside of a war zone. Yep, even Bush and the GOP never went that far.